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Colin thanks for the note. That'll be something to find when we're sweeping up the dust from the floor. FeedLand is recovering from an identity crisis. It was in a sense lobotomized. It's something of a miracle that any of this works. :smile:

Dave Winer’s FeedLand feed

30 Jan 2023 at 16:40



Since I have YouTube Premium and log in to YouTube, YouTube is suggesting videos that seem to fit my interests a lot more (and it’s a little addictive again, but not as bad as when I was still studying).

One video that was suggested to me today is a video about a former luxury business high-speed train in Germany. Unfortunately, I’ve never used it myself, but I’ve already heard about it. They have been out of service for a year or two because there are no more spare parts. But the video shows a lot of stations on the way from Berlin to Frankfurt that I know quite well (like Hannover, Kassel or Frankfurt).

In general, YouTube recommends a lot of videos about trains and finance (another topic where I keep going deeper down the rabbit hole). It seems that Google knows me better than I do. But is that good or bad?

Interactions & Comments

Jan-Lukas Else

30 Jan 2023 at 16:20

Glacier’s Edge


When visiting Alaska back in 2018, I took a helicopter flight over a glacier. I took a lot of photographs from the air, but never really got around to editing them. I am usually plodding and lazy about editing my photos.

This past weekend, however, I got a burst of energy and inspiration, that allowed me to edit a few photos from that trip. I have a complete set of images and will share them for the rest of the week.

I have shared two photos: the first (above) is of a near-naked sand bar, and the other (below) is of land where time has allowed life to flourish. These are B&W photos, but they have a slight glacial blue tint to them — my homage to the mighty Knik Glacier, which like glaciers worldwide, is receding.

January 30, 2023. San Francisco

On my Om

30 Jan 2023 at 16:00

Last night, instead of actually reading, I wasted a lot of time conflicted on whether I could finish reading an e-book before it was due at the library or if I should pause and read something else. Usually juggle 2-3 books (at least 1 audiobook)… So much to read. 📚

Manton Reece

30 Jan 2023 at 15:45

One minor update today to catch an error with update.php. Nothing major and doesn't need to be added to the changelog.


30 Jan 2023 at 15:22

A stunning realization

 Having done it with FeedLand, I was starting to think about how to wean Drummer off Twitter identity, and had a stunning realization -- it may not be necessary, since (I believe, haven't tested yet) it might be possible to host Drummer from a FeedLand instance.

I would actually have to do it to be sure there aren't any roadblocks I haven't foreseen. But they're both running the same server software, daveappserver, and once you've established an identity in FeedLand I don't see why it can't be used with Drummer.

Ken Smith was tripping out on the synergies between Drummer and FeedLand. This, if it works, would blow the doors off that. They would be storing their data in the same place. You would be able to open your FeedLand bookmarks menu in Drummer, to start.

I figured something else out. I was wondering what would happen if Twitter broke their identity with developers like me as they did with the clients, how would we transition Drummer then? I don't want people to have to start over. I could ask them to do what I asked FeedLand users to do, is make a connection between their Twitter identity and an email address, as a backup. But this would have to be done before any outage. Something most people probably wouldn't do.

Then I realized we would be able to do what we do now when we want to associate an email address with a domain, ask the user to post something to their Twitter account, some magic string. When we see it in their timeline, voila, we know they are who they say they are and we can move the files to the new server. So we can relax. Users shouldn't have to lose data if Twitter pulls the plug.

One more thing, when Twitter was blowing up, I was getting harassed by idiots (no other word for it sorry) who didn't understand that you can't unwind a connection just by snapping your fingers. Identity is baked into an app at a deep level. And, when it already has users, and has gone through a ship cycle, you can't just flip a switch or everything you worked so hard for would just fall apart. It would be like, for example, making the NYC subway system run on a different track gauge. Sure you could do it, but it might take a few weeks. 😄

Scripting News

30 Jan 2023 at 15:20
 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.

Colin Walker – Live Feed

30 Jan 2023 at 14:52

If you feel okay


It’s okay to grieve what you have lost.

I mean, of course. Of course it is.

There’s nothing wrong with emotion, with the feelings of anguish and anger, but you don’t have to cling to those feelings. You don’t have to feel a certain amount of bad to validate your experience. 

If the pain fades, you can let it fade. 

If change seems positive despite what you’ll be leaving behind, you can let yourself feel excited.

You don’t have to approach every change in your life the same way.

You get to be all over the place.

And you don’t have to feel bad about feeling good. Like, if you’re dealing with a big-bad-scary-sad change, and at some point in there you look up and think, “Huh, I’m feeling kinda good today,” you can just let yourself feel that way. 

No need to explain, no need to justify, no need to compare. 

You’re not erasing anything. You don’t undo the depth of your grief by having a moment of okayness. 

We all need reprieve. 

The post If you feel okay appeared first on annie mueller.

annie mueller

30 Jan 2023 at 14:00

An Algorithm vs Time


Twitter is on fire, but is an algorithm better than a chronological timeline?

During my regular perusal of Mastodon I’ve seen a number of people publishing posts like these…

I didn’t hear about X in my timeline, that’s a failure on Mastodon’s part.

Not having an algorithm leads to information overload. It doesn’t have to be about money.

In my experience, these kinda posts tend to come from Twitter expats complaining that they prefer the algorithm that Twitter provides, and that they would like to see something similar in Mastodon.

It’s your timeline

The point around Mastodon somehow failing because a person didn’t see a particular piece of news in their timeline is, to be frank, utter bollocks.

The beauty of Mastodon’s timeline is that you can craft what you see yourself. You’re the master of your timeline’s destiny. If you missed something, that’s a failure of yours, not Mastodons.

Try following hashtags for the things you want to see. Or follow the many journalists who are flocking to Mastodon, if you want to read about what’s going on in the world.

Or you could setup lists to filter the stuff you see by topic. There really isn’t any excuse for missing stuff in Mastodon when there’s so many tools at your disposal to craft what you see on the platform.

But the engagement!

Twitter was built from the ground up for engagement, right? So surely having an algorithm is the way to go if you want true engagement online.

The problem is, that argument is flawed. I think Twitter was built from the ground up to make money, and to do that, they need more eyes on the platform. But how do they get more eyes?

Well, in my opinion, they do it by promoting provocative posts that raise your blood pressure and get you to stick around. There’s also a fair number of people who manipulate the algorithm, just like on Google.

So you end up with a timeline that’s littered with both provocative posts, and posts from people who know how to market themselves on Twitter. Because of all this, you do not get genuine human engagement on Twitter. Not to the same level as Mastodon, at least.

There’s lots of examples online where folk with many more followers on Twitter, post the the same thing to both platforms, and get far more engagement on Mastodon.

For example, this post by Kate was published to both Mastodon and Twitter. She has comparable follower numbers on both platforms (1.6k on Masto, 1.2k on Twitter). The post garnered 12 likes on Twitter and 1,700 like on Mastodon.

That isn’t a typo. She received more than 1,000x the engagement on Mastodon, than Twitter.

Tell me about that algorithm that was designed from the ground up for engagement again…

Here’s another example from Iconfactory. They made the Twitteriffic Twitter app, so this should be a great example, considering they created one of the best 3rd party apps for Twitter.

At the time, they had 16k followers on Twitter and 4k followers on Mastodon. They posted the exact same post on Twitter and Mastodon, but the difference in engagement was exponential:

Iconfactory Twitter post Twitter

Iconfactory Mastodon post Mastodon

On Twitter, they received 9 likes and 3 retweets. On Mastodon the post received 287 favourites (likes) and 163 boosts (retweets). That’s many orders of magnitude more, and they have 4x the amount of followers on Twitter.

But Kev, this is from a few days ago and the Twitter algorithm needs time to work…

– Twitter fans everywhere

Ok, it’s been a few days since those posts were published. Maybe the Twitter algorithm caught up and things are different now?

Hahaha noooo, of course they aren’t. They’re worse. As of right now those posts have 8 retweets and 16 likes on Twitter, versus 476 favourites and 266 boosts on Mastodon.

Please bear in mind here, that the post contains bad news for Mastodon folks. The Inconfactory folks are basically saying that they won’t be building a Mastodon app anytime soon, because so many good ones already exist.

With this being bad news for Mastodon, you would assume the engagement would be way down. But no, it’s way up.

Why is this? Well, dear reader, it’s because Mastodon is built by people, not algorithms.

These aren’t unique scenarios, either. Here’s another example, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and finally another from Brian Krebs. Are you starting to get the picture?

Just want to quickly thank all the fine people of Mastodon for sending me these links - I couldn’t remember them all.

Engagement, yo!

The chronological timeline is beautiful

My preference for a chronological timeline isn’t about concern for companies making money from me. It’s about concern for my time.

I can login, read some posts, then logout. If I want to pickup where I left off later, I know all the posts will be there, in the same order. They won’t have disappeared into the ether, just because an algorithm deemed them unimportant.

Having a chronological timeline also prevents doomscrolling. If I refresh the timeline, I’m not presented with a raft of new posts that have been computationally stitched together.

Oh no, dear reader. Instead, I get the posts that have been published in the interim between now and the last time I refreshed the timeline. That could be a hundreds of posts if I’ve been offline a few days, or just a handful if it’s been a few minutes.

Finally, as I touched on earlier, because everything is chronological and there’s no algorithm at work, I can manipulate my timelines as I see fit. I can add filters, follow hashtags, create lists and more. All safe in the knowledge that whatever is in there, I have control over it and some random piece of code isn’t manipulating things on my behalf. For, you know, engagement reasons…

Final thoughts

I think it’s clear by now that I have a strong preference for a chronological timeline. But given the examples above (of which there are many more) I’d argue that having a chronological, user-curated timeline is far more useful for engagement purposes than an algorithm which seemingly arbitrarily decides on what it should feed you.

I know some people will disagree, and that’s your prerogative. Please feel free to write your own response; but remember, don’t bother posting it to Twitter, as it will likely disappear into the big blue ether.

Alternatively, you can email me using the button below. There’s no algorithm at work in my inbox. Pinky promise. 🙃

Reply to this post via email

Kev Quirk

30 Jan 2023 at 13:49
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