I’m so glad that, when I blew the dust off my RSS Reader, RibbonFarm was still there.

Cozy Hypertext for the Dark Forest Web

The low-agency response [to the chipping away at the utility of the hyperlink] is to retreat to a defeatured cozyweb of messengers flooded with screenshots and Shares From Nowhere at worst, and an limited archipelago of cozy products with improved local [Hypertext Experiences] at best. What Bruce Sterling called favela chic. The Web2 corporate platform responses of in-app browsers, link obfuscation, and inbound link redirection to apps over browsers, is basically an enclosure movement targeting the HX commons, actively kept more dangerous and untrustworthy than it needs to be, to detain you in-app through fear when you can’t be retained with actual utility. What Bruce Sterling called gothic high-tech.

It’s a good analogy. The nerfing of Google is another facet: today, Google gives me what it thinks I should want, while Yandex gives me what I asked for. The difference is stark.

The enclosure of a little patch of ground I happen to be interested in led, very indirectly, to the existence of Helena Bonham-Carter. While I’m all for the existence of Helena Bonham-Carter, it underlines how advantage compounds over generations. If the internet (at a high conceptual level, I’m not talking about the hardware or even the protocols here) gets enclosed, we won’t get it back again:

Among the great roads of England, the Portsmouth Road is remarkable for the widespreading and beautiful commons through which it passes. England was like that throughout in the old days; but Enclosure Acts in the eighteenth century so changed the face of the country that fields and cultivation replaced the wild heaths and common lands which once extended for miles.

Charles George Harper

The chatbots just taught me a useful little command I didn’t know existed - pr. You can use it to columnate the output of other commands. Thus:

# Check if exactly two arguments are provided
if [ "$#" -ne 2 ]; then
  echo "Usage: $0 <video_file1> <video_file2>"
  exit 1
# Define the command to extract video information
info_cmd="ffprobe -v error -select_streams v:0 -show_entries stream=width,height,codec_name,bit_rate,avg_frame_rate -of default=noprint_wrappers=1"
# Run the command for both video files
info1=$($info_cmd "$1")
info2=$($info_cmd "$2")
# Use pr to merge the outputs side by side
echo -e "File 1: $1\n$info1\n\nFile 2: $2\n$info2" | pr -t -2

gives us:

$ ./compare file1.avi file2.avi
File 1: file1.avi			File 2: file2.avi
codec_name=mpeg4			codec_name=mpeg4
width=624					width=624
height=352					height=352
avg_frame_rate=25/1			avg_frame_rate=25/1
bit_rate=1670741			bit_rate=1670741


A chatbot’s vision of Alexander’s casket (not the gold sarcophogus):

Good enough for Hollywood, I reckon.