(One of) Alan's Internet Web Pages

I got my very first tilde-prefixed account in autumn 1994 as a college freshman, which means that the launch of Tilde Club is more or less my tildeversary. An awful lot of my life has changed since then, but it occurs to me, one thing has not: One way or another I've had a web page ever since. Personal web uptime: Twenty twenty-eight! years. So that's kind of cool.

I'm elsewhere online at: prettygoodhat; alans.omg.lol; social.lol/@alans

Tilde Club Resources & Etc:

I've enjoyed coffee with Joel, with whom I share a long TextDrive history, and who is now maintaining tilde lore.

Finding myself wanting to easily see what sorts of things people are building, I made an Alfred workflow to easily open ~♣ users' pages as their names fly by in chat or wall. You can download it; trigger it, type username and it will open the full URL in your browser.

I built myself a tilde connections network graph (Updated 2014-10-18).

A log of sorts, here on the web

I keep meaning to add visible permalinks; view source to get them for these entries, for now; you can also subscribe to my artisanal RSS feed

# Dec 23, 2019: Misc

~Bradley's weekly web workshop for this week is to make a Myspace-style Top Eight. I put mine together with the caveat that it's in no particular order and is probably not even a list of Top things, rather just a list of eight things that I think are worth sharing.

# Sept 29, 2019: Hi again

Four years since my last update here at tilde. It's a surprising treat that some generous and enthusiastic volunteers have breathed new life into this little community. To bring together more pieces of my own web, I've now experimentally hooked up my RSS feed here to cross-post into my micro.blog feed!

# Oct 4: Happy Birthday, Tilde Club

A year of this little joint. Whoa. Feels a little dusty and quiet around here. I recently migrated hosts over at my non-tilde sites, and had a few minutes where I considered just not putting my sites back up. But scrolling through pages and pages of all those years of different kinds of online writing reminded me of so much --- as does this page, though I haven't put anything here for months. I'm glad to have these snapshots, as disparate and irregular as they may be.

Thanks again for another place to put my stuff, ~ford .

# Jan 4: Endless Legend Play Journal

Over at Pretty Good Hat, I put up a rambling journal of my experience so far playing Endless Legend, my final game pickup of the too-short winter vacation. It's a great game, and it has been fun to use the journal as a way to focus my attention on what I'm doing. Check it out, eh?

# Jan 2: Hardcopy

Brennan has a nice recollection:

Do you remember trying to solve a software problem without the Internet? Like really without the Internet?

We used to do this constantly. Like, constantly. A huge portion of my adolescence was composed entirely of confronting things like which brutally arcane permutation of AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS would allow a game to allocate enough memory to actually start, continue running, and play properly.

I remember studying, hard, the MS-DOS manual to understand batch files, and the thick instruction booklet detailing commands that came with my Everex 1200bps modem. Everything had a manual, printed and spiral-bound or in a fat three-ring hardcover binder --- or if it was really classy, multiple such binders. Those were the days.

# Dec 15: Dark Outside

Does it ever get dark early in this middle of December. I'm not looking for a metaphor or anything, it's just true: Dark outside. Cold this week here in Flagstaffsgebürg, too, with a possibility of our first real snow of the winter. (I got out for two long, great, hard bike rides each of the past two Sundays; yesterday's saw me charging through some ice and mud.)

Tilde club has slowed down, it seems. I sort of dropped out of IRC, but am still reading news, though there's not much there, lately. A few of us are halfway carrying on some conversations about food and recipes. Me, I think I'm still processing the past month and finding myself sort of empty most times I sit and think, "hey, maybe I'll write something down."

I'm listening to a lot of music lately, though. Still working out a lot; that feels good. Something has to get me up and going at 5am, after all.

# Nov 30: Thanksgiving

The older dog woke me up Thanksgiving morning with a sharp bark at 5:15. I normally get up early, so this wasn’t an unusual time for me to crawl out of bed, but I had been really sound asleep. On one hand, it was dark and I was comfortable; and on the other hand, the dog has developed a habit in her old age of not waiting to be let outside before taking care of her morning bathroom needs.

It was cold outside, but not as cold as it has been some recent mornings. The sky was crystal clear, the Big Dipper overhead and not yet a spark of dawn through the ponderosa pines.

November has been a hard month, and this was to be a weekend to sort of ease our way past those difficulties. Looking at the sky that early morning I believed it. But our four-year-old was a four-year-old all weekend: Stubborn, fragile, boisterous, demanding, racing, sobbing, exclaiming, talking. And while a week ago I celebrated each of those as a return to form after two weeks of all-day and -night pain, try as I might I lost my calm and felt like I never got it back.

I’ve written and erased twice a more detailed explanation of that pain, now identified and understood, desiring to share here where I have this outlet, but unsure how much of that part of my life and my son’s I should leave in the open. Same with the other events of the past few weeks: Another family illness that scared us all and interrupted holiday plans; a death, too, and that’s not burying the lede, just going in chronological order through the month. “JESUS CHRIST, Alan,” a friend said to me yesterday. Yeah, it’s been kind of rough.

Then I caught up today with a friend who has been my friend nearly my entire life. We went to preschool together, but haven’t lived in the same city since high school. His son is about the same age as mine, and we are both feeling the same need to reconnect more conscientiously than we have over the past many years. It’s funny how easy it is to just talk again, as if we weren’t separated by a continent and diverging and converging life stories. His last week has been a bad one, too, and we connected in our separate sighing and turned this shitty time of things into an opportunity to spend some time talking and promising to do this more often.

So we do have lots of things to be thankful for —- in whatever ways we show thanks, and to whatever powers or fates. I’m holding on to that amid it all, will wake up before dawn again tomorrow to walk in the yard with the dogs and then make coffee and prepare for a work and school day.

# Nov 23: More slowblog

I spent another couple of weeks collecting slow-blog bits and pieces. (what's this?) I've also tuned up my tiny export/process script to run from an iOS Launch Center Pro action that automatically grabs the export from Dropbox and spits out my formatted entry ready for annotation. So that was fun. Anyway:

Have seen the middle of the night way too often the past two weeks.


Today's weather forecast to bring us our first small bit of snow of the year, and a high temp only a bit above freezing.

We got the cold temps, but no snow. Looking relatively warm and dry through Thanksgiving.


Working on this year's Christmas cards.


Pancakes! With sunflower butter and pumpkin yogurt on top.


Went to make myself another coffee and realized I had forgotten to prime the steam boiler. Argh.

God, first world problems much?


Made coffee then built a train track.


Played some more Shovel Knight today, and made it through the Treasure Knight and Plague Knight.

Making rice for dinner, then emptying the dishwasher. Domestic.

Son has been on edge almost all day, fragile and stubborn. This often portends not feeling well.


Having another beer. Probably had enough today, but it's cold out and we have been mostly hanging out inside; easy to sit in a nice chair and pour another.


Reading about the IFComp 2014 winners.


Man, if the vegetarian friend who gave us this slow cooker along with a veg recipes book knew how much meat we've cooked in it...

Seriously, so much meat.


Stumbled across the Homer hot pepper vision quest episode.


Parking lot

Made a trip to target and got to workout a little early. So I'm listening to podcast in the car, relaxing a minute.

Dash says its 36°F. Seat warmers.


Reading newsgroups via prompt on my iPhone, one-handed because my son has finally fallen asleep on the other arm. 2014.

He's finally feeling better after more than two weeks of difficult to figure out discomfort and pain.


This town went from one pretty shady pho place to having one pretty shady pho places and two pretty good Vietnamese joints in two months.


"Dad, maybe you could play Time to Run while I fall asleep so I'll have good dreams."


Geeze I love fantastical.

Just typing date and place into its entry creator is nigh magical.


Another Saturday morning, another workout. 18°F this morning.

Warmer this morning (2014-11-23) while I type this up. I'm ready for some real winter weather, but don't remind me of this in February.


# Nov 19: Heroku-Dropbox Syncing

Over at my other joint I've worked out a method to sync markdown files from dropbox to my static blog's server and run my site generator. It's stable and working quite well, but I nonetheless think this new Dropbox-Heroku sync is pretty hot. (Via Casey Liss)

Nov 15: The Long Game

I'm in awe of the long-term vision required to pull off landing on a comet. The mission to comet 67P was launched ten years ago, meaning it was conceptualized and actually begun development years before that (1993!). And if the remarkable sustaining of the vision itself, executed over two decades, wasn't enough, consider that it actually worked. I mean: A bunch of people built a thing constrained by all kinds of known limits on its design and capability --- weight, size, power, strength --- while imagining the kinds of unknown conditions it might face; and they tried to dream up contingencies for all kinds of things that could go wrong (contingencies, by the way, that have to fit into not only all the physical constraints, but also by the limits set by the sheer distance of the thing from their ability to listen and command it); then they shot it into space on top of a massive explosion and set its course to intersect with an object moving eighty thousand miles an hour, ten years later, after traveling a total of 4 billion --- billion! --- miles and gaining gravity assists from four planetary flybys. And that's just getting to the comet. It's just utterly stunning.

Nov 9: Slowblog

I spent some of yesterday capturing things I might have otherwise tweeted (or just noted to myself). I put these notes with annotations into a slowblog. It was fun.

Nov 6: Tilde club notes

I’ve been meaning to link to ~brennen’s Userland, “a book about the command line for humans.” He’s running with the tilde club concept at squiggle.city and advocating it as a place to help his coworkers and others learn:

My thesis is that the modern Linux command line is a pretty good environment for working with English prose and prosody, and that maybe this will illuminate the ways it could be useful in your own work with a computer, whatever that work happens to be.

This is just a cool idea, and I love the approach. Elsewhere as a result of trying to finally, finally make some personal sense of vim, I’ve been learning from a few nice resources.

All this exploring and experimenting at Tilde Club has been neat not only because I’m doing more at the command line again and learning stuff like Vim, but I’m also plain using a lot of other tools in nice ways: Transmit on iOS, learning new bits of Javascript and R for my network graph, spending time in IRC. It’s a mixture of nostalgia-driven tooling around and state-of-the-art muscle-flexing with modern tools and apps. This is really fun, gang!

More reading around

I noted recently that the big single-column layout may not scale here, and that’s particularly true for things that I want to point out and be able to return to. Well, the pages that I’m returning to a lot lately are:

Okay, I think that lets me close some tabs, again.

# Nov 5: Derailed

This was going to be a week where I fired on all cylinders and got some work cranking at the office. It began that way, actually, but was quickly derailed late Monday night when my son came down with a bad tummy bug that brought up to the emergency room for five hours. He spent the next day at home -- meaning a half work day for me -- and we repeated our near-sleepless night, last night. Another sick day, watching a few issues gain steam, things I will need to take care of tomorrow, all of which distract me from my original week's purpose of getting some things Really Sorted Out.

So here's a picture of a nice glass of beer.

# Nov 2: Feed

I woke up terribly early this morning and started thinking about making a feed for this small site. So now I have one, in all its handcoded glory. Enjoy! (Meanwhile I am scheming on how simply I can build it automatically at the command line.)

Nov 2: not writing

Great, I'm already a day behind on my NaNoWriMo.

Nov 1: Tuning

A little bit of maintenance this morning, quality-of life while using my handsome MacBook, includes two useful Alfred shortcuts:

Oct 27: Tabs

Man, do I have a lot of tilde tabs open. Lots of people just writing and doing lots of really neat stuff, around here.

Oct 22: Abandoned in Place -- Kickstarter

Abandoned in Place is a kickstarter project to produce a book of photography and essays about the history of U.S. aerospace and the places --- launch towers, control rooms, and other facilities --- that enabled our flights to orbit, the moon, and beyond. Roland Miller is a family friend, and I grew up with his photos around the house, so I have an emotional attachment to this work, and I'd love to see the project be wildly successful.

If you are interested in spaceflight, history, or photography, and I have to think that those interests intersect with a pretty good portion of the internet I hang out in, please check out the project. (And hey! It's the Kickstarter project of the day, today!)

Oct 19: Some mornings you get the coffee just about right

A few months ago I worked up some basic, functional support for webmentions over at my non-tilde blog. Yesterday I came across Webmention.io, a service to provide mentions support, which strikes me as a neat way to enable comments and discussion between tilde pages. Since the code driving webmention.io is available at github, it may be fun to spin up and try to apply it here. *Adds project to list.* (It's also lots more thorogh and flexible than my own implementation; so maybe I'll switch over to it there, too.)


~silver misses syndication, and so do I:

If I could convince my family members to use feed readers, I could quit having to post stuff on Facebook - and they would quit having to "like" everything to keep Facebook from relegating me to their "only show stuff from this person when there aren't any paid things to show" bin.

~pb is fragmented. This is such a great piece about managing lots of audiences and selves:

In high school I had different groups of friends who liked to do different things. I had my family. I had co-workers. And I felt like I needed to be a different person in each of those groups. And those different mes were sometimes at odds. At some point I realized it would be healthier if I could be the same person in all contexts. (Maybe that's just growing up.)

~mathowie has several things I like, but really had me at "I am fluent in exasperated white people complaining."

~admoman writes up a detailed, technical breakdown of almost but not quite making a disaster (tm) at Tilde Club.


I'm not sure how much longer this single-column one-pager is quite sustainable. Getting a little unwieldy up in here.

My boy

Oct 18, later: I reach out to hold my son basically constantly; smooth his hair, nudge his back, hold his hand in the parking lot, encourage him with a light squeeze. It's so natural and always there, this bit of contact. As he grows into his own person I ache just a bit knowing the time will come that he won't need those gestures anymore. I wonder if my mom and dad still have to hold in the instinct to pat me on the bum and nudge me forward in whatever I'm doing or reach for my hand at the street.

Coffee club

Oct 18: I updated the data in the network viz this morning. Looks pretty congested there in the middle, right now, likely due to more inter-relationships forming, but also perhaps due to more collector/aggregator tools emerging. If you know of any that might make sense to exclude (more on the viz page), please let me know.

I dipped into tilde usenet while the coffee machine warmed up. Between usenet, IRC, github, wall, and an abundance of twitter lists, it has become hard to keep up with this place! (As happens on the internet, of course.) A number of interesting Tilde Club folks have followed me over on twitter, and this has been a really nice mechanism for identifying connections to later follow up on. Hi, ~admoman, ~anthonydpaul, ~silver, ~kentbrew, ~Monk!

Tools, notes

Oct 17: on tools: I wrote the below entry and this one using Drafts for iOS, in markdown, and then used the built-in action to convert to HTML and copy to clipboard, which I can then paste right into my file using Transmit. It's not old-school, so I hope it's still mostly okay. Works nicely.

On this week: busy week. My son is out of school so we will spend the day together doing home stuff, autumny stuff, and errands. Should be great.

So much happening here around the club! Perhaps I'll catch up with some of it, today, too.

Autumn crap

Oct 16: autumn is definitely settling in. Cold weather, dark in the morning. Fall always reminds me of a college poetry class, when at one point, overwhelmed by student writing about leaves changing color and wrought analogies about transitions, our professor exhorted us to do something dramatic or different before our next writing session, in order to break up the monotony of so many “fucking poems about autumn.”

It's a great big busy day, today.


Oct 14: ~emv has added usenet. I have begun using vim to do most of my editing here; if this place didn't motivate me to try it out, what else possibly would?


Oct 12: Joel Dueck on Tilde: I really like what Joel has written here. It belongs somewhat in the same thread I noted yesterday, with Paul’s thoughts about what this place is all about, and the evolving conversation in the issues forum over at github.

And, interestingly, he posted it over at a different site, a decision that prompts a lot of thought for me. We most of us here at Tilde Club have other places we have called home of one sort or another, probably more than one. Where does this one fit? I wonder a lot. What should I make here, versus there —- especially when “there” is something I have been proud of, enjoyed, built myself in much the same way?

Tilde homes are popping up: this idea is taking on its own life, and ~pfhawkins is keeping a list.

Mostly I’m thinking about this afternoon at the coffee shop, the weekend with my son and wife, things I did at work last week and upcoming work tomorrow, things that may be noteworthy later in the week. Sometimes it occurs to me that I have been pretty happy, lately.


Oct 12: I have my pretenses of world-weary cynicism. But the utter un-self-conscious joy and vigor with which my four year-old son sings "Let it Go" makes my heart simultaneously melt and explode.

The Virtual Community

Oct 11 later: Paul and others in the Tilde Club community are thinking seriously about how we take care of this place and one another. Conscientious community in the best style and form.

Another thing that vividly flashes back for me on Tilde Club is how we used to log in to check our mail. Break between classes was time to dash past the computer lab in the building, or maybe dial up the college ISP and then telnet in, and pine RET i tell you if there was something new. I think at some point there was the equivalent of a notification upon login, You have new mail., but I don't remember if it was there from the start. College kids waiting to hear about their paper, or that girl, or that guy? We were logging in all the time.

I'm engaging in my share of nostalgia here, but I love what droob says here:

I'm not interested in what we made with these tools 20 years ago, but rather what we can make with these tools today, after having learned about the internet for 20 years.
There are some ways this stuff evolved into the tools we use today, sure, but in a lot of cases, completely different toys got our attention, and these withered. They're totally still fun and unique, though! And in a lot of ways it's easier to use vim and wall and local irc to build a community when you know what html5 and Facebook and Twitter are.

And Sarah writes:

boy howdy i am learning how properly nostalgic i am every day. javascript console, known_hosts, trying to get shit into my emacs editor from other applications... when even the basics like copy and paste are taken away from me, i begin to really appreciate what technology does for me on a daily basis. like pay for my groceries, but also other things.

Me, I'm using this an an opportunity/reason to get better at vim. It's totally bonkers, but makes me think about what I'm doing.


Oct 11: Almost made myself a decaf this morning, but realized at the last moment. It was a brief, scary situation. Over the last few mornings, while making lunch and snacks for my preschooler, I caught up on Serial, a podcast from the This American Life folks. It's remarkable not only because it's a smartly researched and well-told story, but for its form: Twelve half-hour episodes! It's a miniseries, or a season of TV, told on the radio --- but not really on the radio, I suppose. The narrative structure, the sense of the whole story and ability to piece it into many episodes that are independently compelling but also form a substantial whole, just deeply impresses me. Check it out.

h t t p colon slash slash...

Oct 10: Remember before your browser autocompleted URLs? We had to remember entire adresses and type them in, letter by letter.


Oct 9: I think I have cracked one of the tricky nuts. The Tilde Club Network Graph should now properly include links generated by ~gschueler's quick link tool. Click on over to see the current graph and read more fun, fun detail.

Where we live

Oct 8: Tim Carmody, on Kathy Sierra, whose Trouble at the Koolaid Point should be required reading:

I think we’re over that now. As my old boss Joshua Topolsky said once, "the internet is where we live now." And where we live, once you start to look, isn’t so nice, especially if you are a woman standing on a platform.

Oct 7: Tilde Club went down for a little while today and was brought back up, according to ~ford, by a super-skilled cabal of sysadmins. No data loss! In the meanwhile, I started to think more about this notion of pop-up and ephemeral web projects, and how this would have been a fun, short-term lark if it just happened to not come back. The only thing I would have missed would be the opportunity to have found some more connections to port elsewhere and preserve, to twitter or perhaps add to my newsreader. Seems like it would be fun to make this tiny shell web host infrastructure reusable, portable, to build more impermanent installations: Two weeks of tilde hosted poetry, or recipes, or book clubs; or just another iteration of our 1990s web nostalgia. Franchise this sucker.

Paul crystallizes something powerful for me:

I sort of want to publicly say where I am at. I don't know why I want to do this except something about seeing a terminal open and a text editor running puts me in a semi-confessional frame. And this is a good place to do it because it's got that mix of public/private that made the early web so great; people will only find it if they want to read it and it will never pester them otherwise.
I'm less nostalgic for old kinds of HTML than for the part of myself that was young and fearless and desperate to connect to the wider world.

Goddamn, yes.

Good idea

Oct 6, part II: Awesome! ~jr had the same idea for a network visualization, implemented it and then found mine! --> here it is

Oct 6: Substantially improved display of the connections visualization! Now includes highlighting of links when mousing over on a node.

Dave Rutledge (~_) is writing about the likely-first tilde.club meetup! Saying:

In any case, was it ~waxpancake that said you know a place has a real community when its users independently coordinate gatherings? I think we’re about to become official.

He's also identifying several other folks whose pages I want to spend some time reading.

Man, I haven't typed this many <p> tags in <em>years</em>.


Oct 5: Sunday. Coffee warming up, dogs about to be walked, but it's cold out and dark, still. No doubt much of the excitement and, to be sure, style, of Tilde Club are inspired by nostalgia; how many of us are using as our username the very first unix account name we ever had, on which we built our first tilde sites? And so many of us are quite self-consciously reveling in the forms that constituted the web in the 1990s, and that's really, really fun. But I also do love seeing this mix of nostalgia coming together with the ways in which we more contemporarily use the web. ~sippey has a nice thought about it being more than nostalgia. Martin McClellan (~hellbox) is writing about his son, monsters, and books. Paul reports that he is tooling around with a simple command-line blog post tool. Damn, it feels good to be a tildester.

I also like what ~libby wrote. I would quote it, but the whole thing is really great.

Making things

Oct 4: Saturday! I made a thing to visualize the links among ~ users' pages. Now it's bedtime, but I'd love to hear what you think.


Oct 4: Saturday! I am with coffee, autumn is here and it is 31ºF outside. I am making note of several tilde.club resources

Putting stuff on the internet

So its Friday, Oct 3: I am logged in to tilde.club via prompt on my iPad at quarter to six in the morning, sipping mu coffee. i judt mistakenly double-spaced to put a period after the last sentence. (Didn't work.) Old and new. Have not even checked Twitter or work email, yet. Liking that.

Thanks, Paul.