Author Archives: manton

Listeners may be surprised by my thoughts on Ulysses and subscriptions for tomorrow’s Core Int. It’s a big episode. Might try to do another transcript.

→ 2017/08/15 8:37 am

Markdown replies in Micro.blog

Micro.blog now has Markdown highlighting as you type in replies. Micro.blog has had basic Markdown support since the Kickstarter launch, but we’ve been improving how it processes Markdown and where the visual highlighting is used in the web UI.

Here’s a short screencast of the new reply UI:

Don’t have a Micro.blog account yet? We’ll be inviting more users soon. You can sign up on the announce list.

Wizard of Oz at the Zilker Hillside Theater. Glad to have caught the final show last night.

→ 2017/08/13 5:19 pm

Always baffled by this house wiring. Installed a new Nest Protect… The smoke alarm power goes out when the kitchen lights are off.

→ 2017/08/13 2:28 pm

Micro.blog for iOS 1.0.4 is now in the App Store with a fix for that “Share…” crash on the iPad.

→ 2017/08/11 9:59 pm

Safari pinned tab favicons

In a post on Daring Fireball today, John Gruber makes a convincing argument for Safari showing favicons in tabs:

With many tabs open, there’s really nothing subjective about it: Chrome’s tabs are more usable because they show favicons.

Even more surprising to me is that Safari doesn’t use favicons for pinned tabs. Instead it uses a special monochrome vector icon. Ever since adding favicon support to Micro.blog, I’ve had on my to-do list to create one of these vector icons for Safari, but so far I haven’t been able to justify the effort. (And judging by a handful of my favorite sites, no one else has bothered to create a pinned tab vector icon either.)

Why does Apple require a separate icon format here? Probably for the same reason as John Gruber’s guess about normal tabs:

I don’t know what the argument is against showing favicons in Safari’s tabs, but I can only presume that it’s because some contingent within Apple thinks it would spoil the monochromatic aesthetic of Safari’s toolbar area.

It seems clear that these pinned tab vector icons are a dead-end. There are already too many sizes of favicons. Safari should have basic favicon support in tabs and do it with as few extra icon files as possible.

Charging my Leaf while having a coffee and working at Whole Foods for the afternoon. Gave up on the wi-fi. Tethering to 2-bar LTE is faster.

→ 2017/08/10 4:28 pm

Reposts and quoting

I recently added “repost-of” support to Micro.blog’s Micropub API implementation. This lets you pass an extra URL — the post you’re writing about — in clients like Micropublish. There’s deliberately still no concept of a retweet or repost, though.

When I wrote last year about Instagram and reposts, I was concerned with introducing features that could be abused or lead us back to reinventing Twitter’s problems. There’s even more evidence now that quick reposting shouldn’t be implemented blindly. Look what happened on Soundcloud:

Similar to Tumblr’s reblog or Twitter’s retweet, reposts were designed as a way to help new music spread virally. But from the start, artists abused the feature by constantly reposting their own tracks, pushing them back to the top of their followers’ feeds every few days.

For Micro.blog, I believe the right approach is to first introduce a simple “quote” feature. This UI would be streamlined to support quoting a sentence out of a blog post, with your own thoughts tacked on. It would fit with the spirit of easy posting in Micro.blog, but it would encourage more thoughtful posts and naturally scale up from traditional linkblogging.

Liking the new Swarm app redesign. Cleaner, simpler, flatter. Looks great and feels easier to use.

→ 2017/08/09 10:43 pm

Micro.blog 1.0.3 is now in the App Store. New user profile screen, share menu item, and other improvements.

→ 2017/08/09 3:20 pm

Updated my post on Apple News shortly after publishing to actually include links. Wasn’t fair to say they’re off the rails without linking.

→ 2017/08/09 1:27 pm

Fake news on Apple News

I don’t use Apple News very often. I much prefer reading blogs in Reeder and Micro.blog, with a daily check on the other news sites I pay for. But last night I noticed a headline in the iOS today screen and tapped over to a few stories in Apple News.

Scrolling down in the “For You” tab about politics I was surprised by a couple news stories about a plan by Democrats to “silence non-liberal media” (People’s Pundit Daily), and another on the Trump-Russia “collusion fantasy” (The Daily Caller). These were right-wing opinion pieces sprinkled with conspiracy theories, yet placed next to reputable news organizations like The New York Times, CBS News, and Politico.

Apple News screenshot

I thought Apple News was highly curated and better than this. Personal essays are fine in Apple News, because that’s part of blogging, but they shouldn’t be suggested to a mainstream audience looking for real news.

“The situation with North Korea would be an extreme challenge for a leader with ability and judgment. President Trump is simply too erratic, unstable and dangerous to be in charge in a situation like this.” — Josh Marshall

→ 2017/08/08 4:39 pm

Webmention in action

It’s always cool to see Webmention comments on real sites across the web. It’s not just a W3C spec. Like many ideas from the IndieWeb, this is a simple web technology that actually works today.

We’ve been improving Micro.blog’s support for Webmention. When you reply to a post on Micro.blog, from the web or iOS app, it will ping the site you’re replying to, giving that site a chance to include the comment. You can see these replies show up under recent posts from Aaron Parecki and Jonathan LaCour.

Drew McLellan had a good overview of implementing Webmention, including using services like Bridgy to bring in tweet replies:

The end result is that by being notified of the external reaction, the publisher is able to aggregate those reactions and collect them together with the original content.

Colin Walker highlighted Webmention when writing about Micro.blog:

It looks like a basic Twitter-style network but that is only scratching the surface; its simplicity belies its power.

Micro.blog also has limited support for receiving Webmention requests for people replying to a Micro.blog-hosted blog from their own site. As this support improves, both in Micro.blog and as more people enable Webmention on their WordPress sites, the distributed nature of the web as a broad social network will really start to shine.

Pushing the next iOS build up to Apple for approval. A few people are still on TestFlight… You should switch to the App Store version.

→ 2017/08/08 11:04 am