IndieWeb Book Club: Ruined By Design

FeaturedIndieWeb Book Club: Ruined By Design

Some of us have thought about doing it before, but perhaps just jumping into the water and trying it out may be the best way to begin designing, testing, and building a true online IndieWeb Book Club.

Ruined By Design

Title and author on a white background at the top with a red filtered view of an atomic mushroom cloud explosion on the Bikini atoll in the Pacific Ocean

Earlier this week I saw a notice about an upcoming local event for Mike Monteiro‘s new book Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It (Mule Books, March 2019, ISBN: 978-1090532084). Given the IndieWeb’s focus on design which is built into several of their principles, I thought this looked like a good choice for kicking off such an IndieWeb Book Club.

Here’s the description of the book from the publisher:

The world is working exactly as designed. The combustion engine which is destroying our planet’s atmosphere and rapidly making it inhospitable is working exactly as we designed it. Guns, which lead to so much death, work exactly as they’re designed to work. And every time we “improve” their design, they get better at killing. Facebook’s privacy settings, which have outed gay teens to their conservative parents, are working exactly as designed. Their “real names” initiative, which makes it easier for stalkers to re-find their victims, is working exactly as designed. Twitter’s toxicity and lack of civil discourse is working exactly as it’s designed to work.The world is working exactly as designed. And it’s not working very well. Which means we need to do a better job of designing it. Design is a craft with an amazing amount of power. The power to choose. The power to influence. As designers, we need to see ourselves as gatekeepers of what we are bringing into the world, and what we choose not to bring into the world. Design is a craft with responsibility. The responsibility to help create a better world for all. Design is also a craft with a lot of blood on its hands. Every cigarette ad is on us. Every gun is on us. Every ballot that a voter cannot understand is on us. Every time social network’s interface allows a stalker to find their victim, that’s on us. The monsters we unleash into the world will carry your name. This book will make you see that design is a political act. What we choose to design is a political act. Who we choose to work for is a political act. Who we choose to work with is a political act. And, most importantly, the people we’ve excluded from these decisions is the biggest (and stupidest) political act we’ve made as a society.If you’re a designer, this book might make you angry. It should make you angry. But it will also give you the tools you need to make better decisions. You will learn how to evaluate the potential benefits and harm of what you’re working on. You’ll learn how to present your concerns. You’ll learn the importance of building and working with diverse teams who can approach problems from multiple points-of-view. You’ll learn how to make a case using data and good storytelling. You’ll learn to say NO in a way that’ll make people listen. But mostly, this book will fill you with the confidence to do the job the way you always wanted to be able to do it. This book will help you understand your responsibilities.

I suspect that this book will be of particular interest to those in the IndieWeb, A Domain of One’s Own, the EdTech space (and OER), and really just about anyone.

How to participate

I’m open to other potential guidelines and thoughts since this is incredibly experimental at best, but I thought I’d lay out the following broad ideas for how we can generally run the book club and everyone can keep track of the pieces online. Feel free to add your thoughts as responses to this post or add them to the IndieWeb wiki’s page https://indieweb.org/IndieWeb_Book_Club.

  • Buy the book or get a copy from your local bookstore
  • Read it along with the group
  • Post your progress, thoughts, replies/comments, highlights, annotations, reactions, quotes, related bookmarks, podcast or microcast episodes, etc. about the book on your own website on your own domain. If your site doesn’t support any of these natively, just do your best and post simple notes that you can share. In the end, this is about the content and the discussion first and the technology second, but feel free to let it encourage you to improve your own site for doing these things along the way.
    • Folks can also post on other websites and platforms if they must, but that sort of defeats some of the purpose of the Indie idea, right?
  • Syndicate your thoughts to indieweb.xyz to the stub indieweb.xyz/en/bookclub/ as the primary location for keeping track of our conversation. Directions for doing this can be found at https://indieweb.xyz/howto/en.
  • Optionally syndicate them to other services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Optionally mention this original post, and my website will also aggregate the comments via webmention to the comment section below.
  • At regular intervals, check in on the conversations linked on indieweb.xyz/en/bookclub/ and post your replies and reactions about them on your own site.

If your site doesn’t support sending/receiving webmentions (a special type of open web notifications), take a look at Aaron Parecki’s post Sending your first Webmention and keep in mind that you can manually force webmentions with services like Telegraph or Mention-Tech

I’ll also try to keep track of entries I’m aware about on my own site as read or bookmark posts which I’ll tag with (ostensibly for IndieWeb Book Club Mike Monteiro), which we can also use on other social silos for keeping track of the conversation there.

Perhaps as we move along, I’ll look into creating a planet for the club as well as aggregating OPML files of those who create custom feeds for their posts. If I do this it will only be to supplement the aggregation of posts at the stub on indieweb.xyz which should serve as the primary hub for the club’s conversation.

If you haven’t run across it yet you can also use gRegor Morrill‘s IndieBookClub.biz tool in the process. 

If you don’t already have your own website or domain to participate, feel free to join in on other portions of social media, but perhaps consider jumping into the IndieWeb chat to ask about how to get started to better own your online identity and content. 

If you need help putting together your own site, there are many of us out here who can help get you started. I might also recommend using micro.blog which is an inexpensive and simple way to have your own website. I know that Manton Reece has already purchased a copy of the book himself. I hope that he and the rest of the micro.blog community will participate  along with us.

If you feel technically challenged, please ping me about your content and participation, and I’m happy to help aggregate your posts to the indieweb.xyz hub on your behalf. Ideally a panoply of people participating on a variety of technical levels and platforms will help us create a better book club (and a better web) for the future.

Of course, if you feel the itch to build pieces of infrastructure into your own website for improved participation, dive right in. Feel free to document what you’re doing both your own website and the IndieWeb wiki so others can take advantage of what you’ve come up with. Also feel free to join in on upcoming Homebrew Website Clubs (either local or virtual) or IndieWebCamps to continue brainstorming and iterating in those spaces as well.

Kickoff and Timeline

I’m syndicating this post to IndieNews for inclusion into next week’s IndieWeb newsletter which will serve as a kickoff notice. That will give folks time to acquire a copy of the book and start reading it. Of course this doesn’t mean that you couldn’t start today.

Share and repost this article with anyone you think might enjoy participating in the meanwhile.

I’ll start reading and take a stab at laying out a rough schedule. If you’re interested in participating, do let me know; we can try to mold the pace to those who actively want to participate.

I’ve already acquired a copy of the book and look forward to reading it along with you.

IndieWeb Book Club: Ruined By Design was originally published on Chris Aldrich

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Administrative Note: Blog is moving to new URL

For several years, I’ve hosted my personal blog here at https://chrisaldrich.wordpress.com. This week I’ve moved everything over to a new address at http://boffosocko.com.

According to WordPress, those who have previously been subscribed by email should continue to receive email notifications of new posts as before.  WordPress.com followers will only see new posts in the Reader. You will not receive email updates unless you subscribe to receive those on the new site.  Some older subscribers may have missed one or two recent posts in the transition this week, so feel free to take a moment to catch up.

Others subscribed via RSS may potentially need to update their RSS feeds to reflect the change.

If you’re worried that you’re not getting the content in the preferred format, please feel free to resubscribe to the new blog/site or resubscribe to the appropriate RSS feeds on the new site.

If you have any issues/problems in this transition that you can’t seem to remedy directly, please email me directly; I’m happy to help.

Thanks for reading!

Hall & Oates Concert October 2021 featuring Squeeze at the Hollywood Bowl

Hall & Oates Concert October 2021 featuring Squeeze at the Hollywood Bowl

Background and the Pandemic

I originally bought tickets for this show at the Hollywood Bowl on January 25, 2020, but the pandemic obviously delayed the original show date of May 29th. In a fit of optimism on July 16, 2020, the show was rescheduled for October 1, 2021. I really didn’t expect the show to stick. It was my second major crowd outing since the start of the pandemic.

I drove to the Pasadena park and ride location which had just closed because the last bus had just left. They indicated the Zoo location was still open and would have buses until 7pm. So we drove to the LA Zoo bus stop and parked and rode from there. Doing this, even with crowds well masked, was certainly a lot less taxing than sitting in crazy traffic or worrying about parking. The two way fee was a much lower $6 whereas I expected it to be $12 per person.

We got to our seats a bit after the opening act started because of the COVID-19 check-in lines. The lines were miserably managed and social convention went out the window for people cutting in line and generally shifting around.

While vaccination cards or negative tests were required for entrance, they weren’t well organized about it. It would have been all-too-easy to sneak around the COVID check and get directly into the ticket/bag check area which was much more closely guarded and well executed.

Once past the checkpoint not many people were wearing masks. There was approximately 60% masking in public areas outside the Bowl itself, but once seated with a nearly capacity crowd at a sold out show, there was only about 20% masking. I kept a mask on the entire night. Knowing that this would be the case we didn’t take the traditional Hollywood Bowl picnic basket or food.

The weather for the evening was about as lovely as one could have hoped. Not to hot and not too cold which is notable when October evenings can be uncomfortably warm with temperatures in the high 80s to mid 90s.

Opening act: Squeeze

Purple lights illuminate the bandshell with the band name Squeeze projected behind the band

I think I enjoyed the opening act most this evening. They played a few of their hit songs certainly, but I enjoyed the more experimental late 70’s material they played that fell into the vein of Pink Floyd and The Alan Parsons Project as part of the New Wave movement. It was very much the sound of the late 70’s and they recreated it wonderfully in a way that took me back to that space and time. While there were some nice flourishes and musical improvisation sprinkled in, it was closer to their studio/album work in sound and flavor, particularly in comparison to Hall & Oates. Their material generally matched the mood of Hall & Oates’ She’s Gone.

I almost feel like this performance wasn’t as flashy as it may have been in the day. It would be quite something to see them in a more intimate setting like the Troubadour.

The day was one of the band member’s birthdays, so the entire crowd sang happy birthday to close out the performance.

There were a number of women in their 50s standing up and singing and dancing to every number which was interesting to see.

Setlist

I could only recall Mussels, Cool for Cats, Tempted, Annie, Black Coffee, and Happy Birthday from the top of my head as I didn’t keep a written setlist like I did for Hall and Oates. The list below is courtesy of setlist.fm, but all the big pieces appeared in the order that I remember.

  1. Take Me I’m Yours
  2. Up the Junction
  3. Hourglass
  4. Is That Love
  5. Departure Lounge
  6. Slap and Tickle
  7. Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)
  8. Please Be Upstanding
  9. Cool for Cats
  10. Tempted
  11. Annie Get Your Gun
  12. If I Didn’t Love You
  13. Black Coffee in Bed
  14. Happy Birthday to You (Mildred J. Hill & Patty Hill song)
    (Sung to bassist Owen Biddle; each band member took a solo spot)

Main Act: Hall and Oates

Starting at 8:50 PM and finishing out at about 10:30 PM

Setlist

  1. Maneater
  2. Out of Touch
  3. Method of Modern Love
  4. Say it Isn’t So
  5. You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling
  6. She’s Gone (High on Consolation)
  7. Sarah Smile
  8. Is it a Star (according to setlist.fm, I didn’t catch the title at the time)
  9. Back Together Again 
  10. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
    —- Encore —
  11. Rich Girl
  12. Your Kiss is on My List (with a slick transition to)
  13. Private Eyes (10:10 PM)
    —- Band introductions —- 
  14. You Make my Dreams Come True (10:20 PM start)

Band

  • Shane Theriot (Guitar)
  • Eliot Lewis (keyboards)
  • Klyde Jones (Bass)
  • Brian Dunne (drums)
  • Porter Carroll Jr. (Percussion)
  • Charles “Charlie” DeChant (Saxophone)

Brief review

The concert was generally solidly produced. The opening was electric and the crowd gave them a lot of early energy in a nearly packed Bowl. Unfortunately the energy waned within a song and a half. Daryl Hall took about three songs to really warm up his voice. Prior to that I was worried about what I was in for. For someone in his mid-70’s it was a solid performance, but he’s definitely not got the energy of the early 80’s. Late in the program he moved to keyboards and did alright for his age, but there were some obvious rough spots in his solo play.

Given their spot in the Yacht Rock pantheon of highly produced music, I expected to hear more of the polish of their 80’s work, but there was a lot more Jazz and R&B influence on their performance. This was probably great for the Hollywood Bowl regulars where there’s often quite a bit of Jazz programmed, but it just wasn’t the 70s experimental material or the Rock/Pop I was either hoping for or expecting.

Hall’s patter was a bit stilted for me. The quote of the night came between Sarah Smile and the lead into Is it a Star with a drug culture reference:

“I think all the 70’s were experimental.”
—Daryl Hall

Panorama of the Hollywood Bowl at night

This post was originally published on Chris Aldrich