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Bokeh: A Privacy-focused Photo-sharing Network

Fellow blogger, writer, front-end engineer, and John Gruber fan (who doesn’t like Daring Fireball seriously?) — Tim Smith of BrightPixels is Kickstarting probably the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. If you like services like Letterboxd or Micro.blog I think you’ll enjoy this Kickstarter.

More on that in a bit. But first, let’s back up. If you follow the blog here, you know I’m no fan of Facebook. No surprise there. There’s been some interesting developments recently concerning Facebook:

Oh. Fun. 2.8B fake accounts.

That. Is fucking insane. A huge admittance.

Our precious fragile WWW is dire peril ya’ll. It’s up to us. It’s time to dump Facebook. Zuckerberg’s recent pivot to “encryption” and “privacy” is a nothing short of malarkey and an attempt to circumvent potential FCC fines for future data-mishandling. He knows Facebook is bleeding users and there’s a reason why Instagram’s co-founder left Facebook last year.

To make matter worst, Instagram is horrible for your mental health. We spend way too much time peering into the black mirror of Instagram. It’s driving many of us into depression, others into despair, and for others inspiring fear and hate.

Magic Mirror, on the wall, who, now, is the fairest one of all?

So yeah. Facebook is horrible. There’s really no disputing that Facebooks suite of social media applications are tearing apart the web, our mental health, and society. *sighs*

Enter Bokeh. A refreshing new take on photo-sharing.

If you’re a fan of MLTSHP (or the predecessor MLKSHK), I think you’ll enjoy Bokeh’s vision (from the Kickstarter):

Bokeh will be ad-free, have a chronological timeline, and will be private by default. That means that all accounts will start off as private. Public accounts will have an RSS feed, will have the option to cross-post to other social networks, and will support custom domains. All accounts will have an indie web compatible export so you can self-host if you want to.

People won’t be able to find you by name, but will instead need to know your username to find you. Bokeh will never display publicly who follows you or who you follow. If someone has requested to follow you 3 times and you’ve declined, the app will prompt you to block them. In other words, these are your pictures and I want you to have precise control over who sees them.

A still from Tim’s Kickstarter pitch-video.

I think this is really compelling privacy-focused concept. I’m an avidly public persona online, and that’s just me personally — but everyone isn’t into that. So, having this privacy-by-default option is really rad. Moreover, I’m digging the pricing strategy:

Bokeh will have individual and family accounts. Individual accounts will cost $3/month or $30/year, and family accounts will cost $5/month or $50/year. You’ll be able to add up to 5 people to a family account, including the account admin. By backing this project now, you’ll get a discount and allow me to pay for the initial development.

This right here is what hopefully keeps hate-speech at bay, and might even eliminate bots and spam. I firmly believe pay-to-play models will save our online communities. Whereas, free-to-play models might become (predictably) the last bastions of hate-speech.

I really like Tim’s blog. I really like Tim’s idea and that’s why I’m backing his project. I really want privacy to win. But more importantly I want us to win. The more we use services like Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp — the more we lose. For the longest time, I thought Apple was uniquely positioned to bring us a privacy-focused photo-network but that never really panned out did it? It’s time for a change. Isn’t it time we had a real place to share photos with our friends?

Splitscreen: A Love Story

Working at Vimeo, there’s no shortage of Staff Picks to go through and watch in the archives. This was Staff Picked originally in 2011, but I just happened across it today!James W Griffiths is the director of this short, and I don’t have much else to share other than the video description:

Shot entirely on the Nokia N8 mobile phone. Winner of the Nokia Shorts competition 2011.

For context the N8 was released 9 years ago. It had a 12.1 megapixel resolution which was unheard of at the time. But also, not great when we’ve been spoiled 4K+ resolutions as of lately. It also had a 16GB SSD, and a SD memory card slot.

It’s extraordinary and really wonderful what we can achieve around such simple medium constraints.

Grawlixes, Domains and Surnames

The very first domain I ever bought was grawlixe.com. Way back when, during the college days of yore I bought the domain on-sale for something like $12.99 a year at Network Solutions.

A grawlix (without the letter e on the end), is something much cooler than my personal website. It’s a collection of typographic symbols that represent cursing, or profanities. A quick google search reveals that go by other names as well in the comic book netherworld, such as jarns, nittles, and obscenicons. Fucking fantastic words, if you ask me.

In fact, if you do know me — you probably know by now that I curse a lot. It’s not an overwhelming amount mind you, but I’ve been told on occasion (and I suppose you’re right), I curse a bit too frequently. I bite my tongue wherever possible IRL, but online? No fucking way! 🙃

So, naturally I had to buy grawlixe.com even if it wasn’t the correct spelling. I just thought it looked cool, and gave me something memorable to chat over my portfolio in job interviews. Over time, I have acquired a number of absolutely ridiculous domains such as happydognews.com and remoterangers.com. Others were a bit more utilitarian or pipe-dream ventures. I’m 100% certain that most of the readers of this blog share the same strange enthusiasm for buying weird domains that have little to no use years later.

Anyways, for the longest stretch of time, about 4 years now until yesterday — smpetrey.com was my domain. It still is in my possession, but recently had the opportunity to snag the super-short and easy-to-spell petrey.co. I decided, it was high-time to retire the old, and migrate to something a bit more — shall we say, slimming for the modern web. Luckily, my blog and site is powered by WordPress, and setting up pointing via DNS and redirects server-side were a breeze.

You see, Petrey is my surname (we call surnames, “last names” in The States). It’s pronounced PECH-ree (if you were even wondering). But nearly everyone pronounces it PEE-tree. Yes, like the damn pterodactyl from Land Before Time. It’s not a huge ordeal for me now, but in my elementary years it was traumatic for me. My father claims that the progeny of the name is likely Russian or Polish descendants who likely Anglicised. But, who really knows. The fear that someone was going to mispronounce my last name during school orientation or at soccer practice as a kid was awful. Now, not so much. I’ve gotten over it despite the pains of memory — but hey! So far, I’m really enjoying this .co TLD! The cognitive dissonance I have toward my last name is slowly vanishing.

Not really sure why I even wrote this #$&*!@# post.

Gomma – Sacrosanto

I don’t speak Italian, but damn. This album has some sick riffs, fantastic composition, wonderful vocals and all the classical trappings of amazing emo jams. I get literal chills listening to this.

This is no At the Drive-in or Hawthorne Heights for me, but I just love that’s there’s a whole Italian emo culture that preservers. Enjoy.

Mitski : A Pearl

From the video description:

This music video was initially created on the computer using several pieces of 3D animation software. After the digital version was finalized, all 1,480 frames of the video were then individually printed using ink jet printers. Once an image was printed, it was then painted, drawn, and illustrated on top of using traditional animation techniques. Lastly, the newly illustrated frames were scanned back into the computer and sequenced into the final film.

This animation film is another work of art from the Brooklyn studio, Art Camp. Ravishing, delicious and ambitious — just a few words to describe just how amazing this animation is. The style, the process, and the music pairing are a match made in heaven.

It’s just so fucking good.

HyperCard Users Guide, 1987

The website, vintageapple.com has some really amazing Apple and software-related printed ephemera.

A lovely, and legendary printed user manual for the HyperCard. HyperCard was created by Bill Atkinson, who also created and design QuickDraw, MacPaint, and principal designer and developer of the GUI for the original Apple Lisa. The development of the HyperCard later influenced the WorldWideWeb project.

For those interested, there’s also a less thrilling but equally as important HyperCard Developers Guide.

Heuristics to Generate Startup Ideas

Looking for startup ideas? 🤔

Initially came across this fun list via Twitter:

His actual post, is embedded in his Tweet, but you can visit the list here. But in particular I enjoyed #8:

Turn open source projects in to SAAS businesses — Find open source projects that are very popular and turn these in to out of the box services for enterprises, e.g. PagerDuty is like Nagios.

Great entrepreneurial advice, and easily serves as a fun jumping-off point for any viable hack-a-thon. Any hacker or eager founder can find some amazing open-source projects and inspiration on Github.

My personal favorite startup adage, for any would-be-founder is, be the arms dealer.

How We Lost Our Ability to Mend

In lieu of recent news of Karl Lagerfeld‘s passing, I thought I would pen a post about fashion — instead I thought I would share a post that’s a bit more important. A fascinating dissection on mending wears. Troubling, and equally eye-opening, it’s important to understand where we’ve been and where we’re going with fashion.

It’s interesting what war will do to economies, culture, and country:

Out of this came a British “make-do and mend” ethos, whereby civilians were encouraged to patch up and repair old garments, rather than buy new and replace. When garments couldn’t be patched up any longer, they were “deconstructed” so that their raw materials could be recycled. Raggedy sweaters, for example, were sometimes “unknitted” so that the yarns could be used to darn old knits or makes new ones entirely. The Ministry of Supply even organized a fashion show to demonstrate how new clothes could be made from old garments. 

Women weren’t the only people mending during this period; British soldiers and men back home were also encouraged to fix their clothes. In some of the  “Make Do and Mend” ad campaigns, the government specifically targeted men. Pictured above are some of my favorite war-time tutorials on how to make buttonholes, reinforce areas for extra wear, darn holes, and patch shirts. 

I have (too often) found myself frustrated, scared, and confused as to how to mend a rip, a hole, a tear, or the occasional missing button. It’s too bad that high-octane retailers like H&M, Zara, Forever 21 or even Target go to such great lengths to get the cheapest, fastest commodity into stores in forever increasingly divided shorter fashion seasons. We all end up with wardrobes that are too homogeneous, shitty, tattered and honestly of poor quality, and astoundingly, we spend more money on clothing. It’s only getting worse with the ease of subscription retailers and Amazon.

An excellent example of mending of cozy sweater worth mending.

A dear friend of mine has jeans that he can never part with, and have over the years fashioned a makeshift zipper garage (that is what it is called) out of a paperclip and sewing magic. I love a good Macgyver-approach to mending.

Apart from dieworkwear‘s incredibly important links to tutorials, resources, lovely images on mending and guides for alterations — this post has a lovely quote I just want to share verbatim:

I am endlessly touched by men’s sentimental attachment to old clothes: Shetland jumpers that are more hole than whole, Panama hats missing half the crown, shirts with collars so frayed you can plait the edges. One barrister friend, who’s just turned 50, has been wearing the same leather jacket since his student days. No matter that, nowadays, he’s more Sid James than James Dean.

☺️

Neighborhood Golf Association

From the video description:

For the past 10 years, street photographer Patrick Barr aka Tiger Hood has become a local legend known for bringing golf to the streets of NYC. It’s a game that requires only three items: a golf club, a newspaper-stuffed milk carton, and a crate. What was initially just a way for Barr to pass time has gained traction from major news outlets and celebrities on a global scale. However, street golf seems to overshadow his true passion… photography. Barr’s archive consists of thousands of mind blowing film photographs of NYC from the 1990’s to 2000’s. His goal was to preserve a time and place that he predicted would dissolve in the coming years. With his archive as evidence, he predicted correctly.

Spectacular. I love stuff like this. I’ve personally never witnessed street golf in the city, but eagerly await my chance to take a swing if I ever spot Barr on the putting green. Amazing photography.

Director and Producer, Nicolas Heller is hosting a screening of the documentary (RSVP here), at Project Farmhouse on March 2nd.

Slack Will Direct List on the NYSE in 2019

It’s official.

So, the trend begins. Tech startups will no longer IPO, but instead direct list. I’m kind of into it. It gets right to the point. There’s no ritualistic dance with investors, no large ceremonial bell ringing, no superficial breakfast or charade between bankers, investors, shareholders, workers, and founders.

The public, the investors, the VCs and so on — they all get what they want on the big day, without the headache, fever and subsequent hangover from the IPO. You just list, and poof — you’re on the exchange. Simple enough.

Matt Levine of Bloomberg:

It seems to me that the IPO process is going through something similar: It used to be that, if you wanted to go public, there was one way to do it. Now there are two. But the choice creates the possibility of more choice, of unlimited customization, of tweaking each feature to get exactly the tradeoffs you want.


It sort of makes sense that this would be a project led by tech companies, no? The story is that there was a big old legacy business that comfortably sold a standard package of features for a lucrative price, and then a bunch of tech startups came in and questioned everything; they unbundled the service so customers could get what they wanted rather than what the legacy players wanted to sell. It’s just that the tech companies didn’t do it as competitors, by offering the disruptive unbundled product, but as customers, by demanding it.

Interesting, huh? Leave it to the startups to disrupt a 236 year old process.

I can’t quite read the oracle bones on Slack, but it has serious potential. The jury is still out on their rebrand. While the rebrand stings, their engineering prowess and vision is impressive. Slack isn’t the new watercooler, there’s no money in that metaphor — Slack is the new vending machine.

At any rate, it seems that direct listing will become the new norm for VC-funded tech startups. I have to say, I don’t hate the thought of it.

Exit 12: Moved by War

A remarkable and moving Staff Pick. Directed by Staff Pick creative alumni, Even/Odd and Mohammad Gorjestani and commissioned by Square, Inc.

If you ask me, dance is the perfect medium to capture, distill and convey the depth of tragedy, complexity and sadness of war and loss. I just love this quote from Román Baca, the dance company director of Exit 12:

Every story is not being told, and every voice is not being heard. Veterans are emboldened when they are able to share their lives not only with other veterans but other people.

That is so very true. I’m happy to see Baca chasing his dream. Moreover, I’m happy to veterans helping each other, and inviting us into the wrinkles of this complex catharsis that we can all heal from.

You can read more about this Staff Pick at the Vimeo Blog. Follow the Exit 12 dance company online here.

Encores 2

Very chill, very peaceful melodies from Nils Frahm. Just lovely.

What of the Tumblelogs?

Wasn’t Tumblr remarkable?

I don’t travel to Tumblr’s realm anymore. But, I know plenty who still do. Even with their bullshit adult-content ban — it’s still a great resource for artists, designers and those who crave visual stimulation. Hell, it’s a neat place to get your toes wet in blogging. The adult-content ban was probably predetermined to happen anyways. Now that it operates at the behest of the Verizon/Yahoo!/AOL mega-corp. It’s a bummer — a wet blanket on creativity, social-sharing and generally just not a good idea to mimic the tightly manicured faux-reality of censored nipples and porcelain skin of Instagram.

Frankly, I’m worried for Tumblr. I’m also deeply concerned for the web.

But let’s back up for a bit. What even is Tumblr? Tumblr, the word — comes from tumblelogs. One could call it a sub-culture of blogging, but really that’s affording it too much. It’s really just an approach to blogging that was born out of the quick-and-dirty modus operandi many of us have. I mean, look at Instagram (or even Snapchat) stories. That quick-and-dirty framework is what catalyzes content to virility. It’s what draws people to the next big thing. Be it MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or even Ello (remember that one?). Anyways, Tumbling as it came to be known, is now colloquially synonymous with blogging. Thanks to Tumblr, blogging was truly born.

From a 2005 post from kottke.org:

A tumblelog is a quick and dirty stream of consciousness, a bit like a remaindered linksstyle linklog but with more than just links. They remind me of an older style of blogging, back when people did sites by hand, before Movable Type made post titles all but mandatory, blog entries turned into short magazine articles, and posts belonged to a conversation distributed throughout the entire blogosphere. Robot Wisdom and Bifurcated Rivets are two older style weblogs that feel very much like these tumblelogs with minimal commentary, little cross-blog chatter, the barest whiff of a finished published work, almost pure editing…really just a way to quickly publish the “stuff” that you run across every day on the web.

I like this description because it gets right to the point (RIP to the 404s). Now that I think about it, my blog is basically a tumblelog of links, videos and highly-opinionated posts on technology. But the other half of my life is chronicled elsewhere on Twitter and Instagram. Frankly, I’m comfortable with that for now. But I would love for all of my content to live here on this blog. The quickly diminishing youth market of Tumblr knows that too.

I can guarantee Zuckerberg understands that too. He literally wants to merge as many of Facebook’s services into one. I think that’s a really bad idea. I don’t think it’s inherently dumb or evil to use Facebook to connect with your friends or family. But I do think it’s dumb to have Facebook be at the center of your life.

Your blog, website or tumblelog should be at the center of your digital footprint. Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr are just the appendages. Your blog or website is the body. So protect your body.

Step one: buy a domain name. Step two: start a blog with WordPress. It’s never been cheaper to self-host a website or blog. This is not to be confused with WordPress.com. Which, is also a blogging service (not unlike Tumblr) that has its own merits. However, self-hosting with WordPress(dot org) the past several years has opened my eyes, it’s been pretty inexpensive, and very reliable. For what it’s worth, I have hosted my blog at DigitalOcean since day one. Here’s a free $100 credit if you’re interested. DigitalOcean has a one-click install option for WordPress, read more about that here.

Blogs (as I have frequently been writing about lately), or tumblelogs — pick your poison. They’re here to stay, even if the social network appendages in your life disappear.

How to Rename a Branch Locally and Remote in Git

This took some googling, so I thought I would document my findings here.

Locally

If you’re already on the branch you’d like to rename, just run:

git branch -m new-name

If you’re on say master, and you have a branch you want to rename now but no checkout, run:

git branch -m old-name new-name

Now that you’ve taken care of your local branch, there’s the unfinished business of mending your remote branch with renaming.

Remote

If you use Github or Gitlab (or whatever) you’re going to want to remove the old-name branch and push the new-name branch:

git push origin :old-name new-name

And finally, push to reset the upstream branch so your local and remote branches are up-to-date:

git push origin -u new-name
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