IndieWeb Brighton 2019 remote

In recent months I've been ambling through a thing called the IndieWeb. It's a very interesting group, focused on personal website ownership. Not a conversation goes by when I don't learn something, when I'm not amazed by the generosity and ingenuity of others.

I should preface this with my views being my own, and not IndieWeb endorsed by IndieWeb, any members... (I hope you get it).

Social awkwardness & not attending

As per-usual, I didn't attend in person. I don't really know any of them offline. I do know one of the co-organisers of 2019 Homebrew website club Berlin who was not there. If he was I might have attended I tell myself. It is an excuse, I'll find reasons not to do the most basic things, like turning up to friends weddings if I'm allowed. This time I used the excuse to myself that I try to spend my weekends with my wife. I basically suck a being a part of a community. I did have a nice time with my wife helping with chores and visiting RHS Hyde Hall though.

Once the schedule made it online, I found zoom links so I could tune in, etherpad links, so that I could attempt to contribute or be involved more than a consumer.

On giving back

I think it's important to try to strive for balance as part of a community, try to put in something. While others certainly led the event, and my contributions were sporadic and minor, I'm happy I got involved. I'm a newcomer, I'm learning how to interact with this group. They've been very welcoming, giving hints if I mis-step.

Fun with audio

A Particularly lovely thing that happened was, being asked if I could hear and attempting to hear me. Audio was adjusted so I could talk to the group and their audio to me was improved. I could then turn the volume down below 80, which I'd not mentioned because I didn't want to be a bother. This is a recurring theme with online interactions with any audio or audio-visual chat, and pervades even some online-video content.

Non-public self-owned content

Earlier in the day I'd asked some questions regarding non-public content. I have a desire to put more online. For one thing it is a good backup mechanism. On the other hand, things like check-ins, some notes, even things I have not yet conceived of, I might like to keep private. I know, boo. It probably won't be nearly as useful or wonderful as I think if I do make something private, so no need to concern.

Thankfully Aaron had some prior art around this workflow as demonstrated in a sample encrypted blog post. I was able to combine this with a browser-extension called Mailvelope to get started and see an existing possible user flow.

Things I do not like about this

  • Relies on tokens, instead of a structured content
  • Reliance on a browser-extension
  • It's not very human-friendly
  • There is no standard
  • Browser-extension code uses webpack and is non-trivial to edit

Things I like about this

  • Others have put in a lot of work
  • I'm familiar and comfortable with the technologies
  • The human un-friendly content is hidden by the browser-extension
  • Browser-extension is AGPL Libre software

I'm still learning about this. I was elated to find out that Someone I know wrote some of the JavaScript testing tooling used. I Hope to share something encrypted-content related soon.

Session chat

Rose from Indieweb shared their experience with WordPress, and had some questions which the group and they looked up the answers to relating to varying types of content. There was a follow-up discussion about what hidden really means, and it comes with the caveat I support, which is that nothing is 100% secure. A sobering thought.

Tantek shared with me a concept I'd not heard the term, or a formal write-up of; Publics. It's so re-assuring when others have put time and effort in to come up with concepts and phrases you can use to translate concepts, which can be very detail heavy into short, communicable phrases and sentences.

Indieweb wiki Notes

Local & Offline first

When I started using computers, there was no public internet. Nobody was there to share cat-memes, you had to have a job in IT, or family members that were forward-thinking to really get into computers, mostly. These were simpler times.

When I started writing web-pages in the 1990's pre-adulthood, most of the flow was geared towards Local and Offline first. The internet was new, and could cost a lot, so people did not assume connectivity. People are not doing this anymore, and that impacts access to online content.

I found this session challenging, because the IndieWeb remit is focused on Personal Websites.

Interesting discussion points

  • Multi-device local-first was touched upon
  • It seems this only focuses on the internet, so GPS offline / local-first
  • There were a lot of negative experiences with SPA tooling
  • URL as state could be an option to store state via browser history
  • ServiceWorkers were of-course a topic
  • There is a field of study around CRDT (Conflict free replicated data-types)
  • Seamful (whitebox) vs Seamless (blackbox) approaches

I probably have too much of an agenda on this topic. I'm not exactly a prepper, but I am obsessed with archiving, providing global solutions, extracting knowledge as well as utility from work. I found it incredibly difficult to engage on this, and despite some resonance, I feel I may have not been the best participant in this session. I'm sorry if I took off on a tangent.

Indieweb wiki Notes

Outcomes

  • I'm equipped with some better language
  • I'm aware of prior-art, which should focus me
  • I have a few avenues to look into

Thank you to the sponsors, organisers and participants of Brighton IndieWebCamp 2019.