Jekyll: ffordd o gynhyrchu gwefannau statig

Dw i wedi bod yn chwarae gyda Jekyll yn ddiweddar, system sy’n cynhyrchu gwefan statig.

Fel system rheoli cynnwys mae WordPress dal yn ffefryn i mi ond mae hi’n bwysig ceisio a phrofi ffyrdd eraill o weithio. Dwy fantais o greu gwefan statig trwy Jekyll ydy’r cyflymder ac y ffordd mae’n symleiddio gwarchodaeth achos does ‘na ddim o reidrwydd sgript sy’n rhedeg ar y gweinydd tra bod pobl yn ymweld â’ch gwefan.

Un peth a oedd yn fy nrysu ar y dechrau oedd y ffaith bod thema yn fforc o’r system craidd. Hynny yw, roedd rhaid i mi glonio’r system a thema yn eu cyfanrwydd yn hytrach na rhoi thema mewn cyfeiriadur/ffolder yn y hen ffordd WordPressaidd o fyw. Dw i’n cymryd bod angen rheoli fersiynau trwy Git er mwyn diweddaru’r system craidd wedyn. Tybed beth yw’r manteision o weithio fel hyn?

Oes gwefannau Cymraeg sydd wedi eu creu ar Jekyll, ac os oes unrhyw themâu Cymraeg ar gael? Does dim byd perthnasol i weld ar Github. Efallai dylwn i gyfieithu un syml er mwyn ehangu byd Jekyll ychydig. 🙂

Profi’r ategyn Storify ar WordPress

Dw i’n profi’r ategyn Storify newydd ar gyfer WordPress.

http://storify.com/carlmorris/stori-prawf-gelynau-cyhoeddus

Dylai’r pwrpas Storify bod yn eithaf amlwg o’r enghraifft yma – casglu darnau o gynnwys o gwmpas y we i greu stori. Mae Al Jazeera a chwmniau newyddion wedi bod yn ei defnyddio yn ddiweddar i gyhoeddi ond hefyd i wahodd straeon o’r gymuned/cynulleidfa.

Mae ffeil POT i’w gyfieithu ond mae brawddegau gweinyddwr yn unig fel ‘Insert Story’, does dim byd gweledol i’r ymwelwyr. Mae rhan fwyaf o’r brawddegau system uchod yn dod o’r gwasanaeth.

Dw i ddim yn siŵr eto faint mae’r ategyn yn ychwanegu i’r profiad achos mae’n bosib mewnosod y stori hen yr ategyn.

Gwefannau lleol, blodau yn tyfu ym mhob man

Tri dolen heddiw am wefannau lleol (dim trefn penodol):

1. Nodiadau gan Gareth Morlais o’r digwyddiad Talk About Local yng Nghaerdydd ar y blog Hacio’r Iaith – a thrafodaeth gan eraill. (Mae Gareth yn sgwennu BaeColwyn.com sef blog lleol ardderchog.)

Dwi’n meddwl bod trio canol rhywbeth mor ddatganoledig a Phapurau Bro mewn uber-safle yn bownd o fethu. Y gorau gellid ei wneud ydi trio cael rhywun i guradu aggregator o’r straeon gorau sydd yn y rhwydwaith (pe sefydlid rhwydwaith o gwbl).

2. Roedd y sylw uchod gan Rhodri ap Dyfrig. Mae fe’n adrodd meddyliau ar ôl Cymanfa Ddychmygu S4C Newydd.

Sut i ddechrau blog lleol

3. Fy nghyfraniad i’r sgwrs am lleol yng Nghymru: Sut i ddechrau blog lleol – canllaw i ddechreuwyr, tudalen newydd ar Hedyn

Dyw e ddim yn gyflawn eto ond os ti’n gofyn “Blogiau bach lleol di-ri? Neu uber-safle monolithig?”, dylai fy marn i fod yn glir.

Dyma pam gwnes i ddefnyddio’r enw Hedyn am y wefan wici pan gwnes i gofrestru’r enw dwy flynedd yn ôl. Nid achos o’n i’n meddwl am newyddion lleol yn enwedig ond o’n i’n meddwl: beth fydd llwyddiant ar y we Gymraeg yn gyffredinnol? Sydd yn gynnwys newyddion lleol.

Cliw arall: yr enw Pethau Bychain tu ôl ein digwyddiad llwyddiannus yn 2010. Rydyn ni’n gallu mwynhau o leiaf rhai o’r credit am yr enw. 🙂

Dyw sefydliadau Cymreig ddim yn hoffi’r athroniaeth o bethau bychain yma achos maen nhw yn licio platfformau MAWR, NEWYDD ac eisiau ordero canapés am y lansiad a bwydo’r buddsoddwyr, gwleidyddion a’r Western Mail.

Ond weithiau rydyn ni jyst angen y pethau BYCHAIN ar blatfformau sy’n bodoli EISOES – ond wrth gwrs gyda defnydd arloesol a chreadigol.

Ti’n gallu gweld y gwahaniaeth. Y “lansiad” fydd rhwydwaith cryf o bobol ar wahan – sy’n defnyddio’r we yn yr iaith Gymraeg am amcanion gwahanol nhw.

(Er enghraifft, dychmyga Casgliad y Werin heb y platfform. Efallai rhywbeth fel cyfres o weithdai Flickr a YouTube o gwmpas Cymru yn hytrach. Dyw e ddim yn swnio’n ddrwg o gwbl. Fyddan ni wedi arbed miloedd o bunnau o’r cyllideb meddalwedd (perchnogol) sy’n ailadrodd Flickr a YouTube. Rhy hwyr dw i’n gwybod. Cywira fi os fi’n rong.)

I fod yn onest dw i’n trio meddwl am rôl unrhyw uber-safle. Aggregator, mae rhai yn ddweud. Wel, pa fath? Mae Google Blog Search yn bodoli yn barod. Rhywbeth sy’n casglu’r straeon fel Umap am flogiau lleol – gyda map o Gymru falle? Wel, wyt ti rili eisiau mynd trwy newyddion lleol o ardaloedd gwahanol? Yr un cwestiwn yn geiriau gwahanol: pryd oedd y tro diwethaf wnest ti ddarllen papur bro o ardal gwahanol i fwydo diddordeb personol? Diffiniad newyddion lleol yw diddordeb lleol. Mae’n symud i newyddion genedlaethol os mae’n perthyn i bobol tu allan.

Dw i’n edmygu Glo Mân (papur bro ardal Dyffryn Aman) ond mae’r rhan fwyaf yn amherthnasol i fi yn Grangetown. Efallai yr unig aggregator posib fydd blog gan person o’r goreuon a doniol o gwmpas Cymru.

Mae Dave Winer, tad blogio ac RSS, yn cytuno:

Lately it’s dawning on people that the mass aggregators of local information aren’t achieving critical mass among the locals. Outside.in, a site that never made much sense to me, sold to AOL for $10 million. A lot less money than the VCs had invested in it.

Fy syniad gorau am yr uber-safle fydd copi o WordPress am newyddion lleol. Lawrlwytha’r cod a chynnig y peth fel darpariaeth i flogwyr lleol, e.e. ubersafle.com/llanrug ac ubersafle.com/eglwyswrw gyda blogiau ar wahan ar yr un enw parth Mae’n hollol iawn dan GPL. Ond PAM? Y peth pwysicaf fydd y hyfforddi a gweithdai – dal.

Mae gyda ni’r syniad o uber-safle trwm ac yn chwilio am reswm.

Dw i’n gallu meddwl am rôl enfawr o ran sefydliadau Cymraeg yma – yn gynnwys S4C. Sef: gweithdai, mynediad i offer, adnoddau fel lluniau a fideo (enghraifft: Eisteddfod Bae Colwyn 1947), adnoddau eraill, hyfforddi (sut i ddadfwndeli dy newyddion fel cofnodion a pheidio dibynnu ar ffeiliau PDF am bopeth!), grwpiau Flickr, blogiau bychain (fel Pethe), digwyddiadau agored fel Talk About Local a Hacio’r Iaith, tudalennau ar y we fel Sut i ddechrau blog lleol. Her yw, bydd pob un yn achosi llwyddiannau bach. Dim canapés!

Gyda llaw croeso i ti cyfrannu: Sut i ddechrau blog lleol – canllaw i ddechreuwyr

Y Twll: facelift a Facebook (cytundeb gyda’r ymerodraeth ddrwg)

Y Twll a Facebook

Dw i newydd ailddylunio’r wefan Y Twll gyda thema-plentyn bach. Y themam yw Twenty Ten. Mae’n wych os ti eisiau defnyddio fe am thema newydd. Wrth gwrs mae’r cyfieithiad ar gael hefyd. Dw i wedi enwi’r thema-plentyn Ugain Deg. Does dim pwynt rhannu e, jyst ychydig o CSS a phethau graffig. Gofyna os ti rili eisiau copi.

Ar y dechrau cyhoeddais i’r manylion technegol Y Twll i unrhyw un sy’n darllen.

Dw i ddim yn licio Facebook fel rhywle i bostio cynnwys Cymraeg. Ond dyma lle mae darllenwyr Cymraeg yn bodoli. Dyma pam mae’r twll yn y we yn bodoli. Dyma pam mae’r Twll yn bodoli. Felly dw i wedi ychwanegu botwm Hoffi i bob cofnod (gyda’r ategyn Like). Mae’n postio dwy ddolen syml i dy wal – paraddolen i’r cofnod a dolen i’r wefan. Ar ôl clic maen nhw yn ymweld y cofnod ar dy wefan dy hun. Dw i eisiau tynnu pobol i’r we agored.

Mae Ifan Morgan Jones yn gofyn faint sy’n darllen? Mae’n pwysig achos mae fe eisiau gwerthu llyfrau wrth gwrs. Yn fy marn i, weithiau dylen ni “hyrwyddo” ein blogiau mwy.

Quixotic Quisling yw fy anti-brand, does dim ots faint sy’n darllen. Mae’r pobol perthnasol yn darllen. Dw i’n defnyddio fe fel ebost agored weithiau. (Blogio gyda’r neges ac anfon dolen i rhywun.)

Mae’r Twll yn wahanol. Dw i eisiau dadnormaleiddio’r iaith gyda fe. Gan hynny, y cytuneb gyda’r ymerodraeth drwg.

Dw i wastad yn chwilio am gofnodion ond dw i’n eitha hapus gyda’r Twll nawr. Nawr dw i’n hapus i weld blog newydd o’r enw Uno Geiriau gan Rhodri D. Gadawa sylw plis.

Os wyt ti’n dechrau blog yn Gymraeg ti’n dechrau pump rili achos ti’n ysbrydoli pobol eraill. Gobeithio.

Meddalwedd rydd, WordPress 3.0, projectau cyffrous

Beth yw’r cyswllt?

  • Y band Datblygu
  • cylchgrawn Tu Chwith
  • Capel Y Ffynnon Bangor
  • Hacio’r Iaith
  • Metastwnsh
  • Y Twll…

Wnawn ni ychwanegu mwy o enghreifftiau i’r oriel WordPress yn fuan gobeithio. Dyna’r ateb. Heblaw Datblygu, dechreuodd dyluniadau yma yn 2009 neu 2010. Mae’r chwildro yn dechrau gyda WordPress, meddalwedd rydd a phobol sy’n bywiog!

Dw i wedi cael lot o hwyl gyda WordPress. Dw i dal ddim yn hyderus iawn gyda cyfieithadau llawn o feddalwedd yn anffodus. Dyma pam dw i’n gofyn am help gyda cy.wordpress.org yma. Diolch.

Ond dw i’n hyderus bod meddalwedd rydd yw dewisiad ardderchog am lot o rhesymau.

Dw i wedi sgwennu am papur newydd arlein yn yr Alban yn barod.

Ddylai’r llywodraeth rhannu eu côd? Efallai. Dylen nhw edrych at meddalwedd rydd am projectau? Yn bendant. (Os mae’r byddin Ffrengig yn deall manteision meddalwedd rydd, rydyn ni’n gallu.)

Gyda llaw, dw i newydd wedi ychwanegu cofnod am BBC Vocab hefyd. Côd ar gael i bawb. (Ond dan “trwydded BBC” yn lle rhywbeth arferol am rhyw rheswm?) Dw i wedi sgwennu digon nawr, siwr o fod ti’n gallu creu rhywbeth da. Pob bendith.

Hacio’r Iaith article for Planet Magazine

The arts and politics magazine Planet has just published my short article with thoughts about Hacio’r Iaith, on their website. In it I mention open events, social media, intellectual property, open source and WordPress. All views are mine – as if I could ever presume to speak on behalf of such a diverse community as Hacio’r Iaith!

Hacio’r Iaith – what it is, why it is and what happened (monster post!)

A group of us did a free, open event in Aberystwyth on 30th January 2010 called Hacio’r Iaith. It was fun. I learned things. It was based on the BarCamp format. You can use the format to have a conference on any subject and many people do. Some people call it an unconference.

The reasons we organised an offline event should be obvious. A chance to shake hands and consume body aroma content, the only remaining experiences not yet available online.

Around 40 people came. That number seemed about right for a one-day event, I didn’t even get a chance to talk to everyone properly.

One of the main aims was to get people together to talk about shared interests, so on that basis it was almost bound to be a success after the second or third person said they’d come along. When you know people will get talking there is no need for anxiety, even if the wifi access goes down (it was fine actually), the food doesn’t arrive (it did and was splendid – thanks chefs and sponsors!) or the firewall doesn’t allow FTP access (unfortunately it didn’t, but that was a mere glitch and chance to learn something).

Keywords will be in bold here because this is getting long…

The offline component of the event is finished. For a few reasons it’s a pity you can’t access big chunks of the event now. You really had to be there maaan. Saying all that, it’s still open to an extent because we purposefully made it a hybrid of offline and online. Several web-based backchannels existed before and during the meet-up: the event wiki, the group blog, Twitter messages, videos on YouTube and photos/images on Flickr.

These backchannels persist afterwards, which increases the value of doing the event for years to come. That goes for potentially everyone on the web (especially now that Google Translate can get you the gist of the Welsh in several other languages).

These are some of the benefits of the social web. These benefits are seldom discussed by the mainstream media, incidentally!

I want other people to see all this stuff if they search for related things. I know there are other people who attended who want it to have an influence. On that note, not every problem is a problem of information. (That’s the second Neil Postman link in this post. Consider that chin thoroughly stroked.) But some problems are related to information. For instance, taking abundant information and converting it into something useful is something we can step up. It’s something that could benefit Wales, where I live and most of the attendees live.

I’d like to see more BarCamps, unconferences and so on happening in Wales. Incidentally that’s part of the reason why I’ve chosen to write this in English, to give the non-Welsh speaking people in Wales some access to the proceedings. And other people around the world who might be interested.

As far as I know, Hacio’r Iaith on Saturday was the first BarCamp-style event to be conducted in Cymraeg, the Welsh language. The subject matter? Web and technology as it relates to the Welsh language. Those things – language and subject matter – don’t necessarily follow. Naturally people discuss their language in their own language. But a group could organise a BarCamp about any subject and do it in the Welsh language. Absolutely any subject.

For nearly everyone who attended it’s their number one language for everything they do daily and has been for as long as they remember.

I can only talk about the sessions I attended. Everything is from my perspective!

The first session was about tools for Welsh learners, including a website and series of online lessons called Say Something In Welsh build with phpBB, an iPhone application called Learn Welsh and some ideas for mobile app “flashcards” suggested by a tutor. We talked about the conflicting difficulties of making apps available to all mobile users, even if they are web-based apps running on mobile. I asked Aran from Say Something In Welsh a question about open content and search engines. The site is a private “walled garden” for a number of reasons related to maintaining a community of learners, but it’s free to register to join. (UPDATE: See Aran’s comment below for more about this.)

I then stayed for the Metastwnsh podcast recording and live web stream. Metastwnsh is a web and technology blog with several contributors. There was some discussion of gadgets and some jokes. My favourite part was a discussion of how the language choice of our online posts and conversations can differ from that of our offline choice. In particular, Twitter was cited as an example of a tool which first language Welsh speakers sometimes opt to use in English, for many reasons – some understandable. It was suggested that perhaps in some cases they file it under an “English language part of their brain”, alluding to the possibility that bilingual people associate some spaces or platforms with specific languages. So the effect of the platform is not necessarily “neutral”, or doesn’t remain that way. (I’ve been building a list of Welsh speakers on Twitter, including learners. Every person who is on the list can see the list and access all the other members of the list. It’s a way of strengthening the network and thereby, potentially, the impulse to post in the Welsh language should people wish to do so. Linguistic diversity leads to other forms of diversity and improves the internet as a whole in my opinion.)

I popped next door to catch the very end of a presentation about Llen Natur, a website about wildlife and nature. It has a dictionary of species, maps and photos.

Free lunch was not something I had insisted on, especially as it increases the admin for such events. But Rhodri ap Dyfrig was convinced it was possible and fixed up catering and covered it with money from some of the sponsors. For me it was a valuable part of the event, meeting some very talented people I’d only previously known online.

It was my turn next – purely because I’d volunteered to speak, as had everyone. So the title was “FyWordPressCyntaf.com – does dim angen profiad o flaen llaw” (which translates as MyFirstWordPress.com – no previous experience necessary). I wanted to talk about WordPress as a blogging and general site CMS, downloadable from wordpress.org with no coding necessary. It gave me the chance to talk about free software (unambiguously rendered as meddalwedd rydd in Welsh, free software as in freedom) with a bit about how localised code and themes are available for Welsh (but, as I also added, we can always do with more). Unlike the audience, Welsh isn’t my first language so I had a job explaining some of the concepts. I achieved my main objective though, which was to get a bare bones installation of WordPress running to show how quick and easy it can be.

In hindsight it was a little ambitious to shoehorn the mash-up/hack session into the event plan. On the day I ended up putting my talk in the hack session, which came just to mean practical session. Even WordCamp, which I attended last year, was spread over two days – allowing space for team building, pre-planning and the hack session on the second day. At Hacio’r Iaith, I think the initiative and creativity of the attendees to do the hacks could have been there, as well as the capability. But in a day already packed with presentations and to some an unfamiliar format, it became too much to expect. Next time some more practical stuff would be good. I do think a dedicated hack event could work.

We had a quick discussion about making online how-to videos and what subjects to cover. There is plenty of room for how-to videos in Welsh, especially showing non-geeks and normal people how to get the best use of software and the web. The ideas we generated are available to take.

Finally I went to a session on the game Civilization IV and its unofficial Welsh translation, using game mods. Welsh translation of open source games like OpenTTD also came up. I’m not a big gamer but it gave me some ideas…

Video by Sioned Edwards

haciaith.com – Enghraifft cyntaf o P2 yn Gymraeg

Wnes i ddefnyddio’r thema P2 dwywaith cynt:

  • Blog preifat “tu ôl i’r wal-tân” am blogio am brosiect mewn grŵp (well na ebost weithiau)
  • geekcluster.org (grŵp hacio, caledwedd ayyb, bob mis)

Nawr:

  • Mae Hacio’r Iaith yn digwydd penwythnos yma yn Aberystwyth. Dyn ni wedi cyfieithu’r thema yn arbennig. Dyn ni’n profi’r thema gyda 40 person ar haciaith.com am blogio byw. Gobeithio bydd y peth cyfan yn gweithio dros y penwythnos heb broblemau mawr. Awn ni weld…

Thema P2 am WordPress ar gael yn Gymraeg

Dw i’n caru’r thema P2 am WordPress. Mae’n wych am gymunedau bach, nodiadau datblygu, blogio byw, ayyb.

Dyn ni newydd wedi cyfieithu’r thema. Ti’n gallu lawrlwytho fersiwn Cymraeg yma:
cy.po
cy.mo

Diolch i Bryn Salisbury, Rhys Wynne a Rhodri ap Dyfrig am eich help gyda’r cyfieithiad. Diolch i WordPress ac Automattic hefyd.

Ti’n gallu defnyddio’r cyfieithiad gyda dy wefan dy hun. Darllena GPL.

YCHWANEGOL 02/02/10: Os ti’n chwilio am feddalwedd yn y Gymraeg (neu eisiau rhannu cyfieithiadau a stwff, dan drwydded meddalwedd rydd) efallai dylet ti ymweld a chyfrannu’r wici Hedyn. Diolch.

Where is my mind? (Books, blogs and networks)

One of my new year’s resolutions is to read more books.

Like old books, unfashionable novels and books which challenge my assumptions.

The benefits of books are clearer, now that we also consume digital text and hypertext. I’m not talking about how the smell of the paper is wonderful or anything like that. It’s about the relationship between the author and the reader. The author can write with the assurance that you’re on board. It’s possible for him or her to explore the diverse ideas that make up a theme, with a high degree of subtlety. These are the joys and rewards of commitment.

This renewed interest in books is going to require time from somewhere. I’ve always loved books but lately I’ve been distracted by the glow of the screen. So for me, this means reducing the amount of time I spend in my feed reader. This trade-off between book reading time and blog reading time is purely one which I have constructed for my own purposes. I try never to complain about not having time to pursue my interests. I make time for the things I value.

Blogs and books are totally different media, clearly. They are not in opposition. They can complement each other. Web log culture, relatively young, should be learning more from books. Not only the facts on the pages and not only the histories they present, but how to explore a theme.

I love blogging dearly. I love reading blogs and I am excited about the potential of blogging. I’ll continue to encourage others to blog about subjects they care about – in languages they care about. There are not enough blogs.

Part of the attraction of blogging, for me, is being able to put a page on the web quickly. But for the art of blogging to develop, that is only part of it. It has to be about the blog over time.

Let’s look at reading. When I show people a feed reader for the first time (almost invariably Google Reader), they often recoil in horror at the thought of another inbox – and who can blame them? Some of this stuff is time-limited and should just flow past, not accumulate (Dave Winer highlights the “inbox” shortcoming of Google Reader).

But my favourite blogs are the ones where I DO want to read everything.

I’m not looking at any proper research here, but I wonder if feed readers are declining. That’s a pity. Whether or not that’s true, they certainly need a boost. Good feed readers help the art of blogging.

If people aren’t using feed readers then it follows that they are peck-pecking haphazardly at links to individual posts received via Twitter, Facebook, email, search results and so on. I’ve done it. This is what people presumably mean when they refer to the “death of RSS”. As a technology, RSS is no more dead than HTML of course and to claim otherwise would be silly. But people seem happy to peck and let others throw the odd link to a snippet or giblet their way. Either that or they are “subscribing” to their favourite blogs by repeated visits in the web browser, rather than with feeds. Or, of course, they are not reading blogs at all.

Right now, in early 2010, as well as a devaluing of feed readers it feels as if other forces are converging to unbundle blogs. Rather than whole bundles, they are viewed as loose collections of individual posts. Attention spans and loyalty to specific blogs could be at an all-time low. This is akin to books losing their spines and pages fluttering away on a breeze. Gone is the continuity. Each post now has to fight for your attention. Granted, the edges of a blog are always more fluid than that of a book.

But following a particular blogger over a period of time is part of what makes the medium good (and fun).

The popular blogs exert an influence on expectations and practice. Some of the most popular and influential blogs are banner ad-supported. These blogs have an intrinsic problem of course – they need to pull the maximum number of eyeballs. This results in tabloidisation, Gawkerization or Techcrunching, if you will. How embarrassing. Most likely this does not align with our own interests for reading a blog, certainly not our long-term interests. Typically we need truth, insight, fairness and all the good stuff.

Instead, every single post has to hustle for attention. Crafted blog post titles become more important than they need to be, that’s one sign. In the text, you can sense the desparation to create a Digg firework which will shoot to the top. You know what I mean.

A common hustle is to present any given story as some kind of conflict or controversy. If you’re interested, read a recent Giles Bowkett post where he simultaneously mimics this and criticises it. The title of the post is Blogs are Godless Communist Bullshit – and the urge to click that title is strong, for reasons he explains.

This is not an exclusively online phenomenon, it’s also discernable in mainstream media. But it’s exaggerated and accelerated in its online form. How? Inbound links and SEO rapidly solidify the attention flows. This leads to more popularity. And Google search is merely a popularity filter. It filters what comes to your attention on the basis of popularity, along keyword lines. That’s very useful but not always in our long-term interests.

Everything that is wrong with the most popular blogs (and news sites, for that matter) can be traced back to this lust for eyeballs. Baseless gossip, sexism, lies, slander, unpleasantness, bullying, you name it. Bad science. Churnalism. Lazy writing and endless lists. The set-up creates the wrong motivations for these bloggers. They influence other bloggers with their woeful example. All but the strong are infested by mediocrity. Stay strong.

Blogs don’t tend to identify their own shortcomings. Techcrunch, for instance, won’t tell you that it does not deal with useful startup or business news that falls outside the venture capital system. “Everything on TechCrunch revolves around the venture capital system”, as another Giles Bowkett gem suggests.

More and better blogs will dissipate some of the influence of the crap. I think a good feed reader which doesn’t frighten normal people would help too. Maybe we could then cultivate our attention spans and intolerance of cheap firework tactics.

I wonder about the concept of a “blogosphere” and the limits to its explaining power. The blogosphere is a subset of the web. In a sense, the web is a network of pages and people. In another sense it is a network of ideas.

Networks have become very interesting in the last few years.

Networks of people make up societies.

Networks of machines make up the world wide web.

Networks of neurons make up brains.

It’s fun to get reductionist and attempt to draw parallels here. For example, Kevin Kelly is fond of saying that the internet is ONE HUGE MIND. It’s a web of machines and people. So we’re just nodes in the network. His enthusiasm is scary and funny. He also has a notion that human beings are the sex organs of technology. At a restaurant he might be the one to inform you that the beef tongue on your plate is getting ready to taste you in revenge. Like me, he’s a theist and a Christian so I obviously find that side interesting.

The blogosphere that I am conscious of is what I read and what’s in my feed reader, a subset of the whole blogosphere. Maybe we are dealing with a number of smaller, only sometimes overlapping blogospheres. How small and how overlapping? The flows of influence are hard to measure. You can look directly at outbound links but it’s harder to see contextual density. Which bloggers watch the same television programmes and which ones read each other?

My own blog is influenced by patterns in things I read, including hundreds of blogs I’ve read that you can’t see. They reinforce pathways in my brain.

By the way, this is why a regular subscription to a daily newspaper can be destructive, when people choose poorly. OK, I’ll name one: the Daily Mail. It tends to appeal to people’s innate selfishness, the same selfishness which is in all of us. Daily Mail writers know their market very well and taken regularly and uncritically the paper can amplify this selfishness. I think it will handle the unbundling of news very deftly too, the online headlines are some of the most sensational around.

Bringing this full circle, the best opponents to these negative media are healthy networks. See above.

So I’ll carry on blogging and attempting to grow the good network by telling people how fantastic WordPress is. But I’m also taking control of my own mental sphere and stirring some books into it, sometimes deliberately choosing things outside my immediate interests. Some excellent books throughout history have never been mentioned or discussed in a single blog post yet. I’ll link to them and dig them where I can.