No longer at App.net

Now that everyone I want to be in touch with is available somewhere else, there's no reason for me to be on App.net. I've deleted my apps and won't be checking in there.

If you follow me there and want to keep in touch, I suggest you contact me on Twitter, on 10Centuries, or use my contact form.

New home for the blog

I've completed migrating my blog from Posthaven to 10Centuries. This means two things:

  • Different address formats means old URLs and bookmarks are broken. Sorry.
  • You'll need to update your bookmarks/RSS feeds accordingly.

The DNS has been updated, so the redirection of the root domain larryanderson.org is in full effect. The new address for the RSS feed is http://blog.larryanderson.org/rss.xml.

The Star Trek metaphor for this election

It just occurred to me that the two scenarios below are the perfect illustration of the difference between the Clinton and Trump campaigns, as well as their supporters' attitudes.

First, Clinton:

Now, Trump:

Personally, I'd rather live in the United Federation of Planets than the Terran Empire in the mirror universe, so...

The last summer night

On the last night of summer, I just walked out my back door and heard the voice of Vin Scully broadcasting a Dodger game.

You probably have to be an Angeleno to truly understand, but it makes me sad that I won't hear that sound for much longer. I'm not even a baseball fan, but his voice has been the soundtrack of summer my whole life.

Somehow, that makes it feel not just like the last night of summer, but the last night of an era.

A special message for the App.net community

Hi, everyone. I wanted to put up a special post just for the ADN community. This is not visible from my blog, only from the link on ADN.1 This one's for you.

Do you remember what App.net was like when it first began? Do you remember the excitement, the sense of community, the friendliness, the respect 2 on all sides?

Do you remember when the founders used to post and interact with us? When they were actively developing the place?

Yeah, I do, too. There hasn't been much of that on ADN lately. There hasn't been much of anything there lately.

I've missed it. It just hasn't been as much fun. And ever since the State of the Union post, the membership has been quietly slipping away. It's now common for an hour or three to slip by without anything new in my stream. It's weird.

And then there's the slowdown in the entire service. Cracks are starting to appear, things are slowing down, and while Berg is fixing stuff when it breaks, there's a difference between proactive maintenance and fixing stuff after the fact. This place is still alive, but it's anything but healthy.

Seems like we've all been looking for the new App.net. A few people have declared their intention to build it.

One of them has succeeded.

Right now, there's a small and growing community of ADNers (current and former) at 10Centuries.org, built by our very own @matigo. It's based on the same principles that ADN was--no advertising, paid membership available, mutual respect, and owning your own data. This time, there are no VCs involved to pressure the owner into compromising the service. If you check it out, I think you'll find it impressive. And you can blog and do podcasts there, too.

I like it so much I'm spending most of my social media time there, which brings me to the reason for this post.

There's not much keeping me on App.net these days, and while I'm not deleting my account, I won't be around as much. I'll be checking in periodically, but irregularly. I've already turned off notifications and PMs. At some point, I'll probably delete Riposte and Chimp.

ADN will always be special to me, because it's where I met so many of you wonderful and fascinating people. There comes a time, though, when you have to acknowledge that once was is no more. And that's OK--that's how life works. And this is a part of my life--a bigger one than I ever thought a social network could be.

I hope you'll join me over at the new place. I think you'll like it. If you'd like an invite code, just ask--you can reach me at larry.im/contact.

Thanks for listening.

All the best,

Larry

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  1. This was true of the original post on Posthaven, but the copy here is visible globally.
  2. For the most part, certain individuals who shall remain nameless notwithstanding.

Pocket, you're doing it wrong

Update: Since I originally posted this, Pocket has responded and pushed out a fix for this issue.

I have a friend who is an American Islamic scholar. He's very well-educated, and has impeccable credentials when it comes to the study of Islamic law, including study with the former Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa, which resulted in his being licensed to issue Islamic legal opinions, known as fatwas. Technically, he's entitled to be called "Sheikh" due to his accomplishments. He lives in Abu Dhabi, and does a lot of work translating Islamic legal texts into English. He also maintains a blog.Today, I saw in my newsreader that he had a new post. Clicking through, I decided to save it to Pocket for later. These are the tags that Pocket suggested:

Pocket image

There is absolutely nothing in Musa's post that could remotely be associated with terrorism, except for the fact it deals with the serious study of Islamic law, which SHOULD NOT BE AUTOMATICALLY ASSOCIATED WITH TERRORISM any more than a discussion of Roman Catholic canon law should be associated with IRA terrorism. It's stupid, and it's offensive, and it needs to stop.

Pocket, you are doing it so, so wrong.

Using Slack as an information center: Mailclark

I've been using Slack as a personal information hub, and if you haven't tried this, you're missing out. I plan to share some tips based on things I'm doing, and today's topic is email.

If you're on a paid plan, Slack has some limited email integration built in, but if you really want to supercharge your personal Slack's email capability (or you're on the free tier), you need Mailclark.

Mailclark is an integration that allows you to both receive and send email directly from your Slack team, and it gives you a separate email address for each channel. For example, mail for your #general channel would go to general@yourteamname.mailclark.ai. You determine which channels have Mailclark built in by inviting user @mailclark to each channel.

You can use this in some interesting ways. Create a bookmarks channel, and email the URL to bookmarks@yourteamname.mailclark.ai. Have your travel itineraries sent to travel@yourteamname.mailclark.ai. Save recipes to recipes@yourteamname.mailclark.ai.

Use Gmail or another service that allows plus addressing? Change your login email for Amazon to yourname+amazon@gmail.com, and set up a filter that directs all mail sent to that address to orders@yourteamname.mailclark.ai and auto-archives the original. That way, you have the original safely tucked away, and you get a notification in Slack when your order ships or is delivered--and it keeps your email inbox uncluttered.

Another neat use is with Nixle, which is the service many U.S. public safety agencies use to disseminate information. Sign up with a channel-specific Mailclark address, and get alerts sent to your Slack:

Screenshot

So there you have it. Mailclark and Slack. Try it and let me know what you think!

My election valediction

I've been pretty outspoken this election season. Apart from having always been interested in politics, I've felt a special need to be involved this year because of how it's developed. As someone trained in history, I've been seeing historical parallels that couldn't be ignored.

In a little more than ten weeks, it will be Election Day in the United States, and when day breaks on November 9, the most unusual election season in American history will finally be over.

I'm declaring it over now.

Unless you've been living in a cave in the remotest jungles of Borneo and attempting to avoid all contact with the outside world, you know who the candidates are. You know what they stand for. You know who their followers are (and, as the saying goes, by their friends ye shall know them).

Nothing I can say or do is going to change anyone's mind at this point, and I'm frankly tired of trying. And if you haven't made up your mind by now, I don't know what else I can say.

If you honestly believe there's some kind of equivalency between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, you haven't been paying attention. Trump has condoned violence by his supporters, regularly suggests violating the Constitution, and blatantly panders to white supremacists. The GOP convention had all of this on display, and more. Someone on Reddit, of all places, compiled a list of things said by Trump, and it's chilling. You can find it here.

Meanwhile, people are opposed to Hillary because she made some speeches to Goldman Sachs, supported the war in Iraq, and is tight with the Establishment.

Sorry, but if Hillary Clinton is the lesser of two evils, it's like comparing dandruff to terminal syphilis. I'll take the dandruff.

If Hillary doesn't meet your progressive purity test, too bad. Look at the GOP and see how well their conservative litmus tests have worked out for them.

And, despite all your Stein fantasies and Johnson daydreams, the next President will either be Trump or Clinton. Pick one. There is no way, mathematically or electorally, that the Greens or Libertarians will elect a President, except in the sense of helping one of the two major candidates as spoilers. In an ordinary election, between Clinton and a non-insane Republican (e.g., Dole in '96), I'd say fine, vote for the third party. But this is not that kind of election.

If Trump wins, do not count on the Constitution to save you. Strongmen are not noted for their respect for constitutional niceties, whether you're talking about Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Stalin, Idi Amin, Hafez Assad, or Robert Mugabe. By 1938, there probably weren't many people in Germany glad that they voted for Ernst Thälmann or Ludwig Kaas in 1932 because Otto Wels of the Social Democrats just didn't meet their litmus tests. Votes matter.

And no, I'm not saying Trump is Hitler. Trump is Trump, and Trump is a fascist by any reasonable definition of the word. He ignores facts, lies continuously, condones violence, blames all our problems on minorities like Mexicans and Muslims, calls for the jailing of his political opponents, and says only he can rescue this country from its dire situation.

Just this morning, he said he hoped that the Russians had Clinton's emails. When pressed on that, he told reporter Katy Tur to "be quiet." (Original link dead; alternate link here: https://youtu.be/A4tXVLFep3M

Can you imagine the kind of Supreme Court justices Trump would nominate? And how easily they'd slide through nomination with a Republican Congress?

So don't talk to me about overcoming fear. There are damn good reasons to fear a Trump presidency.

No, Hillary isn't my dream candidate, but she's qualified and experienced. Same goes for Tim Kaine. Each one is a better choice than their Republican counterparts.

And with that final word, I'm ending my political posts and tweets for this election season. I won't be engaging further on the subject for the sake of my own mental health. You have the information you need; I can do no more. The people will make up their minds, and the people will speak.

Meanwhile, I'll be preparing for the worst-case scenario, because sometimes that's what life gives you. But one last time, I beg of you:

Please, don't let it come to that.

Of Brexit and the fate of the kingdom

I've been thinking about the situation in the United Kingdom. Specifically, I've been thinking about the Brexit vote, the new government, and what it all means.I saw a tweet today from an Englishman I follow in which he lamented that if things keep going the way they have been, nobody will take Britain seriously anymore. I can understand his frustration, but when I look at the last 70 years or so, this looks an awful lot like a continuation of an ongoing process.

The British Empire died in 1947 with Indian independence, followed by a long string of colonies allowed to go their own way. This was inevitable and good, as self-determination is the desire of all peoples, and all empires must eventually fall. Despite this, Britain continued to punch above its weight for half a century, playing off its relationship with the Commonwealth and the strength of its military, including its nuclear arsenal--and its membership in a larger European community. Those days are ending.

What we've seen in the last few weeks is the most remarkable act of national seppuku I can remember. The only historical parallel that I can think of is the voluntary dissolution of the Empire, but the difference is that this time, it didn't need to happen. Britain has voluntarily voted to break away from the European Union, and from the outside it looks a lot like a turning inward. Desperate to stay in the EU, Scotland is likely to hold another independence referendum, which this time will likely pass, and that will put paid to the Act of Union.

A shrunken Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (assuming that Ulster doesn't decide some kind of federation with Eire is preferable in order to keep EU citizenship) isn't going to pack the same punch that the UK did, and Englishmen shouldn't assume that it will. The rest of the world will look to the EU, and specifically Germany, its economic powerhouse--and if that isn't the nightmare of the average Leave voter, it should be.

Meanwhile, the main players in the Leave campaign have buggered off, leaving a new government to sort the mess out. Given all of the foregoing, the naming of the Clown Prince of the Tories as foreign secretary by the new PM isn't likely to have that much impact on foreign opinion of England, the fact that he's gone well out of his way to offend numerous foreign leaders, including the U.S. President, aside. There will be a Brexit minister and a foreign trade minister to handle the heavy lifting, and Boris will be free to go to diplomatic functions and dinners and, as someone said, hand out the Ferrero Rocher.

So, if you're thinking that the rest of the world won't take Britain seriously because of the new government, I've got some very bad news for you. That ship has largely sailed, and the people of Britain are the ones who untied the moorings. There will always be an England, and probably a royal family, and tourists from Iowa will still come to see the soldiers in red jackets and tall furry hats guarding the Queen.

But if you're a Briton who wants the rest of the world to look to London for leadership in times of crisis, you'll have to earn that anew. Because as of today, you've squandered your inheritance, and what you have to show for it isn't worth a farthing.

My thoughts, in their entirety, on the Dallas Police using a robot with a bomb to take out a suspect who killed five people

Don't care.

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