Charles Perry’s microblog

Charles Perry has started a microblog. On the balance of what he should post to Twitter and what he should post to his own site first, he writes:

“Most of the things I write on Twitter are snippets of conversations or other thoughts that I don’t necessarily want to preserve. Those will stay on Twitter. But some microposts—is that a thing?—I think are of interest on their own. These I plan to post to the DazeEnd.org microblog and mirror to Twitter. That should allow me to preserve and archive my thoughts on my own website and use Twitter just for distribution.”

I was really happy to see these posts show up in my RSS reader. There’s some momentum around indie microblogging right now. You should start one too.

Here are some more of my posts on the topic:

Listeners of my new Timetable podcast also know that I’m writing a short book about independent microblogging. You can hear a little about this on episode 9.

Introduced more bugs in my cross-posting logic. This is one of those rare pieces of code that actually needs good unit tests.

→ 2016/02/05 7:52 am

Core Intuition 218

On this week’s Core Intuition:

“Manton and Daniel talk about Apple’s current and future stock price, and their potential to branch out into other technologies such as virtual reality. They discuss Facebook’s shuttering of Parse and the implications for iOS developers and Facebook’s PR. Finally, they respond to listener Q&A about getting up to speed on using and implementing your own web services.”

Toward the end of the show, I also discuss my approach to password-less accounts for Searchpath and my not-quite-released latest web app. While still far from perfect, I think getting away from passwords is an important next step for apps. Passwords are just too annoying for users to keep track of and enter, and a potential security issue and headache for system administrators.

Found an old EC2 instance and couple EBS volumes to delete, to trim my AWS monthly bill. Really just using S3 now.

→ 2016/02/04 12:42 pm

The new Day One release reminded me I’ve wanted to import some entries from our Europe vacation blog last summer into Day One as an extra copy. Highly recommend private family blogs as a way to remember a trip and share with others.

→ 2016/02/04 10:40 am

Cute release notes

Ben Brooks takes on the trend of cute stories inside of release notes:

“With disturbingly increasing frequency, companies are deciding to let their marketing departments handle their release notes instead of the engineering team or product manager.”

I agree. These were fun at first, but the release notes don’t need to be entertainment. They should be a summary of what changed, with bullet points for key changes. (A single “bug fixes” line is also not helpful.)

I personally like to start each line with a clear statement: “Fixed <something>” or “Added <this feature>” or “Improved <something else> by <doing this>”. You can see this in the history of my Tweet Library release notes, for example.

Microphone and microcast details

A few weeks ago I started a new short-form podcast called Timetable. Each episode is 3-5 minutes. It has been really fun to record the show because I can try new things without investing too much time.

One goal from the very beginning was to record from iOS so that I could easily record outside the house. I wanted not just the flexibility to be away from my computer, but a stereo microphone that could capture some of the surrounding environment, to give it a more informal feel. (I’m actually cheating in some cases and using multiple tracks, to make editing easier, but I think the effect works. All the episodes have been exported to mono so far, though.)

I ordered this cheap iPhone microphone for testing — only $10 when I ordered it! — and figured after some experiments with my iPhone 4S, I would invest in something new. I liked it enough that I’m still using the mic with my 5S via a Lightning cable adapter. I’m also using a foam pop filter that I already had from a previous old mic.

Microphone

This may be the single best value in a tech gadget I’ve ever purchased. Total cost for producing the podcast:

I certainly didn’t invent the idea of a “microcast”. There are other good short podcasts, such as Bite Size Tech. But I’m happy to see even more people trying out the idea. Michael even started a new podcast called Driftwood to chronicle the development of his Jekyll template for microcasts.

Ferrite also continues to impress. It’s a very high quality iOS app and is competitive with Mac multi-track audio editors. For a good introduction, check out Jason Snell’s review.

Posted episode 10 of Timetable. Recorded and edited with Ferrite, except for MP3 conversion. Still need a good iOS solution for that.

→ 2016/02/01 3:16 pm

Some people say you shouldn’t mix personal and business blogs, but I do it anyway. I’ve been blogging for about 14 years. It’s all there.

→ 2016/02/01 10:47 am

I’m supporting Hillary, again

As Iowa kicks off the election today, I thought I’d offer my 2 cents on the campaign. I’m a strong Hillary Clinton supporter.

Dave Winer writes that Hillary is what we need right now in terms of projecting a stable image to the rest of the world:

“At this moment, we need a solid hitter, someone who the rest of the world is comfortable with, and who a deeply injured Republican Party can work with.”

It’s great to see the passionate Bernie Sanders supporters, too. I was fired up for Howard Dean in 2004, so I remember what that excitement is like. But I believe Hillary would be a great president.

Eight years ago I put together a short podcast episode about the campaign, trying to capture something from 2008. You can listen to it here. My daughters — who were 7 years old at the time — make an appearance at the end of the episode. Now, of course, they’re 15, and the weight of time passing couldn’t be more clearly felt.

There’s a good line from Hillary in one of the first Democratic debates in 2015:

“I’m a progressive. But I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.”

I think that sums up what we can expect from a Hillary Clinton presidency. I have no idea what a Bernie Sanders presidency would look like — what it would accomplish — and I’m not sure he does either. My concern isn’t in the ideas, but in the execution against a politically calculating, Republican congress.

Bernie and Hillary share something in a fighting attitude, though. Neither candidate will let the Republicans walk over them. If you don’t think Hillary’s got this, re-watch her speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Getting some really good feedback on the new app. Lots to do! Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever ship this.

→ 2016/01/29 10:22 am

Micropub and the quiet IndieWebCamp revolution

There’s new activity at the W3C around independent blogging, with new proposals recently posted as working drafts. Helped by a push from the IndieWebCamp, two of the highlights include:

  • Micropub: Simple format for adding content to your site from native apps.
  • Webmention: Modern replacement for Pingback/Trackback, for handling cross-site replies.

I want to support these in my new web app. At launch, I hope to allow Micropub POSTs alongside the classic XML-RPC Blogger API (and my own native JSON API).

And of course the IndieWebCamp is also known for POSSE: publish on your own site, syndicate elsewhere. That strategy has helped me refine my own cross-posting.

I don’t think it’s my imagination that more and more people are blogging again. Now’s the time to resume your blog, start a microblog, and take back the future of the web from silos. If we can roll some of these new standards into what we’re building and writing about, the open web will be on the right track.

Parse shutting down

Bad news from the Parse team at Facebook today:

“We have a difficult announcement to make. Beginning today we’re winding down the Parse service, and Parse will be fully retired after a year-long period ending on January 28, 2017. We’re proud that we’ve been able to help so many of you build great mobile apps, but we need to focus our resources elsewhere.”

For years I had always heard great things about Parse. I eventually used it for the first time a few months ago on a client project. It’s got a well-designed API, friendly monthly pricing (free for many apps), and it seemed well supported, with new features like tvOS support and a web dashboard redesign rolling out just a month ago.

Thinking about this tweet from Daniel Jalkut, I’ve always advocated for iOS developers to also be good at web services. Customers expect sync everywhere now, and you can do things with your own server that will give you an advantage over competitors who have a simpler, standalone iOS app. But being forced to migrate server data isn’t fun, especially on someone else’s schedule.