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June, 2017


Daring Fireball: Fuck Facebook

Gruber on Dave Winer's post about Facebook.


Micro.blog, JSON Feed, and Evergreen Give Me Hope for the Open Web

3 min read

I've long been a believer in the power of the open web, but my passion for saving it has been ignited by the IndieWeb movement, as of late. More and more people are discovering their distaste for creepy, ad-driven content silos like Facebook. Today's post by Dave Winer on the evils of Facebook, and John Gruber's hilariously sardonic "Fuck Facebook" reply do an excellent job of encapsulating my own frustrations. That said, there are reasons for hope.

The IndieWeb movement itself has been chipping away at the problem for years, but I've been particularly encouraged over the past few weeks by a few new developments.

First is the successful launch of Manton Reece's Micro.blog project to his Kickstarter backers. I'm a backer myself, as is my employer, and I've had the pleasure of using the platform for a few weeks now. Its early, but the project is already bearing fruit, with a rapid development pace, a vibrant community, and lots of excellent people to follow. Micro.blog is built on the notion of independence and respects your ownership of your data.

Next is the announcement and early success of the JSON Feed format created by Manton and Brent Simmons. JSON Feed is a new format designed for content syndication, similar to RSS and Atom, but based upon the JSON serialization format, which is popular with developers these days for being extremely easy to properly generate and parse. Since its announcement, there's been a flurry of activity around JSON Feed, including outcry about "yet another standard," and those who are upset that JSON Feed was created at all when there are other JSON-based syndication formats in existence. Over all of the noise, though, the adoption rate has been impressive. Many projects have been updated or created to generate and parse JSON Feed, and consumers are starting to adopt the format as well, including Feedbin, News Explorer, NewsBlur, Inoreader, and a few podcast apps. I've even jumped into the fray, creating an initial implementation of JSON Feed for the Known CMS that runs this website, and a second pass that aims to build in additional information through JSON Feed extensions. Regardless of competing standards, shortcomings in the format itself, etc., its undeniable that JSON Feed is generating real, palpable excitement for the open web, and that's undoubtedly a good thing.

Finally, in the midst of all of this, Brent Simmons has announced that he's working on a new, open source feed reader for macOS called Evergreen. Brent was the original creator of NetNewsWire, which was at one time my favorite app. In fact, I created several themes for NetNewsWire back in the day, and was a member of the beta testing and feedback group that Brent set up. Evergreen has a chance to take a fresh look at the problem of consuming feeds, and with JSON Feed and the new capabilities it could support through extensions, I am hoping that Brent takes a crack at solving the bigger picture that I blogged about in March. Imagine an open source app that bundles consumption (through feeds, including JSON Feed) with content creation and interaction (leveraging Micropub, a newly minted W3C recommendation, and Webmention). I'm looking forward to seeing what Brent produces!

So, yes, I lament the state of the web, thanks to walled gardens like Facebook, but I'm optimistic about the future.



First, the world will laugh at us. Then, the world will be angry with us. Finally, the world will pass us.


Checked into Seaside Torrance

Feeding the kids and relaxing.


It was very fun to hear @manton and @brentsimmons on The Talk Show with @gruber. The open web is still alive!


Watched Blade Runner

In the smog-choked dystopian Los Angeles of 2019, blade runner Rick Deckard is called out of retirement to terminate a quartet of replicants who have escaped to Earth seeking their creator for a way to extend their short life spans.

Watched on PlexMediaPlayer


Checked into Luxe City Center Hotel

Offsite Leadership Meeting.


Host Julia Collin Davison uncovers the secrets to making the best Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Kebabs. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges host Bridget Lancaster to a tasting of whole-milk greek yogurt. Finally, test cook Dan Souza shows Julia how to make the best Persian-Style Rice with Golden Crust at home.

Watched on Fire TV


Superman’s clone, Bizarro, has become an embarrassing problem. Chaos and destruction follow Bizarro everywhere as he always hears the opposite of what is said, says the opposite of what he means and does the opposite of what is right. And when the citizens of Metropolis keep confusing Bizarro with Superman, the Man of Steel decides it’s time to find a new home for him…on another planet! It’s up to the Justice League to come to terms with their backward counterparts and team up with them to stop Darkseid and save the galaxy!

Watched on Lacey LaCour’s iPad


Watching SpaceX CRS-11 launch live with my little boy. The wonder of space!


Watching a Falcon 9 landing never gets old. So cool 😁


The final three teams race to Chicago where they must complete their last challenges within the city's most iconic landmarks, including Wrigley Field, the home of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs, before they dash to the finish line.

Watched on Fire TV


On the run after the New Gods' show of force, Shadow and Mr. Wednesday seek safe haven with one of Mr. Wednesday's oldest friends, Vulcan, God of the Fire and the Forge.

Watched on Fire TV


Apple's focus on privacy and the user are precisely why Safari is my browser of choice.


WebKit: Intelligent Tracking Prevention

This makes me so happy! 👏🏻🔥


Watched Blade Runner

In the smog-choked dystopian Los Angeles of 2019, blade runner Rick Deckard is called out of retirement to terminate a quartet of replicants who have escaped to Earth seeking their creator for a way to extend their short life spans.

Watched on PlexMediaPlayer


On HomePod

5 min read


I've recently been thinking about the smart-speaker category, musing about Amazon's recently announced Echo Show, and speculating about if and when Apple would get into the game. Earlier this week, I got an answer when Apple announced the HomePod, a smart speaker with voice control powered by Siri. So, has the announcement of HomePod made my choice clear? Will I buy a HomePod, an Echo Show, or another smart-speaker?

Well. Its complicated.

Smart Speakers in Theory

In theory, smart speakers have several appealing features for me:

  • Convenient access to cloud-based music services like Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify. Being able to whisper an incantation into thin air, and have the speaker play pretty much any song I've ever heard means that I'll spend more time listening to and enjoying music.
  • High quality audio in my great room, which is excellent for hosting parties, or just enjoying in the evenings after the kids have been put to bed.
  • An always-on assistant for my home, with a massive library of integrations and home automation support. I can imagine bringing up recipes on a screen for reference in the kitchen while I cook, only by using my voice, or setting multiple cook timers, asking for conversions, etc.

On the other hand, there are some significant theoretical drawbacks, the most significant of which is security and privacy. Having an internet-connected microphone in my house that is always listening is a bit scary. Is my information safe? Is the company that I am sharing it with a good steward of my data?

HomePod Tradeoffs

HomePod has really muddied the waters for me. I absolutely love the convenience, integrations, features, developer story, and screen on the Echo Show, but the dismal audio quality and significant concerns with privacy and security give me pause. The Echo Show is also not particularly well integrated with Apple's ecosystem, in which I am thoroughly entrenched, though that seems to be changing.

The HomePod has addressed my privacy concern very effectively. Apple made it abundantly clear that they don't send any audio up to their servers until you say "Hey, Siri," and that all information is encrypted in transit, and is anonymized to protect its users. I trust Apple more than I trust Amazon, Google, or pretty much any other major technology and services company. They're interested in selling me their products to improve my life, not in sharing my information with advertisers, or more effectively mining my information to enhance its retail offerings.

Audio quality is also huge focus for Apple with the HomePod. In fact, their marketing site introduces it as "the new sound of home," and spends significant time and effort discussing the internal speakers and adaptive audio features that use its onboard processing to optimize the sound to the room. While there's no way to beat, or even match, a properly tuned multi-speaker audio system, I am betting that Apple's engineers can make the HomePod sound pretty great. Certainly, much better than the Echo. In addition, Apple has built in multi-room audio features that put competitors like Sonos to shame, thanks to tight integration with iOS.

So, HomePod addresses my two main concerns of Smart Speakers with ease! Yet, the HomePod leaves me very conflicted. Why? Because, frankly, its not particularly smart. I was expecting to hear about a total overhaul of Siri, focused on improving accuracy, opening up the platform to developers, and closing the gap with Alexa. Yet, the HomePod has, in many ways, delivered the "same old Siri," which has no developer story to speak of. The only integrations you'll find are those with HomeKit, which thus far hasn't really taken off. Meanwhile, the Alexa Skills library is growing at a massive clip.

Finally, the HomePod clocks in at $349. Ouch. The Echo series ranges from $49 for the Echo Dot, $179 for the full size Echo, and $229 for the Echo Show, which features a touch screen and an integrated HD video camera. Now, Apple can always demand a premium price point, and I have no doubt that the industrial design and engineering quality of the HomePod will put the Echo to shame, but given the feature disparity, I am a bit disappointed in the price.

What's Next?

Given the tradeoffs and price point of the HomePod, I am almost certain to pass on the first generation. If Apple puts significant time and effort into Siri and the developer story, that may change. Early signs from WWDC are that they're interested in opening up HomeKit more, so I'm optimistic. I'm also hopeful that Apple will eventually release a HomePod with a screen with integrated Facetime support, which would be ideal for my kitchen.

Conclusion? Well, I think that the smart speaker category is pretty nascent, and its going to take a few more years to shake out. Amazon has the early lead, and both Google and Apple now have entrants that are playing catch up with varying degrees of success. As of now, I'm sitting 2017 out to see how things change before committing to a platform.


Checked into Riviera United Methodist Church

Picking up William from school and taking him to special lunch.


Checked into Fatburger


Lunch buddies!


Checked into DreamHost West

Well that was a shitty commute today!


Dan Moren on HomePod

Looks like Dan has some of the same thoughts as I do about HomePod.


I love USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, but its massively frustrating that there are zero good Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market.


My ideal TB3 dock: attractive, long USB-C cable, single USB-A port, DisplayPort or MDP, and USB-C passthrough. $49.


@esouthard totally fair! I'd happily pay $79, or even $99. The only good ones I see are going for north of $250!


I'll be at @WCEurope next week. If you're in Paris, and want to meet up, let me know!


Stuffed pastas like Ravioli are much loved but seldom made. Host Alton Brown intends to put that to an end by demystifying noodle and filling alike.The answer: Your ironing board.


Watched on Fire TV


Feed reader revolution: it’s time to embrace open & disrupt social media

Great post by Chris Aldrich that echos my own feelings about the potential for an integrated content creation, consumption, and interaction experience for the open web. I've already got a good start on it, since I have a website that supports Webmention and Micropub, and I've created a plugin for Nextcloud News, my feed reader of choice, that enables interactions.

My goal is to completely exit Facebook by the end of 2017 and Twitter shortly thereafter.


I fundamentally agree with Manton on this one. Siri is moving too slowly!


Great article, Chris!


Apple makes major podcast updates - Six Colors

Jason Snell discusses the changes Apple is making to its involvement to the podcast world, including some new extensions to the feed format to enable more customization inside their own Podcasts app, which is getting a major revamp is iOS 11. In addition, they're adding in-app analytics (anonymized).

I wonder what this means for JSON Feed, and for Marco Arment's Overcast? I'm a believer in the addition of more metadata to feeds to enable clients and consumers to create better experienes for users.


martin_casado on Twitter: "Going to Market When No Market Exists https://t.co/0cTMcK7mOE < my view on pre-chasm GTM, a lot of learning from a lot of mistakes"


Headed to Hermosa Comedy and Magic Club tonight! One of my favorite South Bay pastimes. 😙👌🏻🍾


@chrisaldrich you're welcome to "steal" the code. That's why its on GitHub! That said, I think a more interesting approach would be to make some sort of shared codebase that enables a bunch of different types of posts. Most of my plugins are quite similar under the hood. It would be great to somehow abstract things out a bit to enable additional functionality without duplicating code.


Finally watched @hasanminhaj's Netflix special. Blown away. 👏🏻


Checked into Mulligan Family Fun Center

Family fun before my trip!


Checked into Bouzy Gastropub

Date night before travel.


Headed to SFO today for . Looking forward to interacting with other product people. 💥


Line a mile long at @Delta Sky Priority check in at LAX. Only two open stations. Not a great look, @Delta.


Cursed travel day:

* Scheduled Lyft driver bailed on me.
* Check in line is swamped with only two agents working.
* Hotel canceled my reservation by mistake.
* My luggage broke.
* My flight is delayed by over an hour, making me late to my event.



On the plus side:

* I ordered a new bag on Amazon and it arrives at my hotel tomorrow.
* I'm looking pretty dashing today.



I've owned several iPads over the years, but now they're mostly used by the kids. iOS and the iPad form factor never clicked for me for every day work. However, the 10.5 inch iPad Pro has my interest piqued, especially with iOS 11's enhancements for productivity.


@darchmare same here. Its tough to justify $1,000+ second computer, when my MacBook Pro is so good.


Really enjoying the leadership day at . Good content. Experienced and honest panelists who are willing to share their experiences.


Excited to listen to @clevergirl at ! That's coming from a clever guy like me ;)


The final talk at centers on wheat farming industry. Oh, and it would make @BeardOps cry. Tractors becoming iPhones!


Checked into Verso

After party 🎉


Checked into Park Central Hotel San Francisco

Packing up to head to Paris.


Following her brief reunion with Shadow, Laura turns to an unlikely travel companion to find her way back to life; Mad Sweeney's long, winding, and often-tragic past is explored.

Watched on cleverbook


Headed to SFO for my flight to Paris. @WordPress . ✈️🗽🥐


Replied to a post on seblog.nl :

I've been thinking about how to properly @-mention people on my Known website as well. I very much like your approach! This is another feature I'd like to work on for Known to enable better, and more trackable interactions. Thanks for writing it up.


Very much enjoyed . My favorite moment was getting to pick @mgiudice's brain at the after party. Thank you!


The iPad – The Brooks Review

Great post by Ben Brooks on the iPad post WWDC 2017.

This is a critical point for iPad, where we are about to turn the corner in a very big way.

I think Ben is right. The vast majority of the work that I do these days could be done on an iPad, though I would still rely on an application like Prompt for SSH'ing into servers to write code. The hardware announced at WWDC solves many of my original gripes with the iPad, and a few problems that I didn't even know that I had. The software announced at WWDC is perhaps even more impressive in just how far it pushes the envelope.

Apple perfected iPad hardware at about the same time as they perfected the software for it, and they kind of fucking know it. They are being a tad pompous about it. And they acted the same way with the MacBook Air — “if you think this is a Netbook, oh boy, are you in for a treat.”

For the first time in a long time, I believe the premise that the iPad could be the primary computing device of the next generation of the workforce. The gap is closing, and its closing fast.


Bonjour, Paris! 🥐


Checked into La Rubrique à Bulles

Awesome. French comic book store 🎉


Checked into Campanile Paris 19 - La Villette

Dropping off the coworkers and awaiting a taxi.


My cab driver: "Are you American?"
Me: "Oui."
Driver: "Your President is stupid!"
Me: "Oui."


Last day at ! Come to the @DreamHost booth and say hello 👋🏼


@kraft Yes please! I've wanted core IndieWeb support in @WordPress for years. Are you at ?


@photomatt thanks for answering my q today! Agree that UX is king. Standards only part of the picture. ✊🏻


Film adaptation of a classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a nun who becomes a governess for an Austrian family.

Watched on Bedroom


Checked into Le Nemours

Brunch in Place Colette!


Checked into Le Smiley

Quick drink before heading toward the Eiffel Tower for dinner and sunset.


So far today, I've walked 10.1 miles. Over 20,000 steps. Still a few hours to go!


@beardops I've been showing @elle_sol around on her first international trip!


Oh, nothing, just drinking hobo wine with @elle_sol in Paris by the Eiffel Tower.


Checked into Courtyard Paris Saint Denis

Last sleep in Paris before heading back home tomorrow.


Off to CDG for my long flight home to sunny LA. Au revoir, Paris! 🥐✈️🌞


@www.altplatform.org/author/ricmac/ exciting, feel free to reach out if you need any guidance. We're a happy and friendly bunch in the IndieWeb IRC/Slack channels, too. Thanks as well for the mention of my website :)


Home safely in LA! Just landed.


Host Julia Collin Davison goes into the test kitchen with test cook Dan Souza to learn how to make the ultimate Grill-Roasted Beef Tenderloin. Next, equipment expert Adam Ried reviews gas grills in the Equipment Corner. Then, gadget guru Lisa McManus uncovers the best quirky gadgets. Finally, test cook Erin McMurrer shows host Bridget Lancaster how to make an elegant Pear-Walnut Upside-Down Cake.

Watched on Bedroom


Google, not GCHQ, is the truly chilling spy network – The Guardian

Great article, and I truly love the term "surveillance capitalism" to describe the business models of Facebook, Twitter, and Google.


But, the cast! What could possibly go wrong? (Remembers Portman, McGregor, Neeson, Jackson... sobs uncontrollably).


@darchmare I have very little hope for it.


On the eve of war, Mr. Wednesday attempts to recruit the Old God Ostara, but needs Mr. Nancy's help in making a good impression and winning her over.

Watched on cleverbook


Test cook Dan Souza shows host Julia Collin Davison how to make the perfect Grilled Pizza at home. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Julia to a tasting of supermarket olive oil. Next, gadget guru Lisa McManus uncovers the best avocado gadgets. Finally, host Bridget Lancaster goes into the test kitchen with test cook Tim Chin to learn how to make the best Shredded Chicken Tacos.

Watched on Fire TV


Replied to a post on kraft.blog :

@Kraft great to have you involved! It was good to hear @photomatt's views at WCEU. I think WP can and should lead by example in IndieWeb. But, it's going to take movement in core and Jetpack!


Richard, let's bring back WebRing too!


Pondering many lessons learned after 8 days of travel and two conferences. Lately, I'm as interested in building companies as I am in building products.


Also pondering how to best present @-mentions across the IndieWeb and how they should be represented in Micro.blog. Curious to hear your thoughts, @Manton. Thinking my extensions to JSON Feed may be useful, here...


Off to PDX for IndieWeb Summit 2017! Looking forward to building on the open web. ✊🏻🎉


My Lyft driver has been playing nothing but Tears for Fears. 👏🏻


Checked into Pine Street Market

IWS pre-party! 🎉🍺🍸


Checked into Mozilla Portland

IndieWeb Summit 2017!


I have arrived at Mozilla Portland for the 2017 IndieWeb Summit. Huzzah!


Introductions to all of the wonderful global organizers for @IndieWebCamp followed by a CoC review! 👏🏻


Micro.blog is getting a lot of love in @t's keynote at for launching native.


Now, @Kraft gets a nice mention in @t's keynote for jumping into the community. Welcome 🌈


Now, WebRing gets a shoutout in an keynote! Thanks, @liewegas!


Now @anomalily is sharing how she uses @WordPress as a great way to be a part of the @IWS2017.


Interesting insights from @anomalily re: being a &quot;Generation 2&quot; participant. How can we Gen 1'ers enable her?


"Code is liability. Focus on results."


A science fiction fairytale about an extra-terrestrial who is left behind on Earth and is found by a young boy who befriends him. This heart-warming fantasy from Director Steven Spielberg became one of the most commercially successful films of all time.

Watched on Jonathan


There are so many stunningly interesting and talented people here at . Doing such cool things!


Checked into Mozilla Portland

IWS part deux — with aaronpk


Replied to a post on werd.io :

@werd.io/profile/benwerd yeah, it is really pretty amazing, isn't it!


Y'all, we're gonna build an WebRing.


Used @Ipstenu's &quot;Bury Your Queers&quot; Alexa Skill as an example of amazing tech in this session!


OMG, I ❤️ PDX.


There are hundreds of naked people riding their bikes down 3rd while I wait for food from a food truck.


Excited for day two of ! Starting off by helping attendees get started with @WordPress and .


Success! Just added Micropub Media Endpoint support for @WithKnown! 🎉


Checked into AC Hotel Downtown Portland

Time for bed. What an amazing time at IWS.


I had an amazing time at . Excited for the future of the open web!


So, I have set up a website for my BBQ grill/smoker. Still in progress. https://🐷🔥.ws