App.net #ThemeMonday

The App.net community was small-enough and its people got on with each other well-enough that little sociable initiatives blossomed. It was very much a fun, slightly-nerdy, place to be.

Anyone who spent time there might have come across the #ThemeMonday hashtag (link goes to my site.) People changed their avatars on or around the second Monday of every month, to a theme chosen by popular vote.

Now App.net will close on March 14th or 15th 2017 (official App.net blog) so at that time all of those digital memories will be forever lost (unless a volunteer-driven archive initiative, er… archives them first.)

I've been toying with the idea of running one final #ThemeMonday, to run over the week before the service shuts down. Votes will be first taken for themes, a poll created, and finally the theme list voted on. It's simpler than it sounds.

One tiny problem, polls.abrah.am no longer works. I won't be worried though if no-one really wants to participate; enough have left for greener social pastures, enough will simply not see this, and enough would rather rely on the glow of great memories than revisit the past in the present.

Here's the thing, discounting Facebook for now I'm on 3 public social networks:

  • 10Centuries.org,
  • App.net,
  • and though I've scaled back my usage, I'm on Twitter.

I'm willing to take votes from all three provided I'm mentioned, and I don't see a bar to changing avatars on any network. Solidarity, or something…?

Ok, here goes, I propose a theme:

Sunset.


The link to my page: http://bazbt3.github.io/thememonday/

Twitter diminishes

I'm scaling back my involvement on Twitter (in addition to a recent step away from Facebook.) It'll mean a more casual attitude to my timeline: no more devotion to reading all the tweets, no more politically-charged retweets, no desire to keep up with and research the background behind the very latest news. In short I need a break, a chance to examine what I want.

So what will I do with the time usually filled waiting for the relief I'm currently finding when there are no more posts remaining to read?

  • Read books,
  • Write better blog posts,
  • Create more stuff at GitHub,
  • Watch films,
  • Make my girls do their homework on time,
  • Er…

Oh yes, this:

I am at 10Centuries.org, Jason Irwin's bootstrapped/subscription/free social, blogging & podcasting network. Hey, I have invite codes, just ask!

Drunkard

Today, for lots of reasons, I felt the need for a little alcoholic refreshment, and so it happened that I had half a glass of coffee liqueur; from a small, thistle-shaped whisky glass bought for me in March 26 2005 by the lovely vibrant lady who was destined to be my poor, downtrodden wife and the mother of my 2 girls, 2 cats and a dog.

I've been practically teetotal for a few years now even by my standards; I've always been a lightweight, never needed alcohol, never had the bladder or ambulatory capacity to soak up the stuff. A few stubby bottles, maybe once or twice a day until they're gone; a bottle of whisky that lasts weeks; and all with extended periods between simply because I've not needed booze.

I manfully resisted the allure, the convenience of and 'Amazon Prime Now' shop earlier, knowing that I don't need it today. I never have done.

But today, today it was indeed appropriate; I had the half glass, washed it out and left it to drain. In a few minutes I shall have another, and then call it quits.

If I can still understand the voice in my head telling me I don't need it, that is.

Brexit insanity (sweary)

I voted to Remain at the 'Europe Referendum' last year, hoping that the political system would take heed of the will of the British people, essentially reinforcing our desire to retain the benefits of being within Europe and substantially outvoting the hopes of a return to the dark times of jingoistic nationalism and a belief that the inhabitants of England are better than anyone in the rest of the world.

Yeah, that went well didn't it! Whilst not exactly wearing the 'Remoaner' badge with pride, I sense my services will be called upon at some time. I'm ready. Ready to moan that is, the incompetence of politics to make our world a better place currently disgusts me.

Ok, I use 'England' to describe the United Kingdom because, let's face facts, the rest of the UK is seen as utterly irrelevant when it comes to any decision making process. That saddens me. And that's an understatement. It's utterly appalling that the wishes of millions of people living both within and outside the tiny geographic area, England, and Parliament, are ignored.

So much for 'us' being the cradle of democracy. That's all gone now, being replaced by, if not a dictatorship, then something very, very close to it. It's more subtle than most, especially the recent Turkish crackdowns, but it's nevertheless deeply troubling me.

Yesterday the British Prime Minister stated that our negotiating position, the great plan, the very best our nation can come up with, amounts to this:

We don't want the financial burden of being a member of Europe, nor do we want any of the benefits; we're not going to be a part of the Single Market nor the Customs Union. We are instead going to find new markets elsewhere using products and services that our great nation will invent, stuff that cannot be done better or cheaper anywhere in the world and shipped to us whilst still undercutting our best rates.\* We're going to eschew the benefits of shared human rights and business standards, fiscal systems, support structures across all parts of life. No, instead we're going it alone.

I…

I'm not over-simplifying by much, it really is that stark. It's saying to Europeans that they're beneath us, not worthy of continued support or cooperation. Yes, of course we're entitled to play hardball for the best interests of all of us Brits, but I'm sensing the juggernaut rolling towards a humiliating pyhrric victory here. Legacies. Membership of Europe, though imperfect for us, has to be better than the idiotic alternative offered without debate to the British people. Reform usually comes from within rather than without.

And our main English opposition party, Labour, just aren't fighting this. 'Democracy' again, see. Mind you, a party so splintered, fractured, simply cannot mount an effective opposition. Only the Liberal Democrats seem to have a clue how grave this situation really is; a credit to them, to us.

Some might say it's us, recognising our lofty position in the world, the world's fifth-biggest economy, premier financial services centre for an entire economic region, playing hardball.

Lofty. Yeah. We can't even ensure there are enough staff to efficient run our hospitals when winter pressures, something entirely predictable, occur. And when the people quite rightly complain, we hide, we lie, we quote heavily-obfuscated statistics from partisan-friendly sources. Lofty, world-leading…

In terms simple-enough that our Prime Minister can understand, here's how it should have gone:

We want all the benefits of cooperation with Europe but without the worst of the attendant costs or restrictions. Let's chat Europe, what can you do for us?

Negotiation rather than dictating terms. Heck, it doesn't have to be subtle, but come on!!

Is there any way, short of the slow, horrible deaths of all of the people lobbying to achieve, tasked with implementing or tacitly supporting in the name of 'Democracy' this unprecedented, irresponsible, xenophobic, and fiscally-destructive path… is there any way that we can remove these politicians and their supporters and restore sanity, fairness, and some measure of equality to the people of the United Kindgom?

I'm, of course, including the billionaires who run our media and hold the power to mobilise popular opinion to merge with their agendas, whatever the heck they are. The lies we all know about are easy to deal with; anything demonstrably untrue has already been roundly debunked as impossible to implement, but all remain unimportant trivialities by those casual racists ignorant of world finance and our diminishing place in a world whose power is shifting east, those whose only sources of news are run by…

You've got to ask, why would powerful people wish to destabilise an entire region, let alone one sovereign nation? Surely it's not all about money, it's not all about saving (or creating) reputations, legacies? Is it?

It probably is.


If you came for the swearies, I thought better of it; I'm keeping them to myself, sorry.


(time passes…)

(time passed…)


\Ah, fuck it, go on, go on, a late footnote. I've just seen a spot on local news that a major British 'defence' and flying thing company is looking into developing a high-powered laser system to shoot at fast-moving things far far away. And a deflector shield to protect far-distant speedy things that would otherwise be shot at and destroyed by yes, high-powered laser systems. The very *best bit, the spokesman intimated it's a perfectly-reasonable 10 to 20 years in the future. For fuck's sake, more bleeding killing machines‽ Bet, bet that, it, like all the crazy hairbrained schemes to come, dreamed up by companies desperate to get into the news and acquire funding from equally-unscrupulous backers, it, it'll be touted as a fine example of Great British innovation, something to be proud of, a driver towards economic and social greatness. Dyson for instance, Dyson make really good vacuum cleaners, we have one, it's been repaired a couple of times but keeps going on, but it's not a £300 vacuum nor is it a £2000 washing machine nor a hairdryer or fan reinvented to pander to rampant consumerism but I am tempted to mention that I think their business policies such as relocating manufacturing overseas, 'suck'. Ahhh, where was I? Yeah. And then, when we have a world-beating thing, like the jet engine, trains, power generation, our gold reserves, computer chip design and licensing, it'll be sold off to the highest bidder (or announced early so sold at the lowest price in the case of the gold or industries with national penetration) like Every. Fucking. Thing. this once-great nation has ever produced. Fuck off with your 'make Britain great' again you disingenuous twats! But singling out any one company is futile, we need the right environment to prosper. If we had the ability to conquers the world without killing large numbers of indigenous folks, we already would have.


Not proof-read.

Chatty

This might sound a little odd. Quite a lot of my prose is indeed odd to the uninitiated, but this is a post about communication, specifically integrations. I know I'm not the first to write about this but I'm on a bit of a journey right now.

You'll probably have visited web sites integrating a chat thing into their pages. Often it's an intrusive popup asking cheerfully if you'd like help with something anything. The only time I ever used one I was deeply unimpressed with the abilities of the person at the opposite end of the chat. It seemed to be a copy and paste session, the likes of which is these days run by 'bots. To be honest I much prefer reading FAQs, and if my query is sufficiently complex I prefer email to a web form.

Today I installed a tiny code snippet on my GitHub Pages site. It creates an anchored button which links to a chat room I created at the GitHub.com-related third-party service, Gitter. The service offers public and private chat rooms, and logins are required, via either GitHub or Twitter. Logins make sense.

I honestly don't expect my use of it will amount to much, and thus fully anticipate removing the code if no-one really uses it. But why?

I blog at GitHub Pages, to a blog I adapted from a prebuilt solution, composing posts on my phone in Markdown before staging, committing and pushing the post to my repository. Other people may call this 'publishing.'

I then copy the raw Markdown and paste into a new blog post at 10Centuries.org. Being a not particularly cumbersome workflow it works well for me.

Now, notifications of posting go to 10Centuries chat, to Twitter and to Facebook, and I get occasional feedback at all three.

In a nutshell I see my social networking future at 10Centuries (10C.) It's a peaceful haven away from the in-your-face occasional nastiness and immediacy that intrudes into Twitter and the insulated, walled garden of Facebook. There's a web app (linked to above), and Android and iOS apps are being developed right now. Yes I know I'm being awkward here, but it is after all my prerogative!

Ok, back to the point. I'd love to be able to integrate a link to Cappuccino (10C chat) at both my GitHub Pages site and my 10C site but don't have the skills (or, currently the vision) to implement it elegantly. So right now I'm making do with a thing that only nerds are likely to want to login to use.

I could, I suppose, create a link in the GitHub Pages site header to a page which links to 10C chat, and that might be enough.

But it won't be. I've used message boxes which posted into either Disqus.com and, until recently, App.net (2 months away from closure.) I recall extremely limited use providing me with comments. It's perfectly reasonable; Disqus is a comments-focused service and App.net is/was a limited-appeal network.

It'd be nice to have all my eggs in the one basket. But, when all is said and done, I do write for myself.


I am on 10Centuries.org (Jason Irwin’s social/blogging/podcasting network.) If you want a change from the misery of the mainstream I have invite codes! Oh, I'm also on Twitter.

App.net to close

During the springtime of 2013 I decided to join a new online community at App.net (Wikipedia entry). Heck, as it'd recently changed to a' Freemium' funding model I even paid for social networking! Today (Friday the thirteenth in year 1 PostCelebPocalypse) I found that the service will close in the middle of March 2017.

Its major strengths: no ads, 256 character posts, awesome apps, and a willingness by all to engage with and welcome newcomers. It simply wasn't too big. Though on the surface an oasis of calm amidst the chaos of the wider Internet there were indeed flaws, the business model wasn't perfect, but it didn't matter to me, I 'belonged'.

The apps that stood out for me in a network originally setup to encourage and to fund app and service development:

  • Felix by @billkunz (I bought a t-shirt),
  • Riposte and Whisper by @jaredsinclair & @jaminguy (I bought the t-shirt),
  • Chimp by (is there a shirt‽),
  • Kirby by @griff (no shirt).

So Baz haz a sad that the inevitable end is near. But why, seeing as I've not been an active participant since before the middle of 2016?

Signing up to App.net (ADN) resulted in the some of the best things, the most stimulating things (even including btinternet.chatter!) I've ever done online. Rather than simply participate I joined in.

My big but short, exhaustive but necessarily incomplete, list of stuff:

  • As-of right now I've posted way more than 28,260 things there, including reposts. That alone should tell you something.
  • I badly ran #ThemeMonday for a while after @berklee bowed out. Though it doesn't sound much we changed our avatars every month, created individually to a theme chosen by popular vote. It was fun!
  • I took over #QuoteSunday from @zephyr. (We posted quotations from famous, infamous, and not-so-famous people; all to suit our mood on the day.)
  • I created a rudimentary Linux shell script to interact with App.net on the command line. Baz the programmer! (I called it ayadn_shell partly in homage to 's awesome Ayadn rubygem but mainly because, without that application onto which mine piggybacked, mine simply would not work let alone be possible!)
  • After a happening by chance onto a conversation started by someone tired of being tired I collaborated on an MMTPORPAG (minutely-massive-two-player-online-role-playing-adventure-game.) An Adventure of epic proportions; at least it would have been if my life hadn't got in the way. Thanks . (Incidentally, I can't get the specific Treeview.us thread to load, I'd love to archive the whole thread. Help please!)
  • I became a Wiki Editor for a while at the now defunct App.net Wiki, a volunteer-run repository for the minutiae of a social network. I tested new ideas at my personal site. Thanks @kdfrawg, for letting me fiddle for a while.
  • I took over #WednesdayChallenge (#WedC) from and ran that too for a while. A short story, to a theme again chosen by popular vote and in fewer than 256 characters; oh, how those creative juices flowed!
  • I helped out with @isaacjw's #TuesdayChallenge too, a weekly way for like-minded folks to showcase their artistic skills. (Me? I used a child's magnetic board.)
  • Oh, and footnotes.\*

It's not a big list, and though I may have forgotten something big it's representative of the network's scope.

But, without all those lovely people, none of my activities mentioned above would have been remotely possible . I'm conscious of the fact others may have been involved prior to my arrival, but I'm speaking from my personal experience. And that's the key to ADN, a very personal experience, not shaped by the knowledge someone's looking over your shoulder with a view to monetising your post content.

Best-of-all I relaxed. I met some wonderful, chatty, clever, insightful, downright amazing people there.

Thankyou all, I'll never forget.

But, to perhaps understand what I'm thinking right now, you had to be there. I was, it was great.


I am both on 10Centuries.org (Jason Irwin's burgeoning social/blogging/podcasting network, for which I have invite codes) and on Twitter.


*Let's just say I popularised them, albeit in a limited manner.

@Cabbage (band)

I recently came across a retweet mentioning a news article about a Mossley (NW England) discordant neo post-punk band named Cabbage. The ironies within the article, well, I've already determined 2017 will be one led and thus characterised by Schadenfreude. Now the band's genre isn't my usual cup of tea, but the introduction alone was definitely something helping to drag me out from the depths of my post-New-Year funk.

Here's why…

The publicity wasn't because of their music, at least not directly. No, it was their frank, gloriously frank, response to the British national tabloid newspaper* attempting to champion them as one of their sound of 2017. To see what I suspect is merely the iceberg-tip of the band's response, here's a Manchester Evening News article - sanitised only by redacting the entirely-appropriate sweary language.

I asked the band on Twitter for their recommendation; which of their albums should I buy? The response was, in hindsight, entirely predictable.

@ahcabbage: @antmeals anything by @TheBlindersBand

I simply ignored their response, hoping for something more, a 'Best Of'. Heh, Baz playing the long game…

A few days later they released a compilation album, 'Young Dumb And Full Of…'! Yes, the ellipsis is a part of the album title; and though the dystopian days of 'Bollocks' aren't over yet, not for me at least, there's enough of an implication there to satisfy this listener.

Or maybe it's a shorter word, one that rhymes with, er… Yeah, I think I'll step away from that one!

I bought and listened to the album all the way through, turned up loud enough to enjoy it as I'm imagining the band intended (and then turned down a bit for this old man's ears.) I was struck first by how the passage of time hasn't dulled my inability to discern the actual lyrics of a song; but it's not a criticism, there's enough there to keep me interested.

The second thing that struck me relates to some of the melodies; I'm sure there's some Talking Heads (I'm a fan) and a bit of Kosheen too. Perhaps if I listen some more I'll find more, but is that perhaps missing the point? Naah, is it bollocks: Music is Music!

Suffice it to say that, whilst I'm drawn to the obvious parallels with the Sex Pistols (yes, I'm that old but wasn't a fan at the time) this isn't a rehash, doesn't seen like an homage. It's shiny and new. Ok not shiny, it's spiky stuff this.

I'm emphatically no music reviewer, but I do know what I like. 'Young Dumb And Full Of…' by Cabbage thus gains Baz's seal of approval, is rated 10/10 for the timely (and in some respects timeless) music and for dragging me out of my 1977-to-early-nineties musical comfort zone.

Ta Cabbage.


Why yes, it *is in fact the hated Sun misjudging our cultural history.

Lardy

@Schwarzenegger:

"Some people say Sunday is a day of rest. I say if you eat, sleep, and breathe on Sunday, why not train? What are you doing today?"

:

"@Schwarzenegger I'm sitting on my lardy British arse & considering which diet programme will fit my tiny attention span. Thanks for asking!"

Bye Medium

I've been copying my blog posts, first manually then more recently automatically, to Medium.com (a site for writers or anyone with a message.) The return on my investment has not been great, indeed the most views and feedback I've had has been from a one-line comment I posted in response to someone else's political post.

I say investment but it's no biggie; I'd written the posts anyway, it costs nothing to post at Medium, and I write to please myself anyway. But almost zero feedback troubled me.

Why? Well, everywhere else I post I've been careful to avoid statistics. Indeed I've never looked at any stats related to my Github.com Pages, and have no intention of doing. Simply put, I have a tendency to obsess over the irrelevant things when the simple things are key.

I'm thinking of terminating postings to Medium, and soon. A related and more positive issue, I still have a plan to release posts from previous incarnations of my blog, and that'd kill the structure, the flow, at Medium (I prefer consecutive posts, sorted by date. Obviously by date.)

The bonus: the meanderings of my less-recent mind will soon be available to reminisce over. It's not all bad.

Cake culture

After reading this, I've a question for anyone arriving here accidentally…

Dentists call to end cake culture - BBC News.

Go on then, instead of Krispy-Kremes who's up for kumquats or kiwifruits‽

It might have been BBC's Tomorrow's World, it was certainly decades ago. I recall a TV spot devoted to dental health, specifically the question; which is best for your teeth, an apple a day (doctors can't be wrong) or a nice piece of cheese?

Unsurprisingly, most opted for the apple-a-day, disregarding the deleterious effects of the acids present in most fruit.

But at least the article above got me thinking. Which was nice.

On the occasion of my next birthday I'm of the mind to subject my colleagues to a mouthful of abuse!