The immediate goal of this project is to provide a Micropub endpoint that can be hosted on a service like Heroku, configured via files stored on a GitHub repo, and save posts back to that repo for publishing with a static site generator such as Eleventy, Hugo or Jekyll. The software is fully documented and tested.
A long term ambition is to build a tool that supports different publishing destinations, other social publishing specifications (Webmention, Microsub, ActivityPub etc.) and integrates with a range of content management systems.
Recently I had the opportunity to be interviewed with some of my fellow G Suite GDEs for a Google Apps Script marketing video that is being pulled together by Google. The final video is still in production and I look forward to seeing the results. Over the years I’ve either produced or appeared in a number of videos and the recording session for this video was definitely on a new level. Before the recording session I was given the questions I would be asked so that I could prepare some thoughts.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an example where, without any contextualisation, an individual or organisation has taken something ‘off the shelf’ and applied it to achieve uniformly fantastic results. That’s not how these things work.
Humans are complex organisms; we’re not machines. For a given input you can’t expect the same output. We’re not lossless replicators.
If you’re going to work in the arts, there are three things you must
have—Time, Space & Resources (Resources meaning materials and
tools, or the money to get them). You absolutely need all three and you
must have them simultaneously. In fact, this is probably true
regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish. Let’s do the math:
Memes like this often use a process called “trading up the chain,” pioneered by media entrepreneur Ryan Holiday, who describes the method in his book Trust Me, I’m Lying. Campaigns begin with posts in blogs or other news outlets with low standards. If all goes well, somebody notable will inadvertently spread the disinformation by tweet, which then leads to coverage in bigger and more reputable outlets. #DraftMyWife was outed fairly early on as a hoax and got debunked in the Washington Post, the Guardian, and elsewhere. The problem is, taking the trouble to correct disinformation campaigns like these can satisfy the goal of spreading the meme as far as possible—a process called amplification.
In this edition of Tech Turncoat Truths, William Softky asks whether analog LP records are more authentic than digitally compressed sound.
Headphones and earbuds, being smaller and quieter, do indeed give better sound per dollar, but they move with your head and remove the bass notes from your skin. Digital CDs — being digitized but not otherwise compressed — still sounded nearly perfect to me, but not so MP3s, AACs and, later, streaming, all of which made audio more portable and convenient but at some cost. It is very clear to both my senses and my intellect that too much compression really does damage sound quality — no one disagrees with that part.
This all comes back to the sensory experience of how the body picks up vibrations:
Imagine you’re alone and frightened in the woods, in the dark, with threats nearby. Suddenly, crack! A twig snaps close by. At that moment, which would matter more to you: where the sound came from or what type of wood the twig was made of?
The best way to locate sounds is to use the whole body — ears, skull, skin, even guts — since the entire body contains vibration sensors. The brain’s main job is making sense of vibrations throughout the body, eyeballs to toes to eardrums, all consistent, all at once. One single vibratory image unified from skin and ears.
Headphones and earbuds fracture that unified sensory experience.
Softky explains that the digital sampling and compression associated with CD’s and MP3’s denies the information resolution the nervous system cares about. This is where analogue technologies are still superior.
In response to all this, Softky predicts the emergence of three new technologies that could change the world by reconnecting people with sound:
- Devices that quantify sound the right way
- Microtime recording and stereo
- Micropresence = microtime telepresence
Alternatively, we could see a return to more ‘acoustic’ music concerts:
The best connection will always be a physical presence and proximity. I expect more “acoustic” music concerts, all-live musicians, no microphones or even hyper-flickering LED illumination. Acoustic dances. Acoustic conferences. It turns out the so-called “emotional resonance” people enjoy together really is a kind of neuromechanical resonance, aided by acoustics and reduced by reproduction. (It’s best experienced in sacred spaces like churches, temples and Auroville’s Matrimandir. Live silence, like live music, will always connect people the way Neil Young hopes.
This reminds me of intimacy of La Blogothèque.
For more on sound and technology, Geoffrey Morrison discusses the problem with digital compression. This is also something discussed on Switched on Pop in an interview with Dallas Taylor.
I often discuss the psychological nuances of motivation, but I do not give “motivational” (feel-good) talks, the kind that leave no residue the next day. In fact, I even aim beyond being thought-provoking; my hope is to achieve at least something that could be called change-provoking. If, when I get home from a trip, I’m asked how my talk went, the only honest answer I can give is: “Well, I don’t know yet. I’d have to go back and visit their classrooms a few months from now before I could tell you whether it was successful.”
We all know the value of planning, but in a complex, complicated and often confounding world it can be difficult knowing how to start.
In this episode, we speak to two proponents of the Scenario Planning approach. We find out what it entails and how it might benefit organisations and businesses.
We’re also introduced to the Fab City initiative – an international network of cities aiming to be self-sustainable by 2050.
Scenario planning is something that St Paul’s School uses in their prediction for 2028:
Another example is Google’s speculative design The Selfish Ledger:
The responsibility of speaking up for something as important as press freedom is daunting and I constantly worry that I am not up to the task.
I worry for my parents and for my friends. Worry is my new normal.
Finishing up at a school community is such an odd feeling, especially as I am now on long service until the end of the year. It’s great to have a break between leaving this position and starting my next one, but my identity is so caught up in work—in being a productive professional who makes a difference in my school—that stepping away from that for a couple of months feels strange and even difficult.
Opening the box – or simply thinking outside of it occasionally – may not be such a bad thing at all. There are times when our mistakes cause disasters, and times when they don’t. If we fail to open the boxes laid before us, we will never know what’s inside them. And there is always hope – which can be trapped, unless we unleash it. If the box stays closed, we’ll never know what might come out. And if it’s opened, it may give us hope.
So what are you going to do about it? Lock the child up in a box? Or in other words, regularly test them to the point they begin to hate and fear school because of all the stress it causes them? Testing is a bit like uprooting a plant every other week to check on how much it has grown. The quantum indeterminacy of education is that you can either regularly test children, or you can stand back and let them grow. We need to think outside the box. Assessment can be done without stress, because there are many alternatives to testing – and there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
This visualization is created and maintained by Ian Webster. See more of my work at ianww.com or email me at email@example.com.
Plate tectonic and paleogeographic maps by C.R. Scotese, PALEOMAP Project. For more information visit: https://www.earthbyte.org/paleomap-paleoatlas-for-gplates & www.globalgeology.com.
Some elements of this visualization are not adjusted for time (eg. cloud and star positions). The coloring of the maps is based on elevation and bathymetry. The locations are accurate to ~100 km.
Although this is different from the situation you touch upon, both situations capture the challenge of communication in an online world. I find this a little easier when I have had the chance to meet the people who I maybe supporting in person. However, this is not always possible when schools are so geographically disparate.
Over the past five years, more and more makerspaces have been opening up around Australia and the world. These are places, either based in schools, universities or the community, where you can learn to design and build things, or hone skills you already have. Life Matters spent some time at Fab9, a high-tech makerspace that recently opened in Melbourne’s inner west, which is used by hobbyists and entrepreneurs, to find out more about the maker movement.