Whiteboarding future greatness

I really like this photo that Kelsey shared on Flickr. What I like about this are the shadows, and the contrasts on the whiteboard.

This song goes well with the smell of apples and cinnamon

My wife baked an apple crumble for us this cold and rainy afternoon. As the smell of apples and cinnamon filled it apartment, this song, Mountain Air by Cody Francis, was playing on Spotify:

As song and smell pairings go, this is a good one!

Update: Here’s what that smell was all about:

Discovering Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist

It’s a pretty chilly, rainy weekend so we’ve had a pretty laid back weekend at home with our kids.

My wife and I re-watched the sci-fi classic, Serenity, for the nth time (still awesome after 13 years).

Afterwards, I switched over to some music and, instead of picking a favourite playlist, I opted for the Discovery Weekly playlist on Spotify. I haven’t listened to it before, and I wish I had done so earlier.

I don’t know any of the music we’re listening, but I’m enjoying most of it. I guess that’s the idea. 😊

More thoughts about Micro.blog as an indie social network

Brad Enslen is doing some great work over at Micro.blog, spreading the word about this innovative service. He published a post titled “The Case for Moving Your Social Network to Micro.blog“, that’s pretty self-explanatory.

I think there’s certainly merit in shifting your social network over to something like Micro.blog, in the near term at least. As Enslen explains –

As the name Micro.blog implies the primary thing you can do on it is write short form posts like Twitter and Facebook.  But you can also post long form posts just like you would on a conventional blog, just keep typing and when you hit 280 characters in a post a Title Field appears and you are long form posting – effortlessly.  There is no friction or barriers between you and just writing.

Posting is easy, like posting on Twitter and the blog just auto-generates itself.  You can post, “I like pizza.”  You can post a picture of your cat plus a poem about your cat. You can post a 600 word essay about the Chicago Cubs. Whatever you want, however short or long you want. It’s one of the features I like the most.  Posting photos is very easy on MB.  There are quite a few dedicated photoblogs there.

And you can move.  If you decide to move you can export all your posts and import them on a different blogging platform.  This is exactly why MB strongly encourages you to use your own domain it makes moving easier.

Brad Enslen

There are two challenges, as I see it at the moment:

  1. If your social graph/network isn’t using Micro.blog, it’s value for you may be pretty limited (or you can create a new network!); and
  2. I worry that shifting over to another, single service is repeating the same mistake we all made focusing our social streams into a small number of social networks that we don’t control. Micro.blog is certainly more open than Twitter or Facebook, and you don’t even need to host your blog there to participate, so it’s better in that respect.

I’ve been using Micro.blog as a pseudo-Twitter for a little while now. My blog posts publish there automatically, and I’ve discovered some fascinating people there along the way.

The syndication aspect is why I think there’s definitely something to adopting Micro.blog as a social network, even if it’s more of a stepping stone to something else. I’d love that “something else” to be a distributed social fabric that’s informed by posts on our personal sites/blogs.

I don’t think we’re quite there yet (wherever there is?), but I’m hopeful that we can move beyond a site as a static site or as a chunky blog, to a point where a site/blog can be a source of articles, and also simpler shares like status updates, Instagram-like photos, and so on.

Micro.blog is the closest to that, that I’ve seen. Here’s Manton Reece’s overview of Micro.blog. I think it offers a pretty good perspective on what this distributed social experience could look like:

I’m not really interested in moving my site away from WordPress, and that’s not because I work at Automattic. Overall, I enjoy using WordPress, and I think it’s one of the best options out there for publishing just about everything from a personal blog, to more complex publications.

Hopefully WordPress will evolve, and incorporate technologies that feed this loose vision of a federated social Web based on personal sites that talk to each other seamlessly. In the meantime, there’s a growing collection of plugins that add these pieces along the way (such as the wonderful IndieWeb plugins).

So, perhaps Micro.blog is a good candidate for an alternative to Facebook, and Twitter*. It’s certainly a couple steps in the right direction, while we figure out what a post-Facebook/post-Twitter social Web looks like.

*well, certainly Twitter given that Micro.blog doesn’t support privacy options you may want to use in a Facebook alternative, and assuming that the people you want to follow are on Twitter too …

Imagine almost cycling around the world, every year

Bicycle handlebars and a long road ahead

Wired’s video about ultra-endurance bicycle rider, Lael Wilcox, is well worth watching if you’re interested in cycling (here’s a story on Wired.com):

I used to cycle everywhere in my teens because, well, that’s how I got around. My father was really into cycling, and I remember riding a pretty long race with him. We didn’t finish anywhere near the front (more likely somewhere in the middle-ish).

My son has started riding around the city as a way to get around, and I’d love to buy myself a bike so we can go riding together. Something to save up for, I think. There are some great routes for riding in our city, and it’s a great way to just get around, and get some exercise in.

For the time being, I’ve been getting back into running. I’m still getting started there (at least that’s how it feels), but I’ve managed five runs this week. Just on the subject of running, I found this article pretty inspiring too: When Your Body Says No | Outside Online.

Returning to Wilcox, what an inspiring person! Wow. Oh, and her site happens to be on WordPress.com. 😁

Not that being on WordPress.com will make you a super athlete, but it is a great place for your home on the Web. Just saying.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Flo Karr

A peek inside Alex Ross’ studio (and his collection)

I’m a huge fan of Alex Ross’ work, especially for DC Comics. I have a couple graphic novels that he did the artwork for, and they’re some of my favourite books.

CBS This Morning’s Anthony Mason visited Ross in his studio, and spoke to him about his career painting superheroes. Ross’ “toy” collection, alone, is worth watching this video for.

I especially like how he paints Superman. He manages to blend this raw power you’d expect from the Man of Steel with a deep humanity.

Great Spotify playlist to relax and unwind with

Window with the word Relax

I really like this Relax & Unwind playlist on Spotify. Aside for it’s obvious purpose, I like it as a general purpose/background music/atmosphere playlist:

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Clem Onojeghuo

Definitely a wintry day here in Israel

Today was very much a wintry day here in Israel. It was freezing cold, and rained for most of the day. Thankfully I work from home!

I still prefer this weather to the Israeli Summer!