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Over the past couple of months, I have been vacillating on this issue; the issue of whether to return to my roots of the Known content management system, or to stay within the WordPress ecosystem for my personal web presence. I figured it might be a prudent idea to outline the pros and cons of both and get people’s thoughts on them. Let me know what you think…
For Known:
1. Known Is Customizable via HTML, a great thing for me since I need a reason to learn HTML 5
2. It has IndieWeb support natively out of the box
3. All themes work with the IndieWeb functionality

For WordPress:
1. Less HTML handcrafting necessary
2. More available themes
3. More available plugins than I know what to do with

Regarding that last, however, most of the plugins that are available for WordPress take it so far off the rails from its original reason for being created in the first place, which makes me hesitate to consider using any of them, for fear that my site might lose the very purpose of its existence. My site exists as a blog and as a commonplace book. what do the citizens think?

Known In Higher demand for Developers

Here, the choice is simple. It’s my eventual goal to develop for some of the smaller web communities, focusing on the smaller folks who need more features. Known would be perfect for that, considering there are still a bunch of things that haven’t yet been implemented since people only have so much time during their day to work on projects. I could gladly see myself assisting over there, and hopefully I will, providing I can learn enough of the PHP language to be proficient in it. I will keep everyone posted… so watch this space for more as progress is made.

This is the first in what will be a series of blog posts detailing how I have discovered my faith; from what I was raised with, and then moving onto what I have become. I shall start from the beginning, and most posts will go into more detail on particular topics. Comments and questions are welcome.

1989-2008

As you know, I was born in 1989; it was questionable whether I was going to survive or not, being born three months premature, though someone was obviously up there looking out for our family, because I survived a ton of odds with detached retinas, but nothing more severe than that, though it could have been. (one of those retinas reattached itself in 1991, though I have had buckles holding them in ever since. Either way, something happened, and in light of my early and surprising survival, my parents decided to baptize me in the Catholic religion. That worked out up until I started exploring different things myself once I began to enjoy reading.

2008

2008 came, and after attending a summer program with a bunch of other students my age, I had a bit of a different outlook on what was possibly going on up there; not the cut and dry, black and white, view that I was given of religion as a child; who says that everything written in the Bible, (which I think was more than likely written by humans based on evidence discovered later on), is absolutely true? After all, there has to be a reason why many of the pre-Christian peoples believed in the legends that they did. I have a funny feeling that some of the creatures purported to have existed before the common era are real. Who’s to say that the creator God didn’t create beings other than humans and the animals we know today?

Needless to say, after 2008 and learning a few tips from some Wiccan friends, I made my own discoveries, as well, those being that I am an empath (had always been able to feel the emotions around me, but never could understand why. Now I do.) and that I can communicate with the spirit realm via my third eye without the years and years that it would normally take, say, a Buddhist monk. More on that later … (sit back, because this is going to be a long and involved series.) TLDR: Was raised a Catholic, only to discover that the prescribed doctrine didn’t sit well with me once I began to explore in light of the fact that my parents never put restrictions on what books or articles I could read as a kid. See you next time.

  • Kat

This conversation has been extremely common nowadays, more so even than in the not-to-distant past. At this point, I think I ought to weigh in on the subject, for it does bring us to an interesting point of view. I will first detail my thoughts on this, and I will then elaborate on several quotes from influencers to illustrate my point.

My Interaction With The Wider Community

In true style, I have all of my posts syndicated to other social media outlets; primarily to Twitter, and Micro.blog, and I prefer interactions from the latter, simply due to the fact that there are no likes, only conversations. I have quickly found that when interacting with people from MB, the conversation is a lot more elegant and bright; words are meaningful, whereas, when a post of mine gets interacted with on Twitter, it’s most often just a like or two. Likes don’t really matter, though there is that awareness for me that a post at least resonates with the liker … unless it’s a bot, which we will get to in a minute.

WordPress Interactions

As of late, I have discovered more of what I hope are actual people on WordPress.com taking a liking to the content I provide, yet I am finding it more difficult than not to tell whether those interacting with me are actual humans. I know that I have griped in the past about having to prove you are human to do things like sign up for a silo, but I am wondering whether or not it wouldn’t be a bad idea in some social settings, at least those that are supposed to be from actual people. Of course, there is no possible way of curbing all spam, for the management that would take would get overwhelming rather quickly. We wouldn’t have enough actual people to catch everything, and so I am more concerned that the interaction I am getting on WordPress is just spam. On occasion, I will actually look at the blog of the liker and at times, might find something mildly interesting, but nothing that peaks my interest all the way. The fact though that I find something here and there is a point in their favour, at least.

Experts Weigh In

Denis Xiao reached out to a few people in this industry, including Elena Salazar, the Social Media Program Manager at VMware:

is Elena’s take on how social media influences her, and how she thinks we can improve our engagement levels on various platforms. In some ways, she’s right. For some, likes become a reason for posting, rather than the quality of content, which opens up social media platforms to shitposting, flame wars, and so on. Irony is good, memes are good, but use them in the right context, the point that gets missed way too often nowadays.

Another thing to consider in order to gain value from your social media following? Follow people, not bots, unless you know what the bots do. Elena puts it thus:

In my opinion, Likes are just a vanity metric and distract from focusing on more valuable KPIs.

People can also get strongly attached to their Likes and feel like they are under-performing if they don’t get the number of Likes they were expecting. Likes do not necessarily correlate with conversions or sales, and can be a false indicator of post success — especially since a lot of Likes are from bots.

Exactly. as previously mentioned; those WordPress community likes and shares I have been getting on my posts of late? Do I have any way to tell that they are legitimate? Not really, unless there is a tool that I don’t know about or haven’t yet discovered, which can assist in finding the true identity of a user? (Maybe an itch for the indieweb, though how we could ever develop something like that without having to have people agree to submit their information, while the objective is, for most of us, at least, tracking users, is something to be avoided, except in particular circumstances. Not to mention, how could we do that without having to involve CAPTCHAs? Something that everybody hates, I am pretty sure.)

dennis then asks Amberly Dressler, the Brand Communications Manager at Episerver:

I like the spirit of it – lessening the impact Likes have on people’s (particularly young people’s) self-esteem and self-worth – but it will have business impacts.

Most savvy social media managers have become more sophisticated than using vanity metrics, but it could potentially change newsfeed algorithms once again.

If Likes are not used to measure a brand’s engagement, metrics such as shares or comments will likely be used.

It is likely business visibility in the newsfeed could be impacted. From a user perspective, that might not be a bad thing, but businesses will need to tweak their strategies to fit a Like-less world.

definitely. From the business prospective, something like this will be harder to achieve, though on a personal level, it does make sense. I, personally don’t care as much about the number of likes a post of mine gets as much as I care about the actual interactions; comments, shares, and so on, that it gets. Example. I have a YouTube post, published about seven or so years ago on my old Dell inspiron 1525, which didn’t make the YouTube community all that happy; instead of focusing on my content, they constantly focused on the horrible quality of the video, which has now made me have to disclose my blindness on each video I do to eliminate the majority of that, but that’s another post for another day; I could go on and on. That is an example of what not to see on social media, yet it persists anyway. Either way, my point? Use Metrics for what they were intended for, not as a measurement of self worth. Teens and young adults, I’m talking to you. Read dennis’s full article.

Wilmington, MA

32 °F Snowing

In light of recent events, I have been thinking a lot about the web, what I would like to get out of it, as well as some of the problems with the current landscape. I will say right now, many, particularly those in the space, will probably and more than likely disagree with some of my proposals, and that’s okay. (one of the biggest things these days is the fact that many on the internet think that their keyboard and screen shield them from needing to be a worthy participant in society, and that they can be somebody different as long as they aren’t looking at their target’s face.) In other words, Gods help you if you disagree. I don’t follow that mentality, and nor will I ever.

Current Problems

As a citizen of the open web, I will not be the first to declare that there are definitely some problems with our current situation. Most of which revolve around closed ecosystems, APIs that are rapidly becoming closed-off entities behind a paywall (I get it, everyone needs to make money to survive, but if you’re going to charge for the API, don’t litter the service with ads, or charge for the service and leave the API free, as Manton Reese does. Twitter, looking at you right now. But that, I can deal with.

People, Stop Complaining!

The second problem is one that is probably in everybody’s life right now; depressing and misleading news reports and stories. Yes, those are gfreaking everywhere, but no, they do not have to take over your life, and you can get rid of them without getting rid of your social media accounts, because, let’s face it. As bad as some of these companies are; Facebook, Twitter, and so on, most people are there, and businesses, of course, are always going to use the big tech giants first, so until there is a wider shift in our culture, social media is here to stay. I definitely respect the decisions of those choosing not to partake anymore, but I will present my strategy for how I stay on and remain happy.

  • Only follow pages, businesses, and people I care about: This one is easy. Stay away from news outlets, unless you know the source, and focus on the people and things you actually will pay attention to.
  • Limit time spent on social media sites: Use something like RescueTime to help you monitor how much time you spend on such corners of the internet, and adjust your habits accordingly. I can tell you … I do, and having productivity goals for which I get reminders helps … immensely.
  • Post useful content of your own that will spark conversations from genuine people interested in your field of study/hobby/interest. I only post things that I want people to respond to, so if you think of it as a place to interact, not as a firehose of information, then you’re much more likely to generate a healthy environment and not a dumpster fire. What I have been doing for years.
  • Create Accounts on the decentralized social web, also called the fediverse, and cross-post to mainstream social media. I find that people on the fediverse tend to respond more readily, and conversations last longer; my theory is that since most of the instances on the fediverse are smaller, they have fewer people, so the folks responding have less irrelevant information to wade through.

Metrics Aren’t The Issue, People Are

I don’t mean to be this harsh, and normally I’m not, but this has been a complete thorn in my tall side lately. I will be the first to shamefully admit that I fell into this trap too, particularly when I was in college and shortly after graduation, where I tried to get as many followers on the various silos as possible. Those are the people who need to get rid of metrics, and work on their narcist views. At this point, since I’m a member of several communities, I have to keep track of the various metrics in order to tell how the groups are doing. Otherwise, we currently have no way to do so. I take the same approach with my personal account; I will look at follower counts, but if I lose a follower here or there, that’s excepted. People’s interests change, new things come up, so if I’m not interesting to everyone, then, I’m not going to change, either. It doesn’t mean I’m boring, it just means that something else has cropped up in that person’s life. More folks should take this approach; life is much better when you’re not worrying about how popular you are; it’s a delicate balance between popularity and enjoyment.

Keeping with the nearly constant theme for me of and , I have decided to take a look at where the community needs more work. I can think of a couple of places, though I would like to focus on a singular one for this month. Wait for it …
Open Library, a great resource for books, and it is wonderful in its current iteration, but it seriously needs more content. At the current moment, book catalogues are highly centralized, relying primarily on the likes of Goodreads, owned by Amazon, and in light of the fact that they cut off access to their Twitter API key and corresponding application, normal users will find it difficult to share their statuses with the world; Twitter access is no longer supported as of 2021. (Not sure whether or not it’s been disabled, for honestly I haven’t really looked, but if it’s not yet, then it will be), but since OL has an open API, it’s high time we start developing new resources against it. I’m interested in helping out there, too, but I have way too many projects on my hands to be able to afford any time with learning extra coding at the moment. It will come, but one thing at a time. Either way, other great resources pull from OL’s main catalogue of books, so, adding more books will in turn make it easier for those using software such as Bookworm a.k.a. fedireads, with possibly more in the future.

I am currently in the middle of around four books (I will have to check since I’m always reading stuff that it is easy to forget day to day), so each month, providing what I’m reading doesn’t already possess an entry, I will be adding at least that much, maybe more for people to discover and read. I read from a variety of genres all the time, so be prepared for some intriguing ones. Just a warning. Either way, if anyone has any requests for books to add, either for their information or their social reading habits, let me know.

I am going to begin doing monthly updates for you regarding the things that I have read, begun using, subscribed to, and/or acquired each month; inspired by Ben Werdmiller, who always has some interesting developments to write about. Thought it would be interesting to do the same thing.

Using

I decided to start the year off with more quantified self (have always been into the concept, but have just recently started actually paying more attention to the gathered data), and have signed up for the following:

These are good tools for determining metrics like productivity, fitness, and so on (Exist connects to Apple Health to obtain data from there). Recently I have actually been monitoring my progress on particular activities, coding in particular, as well as things relating to community resources and projects. I will ideally have a more productive month than I have had in a while.

 

Reading

 

Just started reading the sanyare Chronicles series by Meghan Haskell. I will be completely honest; one of the best Fae series I have read so far; between that and the Fae War Chronicles by Jocelyn Fox. Either way, Follow my Goodreads feed until I can figure out how to get the Read post kind to handle reading statuses on IndieWeb sites.

 

Acquired

 

My best friend gave me one of his extra servers he’s no longer using; images and video to come on that. Either way, will keep you guys updated.

While sitting at the office, on a fairly dead call volume day, (days on the service desk can be rather unpredictable, and one never knows what might happen at a given time), I began reflecting on a conversation that seems to be had nearly all the time now, and with technology becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives, the debate has seemingly reached a tipping point. It’s clear that there are two sides to it; either those who are on the side of integration, and those who are on the side of the old ways (mostly the previous generation, and my arguments with them is a whole other topic for a whole other day).

 

Tech In Our Current Environment

 

The ever-burning question; does technology help or harm the human existence? Well, depends on who you talk to. I’, of course, am of the opinion, that it helps the human existence, when used properly. We all know what happens when things are abused, which can happen anywhere. I think it might help if I illustrate my point with some examples. Here is how I use technology.

 

Technological Affects of COVID-19

 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have increased my usage of computers and smartphones by a significant margin. Mostly, though, it’s because I’ve been communicating with my friends more, and my family equally. I live in an apartment below my parents, so, communication with them is primarily in person (how they prefer it), while during the first four months of Massachusetts lockdown, all myself and my friends had was Zoom/Microsoft teams. (that’s excluding traditional phone calls, which is rare for us, anyway.) Having technology available in this manner prompted me to seriously begin thinking about it in a different way; we hear so much about cyberbullying, cyberstocking, and other crimes like that. What we don’t hear about, are the people who think of themselves as modern cyborgs, in other words, using technology as an extension of our own personalities; if you act one way while standing in a room full of people, then you do your best to act similarly while on a zoom call full of people, as well. Use tech as a mouthpiece, and don’t think of it as a world unto itself, as so many often do, and I believe that’s a large part of the reason why people act differently online than they do off, because to them, they can hide. Well, hate to break it to you, but you can’t. If you behave differently from behind a keyboard, then eventually, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow or next month, but one day, you will surely be discovered as a liar, and no one likes that.

 

Why The Tech-Centric World Should Be An Asset To Millennials

 

Technology in all its various forms offers so much more than other methods ever did; of course, there is always the risk of cyberattacks, but that’s the bane of the existence of the generations before us; they see it as a risk, whereas we simply see it as a part of daily life that didn’t exist in the days of old. generations before us will tell us that we have not a social life, that we live unhealthy lifestyles (though health is subjective; not easy when going outside has become secondary to the lives of nearly everyone I talk to, at least for activities, that is), and all sorts of things, and that is more than likely because they aren’t used to the changes, so they would rather reject them instead of embrace them, which will hurt those who remain in the long run, if you ask me. Eventually, everything will be computerized, and those who don’t have at least some sort of a basic understanding will find life impossible to live. For instance, I see the day where paying bills on paper will no longer be optional, and the only choice will be online bill pay. That’s why it’s of paramount importance that those who are able, train the older generations on as much of the new world as they can handle, and get them to shift their mindsets. For instance, some families will count their kid’s reading time (reading is done through the computer instead of through print/braille), as screen time. My opinion? Not fair to either the kid or the parent. As tech changes, so do the learning methods of those born into it. Reading books electronically will soon become the preferred, not the secondary, method of gathering information for kids today. Remember this: too much of anything is unhealthy, but don’t downplay anything. Focus on the activity, not the method through which the activity is performed. Parents, if you’re going to criticize the kids for reading too much, tell them they’re reading too much, not that they’re spending too much time on the computer. I could provide a ton more examples, but I think I’ll let everyone off my soapbox for now, and will come back with a part II if one is warranted. Have a good and enlightened rest of the day if you get caught reading this.

 

-Kat

As I sit in the office on this Monday morning, I’m wondering about the possibility of more broken plugins on my site. I have all of my profile information completed, though I do get the following when looking at webfinger.net:

Logs as sent from there

 

Request Log

15:21:21 Looking up WebFinger data for https://cambridgeport90.org/author/cambridgeport90
15:21:21 GET https://cambridgeport90.org/.well-known/webfinger?resource=https%3A%2F%2Fcambridgeport90.org%2Fauthor%2Fcambridgeport90
15:21:22 Error getting JRD: 400 Bad Request

JSON Resource Descriptor (JRD)

null

 

Not entirely positive what this means, though it sounds like there is an error of some sort somewhere along the request pipeline. Seeking assistance from the community to help figure this out, because I would like to have the be able to follow me natively, and I would rather not be forced to employ plugins that link my blog to a specific server instance. drives me crazy. Either way, hopefully some sees this.