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Dusting Off Again

Again I'm returning to my blog after several years of ignoring it.

I've become convinced that we need to decentralize our social media and stop giving our data and privacy to "big tech" interests who package and sell it as they wish.

I also want to start contributing to the development of a real-world, decentralized, encrypted protocol to allow us a path forward.

I plan to write about that process here, and possibly use this blog or website to "dogfood" the concept. There are other people working on similar ideas, and I intend to start researching the best way to proceed. Let me know in the comments if you have any recommended reading or Twitter follows to pursue on this topic!

In the process of dusting off, I looked back at this website. I designed and built this site in 2011, and haven't touched it much since. Websites and web development have changed a lot since then, but the site still holds up pretty well.

I removed some items from my social sidebar, due to evolution:

  • Facebook: Of all the social media services, FB is the one that disappoints me the most. They never bothered to get their privacy and security ducks in a row before going "big league", and have shown little accountability or responsibility for correcting this situation.
  • Instagram: I just don't use it. It bothers me to know that it's owned by Facebook and all the data goes to the same place.
  • Google+: Once "required" by the "fair" Google SEO algorithm for optimal placement, this service no longer even exists.
  • YouTube: Similar to Instagram, I just don't use it and don't care for their data practices OR effect on toxic culture.

This leaves me with Twitter, LinkedIn and Github. Eventually I would like to see Twitter replaced with (or integrating) a decentralized service. Eventually I would love to never look at LinkedIn again, but I do use it professionally for recruiting, so I don't see that happening soon. And Github is far enough removed from my personal/social data that I view it as something not-quite-social-networky. More of a professional service as far as I'm concerned.

Older services I've removed in the past that I can see in my git history: Myspace, Foursquare, Flickr, Delicious, AngelList, Go back even further and you'll find MyBlogLog, Pownce, Plurk, and any number of social sites that in the past were consumed by the big players.

R.I.P., social media of the past.

It bothers me that once we move on from these services, our data disappears with them. Another great reason for decentralizing our social media - anything I publish here is mine to keep, delete or republish whenever I want. A protocol allowing me to publish and control my own content regardless of where it is owned/hosted would solve that problem.

I'm excited about this upcoming effort. It's bigger than apps, bigger than #hashtags, and presents an opportunity to correct some of the mistakes made in implementing our digital social lives.

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Let's Disqus the Blog

The hardest part about adding comments to this blog was fighting the NIH syndrome.

I have been working on the software that powers this blog as an open-source Django app for the last few months. It's coming along nicely and already powers my wife's site Ultra-Luxurious.

The last version of this site had a gorgeous custom threaded comments section. I had not included that with the package yet because I really wanted to overhaul it. As nice as it was, it was very prone to comment spam (nasty!). I had ended up turning off comments on nearly every post in my blog as a result.

I upgraded the blogs to Django 1.7 recently and noticed that Django's comments had been deprecated, so I was going to need to dive in even deeper to rebuild the comments. At that point I thought "why would I be doing this?" and went to check out Disqus. They have a very nice commenting plugin that works great, is free, and solves the spam problem. Boom!

I had to choke down a bit of NIH, but really - why work to maintain the software and keep spammers out when it's already available for free?

So in version 2.0.2 of the cp-blog software, integrating Disqus comments is as simple as adding a DISQUS_SHORTNAME to your, and you're off to the commenting races. Enjoy.

Anyone out there prefer another commenting system that I should integrate? Does anyone use Facebook comments anymore? If there's something you would like to see included, just leave a (Disqus) comment below.

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Giant New Job

Giant New Job

Today I’m excited to announce my new job as EVP Technology and Development at Giantsource, Inc. Giantsource is a design, development and consulting firm based here in Los Angeles, mostly working with the entertainment industry. It was founded about three years ago by one of my great friends from the Myspace days, who I have done many projects with. In fact I have worked with almost everyone in the company before (some of them a LOT), and it feels like I’m rejoining a "dream team" that I’ve definitely missed for the last couple years. It’s an amazing group of talent and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

I’m also very happy to be working with a company owned and run by developers. It’s a breath of fresh air to be sure. Working with a group that understands digital products and modern workflows, as well as trends in technology and consumer behavior, will be a lot of fun and I see a very prolific time ahead for me.

2014 has been an action-packed year already. Now that I’m joining such a capable group who really “gets it” and is constantly pushing the envelope of entertainment experiences, I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring!

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Return to Blog Mountain

Well hello there.

This is a little awks. I think I wandered away from this blog for a few... years.

I've been quite busy during this time, you see. I actually built the previous version of my site at a time when I had come to realize that my stint at MySpace needed to end; at the time a responsive website still seemed like absolute magic, so this was something I used to show off a little.

"Resize your browser... see that? It looks great on any device!"

I soon found a new gig with Eventup, signing on as co-founder and CTO. And, I never came back. Once you enter the startup grinder, it's very difficult to side work, even if it's my own damn site.

Moving on to another gig that was equally busy, if far less interesting, I continued to ignore the site. I am just winding down from that experience, and here we are. Still no blog lovin'.

I justify this with one thing: I would much rather be making stuff than writing about making stuff. The good news is, with a little extra time to focus on my own (non-paid) work, I have indeed created a few things that are worth writing about.

My wife has started a new site, Ultra-Luxurious, which is a west LA lifestyle/culture site. To build that I extracted the software I used to run this very blog. I have open-sourced the code for it, and you can find it here. Ultra-Luxurious runs this code "out-of-the-box", so consider that a nice little demo.

I also open-sourced my project template , which includes nice stuff such as Bourbon, Bitters, grids by Jeet, and a nice Grunt setup to compile SCSS, live-reload browsers, concatenate and minify static files, etc. The blog app plugs neatly into this template (although that is optional). Both this site and Ultra-Luxurious are based on this template.

I have more OSS projects on the way, and there will be more posts about those as I get them packaged up. For now, back to the workshop!

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A Much Needed Update

Finally bringing into this decade.

Today I get to release something special: a site I've built just for myself! This is special because I have been SO busy with client work that my site had become somewhat dated. I had been wanting to swap out the software from the excellent ExpressionEngine to a custom Django back end. (I mostly build in Django these days and it bugged me that my own site wasn't built with it.) I also wanted to update the front end with a modern HTML5/CSS3 interface - believe it or not, my old site was old enough to predate jQuery (not to mention border-radius and the like) so most of the UI was pretty rusty - not at all a showcase of my current skills.

So, welcome to the new Tight, ain't it?

The site has a responsive layout that serves a different experience for desktop, tablet, mobile (landscape) and mobile (portrait). Try resizing your browser window to see what I mean! It's packed full of the latest HTML5/CSS3 goodness, with appropriate fallbacks for older browsers. It also is running a full-featured Django blog app that I've built and plan to open-source as soon as I can package up the code.

I plan to write up a couple things related to this site: a colophon page so I can credit folks whose plugins/apps this site uses, and tutorials on some of the cooler features I've got here - a few things that I developed in the course of making this site are worth sharing.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new site design - and if you chance to find any bugs I'd love to find out about those too! Please use the fancy new threaded commenting system to share your input.

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