Bookmarked Teaching in the Time of COVID by Sign in – Google Accounts (W. Ian O'Byrne)

As we are disrupted and try to adapt to the changes wrought by the coronavirus we need to use this as an opportunity to examine the inequalities that existed before. This is a time to re-examine most aspects of our lives and think about how we could or should do things differently.

Ian O’Byrne reflects on teaching in higher education during the time of COVID. He suggests

  • Focusing on what one needs to know
  • Focus on knowledge, skills, dispositions
  • Chunk course content.
  • Treat it Like a Morning Show
  • Don’t rely on lecture
  • Block Classes
  • Use Breaks
  • Take time together
  • Provide just in time supports
Liked Thread by @dajbelshaw on Thread Reader App (

Thread by @dajbelshaw: Remote learning with kids this week? Unstable internet connection? Wifi drop-outs? This thread is for you! Let’s get you some help. Mostly for free. There’s some technical stuff, but if you c……

Bookmarked Cory Doctorow: Neofeudalism and the Digital Manor (Locus Online)

To engage in data-collection in the wake of 2013 isn’t just an oversight, it’s an act of collaboration with the forces of surveillance. In 2020, Google has admitted that it is being required to respond to “reverse search warrants” that reveal the identities of every person who was present at a certain loca­tion at a certain time; and “search-term warrants” to reveal the identities of every person who used a specific search-term. These warrants are utterly foreseeable. Google collects this data, so governments will require them to turn it over – and not just the US government, either.

As with Apple, the best way for Google to avoid being ordered to turn over data on its users is to not collect or retain that data in the first place. And, as with Apple, the next best thing is to give users the power to turn off that data-collection and data-retention altogether, something Google’s gotten marginally better at in the past year.

Reflecting on Apple’s move to restrict which operating systems are able to run, Cory Doctorow discusses what Bruce Schneier has called ‘feudal security’. This is where we hand over power and trust to platform capitalism to keep us say.

The security researcher (and Hugo Award-nominee) Bruce Schneier has a name for this arrangement: he calls it feudal security. Here in the 21st century, we are beset by all manner of digital bandits, from identity thieves, to stalkers, to corporate and government spies, to harassers. There is no way for us to defend ourselves: even skilled technologists who administer their own networked services are no match for the bandits. To keep bandits out, you have to be perfect and perfectly vigilant, and never make a single mistake. For the bandits to get you, they need merely find a single mistake that you’ve made.

To be safe, then, you have to ally yourself with a warlord. Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and a few others have built massive fortresses bristling with defenses, whose parapets are stalked by the most ferocious cybermerce­naries money can buy, and they will defend you from every attacker – except for their employers. If the warlord turns on you, you’re defenseless.

Going further, Doctorow ponders if in fact it is ‘manorial security’:

Schneier calls this “Feudal Security,” but as the medievalist Stephen Morillo wrote to me, the correct term for this is probably “Manorial Security” – while feudalism was based on land-grants to aristocrats who promised armed soldiers in return, manorialism referred to a system in which an elite owned all the property and the rest of the world had to work on that property on terms that the local lord set.

The problem is that we are then at the whims of somebody else’s choices or, in the case of Cambridge Analytica, abuses. In response, Doctorow posits that rather than a turn towards survellance, companies like Apple, Facebook and Google have an opportunity for a Ulysses Pact where in a position of strength these platforms decide to step away from shady data practices.

In his own commentary, Alan Jacobs suggests that this is why the open web is so important.

So let me bang this antique drum one more time: You need to own as much of your turf as you can. I explain why and how, in detail, in this essay. Avoid the walled gardens of social media, because at any moment they could appeal to digital eminent domain and move the walls somewhere else, and if they did you’d have zero recourse.

Bookmarked What’s Wrong with the Way We Work by Jill Lepore (The New Yorker)

Americans are told to give their all—time, labor, and passion—to their jobs, Jill Lepore writes. But do their jobs give enough back?

Reflecting on the death of Maria Fernandes while sleeping in her car between shifts, Jill Lepore reflects on the world of work in America. This includes looking at the history, as well as the place it serves in our life.

It is interesting to think about this at the moment in Australia where there is a lot of discussion about people working in quarantine hotel also having a second gig.

Watched 20 Years Ago, ‘Donnie Darko’ Turned ’80s Pop Into Nostalgic Dread,20 Years Ago, Donnie Darko Turned ’80s Pop Into Nostalgic Dread from Stereogum

The soundtrack for ‘Donnie Darko,’ which debuted at Sundance 20 years ago, mines ’80s pop for beauty and dread and romanticism. From its opening scene set to Echo & The Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” on, the film made the sounds of gloomy new wave and postpunk cool.

I cannot remember where I first saw Donnie Darko, but it has been one of those films that I have come back to again and again. I am not sure what it is about the film, but maybe Tom Breihan captures it best with the suggestion of ‘the vibe’.

Really, though, the story didn’t matter. It was the vibe: Gyllenhaal’s sick-of-this-bullshit grimace, the eerily modulated voice of the giant rabbit who came to visit Donnie at night, the way Kelly’s camera floated through classrooms and cul-de-sacs. And it was the music. Kelly set Donnie Darko in 1988; the movie’s climax happens on the Halloween just before the Bush/Dukakis election. In the movie’s best sequences, Kelly takes the songs that would’ve been playing on modern-rock radio at that moment — the Bunnymen, Tears For Fears, the Church — and mines them for beauty and dread and romanticism.

I am not sure I appreciate how foreign this music was at the time. I remember seeing songs like The Killing Moon on Rage, but as Breihan attests, I do not remember hearing much of the music on the radio.

Replied to Before You Post That Hot Take by Sign in – Google Accounts (W. Ian O’Byrne)

I understand your rationale for wanting to post that hot take. You’re excited, upset, and want attention. It is a normal human reaction to want to exhale, scream, or preach.

I often have those same feelings. I’m a digitally native scholar. I think of about 25 things a day that I want to tweet, write, or comment. Several times a day I write, revise, write, revise, and then ultimately delete messages that I’d like to send.

I ultimately delete these messages because I’ve learned (and continue to learn) the hard lesson that nothing good happens when my ego and emotion take control. I feel the same way when I watch friends and family post something online and think to myself…that’s not going to age well.

I’d urge you to focus on first doing the work yourself before you move to the local context. Read up. Problematize your perspectives. Question your assumptions and biases. Listen to others.

I have thought about this for a while Ian. I wrote a piece a few years ago about the problems of sharing.

A step beyond sharing a tweet is posting a comment. I am not sure if it is the effort involved or the process behind it, but I have always valued a comment more than a tweet. In recent times, this has included posting comments from my own site (where applicable) or pasting in.

However, I much prefer how you capture it so much better.

My current workflow involves composing on my own site before syndicating elsewhere. Not ideal, but I find this friction builds in the space for reflection that does not necessarily exist when engaging via an app.

Bookmarked Podcasting. Doing it Right. Doing it Wrong. As if Binaries Exist. (CogDogBlog)

I realized another problem with either/or approaches to doing this. Being able to see each other in conversation adds much to the dynamic, especially to see the people we are talking to, and, where, if they are okay to share, their immediate surroundings. And they can easily choose to participate without the camera, that is always an option for me.

But is that the “right” way? The “best” way?

Alan Levine reflects on the use of Zencastr and Zoom to produce podcasts.
Liked So What About That (Self)-Coup? by zeynep (Insight)

This clearly wasn’t just politics as usual, and not because of the mob that took over the Capitol. This was a trial run for a self-coup that could very well be tried in the future. An overwhelming majority of the GOP representatives in the house spent the day in lock-down and came back and promptly voted to overturn the election. In a future scenario where the election had come down to PA—for example if Joe Biden hadn’t very very narrowly won Georgia and Arizona by a total of about 23,127 votes out of total of about hundred-and-fifty million cast, or if Trump hadn’t just contributed to the loss of two senate seats in Georgia for the GOP, and thus the loss of the control of the Senate. It’s absolutely plausible to me that even more Republicans would have joined this blatant attempt to overturn the election and that their base would mostly have been fine with that. The (self)-coup train wasn’t something that was just for show; it just wasn’t close enough to work this time.

Replied to From Complicated To Complex (DCulberhouse)

In many ways we exist at a crossroads, where something must eventually give…

A junction where the complicated and complex have come face to face, a crossroads where they come head to head in a world that is in the midst of its own massive upheaval that is spilling out in broad swaths of uncertainty that are spilling out across our societal, organizational, and institutional ecosystems. Understanding this dynamic will be vital for the future of leadership and building more effective systems across our organizations and institutions. As well as realizing how our organizations and institutions have truly become complex adaptive systems, and what has worked before, what has worked effectively in the past, may very well will not work in the future.

David, this reminds me of Dave Cormier’s discussion of our tendency towards complicated even though we think we are talking about the complex. It was interesting to read this alongside Scott McLeod’s push back on the call to reform:

“… reflection on organizational possibilities and institutional futures is common during the ‘reconstruction’ phase (Boin & Hart, 2003) of a crisis (see also Coombs, 2000; Heath, 2004; Boin, Hart, Stern, & Sundelius, 2005; Jaques, 2009; Smith & Riley, 2012). Time will tell if these ‘silver linings’ actually occur. Although many scholars have noted the revolutionary potential of major crises (see, e.g., Prewitt, Weil, and McClure, 2011; Harris, 2020), Boin and Hart (2003) stated that there are inherent tensions between crisis management and reform-oriented leadership. During a crisis, leaders often try to ‘minimize the damage, alleviate the pain, and restore order” (p. 549), which conflicts with attempts to disrupt the organization and move it in a new direction.” [emphasis added]
from McLeod, S., & Dulsky, S. (2021; under review). Resilience, reorientation, and reinvention: School leadership during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In regards to McLeod’s concerns, I wonder if the call for systemic change overlooks the continual changes that we grapple with all the time?


For many music producers, a loop is often the starting point of a new composition. But how can you give a loop-based composition structure, add tension and release, and turn it into a performance? In this Ableton artist documentary we meet Binkbeats, a music-maker whose whole approach has grown out of answering these questions.

I came upon this video (and artist) while looking for different covers of Aphex Twin. His unravelling of Windowlicker is amazing in the way he jumps from one instrument to another like an orchestra of one.

This music reminds me of Kawehi.

Bookmarked The flight from WhatsApp (

Not surprisingly, Signal has been staggering under the load of refugees from WhatsApp following Facebook’s ultimatum about sharing their data with other companies in its group. According to data from Sensor Tower Signal was downloaded 8.8m times worldwide in the week after the WhatsApp changes were first announced on January 4. Compare that with 246,000 downloads the week before and you get some idea of the step-change. I guess the tweet — “Use Signal” — from Elon Musk on January 7 probably also added a spike.

John Naughton talks about the flight from WhatsApp in response to news that data will soon be incorporated within the wider Facebook ecosystem. As Alex Hern reported:

If you’re comfortable with Facebook’s use of data (or that of its much closer subsidiary Instagram), it might be difficult to care about this. The company was recently forced by Apple to provide a privacy “nutritional label” on its iOS app, revealing how it works with user data. The labels disclosed more than 100 different pieces of data that may be collected, many of which are directly linked to user profiles, including health and fitness data, “sensitive info” and search histories. For the typical user, who has an account on both services, adding in the small amount of information WhatsApp has is a drop in a bucket by comparison.

But the change does start to eat away at the idea that you can be on WhatsApp without a Facebook footprint. The two apps’ very different histories and intended uses have led to a split in demographics among their users, and a small but significant proportion of WhatsApp users, drawn by the encryption, ad-free nature and no-frills interface, avoid Facebook itself while still using the chat app it owns.

In response, Facebook has paused this change. For Charles Arthur, this says a lot in that Facebook were able to act so swiftly.

The irony is so thick you could spread it on toast. Misinformation spread on WhatsApp has been blamed for deaths in India and election distortion in Brazil, but the company slow-walked complaints there. But when people start defecting, that’s a different matter: it acts like it’s on fire.

Listened Mark Pesce | Team Human from

Playing for Team Human today, futurist, inventor, and author of “Augmented Reality,” Mark Pesce.

Pesce augments our understanding of the many interfaces between ourselves and whatever it is that’s out there. Does cybernetics break the western conception of linear time, arrow-for-progress, colonial expansion thing?

In his opening monologue, Rushkoff discusses why elected officials should not be on social media platforms. “The minute we put banks and other real stuff on here is the minute it started to go wrong.” Further, he looks at how early-stage internet fan fiction crept into reality and ended up addicted to fractalnoia.

Mark Pesce talks about his new book on Augmented Reality. The conversation explores different senses of space and how companies like Niantic avoid legal precedence around ownership. He also explores the way in which our reality can be twisted. This touches on the topic of magic and the way in which a part of us can die when we change.
Replied to Remote Comments (

In order to comment, you need to enter two things: first, the comment itself, in the big comment field (I could probably have made that smaller, but I like long comments; none of this microcontent stuff for me).

And second, you need to enter the URL for comment submission on your own website. This is where your comment will actually be posted. This needs to be the exact URL (you can’t redirect it with a .htaccess, so I learned) and it needs to be able to accept a POST request.

Stephen, I kind of follow your explanation of ‘rcomments’, but the technical specifications are a bit beyond me. I just wonder how this differs from micropub clients?