/~datagrok/

The tilde.town ~ring:

tilde.town/~datagrok/ is authored by Michael F. Lamb.

Scroll right, not down.

This page style is an experiment in broadsheet-style web viewing, intended to avoid acres of margin around a single column of text. If you are browsing on a wide screen, you must scroll right, not down. Unfortunately (I have been told) this doesn’t work well on iOS, macOS X Safari, or for anyone who doesn’t have a pointing device that can scroll horizontally.

Aug 8, 2017

Culled some old entries. Hard to believe it’s been here so long.

I don’t hang out on IRC much. Synchronous communication has become too difficult.

I’ve recently been musing about better techologies and user interfaces for asynchronous people like me to get that same feeling of “hanging out with friends” that comes from using a chat room. Or maybe integrate them into a chatroom in a way that feels comfortable for them but not disruptive to the conversation.

November 12, 2014: Tilde sites as the anti-blog

I prefer hand-written <table>ed early HTML sites full of content and <3 to ghost town wordpress installs with one “i should blog more” post.

— vilmibm shaksfrpease (@nate_smith) November 12, 2014

Around the year 2000 or so, the Internet seems to have decided as a whole that it was okay to give up on organization, give up treating our websites as gardens to be tended and instead begin treating them as dumps to be filled. Back then the tools available to allow Normal People to publish their thoughts online were painful, complicated, and opaque, so who could blame us? Gardening is hard work.

“I just want to share this little thought with my friends without interrupting them with an e-mail,” we all said in unison, and inserted the thought at the top of the existing HTML file that was there on our website already. Just as I have been with this page. The web log was born.

Then, websites became no longer art installations, archives, or gardens to be tended. They became periodicals, insisting to their authors that if a steady stream of fresh content were not supplied, they would rapidly decrease in value. They would be an embarrassment. One must keep talking, no matter how inane, no matter how disorganized, no matter how repetitive. “I wrote about this before, I think? No matter, I can’t find it now.”

A constant supply of new thoughts mean blogs grow very long. Old thoughts are moved to successive pages, or archive pages. Nobody has the time to step carefully through those, especially considering how uninteresting most of it is. We’re lucky if Google even sees those. They sublimate into the Internet æther.

Have a thought or an announcement that is a bit persistent, that you want more people to see? It must now be repeated, at different times of the day, to stay near the top of the stack.

An organized website is an investment, the currency of ideas into the real estate of knowledge. The more you invest, the better the home you build. A blog is renting a motel room and moving on the next day.

So: one reason why blogs are terrible, and why tilde sites are great: tilde sites are encouraging people to explore the notion that they can just write something, stick it on the internet, and leave it. Put other stuff up around it. Make a collage, or a garden, or a pile. Not insisting: you are a terrible person for not feeding the gaping maw of the blog frequently enough.

And if we didn’t have reason enough to hate them, realize: Twitter is a blog. Facebook is a blog. A disorganized, uncategorized serialization where older thoughts, no matter how relevant or timeless, erode into the infinite past (perhaps to be deleted–you don’t know!–at the company’s whim.)

How to create a blog: 1. collect all the pages in your carefully-organized website 2. sort by date 3. concatenate 4. delete originals

— Michael F. Lamb (@datagrok) June 30, 2014