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This morning's poem was one of things that just happens — it's very self-conceptualising (is that the right term?) It is a metaphor for so many things but emerged from the frustration of not having anything to write about.

It emerged from the blank page as though the words had always been there, just under the surface – it just needed me to scrape away the top layer of dirt and uncover them. Like being an archaeologist but discovering a past that never was, yet always has been and always will be. A past that is actually the future in some crazy self-referential loop.

Colin Walker – Live Feed

28 Mar 2023 at 20:24
One great thing about the new chatbot for my blog is that it gives me a greater incentive to post here, vs social media. Of course we must be just days away from a Mastodon instance that you pay to join that adds every tweet to its dataset. A place of record. Maybe they should even charge per tweet.
Scripting News

28 Mar 2023 at 18:33

A journal is a magic space to hang out

The journal of Paulus Berensohn

A reader sent me this video of artist Debra Frasier talking about how she creates a picture book:

Towards the middle of the video, she talks about how critical her journal is to her process, how it’s “this active space where a kind of magic happens… it’s not a scrapbook, it’s not a diary, it’s this place.”

She learned to think about journaling this way from her mentor, the artist Paulus Berensohn, and dancer who turned to pottery. (He wrote a popular book called Finding One’s Way With Clay.)

There’s a documentary about Berensohn called To Spring From The Hand, and the website is full of all kinds of interesting stuff about his life and work.

In the mini documentary, Soul’s Kitchen, Berensohn talking about his journal and bookmaking workshops. He says:

The journal is not so much a way of diarizing one’s life, but a portable studio, a place where you can hang out, with your imagination, your intuition, your inspiration.

His emphasis on the journal as a place reminded me so much of what I’ve learned from Lynda Barry: that the page is a place where you go wandering around. (Because I don’t believe in coincidence: I wrote that post on this day 4 years ago.)

Debra Frasier makes an appearance in the documentary and she explains what Paulus taught her:

That you have this antenna that knows where you’re going before your body knows where it’s going. So if you have this journal space, and you allow yourself to trust whatever is drawing your attention, and put it into that journal, it gave me a way to magnetize the question, be alert to the answers, and have a place to store it.

Berensohn himself said making a journal was “like building a nest,” which reminded me of Thoreau’s idea about nest eggs.

Recently I saw a piece about how Americans don’t hang out anymore.

But not only do we not seem able to hang out with others, we can’t even hang out with ourselves.

Your journal is a place to do that.

(And I suspect that if you can hang out with yourself, you can get a little bit better at hanging out with others.)

Austin Kleon

28 Mar 2023 at 17:49

Started on Scripting chatbot

 Working with pixelhop, in the UK on this. Started a GitHub thread.

For this project, I have one big archive with all the stuff I have from 1994 to 2023. All converted to Markdown, organized by year, with a separate folder for DaveNet, which is how it all started in 1994. We should just import all of it. And that will be the product.

As we make progress I'll report it here.

BTW -- I was sure Scripting News would make a good test case for this stuff, because the archive goes back so far and includes lots of stuff from other blogs, esp at the beginning. It was the hub for the early blogosphere. I think researchers in general will find it's a strong use-case if not reference source. I was very conscious of this as the years went by, and tried to make it an archive not just for my work but for what was going on around it too.

Scripting News

28 Mar 2023 at 17:12
In the next election the Dems must make the Repubs defend the idea of school kids being murdered without any help from the government. If they can't manage that, we need to find new political leaders. And when the Repubs bullshit, the Dems have to say they're bullshitting.
Scripting News

28 Mar 2023 at 16:55

I’ve been playing with Wavelength Messenger. Not to be confused with our own companion app for podcasts, also called Wavelength! I wish it was called something else, but ignoring that I think there’s a lot to like. John Gruber’s introduction is the best place to start.

Manton Reece

28 Mar 2023 at 16:51

I got access to Google's Bard AI chat tool yesterday but, as others have remarked, find it way too limited at the moment.

I'm enjoying ChatGPT as a resource for coding. What I love is that it gives a thorough explanation of the code examples it provides so that you can actually learn rather than just doing a copy/paste and hoping for the best.

I'm working on a new version of the webmention endpoint using tweaked code I've received in ChatGPT replies. It's a way off yet but should end up simpler and more reliable than at present.

Colin Walker – Live Feed

28 Mar 2023 at 16:28

My copy of Tress of the Emerald Sea arrived! Love the green ink throughout the book. 📚

Inside page of book with green illustration of leaves.
Manton Reece

28 Mar 2023 at 15:42

Twenty five years of marriage with this girl today!


28 Mar 2023 at 14:31
Silicon Valley is full of sore winners and losers. Not a whole lot of grace there, imho. But, tucked away in the corners, far from public view, there are still a few people there who get off on making great products and actually do.
Scripting News

28 Mar 2023 at 13:45
I got my Tesla over a year ago and it still feels like a privilege to drive it. Like I won the lottery. I feel like a teen with his first car when I drive it. It's so smooth and powerful, grabs the curves on mountain roads so effortlessly. Elon Musk -- feh. What a schmuck. But they obviously have some wonderful engineers inside Tesla who dreamed of making the best car ever, and somehow they did it.
Scripting News

28 Mar 2023 at 13:43

Why not here?

 An artist staring at a blank canvas,
Paints all around me, unused, drying.
Their moment almost passed.
Colours mixed on a palette, every shade and hue.
Calling to me,
Crying out, longing to be placed just so.
But I cannot.
Waiting for inspiration,
For the vision to manifest, for the work to take form of its own volition.
The pictures in my minds eye are so vivid, yet so short lived.
They come and go, flashes of colour evading my grasp.
Oh to catch even just one, to hold it,
Turn and view it from every angle,
Absorb its power and grace.
Oh to capture even a fraction of its beauty,
Of its very essence.
Its life.
Still the canvas stays blank,
Intimidating, foreboding.
Even the most perfect mark would sully it's immaculate form.
How can one think to improve upon this without immeasurable conceit?
I look away,
Guilt rising, choking, at just the suggestion.
But turning back,
About to walk away,
What is this?
Who drew this line?
This shape and colour?
Tears well, emotion overwhelms.
How can such as this emit radiance bright as a star?
Shining across time and space,
A message to the future.
A calling card dropped on the door mat of destiny,
Waiting to be discovered,
For another to take it,
Turn and view it from every angle.
Waiting for the beauty to be passed on.
For that is life.
Living forever in the dreams of eternity.
One to another.
Another to the next.
And so it goes.
It just has to start somewhere.
Why not here?

Colin Walker – Live Feed

28 Mar 2023 at 11:14

Why is paid social media a bad idea?


It'll soon cost $7/month to fully participate on Twitter. Musk has announced they'll start reserving presence in the For You tab solely for paying customers from April 15th, limit participation in polls to just those customers, and soon also give preferential showing in replies as well. Legacy blue-checks will not be spared, and will in fact lose their old privileges. The price is the same for all. Bold!

All of the usual characters from the Musk Sucks Show are up in arms about this, of course. Something about how charging money for a service is a transgression against Musk's allegiance to free speech, I think? Hard to keep straight all the rationalization on why everything the man does is Literally The Worst Thing Ever.

(This is the part where it's customary to insert a caveat that I Also Don't Think Everything Musk Does Is Great, but I'm not going to do that, because it's fucking stupid. I don't think everything ANYONE does is great. Not my good friends, not my coworkers, NOT MYSELF. This preemptive distancing from controversial figures when they do something you actually agree with is just so performative and pathetic.)

As previously declared, I don't really have a stake either way. I think there's a good argument that the world is better off if Musk truly does run Twitter into the ground! But I think it's also worth acknowledging that he hasn't run Twitter into the ground, at least not yet. Despite the endless proclamations that the end was near following the dramatically decreased headcount at the company last year.

Further, I also absolutely commend the man for taking big, bold risks when it's primarily his own money on the line! And this is exactly one of those fascinating bets that I've long wished for someone to take.

The bet is this: Can you fund a social network with user payments? In contrast to the current established wisdom that only targeted ads will do it. We don't know! Nobody has ever tried to do it at this scale. All the attempts have usually been baked in from the beginning, thus posing a real challenge to reaching critical mass. But Musk is now going to try the experiment on a network that already has critical mass. THAT'S INTERESTING!

You'd think that such an experiment would have lots of backers. Especially amongst those who've been skeptical about what targeted ads have done to the internet in the past decade-plus. And certainly amongst those worried about "misinformation" from "foreign actors" (or whatever de jeur jargon is used to whine about adverse political outcomes). Because these concerns all jive with Musk's changes.

I for one am a fan of any experiment that might shine light on a path out of the ad infestation that's currently possessing the internet. And I'm also a fan of business model experimentation in general. Triply so when they're happening in free and competitive markets.

That's what's so fascinating about Twitter right now. Musk gave his most ardent opponents the perfect motivation to seed and cultivate alternatives. And we've gotten those! Mastodon has seen tremendous growth, even if it's still a tiny dot in comparison to Twitter. 

Isn't this a good thing? Isn't that the market working as it should? People voting with their feet, if they don't like the offering from the first fellow?

I think it is. So I'm happily voting with my seven dollars to see where this experiment goes. May you live in interesting times!

David Heinemeier Hansson

28 Mar 2023 at 10:57

Scripting News: Monday, March 27, 2023


Monday, March 27, 2023

I watch Succession, the HBO drama. Spoilers follow. Last night was the first episode of the last season. At the end, two characters who are married came to the conclusion they'll divorce. A sad moment, beautifully acted. The scene ends with them lying on a bed together, clothed, far apart, but holding hands. I thought, if you're going to do it, this is the way. Let there be at least a little love in the last moment. #

It would be nice if someone developed a Mastodon gateway for apps. A system that played the role that played for the Twitter API (only it would be really easy to be better, btw). Otherwise does every developer really have to do one of their own? That's gotta be factorable. Just because Twitter is languishing, it doesn't mean that a new system that does what Twitter did, without any of the Muskness or history, couldn't come in and fill the space occupied by Twitter. Don't assume people don't want. I bet a lot do. Learned this from our experience with RSS. You have to accept facts, not be wishful about these things. Be prepared. #

Watching the demonstrations in Israel, I wonder why this hasn't happened yet in the United States after the Dobbs decision. What will it take to get our people to feel the threat to the country? #

Ken Smith tried an experiment. He asked ChatGPT to give him a few interesting stories on Scripting News. So I tried it too. I'm pretty sure none of the recommended stories exist.#

Scripting News for email

28 Mar 2023 at 05:00

Blog posts don’t have to be long

Replied to Write Less by Matt Gemmell (Matt Gemmell — Thriller, Horror, and Suspense author)
We took away our own permission to write less, unless it was on someone else’s network. There’s a pervasive and unwritten convention about this now. On social, content of any length at all is fine — and indeed the maximum allowed length is often very short, which reinforces the association. So, perniciously, our eager-to-simplify brains have decided that the converse is true for blogs: you can write only longer, weightier stuff.

Everywhere I read I see McLuhan these days, maybe I should actually read him 😂

But really, I absolutely feel this:

Those who do blog will often sit on pieces for too long, because they’re waiting until they have more to say — or they shelve pieces entirely, wrongly believing they’re too brief and thus somehow trivial.

I’m trying to think of blogging in terms of the scientific community: every commentator adds a new piece, a new angle, and every little bit further understanding boosts the whole community. Together we rise, whether any one person’s blog post causes a large shift in the community’s thinking or not. It’s like the way geology happens: the landscape changes both a little bit at a time, slowly, and cataclysmically. Our thinking and writing can be accretive to others, it needn’t be explosive to be of value.

Another silly thing I’ve shelved posts for: being too slow to respond, feeling as if I’ve missed the cultural moment of discussion around a piece.

Via Nitin Khanna.

Tracy Durnell

28 Mar 2023 at 01:34

Capitalizing on Artificial Intelligence

 Nathan J. Robinson for Jacobin on artificial intelligence and capitalism:

It’s interesting that we talk about jobs being “at risk” of being automated. Under a socialist economic system, automating many jobs would be a good thing: another step down the road to a world in which robots do the hard work and everyone enjoys abundance. We should be able to be excited if legal documents can be written by a computer. Who wants to spend all day writing legal documents? But we can’t be excited about it, because we live under capitalism, and we know that if paralegal work is automated, that’s over three hundred thousand people who face the prospect of trying to find work knowing their years of experience and training are economically useless.

Mandy Brown on A Working Library on the smoke screen of artificial intelligence:

The story that “artificial intelligence” tells is a smoke screen. But smoke offers only temporary cover. It fades if it isn’t replenished. We have the power to tell different stories, to counter the narrative of “artificial intelligence” with one that is rooted in democracy and equality, in a vision of a living world in which life is not ranked according to perceived value under capitalism but in which care is extended to all. But—and here’s the trick of it—in order to do that we have to let go of the notion that any one of us is worth more than any other. Countering the story of so-called AI demands that we relinquish the habit of presuming that some people are deserving of care and some are not, that some people are more intelligent than others, that some kinds of intelligences are superior. […]

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Bix Blog

28 Mar 2023 at 01:27

Posts for 27/03/2023

 # Today is an important day in my blogging calendar – the anniversary of my decision in 2016 to reboot everything and return to the blog after what was more than two years away.

I've written about this on a number of occasions over the years, largely saying similar things each time, but feel it's worth returning to on each anniversary to remind myself why I do this, why I always return to the blog no matter how many breaks I take or for how long.

As I remarked last year, it took nearly a year to get back into my stride and put 'the old way' of blogging behind me. In reality I went full circle and returned to the way I used to write when I first started. I had gotten into the mindset that everything had to be an essay - too much was discarded. From the post by Matt Gemmell I shared yesterday:

"Those who do blog will often sit on pieces for too long, because they’re waiting until they have more to say — or they shelve pieces entirely, wrongly believing they’re too brief and thus somehow trivial."

This is exactly how I used to be. The waiting meant so much went unsaid.

As I have said, I now find myself reverting: "Microposts and writing about code are all well and good but I miss the depth I used to have." There needs to be a balance and I need to ensure I don't obsess and swing too far one way or the other. Finding the right flow can be challenging, I don't know why, when it should be just writing whatever comes naturally rather than constantly overthinking it.

But I digress. Today is my own private celebration of blogging and what it means to me. I still get incredibly frustrated with the creative process (here and elsewhere) but these posts each year help to reiterate that the process is worthwhile, no matter the result.

# 'On This Day' has always shown posts on the same day from other years. I decided to change that so it shows posts from all years instead, even the year it is accessed from. Makes more sense to have it all in one place without gaps.

Colin Walker — Daily Feed

28 Mar 2023 at 00:00


Replied to Grayscale by James (
The display shows only grey colours. I decided to give this a go last night to see how I would feel about having non-grey colours disabled. My phone now feels different. Applications are no longer as vibrant as they once were. The features that would draw me into an application, such as the coloured ring around a profile on Instagram Stories indicative of a new post, are no longer prominent to the same degree.

I have grayscale set up as an accessibility shortcut on my phone so if I’m looking at something that does need color, like photos, I can turn it on for a few minutes. Just gotta remember to turn it back off! 😅

Tracy Durnell

27 Mar 2023 at 23:45


 I am not a server person by any stretch of the imagination. I do work on the web though and I have to deal with server administration for myself, for friends and for clients. It's not something I particularly enjoy doing but I don't hate it either. The fun part is that if I do my job properly, none of you should notice it.

Over the last couple of weeks I set up a new servers for myself and for Carl. This blog, Minimalissimo, its shop, Carl's personal site and are now all running on new VPS. I moved away from Digital Ocean and I'm now a Hetzner user. 3 reasons for that:

  1. I like to try new things
  2. A better price to performance ratio
  3. They're an EU company

I'm still using Runcloud to handle all my servers and I genuinely love the service. If like me you have to handle servers but don't like to deal with them, definitely give it a try.

Manu's Feed

27 Mar 2023 at 23:00
Ken Smith tried an experiment. He asked ChatGPT to give him a few interesting stories on Scripting News. So I tried it too. I'm pretty sure none of the recommended stories exist.
Scripting News

27 Mar 2023 at 22:50

Photography’s future is software & computation


DPReview, the soon to be shuttered photography website has an in-depth interview with Sigma CEO Kazoo Tamaki. In this interview he talks about the need for special lenses, importance of cameras and what makes his company so special. What caught my eye were his observations about the impact of computational photography and the rise of camera phones. 

The technology that has impressed me the most is computational photography. The image quality from smartphones has improved drastically over the past several years, mainly due to computational photography. I’m amazed. This might change imaging technology. Camera and lens manufacturers need to learn something from it. Of course, we shouldn’t just copy the technology because we have much better hardware: bigger and better sensors, and better optics. But that kind of software is very powerful.

I believe they [the camera manufacturers] recognize the importance of computational photography. Still, as a camera and lens manufacturer, I feel we need to satisfy the very serious photographers and the history of photography culture. We don’t need to satisfy customers who just want to play with images or want a cartoon look. We have to follow the tradition of photography. People have been pursuing better picture quality in photography for over 150 years, right? So we have to respect the photo culture. But if there’s technology we can use to enhance picture quality that can also contribute to photography culture, why not? We should use it.

My takeaway from his comments was pretty simple: the camera industry is caught in the classic innovator’s dilemma. If they were smart, and if they could move faster, as an industry, they could try and embrace the change. They have bigger devices, historical knowledge, and the ability to combine the old with the new. But will they be able to? I don’t think so — the reason is simple: they just don’t have the money. The phone guys keep pouring so much money into their camera technologies — it is one of the few reasons why people really upgrade their phones — that traditional camera guys just can’t keep up

As I wrote earlier: 

The big four camera makers — Canon, Nikon, Fuji, and Sony — will be left fighting over scraps. Of the lot, Sony seems to be the best prepared to navigate the choppy waters. And it won’t be because of its camera sales — it is because of its photography focussed component business. Sony makes sensors for everyone, including the standalone camera’s biggest nemesis: the smartphone (and specifically, the iPhone).  

The camera industry is going to become an industry of niches. The likes of Leica, Hasselblad, and PhaseOne will have a lucrative, albeit the smaller, higher end of the market made up of brand loyalists and those in need of specialized devices. Others will depend on working professionals — wedding, sports, and event photographers — to keep the home fires burning. And that isn’t that big a market. It will be a bruising battle for the enthusiasts who like landscape, urban, and wildlife photography.

It is getting tighter for the high-end niche as well. Hasselblad can’t keep up with Fuji and is said to be on a slippery slope. PhaseOne, now with a new private equity owner, is focusing on more lucrative non-consumer markets and has spun out its software business as a separate company called Capture One. Leica remains — because it has a loyal audience and a very determined majority owner. 

The reality is today, a camera is no longer a camera. On smartphones, it is a lot more than that. Tamaki himself knows that, as he hints later in the interview. 

Internet and social media, and of course, digital imaging. These technologies have changed the way we enjoy photography and share images. As a result of these technologies, we started using images for communication. During the film era, we used photography for things like recording family events, history, or art. In the past 25 years, we’ve started using photos and videos for communication.

Even as a purist photographer who lugs around his Leica, I think the future of photography is more than just a photo. In 2018, I pointed out that:

In ten years, even the art prints will be digital, locked down by blockchain, and displayed on screens of different sizes. I have two Aura frames at home, and they show all sort of photos of family, friends and of moments that matter. Look around, and even in the real world, the screens are getting digital. The advertisements are digital and are on displays. That’s the new photo workflow and ecosystem. Peer into the future, it wouldn’t be long we are co-existing with augmented reality and world where screens and images have an entirely new meaning.

That said, it would be fun to interview Tamaki-san. 

March 27, 2023. San Francisco


On my Om

27 Mar 2023 at 22:29

The Week #143

  • The tulips we planted a couple of months ago are in early-bloom. I'm loving the splash of color to the front of the house. Leo's been getting into it as well, wanting to check them every morning.
  • It's was rainy this past weekend, which threatens all of the cherry blossoms and (probably) killing the hanami-season. Writing this made me realize I haven't posted any photos of the sakura this year. 

    Cherry blossom tree near my house. You can see the pedals on the ground from the rain.
  • I went out for beer/lunch with some old co-workers/friends to a place called Mots Beer Party. The venue was small with just enough seating for 6 people along a bar. The owner cooks when you place the order directly in front of you and as it is space constrained, was interesting to see how he prepared all of the dishes. There was no gas range, but he did have two portable IH hobs side-by-side acting as a range (no venting / fan necessary!) One technique I think I'm going to borrow from him was using a camping hot-sandwich maker to cook veg / meat. Makes it easy to turn and gives nice grill marks without the grill.
  • We rearranged the downstairs and I think we've got a winning layout. The layout's been a bit awkward since we got that 3-person sofa last autumn(?) as we never could keep the sofas facing each other (you want to face the TV when you're watching it / playing games, so we'd turn the small sofa 90 degrees). Also, inevitably the large sofa would slide back a few cm and make rub against the sliding door to enter the LDK.

    We moved the TV back off of the tatami into it's original position, directly across from the large sofa. Then, we pulled the large sofa forward about 40 - 50cm to keep it off the wall and allow access to the plugs behind it. This surprising makes it feel more like a proper room. Lastly, we moved the small sofa on to the tatami, parallel with the tv, along with the coffee table lego table.

    This created three different zones: 1, unchanged, with the dining table where we eat, 2, for relaxing and watching TV (with the bigger sofa), and 3, for Leo to play with his legos. The 3rd zone will also make a great reading area as well because there's good light in that corner of the house and it's relaxing in a showa kind of way on the tatami. When it's finished and looks presentable, I'll share a photo.
  • There's still some Twitter users that I'd like to follow but I don't want to login to Twitter to just for that. There's a great site called that essentially mirrors their tweets so you can follow them from Mastodon (likes and such don't propagate, which is fine). All you do is put their twitter handle into the search and they show up like a regular account.
  • My jam this week has been Japanese Breakfast. I really like this live recording from KEXP. I wonder if there's a Japanese equivalent of Japanese breakfast? American Asa-gohan? But seriously, wouldn't mind finding Japanese indie bands.

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James Van Dyne

27 Mar 2023 at 22:28
I watch Succession, the HBO drama. Spoilers follow. Last night was the first episode of the last season. At the end, two characters who are married came to the conclusion they'll divorce. A sad moment, beautifully acted. The scene ends with them lying on a bed together, clothed, far apart, but holding hands. I thought, if you're going to do it, this is the way. Let there be at least a little love in the last moment.
Scripting News

27 Mar 2023 at 21:49

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