ALL ART BURNS

It does, you know. You just have to get it hot enough.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Back to the blogs, I think

After nearly a month’s vacation from my personal Facebook account, I think I’m not going back any time soon.  I still have my business FB accounts, but personally, I feel a lot less stress in my life away from Facebook.

I think the biggest problem is that FB doesn’t have easy access to organized group discussion.  The events are ok, but the groups are basically a disaster when it comes to conversation over time.  Mailing lists, USENET groups, and conferences on private forums (like the well) are a great way to organize discussions on topics of interest.  These groups can have agreed upon rules, ranging from “no spoilers” to “no political discussion.”

One benefit of group conversations — I can avoid topics where I simply DGAS.  I can’t remember the last time where I’ve wanted to discuss sports with anyone, especially in a public place where every fan’s team is the best ballsporter or whatever.   So I don’t read those groups and I never have to see any words about fantasy teams or the sweet sixteen.

It works both ways, I do care quite a bit about politics and am involved at the local level.  I’m on several vintage motorcycle mailing lists and I’m pretty certain people on those lists have voted for Dotard, but politics has no place in a vintage bike discussion so it never comes up.   Same goes for gardening and cooking.  I like to do both, and I think I can have a civil discussion with someone who is a vegetarian or who has similar-but-different food allergies and have religion and politics only come up for curious reasons, not ranting/yelling matches.

So, back to words.  It’s been a year since I’ve had anything to say about design in a public space, but maybe I’ll give it another go.

posted by jet at 16:38  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I want to be a designer because (2014 edition)

it turns out to be a description of what I like doing every day, design and create new things that improve the world.

Ok, so I went over the word count limit but I also missed a year or so.

posted by jet at 21:45  

Friday, December 14, 2012

long form, short form, and communications frameworks for the Internet

And if you’re still reading after that title, carry on!

This is a port/cross-post of something I wrote for my friends on FB, but I want to share it with all the people I know and don’t know over on Twitter and on my blog.  This isn’t a pro/con XYZ topic, it’s about how I see the world as long complex conversations.  Because I see the world this way I really suck at not looking like an idiot on Twitter, forget not pissing off my friends in the process.

—cut here—

Over in the BBS and USENET worlds we had ideas like conferences, groups, and topic and discussion threads. Today I see a lot of “why don’t we discuss XYZ?!?” and I think, “but we do. There’s an XYZ conference and at least three or four ban/support XYZ topics in conferences like Current Events, Politics, and Today’s News. We’ve been talking about this weekly, if not daily, for the past 20-something years. Yes, some of us are tired of hearing the conversation on legalizing XYZ or making it a felony, but it’s there if you want to join.”

On Facebook there is no place where those sorted discussions happen, have a specific context, and are archived for future reading. I can’t easily say, “last year Bob and Alice had a big argument about this topic and did a bunch of research. If you start reading at Ban XYZ 2011 around post 37 you’ll see links to all the .gov sites that contain the stats.” Likewise, if I don’t care about professional sports, I can’t just unsubscribe from ProSportsTalk and have all that discussion removed from my feed.  Go talk about football or baseball, have fun, I just won’t wade through it all every day.

Over on Twitter the posts are so short that it’s hard to get past posting URLs, simple statements of fact, opinion, or belief. Hell, that sentence probably wouldn’t fit on Twitter, much less something like this with paragraphs and quotes and such. There’s going to be no real discussion on Twitter as a result, and long-winded people like me end up sounding like idiots more often than not by trying to take a post (like this) and sum it up in 140 characters or less. Which is also to say, I’ll go back to using Twitter to post URLs for the public and not much else.

Where this all really breaks down is that emotionally charged events, from politics to crime to natural disaster can be hard to actually discuss in these forums. Chris Rapier and Fawn Fitter both started some, well, adult conversations on Facebook, especially compared to what is impossible to easily filter out on Twitter and that I refer to as “yelling”. So if you draw a line from Twitter to Facebook then keep going you get to the sort of conversational forums that I’d like to see more of. Yes, there’s lots of topic-specific websites these days and I do use them, but I’m not personally friends with people on those forums as I am on Facebook.

This lack of discussion context makes it hard to be relaxed about some classifications of posts, especially on various sides of a topic. On a more complex conferencing system than Facebook or Twitter, if XYZ is a crazy new diet we can make jokes about it over in the DarkHumor area and have a serious discussion about nutrition over in HealthEating.   In the same way, there’s no  conveient regional topics on Facebook  for all of your favorite local restaurants there that I can avoid until a few days before my next visit to your town when I want to scope out where I’m going to eat.  Right now I probably don’t care very much about the best seafood where you live, but a week before I visit I want a core dump of restaurant info.

So why is all this important? (And why are you still reading?) I think that for some of us, our Facebook and Twitter friend/follow lists are kept short, local, and relevant.  I don’t think I’m friends with many people on Facebook that I wouldn’t go have a cocktail with after work, ride motorcycles, hack a 3d printer, or otherwise do fun, “real world” things. For those friends and I there will often be disagreements over politics, religion, or just sheer boredom with someone’s hobby. (NO really jet, shut up about lasers and 3d printers. I know, I know.)

I just made up the name “unintentional tension” for this. There’s probably a better psych term I could use, but at the end of the day, the difficulty in classifying our posts and finding ones from others leads to a lot of us having to skip things we just don’t want to read. I do want to read about your bicycle collection but I DGAS about quilting, and if we were chatting about something in person you’d probably skip the quilting just as I’d skip what is to you annoyingly dull trivia about how lathes worked in the 1950s under belt power.

FINALLY THE ENDING WHAT IS THIS THE HOBBIT?!?

So, I really am sorry if I’ve pissed you off or hurt your feelings on probably any subject I’m passionate about, you’re bored with, or the other way around.  I’ve been in online conversations since the 80s, starting with the BBS then moving to USENET and later to The WeLL and Twitter and Facebook.   For the most part, I don’t participate in these forums to  poke reactions out of people, pick fights, or convert you to whatever OS I prefer.   If we’re really friends in the so-called “real world” I’d like to keep it that way.

This entry is an example of why I suck at Twitter and barely pass over on Facebook.  Some write comic strips, others write songs, a few write poems, a few more write books, but some us write a never-ending journal.   Maybe it’s because I’m from the south or read too much Burroughs and Pynchon in college; but these dialogs, the long, complex, and sometimes tedious or boring is simply how I see and understand the world.
posted by jet at 22:04  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Intro to El Wire class, Saturday, 14 July

We’ll cover:

— How EL-wire works
— How to solder the wire and assemble controllers
— Using EL-wire in clothing, signage and other projects
— Safety and design considerations

Each student will receive a starter kit with 2 meters of wire, an EL-wire controller, batteries and additional components. Additional lengths of EL-wire in a variety of colors will be available for purchase at the class.

More details, pictures, and video are on Hack Pittsburgh’s web site.

posted by jet at 09:18  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Game on.

My loose plans to start a design and fabrication startup have turned into a ref’s orders.

“Game on”, as they say.

A sea change at work has made me remember it’s good to get off the ship while it’s in the harbor and I did. I’m still going to look around for a nice gig at someone else’s firm, but while I’m doing that I’m also going to be putting pencil to paper, soldering, printing, lasering, and welding.

What makes me feel good about this is how quickly some work has shown up. It’s not a for-a-living level of work, but it will be great additions to my portfolio and CV, and lead to more work.

For you digifab types, I’m also cranking up my lasersaur, reprap/makerbot, and general digifab hacking at the nerd blog.

posted by jet at 11:34  
Next Page »

Powered by WordPress