Posts for 07/12/2023

 # Thanks to Clark I can now grab replies to posts on Bluesky. The solution was using app.bsky.feed.getPostThread but I was overthinking it (as usual) when it was a lot simpler than I was expecting.

I'm now thinking about how to integrate that into comments or whether I even should. If I do decide to then it will be something modular so that it can be easily removed.

# Auto-complete couldn't decide:

The internet is... f**ked or fine

# Spent most of the day laid up in bed with a migraine and I'm still really fuzzy. It doesn't help that I'm really stuffed up with cheek pains and ringing ears.

Colin Walker – Daily Feed

08 Dec 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 06/12/2023


Absolutely love this!

Chris McLeod has created a feed-only blog that, as the name suggests, you can only read in a feed reader. No permalinks, no archives, just an Atom feed.

I've long been intrigued by the idea of an ephemeral blog and this, by its very nature, is likely to be one. As Chris says:

By its nature, entries might also be somewhat ephemeral. If you subscribe after, say, Entry #100, then I cannot be sure a feed reader will import right the way back to the beginning.

Not only that, but he has ultimate control by deciding how many posts appear in the feed.

It will be a fun experiment to watch.

# I'm trying to flesh out my Bluesky integration but can't seem to get replies to a post.

Sending a GET to com.atproto.repo.getRecord brings back the post details, e.g:

object(stdClass)#4 (3) {
  string(70) "at://did:plc:pn5qdowybxjewkcq6zzenvtq/"
  string(59) "bafyreib3igocz7bo6g6m755luxer5usgippetm5k3xohfgqvzjtq64cqpy"
  object(stdClass)#6 (4) {
    string(185) "I'm wondering about having an option on my blog that allows me to control which posts get sent here. Maybe a category I can choose. Not everything benefits from being cross posted. 🤔"
    string(18) ""
    array(1) {
      string(2) "en"
    string(24) "2023-12-01T15:49:18.627Z"

There is a reply to that post but it is not indicated here. I found details of the app.bsky.feed.getPostThread endpoint but can't get that to work either.

Must be doing something wrong and not understanding it properly.


The internet is full of people having brilliant ideas!

Manu has come up with "One a month" — support others from just $1 per month:

The 1$ part means you can set it up and forget about it because it’s a low enough amount that won’t make too much of a difference for the majority of people who are considering supporting online creators.

Many are put off subscriptions and donations because the default amounts are high enough to really start mounting up if you want to support a number of folks. Dropping the minimum to just $1 (£1 here in the UK) means more people are likely to sign up.

I know I'm more likely to support more people with this kind of scheme. It all helps!

I set up my Buy me a coffee page a while back but just left it with the default amount. That has now changed.

I've added a "One a month" membership and also dropped the default one-off payment to £1. Membership doesn't provide anything except my heartfelt gratitude but maybe, in future, that could change.

I don't do any of this for a reward — unless you count meeting interesting people online — but any donations are always very gratefully received.

Colin Walker – Daily Feed

07 Dec 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 05/12/2023

 # Can blogs become the unlikely Twitter replacement? Maybe they already are for many but can that scale?

Not only can that scale but can it do so with empathy? Not to mention, do we really need a replacement?

The maps of the web have been redrawn to fit the social landscape. Some like to explore off the beaten path while most will just take the motorways and freeways, ironically stuck in traffic while trying to get from A to B as quickly as possible.

How do we get from where we are now (with withered attentions spans and endless instant reaction) to an empathetic web that provides time to think before we respond? Can we? Is the question that simple?

I was asking in an email recently if I knew people who were natural born bloggers (NBB) (to use Dave Winer's term) and, if so, how do I tell them to stop using social and start a blog?

I replied:

I think it’s hard to tell someone that they’re an NBB and get them to start. There is something specific required to be a blogger in my opinion that many just don’t have – that’s not to say bloggers are better, just different.

All we can do is give them a nudge but it’s something they have to realise on their own.

We can individually make our own choice to embrace blogs again but many won't, they don't see the need. For some, convenience trumps everything – warts and all, but many also don't have a negative experience of social networks because of the way they use them.

The situation is far more nuanced than some would have us believe. Good things happen on social networks: not everyone is an antagonistic troll looking to start a fight, not everyone is constantly exposed to fake news and conspiracy theories. A lot of people have a perfectly good time on their network of choice.

And it is a choice, it is not a one size fits all scenario and we cannot decide for others.

# I have been working with Robert to fix more issues with hyblog and I think we're there. I couldn't replicate the problems he was having and it was most likely due to different environments.

When I hit a dead end he did something I should have done ages ago: asked ChatGPT. It provided a slight reworking of a specific section of code that was causing him problems. This has now been merged into the repo and it looks like everything is working as it should. 👍


Having a pen pal can be amazing and I'm so glad more bloggers (and people) are giving it a shot. It's nice because you can email back whenever you have time, and you just never know how much you might hit it off with the person on the other end. If you've seen folks looking for pen pals or it’s something you're interested in, shoot someone an email and just see what happens. It doesn't always work out, but from my experience, it’s wonderful when it does.

Colin Walker – Daily Feed

06 Dec 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 03/12/2023

 # I think it's fair to say that some of Eddie Murphy's more recent films haven't been great. Candy Cane Lane (the new Christmas film on Amazon Prime video), however, was brilliant.

We watched it last night and laughed from beginning to end. The way it references and sends up so many other Christmas films and tropes (and others) is great — you find yourself waiting for the next one and will probably miss a lot on a first watch.

Highly recommended.

# I added Bluesky to my /hello page as a way to connect. Does this mean I'm in for the long haul? Either way, I'm still building slowly.

Colin Walker – Daily Feed

04 Dec 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 02/12/2023

 # Frank Meeuwsen wrote about the classic children's movie The Neverending Story 1 and noted that it influenced the, equally classic, arcade game Space Harrier.

Reading his post I was immediately transported back to my teens spending all my time (and money) in the arcades.

I grew up on The Isle of Wight having moved there from South East London when I was 6. With a relatively small populations and tourism dominating the local economy, like other typical sea-side destinations, there was very little for local kids to do — especially during 'off season' from October to April. That meant we usually spent most of our time in the arcades.

Not to blow my own trumpet, I was good at video games. Very good. I guess that what comes from virtually living in the arcades. During school holidays and at weekends I would leave the house in the morning, spend all day there with my friends, and come home in the evening. A classic 80's misspent youth. All this time playing meant I was the best at a lot of classic games like Gauntlet, 1942, Tron, R-Type and others.

I remember when Space Harrier came out – there were two main arcades we used to play games in and only one of them had it. The moving cockpit-style cabinet was so cool that everyone wanted to play it and the queues would get quite long. They were usually waiting for me! 🤣

It didn't take long for me to finish the game after which it became about achieving perfection: getting as high a score as possible and finishing it without losing a life. Achievement unlocked!

As with many games of the time, the difficulty could be altered by changing dip switches. The arcade owner would regularly call in an engineer from the company supplying the games to tweak the difficulty. Whenever the engineer was in the owner used to call me over to test the game:

Owner: we've made it harder

Me: finished it...

Owner: we've tweaked it again

Me: finished it...

Owner: it's as hard as it can go!

Me: finished it...

Owner: I give up

At the other arcade on Sandown Pier, decisions were made on whether to keep new games based on how quickly they could be completed. If a game was too easy the kids would get bored and stop playing meaning the arcade wouldn't earn any money off it.

I remember when a new game was brought in called Darius – a huge upright cabinet that was three times wider than a normal game. It had three screens side by side, which appeared seamlessly joined because you actually looked at a reflection of them – the angle of the mirrors merged the screens together making it seem like a single wide display.

Darius was great, I loved it and the music was fantastic. The only problem was that I finished it three days. Yep, three days! The arcade owner said he wasn't going to keep the game if it was that easy. He actually kept it around for a while as others couldn't finish it so I think it earned enough to warrant it. 😉

Those were the days, when playability was the most important thing about a game. The limitations on graphics and audio technology in the 80's meant that you couldn't disguise poor game play with flashy visuals.

  1. yeah, I don't remember what it was really about either: a kid, a flying dog, saving the world, something like that 🤷‍♂️ 

# Someone else has started testing hyblog, my hybrid blogging system, but found a number of problems with it. Nothing has changed with the code since a couple of others installed it (as far as i can recall) so I'm not sure what's going on.

I did a test install and, sure enough, there were issues – a number of them.

I've, therefore, been doing a re-write as it appears the code was making far too many assumptions about installation and folder path, etc. A couple of test installs under different scenarios seem to be okay so 🤞

hyblog was only ever intended as an experiment but it's flattering people want to try it. As such, it should at least work.

Colin Walker – Daily Feed

03 Dec 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 01/12/2023

 # Welcome to December, it will soon be Christmas.

Getting in a festive mood, I have a discount code for the whole month which will get you 50% off any of my music on Bandcamp.

Just apply the code 'festiveacid' at checkout.

An acid smiley face wearing a santa hat with snowflakes in the background

Treat yourself, it's Christmas!

# Everyone is a stranger – until they're not.

It's kind of obvious but something we forget when it comes to building connections, both online and offline. Even our family members are effectively strangers until we get to know them; proximity means that happens a lot quicker than with others so we forget.

I wrote that the key to social interaction online was the sense of community and place we build. Once things scale too far it is impossible to maintain both.

Tracy expands delightfully on this in her post Building community out of strangers in which she says:

I used to think of blogrolls as for people I knew IRL, but I’ve come around on it. Hence, my blogroll is full of “Internet strangers.”

Back in February, Jeff Johnson wrote I do want to go back to social media, likening it to an addiction: "seductive because it gives the illusion of friendship. It's the ultimate in low maintenance, no effort friendship." That's not friendship at all.

I've had a few thoughts on the often parasocial nature of online relationships in my notes since February but didn't really know what to do with them. Reading Tracy's thoughts that reading someone's blog for a long time means you create a (one-sided) relationship brought this back into focus for me:

It’s a different modality of relationship than we may be used to in person, but it’s real: a parasocial relationship simmering with the potential for deeper connection, but also satisfying as it exists.

My notes included "I don't think it's being truly parasocial but gaining an insight into someone's world. Obviously, you can start to engage and build a relationship over time that might go beyond the blog." And that is what I have been trying to do, more so recently.

I always say that I want to get to know the person behind the words, the whole person, not just the persona they may present. I am always looking for that deeper connection. This has definitely inspired my deciding to join the pen pals movement.

The blogging community is an ideal playground for introverts. Being an introvert doesn't mean that you don't want to interact with others or that you want to be alone and antisocial. Instead, it's harder to put yourself out there and make contact, harder to interact in busy social settings, harder to maintain the energy levels required resulting in the need to retire to more quiet spaces and recharge. Introversion can often be seen as a barrier to doing what you want to do.

Blogging allows you to get out there without that barrier, the social complexities or physical and mental strains. The combined act of writing and reading is a way to get beyond that awkward initial phase without the avoiding eye contact and embarrassing silences.

The relationship surrounding a blog may began (and indeed stay) as parasocial but the longer the 'getting to know you' phase of reading continues the easier it is to build on that – especially when the reader is also a blogger.

At its core, blogging is a solitary activity with many (if not most) authors claiming that their blog is for them – myself included. Yet, the implication of audience cannot be ignored. Indeed, the more an author embeds themself in the loose community of blogs, by reading and linking to others, the more that implication becomes reality even if not actively pursued via comments or email. To quote Tracy:

Even when the conversation isn’t direct, blogging is community the way neighborhoods are

We inhabit the same spaces and, although seemingly unaware of the presence of others, this leads to that sense of community and place – a feeling that we are not alone. It is an organic process, different for each person – we have to find our own way there, absorbing the culture by digital osmosis. It cannot be forced but we can give a little nudge by reaching out, a guiding hand via comment or email.

Colin Walker – Daily Feed

02 Dec 2023 at 00:00

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