If Tapbots made a Tweetbot clone for Micro.blog, like they did for App.net, I’d pay $20.00 again for it easy.
My Micro Monday recommendation this week is Scott McNulty.
He’s blogging more, podcasting, sharing his reading reviews, and sharing his weight loss journey. Great inspiration on many levels.
Micro.blog has a new thing where each Monday you recommend someone to follow and why. Here is Jean MacDonald, Community Manager at M.b:
We are inaugurating Micro Monday January 8. Inspired by Follow Friday, we want to encourage helpful recommendations rather than lists of accounts to follow. We suggest you make just one recommendation per week. Include a link to the account micro.blog/username to make it easy for people to click and follow, whether they see your recommendation on the Micro.blog timeline or on your blog. We highly recommend you give a short description of the reason for your recommendation. (Include the phrase Micro Monday and you’ll earn a special pin!)
Sounds like fun. Though I don’t like that we feel we have to link to the micro.blog URL*.
* I don’t particularly like Micro Monday’s rule of sharing the micro.blog URL (instead of the user’s domain) since I think the entire purpose of Micro.blog is to promote the use of independent platforms. But I’ll follow the rules. I hope the rule shifts in the future to sharing each other’s domain name.
My first impression is that micro.blog could be the new, simpler Technorati for the rising IndieWeb tide – a nice centralised way for people to discover each other’s posts and sites without losing the decentralised, own-your-data nature of the indieweb.
I have very fond memories of Technorati so I do not mind this comparison. Technorati helped expose people to the power of the indieweb at the time because it was a jumping off point to find some of the best content all over the web. It wasn’t a platform so much as a service. As Micro.blog grows, particularly out of the small blogger audience it currently has, it could fill this role very nicely – while at the same time being a solution for many to publish their own blogs.
/via Jonathan Lacour.
To create this list I sat down and wrote from the top of my head the things I could remember being awesome in 2017. The list isn’t exhaustive. It is just what made an impression on me as being “the best” in each category.
Best Blog: fuzzy notepad
Evee consistently writes well-researched, readable, diatribes on topics that could otherwise be boring yet are fascinating and I hang on every word. Here are a few posts from 2017 to get you started:
Best blog redesign: Colin Walker
When I awarded this to Jason Santa Maria so many years ago it was due to his use of color, contrast, typography. But design isn’t limited to how something looks but also how it works. Colin Walker has spend much of 2017 tweaking his blog’s features in subtle ways to work just the way he wants it to. I’m sure he’ll continue to fiddle with it throughout 2018 but I think we can all learn from Colin’s iterative approach. Keep tweaking.
Best new (to me) blog: Brand New
I’ve known about Brand New for a long time and have stumbled across a post or two over the years. But this year I’ve been pushing myself to learn more visual design and one way was to subscribe to more blogs like this. I find these posts, and the community, to be an excellent resource.
Best service: Spotify
This year I’ve used both Apple Music and Google Play Music to see if I could move away from Spotify. Spotify is in a league all its own, the other two don’t even compare well. Spotify’s machine learning robots just do an amazing job at surfacing music that I would like. It is so good it is eery.
Notable mention: Google Photos. I’ve switch from Apple iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos and I’m consistently being surprised by how much better it is.
Best book: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This was a tough call. I read some pretty great books this year. But the one that keeps coming up in conversations, the one I’m sharing the most is Ready Player One. I think it is the sci-fi novel that I read this year that most feels like it could happen within a few years.
Best productivity tool: Bullet Journal
Bullet Journaling has made the biggest impact to my productivity and cognitive load than any other app, technique, or method this year. My “version” is slightly different than the default but I’m loving it.
Notable mention: Trello.
Best phone: Google Pixel 2 XL
I’m cobbling together my notes for a “review” of the Pixel 2 XL in the coming weeks but I can say, unequivocally, it is the best phone of the year. For me. I know the Samsung Galaxy Note8 made many people’s list and of course the iPhone X deserves a mention – but for the price, the quality of the hardware, and the software the Pixel 2 XL is an easy winner for me.
Before I get email, know that I have an iPhone X (Eliza’s phone) and I’ve tried the Samsung models. For me it came down to the camera system (which is actually better than the iPhone X in everything but the second lens), the software (Android 8.1 – Samsung is way behind) and the price. The iPhone X will be better next year and, hopefully, iOS 12 will be much, much better than iOS 11. But, as of today, Google is killing it.
One other side note: Google as a personal assistant is so much better than Siri it is jarring. I may have used Siri a few times per month in the past but today I use Google about 10 times per day with nearly zero mistakes.
Best podcast: The West Wing Weekly
If you’re not a fan of The West Wing this choice may not land with you at all. So, for you I would suggest Song Exploder. If you haven’t yet listened to TWWW I suggest starting at the beginning and also watching The West Wing along the way.
Best platform: Instagram
When I deleted my social media accounts and didn’t even look at them for a few months the one I missed the most was Instagram. The platform continues to be one of the best and they continue to add great new features all the time while somehow keeping the app’s history in tact. The day may come when they add a feature that is terrible but so far they’ve done pretty well.
Side note: The algorithmic timeline almost pushed this one out for me. It is nearly inexcusable that this isn’t optional. I sincerely hope they find a way to allow users this option this year.
Notable mention: Micro.blog.
Best browser: Firefox Quantum
Perhaps this should be “most improved browser”? Quantum is a great name for the strides Mozilla has made with Firefox. They continue to improve the browser.
Oddly, Firefox is not my “daily driver”. I am using Chrome due to my switch to Android. (I’m ecstatic that I now can choose a default browser) I may, though, give Firefox a try across the board again soon.
Notable mention: Safari for turning off auto-play videos and ad tracking by default.
Best app: Apollo for Reddit for iOS
Though I’m now using Android I have to list Apollo as the best app. If you ever kill time by looking at Reddit (which I do a few times per week) I have to suggest you try this app. It is so well made you’ll wish it’s developer made every app you use.
Notable mention: Snapseed and Google PhotoScan (search App Stores).
Best code editor: Visual Studio Code
VS Code has improved a lot over the last year and has now overtaking Atom as my default text editor and code editor for all projects. While I still build native apps in Visual Studio most of my web work and text editing happens in VS Code.
The shared workspaces are the big feature for me this year. I can combine several code repositories into a single workspace and use Spotlight to launch all code related to a particular project in less than a second. It also has git and terminal integrated so I’m usually able to do all of my work in a single window.
Best YouTube channel: First We Feast
Specifically, Hot Ones. First We Feast has an interview show called Hot Ones that I just discovered this year and I can’t get enough of it.
Notable mention: MKBHD
Those are all of the categories I wanted to feature this year. Again, I simply pull this list together from the top of my head. Just like all years I saw so many amazing things it’d be very hard to create a real list. I suggest following my blog for all of 2018 because whenever I see something worth linking to I do so.
There are, however, some other companies, people, and products that I think deserve a shout-out. Here they are in no particular order: SpaceX, Khalid, Tom Hanks’ lost gloves tweets, The Last Jedi hype, Chris Stapleton, Joe Rogan’s Powerful JRE Podcast, Amazon Kindle and library loans, letgo, Google Maps, OK Google, Logitech MX Master 2S, USB-C, cast iron pans, Amazon Prime.
See you next year.
Hello there micro.blog/adactio
Micro.blog is now available to anyone. There’s a limit of 100 new sign-ups each day, so that we can better respond to feedback as the community grows.
I’ve been using Micro.blog on the web, Mac, and iOS for a few months and the community there has been great. In fact, the vast majority of my web site’s comments are webmentions sent from responses on Micro.blog.
Congratulations to Manton for reaching this milestone.
The last time I shared Micro.blog invite codes they went very quickly. Here are 5. First come, first served. mb-ed28cc, mb-d0f852, mb-dbb439, mb-9b86e4, mb-c0629e.
Squash – October 2017
This being my penultimate entry into the Micro.blog photo challenge.
Lackawanna Lake – October 2017
Coffee bean counter, Duffy’s Coffee Company, Clark’s Summit, PA – November 2017
This being my day 4 photo challenge entry.
This was harder to create from a Live Photo than it should have. And I don’t like the result. But, such is life. Publish! This being my day 3 photo challenge entry.
I thought we could start on Saturday (Nov. 11) and go for seven days.
He has a theme for each of the 7 days. I’m in.
Mac users can use the native Micro.blog for Mac app. It’s a free download and supports most of the same features as the iOS version.
You can see a short video of it on Manton’s blog. You’ll even notice a rather handsome avatar make an appearance.
Unfortunately I cannot give this a spin yet since I haven’t upgraded my Mac to High Sierra. And it doesn’t appear I’ll be doing so for at least a month or two since I haven’t seen any updates from Apple on that front. High Sierra just seems far too unstable to switch to on my main work computer at the moment.
Colin Walker, though, seems to like this new app:
Manton has repeatedly said that this is just a version 1.0 app but, I have to say, it’s been rock solid. Browsing, replying and posting to the blog have all been a breeze and I’ve not had a single issue or error.
I was away for the weekend, so this is coming on Monday, sorry.
Colin Devroe suggested a #FollowFriday movement. I’ll start off with two bloggers I’m enjoying.
Thanks to Jimmy for including me!
Here are two others I suggest following:
There has to be a line, a point where a comment is just that and not a reply. It’s a question of semantics but not everyone’s answer to “what is a comment and where does it belong?” will be the same.
I struggle with this a lot.
It is likely the point I should have made in my post regarding Micro.blog becoming a commenting service (and the fact that I don’t like that). I don’t want to reply on my blog to every reply to my posts on M.b because then I would have dozens and dozens of posts on my blog that would be very tough for readers to follow contextually. I believe the commenting mechanism that has been around for decades, even un-threaded, is far more useful than dozens of desperate posts stitched together loosely with a link that says “in reply to”.
Webmention attempts to bridge that gap between post and reply but that also is tough to follow along if the thread gets unwieldy.
However, I also don’t want to reply to every reply on my posts directly on M.b either (though, I do from time-to-time) as that isn’t much better than using any other silo like Twitter or Facebook. Should M.b go away, all of those conversations would be lost.
This isn’t a new issue nor is it exclusive to M.b. If I replied on my own blog to other people’s posts on their own blogs (like I am in this post to Colin Walker’s blog) then one side of the conversation could disappear at any time. I can only control my side of the equation. But at least if I have my own blog I have control of that one side.
I think it is good that these topics are being discussed again. The same debates have been swirling since blogging began, they swelled again when the indieweb movement began to take shape, and I think they are happening again as a result of M.b’s growing community. I do not believe there is one single answer to many them. You have to do what is right and sustainable for you.
For now, here are my personal rules for replying to posts. These will most definitely change over time.
As an aside: I know some of you do not want to leave a public comment. I love getting reader emails. I get a fair number of them. And some of them have been excellent conversations. So please don’t hesitate.
* I no longer have a Twitter or Facebook account. I do have a M.b account but I’m beginning to wonder if I need one as I have my own fully functional weblog. If I didn’t and I wanted a microblog and didn’t want to use Twitter, I could see having an account. If I wanted a more fully featured blog I still believe WordPress is the best tool for that. Also, I’m sure as the M.b community grows it could mean that my content would be discovered by more people. I think M.b may end up being a thriving, well run, community and service. It is why I backed Manton’s efforts via Kickstarter. But, if I have my own blog, and if I really don’t care much about my content being discovered, then I see little reason to syndicate to it. For the time being I’m still going to as I want to see how the service matures.
I have only one reservation about the development of this IndieWeb stuff. While it is in progress, most of these websites have disabled regular comments, if they ever had them. Often there is also no contact information given, or it takes a lot of hunting on their websites to find it. So if one doesn’t have webmentions working on one’s own website, there is no obvious way of communicating with these folks about things they post. I have found that if they’re also on the Microblog website, one can post a message there, addressed to them. But that seems pretty round about, when an old school place to post a comment on their original post would be very easy to leave.
Please go to his site and read his entire post.
I read Ron’s post before making my decision to turn comments back on. Also, my email address is available on every page of my site. So if anyone would like to comment on anything on my site they should be able to do so both publicly and privately with ease.
Side note: One of the reasons we all turned off comments, aside from the benefits of disabling comments like more traffic to your site (I wrote this post 10 years ago!), is that people claimed that moderating comments is too much work. I no longer think that is an issue. Even if my blog became a popular place to comment I think I’d be able to keep up with it with the tools we have available now.
If you visit my site at all you may have noticed many of the recent posts have replies showing up on them from Micro.blog. Here is one example post. That is because webmention works pretty well on Micro.blog.
However, this is causing me a bit of frustration because it feels as though the conversation about a post is happening on Micro.blog rather than on people’s own blogs. Even if those people have their own blogs they are using Micro.blog to reply*. It is an interesting thing to see. Effectively, Micro.blog is feeling a lot like Twitter – replies to my posts are on there so I have to go there to reply to those replies.
To that end I’ve decided I’ll start turning comments on some posts (like this one). I’d much prefer people reply to my blog posts on their own blog or – starting today – on my blog. Even though I like Micro.blog better than Twitter or Facebook doesn’t mean I want to have to navigate to that web site each time I want to reply to comments on my posts.
* I’m unsure if that is what the M.b team wants to happen. But that is what is happening right now. Also, M.b is supposed to be a host for blogs if people want it to be. But, again, even people with their own blogs are using M.b’s reply feature to reply to posts.