As a kid I was very into Playmobil. As a six-year-old I got my first one, a blue construction worker with an orange helmet and a grey broom, in 1976, about a year after they became available on the Dutch market. Over the years in primary school I gathered a mountain of that stuff, to a significant extent self-financed from collecting old paper around the village, and selling it for recycling.

Playmobil is manufactured in Nürnberg, or rather Zirndorf on the outskirts of it. We spent our summer holidays in Bavaria in 1976-1979, and on the way to our destination I once got my parents to drive to the factory. I had high hopes there would we some sort of shop or exhibition at the factory. There wasn’t. I remember standing disappointed in front of a grey building with closed gates, in the rain.

Nürnberg is also the birthplace of Albrecht Dürer, a key Renaissance figure. In 1493 he created the oldest known painted self-portrait.

The tourist office of Nürnberg had a Playmobil figure made of the painter in action, the city’s most famous son. On the easel is not his first painted self portrait, but one from 5 years later, 1498 when he was 26. By the looks of it because it shows the man in an outfit that lends itself better for use on a toy figure.

Albrecht Dürer 103
The 1498 self-portrait of Dürer, as it currently hangs in the Prado

During check-out in the hotel lobby after IndieWeb Camp in Nürnberg, I spotted the Playmobil Dürer in a vitrine. How could I resist?


At IndieWeb Camp Nürnberg today I worked on changing the way my site displays webmentions. Like I wrote earlier, I would like for all webmentions to have a snippet of the linking article, so you get some context to decide if you want to go to that article or not.

It used to be that way in the past with pingbacks, but my webmentions get shown as “Peter mentioned this on”.

After hunting down where in my site this gets determined, I ended up in a file my Semantic Weblinks plugin, called class-linkbacks-handler.php. In this file I altered “get_comment_type_excerpts” function (which sets the template for a webmention), and the function “comment_text_excerpt”, where that template gets filled. I also altered the max length of webmentions that are shown in their entirety. My solution takes a snippet from the start of the webmention. I will later change it to taking a snippet from around the specific place where it links to my site. But at least I succeeded in changing this, and now know where to do that.

When the next update of this plugin takes place I will need to take care, as then my changes will get overwritten. But that too is less important for now.

The webmentions for this posting are now shown as a snippet from the source, below the sentence that was previously the only thing shown.

So, my webmention issues can’t be solved in the theme, as the content isn’t decided there. I need to dig deeper into the semantic-linkback plugin that I use to handle them.

I found out that webmentions are mentioned in full if they are short enough, and that I can set that limit. So I now want to change the way webmentions are stored. To solve my main issue, I need to select x characters around the spot where my site is mentioned, and set the character limit for webmentions to x+1.

Task 1 now complete. My blog declared 16 h-cards, one for each time my name was mentioned as author under the 15 blogposts on my front page, and 1 in the side bar. That last one is the only one I want to have, so I wanted to remove those underneath blogposts.

To do that, I had to create a child theme of the theme I use, Sempress. I created it on my hosting server directly, not through WordPress.

In the original theme I then hunted down the function used to show the author information for each posting, the sempress_posted_on function. This by viewing the various Sempress files in the WordPress internal Themes Editor. Then I copied that over to my child theme, and changed it. I simply removed the bits that turned my name into a link and all the h-card elements declared as classes around it. There’s no need to link to my author page here. I’m the only author, don’t have a profile page, and if you look at the ‘author archive’ it is a list of all the postings on this site.

I also cleaned up my single remaining h-card, adding a “p-note” class so that the blurb becomes part of the h-card, and making sure it lists the e-mail addresses correctly now.

The child theme I created will be useful for changing the way webmentions are presented on my blog as well.

It’s day 2 of the IndieWeb Camp in Nürnberg, which means it’s coding day. There are a few things on my list before I board a train at three thirty back home. None of them are as advanced or grand as the list I made earlier. I learned a lot yesterday, in terms of understanding what happens where when I use indieweb protocols, so I can now see the different layers of the lasagna more clearly.

So for today the plan is:

  • Remove a uid h-card microformat statement from my site template as it is declared multiple times instead of just once
  • Try and fix the authorisation header issue with IndieAuth
  • Work on how Webmentions are presented in this Sempress theme, which I now know is a theming issue, and not a webmention issue

In just over a week I will be joining the Nuremberg IndieWebCamp, together with Frank Meeuwsen. As I said earlier, like Frank, I’m wondering what I could be working on, talking about, or sharing at the event. Especially as the event is set up to not just talk but also build things.

So I went through my blogpostings of the past months that concerned the indie web, and made a list of potential things. They are of varying feasibility and scope, so I can probably strike off quite a few, and should likely go for the most simple one, which could also be re-used as building block for some of the less easy options. The list contains 13 things (does that have a name, a collection of 13 things, like ‘odd dozen’ or something? Yes it does: a baker’s dozen, see comment by Ric below.). They fall into a few categories: webmention related, rss reader related, more conceptual issues, and hardware/software combinations.

  1. Getting WebMention to display the way I want, within the Sempress theme I’m using here. The creator of the theme, Matthias Pfefferle, may be present at the event. Specifically I want to get some proper quotes displayed underneath my postings, and also understand much better what webmention data is stored and where, and how to manipulate it.
  2. Building a growing list of IndieWeb sites by harvesting successful webmentions from my server logs, and publish that in a re-usable (micro-)format (so that you could slowly map the Indieweb over time)
  3. Make it much easier for myself to blog from mobile, or mail to my blog, using the MicroPub protocol, e.g. using the micropublish client.
  4. Dive into the TinyTinyRSS datastructure to better understand. First to be able to add tags to feeds (not articles), as per my wishlist for RSS reader functionality.
  5. Make basic visualisation possible on top of TinyTinyRSS database, as a step to a reading mode based on pattern detection
  6. Allow better search across TinyTinyRSS, full text, to support the reading mode of searching material around specific questions I hold
  7. Adding machine translation to TinyTinyRSS, so I can diversify my reading, and compare original to its translation on a post by post basis
  8. Visualising conversations across blogs, both for understanding the network dynamics involved and for discovery
  9. Digging up my old postings 2003-2005 about my information strategies and re-formulate them for networked agency and 2018
  10. Find a way of displaying content (not just postings, but parts of postings) limited to a specific audience, using IndieAuth.
  11. Formulate my Networked Agency principles, along the lines of the IndieWeb principles, for ‘indietech’ and ‘indiemethods’
  12. Attempt to run FreedomBone on a Raspberry Pi, as it contains a range of tools, including GnuSocial for social networking. (Don’t forget to bring a R Pi for it)
  13. Automatically harvest my Kindle highlights and notes and store them locally in a way I can re-use.

These are the options. Now I need to pick something that is actually doable with my limited coding skills, yet also challenges me to learn/do something new.

RSVPed Attending IndieWebCamp Nürnberg - Oct 20-21, 2018 - Nürnberg, Germany
IndieWebCamp Nürnberg 2018 is a 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’ll be driving there with Frank Meeuwsen. Had already registered, but this is a test to see if RSVPing from my own blog works (using webmention, and microformat to state that this is a rsvp). If a reference to me shows up at the mentioned URL, then yes, it worked.

And it did work. Here’s a screenshot of the event page.