Posts for 04/02/2023

# With hyblog finished I'm considering releasing a standalone version of /reader. It will mean having to disconnect it from the blog (and all that entails) but I thought that is a good opportunity to try something different.

I'm going to see if reading/writing CSV files (and converting the contents to arrays) works rather than using a database. It should be another fun experiment.

First, I'm going to fork the repository for the feed parsing library I'm using to reflect the changes I had made so that is available separately.

Colin Walker — Daily Feed

05 Feb 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 03/02/2023

 # 'Nowns work!'

That's the pitch.

Yep, I've registered and will be moving the namespace definition there over the next couple of days.

# The 'now' namespace has been migrated to the new domain where it shall remain in perpetuity (or as long as I remember to renew the domain.)

I've put up a quick, simple site with all of the details from the GitHub repository including the further details page. The repository will remain the place for discussion.

nowns work

# We finished watching Season one of Lockwood & Co on Netflix. It may be based on the YA books by Jonathan Stroud but it was gripping (we binged it) and absolutely loved it. Hope it gets renewed.

Colin Walker — Daily Feed

04 Feb 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 02/02/2023

 # One of the biggest (if not the biggest) manifestations of my depression is the voice in my head telling me I'm not good enough. It's there almost all the time and, no matter how well I do something, I always end up believing it and enter negative feedback loops, plummeting into downward spirals.

The cliché is that we are our own worst critics (and enemies) but when you're coming from a position of mental illness that seems to get amplified many times over.

Even when I succeed in something the voice says "but it could still be better." My self-confidence has diminished over the years when it should be the other way round as I grow into certain areas and abilities. This self-doubt is what really annoys my wife most when she says "you're good at X" and I play the ventriloquist's dummy while the voice replies "no, not really."

I had my latest session with the psychiatrist this morning and he was happy with the progress I have been making since stopping the quetiapine. The mood swings have reduced (they're still there, just not as severe) and the promethazine is really helping me sleep. There's less brain fog and I am able to concentrate more (hyblog and everything I've been doing this year is testament to that) so, after discussing the negative thoughts above, he feels that the time is right to refer me to one of the therapists for some CBT.

(b)log-In works (and I'm super proud of it) and hyblog has been fun to experiment with, but my code is messy and inefficient, cobbled together as ideas emerge. The voice says "It's crap and there's no way you could charge anyone for using anything you put together."

I don't do anything online for money – I want to learn and explore and help others. As I naturally discover more I want to share my thoughts and ideas. So, I've decided to take the alternative route of setting up a 'buy me a coffee' account. 1 Maybe I'll also go the GitHub sponsorship route.

  1. no, that's not a hint 

# Bug fixes aside, hyblog is done! I don't want to continue adding things to it as the whole concept was about keeping it simple.

If I have an idea for something, it makes sense and doesn't introduce any complexity then I might consider it. I may also consider feature requests as long as they fit with the project ethos.

I could have added webmentions but deliberately chose not to. Outgoing mentions would have been simple using the same library as (b)log-In. I could have repurposed the endpoint for incoming mentions, just with a change to checking the target URL and then writing the comment because of using files rather than a database.

All the hard work has already been done but I still decided against it.

# Just received an email that I have been approved for GitHub Sponsors. 🎉 My profile is here — I only put in some very basic tiers.

# And ... I found a bug. 😆

Colin Walker — Daily Feed

03 Feb 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 01/02/2023

 # It has been just over a week since I started using the new /updates view for /reader rather than the more typical river.

It's been great! It make a refreshing change to visit each person's site again and read their stuff in its home environment.

I'm still informed when someone has written something new (the automatic refresh is 6 hours) but it's not right there in front of me to scroll through (consumption by default.) Instead, I have to make the conscious decision to click out to another site.

Site by site, rather than post by post. It gives me a better feel for things.

I've been leaving a few more comments than I previously would have done, and I seem to take more time with each post when not consuming it in the river view. I also, obviously, get to see the comments left by other people.

The visual variety, rather than river homogeneity, keeps things interesting making me want to visit and read posts in situ. I highly recommend this approach if you're bored with your current consumption habits.

Colin Walker — Daily Feed

02 Feb 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 31/01/2023

 # I had a post ready to go saying:

"Bug fixes aside, hyblog is done. I don't want to continue adding things to it as the whole concept was about keeping it simple."

I was going to follow that with "I can revert my attention to the 'now' namespace" but then it struck me: if I'm trying to promote the namespace then my own creation should support it.

So now it does!

After one or more custom pages have been created a new option will appear in admin: "Now namespace page". This will let you select from the available custom pages.

The content of the chosen page will then be added to the RSS feed as the information.

  • will be the custom page title
  • will be the link to the custom page
  • will be the last modified date of the page's .md file

I should really do a video demo of all of this in action.

# Here's a quick video demo of page creation and setting the 'now' content for the RSS feed.

Colin Walker — Daily Feed

01 Feb 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 30/01/2023

 # Just as I was about to go to sleep last night my brain decided it was going to come up with an idea:

  • namespace is shortened to 'ns' as in xmlns
  • the now namespace could therefore be written nowns
  • which sounds like nouns
  • so updates shared using the now namespace could be called nowns
  • and I should check the availability of domains

So, I've been looking and am wondering about the following:

  • fits with the idea of now
  • 'live' updates, fits the theme again
  • information about the namespace
  • as in "nowns work to share updates"

I could get a good deal on .work for the first year but think it goes up significantly after that.

.ns doesn't appear to exist as a TLD so now.ns is not an option. Even if it did it would likely be a country specific domain and I'm always dubious about tying things to them. It would also likely be too expensive.


# Commenting on the discussion that "stream as a paradigm" is dead or dying, Bix says he's not quite sure what I mean by 'consumption by default'. Let me explain myself a bit better.

It's a bit like doomscrolling but without the doom, more generalised.

Consumption by default is when we read, watch, or listen to things simply because they are placed in front of us. A social stream is a perfect example. We wouldn't read most of it if left to our own devices, we would spend more time seeking things out for ourselves or, maybe, creating things.

Consumption by default is passive consumption, a state of submission, an acceptance of time's passing or willingness for it to pass quicker such that we don't need to come up with ways to fill it.

Consider this from Jackie Luo:

we try in vain to pay out fractional amounts of our attention and find that the whole is, somehow, less than the sum of its parts. in wanting to pay attention to everything, we often fail to pay attention to anything at all.

Consumption by default spreads our attention too thinly.

With regards to the base topic, Bix is right when he says:

It’s also true that “chronological” isn’t actually the only way most typical blogs are organized, because most blogs also have tags, or categories, or “more like this” features, in addition to a search function—so it’s not like readers somehow are stuck within the chronology.

These other taxonomies, however, are secondary to the chronology and often treated as an afterthought, if remembered at all. The desire, therefore, is to place these alternatives more front and centre rather than defaulting to the timeline.

# I've had access to Arc from The Browser Company for a few weeks now but only really started using it properly for the past four or five days.

I like it!

There have been a good number of gushingly positive reviews floating around the web, and an almost equal number of responses saying to shut up about it already. It's just browser, and a Chromium based one at that, what's the big deal?

Agreed, it's not going to be different in the way it loads pages but Arc is designed to be a different experience not engine.

I like being able to split tabs into different 'Spaces' (think tab groups but better) and then easily swipe between them. I also appreciate the 'command bar' which feels like Spotlight or Alfred on the Mac.

My favourite feature is Easels: scrapbook type containers into which you can drag local files, grab sections of pages and make them 'live' (all page captures automatically point back to their source) then mark it all up and even share them. It's great for research and gathering multiple things all in one place.

I've made Arc my default browser as I don't believe you can get a proper feel for an app without diving in and using it every day.

Is it just a case of 'new shiny syndrome' and will the novelty wear off? I don't know but, for now, I'm enjoying the experience.

Colin Walker — Daily Feed

31 Jan 2023 at 00:00

Posts for 29/01/2023

 # Big update for hyblog today: custom page management.

Custom pages can be added, updated, deleted! In /admin there is now a link to 'Manage pages' at the top.

  • 'Add a page' shows a simple form with just 'Title' and 'Content' fields. Pages are saved as .md files in /pages/ – add content in markdown and HTML
  • any existing pages will be listed as links to go to an 'update' page
  • each page listed will have delete icon to the right

A new file, page.php, accepts a URL parameter ?p={page_name}, gets the file contents from the relevant file, and displays the page. The address in the browser history is then changed to a cleaner version using javascript - a page called 'test' will have the link http(s)://{root_url}/test/ rather than http(s)://{root_url}/page.php?p=test.

As the page addresses don't actually exist the new 404 page checks if the URI matches one of the pages and redirects to /page.php?p=test. The footer then checks /pages/ for files and display links for each in the menu tray.

# Now I need to leave it alone for a while. 😆

# Just realised I forgot to add authentication checks to the page management stuff so will need to make a few more changes. I was too keen to get it working and uploaded that I overlooked the necessary security. 🤦‍♂️

Colin Walker — Daily Feed

30 Jan 2023 at 00:00

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About Reader

Reader is a public/private RSS & Atom feed reader.

The page is publicly available but all admin and post actions are gated behind login checks. Anyone is welcome to come and have a look at what feeds are listed — the posts visible will be everything within the last week and be unaffected by my read/unread status.

Reader currently updates every six hours.

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