Jared White Photo of Jared

Expressively publishing on the open web since 1996.
Entranced by Portland, Oregon since 2017.

Posts Archive

The Blog as Publishing Hub

Blog: short for Web-log. A personalized record of content you post on the web.

Web: a shortening of World-Wide Web. A global network of hypertext documents all linking to each other.

So then, why is it rare to find anyone actually doing this with their blog? 🤔

There’s a term in IndieWeb circles called Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere (or POSSE). It sort of captures an aspect of that idea…basically you use your own blog to publish thoughts, link commentary, photos, videos, newsletters, etc., and then disseminate that content out to other services (YouTube, Twitter, mailing lists, your own RSS feed, etc.)

I tried POSSE in a previous incarnation of this site. I ended up not liking it. It doesn’t capture the workflows I instinctively prefer on a regular basis, nor how I wish the #openweb really functioned.

What I want to do is the exact opposite! IndieWeb also provides a term for this: Publish Elsewhere, Syndicate (to your) Own Site (or PESOS). They don’t recommend it, and the wiki page enumerates some of the reasons why. But I have come to realize I prefer PESOS for a lot of the content I produce, because it’s generally way easier and the UX is way better.

  • I like “microblogging” on Twitter.
  • I like posting videos on YouTube.
  • I like writing newsletter issues in ConvertKit.
  • I like uploading podcast episodes to Buzzsprout. (I don’t for this site, but I do use it for the Fullstack Ruby podcast.)
  • I like posting photos on…well, certainly not Instagram any more. 😂 Glass is pretty rad, but I haven’t determined if I want to reserve it for the “fancy” photos I take with my “fancy” camera, or simply give up and flood it with on-the-go iPhone snaps.
  • I like releasing music on Bandcamp. (Honestly, I don’t know of any indie musician who doesn’t use Bandcamp at this point!)

So the question then becomes: how do I post all this content elsewhere, then transparently pull in links and import content back to my own #website? Of course on a technical level, it means I’ll be writing lots of Ruby plugins for Bridgetown, the software I use to build my website. But I’m always musing on workflows that can be easily applied to the industry of blogging as a whole. I haven’t seen much evidence anyone’s truly cracked this nut. Also admittedly, dragging your own content in kicking and screaming from third-party silos is often less than straightforward (hence the notion of POSSE), because they have a vested interest not to let you feature your own content on your own website. (YouTube remains sort of a weird outlier here because they make it easy to embed videos anywhere, and youtube-dl is certainly a thing.)

Still, I’m motivated to figure this stuff out. I’ll let you know how it goes! ☺️


From iPhone mini to iPhone Pro

picture of the Deep Purple version of the iPhone 14 Pro

I’ve been rocking the iPhone mini lifestyle since the 12 series debuted. I love my mini. I love that form factor. And I’m sad to see it go.

Nevertheless, time marches one and new iPhone models come out packed with new features. And the list of new features in the #iPhone 14 Pro is impressive indeed.

  • Dynamic Island (I always hated the notch. Byeeee!)
  • Always-On Display
  • 48MP Main Camera
  • Deep Purple

OK, maybe that last one isn’t a “feature”, but I definitely love this color. I got to hold one at my local #Apple store and generally see the Dynamic Island at work, and it’s fantastic. It’s what the design should have been from the beginning. Farewell notch…hopefully forever.

I’ve heard some grumblings about the overall lack of progress in the standard iPhone lineup this year, and I get that. But for me it’s not an issue, because there’s no way I would ever upgrade from an iPhone mini to one of the standard iPhones. If I’m forced to leave the world of the mini behind, I’m going Pro. No question about it.


Patreon is laying off 17 percent of its workforce and closing offices

I’m genuinely sorry about all the people having to leave Patreon, and I wish them well in their new job search.

All right, so let’s roll back the clock and evaluate what I posted on Twitter in April 2021:

Today I found out Jack Conte has fired a bunch of people at the behest of former Instagram bigwig who became Patreon’s Chief Product Officer in January. Obviously “the big rewrite” is now underway.

First of all, changing your development priorities = firing a bunch of people is ridiculous. It’s the cookie-cutter mentality in tech. Oh, we need React developers now. Oh, we need Swift developers now. Oh, we need Kubernetes DevOps experts now. Oh, we need…

If you can’t adequately train the people who already work for you how to adapt to changing requirements, your org is fundamentally broken. Conte insists Patreon’s doing great financially, they just have some new ideas. OK. SO THEN WHY FIRE ANYBODY @#&%!#%?!

Secondly, I’d missed the memo that the former Head of Product of Instagram’s “Home experience” (aka “Feed, Stories, Ranking, Video, Profile and Interactions”) is now in charge of Patreon UX.
That revelation alone is firing planet-sized alarm bells in my head.

And it continues on from there… I was not a happy camper!

Needless to say, it’s now been well over a year later and Patreon genuinely sucks. 😒 The iOS app doesn’t feel noticeably nicer or more appealing in any way compared to before Mr. Instagram Julian Gutman took over, and the desktop web app now looks like a crappy knockoff of old Facebook. Most of the design on my large macOS display is blank nothingness. None of the UI has any character or personality whatsoever. (Remember when Patreon looked like this? Now it’s a dry corporate Silicon Valley VC desert.)

Patreon started out feeling like an indie product: by indies, for indies. Now they’re having to peer under sofa cushions looking for loose change in an effort to placate their VCs. It’s exhausting. I begrungingly support a tiny handful of creators still on the platform. I’d much rather pay them directly.

Look, I’m sure Jack Conte’s heart is in the right place and he means well. But I have ZERO confidence in the future of Patreon. They should have never hired Julian Gutman, and they should have never taken ridiculous piles of VC money. Bad moves, plain and simple.

Next obvious question: who will rise up and take Patreon’s place, only this time actually stay indie and forever feel indie and support nobody but indies? (VCs Begone!) Inquiring minds want to know!


The Perfect Length for a Blog Post Is…

…nobody knows. 😄

I literally searched DuckDuckGo for “what is the perfect blog post length?” and got a wide variety of different answers all on the first page. I suppose it entirely depends on the genre, the author, and the audience. In other words, perfection will be forever illusory.

So I took a look at what I’d written so far throughout the year, and for short “thought” posts like this, the average seems to be around 300 words. For longer article-style posts, the average seems to be around 900.

Rather than leave it random chance, I’m going to try an experiment to see if I can keep the length of short posts a little bit shorter—say around 200 words—so that I’m more motivated to write and publish them, and conversely strive to ensure essays clock in at no less than 1000 words.

This is all part of my renewed push to design a more disciplined and appealing workflow for blogging. You’d think I would have figured this stuff out by now! 😂 (Always more to learn…)


I tried to take the train…thrown on a bus?! // Epic PNW Views Anyway!

I thought I was taking an Amtrak train from Portland to Seattle, like I had done before. I was wrong…the train was delayed and they threw me on a bus instead! Not cool…BUT it did still get me to Seattle in a reasonable timeframe. From there I headed off to work at WeWork, visit the Seattle Waterfront, and meet up with my bro. Next day Shayne and I got to see some stunning views of Snoqualmie Falls, as well as visit a beautiful country lake in the town of Kent, WA.

Watch Video



Best Public Transit Bridge in America? / trip over Tilikum Crossing

Portland boasts many fine bridges which span the Willamette River, and Tilikum Crossing is no exception. Named after the local Chinook word for people, and opened to the public in 2015, Tilikum Crossing was the first new bridge built in the region since 1973’s Fremont Bridge, and it’s notable for being the first major American bridge to be designed for public transit, bicyclists, and pedestrians—but not automobiles.

Watch Video




The iPad Desktop

The one thing which has been so frustrating lately about iPadOS isn’t how far away the “pro” experience of #Apple #iPadPro is from what you get with a Mac. It’s how close it is. Tantalizingly close. You plug a modern iPad into a display, keyboard, and mouse, and if you squint a bunch and don’t try to accomplish too much all at once, you can kinda sorta see a powerful desktop OS at work. The “death by a thousand paper cuts” is what makes this experience so frustrating.

The word on the street (aka Mark Gurman’s latest reporting) is that Apple will be rolling out an advanced set of multitasking features for iPadOS at #WWDC, including an interface which will “let users resize app windows and offer new ways for users to handle multiple apps at once.” No mention of proper external display support, but it feels like that must be a given if you have a new windowing system.

Look, I’m not trying to replace my Mac. I love my Mac. The M1 Mac mini is an impressive desktop at an affordable price. However, I also want to be able to “KVM switch” myself over to an iPad desktop and enjoy everything about that experience as well. Because there are some tasks I really do prefer to perform in iPadOS vs. macOS. Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too? Hopefully Apple will soon have an affirmative answer to that question when it comes to the iPad.


iPhone 14 Pro Display Panels Reveal New Pill-and-Hole Design Replacing Notch

My favorite #iPhone since the iPhone 5 has been the iPhone 12 mini. I think #Apple knocked it out of the park with the 12 line-up in general, largely due to its industrial design and iPhone 5/iPad Pro-style flat edges. Plus having a small phone again really rekindled my love affair with this product category.

So I’ve been sad hearing the rumor mill pontificate that the mini size will be going away due to middling sales numbers. However, the flip side to all this is I’ve never been a fan of the notch. Sure I understand why it’s there, and it doesn’t bother me in daily usage. Yet it’s always felt like a hack, a necessary evil, a stain on an otherwise “perfect” form factor.

The pill-and-hole design brings us much closer to perfection. There’s no visual interruption along the edges of the display. It feels much more symmetrical, especially in landscape orientation. Obviously I can’t come to a final conclusion without seeing the final product in the flesh (assuming the rumors are true), but I’m far more impressed by the mockups so far than with the iPhone X-era notch.

If that’s the new design language of the iPhone 14 Pro, I’m afraid I’ll have to kiss my mini goodbye and embrace the bigger size once again. The pill-and-hole styling is simply irresistible.


What's Old Star Trek is New Star Trek (Again)

Strange New Worlds feels a bit like a reboot done right.

Before you misunderstand me, listen: I’ve been pretty pro-Discovery since its inception and particularly loved seasons 3 & 4. Picard Season 1 was a masterpiece in my view and one of the best seasons of any Trek show ever. (Season 2 was a disappointing step down from those highs…but that’s a tale for another time.) And regarding the movies, while I didn’t much care for the two J.J. Abrams films, I thought Star Trek: Beyond was pretty freaking fantastic.

Yet in spite of all that, I do think we’ve been missing out a bit on that good ol’ Trek TV formula, and apparently the producers at Paramount agree: because Strange New Worlds fills that void with glorious aplomb.

Anson Mount continues to impress as Captain Pike. He weaves in elements of the original “Cage” Pike, Kirk’s swagger, Picard’s experienced poise, Sisko’s playfulness, and the endearing emotionality of later captains in Trek canon. Yet in the end he remains a fully individualized and memorable character. Mount as Pike doesn’t feel like a copy of the captains we’ve already seen, so much as he feels like the blueprint from which they later sprung. Accomplishing that in a prequel series made nearly 60 years after a failed pilot might just be one of the cleverest hat tricks in show biz.

I’ll refrain from commenting on the rest of the cast because honestly we haven’t had enough time with them yet. I will say that—no offense to Zachary Quinto’s acting prowess—Ethan Peck is the best Spock we’ve seen since 80s Nimoy. He’s filling immeasurably large shoes, and while his performance might not turn heads per se, it’s understated and competent. And honestly, that’s all I could hope for. I can believe he’s Spock more than (for example) I ever believed Alden Ehrenreich was Han Solo.

All in all, I am extremely satisfied with Strange New Worlds. I suppose things could fall to pieces in future episodes, but if they can keep the quality up this high in episode 3 and thereafter, I will claim without reservation that this is the most made-for-Trekkies Star Trek we’ve seen since The Orville. Oh snap! 🫢

#scifi #tvshows



Strange Multiverse

I feel like it was a long time waiting for another Stange movie to arrive. I must reiterate that Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange is my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Way back in 2016, I wrote concerning the first Doctor Strange movie that it featured “excellent characterization, stunning locations, a surprisingly top-drawer script, and a director that manages to pull off some of the most breathtaking effects visuals I have ever seen on screen…this is clearly one of Marvel’s best cinematic efforts to date.” Eight years and several rewatches later, I still hold by that assessment.

So believe me when I say I’ve been very, very excited to head out to my local movie theater to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Unfortunately, while I did enjoy the experience and by no means think this is a bad film, overall my opinion is mixed on the merits of this second outing. There were aspects to the movie I thought were utterly delightful and wickedly clever. Yet there were other moments where I found myself befuddled and disappointed at the choices made by the Marvel story team. Without giving away any spoilers, I thought the tie-ins with Wandavision were the weakest links in the chain by far. Elizabeth Olsen certainly pulls off an amazing acting feat in her role, but the role itself in the context of the entire story arc left me cold. I honestly wish they’d gone in a different direction and not touched her character at all. (Perhaps leave that to a “Wandavision 2” or standalone Scarlet Witch movie.)

I’ll share this spoiler-filled dive into the film by one of my favorite YouTube pundits, Kristian Harloff. I think his thoughts echoed my own in nearly all cases, so if you’ve watched it yourself by now, you might find his commentary intriguing.

In the end, I did appreciate much of what was in the movie scene-by-scene and enjoyed my time at the theater, but the problematic elements of the story took the entire experience down a notch. Overall, I’d have to rank this in the lower half of MCU productions to date, and nowhere near my Top 10. Which is a real shame considering the first Doctor Strange film is one of my favorite comic-book / #scifi #movies of all time.


A Legacy of Words

Alongside the “Great Resignation” of 2021-2022, we are witnessing the “Great Recognition” of the simple fact that the #openweb is the only digital space where you can leave a true legacy as a thinker and a writer.

Walled gardens like #Facebook, #Twitter, Medium, and many others have tried to capture words over the decades. They failed. 100 years from now, when people look back in time to witness What People Thought, they won’t be gleaning the highest wisdom and deepest insights from tweets and likes and shares.

It will be Articles. Essays. In other words, Blog Posts. (Before you say “what about Newspaper Columns?”—in this day and age they might as well just be considered Blog Posts because we typically consume them the exact same way.)

Medium-to-longform content, written by individuals, and largely posted on independent websites for all the world to see. Not trapped inside a social network, but freely accessible*. I’ve never been more bullish on the power of the #openweb to both contain and promote forward thinking than I am today.

* Rest assured I’m not making a case here against paywalls—even paywalled #writing can be “freely accessible” on the open web in the sense that you don’t need to join a Big Tech platform to make #payments in order to access the content.


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