Chatty

This might sound a little odd. Quite a lot of my prose is indeed odd to the uninitiated, but this is a post about communication, specifically integrations. I know I’m not the first to write about this but I’m on a bit of a journey right now.

You’ll probably have visited web sites integrating a chat thing into their pages. Often it’s an intrusive popup asking cheerfully if you’d like help with something anything. The only time I ever used one I was deeply unimpressed with the abilities of the person at the opposite end of the chat. It seemed to be a copy and paste session, the likes of which is these days run by ‘bots. To be honest I much prefer reading FAQs, and if my query is sufficiently complex I prefer email to a web form.

Today I installed a tiny code snippet on my GitHub Pages site. It creates an anchored button which links to a chat room I created at the GitHub.com-related third-party service, Gitter. The service offers public and private chat rooms, and logins are required, via either GitHub or Twitter. Logins make sense.

I honestly don’t expect my use of it will amount to much, and thus fully anticipate removing the code if no-one really uses it. But why?

I blog at GitHub Pages, to a blog I adapted from a prebuilt solution, composing posts on my phone in Markdown before staging, committing and pushing the post to my repository. Other people may call this ‘publishing.’

I then copy the raw Markdown and paste into a new blog post at 10Centuries.org. Being a not particularly cumbersome workflow it works well for me.

Now, notifications of posting go to 10Centuries chat, to Twitter and to Facebook, and I get occasional feedback at all three.

In a nutshell I see my social networking future at 10Centuries (10C.) It’s a peaceful haven away from the in-your-face occasional nastiness and immediacy that intrudes into Twitter and the insulated, walled garden of Facebook. There’s a web app (linked to above), and Android and iOS apps are being developed right now. Yes I know I’m being awkward here, but it is after all my prerogative!

Ok, back to the point. I’d love to be able to integrate a link to Cappuccino (10C chat) at both my GitHub Pages site and my 10C site but don’t have the skills (or, currently the vision) to implement it elegantly. So right now I’m making do with a thing that only nerds are likely to want to login to use.

I could, I suppose, create a link in the GitHub Pages site header to a page which links to 10C chat, and that might be enough.

But it won’t be. I’ve used message boxes which posted into either Disqus.com and, until recently, App.net (2 months away from closure.) I recall extremely limited use providing me with comments. It’s perfectly reasonable; Disqus is a comments-focused service and App.net is/was a limited-appeal network.

It’d be nice to have all my eggs in the one basket. But, when all is said and done, I do write for myself.


I am @bazbt3 on 10Centuries.org (Jason Irwin’s social/blogging/podcasting network.) If you want a change from the misery of the mainstream I have invite codes! Oh, I’m also on Twitter.

App.net to close

During the springtime of 2013 I decided to join a new online community at App.net (Wikipedia entry). Heck, as it’d recently changed to a’ Freemium’ funding model I even paid for social networking! Today (Friday the thirteenth in year 1 PostCelebPocalypse) I found that the service will close in the middle of March 2017.

Its major strengths: no ads, 256 character posts, awesome apps, and a willingness by all to engage with and welcome newcomers. It simply wasn’t too big. Though on the surface an oasis of calm amidst the chaos of the wider Internet there were indeed flaws, the business model wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t matter to me, I ‘belonged’.

The apps that stood out for me in a network originally setup to encourage and to fund app and service development:

  • Felix by @billkunz (I bought a t-shirt),
  • Riposte and Whisper by @jaredsinclair & @jaminguy (I bought the t-shirt),
  • Chimp by @ludolphus (is there a shirt‽),
  • Kirby by @griff (no shirt).

So Baz haz a sad that the inevitable end is near. But why, seeing as I’ve not been an active participant since before the middle of 2016?

Signing up to App.net (ADN) resulted in the some of the best things, the most stimulating things (even including btinternet.chatter!) I’ve ever done online. Rather than simply participate I joined in.

My big but short, exhaustive but necessarily incomplete, list of stuff:

  • As-of right now I’ve posted way more than 28,260 things there, including reposts. That alone should tell you something.
  • I badly ran #ThemeMonday for a while after @berklee bowed out. Though it doesn’t sound much we changed our avatars every month, created individually to a theme chosen by popular vote. It was fun!
  • I took over #QuoteSunday from @zephyr. (We posted quotations from famous, infamous, and not-so-famous people; all to suit our mood on the day.)
  • I created a rudimentary Linux shell script to interact with App.net on the command line. Baz the programmer! (I called it ayadn_shell partly in homage to @ericd’s awesome Ayadn rubygem but mainly because, without that application onto which mine piggybacked, mine simply would not work let alone be possible!)
  • After a happening by chance onto a conversation started by someone tired of being tired I collaborated on an MMTPORPAG (minutely-massive-two-player-online-role-playing-adventure-game.) An Adventure of epic proportions; at least it would have been if my life hadn’t got in the way. Thanks @mlv. (Incidentally, I can’t get the specific Treeview.us thread to load, I’d love to archive the whole thread. Help please!)
  • I became a Wiki Editor for a while at the now defunct App.net Wiki, a volunteer-run repository for the minutiae of a social network. I tested new ideas at my personal site. Thanks @kdfrawg, for letting me fiddle for a while.
  • I took over #WednesdayChallenge (#WedC) from @nitinkhanna and ran that too for a while. A short story, to a theme again chosen by popular vote and in fewer than 256 characters; oh, how those creative juices flowed!
  • I helped out with @isaacjw’s #TuesdayChallenge too, a weekly way for like-minded folks to showcase their artistic skills. (Me? I used a child’s magnetic board.)
  • Oh, and footnotes.*

It’s not a big list, and though I may have forgotten something big it’s representative of the network’s scope.

But, without all those lovely people, none of my activities mentioned above would have been remotely possible . I’m conscious of the fact others may have been involved prior to my arrival, but I’m speaking from my personal experience. And that’s the key to ADN, a very personal experience, not shaped by the knowledge someone’s looking over your shoulder with a view to monetising your post content.

Best-of-all I relaxed. I met some wonderful, chatty, clever, insightful, downright amazing people there.

Thankyou all, I’ll never forget.

But, to perhaps understand what I’m thinking right now, you had to be there. I was, it was great.


I am @bazbt3 both on 10Centuries.org (Jason Irwin’s burgeoning social/blogging/podcasting network, for which I have invite codes) and on Twitter.


*Let’s just say I popularised them, albeit in a limited manner.

Cabbage (band)

I recently came across a retweet mentioning a news article about a Mossley (NW England) discordant neo post-punk band named Cabbage. The ironies within the article, well, I’ve already determined 2017 will be one led and thus eventually characterised by Schadenfreude. Now the band’s genre isn’t my usual cup of tea, but the introduction alone was definitely something helping to drag me out from the depths of my post-New-Year funk.

Here’s why…

The publicity wasn’t because of their music, at least not directly. No, it was their frank, gloriously frank, response to the British national tabloid newspaper* attempting to champion them as one of their sounds of 2017. To see what I suspect is merely the iceberg-tip of the band’s response, here’s a Manchester Evening News article - sanitised only by redacting the entirely-appropriate sweary language.

I asked the band on Twitter for their recommendation; which of their albums should I buy? The response was, in hindsight, entirely predictable.

@ahcabbage: @bazbt3 @antmeals anything by @TheBlindersBand

I simply ignored their response, hoping for something more, a ‘Best Of’. Heh, Baz playing the long game‽

A few days later they released a compilation album, ‘Young Dumb And Full Of…’! Yes, the ellipsis is a part of the album title; and though the dystopian days of ‘Bollocks’ aren’t over yet, not for me at least, there’s enough of an implication there to satisfy this listener.

Or maybe it’s a shorter word, one that rhymes with, er… Yeah, I think I’ll step away from that one!

I bought and listened to the album all the way through, turned up loud enough to enjoy it as I’m imagining the band intended (and then turned down a bit for this old man’s ears.) I was struck first by how the passage of time hasn’t dulled my inability to discern the actual lyrics of a song; but it’s not a criticism, there’s enough there to keep me interested.

The second thing that struck me relates to some of the melodies; I’m sure there’s some Talking Heads (I’m a fan) and a bit of Kosheen too. Perhaps if I listen some more I’ll find more, but is that perhaps missing the point? Naah, is it bollocks: Music is Music!

Suffice it to say that, whilst I’m drawn to the obvious parallels with the Sex Pistols (yes, I’m that old but wasn’t a fan at the time) this isn’t a rehash, doesn’t seen like an homage. It’s shiny and new. Ok not shiny, it’s spiky stuff this.

I’m emphatically no music reviewer, but I do know what I like. ‘Young Dumb And Full Of…’ by Cabbage thus gains Baz’s seal of approval, is rated 10/10 for the timely (and in some respects timeless) music and for dragging me out of my 1977-to-early-nineties musical comfort zone.

Ta Cabbage.


*Why yes, it is in fact the hated Sun misjudging our cultural history.

ADN free

With weeks to go before a billing cycle I’ve downgraded my App.net (ADN) account to the ‘free’ tier. Having not been there for a while the decision was, heartless as it sounds, easy.

I’m not closing the account, I’m thankful for the memories.

Lardy

@Schwarzenegger:

“Some people say Sunday is a day of rest. I say if you eat, sleep, and breathe on Sunday, why not train? What are you doing today?”

@bazbt3:

“@Schwarzenegger I’m sitting on my lardy British arse & considering which diet programme will fit my tiny attention span. Thanks for asking!”