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A personal weblog by Paul Bausch, a web developer in Corvallis, OR

Last Build Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2018 01:42:42 -0700


Saturday Links

Sat, 03 Mar 2018 15:30:39 -0800

Some weekend reads culled from soc meeds:

Sunday Links

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 14:12:21 -0800

I have a whole series of enlightening yet depressing news stories to share with you this week, but I'm going to try not to share them. Instead:


Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:36:52 -0800


Saturday Links

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 11:53:54 -0800

Read This First
Web Dev
Social Media
Merlin linked to this Behind the Music (?) segment about 10cc's Not in Love and it's great. They did this before digital music editing!

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Dave Rawlings Machine

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 21:40:21 -0800

They're the best:

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There are a few more videos and an interview at WFUV: David Rawlings: 2018. West Coasters, see them live now. I've seen them several times and it's always an amazing show.

Saturday Links

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 11:06:42 -0800

Lots of dystopian links for some light weekend reading!
Soc Meeds

Sunday Links

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 20:32:40 -0800

Some links for your consideration:

One Year at Oregon State University

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 14:27:06 -0800

It was just about a year ago that I posted about a new job at Oregon State Unversity Ecampus. It's a good time to stop and reflect on where I'm at. Apparently Ecampus thought so too because they did a a quick "getting to know you" interview with me: Getting to know Paul Bausch.


The interview was a nice opportunity to think about my first year and taking photos for the article with the transparent whiteboard (clearboard?) was fun. I'm enjoying my work at Oregon State and I feel like my employer is making positive contributions to society. You can't ask for more than that.

Tweet Skimmer

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 20:09:52 -0800

I'm on day 17 of my Twitter fast and I do feel like I'm missing things. I'd like to be able to see what's happening with friends and co-workers without feeling like I'm walking into a kaleidoscope at a circus in the middle of a casino. At one time tweets were just text. Now tweets have embedded video gifs with talismanic viral numbers attached to commentary from dozens of people I don't want to hear from. I feel like I have to wade through 85% garbage to get that 15% I'm missing.

I think I can solve the circus-casino problem™ by removing the tweets from their toxic native environment and displaying them as text-only in my archaic feed reader. And that's what I've done.

Here is tweet-skimmer. It's a node script I'm using that gets a user's tweets from the Twitter API and creates an RSS feed without retweets or replies. By the time the tweets hit my feed reader, they are plain text with no media embeds, no images, no kaleidoscopic bears riding tricycles, no favorite counts, and no surrounding Twitter UI.

After testing for two full days I think this will allow me to batch tweet-reading into something I can skim every so often. That way I'll feel like I'm staying up to date with specific people without picking up the daily Twitter habit again.

The metaphor I've been using lately to describe this is that my Twitter habit is like having junk food in the house. I'm sure it would be no problem to have unlimited Doritos™ if I only ever ate 15% of each bag. It just never works out that way. So I'm hoping this new bit of scripting is like only buying 15% in the first place. It's digital portion control. Fun sized tweets.


Mon, 15 Jan 2018 13:08:10 -0800

If I was still on Twitter I'd link to this article by Joel Spolsky with the text, "This." Instead, I'll say that Joel describes the Twitter and Facebook addiction problem better than I've been able to: Birdcage liners.

For a look at the mechanics behind intermittent reinforcement that Joel describes there's a book called Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. It's as gross as it sounds. However, it does help you look at the products you use in a new, harsher light. I'd use the book as a digital literacy exercise rather than a how-to manual as it's intended.

Sunday Links

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 13:17:36 -0800

Here are some links to check out:

Staying Informed

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 12:02:11 -0800

"But Paul," I can hear you saying through the internet, "how do you stay informed about the outside world if you can't visit Twitter and Facebook?" That's a great question but I'm afraid we've run out of time for today, sorry. I was a huge Google Reader fan and I still use an RSS reader. When Google Reader shut down I installed a local version of Tiny Tiny RSS on my server and spent a lot of time customizing it to look and behave like Google Reader. I still use it regularly and I wish I could say that was my primary source of information these days. Unfortunatley the big two have pulled people's creative energy into them like content black holes from which not even light-hearted jokes can escape! I think of my tt-rss instance as "appointment" web entertainment. I visit it occasionally to keep up with specific sites but it doesn't feel urgent to stay up-to-date. I would love to see a return to distributed publishing and reading via RSS but tt-rss and newsreaders in general feel like too much work to install, set up, and manage. Email has changed for me. I have distinct work and personal email these days and I use different clients to check them. My personal email traffic feels light, and with Gmail filtering spam and sorting things into buckets I have a strong signal to noise ratio. I follow some great email newsletters that I highly recommend: NextDraft - Dave Pell writes better headlines for the day's headlines. Today in Librarian Tabs - Jessamyn West shares news from the library world. Things That Have Caught My Attention - Dan Hon reveals the dystopian technology hellscape around us. Fight Fire With Phire - Jenny Zhang pulls daily political news into a concise summary of main events and some ways to take action. I usually read these as they come in and always get something out of them. Some weekly reads I enjoy include Friday Front-End (web development news), Hacker Newsletter (sorry), and the top questions of the week at :crossed_swords: RPG Stack Exchange. What I like is that I control what's coming into my inbox. Like a newsreader, I choose the sources and let them curate news for me. There isn't an algorithm helping me decide which pieces of these I should read. Maybe it works because I haven't subscribed to very many. Maybe it works because email isn't a primary source of anxiety for me anymore. Another daily source of news and info for me is link and favorite aggregation sites: BELONG - Andy Baio's Twitter aggregator takes links from a good slice of Twitter. (Maybe this is cheating since it's based on Twitter? I'm ok with it.) Pinboard Popular - The most-saved bookmarks at Pinboard with a heavy web developer slant. (Also has a strong Twitter bias with its auto-bookmark favorites feature.) Popular favorites at MetaFilter and Ask MetaFilter - Sure, I'm biased, but it's still the best online community and while I'm not in the daily mix there anymore I always find great perspectives when I go. Nuzzel - This is like a BELONG but with your Twitter follows. (ok, this is definitely cheating but it's very hard for me to escape this particular black hole.) Looking at this list I know there is much more I can do to diversify my information diet. Part of this experiment is going through this self-examination to find ways to improve. I'm sure you're sorry you asked by now, but I appreciate your concern. I'm still concerned about keeping up with friends and family but we really are out of time now so that'll have to be another post. Just know there's a lot you can take in outside of the big two and still feel like you're plugged into the hive mind. [...]