Skip to main content

Jeremy Cherfas

Must we copy everything?

1 min read

I dunno. I see this Add a "tweetstorm" UI for chaining status updates with chained POSSE tweets and I think of something I wrote a while back: Or you could write a blog post. Does the really need to make indie copies of everything the silos offer? Even the workarounds?

Maybe I misunderstand, and a feature like this is what weans people off the silo pap. All I know is, I don't think it would work for me.

Jeremy Cherfas

Rockin' my imposter status

1 min read

Finished the first phase of moving two WordPress driven sites from one hosting service to another this morning. I was a bit wary, having read all the things that can go wrong, and I took a few wrong turns into dead ends. But I managed to back out and didn't screw up too badly on the first one. The screwing up I did accomplish was mainly the result of my impatience, doing things in quick succession when I should have given them time to settle down in between. But I learned my lessons, and this morning's transfer went much more smoothly. Scarily so, in fact.

There's plenty left to do, moving various ancillary things, all part of an ongoing effort to tidy up in general, but I don't foresee any more difficulties, touch wood.

And in case anyone cares, I couldn't have done it nearly as easily without the Duplicator plugin for WordPress, which truly is a life saver.

Jeremy Cherfas

The tools change, the job remains the same

1 min read

Funny, as I continue slowly to bring old posts in, to see what I wrote about my tools, in 2007 and then again in 2013.

The conclusion remains as it ever was; although the tools change, the jobs they need to do remain more or less the same. Find things and write about them.

Jeremy Cherfas

Crossed the wide Pecos ...

1 min read

Playing Lyle Lovett singing Texas River Song, even though I know it's a stretch, to celebrate having eaten a giant bowl of my own dogfood.

A couple of weeks ago I followed Chris Aldrich to, which is a neat little spot for just putting down a marker for something that you're reading. I wanted more. I wanted to be able to save links to the things I marked. And now, a little over two weeks later, I've done it.

I have a PHP file that fetches the RSS feeds of things I've marked in, looks for any that are new since the last time the program ran, and then POSTS the results to Known's micropub endpoint. PESOS for my bookmarks!

There is no way I could have done it without amazing help from people on the IndieWeb IRC, and it isn't perfect by any means. There's more work to be done, for sure, before I even think about sharing the code.

But hey, it works.

And, as my main helper said, "Launch early and iterate often".

I'll be doing that.

Jeremy Cherfas

Virtual Homebrew Website Club

2 min read

We had a virtual meeting of the Homebrew Website Club yesterday evening, and as usual it was interesting and informative. We all forgot to take notes, but sketchess was prompted to do a brain dump, which I have added to and tightened up slightly to capture the main points.

  • There was a lot of discussion of the confusion among people new to caused by having so many different ways to achieve the same thing. Some people thought it would be good if there were, maybe, a recommended approach for specific circumstances. However, that does require the user to be clear what they are trying to achieve.
  • sketchess suggested that directed tutorials to achieve a specific outcome would be helpful. There was some support for this but, as ever, the issue of time can be a constraint.
  • We talked about the potential usefulness of different levels of wiki pages, or a special section, or something completely independent of the wiki.
  • aaronpk reminded us that the difficulty with independent offerings is that there can be difficulties in maintaining momentum. The wiki, as a collective effort, is more likely to be managed by individuals.
  • We noted that sometimes developers simply do not remember what it was like to start some activity, and also that a “getting started” for an experienced developer would be completely different from a “getting started” for someone who perhaps only knows silos. A beginner's guide written by recent beginners, with expert input from more experienced people, might be useful.
  • We talked about self-dogfooding, and that this may be inhibiting Generation 2 and up. They are not necessarily interested in building things themselves, although they want to make use of IndieWeb principles and practices.
  • Several people seem to be exploring the IndieWeb without making use of IRC or the wiki. Their efforts sometimes show up in IRC thanks to Loqi. Would it be useful to reach out directly and suggest they join and use the wiki?

Comments and edits welcome.

Jeremy Cherfas

Probably something to do with food learning

1 min read

@nicolakidsbooks it is probably part of the same phenomenon that made my bubba's chicken soup such effective medicine. That is, the exact same food can become very positive or very negative depending on when in the sickness cycle you experience it. Eat a novel food just before you feel ghastly, and you may well be put off it for life. Eat it as you're on the mend -- and the return of appetite is always a good sign -- and you'll probably ascribe magical properties to it, and turn to it whenever you're feelibng a bit better after feeling awful. Constraints on learning and all that.

Jeremy Cherfas

Owning my audio clips

3 min read

In the past couple of days, prompted by Marty McGuire's write-up, I raved about the potential of Audiogram to help promote the podcast by making it easier to share audio clips to social media -- by turning them into video clips. This afternoon, having managed to get tomorrow's episode edited early, and having had to chop quite a few interesting digressions, I thought I would have a serious play.

Tl;dr: It worked. I'd show you here, but I haven't found an easy way to upload video to Known yet. If you want to see the result, you can go to Patreon right now.

Installing Audiogram was not entirely plain sailing. Marty used Docker, and so despite warnings from other IndieWeb friends, I tried the same. All went well out of the gate, but then fell at the first. Something to do with virtualbox. So I switched to Homebrew and that did the needfull. Even then, though, Audiogram wouldn't start, but the error message made it clear that I needed to update node.js and npm. That done, it still wouldn't start.

Turned out I already had a local server running, via MAMP, and that was getting in the way. Switching off that server, and all was good.

That was two days ago. Today, I tried to use it for serious, and although there were plenty of hiccups along the way, I got there.

The instructions for modifying the theme are very straightforward, and with a bit of trial and error I was able to create a background for any future clips.

Uploading the audio, inserting the caption, all that was dead simple thanks to Audiogram's editor. Actually generating the videos, though, generated error after error, and some of them scrolled through several screens. But I kept my nerve, turned to search engines and StackOverflow and eventually got there.

Some of the fixes seemed to be pure voodoo. There's an invisible file that one of the Audiogram developers suggested deleting. The first time I tried that, it worked beautifully. The second time, not so much. Nor the third. But then, it worked again, at which point I called a halt, for now; a wise decision in my opinion.

I'm looking forward to seeing whether clips will attract listeners to the podcasts in their entirety. I put the first one on Patreon because the episode is not yet public, although Patreons have received it. I'll probably use clips there as bait and see how it goes. Once episodes are public I'll send clips to Twitter and, maybe, Facebook which will, I think make it relatively easy to trace any impact. And if the whole process isn't too hard (getting to the first video uploaded took almost three hours today) then I can imagine it might be useful to promote older epsiodes too, when there is a news peg.

So, grateful thanks to Marty McGuire and WNYC.

Jeremy Cherfas

We are still a long way from home

1 min read

Struggling to understand how different bits of the  work in WordPress, I received some very sound advice from lots of people, including this little exhortation from @chrisaldrich:

I'll admit I had to read it about 3 times before I grokked it myself, but it also was a great general and practical intro to the inherent value of microformats.

If that were what it took to grok Facebook or Twitter, would anyone beyond a small, self-selecting cadre of geeks be using them?

I thought not.

Jeremy Cherfas

"Paying to podcast is so passé"

1 min read

On what planet does Techcrunch live? Their report on Anchor's bid to lure podcasters from SoundCloud says n0thing about whether audio hosted there will be sharable via, say, Huffduffer, which to me was the biggest single problem with SoundCloud as a podcast host.

I would also argue that a promise by Anchor "to cut podcasters in when it starts to earn money" isn't much to go on.

But what do I know?

Jeremy Cherfas

Pride goeth ...

1 min read

Blast. Just when I was reaching around to pat myself on the back for making webmentions work on the Mothership, I notice some big problems.

First, the home page is all messed up with duplicates of many things. Doesn't seem to happen on the local version, which means it is going to be tricky as all get out to solve.

Secondly, the markup on the Mothership leaves a lot to be desired. That one will be a lot easier.

There are probably others too.