Watch TWiT’s 24 Hour New Year Live Show Now

Leo Laporte and the TWiT team are doing 24 hours of New Years celebrations with folks Skyping in from time zones around the globe today (started at 6 AM EST with New Zealand and going until Thursday morning at 6 AM with Jarvis Island in the Pacific).

It’s pretty amazing to watch a traditionally tech focused network branch out into music (a gospel band just played), live acts, magicians, etc along with interspersed tech talks.

Tune in throughout the day… it’s pretty amazing and competes with anything else you’ll see on TV:

TWiT New Years Live.

My First Podcast In a While and One of the Best I’ve Been On

I’m doing more podcasting over at Thinking.FM in 2015.

There, I wrote it so I have to do it.

ThinkingDaily will be going back strong as of January 1st. I hope you’ll listen.

As a part of that, I was asked by Elisabeth Kauffman and Merianna Neely Harrelson to join them on their awesome Thinking Out Loud podcast. They talk about reading, writing, books, and the business of publishing every week and it’s one of my favorite podcasts (and I listen to a lot of podcasts). This one was really fun and a fast paced listen. We talk about Kindles, the philosophy of reading, leisure time, and pros/cons of this very ancient practice. You should go listen.

I’m excited to be doing more of this next week 🙂

Facebook Bloggers as Blogger of the Year??

I’ve been a fan of Dave Winer’s for years, and I’ve always enjoyed his “Blogger of the Year” post because I would normally learn about a new blogger or be reinforced about a feed in my reader. Not only that, but it was an annual reminder that blogging is a worthy endeavor in itself despite how out-of-style it is to call yourself a “blogger” or your personal site a “blog” in 2014.

This year, I was sad to see the BOTY award go to Facebook bloggers…

So, in 2014, Facebook has picked up the ball for blogging. It’s definitely not what I imagined, and I’m not comfortable with where it might be going. But for now, in 2014, the bloggers this year, that made a difference to me, came to me through Facebook.

via Blogger of the Year (2014).

I’m not disappointed out of some sense of the original blogging holding up expression on Facebook as some sort of selling out or a slap in the face to the “indie web.” Dave certainly isn’t the first to espouse the benefits of blogging on Facebook as an enjoyable experience compared to what blogging has become on a web dominated by clickbait and Squarespace sites. For instance, my good friend Wayne Porter once had a great blog (and he helped hire me to run one that he started back almost 15 years ago). Now, he posts a number of great posts and thoughts and links on Facebook. I still get to see those and frequently respond there with others. But it feels different and I don’t know why. It doesn’t feel like Wayne’s old blog any more than Dave’s posts feel like his work on Scripting.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s neat to see Batman pop up in Metropolis to help out Superman in a random issue of a DC comic. However, it never feels like a Batman comic. Batman has his own space(s). That’s where I really get to see his successes and neuroses. I want that experience in the people that I’ve “subscribed” to in my feed readers and really value as sources of quality content and information. That can happen on Facebook, and it certainly does in the case of Wayne and Dave, but I miss the good ole days of personal blogs (and I still think we’ll go back to them in the near future) as the place to read blogging.

I could argue with myself that reading in a feed reader is somewhat akin to what Facebook provides (without the wider audience). I’m altering the experience of reading Dave’s site by subscribing to it in Fever or Feedly or FeedWrangler. I’m not going to the site and seeing the way he deliberately structures content, images, outlines, and information. I’m possibly missing out on comments from other readers. That’s all true. However, Facebook seems like a different blog reading experience to me because of their algorithm. I’m presented with what Facebook wants me to see based on my previous actions and those of others. That’s great for some, but I don’t want a curated algorithmic blog reading experience.

Heck, I even miss Robert Scoble’s blog (the King of Facebook evangelism in 2014, who I blame for all of this).

Years ago, Dave started talking about the notions of rivers in blog reading. From what I remember, I’ll paraphrase him as saying that RSS Readers like the now defunct and much missed Google Reader weren’t that great for blogging because they treated blog reading like an email inbox with unread counts etc. Blog reading became yet another thing to do (or hire an intern to do) for us back in the day. Rivers of information, however, should have flowed by us. We could dip in when we needed or wanted to, but there wouldn’t be the need to read every post. Twitter helped push this paradigm ahead (I still remember trying to read every tweet that I’d missed while sleeping back in 2006). To me, it feels like blogging and blog reading on Facebook distorts this notion of a river or stream of posts and info even more because posts that you see are derived by some magical algorithm in the sky that curates what you see based on math that we’ll never be privy to know.

I’m probably wrong here, and it really doesn’t matter. The world spins on, continues to go around our star, and our way of sharing thoughts and ideas will continue to change along with our still young species. But the idea of my Batmen and Supermen blogging on Facebook makes me sad. Being able to express that here on my blog makes me happy.

Now I just hope Wayne and Dave don’t unfriend me on Facebook, so that I can continue reading their posts there.

Another Digital Divide Coming

Niels Ole Finnemann, a professor and director of Netlab, DigHumLab in Denmark, said: “The citizens will divide between those who prefer convenience and those who prefer privacy.”

via The Future of Privacy | Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

I’ve long said that as the web continues to evolve, particularly as a social medium, we’ll see privacy and the idea of a federated web help shape a new digital divide.

On one side, there will be people who choose convenience and ease by utilizing networks akin to our current ones (ie Facebook). They’ll trade their privacy and data for connections for social connections in a walled garden with pretty flowers.

On the other side will be the federated web by those who are able (either technologically or financially or both) to have and sustain their own web presence that they own and control.

This isn’t a geek vs non-geek distinction as it has been since the web started or something like we have in 2014-2015 where people who care about things like federation or privacy are outsiders.

Now we just need to kill apps.

Brian Greene on the State of String Theory 2015

Much as the sonorous tones of a cello arise from the vibrations of the instrument’s strings, the collection of nature’s particles would arise from the vibrations of the tiny filaments described by string theory. The long list of disparate particles that had been revealed over a century of experiments would be recast as harmonious “notes” comprising nature’s score.

via Why String Theory Still Offers Hope We Can Unify Physics | Smithsonian.

Shortest Day of the Year

Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship Christmas Service

The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December Solstice.

The December Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted furthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun.


At 6:03 PM EST last night, our geographic location was the furthermost position away from the sun that it will be until next December. I was lucky enough to be singing Christmas carols with my wife, our girls, and members of our faith community at Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship.

Solstice has long been a sacred day for those of us in the northern hemisphere and marks the “extreme of winter” or Donghzi in Chinese. It happens to coincide with major times of festivals in modern and ancient religions on purpose, as we continue to come to grips with our humanity while wrestling with concepts of existence, death, and faith in times of darkness.

Here’s to the lengthening of days and the spreading of candelight to remind us of the angels of our better natures as our mother planet makes yet another orbit around her own parental star. We are a young and curious species, indeed.