IndieWeb Committment for New Year’s Eve 2021

The annual page for IndieWeb New Year’s Commitments is up. I always have trouble with coming up with something new and interesting to work on. (There are really so many things, to be honest, and so many that I ought to do, but which seem so droll… What might be fun!?!)

I was recently enamored of the idea behind Paper Websites, so I quickly wired up something as a minimal example. It works, but I’d like to commit to rounding off some of the rough edges, exploring other potential methods, maybe slipping in the ability to write HTML into it as well, and writing up some of the details of how I’ve done it.

As a stretch goal, I’m also considering publishing a physical paper notebook/journal to have as a companion to the project—a true “Paper Blog”. To be honest, this sounds like some quirky, creative fun, so maybe I’ll do it first. 😀

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Since I can post to my website by pen and paper with OCR’d photos, I realize I should use a similar workflow to post handwritten zettels to my [[Obsidian]]-based [[zettelkasten]]/[[commonplace book]] too!

[[2021-11-23]] 7:30 PM

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Pen and paper publishing to your website? PaperWebsite is on to something.

Handwriting to Website #​​​FTW

While browsing today I ran across an awesome concept called PaperWebsite.com. It allows you to write on paper, take a photo, and then upload it to a website. Your handwritten words published to your website. A tactile writer’s dream.

My immediate thought—I need to have this now!

Articles written by hand in my journal to my website? Short notes that I write on index cards published as microblog updates.  How cool would that be? I was also talking to someone this morning about voice-to-text as a note taking concept. What about that too?

Of course, as you may know, I’ve already got a website. Do I need another one like this for $10/month? Probably not.

Value Proposition

But this has got me wondering “what the value proposition is for Paper Website as a company?” What are they really selling? Domain names? Hosting? Notebooks? They certainly seem to be selling all of the above, but the core product they’re really selling is an easy-to-use interface for transferring paper ideas to digital publishing. And this is exactly what I want!

The problem now is to buy this sub-service without all the other moving pieces like a domain name, hosting, etc., which I don’t need. Taking just the core service and abstracting it to the wider universe of websites could be a major technical hurdle (and nightmare).

IndieWeb and Micropub

Perhaps I could try find an OCR solution and wire it all together myself? I’d rather see the original developer run away with the idea though. So instead I’ll quietly suggest that they could take their current infrastructure and add a small piece.

Since PaperWebsite’s already got the front end up and running, why not add on Micropub support to the back end? Maybe Ben Stokes could take the OCR output and create a new Micropub client that could authenticate to any website with Micropub support? I have to imagine that he could probably program it in a couple of days (borrowing from any of the pre-existing open source clients or libraries out there) and suddenly it’s a product that could work with WordPress, Drupal, WithKnown, Craft, Jekyll, Kirby, Hugo, Blot, and a variety of other platforms that support the W3C spec recommendation or have plugins for it.

The service could publish in “draft” form and allow editing after-the-fact. There’s also infrastructure for cross-syndicating to other social services with Micropub clents, so note cards to my website and automatically syndicated to Twitter, Mastodon, or micro.blog? Yes, please.

And maybe it could be done as a service for a dollar a month or a few dollars a year?

I made a short mention of the idea in the IndieWeb chat, and it’s already a-buzz with implementation ideas… If you’re around Ben, I’m sure folks there would lend a hand if you’re interested.

The website, commonplace book, note taking, stationery, and fountain pen nerd in me is really excited about where this could go from a user interface perspective.

How Moleskine, Leuchtturm, LiveScribe or the other stationery giants haven’t done this already is beyond me. I could also see serious writing apps like  iA Writer or Ulysses doing something like this too.

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A lot of this metaverse business sounds like what Ramon Llull was creating in the 13th century with his art of memory and combinatoric wheels. Admittedly, it was a single user space, but he was creating images in his mind and then combinatorically combining them with each other to create new external/imagined ideas, thoughts, and experiences.

It gets (a lot) complicated to see this without significant background reading and experience of what he was doing. (I think even Frances Yates misunderstood some of his intention in her magisterial tome.)

IndieWeb is doing some of what he imagined, but rather than doing it in our physical brains (memory), we’re doing together from website to website in a similar communal manner.

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Andrew, someone in the IndieWeb chat mentioned what an awesome new website you have. I thought you might appreciate our upcoming mini-camp. There’s definitely a space in the tools for thought area that your perspective may help fill. If it’s of interest, I’d invite you to join us.

Gardens and Streams II: An IndieWebCamp Pop-up Session on Wikis, Digital Gardens, Online Commonplace Books, Zettelkasten and Note Taking

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