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Kevin Marks

Douglas Adams on digital ID

2 min read

“It was an Ident-i-Eeze, and was a very naughty and silly thing for Harl to have lying around in his wallet, though it was perfectly understandable. There were so many different ways in which you were required to provide absolute proof of your identity these days that life could easily become extremely tiresome just from that factor alone, never mind the deeper existential problems of trying to function as a coherent consciousness in an epistemologically ambiguous physical universe. Just look at cash point machines, for instance. Queues of people standing around waiting to have their fingerprints read, their retinas scanned, bits of skin scraped from the nape of the neck and undergoing instant (or nearly instant --- a good six or seven seconds in tedious reality) genetic analysis, then having to answer trick questions about members of their family they didn't even remember they had, and about their recorded preferences for tablecloth colours. And that was just to get a bit of spare cash for the weekend. If you were trying to raise a loan for a jetcar, sign a missile treaty or pay an entire restaurant bill things could get really trying. 

Hence the Ident-i-Eeze. This encoded every single piece of information about you, your body and your life into one all- purpose machine-readable card that you could then carry around in your wallet, and therefore represented technology's greatest triumph to date over both itself and plain common sense.”

Mostly Harmless, 1992

Kevin Marks

Kevin Marks

Kevin Marks

The indieweb includes RSS and much more, but @davewiner is still resisting change.

2 min read

Dave Winer writes:

Richard has turned to IndieWeb for the latest on open web tech. That's fine, but you have to look elsewhere too, because as he's discovered, they only embrace part of the open web. It's too bad they chose such an inclusive name, but have an exclusive approach. For example, they have avoided RSS, for reasons I'm sure I don't understand (I've listened, so no need to repeat the reasoning). We need all the advantages we can get because there are serious headwinds these days for blogging. RSS is serious open web technology. To not build on it is unthinkable, for me at least. #

As is often the case, Dave is focused on RSS rather than the web per se. Indieweb does build with RSS, along with Atom, json-feed, Activity Streams as well as h-feed and h-entry. The feedreader I use, woodwind, reads h-feed, RSS and Atom, shows posts as a river, and integrates posting to your own site through micropub.

So Indieweb is inclusive, whereas Dave does tend to be resistive to new technologies -this was his original view on JSON:

No doubt I can write a routine to parse this, but look at how deep they went to re-invent, XML itself wasn't good enough for them, for some reason (I'd love to hear the reason). Who did this travesty? Let's find a tree and string them up. Now.

Nowadays he happily uses JSON, so maybe he'll be inclusive of microformats and the indeweb derived standards like webmention and micropub someday too. I even sent him a pull request.


Kevin Marks

Day 9: Previewing Mastodon instances as h-feed #100DaysOfIndieWeb

1 min read

I was watching Christopher try to decide which mastodon instance to join. This made me realise that we need a way to preview instances’ local and federated streams. So I made one: Here's and here's

How this works is that from mastodon 1.1.1 the public timeline json api no longer needs authentication, so I can read it by default. I do this, then use a tempate to render it as an h-feed compliant view.

I also added a list of known instances from, though I wasn't able to  fetch the list dynamically.

I hope you find a mastodon insatcne community that you like.


Kevin Marks

My rev-canonical misstep with @kellan

1 min read

While writing up the rel-canonical I found an old mistake I made :

Kellan picked it up and ran with it but rel=shortlink is much clearer

Kevin Marks

Day 8: A specification for rel=canonical, by request #100DaysOfIndieWeb

1 min read

Domenic pointed out that rel=canonical was not well specified in the HTML spec. We had a stub page on the microformats wiki, so I expanded it into a more detailed discussion.

I tried to follow my mantra that 'standards should be documentation, not legislation' by explaining and linking rather than just writing a list of imperatives without much explanation. 

Do let me know what you think

Kevin Marks

Day 7: To AMP or not to AMP? #100DaysOfIndieWeb

1 min read

Alan made a bookmarklet to go from the AMP version of an article to the canonical one. This is useful for sharing, but as Aaron pointed out, going the other way is handy for removing ad cruft, which can be a 14GB/day download.

So, here's the 'to amp' version:

javascript:var url = false;var links = document.getElementsByTagName('link');Object.keys(links).forEach(function(key){if(links[key].rel !== 'amphtml'){return;};url = links[key].href;});if(!url){ alert('No AMP URL'); };if(url){document.location = url;};

I'd suggest installing both, so you can toggle back and forth. A related one just turns the url bar into the canonical version for copying (this is handy for removing the utm_ cruft that may be there):

javascript:var c = document.querySelector("link[rel=canonical]"); if(c){ history.replaceState({},document.title, c.href); }

Using bookmarklets on mobile browsers is a bit annoying; but as Chrome syncs them across devices, you can type the name you give the bookmarklet in the address bar and then click it:

using a bookmarklet on mobile chrome

Kevin Marks

Day 6: updating the French version of (thanks to Ricardo Mendes‏ @rMdes_) #100DaysOfIndieWeb

1 min read

I noticed Ricardo was trying out Noterlive, and that it had confused him, so I updated the French translation of the site and made the js code shared between them rather than copied.

Now I have good bandwidth again, I am restarting  

Kevin Marks

Day 5: Improving before the microservices summit #100DaysOfIndieWeb

1 min read

While I've been using my live-noting (well, OK, live-tweeting mostly) site fairly regularly to post live notes to my website, I haven't pushed out a new release for many months.

I'm off to the microservices summit tomorrow, so I thought I'd tidy up the feature requests and bug reports beforehand.

Several of these were helpfully added by Chris Aldrich, including the newly-linked Instructions page and the suggestion to clear the logs and cached speaker list separately.

I also made the site handle blank twitter names better, which means it can now be used as a tweetstorming tool more easily.

I also added a 'New Thread' button that starts a new thread of comments on twitter before the next tweet, which should be useful to break up live tweeting of multiple sessions

Do try it out, and send me any further issues