the porous city



email me



Federated online services
I'm still looking for a good definition of what federated means in the context of online services ... in the meantime, gathering little bits of information.

You've got mail
email beat service-specific messaging once ...

1. Internet used only by geeks, with open (federated) email services
2. Internet commercializes, but new users shunted into closed, service-specific messaging, typically tied to their ISP (Prodigy, AOL, ... )
3. Service-specific messaging platforms add external messaging
4. Messaging becomes decoupled from ISP (usually, you have a family member somewhere with a address)

Arriving in Newport Beach
A pier in Newport Beach from the air


Visual CSV Fingerprint

Icon usability
"... if it takes you more than 5 seconds to think of an appropriate icon ..." then don't rely on an icon there. Nielsen/Norman on icon usability.

Ten degrees!
Somehow I missed that. Ten. ("Could", so maybe that's the upper end of their estimates.)

Two teams of American climatologists published research confirming that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun to collapse, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program released its third National Climate Assessment, which noted that average temperatures in the United States had increased by between 1.3 and 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century, predicted that in the absence of human intervention those temperatures could rise by another 10 degrees during the coming century, and attributed recent adverse weather events such as floods and droughts to climate change caused by humans.

Harper's Weekly Review, May 13, 2014

Making local filesystem blog integration work
The goal here is to have my local notes repository (text files in Dropbox accessed via Notational Velocity) and my blog (my de facto note-taking solution for years) be the same set of stuff with different views.

  • Don't try to make sync work. Sync never works. (Or rather, let Dropbox handle syncing.) Dropbox is the system of record and it pushes out to other services. That means if I want to be able to create / edit posts from the blog interface I'll need to have them call the Dropbox API.
  • Notational Velocity and the blog have different conventions for outlining, need to be reconciled.
  • Should be able to crosspost to FB and Twitter
  • Convention: #fb #tw #tpc in the title xpost to Facebook / Twitter / blog
  • Problem: Facebook and Twitter items don't have titles.
  • Means finally moving to flat categories, once and for all.
  • Can I get Twitter replies / FB comments to come back the other way?

Your darkly gleaming Monday links

"He believed then that human life was infinitely perfectible, eliminating these conditions?"

"There remained the generic conditions imposed by natural, as distinct from human law, as integral parts of the human whole: the necessity of destruction to procure alimentary sustenance: the painful character of the ultimate functions of separate existence, the agonies of birth and death: the monotonous menstruation of simian and (particularly) human females extending from the age of puberty to the menopause: inevitable accidents at sea, in mines and factories: certain very painful maladies and their resultant surgical operations, innate lunacy and congenital criminality, decimating epidemics: catastrophic cataclysms which make terror the basis of human mentality: seismic upheavals the epicentres of which are located in densely populated regions: the fact of vital growth, through convulsions of metamorphosis from infancy through maturity to decay."

"It's not about the drop, it's about the build." - Kasima

Gawker bans Internet slang

SPARK talk on affordable housing in SF
  • Tim Colen, Executive Director of the SF Housing Action Coalition
  • Peter Cohen, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations

We build very little housing - near the bottom of the top 100 cities, with our economy near the top.

"Housing for whom?"

We mostly build housing for rich people. Disagreement about whether we build enough even here.

Crazy, increasing wealth gap.

Proposal: build housing targeted at specific income levels, rent-controlled. We build 75-80% of what we need for low income. Main problem is middle income - hit maybe 12% of our target here in the 2000s.

Down payment assistance program does a great job.

Disagreement about whether Seattle is a model - they build a lot more housing, prices still climbing, still have an affordable housing problem. But it's 30-40% cheaper than here - can get an "apodment" for $400 a month.

80% of the building on 20% of the land.

Demand's not gonna stop. Planners are saying SF will reach a million people in the next 20 years.

Current housing developments were approved 5-6 years ago during the last planning cycle.

"What if we are successful in massively increasing housing supply but it's primarily market rate?" - it's not hard to do better than building 2,000 units a year.

1990-2012 - authorized 45,000 units of housing for construction. We built 36,000. Why aren't developers building what's been approved if the problem is permitting obstructions? Huge numbers of them are in 3 developments - Hunter's Point, Park Merced and Treasure Island (all have plenty of subsidized housing) - apparently capital markets have decided for whatever reason that these aren't attractive?

Over 35 years have built 30,000 permanent affordable housing units. We have several thousand more via public housing and section 8. We have a significant amount of rent-controlled housing. This works well.

We're gonna need more money to subsidize building housing for low income people for whom housing can't be affordably built. (Implication that this money should come from new developments targeted at the rich.)

"Why does SF have to take everyone? Why can't we build more on the peninsula? It's a regional problem." A1: well, SF has the best transport infrastructure. A2: there's the expectation that we're going to build 98,000 new units over 25 years (dude thinks this is crazy.) I mean, think about the infrastructure needs - we're dramatically underfunded here.

"SF used to have a laid-back ambience ... they're going to tear down Mount Sutro! The city has become so stressful."

Barcelona, London, etc all 3-4x as dense as SF.

"That mindset 'San Francisco was perfect on the day I moved here.'"

"Seems like developers are choosing to pay into the fund rather than build affordable housing." Housing Action Committee guy believes it's more like 16 out of 17 building rather than paying.

Very hard to get into housing built under Inclusionary.

Ellis Act. Huge increase in no-fault evictions. But: 270,000 housing units. 300 Ellis Act evictions. (Wait, really?)

Legislation to legalize illegal units. Legislation to legalize secondary units (in-line units) - what are these?

West Portal has a 26-foot height restriction.

Spoonfeeding yourself R
Datacamp looks like a really slick interactive way to learn R.

What I Want From a Blog
  • To continue to use this as my home base - homebrew CMS, archive accumulated over years.
  • To selectively cross-post to Tumblr, Twitter, whatever
  • To be more usable on mobile
  • To have an interface that lets me see social interactions from Tumblr, on-site comments, maybe Twitter/FB shares, all in one place - ideally, the same place I consume RSS
  • Basically I want to blur the line between reading and writing, and I want to interact with the walled gardens without being trapped there
  • (stretch goal) integrated with Notational Velocity Making local filesystem blog integration work

"the many ingenious ways that life propagates itself"
Discussion of Anna's show at the Arnold Arboretum.

"Pack it up," Henry Ford said, "the car's had it."

image of a dude shooting up from underwater

New machine setup
Since I've done this twice in the past 24 hours ...

  • Dropbox / Google Drive
  • Notational Velocity
  • Adium
  • SizeUp
  • f.lux
  • MS Office (meh)
  • change Terminal font to Consolas 13
  • log in to all the websites


Freemind, Omnigraffle, Spotify, VLC

Getting closer to the bottleneck now
graph of SF sunrise and sunset times over time

Those are months along the bottom, read up: sunrise at 7, sunset at 9, etc.

Rain check
Worked late on a project at work that requires integrating with a lot of other products. Spent time reading requirements docs, trying to understand how it might fit together. It's possible this isn't going to work out - people might decide the risks aren't worth the reward. That's actually ... fine. Take feedback, iterate, make sure we're headed in the right direction. But figuring out the direction sooner is better, so I missed the Wire concert.

Trying to sleep, one of my roommates was up late singing along with her laptop in another part of the house. Not sure how you can hate on that, so I went with it. Still got up early and met up with the Mission Cycling guys for the pre-dawn Headlands raid. Haven't been climbing a lot so I was one of the last ones to the top of Hawk Hill. View still spectacular, bombing back down still an adrenaline rush. Water started coming down, just a few drops at a time, enough to have me rushing home, acting antisocially through the Wiggle (which I really gotta stop.)

Dinner tonight, a walk tomorrow, signing a lease Thursday, happy hour and a birthday party on Friday, no clue on Saturday.

Just wanted to get a picture down of what it looks like when it's working out.

"Its Been A Week Since The Carnival"

"Like Your Ideas. We Live In A World Where People Dont Even Like Their Own Ideas, That Why You Have People Copying One Thing Thats Working So Much"

Laurie Anderson on Lou Reed

It was spring in 2008 when I was walking down a road in California feeling sorry for myself and talking on my cell with Lou. "There are so many things I've never done that I wanted to do," I said.

"Like what?"

"You know, I never learned German, I never studied physics, I never got married."

"Why don't we get married?" he asked. "I'll meet you halfway. I'll come to Colorado. How about tomorrow?"

"Um – don't you think tomorrow is too soon?"

"No, I don't."

Enthusiasm Loops
How not to burn out

  • Enthusiasm comes and goes
  • That's ok
  • "Fortunately you can replenish your enthusiasm. For me, I replenish enthusiasm by 'shipping'. By shipping I mean I get tangible pieces of a project out to an audience."

Because I want a headache?
Detailed diary of designing a syncing engine for a note-taking app.

In case I want to remember what clear design thinking looks like, or (heaven forbid) if I end up working on a product that involves syncing.

Paging bikers and map geeks

Mobile is easting the world

I thought they had repudiated Chiastic Slide but it's not true

"i had a guy round fixing my boiler a couple of years ago when i was doing tac lacora so i played him that cos he was asking
he just said 'who listens to this then? loads of guys sitting in their houses smoking weed?'
and i went 'yeah, pretty much'"

I guess what I love most about this interview is that they are clearly fully committed to it. You want to know if they have any deep theories about music? They will answer. What would they do if one member died? Answered. Haiku, if you please? Here's one. These guys do not do anything by half measures.

"If I'm right about the future, cities are going to see a tsunami of people, money, information, weapons and drugs." - David Kilcullen, who says he's mostly talking about cities in the developing world, where a million people move from rural areas to cities every week.

Other notes:

High-crime areas have distinct visual signatures - the size and density of the buildings, the bends in the streets, the amount of street lighting ...

It took us years before we ask Iraqis how they thought we should secure Iraq.

Back when

I should check out these bayimproviser event listings. If you like modern electronic / classic stuff maybe you should too.

fun things to project at your next party

via ilx


For everything that is understood and sensed is nothing other than the apparition of the non-apparent, the manifestation of the hidden, the affirmation of the negated, the comprehension of the incomprehensible, the utterance of the unutterable, the access to the inaccessible, the intellection of the unintelligible, the body of the bodiless, the essence of the beyond-essence, the form of the formless, the measure of the immeasurable, the number of the unnumbered, the weight of the weightless, the materialization of the spiritual, the visibility of the invisible, the place of the placeless, the time of the timeless, the definition of the infinite, the circumscription of the uncircumscribed, and the other things which are both conceived and perceived by the intellect alone and cannot be retained within the recesses of memory and which escape the blade of the mind.

Sawa sawa
Sort of the Kiswahili equivalent of saying "cool", as in "ok, all right, good". As a Minnesotan, it sounded familiar.

"Also, speaking of decades, just as a note, as a person checking back in on your life, you have been saying you will move to New York since 2003. A decade, Lukas, A decade!"
I don't really have a good comeback to this. I had my reasons, but yeah, certain dreams have suffered as a result. It's really a shame that we only get one life, isn't it?

17th century social media
Commonplace books as prototypes of Tumblr and Pinterest
Commonplace books that survive from the Tudor period contain a huge variety of texts, including letters, poems, medical remedies, prose, jokes, ciphers, riddles, quotations and drawings. Sonnets, ballads and epigrams jostle with diary entries, recipes, lists of ships or Cambridge colleges and transcriptions of speeches. Collecting useful snippets of information so that they could be easily retrieved when needed, or re-read to spark new ideas and connections, was one of the functions of a commonplace book. But the practice of maintaining a commonplace book and exchanging texts with others also served as a form of self-definition: which poems or aphorisms you chose to copy into your book or to pass on to your correspondents said a lot about you, and the book as a whole was a reflection of your character and personality.

The first website

Very cool map of genres and artists

I was going to write a report about riding in the LA marathon crash race, luckily Alex already did.

Lock and load

I need a tumblr
But this was tumblr before tumblr, and I'm loath to leave it. Anyway. What does Bill Drummond have to say?

Games, Video, History, Berlin, Activism, Friday, Clothes, San Francisco, Podcasts, Quizzes, Sports, Statistics, Personal care, CrowdFlower, Travel, Minnesota, Transportation, Law, Geography, Bicycling, Politik, Life hacks, Toys, L.A., Boston, Food & Drink, Agriculture, Surfing, NYC

Javascript, Audio, Open, RSS, Shopping, Social, Net, Storage, Product Management, Hardware, Web analytics, Business, Mobile, Security, Medical, Visual, WRX, barcamp, Crowdsourcing, s60, OS, Development, Collaboration, MacOS, PIM, Automobile, Energy

Good tracks, Musicians, Mailing lists, History, Shopping, Reviews, Streams, Booking, Business, Labels, Making, Mixes, Hip-hop, Lyrics, Mp3s, House, Videos, L.A., Events, Boston

Vocations, Weblogs, Enemies, ADD, Friends, Heroes, Health, Family, Languages, Me, MOTAS, Subcultures, Stories, Gossip, Working with, Life hacks, Exercise

Personal finance, Web, Real Estate, Investing, Macroeconomics, Insurance, Shopping, Microfinance, Personal services, Non-profit, Taxes, Marketing and CRM, International Development, IP Law, Management consulting

Movies, Animation, Comix, Visual, Literature, Humor, Burning Man, Rhetoric, Outlets, Sculpture, iPad bait, Events, Spoken Word, Poetry

Type, Cool, Data visualization, Web, Tools, IA, Process, Furniture, User experience, Architecture, Presentations

Zoology, Networks, Psychology, Statistics and Data, Environment, Physics

Uganda, Vagabond '08, Kenya, Kingdom of Siam

Photos I Wish I'd Taken, Friends, Moblog


One Acre Fund

Subscribe to this site's rss feed


We are live.