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w/e 7 October 2018

Over the past couple of weeks two conversations I’ve had with friends have ended up with us being sad and/or angry about the state of the internet. Sure, it’s only two conversations but if we set aside conversations I’ve had with my wife or inanimate objects that’s a very high proportion of all conversations I’ve had.

We shared a feeling that “we” (people who were so enthusiastic about the net 20+ years ago) have fucked things up or, at best, taken our eyes off the ball, and we’ve ended up with this thing full of fake news and the extreme-right and spam and abuse and intrusive advertising and walled gardens and trackers and conspiracy videos and influencers and privacy violations and and and.

In the same way that I feel slightly queasy when using Twitter and Facebook, despite my little curated, filtered, muted corners being perfectly pleasant, I feel similar about doing stuff online at all. I used to think I was contributing, in a tiny way, to a special, mostly good, exciting place. I guess it’s just become a more complete reflection of the world as a whole, rather than a pleasant, utopian alternative to it.

It’s 25 years since Wired launched. Didn’t they all look happy.

In March I said how some of Phoebe Bridgers’ lyrics reminded me of Mark Kozelek and this week, while listening to music on YouTube as if I was a young person, I found two videos of them duetting at a gig in April, which made me happy. But Kozelek hates people using phones at gigs.

This week I finished reading Beast by Paul Kingsnorth, which I noted down after reading this LRB review in 2016, thinking it sounded interesting. It was an interesting, hallucinatory, English countryside read.

I went to see a showcase performance by students finishing the Salon Collective’s six month part-time training programme. I’d worked with or seen most of them in classes and it was lovely to see them perform polished duologues and monologues after all that work. Good stuff.

Over the past month I’ve spent some time trying to get to grips with Docker as an environment in which to develop websites locally.* I’ve been using Vagrant for ages but Docker sounded like it might be lighter weight and quicker… and either way, it now seems popular enough that I should be familiar with how it works.

(* When writing websites on your own computer it’s nice to be able to keep aspects of the site, like its database and the versions of software it uses, separate from everything else on your computer. And also to be able to specify them in a way that other people can easily set up an identical environment on their own computer when working on the same website’s code. Vagrant and Docker can both be used for this.)

I eventually got an example of using Docker to run a Django site working locally. It was more complicated than I expected. Every description I read about how to do this was different, in big or small ways. Docker’s own documentation is sometimes good but often over-complicated, because Docker can be used for things besides local development environments.

I’m still hazy about the exact definitions of “image” and “container”, which are the basic building blocks of the thing, despite reading umpteen descriptions and metaphors. But I think I maybe understand it enough to actually use it now. Progress.

That’s all. I’ve been having trouble sleeping recently and my Apple Watch is stuck in Shanghai due to “mechanical failures”. May you be wide awake and mechanically functional this week.

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