From copyright infringement…
Last week I received a copyright infringement notice, which I didn’t see until today as it arrived in a mailbox I didn’t check while my laptop was away for repairs. Back in January last year I posted about a new word ‘Citrix traffic jams’ (traffic james caused by Citrix security issues, meaning usual home workers went to their organisations offices en masse causing a much bigger morning rush hour). I added a screenshot of the news article to my blogpost, showing the title with that novel term ‘Citrix traffic jam’.

What I didn’t pay attention to was the image on which that headline was superimposed. That image of course was made by someone, in this case the Dutch Pro Shots news photo collective. My screenshot was intended as a quote of that headline, but contained the full news image. For that I received an invoice last week. At 120,- Euros it wasn’t cheap, certainly not relative to this being a personal blog with very limited readership, but they are of course within their rights. After checking out the company functioning as an intermediary for the photographer to see whether it looked legit (the mail they sent was somewhat spammy, equating copyright infringement with theft which is total BS), I paid. Mea culpa. I paid only for the past use of the image, and not for further use, so I deleted the screenshot from my blogpost.

…to copyright claimant
Then I remembered that in the summer of 2019 I had come across the unlicensed use by a commercial news site of one of my images, an image of my late mother. My images are generally available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use that requires attribution and sharing under the same conditions. That wasn’t the case here (though they did attribute the image to me). So I sent them an invoice, which was never paid. A few days later, using TinEye.com I found several other news sites that had the same content, although they belonged to different commercial entities.
So, after paying my invoice for infringement, I have now created an account with Copytrack and submitted claims to three commercial sites for using my image in 4 different publications (there is another I remember, but I can’t find it back yet).

With a bit of luck, those commercial users of my image cough up enough to financially compensate for my mistake from a year ago.

After writing 700 Notions I see a pattern emerge w.r.t short, ‘right’ and long ones

Then last week I came across this click-baity posting by Tim Denning, advocating max 200-word posts to reach ‘virality’, while reflecting on my blogwriting pace. Checking the length of my Notions, I looked at the ones that feel just right. Those are around the 200 mark. I suppose they are bite sized enough to not have to make a ‘mental summary’ during reading.

I also looked at other Notions:
Shorter ones are not developed enough, basically stubs.
Longer Notions are mostly not edited enough, either there are multiple notions packed into one, or I’m unclear in my formulation or understanding or both.
The ‘right’ ones fit much better into emergent outlines, where I collate several Notions.

I started calling the optimal notion length ‘Notion Mass Index’, and an NMI of 200 seems a healthy one. (This blogpost has 194 words, the Notion it is based on has 177.)

Can you help me find additional blogs to follow? I am looking to broaden the scope of blogs in my reader. That broadening has two main dimensions: language and geography.

Some specifications for the type of blogs I am looking for:

  • Individual or group authored blogs, not company or organisational blogs. A blog maintained by a research group is an acceptable ‘in-between’ version. The reason is I see blogging as distributed conversations. Companies don’t have conversations. As a result I follow people, not blogs, in my feedreader
  • Some thematic overlap with my interests is needed, something to have those distributed conversations around. Such interests are: making, open data/source/access/everything, agency, civic tech, ethics, digital transformation for all, climate adaptation, knowledge work, complexity, philosophy of science/tech, change, learning

The areas I am looking to extend my blog reading towards are:

  • Indian bloggers, India based blogs in English
  • Chinese bloggers, China based blogs in English
  • EU based bloggers, in Spanish, French, Italian or German languages. Or Spain, France, Italy, or Germany based bloggers in English
  • Middle-, South-American bloggers in Spanish/Portuguese or English
  • Bloggers based in SE-Asia
  • Bloggers based in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South-Africa

Any pointers, or pointers to list- or aggregator sites to explore are appreciated.

This morning I watched parts of Andy Matuschak’s stream that shows him working on processing his thoughts and notes from a book he read.
It’s about 100 minutes of seeing him making notes….

There is much value in getting an insight in how other people actually do their work (the master-apprentice model is important for a reason), and it is not often you get to see how knowledge workers organise and do the things they do. It’s why I e.g. documented the way I currently use Obsidian for my PKM system. As a resource for my future self, and as a way to offer others a glimpse so they may take some part of it that fits with their own practices.

Andy Matuschak basically took the idea of live streaming your gaming adventures, to live stream a note taking session. And it’s highly fascinating. Because it shows it is actual work that takes time and energy, digesting a book, following lines of thought, doubling back, referencing earlier material, looking things up in the book in question etc. Also of interest is he is focusing on the tensions that what he read causes with other things he knows and has read. He’s not just lifting things out that chime with him, but the things that cause friction. Because in that friction lies the potential of learning.

I had come across this video earlier already this summer, and then only watched the first few minutes. Then I was expecting something else, that the video would show his set-up. I didn’t have time to watch someone go through their actual process. Now I re-encountered it in a different context and the video made much more sense this time 🙂

Browsing through Andy Matuschak’s public Digital Garden is also interesting to do.

I coined a new Dutch word I think. This early morning I was thinking and writing about the words dependency, independency, interdependency, and codependency, and did so in both English and Dutch in parallel. In Dutch I realised I didn’t like the usual translation of interdependency as ‘wederzijdse afhankelijkheid’ which literally translated back to English says mutual dependency. It seems to miss a key aspect. It emphasizes the mutuality of being dependent i.e. two separate dependencies in a vice versa fashion. To me the ‘inter’ in interdependent is not merely the two things that are connected through it, but a third place. A strenghtening of multiple independents by entering into a constellation, not a weakening through mutually assured dependence. A third place that is a synergetic togetherness, centered between the things connected through it, something that is more than the sum of its parts. In that richer connectedness lies the complexity of our lives. ‘Mutual dependent’ sounds like a so much poorer term than ‘interdependent’. It leans more towards codependency even. I of course have a strong interest in the meaning of the word interdependent, as it has been the most important word in the name of this weblog since 2002 (and hence became part of my personal company and holding company name too).

I tried to find a Dutch term for it, couldn’t find an existing one and then I came up with ‘samenhankelijk’, which is a concatenation of ‘together’ and ‘pendant’, into something akin to ‘tangled together’ (the Dutch word for entanglement, ‘verstrengeling’ lacks the mutuality and relational aspect, is more a physical description like of a Gordian knot).

I searched samenhankelijk. It turns out that it doesn’t exist. The word is not in the most authoritative Dutch dictionary, Startpage doesn’t have any results, and Google has 5 (but used, wrongly, as the word ‘samenhangend’ which means coherent).

Van Dale dictionary no results Startpage no search results
No results in the dictionary, no results in search.

Now I am blogging this to put the word samenhankelijk out there, and have it indexed by the search algorithms. I also registered the domain name samenhankelijk.nl, just because I can, and will put up a ‘dictionary’ page there, to claim the term’s definition. By default that domain has perfect SEO! Let’s see how soon this blogpost is the first for this Google search 😀

Wednesday it was 18 years ago that I first posted in this space. The pace of writing has varied over the years, obviously intensively at the start, and in the past 3 years I have been blogging much more frequently again (with a correlated drop off in my Facebook activity to 0), more than at the start even.

This year is of course different, with most of the people I know globally living much more hyper local lives due to pandemic lockdowns. This past year of blogging turned out more introspective as a consequence. In the past few years I took the anniversary of this blog to reflect on how to raise awareness for grasping your own agency and autonomy online, and reading last year‘s it’s so full of activity from our current perspective, organising events, going places. None of that was possible really this year. I returned home from the French Alps late February and since then haven’t seen much more than my work space at home, and the changing of the seasons in the park around the corner, punctuated only with a half dozen brief visits to Amsterdam and two or three to Utrecht in the past 8 months. A habit of travel has morphed into having the world expedited to our doorstep, in cardboard packaging in the back of delivery vans.

Likewise my ongoing efforts and thinking concerning networked agency, distributed digital transformation and ethics as a practice has had a more inward looking character.

Early in the year we completed the shift of my company’s internal systems to self-hosted Nextcloud and Rocket.chat. When the pandemic started we added our own Jitsi server for video conferencing, although in practice with larger groups we use Zoom mostly, next to the systems our clients rolled out (MS Teams mostly). Similarly I will soon have completed the move of the Dutch Creative Commons chapter, where I’m a board member, to Nextcloud as well. That way the tools we use align better with our stated mission and values.

I spent considerable time renovating my PKM system, and the tools supporting it, with Obsidian the biggest change in tooling underneath that system since a decade or so. It means I am now finally getting away from using Evernote. Although I haven’t figured out yet what to do, if anything, with what I stored in Evernote in the 10 years I’ve been using it daily.

This spring I left Facebook and Whatsapp completely (I’ve never used Instagram), not wanting to have anything to do anymore with the Facebook company. I departed from my original FB account 3 years ago, which led to me blogging much more again, but created a new account after a while to maintain a link to some. That new account slowly but steadily crept back into the ‘dull’ moments of the day, and when the pandemic increased the noise and hysterics levels aided by FB’s algorithmic amplification outrage machine, I decided enough was enough. A 2.5 year process! It more or less shows how high the, mostly misplaced, sense of cost of leaving can be. And it was also surprising how some take such a step as an act of personal rejection.

I also see my Twitter usage reducing, in favour of interacting more on my personal Mastodon instance, through e-mail (yay for e-mail) and LinkedIn (where your interaction is tied to your professional reputation so much less of a ragefest). Even though I never dip into the actual Twitter stream, as I only check Twitter using Tweetdeck to keep track of specific topics, groups and interests. This summer I from close-up saw how the trolls came for a colleague that moved to a position in national media. Even if the trolling and vitriol was perhaps mild by e.g. US standards, it made me realise again how there was an ocean of toxic interaction just a single click away from where I usually am on Twitter.

On the IndieWeb side of things, I of course did not get to organise new IndieWebCamps like last year in Amsterdam and Utrecht. I’ve thought about doing some online events, but my energy flowed elsewhere. I’ve looked more inwardly here as well. I’ve been bringing my presentation slides ‘home’, closing my Slideshare account, and removing my company from Scribd as well. This is a still ongoing process. The solution is now clear and functional, but moving over the few hundred documents is something that will take a bit of time. I don’t want to move over the bulk of 14 years of shared slide decks, but want to curate the collection down to those that are relevant still, and those that were published in my blog posts at the time.

I am tinkering with a version of this site that isn’t ‘stream’ (blogposts in reverse chronological order), and isn’t predominantly ‘garden’ (wiki-style pseudo-static content), but a mix of it. I’ve been treating different types of content here differently for some time already. A lot never is shown on the front page. Some posts are never distributed through RSS, while some others are only distributed through RSS and unlisted on the site (my week notes for instance). Now I am working on removing what is so clearly a weblog interface from the front page. The content will still be there of course, the RSS feeds will keep feeding, all the URLs will keep working, but the front of this site I think should morph into something that is much more a mix of daily changes and highlighted fixtures. Reflecting my current spectrum of interests more broadly, and providing a sense of exploration, as well as the daily observations and occurrences.

Making such a change to the site is also to introduce a bit of friction, of a need to spend time to be able to get to know the perspectives I share here if you newly arrive here. I think that there should be increased friction with increased social distance. You’ll know me better if you spend time here. The Twitter trolling example above is a case of unwanted assymmetry in my eyes: it’s incredibly easy for total strangers to lob emotion-grenades at someone, low cost for them, potentially high-impact for the receiver. Getting within ‘striking distance’ of someone should carry a cost and risk for the other party as well. A mutuality, to phrase it more constructively.

Here’s to another year of blogging and such mutuality. My feed reader brings me daily input from so many of you, around the world, and I’m looking forward to many more distributed conversations based on that. Thank you for reading!