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Anonymous

April has been a productive month for me. I started the month with a big challenge. 5 Sundays = 5 New Ideas. Four weeks into the ship and challenge and four new things that have gotten released into the wild. This week is going to be a marketing week. I am going to try some tactics to see if I can validate any of the concepts that I put forth this month. But, I wanted to do a little catch all of some of the things that I learned about myself. If there were lists and tasks made. I was successful each week. Also, having a friend know what I was trying to do and I would share the project with him. The social aspect was an as big influence at certain times. I need to find ways to keep this in my process. Writing seems to be my gateway into everything it seems. I shouldn’t run away from that fact and I should find a way to embrace that and double down. Recording my own voice was super exciting and scary. Maybe there is more to do here. I wonder if there is an experiment I could run around this. Getting more comfortable with the process and trying different things in that world. The challenge was really successful on a few ends. It was good to be able to analyze what works for me and how I work the best. It was also a lot of fun and I might do something like this in the future again.

 
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from In the open

We're replacing the JSON export option for posts, which currently requires a Pro subscription, with a zip file export option available to everyone. You can export your posts now as a registered user.

There are a few reasons: based on our analytics, the JSON option is rarely used, especially when compared to CSV exporting. But most of all, a collection of plain text files is universally helpful, and furthers our goal of data freedom. And while Pro users can still export all of their data as JSON, all users can always access their data through our API. But let us know if you'd like the JSON option for posts back.

 
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from Matt

Today, people like me write commands into documents that gets put through a program that translates them into things that the little electronic sprinkles in your computer can understand and use to make it light up and do things.

Computers, which is what I guess people born in the 20th century used to call our expensive Lite Brites, and a term I'll now use to include iPhones and TVs and internet-connected ovens, do what humans tell them. When people like me write software, we have to decide what to tell the computers; Should the screen turn red, or green, when someone presses a button? Today the whole tell them what to do process is so complex you might need hundreds of people just to figure it all out. It's like making a movie, really. And all throughout the process, people you don't know in some office somewhere are making little decisions that come together to make what you see on Facebook and Snapchat and that little screen on your Keurig machine.

I find it interesting to think of software as a person — a robotic third party watching over and facilitating your interactions with other humans. Facebook's news feed and Google's search results are each like doting parents, never wanting you to leave home and always telling you what's best for you. Snapchat is the crazy, artsy friend who you can never quite decipher, except that it loves parroting tabloid headlines. More literally, each piece of software / “app” treats you a certain way.

Thinking about things this way helps us understand our relationship with software. Which “friends” do we spend our time with? Do they treat us like they're our only friend we'll ever have and we will be missing out on so much if we left them (Facebook)? That we'll never get a job without their help (LinkedIn)? Do they tell us what they're thinking inside (open source), or do they purposely obscure and stay tight-lipped about their intentions?

This also applies to the humans making the software, and this is what sparked this thought today. I thought about how I could add a warning on Write.as that prevented people from accidentally moving posts between blogs, to help protect people from potentially revealing their alter egos. For example, if I have a pseudonymous blog called Jimmy's Life and accidentally move this post there (and leave it there), you'd know I was “Jimmy.”

So I wondered, do I as the user want a “friend” that constantly has to warn me to not do that? Do I want to have to rely on “someone” to keep things straight for me? Do I want someone telling me “what's best”? Or do I want the freedom to use my brain and move things around exactly how I see fit?

The software-writer can literally choose either and rationalize it any way they want. And for this I decided no, it's not a good feature. If Write.as is anyone's “friend,” it should default to trust, and afford users the space to do what they want. That's why it doesn't guilt-trip you for unsubscribing, for example, and makes it easy to export your data. Like any human relationship that comes to an end, all we can hope is that we both grew in some way from having met.

As we anthropomorphize computers more with voice-recognizing assistants and chat bots, the disbelief in us actually interacting with humans every time we touch a screen or click a mouse will fade. We as users should push for software-friends with wisdom and empathy. And we as developers should encode some wisdom with every command we commit to silicon.

 
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Anonymous

I AM STRUGGLING... I am in my mid 20's and although whoever reads this will find it hard because I’m dyslectic I hope you continue to. Here is a brief background into myself for the most part everything is normal I went to primary school, high school, college, and university then went on to get a job in the worst place on earth.......................................................................... I work in customer service, which as everyone knows is dreadful I love people but when it comes to people doing easy normal everyday tasks they fail miserably. I type the way I speak so I wont apologies as I don't really tend to breath when I speak so I can get the whole point out in one so it doesn't elude me that being said if your one for challenges read on would think it will only get harder. I am however here to talk about people, people are amazing in the things they do and how some are more barbaric then others in the way they may act or think we are all made of the same matter I was looking out of a bus window and saw a man shouting now he was shouting a load of rubbish half of which I couldn't understand however that’s not the point I have walked the same street as him a million times and would never think to shout like a mad man. Then it reminded me of how you would act as a child to a teacher you didn't like you would push your bounders until someone told you that you had to stop and couldn't carry on. Then I think of great men in history and how all of them have had the same approach to anything and everything they have done. So I suppose to correct the title of this little moment of thinking to. I’m struggling to find my boundaries…

 
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from kittyfireball

Tom was #2. After​ the debacle of losing my virginity whilst trying to maintain my catfishery (and failing miserably), I put up a new profile with my real photos and was happily surprised at the response. I was even more delighted later when I opened the door to my hotel room to find 6'2” of gorgeous hunk standing in my doorway. I love it when a hookup turns out to be cuter than his pics. It's like a little, unexpected gift. Sometimes I intentionally send unflattering​ pics of myself to potential hook ups so I can give a little, unexpected gift,too. Tom was an easy going but take-charge kinda guy. Lickety split and I was blowing him like a champ. After all the years fantasizing and speculating about what I'd do with a hard cock in my mouth, I was going to make the most of this opportunity. Apparently, I was a natural. Tom was blown away by my oral skills and never knew that his was only the second penis to visit my mouth. At one point he had me lie on my back on the bed with my head hanging over the edge. He fed me his cock slowly and I found I could take him much deeper this way. I'd stipulated that condoms were a must. He rubbered up, positioned me doggy style at the edge of the bed, and standing behind me, slid his hard cock into me. After a while he pulled out of my cunt, placed his cock at my anus and asked, “can I fuck your ass?” I answered yes. I've had an anal fetish for as long as I can remember. Before I ever tried to penetrate my vagina, I would experimentally slide a finger into my asshole in the bath or shower. I thought that was The Hole. It felt good to me and by the time I figured out that the other hole was the primary one, I'd discovered the joys of the backdoor. I had played with enough toys to know that the initial entry was going to be the hardest part. I also knew to relax and unclench. Tom gave me a moment to acclimate to the new invasion then gave me the assfucking I'd been waiting for all my life. I'm thankful that my first anal sex experience was a good one because I would learn in future that it doesn't take much of an inept or selfish jerk to make a person reluctant to unclench ever again. Tom took a shower as I lay on the bed purring like a kitten. As he got dressed, he waxed poetic about my blow job and asked if he could see me again. I told him I was only going to be in town a few more days but sure, hit me up. I think I ended up booty-calling him a couple days later and he rushed right over. However, having come straight from work, he had no condom. Nor did I since I hadn't expected to be sexually active. I offered to suck him off (I'd already told him the ass was off the menu as I was still a bit sore). What followed was a scenario that would repeat many, many times with many, many men. He begged, pleaded, and cajoled....and I caved. I did ask him not to cum in me since I wasn't on birth control and he agreed. I gave him a nice long blow job and he fucked me sans condom, pulling out as promised, and cumming on my tits.
I'm grateful for Tom. He was gorgeous, well-mannered (good manners go a long way, boys), and a great fuck. He still remains in my Top 5 Hookups of all time. However, hookup #4 would be even better....

 
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from In the open

Since launching blogs last year, we've heard from several people that they'd like to be able to have static or persistent pages on their blog, for creating things like an About or Contact page.

As you can see on our roadmap, we're working on this feature now. In our normal style, it'll be a tiny addition that works by letting you “pin” individual posts to your blog, adding a link to the top of its home page, without any extra work from you. Any pinned post's title will become the link text, and for now, they'll be added in the order you pin them in. Later, we plan to make it easier for you to rearrange them.

Pro users will see this new feature as soon as we launch it within the next week.

 
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Anonymous

For people who go to school... do u feel like all you do there is work on a project and when you are done with that work on another project well that's how I currently feel. Sure you can meet new friends and see your current friends, those days I consider the good days and the days when two teachers both give you project at the same time and you have to work on them after school for hours that's what I consider the bad days.

 
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from Fuzz and Horns

Cloistered in the corner of a dingy pub, chugging back a cheap pint and letting the night drift by with a few friends. This is where The Riven belongs.

theriven

This is by no means an insult, rather, a summary of their bluesy soulful hard rock sound, seemingly emerging from a streaming time machine originating from the 70s.

Blackbird is the London quartet's debut EP and one that sets the stage for an exciting new presence in retro metal. Those soaring vocals from Charlotta Ekebergh rattle triumphantly through the five songs, bringing to mind another 2017 newcomer Sarabeth Linden from Tower.

The rest of the band ain't half bad either. Arnau Diaz pulls off some masterful blues licks and wailing solos with the best of them, Olof Axegard thumps the tubs with aplomb and Max Ternebring brings the bass. For a young band, they are oozing with promise. Bring on the main course (along with a cheap beer).

Bandcamp: (https://theriven.bandcamp.com/releases)

 
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from The Loom

heather

Bleak beauty, an alien landscape where grey clouds roll above and pinks shift underfoot.

The moors tell you a thousand stories if you're willing to listen. They are distant, even uncaring. I always have an uncomfortable feeling when standing among the heathers, as if somehow I'm not supposed to be there. There is no sound. There is nothing for miles.

Yet I love the heather on the moors. Even if they don't love me.

 
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from Is Anyone Listening?

One.

There's something about your soul that calls out to mine. Your energy is intoxicating. Your voice puts me in a trance. That smile makes me high. This is it. I've found my one.

-ℒ❤

 
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from Matt

Privacy means many things. It's not so much a constant state as a fluid, moving process. It grows and shrinks depending on environment, people around you, and how you wrangle it. But ultimately, privacy is about power.

Privacy, on a personal level, means the power to choose what you reveal about yourself. When you post a photo of the food you ate for dinner on Instagram, you reveal a small piece of what your whole night might've entailed: the friends you saw, the conversations you had, the thoughts you were thinking. The information you don't reveal is information you get to retain for yourself, in a place no one can touch. By keeping the full story to yourself, others can't later laugh at any mistakes or criticize any thoughts you don't want them to. Instead of someone, for example, laughing at you for dropping pasta sauce on your shirt, you can keep the power in your hands by not revealing that moment.

Your environment also plays a role. In the physical world, we can get privacy fairly easily: we can leave a room full of coworkers to answer a phone call, we can close the bathroom door to pee, we can stay in our house to get away from the pedestrians and traffic outside. In the physical world, we can easily separate ourselves from the people we don't want invading our privacy by generally moving our legs in the right direction.

The internet, on the other hand, doesn't have this intuitive ease. I remember as a kid “wandering” the internet, talking to strangers on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) chat rooms, diving into any weird site I found, and doing whatever the equivalent of “Googling” was in the late 90's. Though I hadn't seen many cities, in retrospect it was like I was wandering some big city as another anonymous inhabitant out of millions. No one was following me around; I felt free to explore.

Today, with some light reading of current events, it's easy to feel restricted — the NSA is on Google, or Facebook is mining your data, or ads are tracking you all over the place, like some creepy guy that keeps following you as you wander the web's streets. It feels like living in a city where they've installed cameras on every street, corner, alleyway, store, church, and house. Where are the private spaces anymore? Where are the bathrooms where you can pee in peace? Your power, and ultimately autonomy, is weakened when anyone seeks to invade your privacy.

The solution for the web isn't quite like “walk away” in the physical world, but takes many forms. For one, after sharing a few Facebook posts we start to learn how to share certain things and not others — that control of what you reveal that I mentioned before. But there's another low-tech way to preserve your privacy online that was obvious when I started using the internet, but has since faded with the rise of “real name” social networks and “building your online brand” (or whatever current advice is). You create a fake name, i.e. a pseudonym.

Pseudonyms give you power in a new way. Instead of using software to keep your posts, messages, and photos “public” or “private,” everything is public, or rather, who cares if it's public. It doesn't matter because when done right, your posts or messages are missing information that ties that data to your real identity. When you pick a pseudonym, like monwetuf (generated from a calendar I was just looking at), Googling for that pseudonym doesn't bring up public records, your résumé, or your Facebook profile. You choose which environments to use it in and how to separate your online activity. Maybe my friends from school call me monwetuf, so I use that name on social media profiles. Maybe my ham radio friends know me by yadatu so I host my hobbyist site at yadatu.com. You're not dependent on a platform's benevolence and it having good privacy controls when you can control the power yourself.

Many of us have been living parts of our lives on the web for a while. It's the world's best communication platform that, for better or worse, doesn't work exactly like meatspace. But we can adapt. We can build services around pseudonyms—like reddit, Hacker News, and Write.as—and even wrangle back our power from the large indoor malls that are Facebook and Twitter, all with very analog tactics. Privacy is not dead, dying, or even wounded. Its waters are only flowing differently, and it's up to us to adjust to the current.

 
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from The Loom

night

There's a point in the dead of night, when all the world seems to slumber, that time stands still. I'm a heavy sleeper, but very occasionally I find myself out of bed in the small hours, watching a mug of simmering milk revolve in the microwave. I look out of the window on the night world and see stillness.

The small hours are a point of liminality. I sip my hot milk, sweetened with a dash of sugar, and wonder what everyone is dreaming. All around me quiet realities are being created – private pocket worlds that I'll never see. It's a time when I feel like I'm the only person in the world who's awake.

Eventually sleep finds me and I forge my own quiet world until dawn warms the dead to life.

 
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from The Loom

garden

Despite being a city mouse, my bones are of moss and bark.

Gardens are pocket worlds – self-contained biomes where colours hatch from the soil and insects dance. There is no garden I love more that one that is secret. White stone statues etched by acid rain and hedge mazes beckoning me to enter. Little fairy doors placed neatly against the base of an oak and a placid pond where the frogs sing in baritone.

Then there's the rose garden. A bed of pinks, reds, and violets – thousands of delicate petals. Bees float back and forth caked in pollen.

Strange spouts shaped like old men whose faces are covered in vines. Old men whose unspoken wisdom tells all secrets of the garden.

I rest my moss bones on a garden bench and eat my lunch.

 
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from The Loom

In rust is beauty. I've thought this for as long as I can remember. Bleak grey concrete topped with the corpses of metallic things – chip paint peeling to expose that brown orange flesh.

Rust

Urban decay. Tough to search for in Google because of that make-up brand, but that's what it is. I don't know what it is about the rotting urban environment that appeals to me so much. Those photographs of long abandoned theme parks are endlessly fascinating. Faded automatons that would sing to crowds have become fractured phantoms – lonely sentinels whose purpose has since been forgotten.

There's harmony in melancholy. There's beauty in rust.

 
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