1. Aaron Parecki: @BarnabyWalters You still print your boarding pass on paper? ;-) I stick to magic lights all the way through.

    @aaronpk oh wow, I would be terrified that the magic lights would break or not work or run out of power or get lost or crash. I trust paper waaaay more than magic lights and can’t travel without my wad of A4 pieces of paper :)

  2. Genuine question to people who a lot: does the whole “pressing buttons and making lights change colour, then printing the results out onto A4 sheets of paper which magically enable you to travel to different countries” thing ever stop feeling profoundly weird?

  3. Getting the distinct feeling that traveling 35km in France is going to be more stressful than thousands of kilometres around the rest of Europe :/

  4. Trying to buy MP3s off Amazon and seeing unfriendly errors like “Important Message There was a problem with your address submission. Please fix all the areas below and try again.”?

    It’s probably because the Amazon MP3 service only works in the US, despite this information not being displayed anywhere or reported as an error. The billing information form even lets you choose countries which it knows will not work!

    This is an excellent example of terrible form design, and to communicate exactly why, I redesigned the form with some improvements:

    Important credit card number:

    Date it stops working:


    Select a next step:

    (If anyone from Amazon is reading, feel free to use this design on amazon.com/gp/dmusic/verification/addCreditCardMP3 — it would be orders of magnitude more helpful than the current one)

    Source: chat with amazon support staff:

    Update: follow-up email clarified that Amazon music is actually available in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, Spain and Italy — so not just the US, but also no love yet for Iceland :( In their defence: Amazon’s support channels are excellent. Polite, helpful, quick chat and genuinely useful follow-up email.

  5. for a twitter bot: snarky sarcastic favstar

    “Looks like 5 people ★ed your tweet. That’s, like, the most anyone’s ever ★ed one of your tweets. IT’S DOWNHILL ALL THE WAY FROM HERE”

    “Congratulations on your 10★ tweet. Bet you feel real big about that”

    “Your tweet got to 15★! Here’s an alternate version of your profile photo with a medal on.”

    “20★ for a tweet with that many spelling mistakes? You people are idiots”

    “Congratulations, you got to 50★! Get to 100★ and I may decide not to kill this adorable puppy”


    “Congratulations, your 250★ tweet has inflated your ego sufficiently to enter the upper atmosphere!”

    “500★? How much did that cost you?”

    “Who do you think you are with your 1000★ tweet, Obama?”

    “1,000,000,000★ are there even enough people in the world for that to be a thing”

  6. Working on I’m coming to realise that there are at least two usefully distinct levels of semantic data on the web:

    There’s the basic “object” level at which microformats act, defining simple, basic-level objects like posts and people with properties like name, phone and content.

    Then there’s the level at which HTML works, marking up blocks of text and creating a tree of elements, each of which gives context to the text it contains, for example blockquote elements for containing content from another source, code elements for “computer code” (might be some space to make that more useful — who’s up for adding the type attribute to code?) and so on.

    So what? So these are the two sufficiently standardised levels at which content on the web can be made portable, and mutually understood by many parties. Any additional undefined semantics introduced by author-defined classnames and the meaning communicated by their default styling is unportable, and will be lost when that content is viewed elsewhere (for example shown in a reader or as a cross-site comment.

    So how can you tell if your content is sufficiently portable? For the object-level (microformats) a validator like indiewebify.me can be used. Strangely, there aren’t as many tools for the markup level, but one surefire way to check is to disabled CSS in your browser. Is your content still understandable using only the default styles? If so it’s probably pretty portable.

  7. Erin Jo Richey: This is relevant to my interests. "Share: the icon no one agrees on." https://bold.pixelapse.com/minming/share-the-icon-no-one-agrees-on

    @erinjo perhaps the difficulty in creating an effective icon stems from the fact that the physical metaphors associated with “share” do not map well to the online behaviour associated with the term, allowing the word to be used successfully but making giving it an image a challenge.

    My theory: the most basic usage of “share” generally refers to organising mutual access to some resource between pre-determined, consenting participants (he shared his food with him, she shared her connection with her coworkers, the schools shared a playing field). This holds for more abstract non-physical use of “share”, as in “she shared her story”, ”they shared a secret”.

    In some cases (e.g. private messaging [where the verb “message” or “send” would more often be used] or posting to a group) the “known participants” facet holds up, but not so much the pre-determination and/or mutual consent/awareness present in the physical examples — unless for example the context is an online group set up explicitly for the sharing of links to resources about a topic.

    In the common case of “sharing” as it’s characterised online (posting a short text post containing a link and optionally some comment, typically with a link preview, broadcast to a wide audience on a whim with no mutual pre-determination), not much of the original metaphor holds up, and I’d argue that “post” is a more suitable term (“publish” less so as its use connotes posting of a thought-out original work).

    None of this is backed up by actual data though — I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

  8. There’s something incredibly satisfying, if a little masochistic, about poring over PIC datasheets and manpages, and tinkering with low-level code you only half understand, when it all actually works and you get two devices to talk to each other (in this case a PIC16F886 and a Raspberry Pi, via I2C)

  9. Idea: geek-styled boy band called “Unified Trajectory”. Who’s up for it?

    Edit: s/Single/Unified a) because it’s more jargoney and b) because geek == single is an inaccurate generalisation which hardly needs further perpetuation

  10. Just booked a trip on a flying metal box, then spent two minutes saying “ineliminable” over and over because it’s so fun to say.

    Yep, totally a responsible adult. Totally.