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f/e 12 August 2018

I need to try writing down things I plan to mention in weeknotes (or, here, fortnightnotes) because I get to Sunday evening and… what was I going to write about? I’m sure there were loads of things.

We’re half-way through watching Keeping Faith which I mention now, rather than when it’s finished, because I’m wary of series like this being a good ride only to fumble the ending. It doesn’t always happen but it’s common enough that I’m wary. There’s something about no possible ending being able to be satisfy the increasing complications of the whodunnit-style plots.

Anyway, so far, I’m enjoying this, aside from the Meaningful Music Interludes and the clunky title — she’s called Faith and she’s, like, having to keep faith in, er, stuff? Herself? Her family? Definitely one of those!

My favourite thing is watching some of the moments when Eve Myles’ is on her own and she’s happy or angry. She seems so free and convincing in her joy or frustration that she’s great fun to watch. I am envious too.

We also enjoyed the three-part The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer which, aside from the inevitable manufacturing of minor crises (spoiler: everything ends up OK, every time) is, like other documentaries about massive engineering projects, a good watch. I hadn’t realised how big it all was — my mental image of “a big sewer” was those Victorian ones that someone could maybe stand up in. These are massive and much deeper than any other pipes or trains. I can’t imagine how projects this complicated are planned and managed. More envy here: I found myself envious of people who make things that last.

A few Ask MetaFilter questions that I enjoyed recently:

In my little online world there’s been another flurry of people joining the Mastodon social network, mainly as a result of the latest round of Twitter failing to handle right-wing users. I’ve never, personally, had any trouble on Twitter, but then I’m a straight, white, middle-class, cis male who rarely posts (or even reads) anything political or controversial. But it’s hard to ignore how unpleasant parts of the place are, and how poorly the whole thing is managed. My frustration was channelled into making and tweeting this image:

A flag featuring a black Twitter logo in a white circle on a red background

I’ve no idea if Mastodon will flourish beyond techy early adopters. At the moment it seems like a nice place because — in my network — it’s full of the same kinds of people who were early Twitter users, or early bloggers, or 1990s internet tinkerers. Would it all work as hoped if there were hundreds of millions of people using it? Will its privacy model and its other features prevent abuse and harassment? It still feels a little complicated and unfriendly in terms of technology, language and UI. But I think it’s already better than it was when I signed up some months ago. It’s certainly nicer than what I’d traditionally expect from open source software. Which is damning with faint praise, but still.

Also, in general, it feels a lot nicer to be somewhere that isn’t ultimately run for the benefit of investors. I want it to work. And, aside from contributing money, using it seems the best way to help that happen. Someone else is working on a photo hosting/sharing website based on the same technology behind Mastodon. Part of me almost has hope about the internet. Imagine that.

That’s all. I hope you have, or find, something to be hopeful about this week.

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