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David Mead

Context challenges between #indieweb and social media silos

2 min read

My utopian dream of owning all my content would be to post it on my blog first. Syndicating to whatever social media silo's I choose afterwards.

This isn't a reality as some of these silos (Instagram) don't allow posting apart through their apps.

This forces me to accept their context for my content if I consume it into my site, from them.

Example

On my blog I like to capture what I ate or drank. In that post I can have a photo of what I consumed along with a description. It's a thing, don't 'at' me.

On my blog it has context. You can see all the other eat/drink posts on thier own or mixed in with everything else. I can include links to the place where I bought it, who makes it, or related posts.

Instagram's context is its a photo with an optional description. It doesn't matter what it's of. It won't contain links to anything.

So when I get something from Instagram on my blog it has to have the context of 'photo'.

I jump through hoops changing content to fit my context. Swapping from a 'photo' post to a 'food' post, adding links, reformatting text.

I'm not the only one who goes through this

there are a handful of photos of food I've posted *on* Instagram that i later want to go and add to the actual food post

Aaron Parecki

A different approach

Going forward I'm going to try something else. Displace the friction to the silo. I'm going to try to enforce the habit of posting content first on my blog.

From there I'll syndicate where I can (Twitter, Flickr), create a new post using the silo's app where I can't (Instagram).

That way the only edits I have to do my end is add a u-syndication link to the post from Instagram.  This does mean I have to add a spot to do that in the Known Food plugin - but's that a different post.

David Mead

Random Known and OwnYourGram issues still abound with my #indieweb setup

2 min read

I'm still having issues syndicating photo I post on Instagram, to my website. It's very weird and random.

The setup (simply) is this - A service called OwnYourGram "watches" my Instagram  account. When I post a photo there it takes it and creates a post on my website with a link back to the Instagram post.

A service called Brid.gy takes any comments/likes/etc. on that Instagram post and adds them to the post on my website. This can happen as my site has the link back to Instagram with a class of u-syndication on it.

This way I keep, not only a copy of my content but, a copy of any interactions with it.

In the Indieweb we call this PESOS.

The problem

When I first set up this Known blog it worked fine, and imported the last few entries from Instagram. After updating Known the OwnYourGram service returned errors posting to my site.

Once in a while I can log in to OwnYourGram and get a stuck photo to resend without an error.

Yesterday I posted a photo to Instagram and the whole process worked as it should! Going in to try and get the other "trapped" photos out, I got errors again.

OwnYourGram interface showing a photo went through and one erroring

Nothing had changed with my site or any of the services as far as I know.

I live in hope that an update to the core of Known may fix this. It doesn't seem to be an issue on the OwnYourGram side of things as the error is a result of something my site is doing.

But after a couple of conversations at the recent RustbeltRefresh, I may be changing things.

David Mead

Fix for my @GooglePlayMusic issues? Yes! Use @Firefox instead of @GoogleChrome.

2 min read

A week ago I wrote about my issues with Google Play Music. I added another one to the tally as I couldn't upload any music over the past couple of days.  The uploader was stuck with no error message or way to cancel the queued uploads.

Seems a lot of people have had the same issue recently.

I tried the advice in the Reddit thread and it did clear the stuck uploader, but I couldn't get anything new to load.  That was until I tried it in Firefox.

See I'd been doing this all in Chrome because, you know, it's all Google. Turns out that's rapidly turning from a 'pro' to a 'con'.

Opening Google Play Music in Firefox is a little slower than Chrome, but, it fixed some of the issues I was having:

  • upload artwork where it's missing
  • replace incorrect artwork

Downloading the Music Manager desktop app now uploads songs right away and gives me an error report if something fails, along with a reason why it failed.

screenshot of Music Manager showing why a file didn't upload

Chrome never did this. Who knew there was a maximum file size for music - I didn't.

Could this mean, after many years, I switch back to Firefox as my default?

 

David Mead

Thoughts on The Division 2 private beta

3 min read

The original game has been my mainstay for a couple of years now. An original concept of NYC collapsing after an engineered smallpox pandemic. Completing missions, grinding for gear and commendations kept it interesting.

With the second one announced, I was all in. I have already pre-order The Division 2, and I was lucky to get a beta code from E3 last year too.

The Division 2 private beta loading screen

The Story

I really like the time and location jump. Washington D.C. in the sweltering summer after the pandemic. The city looks overgrown and falling apart.

screenshot - looking at Washington monument

Adding 'Settlements' that you have to help and maintain is something is interesting. Adding to the lore and continual play. Holding "control points" also looks like a challenge.

With the rise of new factions, and the promise of an "invasion" as part of the endgame, has me sold.

Lighting

Good grief it's dark. Running into internal corridors, or in the open world at night and it's hard to see anything.

screenshot - dark corridor

I turned the brightness up to 20 (the highest setting) and I still couldn't see half the stuff. I don't expect to see everything, but not knowing what you're stuck on right under your feet is an issue.

Sound

In the first game, sound design was great! It was immersive and gave great clues where people were. In this beta I had big issues with the sound - as in there was none.

I would go into combat and have zero sound. Running around in a silent movie didn't help. Both times I tried 'Conflict' all I could hear was the wind. Made it unplayable.

When it was there though, it was excellent and atmospheric.

PvP

I'm not the greatest fan of PvP to be honest. In the first Division game I would go into the Dark Zone only when I had to for the first year of play. It's in the Division 2. I'll play it, but I don't have much to say.

Glitches/Bugs

Yes, it's a beta so we're still running out the kinks. Some though were very annoying. I mentioned the sound, but there was also a delay when firing certain weapons which felt weird.

Completing the hostage rescue only to find you couldn't actually rescue him. It didn't register the door opened or you in the room.

When talking to NPCs, I'd get trapped in boxes or behind barriers. Also NPCs would walk through the scenery.

screenshot - trapped in scenery

Summary

I'm sold. The graphics are better, the world larger and felt more interactive.

If they can sort out the sound and small glitches (this was a beta) then I can see losing vast amounts of time on this.

David Mead

Is @GooglePlayMusic letting out a death rattle?

1 min read

So @GooglePlayMusic has been showing signs of that, oh so worrying, Google product trait where small things start to not work properly.

Continual uploading

For sometime now the web interface keeps telling me there's one more song uploading. I have no idea what it is. I click on the icon, taking me to the 'recently uploaded' screen, to find everything there.

screenshot of Google Play upload icon

Incorrect artwork

When adding the last four free Underworld tracks, Google Play Music has given them all the same artwork, even though they each come with individual covers.  These covers can be seen when looking at the file locally, but in here they are all the same. Which brings me on to my thrid thing...

screenshot showing same artwork for 3 different music tracks

Cannot upload artwork

At some point Google Play Music lost the ability to upload cover art for tracks or albums. I can pick a new piece, but it never uploads. This means missing, or wrong, artwork can't be fixed.

screenshot showing cover art upload error

I moved away from using iTunes and an iPod quite some time ago, but that option may need to be dusted off (literally) again.

David Mead

I have lived for over half a century, so far...

1 min read

It boggles my mind that I drew a breath before man walked on the moon. Before VCRs, computer games, and cell phones.

I remember thinking about changes my grandparents and parents saw. Then consider the rapid technological leaps & bounds I've seen.

As I type this I'm looking at a brilliant full colour screen, sitting in a milled piece of aluminum on my lap. Magnitudes more computing power than put those men on the moon at my fingers.

I live and work, not only in another country, but a different continent.

I've outlived family, and friends.

I have a family of my own whom I love.

I am loved.

Here's to whatever I have left.

David Mead

First impressions of #AnthemGame

2 min read

Anthem is a new game from Bioware and EA Games.  The demo released this weekend so I thought I'd spend a little time running through it.

Before I could get started I had to login with an EA/Origin account. This meant searching old emails and finally doing a password reset.

Screenshots seemed disabled, so no photos yet.

Now I'm in, I have to say, the world looks great. Has a slight Afro-futurist version of a Morocco souk vibe to it. Being a demo there's only 2 people you can talk with, so I ended up with a lot of "content not available" pop-ups.

screenshot - Fort Tarsis

After accepting "the mission" I actually chose Freeplay (which is a roam around and do stuff mode). Climbed into my Javelin (souped-up Iron Man suit) and off I went.

screenshot - Javelin suit in Fort Tarsis

The environment is beautiful and teeming with "life". Flying overheats your suit, going through water cools it down.
Running out of the approved map was very annoying and I hope this was because it's a demo.

screenshot - Flying in a Javelin suit

It took a couple of tries to grok what was happening with my first encounter. I died and ran out of ammo - a lot. I couldn't see what I was supposed to do. I did notice these appeared and disappeared around me a couple of times which I found weird.

I could see other players on the map, even got messages they needed help. I couldn't set a way point or find their direction after leaving the map which was frustrating.

screenshot - map

There felt like a lot of reading to do in the sub-menus and I didn't find a comfortable entry point.
I'm going to be playing this some more over the weekend. Midnight was probably not the best time to start.

David Mead

Changing a plugin for Known (coding) #indieweb

2 min read

I wanted to change up how a plugin worked on my blog. Namely the Listen one.

Out-of-the-box

Looking at it after install if allowed me to capture someting I had listened too. I could link to somewhere that'd let others here it, and put in "cover art" and some notes.  All fantastic.

screenshot of Listen post

Couple of things I wanted to change:

  • artist closer to the title, and not after my notes
  • icon indicating song, podcast, etc.
  • definition between my notes and what I had listened to

Breaking stuff

So I "forked the repo" and basically spent today pulling apart and putting back togther PHP code that I had no idea did what.

I found that the 'listen types' weren't being pulled through to assign an icon to, so I commented out a large section and replaced it with a simple <select> element.  This seems to have worked, though I don't know (yet) how to retain what I selected if I edit the post.

I've now got it looking a lot more how I wanted and it sees the listen type and shows the matching icon.

screenshot of new Listen posts

Also did some more changes while I was feeling brave:

  • I added a lot more types including soundtrack and audio book
  • Changed the titles to past tense
  • Updated the edit page by matching labels to fields, wrapping fields in <p>, and changed some of the language used there too

Going forward

I've posted on the IRC that I've made the changes, so I'll see if, and how, anyone wants to merge these into the plugin.

I'd love to get Last.FM and Huffduffer integrated so they post automagically.

 

David Mead

Theming Known, overriding Bootstrap and base styles.

1 min read

While the blog isn't 100% where I want it (Wordpress imports and Instagram imports not working yet), I thought I'd start giving a theme a go.

Before I dove in with posts etc., there was some internal housekeeping I want to tidy up.  Namely, the settings and configuration pages.

The 'tabs' always seemed off.  Applying my go to .red class (border: 1px solid red!important;) to identify things, I could see why.

(screenshot) overlapping tabs with a red border

Time to start plugging away at some Bootstrap overrides.

David Mead

Reading option in Chrome thanks to @techwareguide

1 min read

Thanks to @techwareguide's article I found the Distill extension for Chrome. Finally a replacement for @evernote's dearly missed Clearly.

Chrome on my phone does offer a 'simplified view' for certain pages, but I couldn't find a way to turn on that for desktop.