#024: platform puzzle pieces • automatic associations interface • Tendril

Welcome to the twenty-fourth ceremony of Ephemerata: reflections, observations, and life at the edge.

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I’m doing this to stimulate discussion around what I find interesting, and also to share things before they disappear into the void of my journal.

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CONTENTS

  1. This is a ceremony
  2. Platform puzzle pieces
  3. A way of fatherhood
  4. Automatic associations interface
  5. Asides
  6. Music

THIS IS A CEREMONY

Ephemerata has always felt like an event to me (some kind of gathering or party), but David Luecke recently put that ‘c’ word in my head, and I find it most fitting—thanks David :pray:t4:. It shall hereby be referred to as such :sparkles:.


PLATFORM PUZZLE PIECES

Currently thinking about how to integrate multiple systems while building community and sustainable income.

It’s possible for me to ‘build my own system’ but that would take time from doing what it’s designed to support, especially as a single-person operation; this might be a case where it’s better to use existing parts and close gaps by creating plugins or automating with tools like Zapier or n8n. Let’s review the existing systems…


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A WAY OF FATHERHOOD

I’m very attached to my kid, but I don’t expect him to be attached to me. I don’t want him to feel more tied to some people than others. I hope he ventures out into the world, makes new bonds, and feels no obligation to me. He doesn’t owe me anything. His life is his own. He didn’t ask to be born, and has no debts.
Derek Sivers


AUTOMATIC ASSOCIATIONS INTERFACE

I often find myself glazing over conceptual interfaces for computing because I usually just want to use the thing to see how it feels, but the nice demos on this one stopped me.

The promise of digital systems for me has always had something to do with ‘surfacing the right amount of meaningful things at the right time’. I have approximated this in my apps by requiring explicit actions to surface things because it’s beyond my capacity to imagine how to do this more automatically, and also generally distrust machines to automate this well. So how nice it is to see a vision for creating structures and associations with little friction, more or less by directing your attention. Computers should be good at this while allowing us to tweak things, to avoid relying completely on a black box:

The system can handle most of the heavy lifting by simply paying attention to how we move through our items within different contexts, but we can further manage the associations manually as we like.

Bringing things to view in the way presented here is so much more compelling than clicking around through filesystems or apps. The closest that I’ve seen and used is Quicksilver’s way of ‘knowing’ by key combinations and their frequency, but this requires explicit association. Successfully capturing intent passively instead of explicitly makes it so that being a programmer is not necessary.

It’s important to have higher-level primitives baked into lower levels, rather than reconstructing them in each app–this can mean schemas, file formats, or an operating system itself. Your trail or history is valuable and shouldn’t be siloed in or built bespoke for certain apps. How can this be constructed without a universal app for all the things? (or is that just another operating system?) How can this be done in a way where the data is not siloed within this system (even though it seems to afford great flexibility across app boundaries)?


ASIDES

My book is in my body.
— Elena


Pay What You Want and the Four Currencies. Breaks down the ‘cost’ of something into “money-dollars”, “time-dollars”, “pain-in-the-butt-dollars”, and “integrity-dollars”, which is a useful framework for thinking about why people might choose to pay versus pirate something. The whole series considers the perspective of a buyer, but this part focuses on why donation-based software doesn’t work. Worth paying attention if you sell apps…

[Optional contributions in software don’t work because they’re more of a pain in the ass than the free experience. If you forced a minimum price of even a cent, people would likely be more generous than the minimum because they’re already in the payment process.]


Notes from a mystic:

[Knowledge, like a drug, gives you a hallucination of knowing.]

[Logic has never led anyone to truth.]

[Nothingness exists without support or creator.]


The roads to understanding misinformation…. Tons of tips on how to recognize signs of misinformation, but more about understanding sources than shaming people. Heightens your attention to certain ways of communicating without too much explanation. I thought I had a good grasp of this kind of thing but learned lots here. Maybe worth sharing this even with people who have experience?

[If a headline provokes an emotional reaction, be on guard: it should pique your curiosity more than convince you to form an opinion—inform over inflame.]

[The context of a poll, how it was collected, is as important as the findings.]

[The words ‘seems’, ‘appears’, ‘apparently’ is an indication of opinion about intent.]


Advice on hosting a group discussion:

[Challenge people to contrast with what others have said. Encourage them to talk to each other.]

[Togetherness needs a plurality of relationships. Demonstrate a personal connection with you during intros. Show them they can participate in different levels.]

[Prompt in the event description to collect and come with thoughts about questions.]

[People love to be invited, and feel egotistical about barging in on a conversation (‘everyone seems smart, why should I talk?’).]
Casey Sokol


MUSIC

All the following items can be accessed as a one-click playlist via Joybox without accounts or sign up—just open and play.

Playlist


Long

Ayyuka: Maslak Halayı (2020). Unapologetic and seamless weaving of Turkish scales and melodies, psychedelic rock, prepared electronic ambience and live instruments. Pay attention to the effects, the intensity without ‘loudness’, the microtonal inflections played on seemingly ordinary electric guitar. Tight drumming and a badass vibe throughout the album. My favourites: Maslak Halayı fills me with power; Yukadans is alive, helps body move, cool harmonizing between the two leads near the end; Komalı’s got that pitch bending that I love from some kinds of Arab music; Ah Be Baba is an adventure filled with sudden turns and odd meters. (via @kevin@merveilles.town)


Short

Lyra Pramuk: Tendril from Fountain (2020). The celestial feeling evoked without words shows what is possible with the simplest of materials: only voice, no other instruments, minimal effects (mostly reverb and echo); the layering of parts to create rich harmonies; a variety of vocal textures, syllables, sounds. There is a kind of static rhythm throughout the whole work, but contrast in the form keeps it interesting. A sublime creation. (via RVNG Intl.)


Tkay Maidza: 24k from Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 (2020). Velvet smooth electronic dance grove, lyrics and breathing slotted into the beat perfectly. Nothing to do here except ride along. (via April)


Bites

Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad Qawwal, Party Ghar ki Mehfil: Chaap Tilak Sab Chheeni (2014). Great example of music as communal experience: the lead singers invite people in the ‘audience’ (using words, or music and movement itself) to participate—at times it feels like a salon discussion even though it’s mostly musical throughout. I’m not familiar with this style of music, but it’s wonderful to observe singing with devotion intense ornamentation. Fun to see others enjoying music not just in the mind but with hands and much of the upper body. I linked to a part that skips the introduction with many individuals in the room ‘taking the spotlight’ to sing, which is beautiful to watch (start from the beginning if you want to check that out). As asides: 1) bonus points that this occurred in Montreal; and 2) refreshing and nostalgic to hear this pre-pandemic performance with people coughing loudly without masks or stigma. (via Pedro Silva)


The Halluci Nation: Electric Pow Wow Drum from A Tribe Called Red (2013). There’s already so much power in traditional indigenous chanting, to add blasting electronic synths and amplification gives it just a little more oomph. Possible to tastefully connect such far away aesthetics. Super simple form, but interesting timbres from metal shakers and leather-skinned drums. (via RVNG Intl.)


More

Check out Fleeting Arrivals for more music.


(I heart music)

I always love receiving music. Send me recommendations anytime, anywhere!


That’s all folks!

Feel free to reply and share any reflections you might have, or just say hello. Have a great week :slight_smile:.

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1 Like

THIS IS A CEREMONY

I love this framing so much! It’s still like a routine you’re tied to in a way, but it feels more joyful? Something enriching, and intentional.

I hope he ventures out into the world, makes new bonds, and feels no obligation to me.

Wow, this feels like such a profound stance on parenthood that I rarely see expressed.

I’ve been sort of thinking of this, more with regards to romantic relationships. This idea of loving with no expectations. Of really appreciating someone’s company while simultaneously not missing them when they don’t want to be there and are gone.

I think the “not missing them” part feels like it contradicts with “loving & appreciating them”. But I guess to me it means more like, placing no pressure or guilt on them, while still expressing you want them around. And the only way I can do that is to be genuinely and fully happy without them.

I’ve had a hard time convincing people this isn’t a contradiction so far :sweat_smile:, but I’ll keep working on. I think it’s worth it. Having these deep, intimate, meaningful relationships where both people connect only when both of them really want to.

Advice on hosting a group discussion:

I like these a lot! I think a lot about this - about what a productive & enjoyable group discussion looks like. I think it does happen a lot, but it often feels like it happens “by accident”. People just happened to have the right dynamics, and the right medium, etc. It’s definitely something I think that can happen more consistently.

I’m not sure what “Show them they can participate in different levels” means. But I really resonate with the “invited” thing. It’s quite surprising how big of a difference that does, and sets kind of a different tone for engaging in the discussion.

‘Routine’ only in that it can repeat, but I don’t force myself—no tying :slight_smile:. One of enriching parts is to motivate looking back at my notes for the week: not sure when else it would happen otherwise; however, I could still be more reflective on what doesn’t get published here, instead of focusing only on what others appreciate.

If a healthy relationship doesn’t breed attachment, then there’s no contradiction for me. In the opposite sense, feeling insufficient without the other can become a weight that inhibits natural flow.

That’s my experience as well, but I learned how deliberate he is when teaching students, to guide the discussion a certain way, and that this can become something consistent. I guess that’s what good professors do?

Hmm, my memory is fuzzy but I think it’s to prompt attendees to engage with different ways of relating to the host and each other: participate as the friend, as the responder to a call, as the instigator of debating/contrasting certain points—everyone present can appropriate these roles to foster a more active discussion, and sometimes you need to model that when starting out.