Wait. We have an actual holiday, kinda-sorta, today? Indeed, sit down, because this one will take a bit, but today, we observe the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which I feel like I shouldn’t need to explain, because the name has all the relevant words in it, and I have to imagine that anybody reading my blog understands the importance of this sort of observation.

If you don’t like that one, then the United Nations observes the not-quite-as-wordy International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members today, also pretty much what the name says. Given the various political campaigns to undermine the United Nations and its projects, it seems particularly important to watch out for its workers.

A painting of a slave market in Brazil

And on we go to the projects.

Entropy Arbitrage Newsletter

For those of you interested in such things, I’ll have the next issue of the Entropy Arbitrage newsletter ready to go on Saturday the sixth.

If you have signed up on Mailchimp, I still don’t quite trust the company, then you’ll get the e-mail on Saturday. If you have subscribed on Buy Me a Coffee—at the link in the previous paragraph, click the Follow button to the upper-right of the page; no money will change hands—you’ll get it on Tuesday morning, the ninth of April, since I never publish blog posts on Tuesdays, making that a nicer match than Saturdays.

What will you find inside? As always, you’ll find links to all the articles that I found interesting in my RSS feed or bookmarked, plus some analysis of blog traffic. For March, I wrote a piece on the abusive ways that companies set prices, another installment of my laptop-shopping story after a long hiatus, discussed media consumption skewed towards celebrating Black History Month, have some early-stage looks at The Light’s Edge. If you’ve become a member on Buy Me a Coffee, then you have already seen previews for some of that.


GitHub - jcolag/earburnBrowser extension to identify sites that accept Webmentions - jcolag/earburn

I’ve described the process behind this new project elsewhere, but for the sake of completeness, I’ll go through it again, here.

Adding Indie Web features to my blog raised an interesting question for me, especially as I started to think about using the social media roundup and Free Culture Book Club posts to respond to other people’s work that I present on the blog. Namely, how do I know whether replying to an article or other project will register, or if doing that will join the other text in a post that largely sits waiting for people to find it?

I can know that—and did, for the first couple of pages that I did this for in Friday’s post—by opening up the page’s HTML source code and manually searching for something like this.

<link rel="webmention" href="https://some.url.example">

If I can find that, then I know that I can send a Webmention, and let the server at that link figure it out. If I don’t find it, then sending it doesn’t work any better than the post already does. However, checking this manually requires that I remember to do it for every page that I might want to mention in the blog, and the process takes time.

Given that situation, I decided to borrow from my own past on the blog and write a browser extension to do the work for me. I call it Earburn as a reference to the idiom about feeling one’s ears burning when people talk about them behind their back.

That all said, at the moment, I only have the repository in place. Some variation of the above will probably end up in the README file, though…

Entropy Arbitrage

GitHub - jcolag/entropy-arbitrage-codeThe Jekyll blog for https://john.colagioia.net/blog - jcolag/entropy-arbitrage-code

Most of this week went to finally committing the code that I’ve described in the recent Indie Web posts, Trying on the Indie Web and Deeper in the Indie Web, if you feel the need to catch up. Specifically, I’ve added the Webmentions gem, h-cards, the Selfauth endpoint, a spot in posts to show Webmentions, and rel=me properties to the list of social media links that shows up at the bottoms of posts.

Following up on the second post, I also added supplemental Webmentions-relevant configuration options to Jekyll, particularly the debugging and throttling. But in an attempt to avoid some warnings that I see in the JavaScript console, I have also added author information, to make that available to Jekyll where the plugin might request it.

Oh, I also filed an issue on the Webmentions gem to figure out why I couldn’t send anything. It looks like we have the basic problem resolved, but I’ll need to think about the next steps.

Library Updates

I needed to bump library versions for Fýlakas Onomáton. I still have some left over, but I needed to get to the other projects.


As mentioned, I do have some library updates remaining. I also have my plugins to create embedded Webmentions, though—as I hinted above—I may need to put in some work to send them outside the gem’s scope, plus Earburn. And I do need to get back to Notoboto, at some point.

Credits: The header image is Marché aux Negres by Johann Moritz Rugendas, long in the public domain due to an expired copyright.