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It’s not that we need finer-grained control over our push notifications. It’s that we need the algorithms to be a whole lot less artificially stupid. This, for example, is not something that needed to interrupt my weekend.

The whole point of newspapers like the Washington Post is editorial taste, their ability to filter the world and find the bits of it which are important. It’s not clear to me that outlets like the Post should be risking algorithmic control.

Which will be the first newspaper to publicly pledge they’ll always keep a human in the loop?

Bombastic video game announcement trailer, with more than 1.6 million Likes in a fortnight:

…and thoughtful, considered commentary on the value and interpretation of such games and equivalent media:

“[…]a focus on the literature from the Western Front obscures the role played by the rest of the world and non-white people in the struggle. The trailer for Battlefield 1 includes nods to the war in the Middle East as well as the Harlem Hellfighters.”

(Why Battlefield 1 Could Be The Best WWI Game | Rock, Paper, Shotgun)

I’ve said it before: there’s some terrific writing out there in the video game journalism world.

Yeah… that didn’t work out so well. Not because I dislike the mildly hilarious Flowstate, more that I haven’t worked out how to incorporate a Mac into my new everything-gets-gummed-by-a-ravening-monster lifestyle. The MacBook Pro is a bit too precious business-critical to be casually tossed onto the sofa when something more pressing crops up. Upshot: I’ve not written very much for months.

Over the weekend, though, I managed to resurrect an ancient netbook we had kicking around. It’s not been used for years, ever since it decided that (a.) charging batteries was somehow beneath it, and (b.) updating its own BIOS was definitely beneath it. On Saturday I stumbled across an alternate method for coaxing it into an update, and – boom – we have battery life. Quite a lot of it, as it happens, since the dinky little thing has the humungobattery option.

I’ve a lot to tinker with, not least working out which of the bazillion Linux distributions I dislike least. Currently, I’m playing with Peppermint OS, which… hmm, unlikely to stay, I think. But the key thing is this: I’m sitting on the sofa, tapping away, bashing out a blog post.

An inane, pointless, no-discernible-audience post, granted. But it’s a start, right?

I’m going to try something a little different. I’ve been struggling to make time to blog over the last few months — years, even — but I miss both the discipline and the practice of writing daily. So I’m going to start flowblogging. That is: using the utterly ridiculous writing application Flowstate to write a post, ideally (though, doubtless, not actually) daily.

Flowstate works like this: if I stop typing for a few seconds, my words start to fade out, and are eventually deleted. I have to keep going at a reasonably steady pace for at least as long as the timer I’ve set (in this case, five minutes) before anything gets saved. The idea, I think, is that staying focussed and simply pressing ahead can, at times, be helpful. I can sort-of buy into that.

Back in broadcast (oh, how many of my stories start with ‘back in broadcast…’) we used to talk about the tyranny of the blank script. That ghastly moment when you stare at an empty page accompanied only by your notes and thoughts from the past few weeks. At that point, at that precise moment, right now you have to commit to something. You have to pick an opening line and follow your nose. Until that moment you could have gone one of eleventeen different ways, but once you start writing, you have to commit.

It’s good discipline. Not because it leads to the best writing, but because it leads to some writing. Perhaps that’s what I need right now.

Ten seconds to go. I’ll add a link to the application, then publish.

Just to annoy her, I’m going to:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

I may have moved this blog to WordPress, but my opinion of the system hasn’t really changed; I still think Movable Type was a better-engineered system right from the start, and it’s only really licensing and product direction that have steered me to join the mainstream. Well, that and WordPress having matured to the point of no longer annoying me quite enough to prevent me from seeing past its obvious attractions.

MT had its quirks, though. One of which was file uploads, which went… ach, basically anywhere. Ten years into an MT install and you’d have media files strewn in every damn directly on the server, it seemed. Trust me, I just cleaned out this server.

No more! Last week saw the release of Movable Type 6.2, which includes such innovations as:


Website administrator […] can configure default settings for upload that including default upload destination.

Well, gosh. Maybe there’s life in the old Perl dog yet.