See also: Ellie’s essay about the project
I recently got this email about my project The Whale:
I am not a web developer or anything like that, but I am a person who has struggled with OCD and dyslexia for decades. A work like Moby Dick is normally not accessible to me because of the way I read. Your way of organizing it into small bitesize, all caps chunks has allowed me to enjoy this great literary work.
I know this is probably not what you had in mind when you wrote the code, but I wanted to thank you all the same.
I was floored. This is the most rewarding kind of feedback to get about a project.
And while that’s certainly not what I had in mind when I wrote the code, there is a part of me that enjoys the constant fidgeting with the text. All the clicking (or tapping) eases some part of my brain that might otherwise have me go impulsively check for new social media notifications.
I asked if there were any other texts that he might enjoy in this format, and then decided to generalize my project to show additional novels beyond Moby Dick. And so was born the project I’m now calling Linky. The current selection includes:
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
- Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
- Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
- A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
- The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Update: Added three more titles to the list.
If you have any ideas for other titles that might benefit from the Linky treatment, please let me know.
Update: since this was written, the
letsencrypt-auto script has improved significantly. When I tried it again today (December 8, 2015), the process was basically just cloning the GitHub repo and running
./letsencrypt-auto. I’ll leave the original (outdated) information here for posterity.
As of today phiffer.org is being served using SSL encryption thanks to a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt. It’s a recently launched service, sponsored by Mozilla and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (among others), intended to make HTTPS encryption ubiquitous on the web.
Let’s Encrypt is very new, and there are still some rough edges, but overall I’m impressed by how smoothly the process went. I wanted to document my experience, in case it’s helpful to others (and future-me). This post is a bit more technical than usual and, because the service is new, much of it may not be relevant very long into the future. That said, I hope this might offer some clues for folks trying to get up and running on HTTPS.
Yesterday I gave a talk at the Radical / Networks conference (which continues today!). There’s a bit near the beginning where my audio cuts out, but you can fill in the gaps by pressing ‘p’ (for presenter mode) on my slide deck.
I mention two books at the end that you can find here:
- The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor
- To Our Friends by The Invisible Committee
As a coding exercise for a course I’m teaching this semester I created this single-serving site serializing Moby Dick into tiny individual texts. Remember single-serving sites? Sadly many of those domains have expired, but one of the best of them—Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle—is still there, if a bit quaint. I ruthlessly stole the design.
The first workshop will show students how to create a website with shared hosting where students can learn how simple it is to start their own social network and edit pages with a shell account. In the second workshop, students will build a “darknet” or private network independent of the Internet. Using a simple wifi router, students will be able to communicate in an anonymous forum.
I have some resolutions for the new year. By posting them onto a public weblog I believe they become officially binding.
- Write more, and read more to improve my writing.
- Live more in each moment. To that end, be more aware of how my time is spent.
- No new projects. Focus instead on fixing and improving things I’ve already begun.
In 2014 Ellie and I exchanged resolutions. Three times a week we each have our respective tasks: I have a regimen of stretches and exercises, and she is supposed to meditate for 5 minutes. We began last January and have been offering each other reminders when we forget to keep up.
My exercises—along the lines of Pilates or Yoga—feel part of my routine now. It seems that one has stuck, and now the resolution has become unnecessary. That ought to be a meta-resolution each year.
Ellie also does her own stretches and exercises, but doesn’t need the same spousal nudge to keep up with her routine. For the sake of balance, I’ll throw in a bonus fourth 2015 resolution: also make time for meditation.
For an extra challenge we launched our weather balloon wifi rig at one of the most canine-dense areas of Central Park.
Twelve years ago, on May 26th, I registered the domain phiffer.org. It started out as a kind of online sketchbook. The first thing I posted here was an experiment in direct manipulation of the page. The point was to surprise visitors with an unexpected opportunity to create something. It’s a very crude drawing interface, and a bit pointless, but I’m amazed that it still works (for the most part). Go web standards!
The site has gone through many permutations since then, but it’s still primarily my online sketchbook. I’ve adopted a fairly conventional weblog format, but I’m still interested in exploring that element of surprise. I’d still like to try out some new things here. More to come!
Update: James reminded me of this box grid interface in the comments.
Looks like the last time I posted events here was in 2010, just before Bushwick Open Studios. Well it’s that time of year again!
- We Are All Anonymous, Tonight May 23rd, 7pm at Triple Canopy, 155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn, NY (sadly I won’t be able to make this, but it sounds awesome)
- Flux Death Match: The New Aesthetic, Wednesday May 30th, 8pm at Flux Factory, 39-31 29th Street, Long Island City
- Bushwick Open Studios 2012 with my Future Archaeology pals, June 1st and 2nd from 12–7pm. 1381 Myrtle Ave Apt 4C (entrance on Himrod St), near the Knickerbocker M train stop. I’ll be showing some of my recent photography work as well as Occupy.here.