Hi. You can call me Pre.



Here’s the stuff I’ve made that I’m most proud of.


Here’s my latest posts to the free fediverse, some rambling, some ranting, mostly just commenting on stuff I’ve read lately. Some of it gets syndicated to Twitter but mostly not. The best of it reaches my monthly digest email.

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 11:43:18 +0000

This month's newsletter is on it's way to all the incredibly brilliant and astonishing people who signed up to receive it.

The rest of you scum can read it here:

This month's mostly been about the kickstarter I ran and the continuing digital exodus.

Sun, 04 Dec 2022 23:17:39 +0000

Decided that if it likes sweetness and light you might as well lean into it. Write a fairy story.

We are going to write a fairy story in which the battle between the fairys and the unicorns is a Marxist allegory for the struggle between the capital and the workers.


Getting it to rewrite chapters giving instructions like "Show don't tell" and "great, but change the ending" is a pretty natural way to chat with it to make a story.

It likes really short chapters. Gets confused with the longer ones if you give it instructions on how to change it like "make the second paragraph twice as long".

Full transcript as I ordered it's edits around:

Sun, 04 Dec 2022 20:09:14 +0000

The main trouble I am getting with trying to use the new chat AI to write stories is that they have trained the thing so hard to avoid conflict and sex and violence that every scene ends up with everyone hugging and saying they forgive each other and they'll try to be a better person from now on.

I tried to let it role-play me onboard a star-ship and the missions were so boring: Explore this planet. Doesn't it have nice flowers. Rescue these friendly people, with nobody trying to stop you.

I tried to raise a mutiny but everyone just kept saying how nice everyone was.

Don't think you can train for conflict avoidance and also good fiction.

Sun, 04 Dec 2022 15:49:18 +0000

Cory Doctorow:

This week, Sky UK started warning people who pressed the skip-ad button on their cable remotes that they would be billed an extra £5/month if they fast-forwarded past an ad."


I already don't use them coz they're terrible but I will be sure to even more not use them now!

I think my parents might have Sky? They seem to swap a lot, looking for those introductory deals.

Cory is always banging on about the unethical things Copyright legislation allows companies to do. It's horrible and shocking. I love to read it. Reading his book Chokepoint Captialism at the moment, filled with all the same.

The big companies are all terrible.


Sun, 04 Dec 2022 13:27:07 +0000

Whatever the Online Safety Bill says, I will not use a messenger with government-spying built in.

If they somehow make Signal install government-spyware, I'll delete Signal and switch to using Matrix.

If they somehow make Matrix have a government spy, I'll download the source-code and take the spyware out and compile it myself.

Remember, the only people who the government-spyware will spy on is law abiding citizens like you.

They won't be spying on the pirates and hackers and hoaxers and terrorists and groomers. Those people don't give a fuck what the government says their software should do.

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 21:17:03 +0000

Some people ordered the book, so I had to spend a day editing the book and making a final draft.

Obviously yesterday I refused to do that and ate cheese and napped and stared at the FediFeed.

But today I manged to do it.

The book is done. I can order it and post it to customers.

I might even give it a bar-code and make it generally available.

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 10:51:51 +0000

There is no such thing as a "real name". All names are made up.

Fri, 02 Dec 2022 23:44:59 +0000

For those who are wondering: I am against police kill-bots. I think giving the police killer robots is a bad idea. The police should not have killer robots.

Fri, 02 Dec 2022 00:53:34 +0000

One of the great things about the Vi - Hand-Signal, is that it can be mirrored.

You can even signal to each other through a glass plane if you have been accidentally trapped into a nightmarish world where Vim is suppressed and everyone has a goatee and an Org Mode Profile.

You just need to remember: Right hand up, hide the ring-ringer, touch fingertips.

It even works through a screen.

Try it!

But not with any Emacs subversives.

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 22:44:24 +0000

Content warning: Anti-Emacs Religious War

There's been far too much Emacs around here lately.

You know what they don't have?

They don't have their own hand-symbol, that's what they don't have.

Because their hands are all clutched permanently into terrible claws from the triple-key-meta-combinations they press all the time and that made my hands hurt so much I never got to learn what an Org mode even is.

You know what does have it's own hand-symbol, doesn't break your fingers, and isn't as large as an operating system?

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 22:10:01 +0000

Content warning: #UKPol - Labour and Picket Lines

I live in a country where the prime minster (who is the leader of the party of the capital) is in power, and taking questions from the parliament.

The opposition asks why the capital's own MPs are blocking building new homes.

The leader of the capital lies that they are building a record number of new homes, and then accuses the the opposition leader (who is in theory the leader of the party of the workers) of being "too weak" to ban his party members from joining picket lines.

He says he thinks the best way to be supporting workers isn't to build houses, but to ban MPs from joining the strikers.

You'd expect the leader of the party of the workers to respond something like, "I am strong enough to support the strikers in their fight for workers rights, and I will also be on the picket-lines with them, and all my party, defending the rights of the workers. I demand we pay the workers their due and build the houses they need!"

But instead he just blanks it and talks about how the party of the workers will team up with the party of the capital if they just please build a house.

What the fuck is going on?

What is going on is that there are two parties of the capital swapping faces, and when one of them looked like the workers might be in charge for a bit, the capital-owned media lied and defamed and smeared that party until it complied with the demands of the capital.

So now the so-called "labour" party is /also/ on the side of the capital.

Now the capital-owned media may allow them to take power, just so long as they don't support strikes, or workers rights, or any reform at all.

Ref: PMQT: youtube.com/watch?v=s1rER7qxtT

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 21:21:21 +0000

You Maniacs! You ordered the goddamned book! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

I'm going to have the actually edit it and produce a final draft now.

Tue, 29 Nov 2022 14:47:27 +0000

I notice that an done on posts in simply dosn't do anything to a post in /#Misskey

They remain unedited.

Dunno if that will change later.

So now you know that too. If you're editing posts, Misskey users won't see the edit.

Tue, 29 Nov 2022 12:25:15 +0000

Seems like Cory Doctorow thinks the floodgates have opened and the people are finally fleeing from the creeping enshitification of

He's always right about the copyright and I'm currently reading his book Chokepoint Capitalism which is also great.

Dunno if his history of predicting the migrations of human herds have any form though.

Hope he's right. The poor people still trapped there. 😦

Great article anyway.


Tue, 29 Nov 2022 11:44:37 +0000

I'm constantly asking Firefox to transfer my tabs between my desktop, and my laptop, and my media-machine plugged into the projector, and my phone, and my VR machine.

Love that Firefox is everywhere.

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 23:51:40 +0000

Content warning: Tim Burton's Wednesday Addams

Watched the Netflix show with Wednesday it in. It is very good.

Bit tropey with the kid-at-magic-school thing, but Burton makes it fun and other-wordly and it's a good gothy comic-book feel.

Sun, 27 Nov 2022 14:58:11 +0000

Content warning: Twtter2.0 - Musks Plans Vs Activitypub

Musk's done some slides about his plans for his new empire, 2.0.

I compare those plans here by adding the answer to each element.

Advertising, video, Encryption, Longform, Verified, Payments.

Sun, 27 Nov 2022 01:35:24 +0000

My test instance has exactly two accounts and exactly one follow: Myself, here, on main.

Yet it has been federating, building it's network, from the people that server has watched my main interact with.

The little widget on the sidebar to show the federation is great. All those M icons though. Grr. Makes me want to change mine. There ought to be a space-hopper there. There was a space-hopper favicon originally. Upgrade/reinstall overwrote it at some point.

Anyway: Behold Calckey's federation widget. It's it pretty?

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 12:56:35 +0000

I was thinking of leaving my own computer and letting some big organisation run my chatroom for me, but look at this! There's so many. Facebook, and Hive and Twitter and Intsagram and Post and Youtube and Onlyfans and Linkedin and Twitch and Telegram and Tumbler and Blogger and Wordpress.

And they're all siloed apart from each other and don't even interoperate. How are you supposed to pick?

I don't want to pick a provider for my social network, I just want to shitpost and look at pictures of cats.

Big social networks will never catch on with this kind of user experience. I'm going to continue just using my own computer to connect to a free network.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 01:03:33 +0000

@pre@dalliance.social Oh, man. Calckey is just nicer feeling already.

I also like that it's all Node so I don't have to re-learn any Ruby if I want to hack on it much.

There's not going to be any upgrade path from Mastodon to Misskey though is there? No way to copy even just the user-database and ditch all post-history?

I guess such a thing would just be unimaginably hard wouldn't it @thatonecalculator ?

Probably password salt might even make it impossible without forcing everyone to password-reset at the very least.

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A list of the last few things I’ve enjoyed reading/watching or sometimes bookmarked to read later. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed here or follow the little robot on the fediverse that toots them out as I bookmark them.

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 11:30:04 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: The Techno-Feudal Method to Musk’s Twitter Madness - Project Syndicate op-ed - Yanis Varoufakis

Immediately after taking over and pronouncing himself Chief Twit, Musk affirmed his commitment to safeguarding Twitter as the “public square” where anything and everything is debated. It was a smart tactic which successfully diverted the public’s attention to an endless global debate about whether the world should trust its foremost short-form forum to a mogul with a history of playing fast and loose with the truth in that same forum.The liberal commentariat is fretting over Donald Trump’s reinstatement. The left is agonizing over the rise of a tech-savvy version of Rupert Murdoch. Decent people of all views are deploring the terrible treatment of Twitter’s employees. And Musk? He seems to be keeping his eye on the ball: In a revealing tweet, he confessed his ambition to turn Twitter into an “everything app.”


Mon, 05 Dec 2022 00:35:04 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: BBC Radio 4 - Damned Andrew

Andrew O'Neil radio show "Andrew O'Neill has opened a portal to another dimension and a thousand demons have flooded through. Comedy drama by Andrew O'Neill and Tom DeVille, narrated by Alan Moore." - Not a recommendation. A bookmark. Haven't listened yet.


Sun, 04 Dec 2022 01:00:04 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: Can This AI Save Teenage Spy Alex Rider From A Terrible Fate?

So far, we have a version of GPT that can sometimes, though not reliably, assess that if someone’s eyes explode, it probably counts as injuring them - plus a dream of one day creating something that can classify how many parentheses are in a given string. Good luck!


Thu, 01 Dec 2022 11:55:04 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: Stumbling and Mumbling: It's not about the money

The economy is made of real things, not money, so think about those real things instead of "we don't have enough money", it's "we don't have enough workers" etc.


Tue, 29 Nov 2022 11:00:04 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: Social Quitting

Corey doctorow on the digital migration


Sat, 26 Nov 2022 14:40:04 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: How To Open An Outpost In Social Media Exile

Nice guide from some blue-tick starter their own Fedi server though masto.host


Wed, 23 Nov 2022 16:00:05 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: Scotland in Chains - Craig Murray

We now know Westminster will not grant Independence; we have to take it. We have to take it whatever UK law or the London Supreme Court says. We have to assert the Sovereignty of the Scottish People as an authority that stands, in Scotland, ineffably higher than any parliament in a foreign land. Independence must be declared in Scotland by Scotland’s people, preferably through Scotland’s government. Any politician who still argues we must be constrained by Westminster law and bow our heads to London diktats is a unionist. Please see that.


Wed, 23 Nov 2022 15:35:04 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: The Medium – An Appeal For Support – Media Lens

MediaLens on, well, the media again: - "When Julian Assange tried to challenge this system, the Medium turned on him, crushed his reputation, and thereby crushed the public support that might otherwise have protected him."- "When Jeremy Corbyn challenged the system, the Medium tried and failed with everything, until it threw the ultimately despicable sink, barbarically exploiting the suffering and deaths of six million Jews in the Holocaust to crush him."- "Now that the courageous, smart and principled heroes of Just for Oil, Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion are trying to save their lives, your lives and our lives by exposing the truth of fossil fuel industry insanity, the Medium is branding them narcissists, traitors, public enemies. Trashy, billionaire-owned, capitalist tabloids are assailing the opponents of runaway capitalism in the name of ordinary working people."


Wed, 23 Nov 2022 13:50:04 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: Scott Aaronson | Quantum Computing: Dismantling the Hype | The Cartesian Cafe with Timothy Nguyen - YouTube

Three Hours of quantum computing researcher Scott Aaronson talking about his topic, dismantling hype.


Thu, 17 Nov 2022 00:48:59 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: How to Get Started on Mastodon | WIRED

Pretty good how-to / starting-up guide for Masto.


Fri, 11 Nov 2022 14:40:05 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: Who Is “Web3” For? - Strange Matters

Decentralisation is not about blockchains and "web3" is stupid.


Thu, 10 Nov 2022 20:30:18 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: Does Twitter Have Any Employees Left Who Remember That The Company Is Under A Strict Consent Decree With The FTC? | Techdirt

I was not previously aware that the FTC agreements were so onerous. It seems that the big corporate networks are more owned by the government than I had thought.


Wed, 09 Nov 2022 23:15:14 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: How blindsight answers the hard problem of consciousness | Aeon Essays

Shortish essay from Nicholas Humphrey, emeritus professor of psychology at LSE, on consciousness. What it is, how it works, why it evolved:"Phenomenal consciousness is the result of a cognitive operation performed by the brain: representing sensory experience in a certain way. Quite possibly, it involves the brain generating something like an internal text, that it interprets as being about phenomenal properties."


Wed, 09 Nov 2022 23:15:13 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: The internet is already over - by Sam Kriss

Death of the internet announced on the internet.... Nicely written rant, and much of what Sam says about the internet here is true -- of the corporate mass internet. But the old internet is still here. Behind the billboards and the influencers and the gigantic mega-corps there are still people putting interesting rants on their blogs or talking to each other outside of Twitter and Instagram. There are still crazy people writing insane things, nerds making loving art for a dozen followers. You just can't do that kind of thing on the corporate web because it's bad for advertising impressions.The corporate internet is dying, but the people's internet is still growing strong.


Wed, 09 Nov 2022 23:15:13 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: SCOTT RITTER: Pipelines v. USA – Consortium News

Ritter accuses the US.Has anyone got a better theory on who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines than: America did it, like they said they would, in order to isolate Russia from Europe and profit greatly from increased sales of gas.I mean Russia sure don't benefit and nor does Germany and the eco-terrorists don't really exist. Ukraine's own army?What is the story that the corporate press are putting out? Is it remotely believable? Are they even trying?What would happen if it turns out America did an act of war and blew up European energy infrastructure? Sanction on their gas too?


Wed, 09 Nov 2022 23:15:13 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: A Brief History of the Past 10,000 Years of Monetary Policy and Why Last Week Was a Big Deal - Epsilon Theory

As soon as the Truss/Kwarteng plan was released, expectations skyrocketed that the Bank of England would be forced to raise interest rates far more than planned in order to contain this new source of inflation. And since when interest rates go up, the value of UK bonds go down, many people with money started selling those UK bonds. Selling those UK bonds drove the price of the bonds lower still, which created still more upward pressure on interest rates. Which created still more pressure to sell. You see the problem? Well … it gets worse.


Wed, 09 Nov 2022 23:15:13 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: Westerners live in denial, convinced they’re the good guys | Middle East Eye

"...Had the Palestinians openly celebrated blowing up a bridge in East Jerusalem, a territory illegally annexed by Israel in the 1960s, and killed Israeli civilians as collateral damage in the process, who can really imagine western media reports being similarly supportive? Nor would western academics have lined up, as they did for Ukraine, to explain in detail why destroying a bridge was a proportionate act and fully in accordance with the rights in international law of a people under belligerent occupation to resist. Instead, there would have been thunderous denunciations of Palestinian savagery and "terrorism"."


Wed, 09 Nov 2022 23:15:13 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: great page on sound

Many little demonstration apps. Cute explainer.


Wed, 09 Nov 2022 23:15:12 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: Britain’s Stark Choice Ahead: Transformation or Collapse – Byline Times

This bleak assessment of the state of Britain, and the globe, and energy crisis, and political crisis, and energy-war seems pretty well reasoned. Yet somehow it still ends up-beat, with some actual optimism if we can get the old dying world out of the way so the new can be born.


Wed, 09 Nov 2022 23:15:12 +0000

Bookmarked by @pre: CD / The Horrors of the Alpha Channel - YouTube

The Cap on the Mat


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A tentacle themed attire for the gig