Future Building Technology Writing

“Algogen” missing the point

Liked AI, Algogen, and Anti-Poetry (Baldur Bjarnason)

I’ve lost count of how many people in tech (and marketing, natch) who say that algogen text is just as good as that written by people. They genuinely don’t see the limited vocabulary, word repetition, incoherence, and simplistic use of sentence structure. They only aspire to perfect, non-threatening mediocrity and algogen text delivers that. They don’t care the role writing has in forming your own thoughts and creativity. They don’t care about how writing improves memory and recall. They don’t value the role of creativity in the text itself.

For them, it’s all about the idea.

That algogen fans are predominantly idea people—the lot who think that 99% of the value delivered by any given form of media comes from the idea—isn’t a new observation, but it’s apt. If you don’t think the form or structure of the medium delivers any value, then it has to be a uniform commodity that can, and should, be generated algorithmically to save people from the tedious work of pointless creation.

Algogen is a great mashup word.

See also: AIs can write for us but will we actually want them to? by Bryan Braun

That made me think about my own writing. If I had to break down my current writing activity (not counting code), it would look something like this:


10% – Journaling

10% – Blog posts

20% – Texting and Personal Emails

10% – Meeting notes / todos

35% – Programming notes (usually to help me work through tricky coding issues)

15% – Book notes


Could I hand any of these over to AI?

Getting Shit Done Relationships Work

Hosted co-working hours


Two types / styles of co-working is brilliant.

Admin tasks, phone calls, to do lists, morning pages, emails, open chat

Organizing bigger projects, deep work, focus, no open chat

“There will be opportunities to share but for the most part we just get to work.”

Hosting something like this for the Women of Waste (free) could be a way of giving back and also connecting with people in a low-stress environment. I’d need a paid zoom account but in the scheme of things that’s a small investment.

Another way you could break it up would be to make a quiet room for deep focus and no conversation, and the main room would be open for chat. I think that would only make sense with a larger group.

This might be a format to first experiment with hosting an IndieWeb blogging co-working session like I’ve thought about.

Environment Shopping

Free shipping for small businesses

Liked Free Shipping (

We decided to just ask people to pay for shipping if they could. We also gave the option at check-out to get free shipping (like before), or even to “pay it forward” (paying double) if they were in a good place financially.

Everyone knows free shipping is terrible, but psychologically no one wants to pay for shipping.

This is an interesting approach for a small business to take: a compromise that trusts their committed customers to share the cost when they can. I also admire Craig Mod who charges (the very expensive true cost of) shipping for his photography books so people recognize the true cost of transporting something from Japan across the world.

Activism Art and Design History

Activism idea: ranking museums by stolen artifacts

I love it when a bunch of random pieces add together into something cool.

I was telling my husband over dinner about everyone’s Create Day projects, including Angelo’s, which assesses which IndieWeb components a website is doing and recommends improvements. I created a wiki page about land acknowledgement, and as I was explaining the concept he recalled that PBS Eons episodes frequently include an acknowledgement at the end that many artifacts were taken from indigenous lands without permission.

I’m also reading a book called The Art of Activism, which prompts artists to look for new ways to provide commentary and activists to go beyond the usual protest.

Put those elements together, throw in some Elgin Marbles, contrasted with the Smithsonian’s recent move to return a collection of African art, and you’ve got a recipe for some art activism:

  • Pull a Banksy and place additional placards beside stolen pieces in museums noting the true ownership / origin. “Pillaged from Greece through bribery and corruption.”
  • Create a website that ranks institutions by the proportion of their collection that is stolen or contested, and produce a guide like Seafood Watch does for seafood. “Ooh the British Museum is on the red list, better skip that one.” You could also allow nations and tribes to submit complaints cross-referenced with the museum’s online collections as an additional way to raise awareness and drum up public support for items to be returned to their rightful cultural owners.

Land back, and also heritage back. ✊

I don’t know if the information about objects’ origins is widely available — probably not, and especially could be obscured through purchases after the fact.

Science Fiction Society

Personable surveillance

Liked (

We’ve all heard the joke about how people let wiretaps into their homes with Alexa et. al. But what about a wiretap you could empathise with? What about a wiretap that seemed so very like your dead grandmother or spouse? Relatable surveillance.

Worldbuilding (or premise) for a dystopian / cyberpunk story…

Fun Websites

Website scavenger hunt

Ever seen anyone host a scavenger hunt inside their own website? 🤔

It could also be fun to create a scavenger hunt that encouraged people to visit and read indie websites. You could make a post with your “game card” with links to each of the websites. It’d be challenging to figure out the right kind of quest, though – might need to be design based, like finding a website with an orange theme. Need to strike the balance between fun and difficulty – finding new people’s websites alone is a challenge, never mind sorting through a bunch of them to find things.

Could also be a casual group event where everyone is hunting through different webrings or something and chatting about and sharing the neat stuff they like / that fits a prompt.

The Internet Websites

Following people outside of a feed

Replied to Specifying Spring ’83 (Robin Sloan)

What do you want from the internet, anyway?

I want to follow people who are interesting to me, in a way that’s simple, expressive, and predictable.

I want this to work, furthermore, whether those people are sharing a random thought every day, a blog post every week, or an art project every two years.

And I want it to work, of course, across media, so I can follow writers, musicians, programmers, theorists, troublemakers … 

Agreed, these points describe exactly what I want from the internet, yet is almost impossible to achieve. In the IndieWeb we’ve talked a bunch about following people rather than feeds, and wanting to be able to see that in one place rather than going to each service. For two years I checked Instagram, which I don’t use anymore, monthly just so I’d find out if/when one of my favorite artists released a specific image as a print because he doesn’t announce prints on his email list (magically I checked the day after he released it and it wasn’t sold out! Kismet. This is probably not something I should admit? 😅 I really wanted that print.).

So, I am excited to hear ideas for better ways to follow people. I’m not technical so I skipped over those details, but the sample images of ad and comic pages as a virtual poster board / nonlinear feed (with each person only getting one display block) caught my attention.

That visual layout is appealing. As a visual person, I find a lot of the feeds I follow tend to blur together in my reader’s chronological feed, so I can’t remember whose article I’m reading or which feeds I like best and which have mostly duds so I can unsubscribe.

Per the example, boards could be kind of picture-less Insta Stories made with html so they’re accessible (I assume screen readers can’t read the text in a Story?) – or text-only like a microblog post, with html markup (so, better than a tweet).


Reading Intentions

Bookmarked Reading by Annie Mueller (

(2022) Explore, escape, and have no patience for anything dreary. Ground myself by sinking deep into familiar words.

I love this big-picture thinking about what type of reading they want to do — and also love this particular reading outlook for this year.


Post Offices in the Middle of Nowhere

Bookmarked America’s postal service is a rural lifeline—and it’s in jeopardy (National Geographic)

Rural post offices and mail carriers connect our smallest towns to the world and provide a sense of community. But a burdensome financial structure, and lack of federal aid amid a pandemic, threaten their future.

Wood building with blue trim
The Ophir post office in Colorado is the second smallest in the U.S., but the most photographed
Getting Shit Done

DIY Business Card To Do Lists

Bookmarked Elliot Jay Stocks | Getting things done with TODAY ▼ + SOON ▶ (Elliot Jay Stocks)

Elliot Jay Stocks: designer, musician, writer, speaker. Co-founder of Lagom, founder of 8 Faces, music-maker as Other Form.

Clever idea to DIY a custom printed paper to do list not full sheet size using business cards. I too was attracted by Ugmonk’s Analog system but not sold enough to buy it despite its well thought out design. But, I’m not convinced a business card is large enough for me, my writing tends to be larger and longer.