🔖💻 Read Building a Digital Homestead, Bit by Brick (Tom Critchlow).

I like this homesteading metaphor. Neither gardens nor streams quite work for what I do with my personal site. This is closer.

How to remove timestamps and extra lines from a Zoom transcript using Notepad++ or BBEdit

In case it would help other people, here’s how I did it. I would have something that looked like this:

00:00:36.900 –> 00:00:40.560
Kimberly Hirsh (she/her): Do you agree to participate in the study and to have the interview audio recorded?

With the help of this guide from Drexel and replies to this Stack Overflow post I now can remove the number, the timestamp, and the two extra lines created when I remove those. Here’s how I do it.

  1. Open the VTT file in my advanced text editor.
  2. Use the find and replace feature.
  3. For the thing to be replaced I use the regular expression ^[(\d|\n)].*$. You don’t need to know what a regular expression is. Just copy and paste that little code bit into the “Find” box.
  4. Make sure either “Regular expression” or “GREP” is selected.
  5. Click “Replace” to test it once and be sure if it works.
  6. If it works, click “Replace all.”

For BBEdit:

  1. Paste ^\s*?\r in the “Find” box.
  2. Make sure the replace box is empty.
  3. Repeat steps 5 and 6.

For Notepad++: 7. Then switch so that “Extended” is selected instead of “Regular expression” or “GREP.” 8. Paste \r\n\r\n in the “Find” box. 9. Put a single space in the replace box. 10. Repeat steps 5 and 6.

I hope this is helpful!

🔖 Read As We May Think by Vannevar Bush

This 1945 essay by Vannebar Bush is one of the first texts they had us read when I got my MS in Library Science.

Notes and highlights

A record if it is to be useful to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted.

one needs not only to make and store a record but also be able to consult it,

every time one combines and records facts in accordance with established logical processes, the creative aspect of thinking is concerned only with the selection of the data and the process to be employed and the manipulation thereafter is repetitive in nature and hence a fit matter to be relegated to the machine

Whenever logical processes of thought are employed—that is, whenever thought for a time runs along an accepted groove—there is an opportunity for the machine.

There may be millions of fine thoughts, and the account of the experience on which they are based, all encased within stone walls of acceptable architectural form; but if the scholar can get at only one a week by diligent search, his syntheses are not likely to keep up with the current scene.

The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature.

Bush points out that indexing systems and rules do not duplicate the human mind - we must convert our own mental associations to a form we can use to search them - but that the human mind works by association. I extrapolate from this the idea of hypertext as a model of how the mind works. I’m going to keep an eye out for other instances of this idea.

if the user inserted 5000 pages of material a day it would take him hundreds of years to fill the repository, so he can be profligate and enter material freely.

How many people use Evernote as a Memex?

When the user is building a trail, he names it, inserts the name in his code book, and taps it out on his keyboard. Before him are the two items to be joined, projected onto adjacent viewing positions. At the bottom of each there are a number of blank code spaces, and a pointer is set to indicate one of these on each item. The user taps a single key, and the items are permanently joined. In each code space appears the code word.

This is tagging.

There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record.

It me! This is kinda what people who operate as web librarians do. Web librarian isn’t my job title or description, but it’s just kind of who I am.

His excursions may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at hand, with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important.

This is one of my difficulties. I put a lot of stuff in my blog-as-memex but don’t have a good way of surfacing them again. Theoretically I could do this with categories, but that gets overwhelming fast. This is why I’m thinking about using a blog and a wiki together for this purpose.

He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good.

I fear this is so.

Text adventure nostalgia

I hope your Wednesday’s going well! (Or Thursday if you’re farther east enough than me that that’s what day it is!)

I’ve been reading and loving Aaron A. Reed’s 50 Years of Text Games. Each week in 2021 he’s featuring a different text game, writing an essay about one from each year from 1971 to 2021. I played a few text games as a kid and this series is really fueling my nostalgia even though I’m only on 1973 in my reading and I didn’t do anything with a computer until probably 1986 or so.

My first computer (well, the family’s computer) was a Sanyo, maybe in the MBC-550 series (the image certainly looks right). Our monitor was monochrome, black with green text, until that monitor died and we switched to one that was black with gold text. I wrote all my school assignments in WordStar and printed them out on a dot matrix printer.

We had some big floppy disks and they had lots of games on them, mostly written in BASIC. I also subscribed to 3-2-1 Contact Magazine which would print BASIC games that you could code into your own computer. A couple of my friends and I really latched onto a couple of specific text adventures when we were in middle school (I’d guess around 1993), probably because they were ones we both happened to have. C and I were very into Wishbringer and L and I were very into Madame Fifi’s… which I’ll let you investigate further yourself but was a very interesting game for two twelve-year-olds, one of whom (me) was perplexed as to why her parents had such a titillating game just lying around. L and I were so inspired by Madame Fifi’s that we began writing our own BASIC text adventure, School Daze, entirely based on our experiences as seventh graders. It stayed on paper - I don’t why I never got it into the computer, but sixth or seventh grade is about when I stopped programming for a couple reasons: 1. afterschool chorus and theater rehearsals ate up my free time 2. computer class was full of programming in Logo which, to me, seemed like it was for babies. I didn’t want to draw circles. I wanted to create elaborate adventures with branching logic. But instead I just stopped programming, and didn’t pick code up again until I learned HTML. Then I went full mark-up/styling and have only done a little bit of true programming since, but this series is definitely tugging at my nostalgia and making me think maybe I’ll try my hand at interactive fiction.

In the introduction to the series, Reed mentions The Freshman, a 2016 interactive fiction (I am not sure about the distinction between an IF with images and a visual novel but I think it has to do with the level of interactivity; I welcome any suggested reading on the subject) that I have played a lot. I’m looking forward to later this year to see what he writes up about that and how things have changed. Certainly the more recent interactive fiction I have played relies more on talking, relationships, and big story actions, and less on things like mapping, manipulating inventory, and moving from room to room. (I recently tried Zork and got totally lost.)

I’ve never actually completed a text adventure; I wonder if as an adult I’ll be better at understanding their tropes. I remember in Madame Fifi’s there’s at one point a “dirty magazine” in the bathroom. As a naive 12yo I thought it was literally a magazine with dirt on it. Only now does it occur to me that “dirty” is describing the magazine’s content rather than its condition.

It’s possible my midlife crisis will involve a lot of computer programming. That would be good, right?

What’s been tweaking your nostalgia recently?

🔖🖥️ Elizabeth and Gav promised in this week’s The Rec Center that 1992: Silverwolf would be the most engrossing post I’d read all week and it did not disappoint.

CS101: Week One

I’m auditing Stanford’s CS101 on EdX because while I love Harvard’s CS50x I think I need some back to basics stuff. (All of this recommended by the great FreeCodeCamp article, How to Hack Together Your Own CS Degree Online for Free.)

I’ll be jotting down some notes and reminders to myself here, adding future posts for this course as replies to this one.

If you’re a developer you’re going to be like “Wow, I know that already.” Yeah. It’s a 101 class, y’all.

Data Types

  • numbers
  • strings - text between quotation marks, e.g., “Dr. Kimberly Hirsh”

Some Javascript stuff

  • // comes before a comment; a comment is not run

Spoiler font on my website

I’m playing with CSS to get spoiler-text hidden unless selected on my website. Let’s see if it works! I’m putting double pipes around it so people browsing in dark mode know where to highlight.

|| This is a spoiler. ||

Could I create a more elaborate solution to this problem? YES! But I’m not really interested in doing so.

O hai.

the early blogosphere was full of people who obsessed over “correctly” labeling and organizing content.

Anil Dash, The Lost Infrastructure of Social Media

Stocking the flow of my garden in the stream 💻

I’ve been wanting to clean up my blog at least since I migrated from WordPress to Micro.blog, maybe longer. But at over 1000 entries and more all the time, it felt too daunting. Then I read John Johnston’s post, Gardening in the Stream, in which he described using an “On This Day” feature to surface old posts and then go back to the posts from a given day in previous years and clean those up. I love this idea. It’s manageable and if I miss a day, it’ll be only a year before I have another chance to look at it. I’m using Jonathan LaCour’s On This Day snippet for Micro.blog to get this going.

It reminds of me of Austin Kleon’s writing about stock and flow, referencing Robin Sloan’s writing about stock and flow. My hope is that by circulating old flow back into new flow, I’ll discover some things I can turn into stock, clean up, and link in places that make them easier to discover.

I really miss the internet of 2004 - 2007, specifically the DIY/New Domesticity craft punk blog & forum corner of it. I think my soul is a little bit stuck there. There was never enough time to explore all its interesting corners. 🌎

Internet Memories, 1993

I’ve been on the Internet for a quarter of a century. I think I want to write a big, full memoir on the subject, but for now I’m just going to make some notes.

I got my first email address in 1993. I was in seventh grade. My dad set it up on a public access server at the university where he worked. I don’t know why I was so excited to have it, because nobody else I knew had an email address. But I was sure that email would mitigate the loneliness I felt. I had a loving family and excellent friends. I had basically the best middle school experience a person could hope for. But I still felt this need for more connection, and I thought this tool would get the job done.

I signed my crush’s yearbook with my email address. We went to different schools for eighth grade, because of redistricting, or because I moved. (They both happened at the same time.) He never emailed me.

I don’t think I got much out of that email address until I signed up for listservs.

But that’s a story about 1995.