Pillowfort is moving to .social

Apr. 17th, 2019 02:28 pm
elf: Computer chip with location dot (You Are Here)
[personal profile] elf
In the various discussions about PF's user content rules, legalities, social standards, and so on, someone happened to notice that PF's domain host, .io, doesn't allow adult content of any sort.


Pillofort immediately started looking for a new domain extension. They found one, and have begun the process of shifting over. The site's been cloned; logins work; posting doesn't. They'll keep the .io addresses for at least a year (unless the NIC.IO staffers happen to notice them and cancel it in the meantime), but the whole site will be officially moving soon, like this month sometime.

I'm going to edit my previous PF posts to use the .social domain for the links, so they'll still work in the long run.

... On the one hand, glad they're doing something about this. On the other, how am I supposed to trust they can manage user conflicts and TOS edge cases and the business hassles of running a social platform, when they didn't bother to look at their domain host's content rules.

They come out to 3 pages when pasted into Word. It's less than a thousand words long. And it says, "No .IO domain may be used, directly or indirectly, for any purpose that is sexual or pornographic or that is against the statutory laws of any Nation."

Now, there's some possible quibbling there - I really, REALLY don't want to have to restrict all my content to comply with every nation's blasphemy laws. And maybe "no sexual purposes" means "no hookup sites and no sex toy shops." But it sure looks like it means "no explicit videos." And Pillowfort's staff just... didn't notice, when they were picking a domain for their new social media platform, that this one bans the stuff that Tumblr refugees are interested in hosting.

(no subject)

Apr. 17th, 2019 09:04 pm
eye_of_a_cat: (restart/resume?)
[personal profile] eye_of_a_cat
The baby was in hospital for a few days. She is fine now, and most likely was never really ill ill in the first place because after three days and two nights she came home with a diagnosis of "probably some sort of short-lived gastro virus?" and a shrug. But it was not a good few days and I will probably continue to feel guilty about it for the next fourteen years.

She started off with a fever of 38.4 and a few other symptoms of unwell baby. Not massively unwell, but, you don't want to take a chance with a three-week-old baby, so we called NHS24 to speak to a nurse as it was outside standard GP hours.

They then sent us to hospital to see the out-of-hours GP. Probably fine, but just to be on the safe side, etc etc etc. So: taxi to hospital over the windy little rural backroads at 9pm, fun times.

That GP evaluated her, declared she was probably fine, but sent us up to the paediatrics ward for an evaluation anyway because, again, tiny baby, why take chances.

Paediatrics ward wanted to admit her overnight for observations, complete with various tests and a cannula in her hand, juuuuust in case. Not fun for anyone, least of all her. And then one of those tests came back looking a bit worrying, so they did more tests and procedures with needles, and I sat up sobbing in her hospital room at 3am because a) either she is really ill or b) she is not that ill and therefore I have let them do all these things to my tiny helpless baby (who seemed a lot less traumatised by all this than me, to be fair). And then she had two days of IV antibiotics while we waited for more test results.

In the end, the tests all came back clear. So we still don't know what was wrong with her, but she seemed to shake it off all by herself. She's been fine ever since - although I plan to watch her like a hawk for every single waking minute until some time in 2035.

Zambia and economics

Apr. 17th, 2019 12:41 pm
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (shadow)
[personal profile] brainwane
Several years ago I got to visit my sister in Lusaka, Zambia.

I saw how it can work when utility companies work on a prepayment basis (as in, you have to top up your account before usage, much as you would top up a pay-as-you-go mobile phone plan). I found out about how one frequently irons one's clothes, or has them ironed, after washing, not just for aesthetic reasons, but to kill parasites. I learned that Zambia has a four-corners water border with three other countries. And I learned that the indigenous name for Victoria Falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya or Mosi-O-Tunya, which translates as "the smoke that thunders", inspiring the name of a beer. (If you visit during the bit of the dry season when the waterfall roars less impressively, enterprising locals will happily photograph you in front of the green-painted wall they've set up, digitally place your smiling family in front of a suitably watery background, and charge you for prints. They also have props available in case you want to, say, wear a headdress, hold a carved stick, etc., in the photo, and I feel mixed about this, as you might imagine.) I meant to write up more of what I observed (I tweeted about a concert I attended but that's about it), then didn't get around to it, sadly.

At the time, India was my default comparator; I noticed how bits of things -- the climate, the physical infrastructure, the history museum, intangibles -- were like, or not like, things I'd experienced in India. I hope someday I get to visit more, different places in Africa so I can get a better understanding of it as its own context.

Just now I reread an old Daniel Davies post about Zambia (he was born there; I think his father did some kind of job there for a while), which he wrote in 2008 but which -- as I see the toll extractive capitalism is taking on my industry and my country -- strikes close to home.

...relevant to natural resource curse. What the continent of Africa is full of, is chancers and get-rich-quick merchants. The natural resources industry is of course famous for such characters, and the trait that they share with vulture financiers is that they vastly prefer to substitute risk tolerance, sharp elbows and an eye for the main chance for graft and creativity. People like this are useful and even necessary in small doses, but (as any history of your favourite frontier and colonisation narrative will tell you), in large numbers they're pestilential; a walking, talking infestation of the same kind of behaviour that's the staple of the resource curse literature.

There's a post forthcoming ... on psychological obstacles to development but I think this is the big one; not the lack of a work ethic, but the perversion of the work ethic in a large proportion of the domestic and expatriate business class, who think that success isn't something you build; it's something you find...
jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

Ingrid Tischer's name was mentioned several times at the recent SDS@OSU conference. Ingrid Tischer is a disabled white woman who works in the philanthropy sector. She blogs the hell out of that experience and much more, with honest surrealism and humor. She spouts “FEDup rants” opposing TED’s goal of making knowledge a commodity.

You can spend hours exploring her site; this essay lent itself to excerption:

My FEDup™ Rant: RespectAbility, Class and Race Privilege, and Leveling the Erring Field

quote and great takedown of Hockenberry )

boost: What's On Your Nightstand?

Apr. 16th, 2019 06:24 pm
jesse_the_k: Text: "I'm great in bed ... I can sleep for days" (sleep for days)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
The Nightstand Collective collects described photos from the bedside tables of people who are chronically ill.


I feel seen

I keep expecting to wake up and have the energy to write up what I learned at the SDS con. Maybe tomorrow? Or next week?

I did go swimming for the first time since Doc said "rest my hip." The water was so delicious! I get to trade water for cognition. I'm so grateful I don't have any deadlines right now.

oh no the horror

Apr. 16th, 2019 11:58 am
sciatrix: a singing mouse tilts its mouth upwards, mid-song, with the words "cheep cheep" appearing to come out of its mouth in white text. below, SCIENCE is picked out in light green, bold font. (cheep cheep)
[personal profile] sciatrix
today's job: sliding through I think almost two year's worth of group Twitter DMs to create an annotated bibliography of books, pop science articles, and peer reviewed journal articles on same-sex sexual behavior in animals that one of my collaborators (or me) have brought enthusiastically and waved at the others at some point. Then figuring out which ones we definitely absolutely yes do need to cite and point people at, in case we've missed anything, and coming up with good sentences to make sure readers can find, say, Malin Ah-King's work or Joan Roughgarden's or more of Marlene Zuk's or anything else.

It's going to be a fun afternoon once I sit down and eat something. I'm excited.

(Then I have to do some data entry and some grading and probably some formulating explicit hypotheses for the second two aims of my dissertation, but shhh. I'm being excited about this instead of rolling my eyes at my boss, who thinks I will magically work out how to graduate by December; I think this time next year is much more likely, but committee meetings wait for no one.)

Also on my docket: sitting down and figuring out what the relationship between cortisol and leptin really is, because there's something really fascinating and antagonistic there but I need to understand more about cort's role in energy balance and leptin's reactions to chronic and acute stressors first. I can probably justify spending the time on that under "lobbying to test my mice's plasma cort levels when I test the leptin" and picking other hormones to look at, but I need to think about what the kind of social stress the animals are under right now looks like in terms of the experiment. They've all definitely had one acute stressor in the form of being handled and injected before I ran the experiment, and I should think about that in context, too...
ursula: second-century Roman glass die (icosahedron)
[personal profile] ursula

  • "Don't help any babies!"
  • "I feel like we should not all die. That would be good."
  • "I'm talking about the vibrations in your spirit."
    "I must have a very dry spirit."
  • "We're making rolls to get on someone's Outlook calendar."
  • "Humans do live in the result of a giant apocalypse."
    "Are we talking in game, or out of game?"
    "I'm not sure."
  • [gagging sounds]
    "This is not a musical about a pizza guy!"
  • "Who do we worship, asks the priest of Tlaloc!"

PyCon NA, !!Con and WisCon 2019

Apr. 16th, 2019 09:59 am
brainwane: My smiling face, in front of a wall and a brown poster. (smiling)
[personal profile] brainwane
May is my big conference month this year. cut for one photo + length )

.... I need to order business card refills.

(Edited a few hours later to add: crossposted to Cogito, Ergo Sumana.)
moem: A computer drawing that looks like me. (Default)
[personal profile] moem
I've been thinking about why this hit me so hard.

I'm not a believer, and my mother is; we just took a trip to some Hanseatic cities in North-Germany, and visited a couple of brick gothic churches. We look at churches from a mostly different perspective, and not all of our reasons overlap, but we both enjoyed seeing them.

I like to look at churches, and other holy buildings, because I admire craftsmanship; I'm a signwriter, I recognise a good hand when I see one. It can be striking to realise that that hand died hundreds of years ago. It's like a collegue reaches out across the centuries, and says hello. Hello, don't you hate it when your best sable brush has a hair sticking out and it ruins your lines? Oh, I know, right?

Mostly, I like to look at holy buildings because they show us what people are capable of when they are motivated by love. It's a type of love that I don't share, but it's love all the same. And in this world and these times, when we are all too often shown what people are capable of when they are motivated by hatred and contempt, that is not such a bad thing to be reminded of.

It's not about the stones and the beams and the glass rainbows that make up the windows. It's all of the hours, weeks, years spent in making it, it's all of the memories in those who visited, and all of the dreams in those who didn't, but wanted to. After all, it's about people.

As Will said, what a piece of work is (hu)man.
elf: Computer chip with location dot (You Are Here)
[personal profile] elf
This is a sequel to Part 1 - Money; sometime later, I'll write Part 3 - User Conflicts.

I don't want Pillowfort to be doomed. I want new social media options, and I love some of PF's features. But... I watched Yahoo shut down Yahoo Clubs. I have an Imzy t-shirt. I funded WritScrib. They're not alone in failing to figure out how to make "give people a place to hang out online" profitable.


Pillowfort faces two major problems with administration: lack of transparency and ambiguous policies. Neither of those would make the site nonviable (plenty of very large social platforms have both), but they'll combine with the other problems (money, user conflicts) and will make it very, very hard for Pillowfort to achieve the critical mass of active users it needs to survive beyond the initial "hey it's new and shiny everyone come try this" phase.

Both the lack of communication with users and uncertainty about the policies lead to lack of trust. Right now, users are assuming that things are mostly fine. A few people are unhappy over changes in policies, and a few are unhappy with some of the dev judgment calls, but most people agree that nothing's been shocking or convinced them they couldn't tolerate the site. However, every new surprise, every new "wtf was that, staff???" reaction, will increase the paranoia and suspicion.

Users who don't trust the staff (1) won't pay for features, even if they want them (because a staff that arbitrarily changes policies, can decide "oh hey your 1-year subscription is now a 3-month subscription; sorry about that"), and (2) won't tell their friends about the site, even if they're actively using it. That latter is the killer: if what they're saying isn't, "hey come join me!" but "well, there's some great artists there, but I don't know how long they'll be allowed to post," PF is not going to gain the new users it needs to survive the attrition rate.

No roadmap )

April Pictures: Cats and Yarn Edition

Apr. 15th, 2019 10:17 pm
silversandbea: A rabbit wearing headphones at a keyboard (Default)
[personal profile] silversandbea
Stuff I've been working on since the last time I did one of these:

Lots of pictures under here, hopefully they show up. )

Also, here's Silvers last week being looking out our front window to see who is coming (hint: it was us):

A small cat looking out the window

bad fucking day

Apr. 15th, 2019 11:19 pm
rushthatspeaks: (our lady of the sorrows)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
When I went to Paris, the first thing I remember is exhaustion, as we had taken the sleeper train over the Alps from Italy, an experience which is a strange combination of fascination (what does this little built-in lever next to the window do?) and deep physical discomfort (despite sincere efforts on the part of the railway to alleviate it). I got the kind of sleep where you do sleep, but you don't feel as though you did and might feel better if you hadn't. It was cold as soon as we stepped out of the train station, too, the kind of biting, bitter cold where you stifle in a scarf but wonder sincerely about a third pair of socks. Cold that sinks into the bones, bypassing the skin and going directly for prognostications of doom. And the light was cloudy, grey-pink-yellow, early light: and it was Christmas morning.

Not much is open in Paris on Christmas but the churches.

There was Mass going on in Notre-Dame-de-Paris, of course, but cathedrals don't mind people drifting in and out and looking at things during Mass, as long as they are quiet about it. And the Middle Ages came to life for me in a very specific way, which they never had before, not as a result of sight, or sound, or even smell, but because Notre Dame has never had any sort of heating put into it, no pipes, no space heaters, no under-floor anything.

Which is because it didn't need it. When the church was filled with a sufficient number of people, it attained the perfect air temperature all by itself, from body heat.

And I mean perfect. It was the only time, in Paris, that entire trip, that my feet were ever actually okay. It gives you a visceral sense of fellowship, that atmosphere, the knowledge that you are literally being warmed by strangers, whom you in turn keep warm. Think of that, in the bitter winters of the Little Ice Age, and every year, until this year.

Oh, I know they will rebuild it. Fire happens to cathedrals, and they have this one mapped to the quarter-inch. The world's experts will put it back together, and there will be signs and exhibits about the fire, and everyone will marvel at how good the restoration was; in ten years, or twenty-five, that will be the story.

And yet--

My memories of Gene Wolfe are not personal ones, though I walked by him in the hallways at Readercon, and saw him on a panel or two. I mean, I think of him every time I bite into a Pringle. But the memory I have that I think says the most about what Gene Wolfe means, to others and to me, is a public one which didn't involve him, as such, at all.

I walked through Harvard Square one time, and one of the panhandlers had propped his sign on his cap and taken a break from actually panhandling. He appeared to be about a third of the way through The Claw of the Conciliator and he was oblivious to the outer universe. I left all the cash in my wallet in his hat, quietly, as I did not want to interrupt him.

While I was walking away, I realized that I had reacted to him with exactly the same sort of thrill that I have for a really good busker. Here was someone doing something virtuoso, in collaboration with both a specific artist and a deep body of general knowledge, and doing that thing in public, and doing it well, and with evident pleasure in it. And I was glad to see it done, because that should exist in the world.

I realize that could certainly happen again this year, or anytime, or never, and doesn't depend on Gene Wolfe as a living human being.

And yet--

every day I'm learning

Apr. 15th, 2019 12:02 pm
sciatrix: a singing mouse tilts its mouth upwards, mid-song, with the words "cheep cheep" appearing to come out of its mouth in white text. below, SCIENCE is picked out in light green, bold font. (cheep cheep)
[personal profile] sciatrix
....today, the learning experience is that coordinating the shipping of twenty-odd singing mice from New York to Texas is a mind-bogglingly complex endeavor, and I am just barely coming out on top of the bureaucracy. But! But! There will be mice I can use for this experiment, ideally by my committee meeting and at least so that I can do a kickass talk for Evolution this year. I'm applying for the SSE Grad Council this year, although the deadline is today--gotta make sure I set some time aside today to do that in amid the flurry of emails.

Also, I'm very carefully dipping my toes into The Body Keeps the Score and gritting my teeth the entire way--more because conceptualizing my life as traumatic in any way feels bad and wrong and self-indulgent and terrifying than because I think that the book itself is problematic. (I'm listening to the text-to-speak function on my phone, which is comforting and a little less scary than reading it for reasons I have no idea how to articulate.)

I'm low on Diamine Meadow right now (review) in my TWSBI stub pen, and I'm really sad about it. I think I need to commit and buy myself a proper bottle of it--this is just the tail end of the 2mL sample I got for my birthday last year.

Taxes: Filed

Apr. 15th, 2019 12:12 am
elf: Go to the motherf*cking BANK like an ADULT (Adult)
[personal profile] elf
This year, I used CreditKarma's "totally free plz don't notice how much of your data we're demanding the right to use" service. (Since the other services wanted $40-$70, I was willing to deal with the data harvesters. I don't mind getting $40 worth of services for data that I know damn well Google already has.)

I'll be getting a modest-but-helpful refund, which is what usually happens. Yay? (Too tired to have much reaction right now. I thought I would've been done three hours ago; I'd typo'd something on an early page and the return was rejected, and I wound up going through four years of past records trying to find the discrepancy.)

Anyone want to start a nonprofit with the goal of putting TurboTax out of business by filing for free without skeevy data-harvesting activity? Because for the vast majority of people, taxes shouldn't be a headeache; they should be "insert numbers forms HERE; receive tax results; download the PDF and either print it or submit electronically." I mean, I thought this would be the year that I started itemizing medical expenses... nope. Medical expenses would need to be much, much higher for that.

Day 5: Trip Home

Apr. 14th, 2019 06:55 pm
jesse_the_k: profiles of Due South's Ray Kowalski and Benton Fraser staring through windshield (dS F/K fast car)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

My last conference event was a free lunch, with fond farewells to new friends.

MyGuy & Bella pick me up at 115. We’re returning on the hypotenuse from the journey down on I90 to I60 to i70, traveling state and US highways. Sometimes known as blue roads because that’s how they’re shown on paper maps.

and so we dawdled northwesterly )

Geek Notes

Apr. 14th, 2019 04:55 pm
cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)
[personal profile] cbrachyrhynchos

I ordered a refurbished Thinkpad T420 to replace one of my sister's old laptops. There's a bit of lingering melancholy there as the electronics she used had a few years of life after her passing, but finally end up breaking. I'm still holding on to her craft work though.

I eventually went with Solus Linux. I gave Void a try but hit a wall when it comes to enabling battery-saving features, and found an update broke the installed version of firefox. My only glitch with Solus was that the battery power indicator didn't work under Budgie, but it does work under Mate, so that's not a big deal.

The other thing I ended up trying was NetBSD's pkgsrc. They just announced their 2019Q1 release. pkgsrc provides an easy way to build and install software or software versions not included in the official repositories. It helped cover some minor gaps between Ubuntu (my desktop system) and Solus. And to get software updates not covered by Ubuntu's release schedule.

One area where pkgsrc failed me was ksh93, which has had a flurry of new development but no release yet. The solution was to pull the master branch from github. The current master branch has a lot of work simplifying the build process so it's no longer dependent on also building a mess of obsolete tools from the 90s just to get ksh93 working.

So, I finally watched Jaws

Apr. 14th, 2019 04:05 pm
kutsuwamushi: (they see me rollin')
[personal profile] kutsuwamushi
I don't watch a lot of movies, so... there are a lot of classics I've never seen.

The thing I really noticed is the colors. It takes place in the bright sunshine. The music is sometimes that famous ominous scene, but is just as often fast-paced action-adventure, especially in climactic scenes.

It's so very different than other monster flicks I've seen that were made more recently. I'm kind of tired of everything being desaturated unless it's a rom-com. And "BRAAAM!"

Back home

Apr. 14th, 2019 10:22 am
moem: A computer drawing that looks like me. (Default)
[personal profile] moem
On Friday I returned from a trip with my mother, who's 80 and cool in many ways. We travelled by train to several German Hanseatic cities: we saw a bit of Lübeck, a lot of Wismar, and a reasonable amount of Stralsund. All three are well worth your time if you can swing it. On the other hand, the island Rügen didn't really do much for us (but the weather didn't help either)(and we did, at least, see Prora if only from the train)(and it's probably great if you can go hiking in Jasmund park). Sassnitz is not all that charming, but we did spend some pleasant time in a cafe watching the sea.
We saw a lot of brick Gothic churches (pretty amazing!), very impressive brick storage houses in the harbours (neat!) found some swell places to eat and all in all had a great little trip.

I feel lucky that we can still do and enjoy this together.

Gaming at R20 is not all bad

Apr. 13th, 2019 10:31 pm
elf: We need a hero, son: A super-FREAKY hero. (Need a Hero)
[personal profile] elf
A Gaming First: Superhero team goes bowling against the FBI in order to take down the local mafia.

GM was not entirely happy with this whole setup. I'm not entirely sure how it got to that point, since not a single character actually had bowling skills. ("I'll roll... ah... agility, okay?")

However, it looks like we're not going to qualify for regionals, since my sonic scream, intended to be subtly disguised in my "Yay!" scream to nudge a few extra pins over, actually took down about three lanes worth of pins, exploded some of the lights, and knocked some of the bricks loose from the wall. Oops.

(no subject)

Apr. 13th, 2019 10:56 am
rushthatspeaks: (the unforgiving sun)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
Lucien went this morning. We called the vet in; it was clearly time; he was breathing very badly, with a wheeze in it.

The last thing he did before the vet came was to go over and take a few nonchalant, expressive bites of his brother's cat food. Actually eating it was not, of course, the point-- he stopped actually eating sometime yesterday.

I think he went peacefully. It looked peaceful.
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