Marty McGuire

Recent Posts

Sat Dec 10

Have you found something to sink your teeth into during eternal Caturday?

Fri Dec 9

Are you trying a different approach during eternal Caturday?

Thu Dec 8

Are you reaching out during eternal Caturday?

Wed Dec 7

Are you caught in a fishbowl during eternal Caturday?

Tue Dec 6

Patricia's Best Books of 2022

Volume 3, Resources 24: Patricia's Best Books of 2022!

[...] this year had some absolute bangers. [...] I’ve included links to podcast episodes where I talk about the books (if applicable) and as always, links are affiliate links and you can shop directly through my Bookshop link.

Patricia Elzie's Infophile newsletter continues to be must-read and I see a lot of stuff on her 2022 reading list I want to check out!

Are you feeling plugged in during eternal Caturday?

Mon Dec 5

Are you waiting for sleep to take you during eternal Caturday?

Sun Dec 4

The famed Hampden Christmas Calliope

What interesting things are happening outside during eternal Caturday?

Sat Dec 3

Have you seen enough television during eternal Caturday?

Fri Dec 2

Are you keeping up your hygiene during eternal Caturday?

Thu Dec 1

Kapowski: reaction GIFs for the indie web

tl;dr – Kapowski is a simplified tool for finding and posting reaction GIFs to your personal website. It works without a sign-in and gives you HTML to copy-paste into whatever posting interface you use for your website. It's "progressively enhanced" with IndieWeb building blocks, so if your site supports them it becomes faster and easier to use. Search and content are currently powered by Gfycat.

IndieWeb building blocks, you say?

Kapowski supports IndieAuth and Micropub. If your site supports these, you can sign in using your website as your identity and then use Kapowski to post the image to your site directly.

But that's not all! If your site supports sending Webmentions and markup for reply posts, you can use Kapowski to make your post a photo reply!

Still reading? Here's some (too much) history.

I really like Micropub as an IndieWeb building block. As a developer, it's easy to understand on the wire. It's very extensible because the spec provides very few constraints over what you can post with it.

However, that flexibility comes at a coordination cost. I had (have!) a dream that being able to rapidly iterate on special-purpose Micropub clients will let many ways of posting bloom. I also loved (love!) Glitch as a place to build web apps in the open where other folk can see how they work and remix them to make them their own.

So, I built and stealth-launched Kapowski built on Glitch back in 2018. I didn't use it myself very much (but definitely some), and even shared it around some IndieWeb events, like when I talked about mobile posting at the 2019 IndieWeb Summit.

I kept Kapowski intentionally simple, hoping that some other IndieWeb folks might use it, give feedback, and iterate on the idea of what a good user experience might be for posting reply GIFs on the IndieWeb.

I ... didn't get much feedback! As far as I know, few people have used it. However, I very much did notice that it kept breaking.

Giphy, the original service Kapowski used, was bought by Facebook with the intention of, I don't know, tracking all the GIFs people posted. I didn't like that, so I switched things over to Gfycat. (Although with Facebook (Meta) being forced by UK regulators to sell off Giphy, maybe it'll be time soon to bring it back.)

The biggest problem, though, was that server-side Javascript bits rot. I want to be able to stand up a hobby project and forget it for months or years at a time. For a project of this pace, especially one that I think of as being very simple, the Javascript stack moves fast. I would get notices every week or so that this or that dependency had a required security update. Sometimes apply what looked like a small point update would cause a breaking change in an API (Axios!). Eventually, it became not-fun to think about keeping up Kapowski.

Multiplying this maintenance across a number of other Micropub clients I had managed to barely knock together on Glitch led to me burning out on the idea. So, I stopped maintaining it and at some point it stopped working.

Reviving the embers

I still want to see a thousand Micropub-powered flowers bloom, but I don't have the personal project bandwidth to build the tool set on Glitch that I thought would make that possible. I'm just not that fluent in server-side Javascript development and project management, and it's too far of a road right now to git gud.

That said, there are styles of web app development I am much more comfortable working in! I think I can take this stuff a lot further by sharpening the knives I already know how to use.

So, I've spent a good chunk of free time this year quietly porting some of my IndieWeb projects to PHP and hosting them on a virtual private server. That's stuff I know how to do! As I've re-built each one, I've also looked to extract the common points of similarity and complexity into a kind of "Micropub kit", with a common-but-extensible engine. That's made each client easier to build and deploy, and that's very exciting.

(This "micropub kit" isn't ready for public consumption at all but it is available for looking-at if you want. Here's the micropubkit source.)

What's next?

Since it's IndieWeb Gift Calendar season, I think I'll spend the next month polishing up and posting more about this work.  If you have thoughts about Kapowski, "micropubkit", or posting weird stuff on the IndieWeb in general, I'd love to read them! Just reply to this post on your own site and send me a Webmention.

If you aren't ready to reply in words... maybe a GIF would do? :)

Has your reverie been interrupted during eternal Caturday?

Wed Nov 30

Is it time to get cozy during eternal Caturday?

Tue Nov 29

Are you binging a new show during eternal Caturday?

Mon Nov 28

How are you kicking off a new week during eternal Caturday?

Sun Nov 27

I'm (back) on "the Fediverse"

If you've got an account on a Mastodon server, or any server that speaks ActivityPub, you should be able to follow me at: @marty@martymcgui.re

Screenshot of my profile page on Bridgy Fed

Many thanks to Ryan for creating and running Bridgy Fed, which makes this possible. Over the years I've built a lot of IndieWeb building blocks into my site, and Bridgy Fed works with those to federate my posts with ActivityPub-powered sites like Mastodon.

So far I can send replies, let people know I'm following them, and they can follow me as well. You can see this in action on my site's Bridgy Fed profile page: https://fed.brid.gy/user/martymcgui.re

For now I'm manually choosing which posts to share via Bridgy Fed. I'll be using it for replies and likes, but haven't yet decided how much original content I'll be posting. For example, I don't know how well my daily Eternal Caturday video loops will come through, or if folks would actually want so many cat videos!

Is your comfy space yours alone during eternal Caturday?

Sat Nov 26

Is everyone resting well during eternal Caturday?

Fri Nov 25

Are you-aaaaaaaaawwwwnn during eternal Caturday?

Thu Nov 24

Are you floating the city streets during eternal Caturday?

Wed Nov 23

Has your attention drifted during eternal Caturday?

Tue Nov 22

Does something have your interest during eternal Caturday?

Mon Nov 21

Are you anticipating a delicious treat during eternal Caturday?

Sun Nov 20

Are you getting a closer look during eternal Caturday?

Sat Nov 19

Are you shaking it off during eternal Caturday?

Fri Nov 18

Is there a pummeling in progress during eternal Caturday?

Thu Nov 17

Have you lost a sense of privacy during eternal Caturday?

Wed Nov 16

Do you have a modicum of privacy during eternal Caturday?

Tue Nov 15

Do you have a sense of space during eternal Caturday?