I’m Jamie Thingelstad, and this is the Weekly Thing. You signed up on my website. If you’d like to unsubscribe, just click that link. One-click, all done, goodbye. 👋
Well, this is a little odd, what day is it? Yeah, it’s Sunday. What is the Weekly Thing doing landing in your mailbox on Sunday?
This week was MEA break for Minnesota schools. We rented an RV and headed out on a 5-day trip in Northern Minnesota. The whole trip was cold, really cold. Temperatures were in the mid-30’s each day. All was fine and then Friday we drove from Grand Marais to Grand Rapids. We were going to see my brother and his family and spend the night parked at their cabin. Then we realized there was a Winter Snow Advisory in effect and that 3-5 inches of snow were coming starting at 5am and lasting all day.
We decided to call an audible and change plans. We didn’t want to be driving a rented RV through snow, and the forecast called for slippery roads. We ended up having dinner at Sammy’s in Grand Rapids and then doing another 90 minutes of driving to Cross Lake where our car was to return the RV. We spent the night in a parking lot and woke up to wet snow falling.
So, instead of getting the Weekly Thing out on Friday night we drove, got things ready to clear out in the morning, and head home a day early from our trip. Now that we are unthawed and back home, here is your very special Sunday Weekly Thing. 🥶
I’ve been writing on the internet in various forms for two decades and I have enjoyed the process and the outcomes. Hopefully a few of you have enjoyed it to. I love this call to action specifically about writing, but in general creating. Taking time to create is important.
Before proceeding further, I must make one thing clear. While I personally prefer writing, the message here is to create stuff.
Create art, design album covers, shoot vlogs, record podcasts, write code. The focus is on creation, and becoming a creator in a world where most people are only consuming.
Yes. Spending time creating is good for your brain, good for your network, and good for your community.
The only way to become a valuable node is by pushing/publishing/releasing value into the web. But like an ocean, a drop won’t be noticed by anybody. You need a pond where you can make a splash.
This is a great reason to create a home and start playing. A blog or newsletter is an amazing place to start.
Yet another article from a woman that shared a fun video, the kind of thing that shouldn’t be a big deal at all, and receives the most horribly sexist comments in return. Men reading this commentary, please stop immediately and click on this article and read it all. The comments and reactions to this are unacceptable, and it is a problem for men to solve.
The thundering upper falls of the Temperance River. Long exposure taken with Spectre. You can also see it in motion.
Oct 16, 2020 at 1:21 PM
Temperance River State Park
Superior Hiking Trail
Schroeder MN 55613
Your friends already read this? 👯♀️
Recommend it to strangers, have them join us here, and you’ll be BFF’s forever!
Epic (23 “pages”) review of the newest iterations of iOS and iPadOS. If you want to know all the details, and every new thing, this is the one to read. I love how obsessive Federico Viticci is on these.
Great overview of the new iPhone 12 models. I like that the new mini option is out there. That isn’t for me, but I think a lot of people may like that. I’m pretty sure if my daughter were to buy her own phone it would be the mini. The new camera system in the 12 Pro is again very cool. As a pro-am photographer I really would like to make the jump. I’m bothered that the 12 Pro Max has an even better option for lenses, and I cannot deal with that size. Those are way too big for me to carry with me. The addition of LiDAR for the camera should result is some amazing computational options.
I have one of these and it is a great conversation piece. But it takes a lot of room.
If you’re used to immersion cold brew, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised how bright this cold brew tastes in comparison. It’s more akin to the taste you’d expect out of a regular brewed coffee.
Social media is a place where thoughtful debate goes to turn into thermonuclear flame wars, or just blocking people. This website takes a very cool approach of hosting a dialog, actually in the form of letters, between two people debating a topic. Wow. This format brings civility. I love how this structure allows for a more productive conversation. Good content, and good learnings on how to structure a civil engagement.
Jules Pieri was co-founder of The Grommet until earlier this summer and she recently went on an epic road trip. I love the things she spotlights here. I’m very jealous that she got to see the Buffalo Roundup, that is on my list of things to see. She also went to Snooze in Denver which we’ve been to as well, it’s amazing. 👏
Building technology inevitably also involves running that technology 24x7, and that involves having some form of on-call so that things that weren’t supposed to happen can be dealt with. Many good thoughts on this. I don’t think I would agree with the idea of opt-in, but the rest of it is good. In general, make sure that the cause and effect of issues is as close to the creators as possible. If you do this, problems tend to improve on their own.
I’ve done this myself not just in Git but you can do a very similar thing with Wiki pages. Nearly all (all?) Wikis track changes on every revision and if you write a simple script to pull data and update the page regularly the changeog gives you the exact details on what is changing.
Gruber essentially suggesting that Facebook is a sort of honeypot to highlight this a activity in society and allow it to be reckoned with. I highly doubt that will be the case.
I like this focused way of thinking of simple. I’ve been in a number of situations where the desire has been to make something simpler, but it’s not always clear exactly how to achieve that. Bringing in a conceptual model is a great way to approach this.
When we want something to be simpler, what we truly need is a better conceptual model of it. Once we know how to use them, complex tools end up making our lives simpler because they provide the precise functionality we want.
Some things are complex by nature. Not everything is simple. Professional tools are a good example of that.
Removing functionality doesn’t make something simpler, because it removes options. Simple tools have a limited ability to simplify processes. Trying to do something complex with a simple tool is more complex than doing the same thing with a more complex tool.
Like anyone I find myself worrying at times. Sometimes the worry doesn’t resolve and you can obsess on it. I’ve never actually sit down and written it down but I like the approach here.
Worrying is psychologically draining, but when you do it on paper — in a worry journal, you stop yourself from spending a lot of time in your head stressing about everything that could go wrong.
Anytime you write something down you allow yourself to “self coach” and objectively look at the information. I know this works, I’ve used it myself for many things. You could also say that GTD and it’s focus on getting things out of your head is a form of this type of activity too.
Writing down your worries forces you to slow down — which can make think a bit clearer and often opens up a bit of space for reflection, meditation and positive thinking.
I’ve never thought of a worry journal, but it’s an interesting idea.
I love that the Semantic Web is still beating along, like the Little Engine that could. 🚂 While the massive closed social networks are a step backward in many ways, some of the global metadata that sites have adopted for them help the Semantic Web as well. Continued use of structured data in markup, speficially with microformats, seems like a very pragmatic and effective way for the semantic web to continue it’s slow, but perhaps unstoppable, march.
This is so delightful, a historical deep dive on the asterisk and it’s various uses. This is the kind of thing that makes me love the Internet all over again. *
I was at Dow Jones in 2007 when Paul Steiger stepped down as Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal. After that he went on to found ProPublica and it has grown into a very serious news organization built on a non-profit foundation. It is impressive to see it’s continued growth and expansion. A good sign in what can be a bleak media landscape.
A new Edward Tufte masterpiece to add to the existing set. These books are gorgeously printed and are very nearly pieces of artwork on their own. And just in time for Christmas! 🎁
Thursday @ 9:04 PM
There is an official station to take a selfie with Split Rock Lighthouse, so we had to stop and take one! Look close on right side of photo for lighthouse. #MNStateParkLife
Thursday @ 8:59 PM
Gooseberry Falls was great today. Great sights. Lots of fun hopping around rocks. Even with cold weather still a lot of fun.
Thursday @ 8:51 PM
Mandatory stop at Betty’s Pies outside of Two Harbors. We got Blueberry, Strawberry Rhubarb, Toffee, and Butterfinger slices to have after dinner. Good pie, but they are struggling with their process. Took over 30 mins to get our order.
Thursday @ 7:47 PM
Always stop at Great Lakes Candy Kitchen on the North Shore. Business still thriving and adapted to pandemic. Delicious chocolate. Yum.
Thursday @ 7:44 PM
Lunch at New Scenic Cafe is a must do for us when we visit the North Shore. They have an outside operation during the pandemic and many spots with fires going to keep you warm.
Thursday @ 7:21 PM
Dinner in Grand Marais at Voyageur Brewing Company. Drinking limited release Devil’s Kettle Dry Hopped with Galaxy Hops, in the room it was brewed. 🍺
Wednesday @ 9:00 PM
We went to Ursa Minor Brewing to get pizza and a drink while we waited outside. I had the Blackberry Shenanigans sour and it was delicious. The pizza was very good too! Happy to have fires to keep warm too. 🍕🍻🍬
Wednesday @ 8:51 PM
Rain made our stop at Jay Cooke State Park’s Swinging Bridge far too short. The light was really cool, and the scenery was awesome. We are going to come back tomorrow!
Wednesday @ 8:45 PM
Rainy drive from Cross Lake to Duluth. 🌧
Wednesday @ 8:43 PM
Picked up the Winnebago View for our 5-day road trip. Initial impression of the View is positive. It feels very spacious when the extension is out. The couch/Murphy bed is nice. Drives very well. Looks good too.
Wednesday @ 12:16 PM
“A Day In The Life” photo challenge submission from Garrison, MN (46.293720,-93.823915) at 12:09 PM CT. 48 ℉. Giant fish sculpture along Mille Lacs Lake. #adayinthelife
Tuesday @ 10:10 PM
Tomorrow we are renting this fabulous 2018 Winnebago View and going on a short loop around Northern Minnesota. Duluth, Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, and Park Rapids. It’s going to be a chilly MEA trip! 🥶
Tuesday @ 10:51 AM
The daily chart from The Economist showing the price ranges of the iPhone since launch puts some perspective on the price of the newest iPhones, as we wait for todays announcement of the next new iPhone.
Sunday @ 9:14 PM
Facebook and Twitter Have Lost Control
From recent actions I think that we must conclude that Facebook and Twitter have now explicitly acknowledged that their platforms are being used in ways they do not understand, are not able to manage, and without a doubt have an impact in elections. To most people this has been obvious for years, but they have hid behind many excuses to try and avoid any accountability. These two headlines are two days apart.
Oct 7: Facebook Widens Ban on Political Ads as Alarm Rises Over Election
Oct 9: Twitter Will Turn Off Some Features to Fight Election Misinformation
Both of these companies are finally admitting that they are not able to fix the problem here. They have built platforms that others have weaponized, and they are unable to fix it. I think it is important to highlight here that I think Kara Swisher has it right when she emphasizes that people are not abusing these platforms, they are using them exactly as they were intended to be used. Nobody has been hacked. These systems were built to surveil their users, catalog their interests, and then alter your intentions in the direction of an advertiser. The part nobody seems to have considered is that while some people want to sell you toothpaste, others may want to sell you a destabilized government or some deep state conspiracy theory.
The real question here is can they be fixed? If the flaw isn’t an abuse, but is instead an intended use, what is there to fix?
I am happy to see that we’ve finally left the realm of these for profit companies cloaking themselves in First Amendment rights and disavowing that they have any impact in something like an election. (Funny isn’t it that they certainly would be clear that they can get you to buy a different toothpaste though. Those T-Rex arms in full effect.)
I’m in the camp that for Facebook I don’t think there is a fix. I think there is a fatal component in their design and at the scale they are today it cannot be undone. Twitter on the hand I do think could be fixed. Make all accounts cost $5 or $10 a month. At that price bots go away. Get rid of the active users metric that makes them magically inept at finding bot accounts. Get rid of retweets without an additional comment. And clean up the dark corners filled with hate, racism and sexist garbage. Mostly Twitter is small enough that it could still be fixed, and the core user base is addicted enough that they would pay and if 90% of of the garbage accounts went away none of the core users would know anyway.
I love to see some of these early Internet activities being saved from the bit bucket. 🙌
Okay, this is pretty whacky. I never ever considered using a web browser in this way. 🤔
This is a cool looking git app, but what I’m digging even more is how the command line completion works. I’d love to see that copied by other command line tools. 😲
Python continuing to evolve and improve with each iteration, even with Guido out of the picture.
These images are absolutely stunning. Wow. 😲
My good friend Anna sent me this reflection from Michael Harding in The Irish Times in reply to Weekly Thing #158.
In the old days I’d sit in the garden on the first of May and sing, “Mary we crown thee with blossoms today.”
But that had to stop. Covid-19 has tempered my exuberance even though the fields still turn white with daisies and flowers drip off the hawthorn, like snow falling from every branch.
The blackbirds sing to me. And the robin flits in and out of the beech hedge with kisses for his beloved. Even magpies cackle in the high spruce tree, making their own music.
There is a bird box on the alder tree. Not that any bird ever laid an egg in it. They probably think it’s an airbnb nest, so they just come for a few hours and go away.
The hen harrier is a quiet ghost; she glides across the sky above the cliff in silence. But last week seagulls arrived from Sligo and they cackled and cawed over my head for the afternoon, like an unruly stag party in Carrick-on-Shannon. And as for me, I have nothing to sing about.
At the start of the lockdown I had hot flushes and violent nightmares that I wouldn’t dare share with a psychotherapist. As the weather improved I loitered in the garden imagining angels and saints whispering in the trees. Although I wouldn’t tell that to a therapist either. I was just trying to find ways of coping with stress; and I wasn’t the only one in that camp.
“I’m hanging in there,” one woman shouted at me through the window of her Berlingo at the beginning of the lockdown. She’s a singer, and often attends the Joe Mooney Summer School in Drumshanbo.
“Just hanging in there,” she repeated. “I have plenty to read but I’m cut off from my partner, and I’m dying for a good… encounter.”
She didn’t actually say “encounter”. In fact the word she used was the one that rhymes with “duck”. She’s not a woman that bothers with coy innuendos.
“He’s in England,” she said, “and there’s only so much you can do on Zoom.
That night I found her on YouTube, singing an English ballad and it made me long for the happy days of last summer, when business people polished their doorknobs and shop counters with quiet confidence and musicians washed their faces, opened flute cases, guitar cases and readied themselves for festivals. Hairy old banjo players in camper vans coasted up and down the byways of western counties, while young married couples went hunting for set dancing workshops, and sean-nós sessions or just somewhere to park the children for a week.
Everyone was innocent before Covid-19. Everyone squashed together in pubs and lounges; bare-shouldered women rubbed against the elbows of old flute players as the crowd at the bar waited like sardines for tunes to be flung out. Pipers strapped up and scattered their reels as pints rested on low tables and everyone bowed as if in a church. I used to think the music could never stop; it was the heartbeat of the world. If the music stopped, I thought, then the world would end.
I remember meeting a group of men on a beach in Tenerife one summer selling towels and suffering under the noonday sun. They came from west Africa but in the cool of the evening I saw them sit in quiet cafes on back streets playing music for each other as they pined for their homeland.
I met a nun in Mongolia one time who longed for Tibet as she sat beside me in the back of a jeep and sang Michael Jackson songs as if they were slow airs.
And one night in west Cavan an emigrant home from Melbourne sang the Hills of Donegal with such honesty that nobody could follow him until tea was made to draw a line under his loneliness.
But no lament or dirge can be sung yet, for the hurt in the world caused by Covid-19. Perhaps the day will come, many years into the future, when voices in shaded bars across the planet and in pubs on the wild Atlantic way will sing new ballads and laments for all that passed in this dark year.
But it’s just too early yet. We haven’t a clue what may be still to come. So we must leave it to the wild birds this summer to cry on the wind in the hills above Lough Allen, or in the gardens of suburbia, assuring us that the heart of the world still beats with unbending love.
Fred liked my photo for the Weekly Thing #160, but he did an edit on it that made it even better. Here is the original
Here is Fred’s edit.
Definitely improved. I shared with Fred that I took that shot very fast. There were a lot of people around and I was a little worried someone may not appreciate a drone buzzing around. It was also dusk and I was having a hard time keeping my eye on it. To top it off, there were some decent wind gusts. So I popped it up as fast as I could, snapped a couple of pictures, and brought it back down.
Learning from this email? 🤔
Help others learn by sharing on LinkedIn.
You’ve made it all the way to the end! 👏 Here is your fortune for this week.
Don’t kiss an elephant on the lips today.
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I’ve been an active blogger since 2004. I’ve been microblogging via Twitter and my websites since 2006. My link blog goes back to 2005. I think about the Internet and our use of it over decades and am focused on preserving the personal and non-commercial parts of the Internet as well as the corporate and governmental parts. I’m a long-time supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons and Internet Archive as well as other organizations that work on this.