Aug. 18th, 2016 07:53 pm
liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
So Imzy is the new cool social network, apparently. It's in closed beta and you need an invite from an existing user to create an account. [personal profile] melannen kindly offered one, and I'm happy to pay it forward by inviting the first five people to comment.

impressions )
ETA: I created a community for DW peeps. Which magically increased my number of invitations from five to 200, so if anyone is possibly interested in an invite, you can request at the community link. And if anyone's already there, feel free to join it or not.

The return

May. 29th, 2015 12:09 pm
liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
After 6 years of using LJ just to keep up with my friends who are still there, I'm somewhat favourably disposed to the site again. I mean, I'm still annoyed that they silently took the Open Source code private; I'm fine with them making a profit from 15 years of work, much of it by volunteers, but I am less happy with them ceasing to give back to the community that made the site what it is. And they still have adverts, but they seem to have moved away from a business model based on forcing ever-more intrusive adverts on users, and towards a model of paying for premium services.

Regarding Dreamwidth itself, well. I think after 6 years we can agree that it's stable and functional and not just some passing fad. I perceive it as way more active than LJ, and better for meeting interesting strangers. There are many respects in which it's just technically better, better UI and better accessibility and search that actually works. And I basically hate the current look-and-feel of LJ, both the desktop and mobile versions look awful to me. Also I still love DW's business model of a sustainable site completely independent of advertising or venture capital or payment processors who want to censor legal content, and I love its commitment not just to Open Source principles but to welcoming and training newbies and providing a non-awful environment for contributors. But DW is very clearly being maintained rather than developed (and yes, [staff profile] denise keeps promising that we're just paying down technical debt and there will be features released any day now, but I've been hearing that for too many years to really believe it any more), so it's getting to the point where LJ is ahead on features and just generally feels more modern.

So I sounded out how my LJ readers feel about my starting up cross-posting again, and that was enough to sway me towards returning. Not so much the numbers who voted in my poll, but the fact that several people I thought had drifted away from LJ years ago turned out to be still there, silently reading. And unlike in 2009 nobody seems to be worried about the security implications of DW knowing my LJ password (sensible ways of doing distributed authentication being yet another feature that DW has been promising for years and is probably never going to actually deliver). I do think the thing of split discussions is annoying, but it's also annoying for people who wouldn't otherwise use DW to have to follow me over here, so I hope it balances out.

Since I'm actively posting again, I've been trying to tidy up my filters. I had forgotten just how bad the interface was for friends list management; DW's isn't great but it doesn't do things like divide the list into pages and lose changes when you move further down the alphabet without saving, yet jump you back to the beginning of the list rather than where you were up to when you do press Save, ugh ugh ugh. Anyway, I hope I haven't accidentally unfriended and refriended people several times because of the interface horribleness. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to make cross-posting locked entries work, in fact; I think maybe I have to create two filters with the same names on both sites or something. And boy do I miss DW's WTF innovation of splitting subscribing off from giving access to private stuff! I'll figure it out somehow; I rarely make locked posts anyway, so it's not a big roadblock.

I feel like... coming back to a house that had been shut up for 6 years. It's infuriating because nothing is quite where I expect it to be, and I've got used to living somewhere far more modern and convenient, and the neighbourhood has changed and not entirely for the better. But it's also incredibly nostalgic, this place was home and deeply important to me from 2003 to 2009. So, hi. It's a bit dusty and disorganized round here, but please do make yourselves at home. In spite of my ambivalence it's good to be back.


Mar. 18th, 2015 09:21 am
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
Stark, you are no longer welcome to comment here. You were never really welcome, because you almost always make the conversation worse rather than better, but doing anything about you was a hassle so I didn't bother. But really I should have done this ages ago.

moderation )
ETA: I know this isn't a good general principle for surviving in the internet jungle, but for this particular post, please don't feed the troll! I'm not surprised by Stark showing up to justify himself in a post that's about him, but the whole point is that he's not welcome to comment here, so I'd really appreciate it if people don't get into discussions with him. I'd also appreciate if we could keep speculation about his motivations, character etc to a minimum; he may be annoying but he's still a person and I don't want this to turn into a pile-on of everybody dissecting his flaws in a space where I've just said he can't reply. Ta!
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] wildeabandon asked: What are three non-dreamwidth blogs that you'd recommend?. The answer I gave [personal profile] zhelana when she asked me a similar question last year mostly still holds, though Pervocracy hasn't updated for yonks.

Lately I'm reading more blogs about various aspects of psychology and relationships. So one I'd recommend is Book of Jubilation. Coburn is one of the really amazing and insightful commenters on Captain Awkward, so when I found she had a blog where she explains things in long form, I was very keen indeed to follow it!

I also really like Rewriting the rules; Barker is just amazingly thoughtful about gender and sexuality and relationships, and I don't agree with them all the time but I really appreciate their measured, scholarly approach, their willingness to learn and change their ideas, while at the same time they just doggedly and gently push back about bad media stereotypes.

Along completely different lines, I thoroughly recommend harm·less drudg·ery. Stamper is an (American) lexicographer, and sometimes hilarious but more often just a bit bittersweet, and really passionately committed to communicating how dictionaries really work and how that's different from how internet rhetoricians try to treat them. She updates far more rarely than I'd like, but I'm always excited to see a new post from her. And her latest post on racial slurs in the dictionary is a stonker, though as is probably fairly obvious from context contains a number of examples of, well, racial slurs and discussion of the racist context in which such slurs exist.

Anyway, this is a short post, so let me take the time to say, I'm really really enjoying that so many people are doing some form of the December posting meme. I know it'll probably tail off as we run into obstacles; I'd be surprised myself if I actually manage to post every day this month. But the past few days of a high proportion of my reading list posting every day has been an amazing experience. The commitment to posting every day is really great because it encourages people (very much including me!) to post short, casual things rather than waiting until we have a polished Proper Blog Post.

I'm also really appreciating the ways people have come up with variations on the original daily meme, so that they're posting more often than they otherwise would, but at a level that's manageable. The filling prompts thing is really fascinating, too, because people are talking about stuff they wouldn't necessarily blog about in regular months. Another element I really like is the way some people have a stock question they've asked of several different friends, so different approaches to the question are coming up and it's all interesting and layered. It's true that having the general activity levels here (and on LJ) so much higher than usual can mean it doesn't feel like there's enough time to comment. I am trying to say something about all your really interesting DD posts, though!

If you are still seeking prompts, either if you didn't fill the whole month and want some additional ones, or if I didn't manage to get to your original prompt post and suggest something, please drop a link in the comments and I'll do another round of asking questions.

[December Days masterpost]
liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
I really enjoyed the experiment of filling your prompts every day in January. Thank you all for coming up with such a good set of questions and topics.

looking back )
liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
I haven't seen any signs of people doing the [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw thing this year. If we were doing it, I think it would start today, cos it's usually the end of April and beginning of May, around the anniversary of open beta. So let's say hypothetically 22nd April – 12th May.

It's no longer really the case that DW is limited because people here aren't actively enough posting content; people who want to be here are here, other people aren't, and lots of people have drifted away from this type of journalling / community-based long-form blogging altogether and probably there's nothing DW can do to get them back. There are still basically no active communities here other than RP communities, but personal journals seem to be pretty solid, I have plenty to read, I'm meeting new interesting people and most of my posts get lively comment discussions.

This time last year, I posted about community building. Although I didn't do a formal Three Weeks thing, because I was a month from my wedding at that point, I have for the whole of the year tried to follow [ profile] siderea's advice and make more frequent "pointer" posts with links to other content. I haven't managed three link posts a week, nothing like, but I have definitely noticed that pointer posts do encourage discussion, and they do encourage me to post fairly regularly even when I feel like I don't have time to make a full, polished post. I was remarking to a friend recently that I love the curate / propagate internet less than I loved the original content internet that dominated a few years ago, but if that's the milieu we're living in, it certainly does seem sensible to participate in curating and propagating to the best of my ability.

Anyway, I don't want to commit to post every day during the Three Weeks, especially not if I'm the only person who has noticed the season, that really wouldn't make for much of a meme! But I would like to increase my posting rate a bit if I can, because I think that's good in general, and the season is just an excuse. In order to achieve this, I need to resolve to be less perfectionist, so I want to make some off-the-cuff posts, not waiting until I have a honed argument with lots of detailed citations (and ending up never posting half the things that come into my head).

What I'd most appreciate would be some suggestions of topics. Please comment with titles, questions, prompts, or just general topic areas about which you'd like a few paragraphs of my random opinions. And feel free to join in with any degree of challenge to post a bit more during the coming three weeks, you're very welcome to borrow my idea or not if some other motivation for posting more suits you better.
Post queue
  1. The Books of Maccabees
  2. Why has everyone gone to Facebook?
    2a... or Tumblr
  3. My research and supervising a PhD student
  4. Anglo-Jewry, politics, the Board of Deputies
  5. Baking experiments
liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
Of the 1500 posts I've made over the past 10 years, I had no inkling that yesterday's rant about the PhD system would be the one to get passed round all over the internet. Welcome, regular readers and people who came here via links. Especially the Hacker News crowd; I imagine you're probably the reason why this is suddenly my most popular post ever.

Thank you for responding so constructively, whether or not you agree with my rather bleak slant on things. I think there are things seriously wrong with academia and particularly the PhD system, but my emotions about it are not always as negative as they have been this week. I don't promise I'm going to be able to answer every one of the hundred plus comments I've received, but every one contributes something to the discussion.

I am completely frozen up at the prospect of trying to come up with something interesting enough to make a follow-up post while the wider internet is paying attention. So I think I'll just carry on with the random mix of trivial and more thoughtful things I post here. Feel free to check out some of my tags – the thinky stuff is usually under essay and discussion.
ETA: wow, it's ridiculously difficult in 2013 to find a list of sites that link to a particular post. At least 300 Tweets, though.
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
I've been mostly or completely offline for most of the last two weeks, having a really lovely holiday. In the last few days I've learned that Prince Harry took his clothes off and Neil Armstrong died. So please tell me, what is the most important thing that's happened a) in world affairs and b) in your personal life since the middle of August?

I'll try to skim DW (skip=250) over the next week or so – I read fast and I love you peeps. But I'm seriously bankrupt on LJ, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, so I'm particularly hoping for pointers / catch-up if you're in the habit of putting important stuff there!

My life from now to Christmas: PhD student starts Monday, I'm doing all the High Holy Day services essentially solo, term starts end of September with the 7-week block when I'm responsible for the curriculum for the second years, followed by the 5-week block when I'm organizing loads of stuff around disability teaching. Plus kitten-herding over a hundred assorted clinicians who are supposed to be mentoring my students. During all this the medical school is seriously short-staffed and at some point I have to (belatedly) write and submit my 10K word dissertation on education as well as making a case for moving from probation to a permanent job. So life gets interesting; I'll try not to fall off the planet too much!
liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
I'm not going to participate in [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw this year, because the fest coincides with the three weeks leading up to my wedding... However, I did want to link to this post of [ profile] siderea's from a few months back, about patterns of posting to build community.

thoughts )

Adapting this for the Three Week fest, and rounding up because after all the point of the fest is to encourage people to post more, I propose the following challenge for anyone who'd like to give it a try. Between now and 15th May, can you post:
  • Three diary entries or questions to your readers (I reckon polls and surveys count in this category)
  • Ten pointers to other content worth reading / listening to / watching (doesn't have to be on DW)
  • One long form post about something other than yourself and your daily life
[The dates of the three weeks are a bit messed up because the anniversary of the site launch kind of snuck up on everybody when we weren't quite ready for it, so we're going by the 2011 dates, and I'm afraid that a third of the three weeks have already gone. In the circumstances I reckon it counts if you make your quota by 20th May.] I know some people are already doing much harder challenges, like posting 100 things, or posting every day for three weeks. But I think it's good to have some easier challenges as well, to allow more people to participate. And this one I think might be sustainable after the fest is over.

What I don't know is how (if at all) this recipe applies to journals that are primarily fannish. Any thoughts on that? Also I definitely don't have the talent to make banners for people who complete the challenge; anyone want to take that on?
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
It's probably cheating to make meta-posts like this, but hey, it will help me to remember the backlog of things I want to post instead of just sitting here in front of a blank screen not being able to call to mind what was on my list! Behind the cut are some ideas for stuff I might talk about in the next three weeks. You're very welcome to express preferences or suggest things you'd like to hear about that I haven't thought of. I'll happily write a tailormade opinion on just about anything, I always enjoy that kind of thing.

topics )

Anything else I've forgotten? Any requests?

Anyway, to save this post from being all meta and no content, you should all go and play with this contact survey. It's a proper science experiment (I know one of the scientists involved), but it also gives you a cute little gizmo to post to Facebook or DW with a pretty network diagram, and a which X are you most like badge. Yesterday I was at a scientific meeting and met an awful lot of people, so it told me that my most similar celebrity was Nick Clegg. Fun, and also useful :-)
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
Wow, doing the friending meme is proving an amazing experience! Nearly 1200 comments at the last count, and I know I can't take personal credit for that, but I'm still incredibly excited about all these cool people starting conversations right here in my journal.

I'm way behind in reading through the comments, looking for people to add, and leaving notes to say that I've done so, but I've already discovered some really fascinating people and journals. And lots and lots of people have subscribed to read my own blatherings. (I don't know how many because I'm so overwhelmed I haven't even had time to count the subscribers!) A very warm welcome to all of you. By the way, I won't at all feel offended if after a few weeks you decide I'm not really your cup of tea after all; it's always open season on subscribing or unsubscribing here.

more thoughts about the influx )

Also I'm having so much fun looking at my Google stats. It's like the whole world is lit up green with all these people looking at my little journal...
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
Archives from May 2003 to May 2009 can be found at
Livre d'Or at LiveJournal

Well, here I am. Now to settle in and unpack and redecorate a bit.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I'm doing surprisingly well with my Nano project. I'm effectively halfway through ([ profile] cartesiandaemon is visiting the last weekend in the month, so I want to make my goal before then). So far I have 30,441 words, which is about 30% ahead of target.

Look, a pretty chart!

I don't know if 50K is really attainable; next week will be weird because I'm at a course on science communication all week, so I'm not sure if that will mean more or less writing time than my normal working routine. But it looks fairly likely that if I miss the target I won't be far off. This is really very satisfying, I'm glad I undertook the challenge!

Rite moar!

Nov. 2nd, 2008 08:31 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I am not doing nanowrimo, because it's been many years since I gave up any illusion that I can write. But I have seen a few people are doing variants, such as committing to making a substantial post every day, or just taking on the goal of finding a bit more time for writing.

I think I'm going to have a go at writing 50,000 words of meaningful communication in November. I probably won't make it, but having some numbers and a game to play will hopefully motivate me in the ongoing battle to keep in touch with my friends in spite of geography. I'm making up the rules as I go along, since it's only for my own satisfaction, but basically I'm counting emails with personal content, blog posts, and comments that contain some substance and thought.

Now I have Little List the tiny computer, I might even be able to keep this up while I'm travelling, we'll see. So far, I've managed 3821 words today and 934 yesterday, so I'm 45% ahead of my target!
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Life doesn't get much better than a romantic weekend in Florence! Well, maybe a weekend that wasn't immediately followed by a week when I have no time at all to catch up on sleep, let alone catch up on LJ, let altogether alone catch up on my life. So trip report, and any other communication, will have to wait until I have time to breathe... I'm hoping for at least a couple of hours on Sunday.

Since I certainly don't have time to say this individually, Shana Tova to all my Jewish friends, and Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim friends (are you still around, [ profile] khalidz0r?), and exuberant hugs to everyone who doesn't care about the lunar calendar.

SF gender

Jul. 16th, 2008 09:32 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
So I read Ian McDonald's River of gods about a month ago, and although I was extremely impressed with it, I never got round to posting a review. I think that's partly because I bounced about it at [ profile] cartesiandaemon and [ profile] rysmiel while I was reading it, and partly because I'm disorganized. But it's an absolutely fascinating and highly original book.

Anyway, among the explosion of exciting SF ideas, one of them is the concept of "nutes" who "Step Away" from gender, by a surgical and psychological process more or less analogous to an extreme version of sex reassignment surgery in our reality. I just can't get out of my head that if that gender existed, I would want to be it.

gender stuff, very slight spoilers if you're super-picky about this kind of thing )

Don't know if I'm actually going anywhere with this; the main point is that if you are interested in my review, it's linked.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Some unanswered questions from conversations recently:

  1. Is there such a thing as a lesbian icon?

    There were a group of mostly straight or at least non-scene women out with a gay man, and we were trying to get him to explain the gay icon thing. Like, why are most gay icons straight women, such as Cher, Madonna, Judy Garland and so on, and not, you know, actual gay men? His theory was that a gay icon needs to be flamboyant and overtly sexual towards men, but preferably projecting a happy, confident image, as opposed to the angst and emo typical of the few male artists who actually talk directly about gay themes.

    Somebody asked, what about lesbians, are there any lesbian icons? I could only think of celebrities who are either well known to be lesbians such as Ellen de Generes, or actresses who are known for lesbian roles, such as Alyson Hannigan. But they are not really icons in quite the same way, I think. I did end up offering to make a playlist of lesbian themed music, though, so any suggestions welcome.

  2. How do they make holy water?

    This is from the picnic. Of course we all know that it requires a priest who has to bless the water. But how exactly does it work practically? Does the priest bless a large volume of water and then divide it up into lots of little bottles, each of which is holy? Can the holy water be diluted with normal water, and does that make the mixture holy or unholy? Or does the priest have to bless exactly this particular water in this particular vessel? Is there a maximum amount that the priest can bless at any one time? Does the holiness stick to the water forever, or does it have to be water that was blessed recently? Is it different for Catholics and Protestants?

    I hope these questions aren't irreverent; we really do want to know. But they might the kind of questions that only make sense in a conversation between Jews and geeks, and completely miss the point of how Christian theology works.

Why, yes, I am supposed to be working. I'm hoping that interesting speculation on these questions will provide a minor distraction, but not enough of one to keep me from getting any work done at all...

administrivia )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I'm still reading faster than I can review, but here are reviews of:

Diane Duane: Deep Wizardry / High Wizardry
Lois McMaster Bujold: The warrior's apprentice

Plans for this weekend are really not properly sorted out, because a major point of the trip is to see my cousins and they don't have firm plans yet. But since a few people have asked, most of the possible scenarios do involve me showing up at the Pembury on Sunday evening, and hopefully bringing [ profile] cartesiandaemon, [ profile] hatam_soferet and [ profile] pseudomonas.

More tentatively, I may show up to some or all of: a May week Ceilidh, [ profile] atreic's party, and the LJ picnic meme. Or maybe not; I want to make sure I have time to spend time with the people I'm planning to see on this visit and not get distracted with random socializing. There are lots of lovely people I'd like to see, but I am hampered by too much annoying geography. I am probably going to be around in Cambridge for the first week in August, and that will be a better time to make more general social plans.

There's a lot going on at the moment at work, so I am probably going to be concentrating on that for the next couple of days, aiming to get a few important things finished before I leave for England.
Addendum 19 June: I'm about to leave for work and then straight to the airport from there. Please note I don't have a UK mobile any more, cos I gave my old handset to Joanna. That also means I don't have most of the phone numbers that were stored on it. If you think I'm likely to want to contact you over the weekend, please text me on +46 73 693 8186.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I have managed to write up a couple of the books I was reading while travelling:

Steven Brust: Phoenix
Pamela Dean: Tam Lin

The only other thing I've managed to do today is establish that there is no affordable way I can manage my intended trip to north America this summer. I've been poking around every internet site I can find, and I can't get the price down under £900. I'm almost tempted to do it anyway, since I've set my heart on it, and I really, really, really want to see [ profile] rysmiel and [ profile] darcydodo and [ profile] compilerbitch. But it's not sensible; I have to compare how much holiday in Europe I could get for that kind of money, or how many trips to England. And [ profile] compilerbitch is going to Mars so I wouldn't see much of her, and [ profile] darcydodo is coming to England in August so I'll see her at least briefly then.

The reasonable thing to do is to come to America sometime when I have more flexibility, so it's not the middle of peak season. And spend this summer's vacation exploring somewhere I haven't been before, such as the remote parts of Sweden, or the interesting bits of Europe. But I am sick as a dog about missing my people. Stupid evil horrid geography.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
When I was travelling, I had lots of time for reading and little time for updating LJ. Hence I have a huge backlog of books I need to post reviews of. I haven't been doing so well since I got back to Stockholm and got sucked into the festival season, either. So here are the first batch of books that I have read recently and not got round to posting about until now:

  • Michael Marshall Smith: One of us
  • Colum McCann: Dancer
  • Rose Tremain: The colour
  • Madeleine L'Engle: A wind in the door

    Still to come from the summer:
  • Jack Womack: Elvissey
  • Tim Powers: The Anubis gates (reread)
  • John Steinbeck: The grapes of wrath (reread)
  • John Fowles: The ebony tower (short story collection)
  • Kate Chopin: The awakening
  • Desmond Bagley: The enemy
  • Jasper Fforde: The Eyre Affair
  • Monica Ali: Brick Lane
  • Soundbite

    Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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