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Jeremy Cherfas

Jeremy Cherfas

Terrific pieces in the shortlist for prizes. Can't wait to listen.

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.

Jeremy Cherfas

I donated to 'Help save!' - via @gofundme

Jeremy Cherfas

We watched Lobster with Colin Farrell and other luminaries last night, and all I can say is, er ...

Jeremy Cherfas

Site deaths where you least expect them

1 min read

Language Log -- a useful site I really enjoy -- recently wrote again about the big debate on whether language shapes, constrains or otherwise has any effect on thought. But that's not why I'm noting it here. Instead, there's the reason why they're talking about it again.

In 2010 The Econonomist hosted a big debate on Language and Thought. It used a very spiffy web-enabled platform to host the debate, and a language academic thought it would make a dandy introduction to some readings she is poutting together on the topic. Alas ...

[T]he Economist's intro page on this debate leads only to an debate archive site that doesn't include this one; and the links in old LLOG posts are now redirected to the same unhelpful location.

A source at the magazine explained:

We vastly over-designed the debate platform (and over-thought it generally, in various ways), and when we stopped running the debates that way, we stopped running that bit of the website. The old debates are now unavailable online.

Fortunately for all concerned Language Log was able to find copies in the Internet Archive. 

But if it hadn't ...

Jeremy Cherfas

Vatican says bread for Eucharist cannot be gluten-free

1 min read

Marion Nestle summarises the status of gluten-free hosts and usefully links to the Vatican's circular on the matter. I actually went to look, wondering whether, maybe, there's some reason why the host cannot be gluten free. And there is, up to a point.

The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat ...

But that's not really a reason, is it. It's just a historical tradition. Obey, or else.

Jeremy Cherfas

The value of explaining yourself

2 min read

My father was devoted to cryptic crossword puzzles. He was good, too, but every now and then a clue would stump him. If I was around, he would read the clue aloud to me and, more often than not, before I'd even had time to think about it, he had solved it.

There's something about the act of saying it aloud that makes a different kind of thinking possible.

So it was last night, during the Homebrew Web Club virtual meeting in Europe. There was only me and Zegnat, much of the time, and first we explored further his comment, during the recent Indieweb Summit talk about Events, that "most of the things discussed are already available and possible with the current IndieWeb building blocks". So I fired up WithKnown and created an event for the virtual HWC and he replied and the reply was received and published. Just like that. Of course there are some things that could be improved, but it does Just Work.

Thinking more about improving things, I shamelessly took advantage by asking a lot of ill-informed questions about how to move further in the indiewebification of my presence on the web. Martijn was so helpful and patient with me, and I learned a lot. But the truth is also that just by asking the questions out loud, and having to think clearly about how to do so, I was able to see more clearly how things might work.

It's still pretty cryptic, but I'm getting there.

Jeremy Cherfas

🎉 I'm now a proud supporter of IndieWeb. You should support them too!

Jeremy Cherfas

So, farewell then, Clammr. And SoundCloud?

2 min read

Clammr was a service that enabled you to tweet little bits of audio. I signed up in the hope that I could use it to market my podcasts. In the end, I barely used it, because its audience didn’t seem to include people who wanted to listen to my stuff.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email

Dear Clammr Users:

It’s time for our team to move on to new adventures. We write to inform you that we will be shutting down the Clammr service at 11:59pm ET on 2 July 2017.

Thank you for all of the creativity and joy that you have shared with the world using Clammr. We’ve been inspired by the community every day and cherish having had the opportunity to get to know so many amazing and talented people.

We realize that some of you may wish to keep the Clammr clips you created. We have posted instructions with a hack on how to do that in Section XIX of the User Guide. In short, you need to take three steps (1) share the clip to twitter using the Clammr app; (2) go to twitter and copy the url of the tweet; (3) enter the url on a tweet-to-MP4 conversion site to generate an MP4 video file that you can download.

On the same day I saw a link to an item on Hacker News from someone at SoundCloud who was concerned that the company was in financial trouble, and wanted advice.

Once is coincidence

The HN article dated to a couple of weeks before the Clammr email, and I made a note to maybe write about it here, but I was in catch-up mode and the HN piece wasn’t signed. So, it slipped. Then Chris Aldrich linked to a piece in the New York Times announcing layoffs at SoundCloud. That offers a cloak of respectability to cover my schadenfreude.

I can see why people found SoundCloud attractive: in return for an easy audio life, you put your stuff behind bars, bars that prevented other people, like me, sharing it without jumping through an absurd number of hoops. Some of those people did the smart thing, and syndicated to SoundCloud from sites they controlled, but many, many did not. Too bad. I hope some of them are now thinking about securing the availability of their work.