Happy Birthday Mike!

My buddy Mike's birthday is today and he's turning 3 months older than me!

Happy Birthday Mike, I hope you have lots of fun playing with your balls.

Internet Draft: Comment systems

Having fired up the old blogging engine awhy hasn't that word died!? bAnd is this becoming some sort of running gag?, I now find myself wanting to comment on Rubenerd's latest post about enabling a commenting system, but find that due to lack of a comment system I cannot! And also having trashed both my Twitter and Facebook accounts in a single week, I now have NO CONCEIVABLE WAY to get in touch with the man. I mean, despite email and other antiquated ways of communication - should I perhaps be sending smoke signals?

No, email isn't public enough. A person cannot comment on another blogger's content from the detached privacy of an email - we are after all "civilised gentlemen" cWhich I must not be because I don't statically generate my content.


Comment of the day!

Comment of the Day by Mike Seyfang / CC BY 2.0

So consider this another comment in a long series of posts directly directed at Rubenerd. Tune out from here if you're not him, and have no interest in how he chooses to enable comments.

I shall tackle his so called "two options", and then suggest my own third option. I'll ignore that he presented his own third option, because that's thrown all my maths out and I can only count to many.

  1. Disqus: No. No. Don't do this. No. Do not use Disqus. Not because there's anything wrong with it necessarily, but don't change how you do things to make a couple of people slightly happier - you'll always feel dirty.
  2. A CMS: You could. But again, why change something that's working for youdputting aside that by suggesting you enable comments, that's exactly what asking you to do?

Your only real option is to take your comments outside your space.

  1. One option that comes to mind is something like /r/rubenerd on reddit. They have those new profiles now don't they? x-post everything onto your profile, and link to it at the end of your post.
    Pros: no changes to the way you write (much), potential for actual link karma, surely everyone has a reddit account right?
    Cons: you still don't own/control the platform and Reddit is most certainly mining their user's data in all the same ways Facebook has been. Might be an effort to moderate, or you might miss stuff if you're not a heavy Reddit user yourself.
  2. Pick some forum software or a microblogging platform like GNU Social or Mastodon and self host that, x-post to the site as suggested above. Enable Twitter/Facebook/Reddit logins so people don't have to register to your site to throw down a witty one-liner.
    Pros: Self hosted means it's your data and your readers can have a say in what happens to it. You get to decide how it's shown - write a back end script that pulls comments in on a cron and adds them to the static site, use some Javascript ewith a safe word, or just link to it and let people free-for-all
    Cons: It's a hassle and no one will use it.
  3. Keep going as you are now. Use Twitter. I'll keep responding from here and other people can find ways they feel comfortable to respond.
    Pros: Really easy.
    Cons: I don't get to commentfthis may be a pro.
  4. If you're mirroring your repo online, give people the link and let them clone and send you pull requests with their comments.
    Pros: Only dedicated idiots will comment.
    Cons: Only dedicated idiots will comment. You'd have to set up a template/rules for comments. It's a fucking ridiculous idea.
  5. Build some sort of federated commenting system that would allow someone like me to make a comment on their own site and have it salmon'ed to yours. Frankly, I don't think this would work with your current system and would probably be difficult to integrate without a CMS. I've been playing with Keybase which has a flat-file system integrated - you could join a trusted blogging network and use that to allow comments somehow.

I'm partial to the reddit idea, and might start doing it myself. I've also thought about setting up Mastodon and using that instead of Twitter. I also have a GNU Social instance running, but it's kind of a bummer without many people to follow.

All these options are making me want to turn my own comments off, just to force some creativity. I'm looking forward to seeing what Rubenerd does.

Discuss on Reddit... IF YOU DARE

Quickedit: This page on Hugo suggests Staticman which looks pretty neat. Integrated with Jekyll, which I know you're not using any more, but could be integrated into Hugo.

Asides   [ + ]

a. why hasn't that word died!?
b. And is this becoming some sort of running gag?
c. Which I must not be because I don't statically generate my content
d. putting aside that by suggesting you enable comments, that's exactly what asking you to do
e. with a safe word
f. this may be a pro

Milestone: 445 Posts!

This was going to be a post for my 500th published... post. 500 is a big milestone. So I've been cleaning up my site, migrating and consolidating AWS S3 buckets and setting up https hosting on one for some of the images and videos I've posted here in the past.



500 steps forward, 55 steps back. That's how that saying goes right?

But as I've been cleaning, I've discovered lots of old photos and short text posts that were imported through various automatic processes, like Flickr photos that were imported for a while when I tweeted them, or things I reblogged from other sites with dubious attribution.

So I've been judiciously killing them, and very rarely re-instating posts I never published (or only ever published on Facebook).

Which has all brought me to the much less auspicious count of a 445 post milestone for my return to bloggingaI will find a better word one day, mark my... word.

Hooray! Here's to 445 more! And then 110 more after that so that I reach a more rounded number. bRubenerd can find meaning in all sorts of post numbers, maybe he can help me out here.

Asides   [ + ]

a. I will find a better word one day, mark my... word
b. Rubenerd can find meaning in all sorts of post numbers, maybe he can help me out here.

Dashing Dynamic Duo


Batman and Robin Comic Book Logo
...Running

I once did a post about the old-old Batman and Robin Serial and took some screen-caps from the episodes. One of them has proven quite popular around the internet and has been used by sits like Cracked awith added cheese for any post that needs a picture of Batman and Robin running.

I wondered why it was so popular, till I realised just how iconic that image is, even if I can't think of a particular example. So after some research, here's a compilation of images of Batman and Robin running from different media.


Batman (1966
Bam! Kapow!

First up is Adam West and Burt Ward running to the UN to save some diplomats from being powdered by their greatest foes. I think they'd gotten stuck in traffic?

I can't find any images from the original comics, but I'll keep my eye out for them and put them up as they come. The closest I could find was this vintage 1966 Japanese comic cover. This is the Adam West era as you can tell by the eyebrows on the cowl band by having seen quite a few 'shops in my time.


Japanese Picture Book
Vintage 1966 Japanese Picture Book

Despite the lack of direct comic book proof, I submit this retro t-shirt design, and you tell me if it doesn't trigger a memory of something in your brain. You know this is a classic image. If you've come to realise the iconic-ness of the image of the Dynamic Duo running, you can buy this t-shirt and wear it proudly.


Batman and Robin Running T-Shirt
Mil... Can I have some cash?

Or if that doesn't convince you that Batman and Robin hoofing it is one of pop-culture's most classic images, try this piece from the 2007 Singapore Design Festival. Once glance and you immediately get it don't you? Because it's classic.


to_the_rescue_by_Draken413o
Rescue Zone

Here they are running in Batman: The Animated Series.


Batman Animated Adventures
Animated!

Followed by an awesome wallpaper by BobbyRubio on Deviantart.


Midnight Run by BobbyRubio
Out for a Midnight Run

The next is Batman and Nightwing, but as Nightwing started out as Robin cdon't even get me started, I figured it was an homage to the idea and therefore valid.


Batman Hush
Batman Hush

Which leads nicely into this one, which is the New Batman and Robin, who are Dick Grayson (the original Robin nee Nightwing) and Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne's son dI said, don't get me started.... So the image comes full circle to the next generation.


Batman and Robin 19
Batman The Next Generation

And for gamers, Batman and Robin in the best Batman video game adaptation of all time.


Lego Batman
Arkham Who?

Finally, I leave you with Batman and Robin from the end of Batman Forever movie from 1995.


Batman Forever Ending Scene
This movie is now only remembered as not being as bad as the next one

Asides   [ + ]

a. with added cheese
b. and by having seen quite a few 'shops in my time
c. don't even get me started
d. I said, don't get me started...

Software death

Over on Rubenerd aone of the last remaining bloggers, Ruben is upset about the death of his favourite feed reader, the Digg Reader.

First of all, who knew Digg still had products that people wanted to use. Second, I'm sort of in the same boat myself. Having just killed my Facebook account, while simultaneously soul searching about what I really want from social media, I've thought that maybe I can go back to consuming RSS feeds like I used to.

Only, I've logged into my self-hosted instance of Fever and fired up the beautifully made Press only to discover that Fever was shuttered and Press hasn't been updated since 2014. Which isn't a huge deal for now, as both still work (although Press can't be found without a direct link), and they both work as well as they did two or three years ago when I stopped using them. The problem is - if I start using them again, relying on them like I used to rely on Google Reader (or as Rubenerd relied on Digg Reader) what will happen when they finally actually die like they inevitably will?

Ruben added a pretty exhaustive list of self hosted software including feed readers, which I will certainly go through and take a look at, but teasing out the right replacement is going to be a pain considering I need to ensure:

  • The software works well and is pretty (I can't pretend I can use functional ugly software).
  • There's an equally well made Android client so I can read on the bus.
  • I can install it on my rudimentary cPanel hosting that may or may not allow Ruby/Python etc, but will handle PHP like a champ.

And finally, breaking out of my dot-points into a fully fledged paragraph - I'm not certain a plain feed reader is going to cut it for me any more. When I said I'd been thinking about what I want from social media, I realised that Facebook was not doing it for me because it was full of the opinions of my friends and family, and not a lot more. People might have been posting stuff, but the Facebook algorithm was letting me down, and only showing me page after page of stuff I just wasn't interested in bno offence everyone!.

On the flip side, I use Reddit a lot, and the thing that has me wasting hours of my life there is that it surfaces the quality stuff that thousands, or tens of thousands of people have upvoted from thousands of different communities all in one place. So I can flip from reading a joke, to watching a Russian dashcam, to poring over an article about some new scientific discovery all from a single app. It means I'm not reading the same type of stuff over and over cok, yes I'm not counting reposted content here, but a massive and diverse range of opinion and types of content from all over the world. And I just don't think there are any other sites quite like it.

Again, there's nothing that means I need to replace Reddit today either, just like I don't need to ditch the feed reader that's still working, but I also didn't have to ditch Facebook when I did. But I truly believe as responsible modern citizens we need to make better choices about where our software takes us, and the technology we use to get there. Part of that is to stop using stuff that frustrates us, when the only reason we keep doing it is because everyone else is.

So I'm looking for the next Reddit, the next Facebook and the next feed reader all in one. Something that can keep me in touch with people I know and love, but also give me more of what other people I don't know find funny or sad or inspiring. If something like this already exists, please let me know. If not, I'll be waiting over here using technology that just hasn't figured out its days are numbered.

Asides   [ + ]

a. one of the last remaining bloggers
b. no offence everyone!
c. ok, yes I'm not counting reposted content here

Mandatory Detention of Asylum Seeker Children

I'm livid lately at the state of this country's politics, and the reason is this government's absolutely disgraceful reaction to the Human Rights Commission report into the children in detention.

Tony Abbott is a fool and an incompetent, but the vast majority of the front bench are much much worse. Not because they are idiots, but because they have proven themselves to be heartless pieces of filth.

If you haven't already, take the time to read just the findings of the report. It's a small list, but it cuts to the heart of the problems with keeping kids in detention.

"The overarching finding of the Inquiry is that the prolonged, mandatory detention of asylum seeker children causes them significant mental and physical illness and developmental delays, in breach of Australia’s international obligations.

The following is a snapshot of the findings:

  • Children in immigration detention have significantly higher rates of mental health disorders than children in the Australian community.
  • Both the former and current Ministers for Immigration agreed that holding children for prolonged periods in remote detention centres, does not deter people smugglers or asylum seekers. There appears to be no rational explanation for the prolonged detention of children.
  • The right of all children to education was denied for over a year to those held on Christmas Island.
  • The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, as the guardian of unaccompanied children, has failed in his responsibility to act in their best interests.
  • The Commonwealth’s decision to use force to transfer children on Christmas Island to a different centre breached their human rights.
  • The numerous reported incidents of assaults, sexual assaults and self-harm involving children indicate the danger of the detention environment.
  • At least 12 children born in immigration detention are stateless, and may be denied their right to nationality and protection.
  • Dozens of children with physical and mental disabilities are detained for prolonged periods.
  • Some children of parents assessed as security risks have been detained for over two years without hope of release.
  • Children detained indefinitely on Nauru are suffering from extreme levels of physical, emotional, psychological and developmental distress."

The findings damn both this government AND the previous one, and make some serious recommendations for improving the situation. That this government has chosen to attack rather than listen has removed the last rational hope that we aren't being led by heartless disgusting monsters. Abbott shooting his mouth off is the least of the problems.

Scott Morrison has failed these children, and we're told he should be thanked! They accuse a respected Human Rights lawyer of partisan bias intending to occlude any introspection, while admitting that they haven't bothered to read it! They offer her a new job just weeks before the release of the report, and they smirk about it while testifying that she wanted it. I'm angry that all I can do is write on Facebook. I'm angry that people who voted for Abbott think that he's the main problem. Or Peta Credlin, Or partisan politics.

The problem is that discourse in this country is games and intrigue instead of vision and accountability. No one is doing it right, and Australia's soul is turning black while kids suffer and their parents face bleak hopeless futures. And none of my friends are to blame. None of you wanted this either. What do you do about it that I should be doing? Where do we go from here instead of impotently raging online? I needed to get this off my chest, and I do so knowing that I'm not helping, and I'm not improving the level of discourse by blaming Liberal voters. I'm sorry if I've offended.

I want to know that other people are thinking about this too, and I want people to know the facts, not the nonsense that our politicians want people to believe.

That Damn Basset Hound Again

I just got my first actual real life death threat in a comment on my oh-so-stupid-I-wish-I-hadn't-written-it Fred Basset post. It was a dumb post I wrote back when I was desperate for stuff to write about, and I regret writing it so poorly. While I stand by the basic sentiment - so I won't delete it - it reads like it was written by a Youtube commenter and makes me cringe knowing that it's cluttering up my site.

The worst part about it is the post accounts for about 3% of my search traffic and 3% of the comments I get. That doesn't sound like much, but most of the other stuff I write doesn't get nearly the same amount of interaction. And I still get comments on it now, about a 50/50 split of agreement and disagreement - it was highly controversial obviously.

And today I got another comment ending with the following death threat:

DO NOT mess with bassets again, or i will have to kill you. ruby

Of course, this chills me to my core, but I believe so strongly how bad Fred Basset is, that I will not be frightened into submission.

Sorry Ruby, I won't be publishing your comments, nor that of the other person who left a comment. I just don't care enough. I have other things I've written that are more important to me. Things about my life and family, or my ongoing sci-fi serial about Rex Havoc that's at least as funny as Fred Basset.

What I'm trying to say is, I want to put Fred Basset to bed please. If you love him, that's great. Have a great time! Why my opinion matters to you I cannot fathom. Just enjoy yourself.

And don't threaten me.

mac osx/win7

I became an "Apple fanboy" while doing a film making course. The course used Macs for editing, and at the time (about 8 years ago now) they were really the most reliable editing platform. Unless you had a high end PC, your home computer would not run video smoothly enough to edit without choppyness and dropped frames. Every Mac had firewire too, making the capture smoother on that platform. When I got my own editing rig, it was a Mac.

I kinda lost sight of how I came to be an Apple user, and started believing it was the better OS, or the innovation that set them apart from their competition. I still believe OSX is miles ahead of anything Microsoft is currently selling, but recently come to realise what it was that REALLY made me proud to be a Mac user. For the last ten years they've kept moving.

I'm not having a go at Microsoft here, although to some degree they deserve it. I could never understand why some people perpetually bashed Apple, and stuck by Microsoft despite no new desktop products (worth mentioning) for at least 7 years. They had as many rabid fans as Apple, but for no good reason I could tell. More importantly, I couldn't put my finger on why it irked me. Certainly I had come to realise that you could do the same work on both machines, and with a lot of new "internet based software" could almost run completely on Firefox (or Opera) on any platform and not notice the difference. Why did it bug me that people were so fanatically devoted to Microsoft when they had such boring desktop products.

A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced and proudly showed off their successor to Vista: Windows 7. Despite the lacklustre name, the product looks solid, and even has some new features that most people would not have seen in a Desktop Operating System before. I might even go so far as to say that I'm truly excited for it. Far more so than I was for the release of Vista.

It was at that point that I struck upon why it baffled me that people were so dedicated to XP. Why it bamboozled me that people felt the need to make excuses for Vista. I can't understand why people are so stuck on old technology. Why they can't see the inherent awesomeness of new technology. These people aren't real technologists.

There. I said it.

With technology changing so fast, you can't afford to be wedded to old technology if you want to keep up. I'm sure I'll be accused of chasing shiny things, but I think it's more than that. I'm not one to switch to the latest and greatest just because it's new, unless it actually is the greatest. The balance here becomes evaluating the new technology and making a rational decision based on actual experience. A person who claims to love technology, but can't see beyond the interface to see the inherent value in a new technology shouldn't be saying anything.

Of course I'm not saying that you should give every new technology a free pass. This isn't about loving something new becuase it's new, but rather evaluating it based on it's potential.

Guessing Game

Playing a guessing game with Amelynne:


Me:
It's big and grey.

Am:
A kangaroo?

Me:
No, but good guess. It's got big ears.

Am:
A kangaroo?

Me:
Nope. It's got big feet.

Am:
It's got to be a kangaroo.

Me:
Well, no. It's got a big nose.

Am:
A hairdresser?