El Reg: ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was 2016’s fake news

The Register has a refreshing take on the whole AI Thing.

Rigging for the long dark

I subscribe to Warren Ellis’ Orbital Operations newsletter, his regular Sunday rundown on where he’s at and what he’s doing. I always intended this site to work in a similar fashion to the warrenellis.com of old, a hark back to an earlier, slightly wilder web, and OO, for me at least, feels like a weekly best-of of that site.

Anyway, in this week’s edition, he refers to preparing for Autumn as “rig[ging] for the long dark” as opposed to Spring cleaning. That appeals to me at a very base level, that hunkering down and hiding from the encroaching darkness and sitting by the fire, spices and smoke in the air.

I’ve been on a four week death march for work, and have escaped to France for a week to unwind and see old friends. It’ll be good for me, and when I return I’ll be bouncing straight out to Ireland for DrupalCon, to learn and connect and embed in a new ecosystem. I’m looking forward to that, but for this week I am planning on burying myself in cheese and wine.

Ars Technica: Guardian of the GPL: Online advertising is becoming “a perfect despotism”

Online advertising: frogmarching us ever forward into the grim meathook future?

Twenty nine

Greetings from Rhodes; we’re spending my birthday in Lindos, where Nim’s family have been visiting since the dark ages but I’ve been catching up on the fun for the last couple of years. I’m writing this from a sunny rooftop, on the WordPress app on my iPhone.

I survived another year. Hello.

Return to sender

“Postcard’s failure may be an indication that people are still not ready for decentralized social networking, where you host your own data and distribute it to third-party social networks at will.”

There’s more to it than that, I think, but it does tie in neatly to my previous post about IndieWeb. I’d like to think there’s a future for this kind of thinking, but the licensed content model might not be it.


I’ve been looking at what the IndieWeb guys have been doing, and so far I’m pretty impressed. It’s still perhaps a little too geek-centric for the normal people to grok, but that’s a matter of education and UX more than technology. Still, the personal-site-as-homepage harkens back to the early days of the web, which gives me a nice warm feeling.

Whatever happened to Diaspora? I’ll have to look that up again, although if I recall correctly the underpinning idea wasn’t too far off what BuddyPress has become.

Switching from Sublime to Atom

I switched from Sublime Text to Atom a few months ago, more on a whim than because I was dissatisfied with ST3. It’s hurtling towards its 1.0 release, at which point it will be deemed ‘stable’ by the core team.

It feels like the future of this kind of tool, because it uses the same technologies that underpin the modern web itself. You could build Atom with Atom. That’s pretty neat, in and of itself. I know it’s not unique – Brackets does the same thing, for instance – but the implementation is intuitive and generally pretty great.

It’s hard to nail down what draws me to Atom over Sublime. On the surface level, I found the learning curve of Sublime too high to delve very deeply into its customisation. Atom is laid out bare. Your favourite front-end framework doesn’t have a snippets library for Atom yet? Making one yourself is as smooth and painless as I’ve come across for that level of personal tooling. Want to inject some of your personality into your editor? Get hacking on the CSS. Not happy with a keyboard shortcut? Changing it is easy. It’s all right there.

But I think there’s something else. It’s not just about the technology, or the hackability of the thing – it has a really great feel. It feels like Slack or Dropbox, or Github itself. Modern and slick and well-built, friendly and inviting with being toylike or feeling underpowered. When you spend all day in front of a tool, that kind of thing goes beyond mere fripperies like usability or convenience and ascends it to something closer to joy.

Turbines to speed

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve built this site.

I mean seriously; I’m a web developer, this should have been done and dusted years ago. Problem is that I’m also my own worst client and every time I think I’ve nailed it into place, it slips away from me and I have to start again at square one. It’s a pretty classic designers’ dilemma.

So in the end I decided to hack together a Twenty Fifteen child theme and just get the hell on with it. It’s about the words, after all, and the WordPress core team has forgotten more about building blogs than I will ever learn, so why reinvent the wheel?

So here we are.