Liked How Radiohead Struggled to Reinvent Themselves While Making Kid A (Pitchfork)

When people hear “Everything in Its Right Place” in the future, it won’t sound alien or cold or difficult; it will evoke glitchy cell reception and patchy Wi-Fi and decontextualized social-media updates and the modern reality of omnipresent technological interconnectivity at the expense of genuine human connection. It will eventually seem logical—even the parts that aren’t supposed to seem logical. It will sound like screaming at your neighbors and never being heard, in an online landscape that is as dark, disorderly, and foreboding as a Stanley Donwood album cover. Or as inescapable as an arena you can’t ever leave. In time, many of us will feel like the singer in the successful rock band—surrounded by every convenience, and yet thoroughly alienated by this supposedly inviting world.

An excerpt from This Isn’t Happening, Steven Hyden’s new book about Radiohead’s prescient 2000 album.
Bookmarked I Scanned the Websites I Visit with Blacklight, and It’s Horrifying. Now What? (

The Markup recently launched Blacklight, a free, instant privacy-inspection tool. Enter any website, and it reveals how you may be tracked when you visit the site, names the companies receiving your data, and explains what the trackers are doing—some of them watch your every mouse move and record your every keystroke. Trust us, it’s more than you’re expecting, raising the question: What can you do about it?

Aaron Sankin discusses Backlight, an instant privacy-inspection tool, and what it uncovers in regards to privacy on the web. Much of the focus is around cookies and the role that they serve in regards to tracking.

a cookie is a piece of data saved onto your device identifying you uniquely, which can only be read by whoever set it—whether that’s the site you’re visiting or a third-party marketing company that sets cookies on millions of sites and uses all that information to build profiles about us all. Some cookies can be useful—for instance, remembering you so you don’t have to sign in every time you visit your favorite site.

Some companies use cookies in concert with another tracker called a pixel, which is a small image or bit of code that sends information about your actions to whoever owns that pixel. If the owner of the pixel has also saved a cookie on your device, your actions on that page can be linked to everything in the profile that the company has already built on you—from your previous browsing history to purchases you made offline.

One of the hard things is that although you can clear and/or block cookies, this does not stop fingerprinting and session logging.

This is a topic that Doug Belshaw reflects upon in regards to his use of Firefox.

Listened Gettin’ Air with Bryan Mathers from

The release of last week’s episode of Gettin’ Air came with bonus material… A new logo! I’ve loved Bryan Mathers’ work for a long time. My laptop is covered in work he’s done with the likes of Reclaim Hosting, Audrey Watters, OpenETC … just to name a few. I wear his work on my belly of…

Enjoyed listening to this conversation between Terry Greene and Bryan Mathers. I was really interested in his point about branding and that sometimes you do not know if a coat is the right fit until you wear it a few times. However, the comment that I like the most was something Bryan said at the end about ideas and listening:

Good listening is playing back what people actually already know, but they don’t really know they know.

Terry also shared Bryan’s creation of a new logo for the podcast on his blog.

This reminded me of Growth Coaching and the ‘coaching way of being’.

Replied to Where did my webmentions go? (

A couple of days ago I noticed the webmentions from bridgy had stopped coming in to this blog. It took me a while but I eventually noticed that the icons an links to syndicated posts were not showing up on my posts.

I really like your point John about ‘technical debt’:

I am again reminded about the technical debt in using IndieWeb technologies on this blog without the full understanding of what is going on.

I recently went looking for where I changed the footer of my blog to update the images. Spent thirty minutes looking. Gave up.

I am still glad I do it, but I do sometimes worry. On the positive side, it really helps with my work in supporting others and thinking of what questions to consider. Also highlights the importance of clear documentation.

Bookmarked Performing For, Evolving, Diversifying, and Expanding The People in My Circle (

As you seek out new ideas, and open your mind to other possibilities, others begin to see you as a threat to the lifestyle they have always known. For me, I am just growing more righteous in what is acceptable or unacceptable around me, and the people I love. For me, it is essential that I continue to keep moving forward for the rest of my life, ever expanding the circle of people I am exposed to, and making sure I empathize and give space to other voices and ideas—-not simply clinging to what I know, or what was handed down to me as part of childhood.

Kin Lane reflects upon his effort to expose himself to people of different backgrounds, including people of colour and voices beyond his childhood upbringing. He explains that so much of it is deciding whether to be a part of the performance or being in the audience.

I believe in the value of the individual, and the importance of me being a free and independent thinker, but I believe in freedom and equality, not just freedom. I am not under any delusion that my thoughts and actions aren’t influence by those around me, and every one of my actions is being shaped by the world around me. The stories I read on and offline influence my thinking. The people I let into my life all influence my behavior, and everything I do each day is part of a performance for the people who know me. I would say that the independent individual part of all of this is really about who I let into my circle and be either part of the performance or join the audience.

This feels like it touches on a lot of Douglas Rushkoff’s work, whether it be Program or be Programmed or Team Human’s effort to find the other.

RSVPed Interested in Attending Digitally Literate Educator

This open, online course is designed to familiarize educators with the best ways to build the knowledge, skills, and processes educators need to embed technology in a meaningful way in their classrooms from Pre-K up through higher education.

Ian O’Byrne has put together a course for designing a technology infused unit of work.
Bookmarked Vikings in America (Aeon)

Centuries before Columbus, Vikings came to the Western hemisphere. How far into the Americas did they travel?

Valerie Hansen extends the discussion of Viking exploration of Northern America wondering if in fact they got as far as Central America.

Some murals from the Temple of the Warriors in Chichén Itzá suggest that residents might have had contact with Vikings. Could the Vikings who left a settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows have made it to the Yucatán Peninsula – some 3,700 miles (c6,000 km) south of where the Viking penny surfaced at the Goddard site? One of the murals at the Temple of Warriors, painted around 1000 CE, depicted a naval battle scene showing blond-haired men being thrown into the water.

Comparing with the Battle of Hastings, for which there is little archeological evidence, she suggests we simply may never know.

Replied to FTP Fadeout (Tedium)

Unlike in cases like IRC (where the protocol lost popular momentum to commercial tools) and Gopher (where a sudden shift to a commercial model stopped its growth dead in its tracks), FTP is getting retired from web browsers because its age underlines its lack of security infrastructure.

Some of its more prominent use cases, like publicly accessible anonymous FTP servers, have essentially fallen out of vogue. But its primary use case has ultimately been replaced with more secure, more modern versions of the same thing, such as SFTP.

If FTP’s departure from the web browser speeds up its final demise, so be it. But for 50 years, in one shape or another, it has served us well.

This reminds me of Quinn Norton’s post of the dangers of email and whether we will get to a point where the security issues will force a similar change.
Bookmarked Trent Reznor on Love of Synths in Book, ‘Patch & Tweak With Moog’ (Rolling Stone)

“It’s good to treat your inspirations as precious. As a lyricist, I can’t tell you how many times as I’m just about asleep, at the last seconds of semi-consciousness, I’ve been thinking, ‘That’s a really good line. I’ll remember it in the morning.’ No chance – it’s instantly gone.”

“So have a little recorder by your bed. You may be thinking you’re going to remember it. I assure you, you’re not. You’ll remember that you had a good idea – ‘what was that thing I was thinking of?’ – but it’s gone. That feeling is the worst.”

In an excerpt from Excerpt from PATCH & TWEAK With MoogTrent Reznor reflects upon electronic music and appreciating the possibilities of an instrument.

It wasn’t because that was the best-sounding sampler, it was because that’s the one I had. It didn’t have enough memory and it did a lot of things poorly, but I’d find every trick you could imagine – from sampling things three or four times higher than they normally are to stretch them out, to using some of the weird aliasing that might come in when something was dropped four octaves down. Because it was all I had, I had to understand it deeply: there was a sense of having mastered it. I haven’t felt that way about any instrument in years – not only because I have more instruments now and I have less time, but also because I have less discipline to spend the kind of time it takes. I’m distracted by the other things that also matter, like writing songs or composing.

I remember being in part inspired by Reznor and Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile to explore electronic music and step sequencers. I found a site talking about NIN and it had links to various open source applications. However, it has only been more recently that I have come to appreciate subtractive synthesis.

via Ian O’Byrne

Bookmarked Designed in Minecraft, built IRL (

In Gaza, citizens are imagining what public spaces could be, and then actually building them.

Lauren Kelly reports on the use of Minecraft as a tool for rethinking spaces. What was interesting was the fact that Minecraft was used to bring people together collaboratively, which was seemingly more important than the limitations of the block-based designs.

What the group concluded was that protective measures were a priority. “We discussed safety a lot,” Hamdan said. “Me and my friends feel scared to leave the house alone. The threat of sexual assault is too much.” (Around 51% of women in Gaza are victims of gender-based violence.) They needed lighting, fencing, security (including a guard), and a separate area for women and families. “The fence was my input,” Ghada said.

Bookmarked What Does Privacy Really Mean Under Surveillance Capitalism? (

We are not witnessing the death of privacy. Even though privacy is in distress, we are in a better place now to defend it than we have been for the past decade. This is only the beginning of the fight to safeguard personal data in the digital age. Too much is at stake to let privacy wither—our very way of life is at risk. We need privacy to be able to protest anonymously, vote in secret, contact doctors, lawyers, and journalists in confidence, read whatever we are curious about; all these things and more make up the foundations of freedom and democracy.

In an extract from Privacy Is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data, Carissa Véliz talks about the importance of privacy and how it comes back to owning our own data.

Here discussion also includes an addition to the ‘data is‘ debate. Véliz makes the comparison with asbestos:

The surveillance economy is not only bad because it creates and enhances undesirable power asymmetries. It is also dangerous because it trades in a toxic substance. Personal data is the asbestos of the tech society. In many ways, asbestos is a wonderful material. It is a mineral that can be cheaply mined and is unusually durable and fire resistant. Unfortunately, in addition to being very practical, asbestos is also deadly. It causes cancer and other serious lung conditions, and there is no safe threshold for exposure.

Like asbestos, personal data can be mined cheaply. Much of it is the by-product of people interacting with tech. Like asbestos, personal data is useful. It can be sold, exchanged for privileges, and it can help predict the future. And like asbestos, personal data is toxic. It can poison individual lives, institutions, and societies.

Replied to

Marten, I am left wondering ‘why follow’? What strategies do you use to avoid ‘echo chambers’? To possibly ‘extend your serendipity surface as Doug Belshaw puts it.
Liked How To Use IMPORTXML & Google Sheets to Scrape Sites (

The first half of the formula just indicates what URL is going to be crawled. This can be an actual URL – but it’s much easier to reference a cell in the spreadsheet and paste the URL there.

The second half of the formula is going to use XPath to tell the formula what data is going to be scraped. XPath is essentially a language that is used to identify specific parts of a document (like a webpage). Subsequent paragraphs will provide different XPath formulas for different pieces of information you might want to scrape.

via Alan Levine
Replied to

I too missed John’s search tool. Thank you for sharing it Ian. I think it is a reminder why it is useful to have multiple points of reference for ideas and information.

This has me thinking about Chris Aldrich’s recent reference to blogrolls and OPML files. I wonder if something could be added to be able to search across the various sites listed on your own site?

Liked School Attendance In The COVID Era: What Counts As ‘Present’? (NPR)

One tricky matter that schools have to decide in this era is how exactly they’re going to credit “attendance” when online learning doesn’t always mean showing up on a video conference. Districts such as Los Angeles Unified have been criticized for setting the bar too low by decreeing that any interaction — even a single text between a parent and a teacher — counts as “participation” for a given day.=