Liked Adobe’s Enterprise-First Ambitions Led To This Mess (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

To me, I think there is a firewall of trust between product and business model that needs to be maintained, and Adobe has failed to do so. It’s not that Adobe necessarily made a mistake with its terms of service. It’s that goodwill around Adobe was so low that a modest terms change was nearly enough to topple the whole damn thing over. Adobe needs to get over its focus on B2B and realize that it is a B2C company whether it likes it or not, and price and focus accordingly. Cheap education pricing will not win over the next generation of creatives forever.

Source: Adobe’s Enterprise-First Ambitions Led To This Mess by Ernie Smith

Bookmarked How I Made Google’s “Web” View My Default Search (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Forget AI. Google just created a version of its search engine free of all the extra junk it has added over the past decade-plus. All you have to do is add “udm=14” to the search URL.

Source: How I Made Google’s “Web” View My Default Search by Ernie Smith


In response to the news that Google is adding “AI overviews” to its searches, Ernie Smith discusses a simple hack shared by Danny Sullivan where you add “udm=14” to the search in order to get a web view. Alan Levine discusses how he implemented this solution by adding a shortcut in the browser, including Google Chrome.

Bookmarked Switching To Linux Full-Time: My Thoughts Two Months Later (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

My Linux journey has not been all sunshine and rainbows, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. A few thoughts.

@readtedium Linux Lessons (So Far)


I really should tinker more with Linux, but after finding that running music software would be a challenge, I have parked it for now.

Liked Ownership: The Creative Person’s Greatest Weapon Against Layoffs (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

With disruption hitting the media industry acutely in 2024, now is the time to lean into owning your creative work. Have a say in your creative destiny.

While the internet struggles with collective action, every movement starts from a single action. If you’re a creative person, one of the most important actions you can take, full stop, is to take some ownership over your work. Maybe, if you want to have a financial upside, you can’t own all of it. Maybe you have to pick and choose what your ownership picture looks like. But own some of it. Make it yours.

Create for free. But create for yourself. Even if you don’t get paid for it at first. Because someday, you might.

Source: Create For Yourself by Ernie Smith

Bookmarked Lessons in Self-Hosting Your Own Personal Cloud (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

What I learned about trying to run my own cloud from a few weeks of trying to run the whole dang thing myself. (Hint: I found myself trying multiple solutions.)

Ernie Smith discusses the challenges associated with hosting your own cloud. He provides a summary of his findings.

So, armed with the knowledge that Syncthing is awesome but didn’t cover every one of my bases, I went with a hybrid approach. Rather than attempting to embrace one solution for everything, I decided a mix of solutions was the way to go, each optimized for specific needs.

  1. NextCloud for standard document editing and office-style applications, which can be useful in cases when I’m not near my machine or I want to make a quick edit to a file on mobile. This sync runs on just one machine, my Xeon—the same Xeon that hosts the server on Docker—and only stores essentials like text files and images at this juncture. (Essentially, I took away NextCloud’s need to sync most of my files.)
  2. Syncthing for file sync across a variety of machines. This runs on every machine I rely on, including iOS and Android.
  3. Backblaze B2 for long-term cloud file storage, which I manually handle once a week through the command-line tool Rclone. (Info here; I could easily automate this.)

This is an interesting piece in regards to discussions of quitting platforms such as Google and Spotify.

Bookmarked Become a Better Digital Researcher: Tips From Tedium (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

If you’re a longtime reader of Tedium, you might wonder how I manage to uncover so many strange stories. Well, let me tell you. Hopefully it’s inspiring.

Ernie Smith discusses how he conducts research. He touches on some of the different sources, such as Newspapers.com, Google Books, Google Patents, Internet Archive and a library card. Overall, he estimates that he reads 200 articles a day. In addition to his sources, he provides a number of tips for building out ideas and pieces, including:

  • Look past the accepted answer
  • Build an overall context behind the history in question
  • Don’t go into a story looking to tear anyone down
  • Focus on interesting framing
  • Make it unique by building in personal anecdotes

It is always interesting reading about how different people conduct their research. Whether it be Maha Bali’s reflection on researching and writing a paper in 10 days, Naomi Barnes’ comparison to walking around city streets, Lucy Taylor’s advice on completing a PhDRyan Holiday’s five steps or Ian O’Bryne’s process for writing a literature review. At the end of the day, I feel that the method often comes down to the intended outcome. Writing a post for Tedium is going to be different to writing a long book which is different to doing a PhD.

Bookmarked How “Downtown Train” Ruined Rod Stewart’s Friendship With Bob Seger (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Pondering how Tom Waits seemingly created the perfect tune for other people to sing. Major rock stars were fighting with one another to cover “Downtown Train.”

Ernie Smith on the song that paid for Tom Waits’ pool.

“‘Downtown Train’ bought Tom Waits a swimming pool,” Stewart told Ultimate Classic Rock in 2013 as he was about to release a new album. “And ‘Picture in a Frame’ will pay for a new roof on his house. Really, I can’t say enough about Tom—he has such great imagery, which is an area in which I could do a bit better.”

Bookmarked App Store Predecessors: Many Early Attempts at Digital Distribution (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Assessing the landscape of the app store concept in the years before it became an idea “originated” by Apple. The prior art is strong with this one.

Ernie Smith explores the app stores before Apple’s App Store. He discusses various examples Tucows, Electronic AppWrapper Digital River, Steam and Xbox Live Arcade. Makes me think about how an idea is often about execution and context, than the idea itself.
Bookmarked You Don’t Need Substack To Build an Email Newsletter (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Put work you care about less—work for hire, short-form editorial, dumb jokes, random experiments—on platforms you don’t control, where the risk of failure is a distinct possibility. Leverage the resources of what else is out there. But when you’re working on the stuff that does really matter to you, put it in a place you have ownership of. Put it on your website. Send the newsletter using tools you run or manage—and be willing to pay for that right.

Ernie Smith goes beyond Substack and Mailchimp to discuss a number of options associated with managing newsletters. Whether it be using Mailgun, Amazon SES or EmailOctopus to send and Craft CMS, Ghost, Sendy or WordPress to host. Personally, I host my newsletter on my own WordPress site and send out a link via Buttondown.Email. However, Smith has me reassessing this, especially in regards to how I email.
Replied to Remote Desktop Access History: Pretty Cool, Until a Hacker Does It (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

In the years to come, there will most assuredly be books and oral histories written about what happened in Florida, the sheer folly of leaving remote access open with so little focus on security. But it should not be a knock on remote access, which was a super-novel concept back in the mid-’80s and is still pretty awesome today as it has improved along with GUIs and network access.

Really, it’s a knock on the fact that, all these years later, we suck at security when we should be good at it.

Ernie, here I was thinking that email was our biggest point of concern, clearly remote desktop access is up there too. Maybe this explain why Apple make you complete so many steps to connect?
Bookmarked Why Was Flash Doomed to Fail? Usability, Usability, Usability (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Pondering the demise of Adobe’s Flash through shifting approaches to digital creation these days—and why we may not have anything quite like it again.

Ernie Smith reflects on the death of Flash and rues the lose to creativity.

Developing a website nowadays is full of parameters. It needs to be flexible enough for different use cases and screen sizes, considering of accessibility and convention. And things like development stacks have to come up at the beginning of the conversation. It can feel like a lot of rules for people who want to simply create even before they put down their first brush stroke.
And that left a class of users, the pure creatives that found something appealing about Flash’s simplicity, behind.

Will Bedingfield also shares a similar sentiment:

It’s true—the Flash era web fell short in many areas where the modern web excels, not least in monetizing addiction and surveillance. The web’s messiness represented a kind of amateur autonomy. Flash never stood a chance.

Bookmarked Why Your Favorite Email Newsletter is Always So Jumpy (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Popular email clients, particularly Gmail, have a tendency to cut emails off after a 102-kilobyte limit. Why the heck is that?

Ernie Smith dives into some of the technical problems/limitations to email newsletters, in particular why one email gets cut off at 1,500 words and another doesn’t:

  1. You Write Too Much
  2. Your Email Has Too Many Design Elements
  3. Your Links Are Too Long
  4. Your Readers’ Email Addresses May Be Too Long
  5. You Waste Too Much Space

It is interesting to think about this in regards to Angela Lashbrook’s discussion of spam filtering. It is also another reminder of why email is broken.

Bookmarked Webring History: Social Media Before Social Media (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

How the webring became the grassroots tool of choice for sharing content online in the ‘90s. The concept was social media before media was social.

Ernie Smith provides a history associated with webrings.

Structurally, a webring has many parallels to the modern-day Twitter quote-tweet chain, a Russian nesting doll of sorts in which you’re encouraged to keep clicking on the tweets being quoted, with no end in sight. Depending on what you’re up to at the time, it’s a novel, entertaining, somewhat curated experience.

Smith discusses the pioneering work of Sage Weil, as well as the association with Bomis, the website that led to the development of Wikipedia.

In some ways, Wikipedia’s success as a concept benefited from the same feedback-loop dynamics that a webring does. It’s a site that rewards clicking, and becomes more valuable the further down the rabbit hole you go. It becomes like a game, almost. That, in its own way, is a dynamic that Wikipedia borrowed from Bomis and other webring-driven networks.

This is a useful piece alongside Charlie Owen’s more technical examination.

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.
Replied to Tales Of Type (tedium.co)

A discussion of the ways that large tech companies helped to define the evolution of computer typography. One battle made the CEO of Adobe really mad.

This was an interesting read in light of the roll Crystal Reports play in my job and the way templates relate with different printers. I would assume that it is all somewhat related.
Bookmarked No Room for Design (tedium.co)

Of the many things that social platforms have taken away from us, perhaps the most disappointing is the freedom to customize our spaces. We need it back.

Ernie Smith discusses the lose of design and customisation on the web. He reflects on spaces like Substack, Facebook and Medium.

Walled gardens are kept up very carefully from a design perspective. They don’t have weeds. Instead, you get a plot—a spot where your entire presence online lives. This is great if you want some modest lines to paint within, but as soon as you have any sort of ambition, you find yourself stifled by the platform pulling the strings.

This is in contrast to spaces like MySpace and Tumblr. Although customisations have provided an avenue for other activities, which have compromised platforms like MySpace, something is lost in a focus on security.

I guess the flip side of all this is that some people would rather not think about such aspects and are instead comfortable with the slick experience offered inside the walled garden. This is something I have found in my discussions with others of the IndieWeb.

Liked Google vs. Technorati: The Great Blog Search War (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

It became way too easy to clutter things up in an effort to find just the right tool that could help you squeeze a little more traffic or revenue out of the lemon that was your blog. (Less considered, of course, was that all of these widgets were siphoning data about your readers in exchange for this little feature or that neat doodad.)

Technorati was in many ways the first shot in that general direction, though it was not the only one and certainly not the worst offender. But the purity of its original model, which was lost to time and ever-quickening innovation, was valuable for what it was. Rather than forcing us to live in someone else’s world, it tried to make sense of the quickly growing blogosphere, while allowing that sphere to live in place elsewhere.

By making the world of blogs trackable in real time, it made them more communal—a feeling some of us are trying to get back to today. But the globe kept spinning too fast for any one site to keep up—even one designed for that purpose.

Replied to Why Modular Design Works Better for Consumers Than Businesses (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

What makes modular designs great for consumers often makes them troublesome for businesses, or why you can’t upgrade an iPhone in 2020.

Ernie, it is interesting reading this discussion of modular design. Does software fit into this as well? It is interesting to think of this alongside Cory Doctorow’s call for more adversarial interoperability. Although the technical may seem obvious, I wonder if there is a model that actually works for businesses or if it is something that happens bit by bit by chance?
Replied to Hypergraphia: The Neurological Condition Behind Excessive Writing (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

What makes someone obsessively journal every moment of their life? In some cases, it might actually be hypergraphia, a condition tied to a neurological trait.

Ernie, this was fascinating and has me thinking about my own practices to organise the web or world. I always thought that it was a ‘blogging’ thing, but as I reflect upon my time in university, I worked as a cleaner. Working alone, I would often come home with scraps of paper on which I had written down quick thoughts.

I really like how J. Hillis Miller captured this. he argued that we have an obligation to write. He suggested that reading and teaching are completed by writing, that it is a core element to our transaction with language. As he stated:

As we read we compose, without thinking about it, a kind of running commentary or marginal jotting that adds more words to the words on the page. There is always already writing as the accompaniment to reading.

Replied to How Technical Errors Open Up Creative Paths (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Pondering the way that the creative process is often directed by rules which, in many cases, stifle creativity. Sometimes, you just have to throw the rules out.

Ernie, this edition of Tedium left me wondering if the IndieWeb is about breaking rules creatively?

Another example of this might come in the form of “desire paths,” or as they tend to be called after major snowstorms, “sneckdowns.” This is an urban planning term of sorts—basically, the creation of a path where there wasn’t one initially, guided only by human preference, rather than existing rules. Technically, you’re breaking the rules by walking in a path that isn’t actually a sidewalk, but in a way, there was a natural tendency to break those rules anyway.

This is something that I have reflected upon in the past.