This year the run up to Christmas seemed especially manic, so I seem to have accumulated an impressive list of open-tabs-to-blog-about-later, even by my standards. As usual, the original this-should-be-a-carefully-thought-out-blog-post moment has gone, but if they made it as far as a left-open tab they're definitely worth sharing...
Over on his journal (I think he's right that journal is a better term than blog but rather like the Internet of Things I think it's far too late to worry about names now), Jeremy Keith has written a great roundup and explanation of why I continue to pour most of my online contributions here, why I don't really use Facebook or Google+, and why you should care about this too.
It's the movements like Indie Web and Redecentralize that make me optimistic for a better future for the web. I'm aiming to add my weight to those movements by helping push for similar values in the Internet of Things.
[Jeremy also has an interesting new system for commenting, called Webmentions. His explanatory journal entry mentions that it's similar to Pingback, but it's been too long since I looked at the intricacies of that to understand why/how they differ. Maybe when he sees my webmention here he'll elaborate on it :-) (That's assuming his code can cope with two webmentions in one blog post, which I suspect it will, but might be new testing for it...*grin*)]
I'm trying to pick at something that's been on my mind quite a bit of late. I'm not completely sure why, possibly it's the season of peak commercialism that's upon us, or maybe it's the continued gulf between the direction that the Government is intent on taking us and the direction I'd rather we were headed (the line in Smith and Burrows' song "When the Thames Froze" God damn this Government, will they ever tell me where the money went? seems to capture it nicely).
Quinn Norton (who is writing some excellent stuff of late - well, possibly has always been writing excellent stuff, but I've only discovered her recently) has written a wonderful article, ostensibly about Bitcoin, but more about money and poverty and family and community. All of it rings true with my experiences.
Then I read this piece about empathy, and the concern that the decline of our concern for our fellow citizens is a cultural problem.
That also rings true, bound up in the perpetual financialisation of language (everything is discussed in terms of return on investment or value for money, as if that were the only possible scorecard for measurement); ever increasing bureaucracy in an attempt to reduce risk; and a lack of consequences for gross abuses of power by some corporations (take your pick from the aforementioned bankers, alleged fraud from G4S and Serco, general tax avoidance of multi-nationals...)
I'm sure we'll muddle through regardless, as ever (although, as ever, those who could easily make a difference will be getting on just fine...). I just continue to hope that together we might come up with a better idea.
The past couple of years have been quiet ones for new music, which is why you have to go back to 2010 to find the last time I had something to share on this day. I'd almost started to wonder if, despite my continued listening to new music on BBC 6Music, this was part of getting older.
However, this year has thrown up two choices. Rather different styles, but both tracks I've been much enjoying of late.
Pharrell Williams' Happy doesn't exactly match the mood of the day, but any other time is an upbeat and uplifting slice of pop. The companion 24hoursofhappy.com website is superb too, with a non-stop full day of different videos for it. The last link is one of my favourites of the versions starring Pharrell Williams himself, but this one is also pretty cool.
And more in keeping with my current state of mind, there's London Grammar's Strong...