Harold Jarche looked at his most visited blog postings over the years, and concludes his blog conforms to Sturgeon’s Revelation that 90% of everything is crap.

I recognise much of what Harold writes. I suspect this is also what feeds impostor syndrome. You see the very mixed bag of results from your own efforts, and how most of it is ‘crap’. The few ‘hits’ for which you get positive feedback are then either ‘luck’ or should be normal, not sparse. Others of course forget most if not all of your less stellar products and remember mostly the ones that stood out. Only you are in a position to compare what others respond to with your internal perspective.

At the same time, like Harold, I’ve realised that it is important to do things, to keep blogging and writing in this space. Not because of its sheer brilliance, but because most of it will be crap, and brilliance will only occur once in a while. You need to produce lots of stuff to increase the likelihood of hitting on something worthwile. Of course that very much feeds the imposter cycle, but it’s the only way. Getting back into a more intensive blogging habit 18 months ago, has helped me explore more and better. Because most of what I blog here isn’t very meaningful, but needs to be gotten out of the way, or helps build towards, scaffolding towards something with more meaning.

It’s why I always love to see (photographs of) artist’s studio’s. The huge mess and mountains of crap. The two hundred attempts at getting a single thing to feel right for once. Often we see master pieces only nicely presented and lighted on a gallery wall. But the artist never saw it like that, s/he inhabits that studio where whatever ends up on a museum wall someday is just one thing in a mountain of other things, between aborted efforts, multiple works in progress, random objects and yesterday’s newspaper.

My friend Juliane created a /now page behind a password, which she shared with me and others. My friend Peter has a public one. I like the concept of the /now page containing “everything you would tell someone you haven’t met in a year to quickly catch up”. I do week notes which are somewhat similar in content yet different in intention, but trying to write a /now page I realised some of the most informative parts are intended for a smaller audience than the general public. Or I’d need to water the information value down to make it fit for general publication. Juliane’s solution helps. Ideally I’d have the same /now page for multiple audiences, with content shown, partly shown or not at all, depending on who’s reading.

Thank you for the write-up Eddie! Yes, if you get it working, I most definitely want to test AutoAuth on my WP site. Looking to experiment with selective access to parts of my postings, and doing so for different audiences. As described here.

Replied to IndieWebCamp Online 2019 by EddieHinkleEddieHinkle
... if I get it working and start creating private posts for people on the IndieWeb, it might encourage them to start adding AutoAuth to their projects as well!

This weekend an online virtual IndieWebCamp took place. One of the topics discussed and worked upon has my strong interest: making it possible to authorise selective access to posts.

Imagine me writing here about my intended travel. This I would want to share with my network, but not necessarily announce publicly until after the fact. Similarly, let’s say I want some of those reading here to get an update about our little one, then I’d want to be able to indicate who can have access to that posting.

In a platform like FB, and previously on Google plus with its circles, you can select audiences for specific postings. Especially the circles in Google allowed fine grained control. On my blog it is much less obvious how to do that. Yet, there are IndieWeb components that would allow this. For instance IndieAuth already allows you to log-in to this website and other platforms using your own URL (much like Facebook’s login can be used on multiple sites, although you really don’t want to do that as it lets FB track you across other sites you use). However, for reading individual postings that have restricted access, it would require an action made by a human (accepting the authorisation request), which makes it impractical. Enter AutoAuth, based on IndieAuth, that allows your site to log-in to mine without human intervention.

Martijn van de Ven and Sven Knebel worked on this, as sketched out in the graph below.

Selective access to content inside a posting
Now, once this is working, I’d like to take it one step further still. The above still assumes I have postings for all and postings for some, and that implies writing entire postings with a specific audience in mind. More often I find I am deliberately vague on some details in my public postings, even though I know some of my network reading here can be trusted with the specifics. Like names, places, photos etc. In those instances writing another posting with that detailed info for restricted access does not make much sense. I’d want to be able to restrict access to specific sentences, paragraphs or details in an otherwise public posting.

This is akin to the way government document management systems are slowly being adapted, where specific parts in a document are protected by data protection laws, while the document itself is public by law. Currently balancing those two obligations means human intervention before sharing, but slowly systems are being adapted to knowing where in documents restricted access material is located. Ideally I want a way of marking up text in a posting like this so that it is only send out by the webserver when an authorisation like sketched above is available.

So that a posting like this is entirely possible:

“Today we went to the zoo with the < general access > little one < / general access > < friends only > our little one’s name < / friends only >

< general access > general IMAGE of zoo visit< / general access >
< friends only >
IMAGE with little one’s face< / friends only >

Kilroy black edited

Social geolocation services over the years have been very useful for me. The value is in triggering serendipitous meetings: being in a city outside my normal patterns at the same time someone in (or peripheral to) my network is in the city too, outside their normal patterns. It happened infrequently, about once a year, but frequently enough to be useful and keep checking in. I was a heavy user of Plazes and Dopplr, both long since disappeared. As with other social platforms I and my data quickly became the marketable product, instead of the customer. So ultimately I stopped using Foursquare/Swarm much, only occasionally for international travel, and completely in 2016. Yet I still long for that serendipitous effect, so I am looking to make my location and/or travel plans available, for selected readers, through this site.

There are basically three ways in which I could do that.
1) The POSSE way. I post my location or travel plan on this blog, and it gets shared to platforms like Foursquare, and through RSS. I would need to be able to show these postings only to my followers/ readers, and have a password protected RSS feed and subscription workflow.
2) The PESOS way. I use an existing platform to create my check-ins, like Foursquare, and share that back to my blog. Where it is only accessible for followers/readers, and has a password protected rss feed.
3) The ‘just my’ way. I use only my blog to create check-ins and share them selectively with followers and readers, and have a password protected rss feed for it.

Option 3 is the one that provides the most control over my data, but likely limits the way in which I can allow others to follow me, and needs a flexible on-the-go way to add check-ins through mobile.
Option 2 is the one that comes with easy mobile apps, allows followers to use their own platform apps to do so, as well as through my site.
Option 1 is the one that is in between those two. It has the problems of option 3, but still allows others to use their own platforms like in option 2.

I decided to try and do both Option 2, and Option 3. If I can find a way to make Option 3 work well, getting to Option 1 is an extension of it.
Option 2 at first glance was the easiest to create. This because Aaron Parecki already created ‘Own Your Swarm‘ (OYS) which is a bridge between my existing Foursquare/Swarm account and Micropub, an open protocol for which my site has an endpoint. It means I can let OYS talk both to my Swarm account and my site, so that it posts something to this blog every time I check-in in Swarm on my mobile. OYS not just posts the check-ins but also keeps an eye on my Swarm check-ins, so that when there are comments or likes, they too get reflected to my blog.

My blog uses the Posts Kinds plugin, that has a posting type for check-ins, so they get their own presentation in the blog. OYS allows me to automatically tag what it posts, which gets matched to the existing categories and tags in my blog.

I from now on use a separate category for location related postings, called plazes. Plazes was the original geolocation app I started using in 2004, when co-founder Felix Petersen showed it to me on the very first BlogWalk I co-organised in the Netherlands. Plazes also was the first app to quickly show me the value of creating serendipitous meetings. So as an expression of geo-serendipic (serendipity-epic?) nostalgia, I named the postings category after it.

Goed te horen dat je naar WP bent overgestapt Frank! Dat maakt dat we met de hobbels die we tegenkomen wat meer samen kunnen optrekken, want ik gebruik ook WP.

Over die webmentions: in plaats van importeren in de WP database, kun je ze toch ook allemaal opnieuw sturen naar jezelf? Je hebt zeg je de database van webmentions die je op je Jekyll blog hebt ontvangen. Wat je daarvan nodig hebt is de webmention source (url van de bron van de link) en de webmention target (url van jouw posting die genoemd wordt) Die kun je ‘voeren’ aan je eigen webmention endpoint, precies zoals het formulier dat onder iedere WP posting van je staat voor het handmatig indienen van een webmention doet (waarbij de target al is vastgesteld). Het is immers niet zo dat alleen de site die jou noemt een webmention daarvan kan sturen. Iedereen kan dat naar jouw endpoint, en dus ook jij zelf. Dat is het mooie van webmentions. Webmention is je importer. Ik gebruik het wel om webmentions toe te voegen van sites die dat zelf niet versturen. Jouw WP ziet ze dan als nieuwe mentions binnenkomen en plaatst het in de eigen database, en verwerkt ze verder t.a.v. opmaak. Et voila, geïmporteerd.

Replied to Een nieuwe start by an author
..ik wilde al langer overstappen van Jekyll naar WordPress. Niet omdat Jekyll nu zo verschrikkelijk is, maar omdat ik merkte dat ik tegen iets teveel hobbels liep in Jekyll. Hobbels die vaak in WordPress al wel goed zijn genomen. ...

What a beautiful metaphor, Sameer Vasta. Blog to exhale. To think out loud, to learn out in the open. To just add some of my and your ramblings to the mix. Starting somewhere in the middle, following a few threads of thought and intuitions, adding a few links (as ambient humanity), and ending without conclusions. Open ended. Just leaving it here. (from this posting)

Replied to I have been holding my breath for too long - Flashing Palely in the Margins (inthemargins.ca)
I have been holding my breath for too long. I don’t write as much, share as much as I used to, and part of that is because I have been waiting to have something to say before sharing. After twenty years of always having something to say, I have recently forgotten the concept of blogging as exhale, the notion of using this space as a place to breathe ideas and thoughts into existence. I have been holding my breath for so long that I have forgotten how to exhale. The next few months will be an exercise in breathing, for me.

Dries Buytaert, the originator of the Drupal CMS, is pulling the plug on Facebook. Having made the same observations I did, that reducing FB engagement leads to more blogging. A year ago he set out to reclaim his blog as a thinking-out-loud space, and now a year on quits FB.

I’ve seen this in a widening group of people in my network, and I welcome it. Very much so. At the same time though, I realise that mostly we’re returning to the open web. As we were already there for a long time before the silo’s Sirens lured us in, silos started by people who like us knew the open web. For us the open web has always been the default.

Returning to the open web is in that sense not a difficult step to make. Yes, you need to overcome the FOMO induced by the silo’s endless scrolling timeline. But after that withdrawal it is a return to the things still retained in your muscle memory. Dusting off the domain name you never let lapse anyway. Repopulating the feed reader. Finding some old blogging contacts back, and like in the golden era of blogging, triangulate from their blog roll and published feeds to new voices, and subscribe to them. It’s a familiar rhythm that never was truly forgotten. It’s comforting to return, and in some ways privilege rather than a risky break from the mainstream.

It makes me wonder how we can bring others along with us. The people for whom it’s not a return, but striking out into the wilderness outside the walled garden they are familiar with. We say it’s easy to claim your own space, but is it really if you haven’t done it before? And beyond the tech basics of creating that space, what can we do to make the social aspects of that space, the network and communal aspects easier? When was the last time you helped someone get started on the open web? When was the last time I did? Where can we encounter those that want and need help getting started? Outside of education I mean, because people like Greg McVerry have been doing great work there.

Alan Levine recently posted his description of how to add an overview to your blog of postings from previous years on the same date as today. He turned it into a small WordPress plugin, allowing you to add such an overview using a shortcode wherever in your site you want it. It was something I had on my list of potential small hacks, so it was a nice coincidence my feedreader presented me with Alan’s posting on this. It has become ‘small hack’ 4.

I added his WP plugin, but it didn’t work as the examples he provided. The overview was missing the years. Turns out a conditional loop that should use the posting’s year, only was provided with the current year, thus never fulfilling the condition. A simple change in how the year of older postings was fetched fixed it. Which has now been added to the plugin.

In the right hand sidebar you now find a widget listing postings from earlier years, and you can see the same on the page ‘On This Blog Today In‘. I am probably my own most frequent reader of the archives, and having older postings presented to me like this adds some serendipity.

From todays historic postings, the one about the real time web is still relevant to me in how I would like a social feed reader to function. And the one about a storm that kept me away from home, I still remember (ah, when Jaiku was still a thing!).

Adding these old postings is as simple as adding the shortcode ‘postedtoday’:

There are 6 posts found on this site published on April 24

  • April 24, 2018
    • Suggested Reading: GDPR, Fintech, China and more Some links I think worth reading today. ICANN struggles with the GDPR for the WHOIS database, and has now run out of time:EFF: GDPR forces ICANN to improve WHOIS andEFF: Privacy as afterthought at ICANN Facebook removes 1.5 billion users from EU jurisdiction while maintaining they’re totally committed to applying the ‘spirit’ of the GDPR […]
    • GDPR as De Facto Norm: Sonos Speakers Just received an email from Sonos (the speaker system for streaming) about the changes they are making to their privacy statement. Like with FB in my previous posting this is triggered by the GDPR starting to be enforced from the end of May. The mail reads in part We’ve made these changes to comply with […]
    • Facebook GDPR Changes Unimpressive It seems, from a preview for journalists, that the GDPR changes that Facebook will be making to its privacy controls, and especially the data controls a user has, are rather unimpressive. I had hoped that with the new option to select ranges of your data for download, you would also be able to delete specific […]
  • April 24, 2015
    • Big Data for Malaysia and ASEAN This week I was invited to Malaysia as one of 8 members of the advisory panel on big data to the Malaysian government. The meeting was part of the Big Data Week taking place in Kuala Lumpur where I gave two presentations and was part of a panel discussion. Malaysia intends to become a big […]
  • April 24, 2005
    • Microlearning Conference and BlogWalk 8 Sebastian Fiedler is busy trying to organize a BlogWalk meeting in Innsbruck on June 25th 2005. This on the day after the Microlearning Conference in the same city, which takes place on June 23rd and 24th. It certainly looks like a great conference also from a KM and social software viewpoint. Are you going to […]
    • Blognomics, a much needed event Finally the Netherlands has seen it’s first symposium on the use of weblogs. Drawing a mixed crowd of journalists, politicians, business people and of course bloggers, Blognomics was a succes to my eyes. Have a look at Technorati for impressions, in words, video and pictures. I will upload my pictures to Flickr. I have written […]

You’re right Chris. I disengaged from FB for much the same reasons in November 2017. And it has heavily influenced my blogging. Both writing about the small stuff, and the deeper content have increased by a lot. So welcome ‘back’ on the Indieweb side, outside the silos. Like you I do still maintain a FB profile (but an empty one, with its 11 years history discarded). Mostly because for some parts of my professional network, FB is the internet, and they have no reliable other way, other than email to reach out.
As you use WP, you may want to check out the IndieWeb plugins, especially the Webmention plugin, which allows you to follow conversations distributed over multiple blogs like in the olden days.

Replied to Walking away from facebook by an author
Back in December I announced my intention to take a sabbatical from Facebook ...... I would encourage people to go back to, or start blogging, and I’d encourage you to do it in the spirit of 2001 blogging, not in the spirit of “blog as PR tool” that we see today: share things, speculate, use it as a platform for what I call “Open Source Learning.” Use it as a gift exchange, not as a digital business card. Embed links to other people and add to the gifts of knowledge you receive before passing them on.

After my initial posting on this yesterday, Greg shares a few more quotes from his students. It reminds me of the things both teachers and students said at the end of my 2008 project at Rotterdam university for applied sciences. There, a group of teachers explored how to use digital technology, blogs and the myriad of social web tools, to both support their own learning and change their teaching. The sentiments expressed are similar, if you look at the quotes in the last two sections (change yourself, change your students) of my 2009 posting about it. What jumps out most for me, is the sense of agency, the power that comes from discovering that agency.

Replied to Some quick quotes on #edu106 and the power of #IndieWeb #creativity #edtechchat #mb by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry
....fun to figure out everything I wanted to do with my website,....gained a sense of voice...,...I’m so tired of all the endless perfection I see on social media......my relationship with technology changed....

With WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg now launched, I think I will wait until the dust settles a little bit. I’m not encouraged by Matt’s State of the Word talk, in which he said ‘get deeper into Javascript’. I’d rather not actually. Most of the few plugins I use haven’t been updated to WP5 yet, and some of its authors write how Gutenberg breaks them. Also there’s still some bugs being ironed out. For now I’ll stick with WP4, until I see more confident reviews. Currently, searches for WP alternatives, calling WP’s new course Dreamweaver, quirks, and bugs, do not inspire that confidence. And already earlier this year there was the discussion of the total lack of accessibility efforts.

As a long time netizen it is easy to forget that for many now online their complete experience of the internet is within the web silos. I frequent silos, but I’ve always kept a place well outside of it for over two decades. When you’ve never ‘played outside’, building your own space beyond the silos can be an eye-opener. Greg McVerry pointed to the blog of one of his students, who described the experience of stepping outside the silos (emphasis mine):

The fact that I now have a place where I can do that, where I can publish my thoughts whenever I want in a place open for people to read and to not be afraid of doing so, is liberating. I’ve always wanted a space online to call my own. I’m so tired of all the endless perfection I see on social media. My space, “Life Chapter by Chapter” is real. It’s me, personified by a website. And though this post is not digitally enhanced in any way, I love it because it’s representative of the bottom line of what I’ve learned in EDU 106. I’m my own person on this site, I’m not defined by Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I can post what I want, when I want, how I want. It’s a beautiful thing.

That’s a beautiful thing, indeed. Maybe this is the bit that Frank Meeuwsen and I need to take as the key to the story when writing a book, as Elja challenged us today (in Dutch).


There’s a world outside the walled garden. (Photo of the walled garden at Alnwick Garden by Gail Johnson, CC-BY-NC)

Frank writes about how the Netherlands became the first connection outside the USA on the open net by the NSF (as opposed to the military initiated ARPANET academic institutions used then), thirty years ago yesterday on November 17th 1988. Two years previously .nl had been created as the first ever country top level domain. This was the result of the work and specifically the excellent personal connections to their US counterparts of people at the Amsterdam CWI, the center for mathematics. Because of those personal connections the Netherlands was connected very early on to the open internet and still is a major hub. Through that first connection Europe got connected as well, as the CWI was part of the European network of academic institutions EUnet. A large chunk of the European internet traffic still runs through the Netherlands as a consequence.

I went to university in the summer of 1988 and had the opportunity to early on enjoy the fruits of the CWI’s work. From the start I became active in the student association Scintilla at my electronic engineering department at University of Twente. Electronic engineering students had an advantage when it came to access to electronics and personal computers and as a consequence we had very early connectivity. As first year student I was chairman of one of Scintilla’s many committees and in that role I voted in late ’88 / early ’89 to spend 2500 guilders (a huge sum in my mind then) for cables and plugs and 3 ethernet cards for the PC’s we had in use. I remember how on the 10th floor of the department building other members were very carefully connecting the PC’s to each other. It was the first LAN on campus not run by the University itself nor connected to the mainframe computing center. Soon after, that LAN was connected to the internet.

In my mind I’ve been online regularly since late 1989, through Scintilla’s network connections. I remember there was an argument with the faculty because we had started using a subdomain directly of the university, not as a subdomain of the faculty’s own subdomain. We couldn’t, because they hadn’t even activated their subdomain yet. So we waited for them to get moving, under threat of losing funding if we didn’t comply. Most certainly I’ve been online on a daily basis since the moment I joined the Scintilla board in 1990 which by then had moved to the basement of the electronics department building. We at first shared one e-mail address, before running our own mail server. I used telnet a lot, and spent an entire summer, it must have been the summer of ’91 when I was a board member, chatting to two other students who had a summer job as sysadmin at the computer center of a Texas university. The prime perk of that job was they could sit in air conditioning all summer, and play around with the internet connection. Usenet of course. Later Gopher menus, then 25 years ago the web browser came along (which I first didn’t understand as a major change, after all I already had all the connectivity I wanted).

So of those 30 years of open internet in the Netherlands, I’ve been online daily 28 years for certain, and probably a year longer with every-now-and-then connectivity. First from the basement at university, then phoning into the university from home, then (from late ’96) having a fixed IP address through a private ISP (which meant I could run my own server, which was reachable when I phoned into the ISP), until the luxury we have now of a fiber optic cable into our house, delivering a 500Mbit/s two-way connection (we had a 1Gb connection before the move last year, so we actually took a step ‘backwards’).

Having had daily internet access for 28 years, basically all of my adult life, has shaped both my professional and personal life tremendously. Professionally, as none of my past jobs nor my current work would have been possible without internet. None of my work in the past decades would have even existed without internet. My very first paid job was setting up international data transmissions between an electronics provider, their factories, as well as the retail chains that sold their stuff. Personally it has been similar. Most of my every day exchanges are with people from all over the world, and the inspiring mix of people I may call friends and that for instance come to our birthday unconferences I first met online. Nancy White‘s husband and neighbours call them/us her ‘imaginary friends’. Many of our friends are from that ‘imaginary’ source, and over the years we met at conferences, visited each others houses, and keep in regular touch. It never ceases to amaze.

To me the internet was always a network first, and technology second. The key affordance of the internet to me is not exchanging data or connecting computer systems, but connecting people. That the internet in its design principles is a distributed network, and rather closely resembles how human networks are shaped, is something we haven’t leveraged to its full potential yet by far. Centralised services, like the current web silos, don’t embrace that fundamental aspect of internet other than at the hardware level, so I tend to see them as growths more than actualisation of the internets’s foremost affordance. We’ve yet to really embrace what human digital networks may achieve.

Because of that perspective, seeing the digital network as a human network, I am mightily pleased that the reason I have been able to be digitally connected online for almost 30 years, is first and foremost because of a human connection. The connection between Piet Beertema at CWI in Amsterdam to Rick Adams at NSF in the USA, which resulted in the Netherlands coming online right when I started university. That human connection, between two people I’ve never met nor interacted with, essentially shaped the space in which my life is taking its course, which is a rather amazing thought.

Seems I need to find a way of making it easier for me to blog, to save time. At the current volume I really need more seamless and frictionless ways of posting than how I currently mostly use the WordPress back-end. This year I’ve already posted more items (391) than in the previous 10 years combined (361). In terms of long form blogposts, I blogged just over (135) the number of postings I made in my busiest blogging year 2003 (134 postings). So reducing the friction of posting, and distinguishing much better between writing and posting will no doubt save me time.