Thursday, December 27, 2018

There’s a sense that we lost something important when we turned our back on individual blogs and gave all our attention to Twitter, Facebook, and their ilk. Inspired writing and thinking turned into homogenized mush with click-bait headlines. Ads are everywhere, and the mechanisms that power them have been exploited for far more than just pure commercial gain.

It’d be easy to blame Facebook or Twitter of course, but I like John Battelle’s take better:

I think in the end, our failure wasn’t that we let Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon get too big, or too powerful. No, I think instead we failed to consider the impact of the technologies and the companies we were building. We failed to play our hand forward, we failed to realize that these nascent technologies were fragile and ungoverned and liable to be exploited by people less idealistic than we were.

Some people never really gave up on the independent blog, of course. Dave Winer certainly didn’t. Neither did John Gruber. My friend Bryan Jones kept at it faithfully as well. Kudos to them, and many more like them.

16:59 UTC
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Katerina Biliouri looks up while checking social media on her iPhone riding in a taxi.
15:00 UTC

Titles optional

As I build up this iteration of my blog, I’m setting it up without the hard requirement that every post has a title. That’s a change from almost every blog system that I’ve used or wrote over the years.

There’s an operational simplicity in having a hard requirement of having at title with each post, which is probably why many web content management sytems have stuck with it. It certainly makes it slightly easier to pour content into RSS or into formatted blocks of HTML.

On the other hand, I think one of the things that make posting on Twitter or Facebook appealing is the minimal ceremony involved: just start typing without the thought of, “what is the title of what I’m about to write.”

20:00 UTC
Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Grammarly extension for Visual Studio Code would be pretty great. For a third party to do it, however, there needs to be an API and it doesn’t really seem like one is on the way, which is too bad.

21:00 UTC

Katerina and I are taking advantage of the holiday down time to watch random movies on Netflix. Tonight’s choice was Friends with Money. The casting and performances were lovely, but the story felt underdeveloped throughout.

21:30 UTC

Duncan Davidson is a software developer, startup advocate, speaker, book author, and photographer living in Berlin.