I am looking at the linkblog I produced yesterday, and I feel like there is too much blue. What do you think? I am going to try to strike a better balance today.

I put a background image on today's linkblog because it's the first day of spring.

Starting to see more Fargo link blogs popping up, and I am adding them to the Fargo river. Funny how much the river can look like Twitter.

03/20/14; 07:35:14 AM

Dave has released the beta of the noteblogging work that he is doing. I am testing it right now.

Everything is there as advertised. My biggest nit is with the appearance, and specifically the fonts, they just don't look good to me.

To add commentary to a link, you need to edit it with square brackets then add your comments.

03/19/14; 09:24:22 AM

Real Personal Computing: Google Hopes Android Wear Is Spot On. So far I am not excited by what I see. I think we can get the watches small enough, but what about battery life?

Max Headroom?

03/18/14; 03:46:12 PM

Is there a practical difference between outline nodes and thread nodes? I have a feeling there isn't a difference, but let's see, this is an outline node. (I think).

  • Here is an outline node

  • Here is a thread node

  • The difference appears to be that at the bottom of the online node, I can hide the comment box and on a thread node I cannot.

03/18/14; 12:49:43 PM

Look at Dave's noteblog, or what will is becoming the new format for Scripting News.

Now look at my work notes blog that you are reading right now.

What are the largest headings on the pages? On Dave's you see the headings are a date, on this workblog the headings are a title. Thus you see what is happening, the date orientation is the emphasis and that is how I first saw blogging in the early 2000s.

Larger essays, or what I think Dave may call stories, will exist, probably with the medium type in Fargo, but will be simply be linked to from the noteblog date page.

03/18/14; 12:36:36 PM

Each item that appears in River2 has a like RT link at the end. Right now that link is configured to the tool I use for my linkblog, Radio2. Given Dave's noteblog development, it seems logical to me that River2 or River3 will be connected to Fargo rather than Radio2.

  • I can see Radio being put to pasture. Fargo is the logical next iteration of Radio2. Dave has said that he is working on a bookmarklet to send links to web pages to Fargo. My understanding is that it is the same as the Radio2 bookmarketlet that exists today.

  • In a way the bookmarklet eliminates the need for that RT link, but personally, I like the idea of a simple link at the end of an RSS item that I can click to blog about that item.

What this means is that slowly, Fargo is becoming my lone blogging tool. In fact, from a blogging perspective, it might make sense to combine River and Fargo together. River just becomes a menu option for Fargo, I select it to read my news feeds, I click the "RT" link to send an RSS item to an outline where I can write additional commentary about that link.

Note that there is a definition of blogging that is emerging from what I write above, and it relates to what I wrote earlier that linking != sharing. Blogging starts with reading content on the web, deciding that you have a point view about what you read that you want to share, then grabbing the link to that content and writing your point of view, and finally publishing the link to the content and the point of view to the web.

03/18/14; 12:21:04 PM

Dave is warning that the RSS feed for Scripting News is likely going to break in most RSS readers. I wonder if that includes River2? Dave says no, it does not. River2 and River3 should handle titleless items just fine.

  • I haven't really looked at River3 because frankly, it seems to me to be the same as River2. It requires the OPML Editor, and needs to be running to generate the feeds page and I already have that with River2.

  • Turns out the change isn't going to break as much as Dave feared.

The corollary to the feeds I think are linkblogs. I use Radio2 to create a linkblog that I then publish on the right column of my Wordpress blog using Wordpress's RSS plug-in. In the past I've experimented with title-less updates in Radio2 and the Wordpress plugin has a real problem with them. It expects RSS items to have a title, like Dave is warning about.

The problem, as I see it, is that the title is used for the article that you I am linking to. If you go to my Wordpress blog and click a title for an item in the Updates column, that links to the article I am sharing. The text below the title is my commentary about the link.

I see that Dave's linkblog puts content first, then domain of the article source that links to the actual article. In other words, the exact opposite of how I am doing it with Radio2.

I've added the feed for the "new" version of Scripting News to my Fargo River2. Looks like it turns the entire content of the link description into a link. I don't think I like how that looks. Personally, would prefer a snippet of the description and then an automatic "read more" link generated at the end. Paragraph long hyperlinks look bad.

  • However, I do like how the return linked item is highlighted when I go to it. That must be a function of the hash link at the end of the paragraph.
03/17/14; 09:50:23 AM

Some thoughts about the latest evolution of Scripting News and it's integration with Fargo.

Dave is calling the new format a noteblog. I've been writing Notes From The Cave from the beginning, so it should be a natural fit. :blush:

What I see:

  • I am not sold on the background image. I find it distracting. Maybe I am just an old fart, but I like the simplicity of black text on a white background. You know, like paper. And I think the readable fonts are nice.

  • On the other hand, the new layout renders really nicely on my smartphone and the background image is less distracting because the text covers most of the screen.

  • While rendering is perfect on my smartphone, it's not so good on my 8-inch tablet, the Galaxy Note 8. Text is being cut off on the right side of the page. I need to check this out on my Nexus 7. I see the same problem on the Nexus 7.

  • I am not liking the way the fonts look on a large screen, they are all jagged. So far the only place where the noteblog layout looks good to me is on smartphones.

Poking around the OPML for the noteblog:

  • Dave is calling each "post" an idea. Or least that is what the type is.

  • The #type for the main page is "stream"

  • I just noticed that hyperlinks within ideas are in square brackets.

So, the noteblog is a stream of ideas. Nice. But, is that a blog? Basically, what I am seeing here is a merge of the linkblog, which is where links are shared and commented upon, and blog stories.

So far, Dave hasn't provided an example of a story plopped on the stream. I suspect that is going to be a node in the outline with a type of medium.

Here is the contrast then. When you go to the top level of this site you see paragraphs of words some of which may contain hyperlinks. When you go to Dave's noteblog site you see sentences of words, most of which contain at least one hyperlink. Put in context of prior work, the noteblog looks more to me like a linkblog, when when I think about it is pretty much how Scripting News looked when I first found it.

03/16/14; 02:29:33 PM

I learned about blogs when I found Scripting News in 1999, which is our host's, Dave Winer's, web site. Back then Dave was building a new tool for writing for the web, which he called EditThisPage. Now Dave is busy at work at another tool for writing for the web that he calls Fargo.

The point of this post, however, is not about the tools, but rather about the linking. Go the link to Scripting News from back on October 15, 2000, don't read, just scroll down the page and let your eyes see the hyperlinks. You will see some sections with an abundance of links, others with not so many.

Watching Dave is how I learned to blog. Back then blogging was not about long form writing, instead, it was about sharing a link to another web page, or just storing a link with a note so that I could remember it for some future time.

Today most blog posts are oriented around a title. I am not exactly sure how that came about, but I suspect it was caused by folks who wanted to use blogging tools to make money. Put differently, I think blogging oriented around a subject became in vogue when some people decided they wanted to be professional bloggers.

In the beginning, however, blogging was oriented around days. The routine was like thus: click the link to create a new page for the current date, entered some text, click save and the page was published. As the day went on and you came across more information to share, you edited the page to add the information, and consequently the page changed several times throughout the day.

  • So far, I think I have spent 30 minutes writing and editing this post. Back in the beginning of blogging, I could write a post in five minutes or less because it may have only been a few sentences, may be a paragraph. Five minutes at a time, four or five times a day, and you end up with a decent size page without having spent a ton of time writing. How do you find the time to blog? Go back to what blogging was meant to be.

Here is an example from my EditThisPage blog on December 21, 1999. It starts with some comments about the Green Bay Packers, who lost to the Minnesota Vikings the previous night, then it moves on to some thoughts about computing, a link to a site about XML, and I ended the day with a link to Jerry Pournelle's web site.

What you see on my blog post on December 21, 1999 is not an article like you would find in a newspaper or a web site like the Verge. It's not prose. It's not a story. It's a log of information that I found on the web, published on the web and made available for others you may or may not find it useful.

  • Most people will look at that page and say that is not coherent, and they will be right. It's not really meant to be coherent. A story or an essay, or an article is coherent, and perhaps it's best to stop thinking of them as a blog post. A blog post might just be a link with an intro to the story.

As I wrote earlier, somewhere along the way weblogs became oriented around subjects or titles. Dave blames the development on Google Reader, which expected each addition to a weblog page, which I often times call a post, to have a title. Dave changed the format of Scripting News so that each post had a title, conforming to the wishes of Google Reader.

No more says Dave. Google Reader is gone, and Twitter is not a blogging platform, so Scripting News is going back to its original format, oriented around days, and he has flipped the bit. When I look at Scripting News for today, it reminds me of what I saw back in when I first found Scripting News in 1999.

Translating what I see, each "post" is a paragraph. See the hash sign at end of the paragraphs? Each is a hyperlink. If you want to link to a paragraph, just click the hash, copy the URL from the browser address bar and share. Here, take a look at the RSS feed and take a look at what each item contains. I wonder how this feed is going to look in River? I've added it to my Fargo river.

03/16/14; 02:14:33 PM

Since last fall I have been leading a book discussion group at my church. I have been using Fargo to organize my notes for each week by creating an outline of that week's chapter. I created those notes in a Fargo blog called The Narthex and published each entry to a Wordpress blog that I own of the same name.

The reason why I publish the book notes on Wordpress is that I started writing them before Dave released the beta of Fargo 2 and it's new CMS; at the time I started Fargo had no directly associated CMS because Trex was put to rest, leaving Wordpress the only way at the time to publish content. Turns out that with the new CMS, I can publish content both to Wordpress and to a FargoPublisher site.

As I am preparing my notes for each week, it makes sense to write and save them chronologically, just like a blog. However, I've felt that after we finished a book I preferred to archive the notes in a table of contents order aligning to the book. If you are reading the book at a different time, I think it easier to see them listed in chapter order.

A table of contents is really a basic list or outline, so making one in Fargo makes sense. What I want is the top level of the site to be a list of book titles. When the user clicks each title they then see a list of the chapters in the book, pretty much the same as the table of contents. One more click on each chapter entry gets you to the notes for that chapter.

I created a new outline and set its type to index. Each node at the top level, which is a book title, is also a type of index, which presents the table of contents. Finally, a sub-node under a book title is a chapter that has an outline type.

Another thing I wanted to do is control where I wanted the Disqus comments box to appear. I did not want the comments box to appear at the top page of the site, but I wanted it to appear on the table of contents pages and the chapter notes pages. First, I created a new Disqus group on my account. Next, after asking for info on the smallpict-user Google group, I added #flDisqusComments "false" as a top level node to the outline. Under each book node I added #flDisqusComments "true" and #disqusGroupName "booknotes". If I really want to be fancy, I could create a new Disqus group for each book, but I decided to go with just one basic one for all my book notes. Here is a link to the OPML file for this site if you want to take a look.

One issue with how the site works has to do with the breadcrumb and navigation links at the top of the chapter notes pages. You see links to Home and the book title. The Home link works correctly, but the book title page does not. If you click to name of the book title in the breadcrumb the link takes you to the table of contents page, but is missing the end forward slash. If you then click a link on the table of contents, it will try to load a page that does not exist because it is missing a directory. For example, it tries to load this, when it should load this.

The release of Fargo Publisher 0.92 should fix the problem I describe above. I've tried re-rendering this site several times, but the problem does not resolve. In fact, the problem does not exist in the other Fargo blogs I use, including these work notes. My speculation is that the breadcrumb change made with 0.92 is associated with blogs and not indexes like I am using with the Book Notes site.

03/13/14; 07:29:13 PM

Last built: Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 3:27 PM

By Frank McPherson, Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 11:36 AM.