I find I enjoy the process of self hosting my old presentations much more than I had expected. I expected the transition being a chore, but it turns out it is not.

Last September I quit using Slideshare and created a way to host my own slidedecks myself. I had 132 presentations in my personal slideshare account, and a similiar number in my company’s account. Migrating them into my own set-up seemed like a daunting chore. I resolved to take my time for it, to spread out the work load.

I first created a list of presentations that I embedded in this website at the time, containing 55 slide decks. In that list I marked those that I currently think are still relevant, or that I regard as important to me at the time, or that in hindsight turned out to contain something that gained more significance in my work afterwards. Then I started to manually add those prioritised slide decks to my self hosted collection (tonz.nl for Dutch slides, tonz.eu for non-Dutch slides), at most one per day.

Unexpectedly this is fun to do. Because I do not just upload slides, but add links to my blogposts about the talk at the time, a video etc, I sort-of revisit the conference in question. Sometimes rewatching my own talk, sometimes going through the slides of other presenters at the same event or watching their videos. It resurfaces old ideas I forgot about but still find useful, and it results in new associations and thoughts about the topics I discussed in those talks. Leading to new notes and ideas now. It also shows me there is a consistency in my work that isn’t always obvious to me, and it surfaces the evolutionary path of some of my ideas and activities. That makes it worthwile to bring these slides home. Like reassembling an old photo album whose pictures slipped out because the glue became too old.

Two years ago I wrote about the features I’d like to see in an ideal feed reader. Today I’ve tried to sketch out the various components, based on the various IndieWeb protocols, and then match the features I listed previously to the component that I think should provide it.

Separating feed reading into IndieWeb components

Feeds from blogs, to the left in the sketch below, end up in a microsub server, whose function is to fetch and store feeds. A microsub client is what presents those fetched feeds to me. A regular feed reader usually does both these things, but splitting them like the IndieWeb does allows multiple clients to use the same collection of feeds and feed items. It allows a wider diversity of readers, if the fetching is dealt with separately.
The microsub client also contains a micropub client. This allows having action buttons underneath each item presented in your microsub client. Hitting a button posts your reply or remarks, or shares something to your own website, and through your site to e.g. Twitter or Mastodon. Ideally it would be possible to have different websites to share to, next to storing locally in a specified format. The website that receives such an action has a micropub endpoint, and may need authentication through IndieAuth.

Such a reader set-up should be able to run locally on my laptop, as well as on a basic hosting package, so likely php / mysql based. Locally because I want to run my stuff local first, but the same thing online, even if a home server, because I’m not always working on my laptop and would like access from my tablet too, and point my Android Indigenous app to my subscriptions. Locally I would not need authentication from the microsub client to the microsub server, but in all other situations I would.

The sketch above is completely congruent with how I sketched my information gathering and filtering process in 2005:

filter1.jpg

Matching the ideal functionality to IndieWeb components

When I match the features of my ideal feed reader to those various IndieWeb components I think this is what results:

Microsub server needs to be able to :
* use various kinds of feeds (rss, atom, json, h-feed)
* allow folders (so I can arrange feeds on social distance)
* recognize and store tags if feed items have them
* allow me to tag _feeds_, really meaning tagging authors
* keep track of posting frequency, last post seen of feeds
* keep track of tags or predefined topics mentions/frequency
* pull in machine translations by default for certain feeds and store them with the orginal item

Microsub client needs to be able to:
* present the feed items in the server’s folder structure as a long list (the classic feed reader view)
* present views based on patterns in current feed items: what’s hot, what’s unique? Also set against social distance. (Topics discussed in my communities today)
* present views based on feed tags (show me all Germany based blog items of this morning, show me every feed of from EU based coders)
* present views based on feed tags and item tags: show me Germany based blog items talking about topic X.
* show full text search results of all items mentioning a certain topic.
* store full text search queries
* present visually which topics seem to be hot in which community, or where the frequency of mentioning a topic has changed
* provide a search of feeds (not feeds content): do I already have this feed in my list, where’s the feed of author Y?
* pull in a machine translation on request

Micropub client needs to be embedded in the microsub client and should support:
* saving an article as markdown or as html, to disk, to Zotero
* creating a todo from it by amending a textfile,
* bookmarking it, either to my blog or some other target
* sharing something about it to my blog, to Mastodon through my blog
* replying to it, through my blog to Mastodon, Twitter, other blogs
* allow configuring new actions.
* choosing from multiple micropub endpoints

What do you think, should some of these features be provided by other components than they’re currently listed? Are features missing that you’d like to see in your ideal feed reader?

Replied to Adding Microformats to WordPress’s Twenty Twenty Theme by Jan BoddezJan Boddez (jan.boddez.net)
I recently moved another blog of mine back to “plain” WordPress, and in the process added microformats2 support to its Twenty Twenty child theme. Some remarks: I’ve yet to add a u-photo class to featured images, I used a bit of a trick to get post metadata to show below short-form posts rather...

Thank you Jan, I will study this in some detail, as I’m trying my inexperienced hand at creating a theme from scratch in WP. So getting some clues how to add MF2 support this way is very useful!

Bookmarked IndieWeb Dissertation available as PDF and HTML by Jack JamiesonJack Jamieson (jackjamieson.net)
I recently defended my dissertation and have completed my PhD. It’s titled Independent Together: Building and Maintaining Values in a Distributed Web Infrastructure, and investigates the role of values in the construction and maintenance of the IndieWeb.

Jack Jamieson did his PhD on the IndieWeb community, and he now made his dissertation available in HTML and PDF. Uploaded to my e-reader.

RSVPed Attending IndieWebCamp East
IndieWebCamp East 2020 is an online gathering for independent web creators of all kinds, from graphic artists, to designers, UX engineers, coders, hackers, to share ideas, actively work on creating for their own personal websites, and build upon each others creations.

I intend to take part in IndieWebCamp East this weekend. As it’s all remote, I hope to join part of the program at least late afternoon and evening here in my CET time zone. Thinking about using the time to either contine work on restyling this site as ‘no garden no stream but something in between‘, or going through my blog archive to see which presentation slide decks still need to be brought home, and ensuring the site where they reside (tonz.nl for Dutch slides, tonz.eu for international slides) gets its own styling.

Thirteen years ago today I blogged about Google launching Open Social, an API that would allow developers to tap into multiple social networks at once. It was supposed to be an answer to Facebook (who then had opened up their platform silo for developers to build small applications (since removed as an option). The NYT called it Google ‘ganging up’ on Facebook, the ‘new kid on the block’ (FB became globally available to all in the fall of 2006).

Seeing that 2007 posting in my ‘on this blog today in…’ widget I was curious to see whatever happened to Open Social. After the launch in 2007, I don’t remember hearing much about it anymore.

Following the link to Google’s own page on Open Social now gets a 404 error message (which isn’t different from 2007 when I blogged it, because news leaked before the launch, so that page wasn’t active yet. In between today and today in 2007 it has been a working link for some years though as the Internet Archive can attest) Wikipedia has the story of the years in between in more detail. The Open Social standard saw it latest release in August 2013, and then development stopped.

By the end of 2014 it was all transferred to the W3C’s Social Activity, the Social Web Working Group, and the Social Interest Group. All those three are defunct now too (the interest group closed in 2016, the working group and activity early 2018).

Yet, the still remaining W3C Working Group page has a photo with a number of familiar faces: core members of the IndieWeb community. And the Working Group delivered in their 2014-2018 period of activity the W3C standard recommendations for all the major building blocks of the IndieWeb (Webmentions, Micropub, Microsub, Activitypub, IndieAuth). The W3C activity wound down and reduced to a single W3C IRC channel #social that sees little activity. The log files of #social are hosted on indieweb.org.

So here we are, thirteen years down the road. It’s not Google but IndieWeb-enabled websites like mine ‘ganging up on Facebook’ instead. 😉