Over the past few weeks, I’ve been building a little app. Before now I’ve only ever designed UIs and built simple HTML, CSS, JS websites with no log-in system and no form of stored data. This new one, which I called Depiction.co has both. (Try it out so you have some idea of what I’m talking about in this post.) It’s a web app that allows each user to log in with Twitter and save a status update with a colour, which are then written to a database with their Twitter username and some metadata. Each user has a profile page which displays their current status and colour. It’s simple, and largely useless, but it was a nice first project to convince me that user management and data storage isn’t as horrific as I first thought.
After seeing an increasing number of stories about David Cameron’s proposed default Internet filtering for UK households, I decided to look into the details of the changes and found several of them to be quite disturbing. It seems to me that the Internet is being targeted by the government in a way that could limit people’s access to legal, useful information online. This, in conjunction with the recent discovery of Prism and other operations by the security services to surveil the public, makes me very worried for the state of the Internet in the future. It seems that both freedom and privacy are now diminishing…
After beginning talking to several new people recently, I thought it might be wise to write a few tips for talking to me online; a getting-started guide to your new Graham.
1.0 Initial Warnings
Initially, you will find your Graham to be excessively happy and probably overly expressive too. You may find it tries to be funny - and though it isn’t, it will detect but appreciate your forced, falsified laughter. You may find it words things in a confusingly ambiguous way. You may find it changes topic unannounced.
After taking some time off from writing, I think it might be time to return. June came and went, seeing no new posts on my blog. So, I thought I should take this chance to say a few smaller things I might have liked to discuss at length but didn’t.
Writing is something that I enjoy doing - I know that. It’s, for me, the most eloquent way I can express myself. But I know it’s not for everyone. There seems to be an eternal debate ongoing about the importance of the ‘proper’ use of language. This difference is barely noticeable, just the slight difference between a “What?” and a “wot”, but we’re told it matters nonetheless. Some people - we’ll follow the cliché and call them Grammar Nazis - say that language should always take its proper, grammatically and syntactically correct form for fear of degrading language altogether and damaging its clarity.
I’m fed up of seeing people complaining about app updates; not complaining that they want a feature, or that a bug hasn’t been fixed. That’s perfectly fine. I see people complaining simply because apps have been updated. Firstly, what’s wrong with you? Secondly, to deal with these complaints, and to try to assist the app developers who have to deal with them, I thought I should do a little complaining of my own.
I’ve seen a few articles on tech news sites - including this TechCrunch one - in light of the recent Yahoo-Tumblr acquisition which try to explain Tumblr’s roots. Where did it come from? Why is it successful?
The first question is pretty simple to answer. Tumblr was a blogging platform. It was much like WordPress, but it became more social. Like Twitter, but more open to customisation. Like Posterous, but popular. Post-types, were and still are, a defining feature. They make getting content out there, no matter what it is, easy. Reblogging allows content to spread quickly, with inline comments. The simple Dashboard, too, makes content the focus. It’s minimal. It’s good.
Time is valuable. Time with friends is more valuable. Clocks are interesting. Don’t try to have too many friends. People met on the internet are as real and complex as anyone else. Make fun of the little things that you do often as the rare occasions aren’t so easily remembered. Possessions are too numerous and overvalued.
Having fun is important. Considering the daily elements of modern life fun makes an enjoyable life. By doing what you enjoy, you can define yourself.