Liked How to run a small social network site for your friends (

This document exists to lay out some general principles of running a small social network site that have worked for me. These principles are related to community building more than they are related to specific technologies.

Simon Farintosh has arranged and performed a number of Aphex Twin pieces on guitar. Although there are other notable covers of Aphex Twin, such as The Dillinger Escape Plan’s take on Come to Daddy featuring Mike Patton on vocals or A.G. Cook’s ‘labour of love’ note for note recreation of Windowlicker, there is something different about Farintosh’s stripping back of the melodic attributes of Aphex Twin’s work. In some ways this reminds me of Mike Dawes’ work, although as far as I can tell, much of Farintosh’s pieces are performed without effects, especially samples and loops.
Bookmarked How @realDonaldTrump Changed Politics — and America (Politico)

With Twitter, the president turned a barrage of gadfly attacks into the voice of American power. His legacy as a tweeter will long outlast his account.

Derek Robertson reflects upon Donald Trump’s Twitter account. He documents some of the history associated with it and the platform it has allowed. Alternatively, Kevin Quealy documents all of Donald Trump’s Twitter insults.
Replied to Pluralistic: 13 Jan 2021 by Cory DoctorowCory Doctorow (

I don’t often do “process posts” but this merits it. Here’s how I built Pluralistic and here’s how it works today, after nearly a year.

Congratulations on 20 years Cory and thank you for sharing your process. I really liked your point about first and fore mostly doing it for yourself.

First and foremost, I do it for me. The memex I’ve created by thinking about and then describing every interesting thing I’ve encountered is hugely important for how I understand the world. It’s the raw material of every novel, article, story and speech I write.

And I do it for the causes I believe in. There’s stuff in this world I want to change for the better. Explaining what I think is wrong, and how it can be improved, is the best way I know for nudging it in a direction I want to see it move.

I also like your suggestion that it is your ‘outboard brain’.

I go through my old posts every day. I know that much – most? – of them are not for the ages. But some of them are good. Some, I think, are great. They define who I am. They’re my outboard brain.

The question I wonder is how your purpose has changed over time? Clearly your process with Blogger is different than what you do now, is there anything beyond that?

Bookmarked The American Abyss – A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next. by Timothy Snyder (

Audio Recording by Audm

Timothy Snyder, the author of On Tyranny, places the current situation in time. He discusses the historical divide in 1877 and how back then it was actually the Democrats who were trying to suppress African-American voters.

Some things have changed since 1877, of course. Back then, it was the Republicans, or many of them, who supported racial equality; it was the Democrats, the party of the South, who wanted apartheid. It was the Democrats, back then, who called African-Americans’ votes fraudulent, and the Republicans who wanted them counted. This is now reversed. In the past half century, since the Civil Rights Act, Republicans have become a predominantly white party interested — as Trump openly declared — in keeping the number of voters, and particularly the number of Black voters, as low as possible. Yet the common thread remains. Watching white supremacists among the people storming the Capitol, it was easy to yield to the feeling that something pure had been violated. It might be better to see the episode as part of a long American argument about who deserves representation.

He then makes the comparison between the lie perpetuated by Trump and that perpetuated by Hitler.

The lie outlasts the liar. The idea that Germany lost the First World War in 1918 because of a Jewish “stab in the back” was 15 years old when Hitler came to power. How will Trump’s myth of victimhood function in American life 15 years from now? And to whose benefit?

Snyder considers what this might mean for the future, especially for 2024.

Trump’s coup attempt of 2020-21, like other failed coup attempts, is a warning for those who care about the rule of law and a lesson for those who do not. His pre-fascism revealed a possibility for American politics. For a coup to work in 2024, the breakers will require something that Trump never quite had: an angry minority, organized for nationwide violence, ready to add intimidation to an election. Four years of amplifying a big lie just might get them this. To claim that the other side stole an election is to promise to steal one yourself. It is also to claim that the other side deserves to be punished.

Ibram X. Kendi approaches the situation differently highlighting that such white terror is not new and to treat it so is to deny both the past and present.

Americans remember and accept the enfranchising of citizens and peaceful transfers of power as their history, while forgetting and denying the coup plots, the attempted coups, and the successful coups. White terror is as American as the Stars and Stripes. But when this is denied, it is no wonder that the events at the Capitol are read as shocking and un-American.

Bookmarked Denial Is the Heartbeat of America by Ibram X. Kendi (

We must stop the heartbeat of denial and revive America to the thumping beat of truth. The carnage has no chance of stopping until the denial stops. This is not who we are must become, in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol: This is precisely who we are. And we are ashamed. And we are aggrieved at what we’ve done, at how we let this happen. But we will change. We will hold the perpetrators accountable. We will change policy and practices. We will radically root out this problem. It will be painful. But without pain there is no healing.

And in the end, what will make America true is the willingness of the American people to stare at their national face for the first time, to open the book of their history for the first time, and see themselves for themselves—all the political viciousness, all the political beauty—and finally right the wrongs, or spend the rest of the life of America trying.

Ibram X. Kendi suggests that to consider what happened on the 6th January as the death of democracy is to deny all the other injustices that have been lived out through history. He lists a number of past events, as well as Child Gambino’s This is America, and argues that, “This is not who we are must become, in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol: This is precisely who we are.”

This is something that Keith Knight captures in the form of a cartoon:

The K Chronicles: Not Who We Are?

Liked Pennies to Dollars: The Problems With Amazon’s Plans for Detroit by Tim Carmody (Amazon Chronicles)

Pennies to dollars. Some people get pennies; other people get dollars. Amazon makes dollars every time it saves pennies. In this situation, the company’s neither good, nor bad — okay, the working conditions in the warehouses are pretty bad — but neither are they neutral. Just like technology itself, they warp the gravitational field of everything they touch. And we are, all of us — cities, states, companies, and nations — caught in its well.

Watched Icons: Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains by Gibson TV from

In the latest episode of “Icons”, Gibson TV sits down with one of the most iconic rock musicians of our generation, Jerry Cantrell to learn about his early years in Spanaway, Washington and the birth of the Seattle sound. The show takes a deep dive into his 30-plus year career in music as the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter of Alice In Chains, and as a solo artist.

Cantrell’s career outside of Alice in Chains has consisted of two solo albums and contributions to major film soundtracks. Jerry’s first solo album, Boggy Depot, was released in 1998, followed by his second album Degradation Trip (2002). In addition to his solo artist work, Jerry Cantrell has released music on soundtracks for several films including Spider-Man, The Cable Guy, John Wick 2, Last Action Hero, and The Punisher.

Jerry Cantrell discusses his career in music. One of the quotes that stood out was:

We all start by emulating someone and if you are lucky enough then someone starts emulating you

I feel listening to Cantrell that emulating someone is only part of the story, as Tom Morello attests, there is also a lot of sacrifice as well.

What was interesting was how much all the Seattle bands worked with each other, rather than in competition. This is something that also came through in the concert celebrating Alice in Chains’ addition to the Museum of Pop Culture’s Hall of Fame:

Liked Everything Is Different Now by Tom Junod (

The unsayable thing—the taboo thing—to say about 9/11 is that, while it might have provided an occasion for Americans to rediscover their patriotism, it was in the moment exactly what it felt like: a defeat. It is the same with January 6, 2021. This was the defeat of a police force, the defeat of a presumption, the defeat of naive faith in the native goodness of our fellow Americans—a defeat made all the more bitter for being an inside job.

Bookmarked The Future of Professional Learning Part 2 – Ideas and Thoughts (

In general, I think professional offerings will be expanded and diversified moving forward. More than ever, teachers are more comfortable with webinars, chats and courses. Since there is currently little to no face-to-face opportunities, it seems participants are more accepting and less critical of offerings because there is no alternative. That said, I believe there is an opportunity for districts to be more intentional and focused on their online offerings as well as rethinking what face to face learning should be.

Across two posts (one and two), Dean Shareski reflects upon the future of professional development. Two of the points that have stood out are, the flexibility offered by online learning that will not go away.

I believe my own work with feature more virtual options both because it’s been experienced by a greater number of educators in the past 9 months but also because when done correctly, provides great benefits.

Learning in-person will become more about connections and relationships, rather than content.

People will naturally be excited to be together and it should be honoured as such. That means providing people with an opportunity to be with each other beyond the breaks should take priority. I would also suggest that we emphasize the social side of this as much as any professional side. In the past, this would have been seen as frivolous or time-wasting, that mindset has to change. If you’re just worried about delivering content, then it may be better served online. I think this shift will be a challenge for many and like the return to school, it’s going to be easy to revert to previous models.

This all reminds me of something Shareski wrote a few years ago about connections over content:

I’ve been saying for a long time that the old adage, “If you leave a conference with one or two ideas you can use in your classroom right away you’ve done well” is not nearly as good as “if you leave here with one or two people you can continue to learn with you’ve done well.”

Responding to this, David Truss suggests that the future needs to be more interactive.

To expand on this idea, I don’t see things like pre-presentations or assignments and tasks being given before a conference (read as ‘not homework’), but I do see opportunities for conversation, interaction with the presenter, and with other conference attendees. I see icebreakers and teasers.  I see feedback to the presenter about what the attendees want. I see presenters providing clear learning intentions and a framework for their talk. I see presenters providing a personal introduction so that instead of the first 5-10 minutes of a 1 hour presentation slot being “This is who I am”, the presentation starts with an activity, engaging people with other people who have already connected online. I see interactive presentations that rely on participants being involved and engaged with the material.

Bookmarked Tim Harford (Tim Harford)

Tim is an economist, journalist and broadcaster. He is author of “How To Make the World Add Up” / “The Data Detective”, “Messy”, and the million-selling “The Undercover Economist”. Tim is a senior columnist at the Financial Times, and the presenter of Radio 4’s “More or Less”, the iTunes-topping series “Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy”, and the podcast “Cautionary Tales”. Tim has spoken at TED, PopTech and the Sydney Opera House. He is an associate member of Nuffield College, Oxford and an honorary fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. Tim was made an OBE for services to improving economic understanding in the New Year honours of 2019.

Replied to Shocked, but not surprised by wiobyrne (

The mob that rampaged the halls of Congress included infamous white supremacists and conspiracy theorists.

Thousands invaded the highest centers of power, and the first thing they did was take selfies and videos. They were making content as spoils to take back to the digital empires where they dwell.

Members of the mob also used a site called Dlive to livestream while they rampaged.

A coup with no plot, no end to achieve, no plan but to pose.

Ian, I have been been thinking about the Gram piece and wondering if sharing events is in fact fuelling things, even more so from abroad.

I was left thinking of something Chris Gilliard ironically tweeted:

Liked (

“[T]echnology, as such, makes nothing happen,” Leo Marx stresses. Humans make things happen, but for nearly a century now, we’ve let “technology” take the credit and the blame. Technology has “been endowed with a thing-like autonomy and a seemingly magical power of historical agency. We’ve made it an all-purpose agent of change.” We now regularly “invest” technology with the power to initiate change, alter the course of events, make history itself.

Liked Death of an Open Source Business Model by jay – Jay Hoffmann (

Mapbox found themselves in a similar position to Mongo and Redis: they were subsidizing R&D for a handful of trillion-dollar tech giants.
In the Death of an Open Source Business Model, Joe Morrison laments at the new licensing restrictions of Mapbox, a reversal from the company’s previous business…

Cloud didn’t kill open core. Capitalism did.
Bookmarked Spotify Kids – Spotify (Spotify)

A guide to the Spotify Kids app.

Spotify have updated Spotify Kids to allow you to share playlists you have created with your children.

Share playlists you create in the Spotify app with your children in the Kids app

This allows for the inclusion of tracks beyond those selected by Spotify.