“A Season of Grief and Release”

I am made very quiet by this photo essay from Daniel Arnold and Dodai Stewart.

My relationship with New York often feels like a darkly comic scene in a movie, coming after much buildup about the legendary heroism and greatness of some off-screen personality.

They finally appear, bathed in glory, turn their eyes towards the protagonist, open their mouth to speak — only to get unceremoniously vaporized by a stray bullet.

The protagonist blinks, wearily, wipes off the spattered gore, and returns to the plot-as-usual.


“Is this ‘loss’?”

Three years ago my friend Zach shared some pictures on Twitter of a stool he’d made.

Zach posted this to show off a handsome, functional object that he rightly felt pride in creating. However, my immediate reaction to this tweet was confusion and irritation, even before I fully comprehended the tweet’s content.

The post has the textual and visual language of an extremely wry Twitter-joke of the sort I see tweeted and re-tweeted every day. Mental pattern-matching machinery wearily flew into action as I automatically tried to decipher the meme or other popular reference this tweet masked, but came up dry. Thus I began to feel frustrated almost the moment I saw the tweet, before I could recalibrate my contexts and admire my friend’s handiwork. I mean: literal handiwork, not the internet-japery kind.

This demonstrates a problem I’ve felt with timeline-based media consumption for many years. It mashes all your sources together in a slurry, and doles it out in evenly-sized chunks along a conveyor belt. Of course the saltiest flavors are going to seep into any more subtle tastes.

On my Twitter timeline, in 2017 as today, everything tastes at least a little like a certain kind of winking joke about some other joke. Clearly I do enjoy that sort of thing sometimes, or I wouldn’t have followed the sources that produce this humor. But, boy, it really does get into everything, once it’s there.


What, Janelle Monáe wasn’t available?

The universally disappointed reaction of my Twitter timeline upon the announcement of each new Doctor Who lead actor has me well-prepared for the inevitable response to Biden’s VP pick.


Proposing guidelines for Perl 7 docs

I recently submitted a grant proposal for researching and writing Perl 7 language-documentation guidelines, and it just entered a public-comments period.

It follows a grant-funded project I delivered earlier this year that revised two particularly problematic sections of Perl’s core documentation. Here, I propose the first steps of a major project to generalize that work across the full vastness of the language’s documentation collection.

The grants committee typically allows five days or so for public feedback before making its vote, so if you feel moved to say something about this proposal, aim to do it over the weekend, I suppose!


Knowing what you want

We are seeking a CTO with solid knowledge of React.js.

A bit like saying “We are looking to hire an architectural firm with extensive experience with the titanium-head silicone-grip hammer model TB15MS from Stiletto Tools Incorporated”.


I didn’t ask for this

Unsolicited new knowledge from looking for full-time work in New York right now: “fintech”.


None for me, either

Jason Kottke:

I miss dining out so SO much. I miss my friends in the industry and am furious that federal and state governments have pushed them back into unsafe working conditions in the idiotic & dangerous race to “open up the economy” before any reasonable system of test/trace/isolate + a mask mandate is put into place nationwide. But I haven’t been in a restaurant since early March and will not return to one, outside dining or no, until the pandemic is over. I’ve been ordering takeout as much as I can (and heavily tipping) to support local businesses that are operating safely. But the whole concept of dining out seems very irresponsible to me and should not even be an option right now.

I agree with every word of this. My partner and I both feel tempted to act otherwise every time we walk around Morningside Heights in the evening, sidewalks crowded with diners having good times. But I don’t see us doing anything other than takeout — also with deep tips — for the rest of the year certainly, and probably for quite some time beyond.

I miss coffee shops especially, and terribly.


Kicks Condor and the Disney Takedown

Kicks Condor, the creator of my favorite feed reader, has gotten enmeshed in shenanigans after the Walt Disney company seized all their digital assets on copyright grounds, claiming that a character in a leaked National Treasure 3 screenplay is named “Kicks Condor”.

Or so the kickscondor.com website suggests, which as I type this is covered in bizarre glitchwork. If you click around enough you can expose the personal journal of the monomaniacal corporate lawyer behind all this, itself a portal to deepening intrigue. Then come strange hints of hastily-hidden secrets, and breadcrumbs left by the site’s original owner, leading to a mysterious dungeon…

And, all the while, Kicks’s Twitter account has been subsumed by an incompetent IT team, and I’ve started to receive dramatic but internally confused marketing email as well.

Can I just say that stuff like this keeps me alive?


Webmention is glue

Loved this post by my NYC IndieWeb colleague Marty McGuire about how Webmention is glue, and yet “webmention” is often used conversationally around the IndieWeb to instead mean the results it enables. Marty sees a subtle threat of definition-erosion there.

It feels natural to say that a page that uses, say, Webmention-based RSVPs is “powered by Webmention” — but if that same page displays comments received through the same technology, one calls those comments “webmentions”. That should be as strange as calling web pages “HTTPs” or something.

The RSVPs, the comments, the pages — all are complex end-results made possible by many underlying technologies braiding their work together. The communication protocols that enable them in every case show off just one possible application of themselves. Just as HTTP has grown to power countless purposes beyond sending HTML documents to browsers, Webmention wants a future where it empowers all sorts of inter-domain communication not even imagined yet.

Marty’s critique on JavaScript-dependent display systems is on the money, too, and gives me a dose of humility about how Whim’s own display-engine works — and inspiration to improve it.

Fluffy’s response to the same article is great, too.


Comixology Unlimited is pretty good

After using and enjoying it for most of the past nine months or so, I’ve let my subscription to Comixology’s “Unlimited” service lapse. My interest in comics comes and goes, and it happens to have faded out for the present. I imagine that Amazon will be pleased to resume accepting my six bucks per month once it returns.

I do recommend Unlimited for any sometimes-or-more comics fan who owns a decent tablet. With my 11-inch iPad and an Unlimited subscription, I feasted quite well for months. Many series, I find, make the first volume of two of their back catalogs available through Unlimited. This creates a dizzyingly wide and satisfyingly deep comics-sampler covering many genres. I wrote about how I explored the earliest adventures of Nexus this way, last November — and the hesitancy I felt, at first, with using this service at all.

I’d still rather make use my public library for reading comics collections! And, reader, I started to type “But with that option sadly unavailable for now…” but now I see that NYPL is starting to offer curbside pickup for holds. Whatever: Comixology Unlimited is still a pretty good service if you don’t mind attaching yet another Amazon-subsidiary leech to your pocketbook. Thus I will end this note to say that I found unsubscribing from the service such a non-hassle that I don’t recall exactly what steps I took, and this alone compels me to salute it.


Jots, scraps, and tailings is a microblog by Jason McIntosh. It has an RSS feed, and accepts responses via Webmention. For a less-micro blog, see Fogknife.

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This particular page was last modified: Tue Aug 11 10:24:49 2020