facebook UX

Facebook is a horribly under-developed platform for discussion and engagement.

Anyone who has spent time on forums, blogs, chat rooms, Slack – anywhere else, really – knows there are a wealth of simple features that would be really useful and powerful.

We need something, anything to alleviate this cramped hellscape of noisy presentation, constant misunderstandings due to limited tools for expression, and complete dearth of tools for curation and moderation. This is where important conversations are happening nowadays, and we deserve a platform that is capable of far more than what it currently offers.

  1. Basic rich-text formatting. Allow bold, italic, underline, and anchors (inline links) for everything. For top-level posts, bulleted/numbered lists and blockquotes. That’s all you need.
  2. Inline images for posts. One image preview shoved at the bottom of a post is not enough. Obviously problematic for comments, but we should be encouraging high quality top-level posts.
  3. Locking posts. Sometimes threads have gone to shit and just need to end. Thread necromancy is fun for memories and jokes but annoying for heated or controversial discussions that just won’t die.
  4. Deeper nesting of comment replies. Even just one more level would go a long way.
  5. Sort comments on posts by replies, reactions, or timestamp. Provide more ways to sift through the noise.
  6. Emoji reactions to comments. Emoji add bandwidth, empathy, and humor.
  7. Emoji reactions to paragraphs or phrases. Like Medium’s highlight feature, except actually useful and fun.
  8. Sharing for comments. A single comment can be the best part of a thread. You can link directly to comments, but this is awkward and unreliable.
  9. Leave a placeholder text when comments are deleted. Threads become unintelligible when it isn’t clear a part of the conversation has disappeared. Indicate whether the comment was deleted by the author of the post vs. a page admin vs. the author of the comment.
  10. Move Like and Reply to the left or right of comments. Replace text with icons. Vertical space is a premium and for any post longer than 3 lines, this is wasted space and noise.
  11. Hide name / profile picture / timestamp for successive comments by the same author. It’s noisy and makes it much harder to read long threads.
  12. Allow highlighted / sticky comments. Let authors select a comment that appears first to set the tone of the conversation. Many blogs and news outlets do this, and it’s useful.
  13. Notify commenters when visibility has changed on a thread they’ve posted to. I’ve seen people get burned by this, and that has a chilling effect on discussion.
  14. Create a separate field for hashtags on posts. Allow posts to join the global conversation without necessitating noise in the post itself.
  15. Scheduled posts / future posting. Sometimes you find stuff you want to share but you’ve already posted a few times today already and don’t want to spam. All the major blogging platforms have this feature — let authors set a time and date for posts to appear.
  16. Allow filtering of your news feed. There are times when you want to see the news, other times you want to see what your friends are posting. There’s filtering by reactions, hashtags, posts with links to articles vs. posts with photos vs. posts with just text. Give people the ability to control the kind of content they’re exposed to.
  17. Separate notifications into reactions, comments on your posts, and replies to your comments. Notifications are ridiculously noisy right now.
  18. Show view counts to authors. We have this for videos, why not for everything else? It’s important.
  19. Add searching for your timeline. There’s no way to find a thread you commented on. It’s hard to find something you posted a long time ago. There’s no easy way to say the things you’ve liked or reacted to. There’s no way to search your photos.
  20. Show the profile intro in the hover popup for profiles. Give people a space to present themselves to people who don’t know them. A profile picture / cover photo / location are not enough. More bandwidth here facilitates more human interactions between strangers.
  21. Tag friends on any post without commenting. Tons of spam / noise is generated by people tagging friends because it’s the only way to generate notifications without putting things on someone’s timeline.
  22. Give control over the size of thumbnail images. Scrolling through your feed, almost half of the real estate at any given time is taken up by stock photos that offer no meaningful information and server only to draw attention.
  23. Colors, damnit. Zebra stripe comments. Apply a pastel background color for comment threads, or colorize the left-hand border. Differentiate threads with unique colors.


Here we are, once more.  Familiar ground.  Another long period of neglect and zero writing.  Another blog redesign complete.  Another chance to reflect on this thing which is now legitimately one of the oldest active (ish) blogs on the internet.  I thought it might be fun to do a quick little jaunt across time to see how the design has evolved.

Continue reading chronistic


There’s a lot of work yet left to do, but so far I’m pleased with how things are coming along.  From the design side of things, I want to convert the background to SVG so that I can take it to the next step, that being a dynamic and potentially interactive scene.  I’ve had musings of changing it based on the tags within a given post, or perhaps animating the birds, waves, the sun, and so on.  It’ll be a while before I get around to that, but I’m already getting a bit tired of the existing scene, so the clock is ticking.  Moving on: thoughts after reading my entire blog from start to finish – the first time I’ve ever done so.

Memories are recorded very differently in words than in photos.  I go through all of my pictures on facebook once a year or so –  not as a ritual, but at some point I just find myself scanning through them, revisiting the progress of my life, trying to see what the pictures say about the names and faces contained therein.  Photos capture moments, but they don’t immerse you into the time and place.  They make that moment easier to access, but the only story they tell is the one you already know.  Writing, on the other hand, is quite like a short film of thoughts and feelings, available to be re-experienced an infinite number of times.  In this sense, I relived the last nine years of my life through the lens of my writing.  It was more intense than I had expected it to be.

Continue reading identiclasm


I did it.  Sweet mother mary on a sesame seed bun, I did it.  All 627 posts have been categorized and tagged. There’s a few stragglers that I have to take care of due to some database errors, but 99% is close enough for now. Image and text links have been successfully restored for about half of the posts.  It took a solid 15 hours of work, but for the first time, most of the content on this blog is once again properly viewable and accessible.

Continue reading landmarkish


Going through old posts is getting harder.  I’m halfway through 2006, and the decent pieces of writing are becoming more sparse.  I’m having to resist the urge to throw down “bullshit” and “pseudo-intellectualism” tags left and right.  Even more tempting is the desire to censor the stuff that really makes me groan.  In a few cases I have changed things that I realize, now, are not ideal to have sitting on a blog, but so far I’ve refrained from eliminating stuff just because it’s embarrassing.  If I were to start doing that, I might as well just start over on another blog.

Continue reading swanful


After 9 years on Blogspot/Blogger, I’ve finally made the transition to a completely self-hosted blog ala WordPress.  Blogger served me well for that time, but the newer templates were not intuitive or comprehensive, didn’t grant the precise control I wanted, and the older template was, well, old.  Doing something as simple as making post titles link to post pages was not possible without custom scripting.

Continue reading pressword


The design is still a work in progress. If you’ve visited multiple times over the weekend, you’ve seen quite an evolution in quality. I’ve greatly enjoyed this process, and it feels refreshing to have something new here. I was once very attached to the old background – and certainly, it excelled in a number of categories. It was unique, it made the setting, and it was personal. I probably squeezed as much out of that formula as possible. If anyone’s curious, the process wasn’t all that complicated. I made a gradient from orange to black, ran a cubism filter, ran an edge filter to add some perspective, and then added a light and bumpmap. The only difficulty was in getting the color and lighting done properly. As much as I dislike GIMP’s interface and design, I can’t begrudge its unique capabilities.

Over the years I made many attempts to move on from that scheme, but I possess very little in the way of free-hand skills. I can’t sketch or draft to save my life, but the doodles I made as a kid on church bulletins during sermons became the one thing I actually found aesthetically pleasing and satisfying to create. I would use the logos or text as a kind of seed, and draw as many concentric circles and parallel lines surrounding the original features on the page as I could. I still do the same kind of doodling at every possible opportunity, so my notebooks for any lecture class are packed with doodled patterns. Similarly, many of the things I made in Minecraft were the product of pseudo-algorithmic reduction.

Continue reading sparked


A few quick technical things before I start crafting a new playlist for tonight.

– I’m 90% certain that this is working in every browser now. A few people were having issues accessing my stylesheet from work, but I think I’ve tweaked Apache to resolve that. I still want to know if things are broken for you.
– Comments may or may not be acting weird. I haven’t figured it out yet. It doesn’t help that Blogger’s code allows very little customization of the commenting engine.
– The sidebar is gross, I know. IE won’t render the margins correctly, so I have to leave it looking halfway ugly for everybody (for now).
– I’m working on another background, primarily one that doesn’t cause lag. Slower computers are not having fun with the transparency, and that’s because of the background. This background was originally 1024×768 (which looked significantly better), but I opted to shrink it to 800×600 for the reduced lag. Even now, it’s not all that smooth.

I’ll leave it here, for now.

Fool’s Gold – Nadine (Memory Tapes Version)

Really hits its stride around 2:30.


Welcome, my sweeties, to what is (by my count) the seventh incarnation of this blog’s physical form.

I felt it a fitting way to begin writing with regularity again. I am simply too hip to allow myself to wallow in a default template. My words must be emphasized by a glorious, fixed background.

If you are experiencing visual aberrations, please let me know. This is all still a work in progress, and I expect problems. In particular, if it seems really slow or stuff is jumping around on the page, I am eager to hear the details of your internetting apparatus. As for the site, the header and sidebar are in for an upgrade, and the comments section is definitively under construction, but it all functions to a minimum level of coherence.

I must say that I am very excited.

Deceleration, and the Lack Thereof (-.-)

I stayed home sick today, and this will be my last sick day for the year. Only 25 days left to go. I worked on the title image, finally got the text AA’d. I realized that GIFs don’t support color-to-transparency, so it’s a PNG again, and IE users get to suffer. Beyond that, I mowed a lawn (I didn’t stay home to do that), went to Scouts, and just got more rest. It was nice.

You know, I was gonna write more. But, something just came up, and has taken away every desire to make a post at this moment.

24 is Not Enough (O.o)

I swear, whoever decided on making days only 24-hours needs to remedy this situation immediately. I’ve spent this entire week staring at this screen and at books, my head hurts, I’m learning way too much. I finally got the motivation to start up with PHP and Javascript, in lieu of my blog changes. In addition to this, I got a different C++ book from my Java teacher, which I’m not sure I like better than the one I have. I’ve probably spent a total of 40 hours doing work on the blog and blog-related locale so far, with more work to do still. I desperately need time, I keep finding myself looking up to find the clock at 11:30, with my homework still not done. It doesn’t help that spring is now here, and mowing customers are calling. Speaking of which, I have to mow a lawn in a few minutes, so this will be fairly short.

Let me know what you think of the changes – I need suggestions. I’m really liking the improvements thus far. It feels a lot more professional and organized to me.

The Halo 2 playlist update and ranking reset was today, but I haven’t been able to touch Halo 2 for three days. Gotta get to that tonight.

While I’m Gone…(O.o)

I’m headed to Colorado tomorrow, I’ll be back Tuesday (not next Tuesday) or Wednesday. I didn’t get to all the site improvements I’d hoped to yesterday, and I probably won’t get to them today. I’ll conduct a list of all I did for you, not that you care. 😛

  • Aligned top sidebar border and top post border
  • Made the main column wider.
  • Moved main column higher
  • Divided sidebar into 3 sections.
  • Added Profile section to sidebar.
  • Removed that dumb blogger image at the bottom.
  • Changed title from “Of Tim” to “And The Lack Thereof”.
  • Made IE generally happier.

I also have a list of things I’m planning on doing in the future! Again, not that you care, but…

  • Get the profile area done.
  • Clean up my code a little more, it’s good as is but could be better.
  • Find a new place to put the comments. I’ve found that the current place it out of the way, and easy to miss.
  • Improve the color I have set for the post dates and blog title.
  • Test out some different border styles.
  • Improve for IE, again.
  • Get a better statcounter.

And a little bit further in the future, once I’ve learned PHP and javascript…

  • Set up a server and host the blog on it.
  • Remove the archive.
  • Bring back the multiple style sheet interface (the red, green, and blue templates)
  • Make an option for automatically emailing new posts to you.

I’ve got a lot of hope for this thing, I’ve been really enjoying slowly improving it throughout time. I’m glad to see how much I’ve improved this thing. It looked pretty darn horrid back in the day.

Anyways, I have some packing, and some burning to do. I need some music for the trip, and I don’t have a MP3 CD player (I really need one), so I have to convert everything to .wav and burn it, which just isn’t cool. Oh well. While I’m gone, go check out Aireline, Built to Spill, Muse, and Sunny Day Real Estate. Good stuff. Off I go to pack.

Set to the Tune of “Commercialization”

The TV is currently spewing out various noises and images related to football and commericals, as I download techno and talk to the few people on IM. I’m not a huge football fan – I can enjoy it in good company, and I know how the game works, but I don’t take time out of my days to watch it. I’m at least into it enough to be able to have a short conversation about it with the pizza delivery guy.

[geek] I spent all of Friday and Saturday building two alternate styles for the Boy Scout website I’m helping with. They wanted some alternate ideas for design, but I was faced with the issue of sorting through code I hadn’t written, and doing it in VI under the unix file system (which I wasn’t very familiar with). It took me about 12 hours to do, since I had to learn how to use chmod (all the files I ssh’d over to the server started with no read/write privilages), and then because of some confusion with the divs and paragraphs, it took me a few hours to figure out the percentages I needed to set (which were never really up to snuff). I also had to figure out a lot of stuff in GIMP (aka Photoshop), as I’ve never really been proficient in that. My second style didn’t work due to some problems in the PHP (that’s all I could find to be the problem in the 20 minutes I had to finish it). Definately fun though, learned a lot of stuff. [/geek]

Nothing else of astounding importance has really happened, though. I’m downloading a whole LOT of techno right now (14 different albums, amounting to about 30 or 40 tracks). During this process though, I’ve noticed something really, really creepy. All the techno forums (where I download the techno) are like…robotic, sort of like a ghost town. So far even the forum formats are the same (they both use phpBB, but the same style, different colors though). I’ve been 4 different places, all the same (including di.fm, which is the general go-to place for techno). All the music is in the same format – one track for each “CD”, with a 2 kb CUE file (i can’t figure out what these do), and usually there’s an option for a torrent or for direct dl. Maybe it’s just the industry standard, I don’t know.

Colette burned me the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. She had me listening to it on the bus home from ski club, it’s pretty good. Some of it’s a little too…singy, but it’s not bad as far as musicals go. Ski club was pretty good, it was nice and warm, so there was room to have some fun. They had signs up telling people to hug the people monitoring the ski lifts. I was running around stealing everybody’s poles (mostly Colette’s, cause she was the easiest to steal from :P).

And, I can’t think of much else interesting to say, so I shall return to looking around for Superbowl commercials.

At the End of All Things (-.-)

The title refers to the final chapter of Lord of the Rings. Today’s been a rather active, mentally and emotionally. After the Math A (piece of cake) I went home, and watched the last 3 episodes of Fullmetal. I watched 23 episodes last night (that is, Monday, as this is 1:16 AM on Wednesday morning) in a row. Having finished it, I am wholly reminded of endings, particularly, the end of good things. Books, movies, shows, I hate getting to the end. If the media did the job correctly, I am left with a gaping hole where it once stood, and I grasp for something as a replacement. This is especially painful with this series, as the character of Edward Elric was…incredible. No, I won’t spoil anything for those who valiantly choose to watch it on TV, and by valiant, I refer to the utter frustration you will want to wreak on your television set when each episode ends, and another does not begin. And yet still, I feel the desire to wreak havoc upon my surroundings in the futile hope of recieving another episode.

Besides finishing Fullmetal, I jumped into the job of helping create the Troop 2 Scouts website. Benjamin’s doing the PHP, Daniel’s doing the CSS, I’m doing the content, and the three of us together decide what’s happening graphically. It’s a fun project – I’ve learned a lot about the Unix file system, SSH, and vi.

The true point of this was to express my utter…helplessness to the feeling I have after finishing Fullmetal. I just, argh, when something that good ends, I just wanna scream, and there’s nothing to replace that empty feeling I have. It’s no surpise, really, as I filled my last week’s nights with watching the episodes (heck, it only took me 5 days to watch 51 episodes, so less than that). I should stop ranting at this point, I suppose.

Monday was the first time I’ve been back to Boy Scouts for a good many months, they were rather happy to see me, and my timing seems rather good, considering the rather…inparticipative older scouts (coughBRANDONcoughPETERcough). I’m sort of obligated to go on the next two camp outs, I guess. I wish I hadn’t said yes for the most recent one, as the timing is inconvenient, but backing out would be rather, shall we say, detrimental to the amount of trust placed in my motivation to show up.

I think I may go re-watch a few episodes now, I’m not sure, but we’ll see.


To my utter dismay, I’ve found the Internet explorer is screwing with me again. I swear, if IE were a real person I’d kill him/her so many times, it wouldn’t even be funny. No, I’m serious. The incompetence it must have taken to produce such a crappy product is mind-boggling.

My greatest apologies to you Internet Explorer users. Among the errors that IE has with my page, here they are, including but not limited to:

-Text is screwy, displays too large or too small, depending on resolution and IE settings.

-Sidebar and Header are not aligned correctly despite the fact I have them correctly calibrated with precentages.

-Header is covered partially by the overhead Blogger bar.

-Various issues with text formatting (will often make entire blog posts bold or italicized).

I’m really sorry, but I’m done with my blog-fixing phase, I put a whole lot of time into it over the summer, and it looked great before, but if you really want it to look correct, go get Firefox and become a better person. Once again, my greatest apologies, but I don’t have the energy to fix it.


So Paul helped me out a whole bunch today (and it did take all day) to make this blog even more neato. In case you haven’t noticed, you’ll randomly see one of three themes = red, green, and blue as the appearance. They all look the same at the core, it’s just different colors. We’ve both put plenty of effort into it, and I think we did a good job. Huzzah.

I also created a poll, at the bottom of the sidebar. I’m interested in what everyone prefers. Go. vote. And comment. Vote and comment. 😀


I’m being forced to–err…I’d like to apologize to Gwen for speaking the truth being mean and exercising my rights asking her not to comment so much. It was very brave wrong of me and I have no regrets about it whatsoever shouldn’t have done that.

I am actually sorry though. 🙂

Come baaaaaaaaack!


I feel a good bit better today, but I’m still coughing enough to make it apparant that I am indeed sick. I managed to do 200/225 sit ups, 80/90 push ups, and 200/225 squats last night. I lost count after I got to the 6th set, so I might have done 9, I’m not too sure. My parents were nice and let me skip an orthodontics appointment today, though there’s some garage sale thingy we have to take stuff to. I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll be all cured.

Paul gave me a nifty idea. In a couple of days I’m gonna try and set this up so that it randomly chooses between 3 color templates, all of them would be like this, only one would be based off green, another red, maybe yellow, I’m not really sure. I need to learn more about CSS before I try anything, though. Don’t expect anything special for a while.


In honour (that’s the English spelling…I like it better) of the 200th post, I have redesigned the blog! It’s not 100% done as of right now, but I like it. Lemme know what you think, or if it doesn’t display correctly. Most of the changes are pretty obvious, but some you might not have noticed. I dropped the header down a bit, and added a border on the bottom of the mood. I removed the bottom and right borders and the sidebar and changed the existing ones to dashed. Overall, I think this works a lot better.

Enjoy. At least, I hope you will.

And if you’re using 800×600 resolution – don’t even start with me. I refuse to go to any great lengths to make this blog work for you. ‘Nuff said. I checked all the IPs and as far as I can tell nobody from New York is using 800×600.


I’ve done a bunch of tweaking in the template over the past few days, deleting unnecessary stuff, etc. In a nifty (yes, nifty) bulleted list, here’s what I’ve done.

»Centered the text alignment for the title, date, and byline.

»Added border to sidebar.

»Moved header to left side, raised main column.

»Changed description, shortened blog title.

»Added nifty and actual working background.

»Removed unnecessary code from the original template.

Took me long enough…especially since Internet Explorer is stupid, and couldn’t read my blog after I’d done two days worth of poking. It’s all good now. It doesn’t look QUITE as good in Internet Explorer as it does in Firebird, but it’s close enough. As for things people actually care about – I should be back at school tomorrow. Spent most of today doing catch-up homework and watching more news. Enjoy my completely random links.


Okay, I am FINALLY done with tweaking the page. I may change the colors later on, if the populace demands it. For those of you who would like to know what I changed, I shall give you a list, including how much time it took me to figure out how to do it or just to do it.

-Add background image – 1 1/2 hour

-Chang colors in all headline texts – 1 1/2 hour

-Center header, increase sidebar margins – 30 minutes

-Update links section – 5 minutes

-Remove all border lines – 5 minutes

So I spent about 3 hours on this thing. All because I couldn’t go to the concert. Isn’t that great.


Okay, after all the work has been done, I’m finished. If you are viewing in a full window – yes, I know there are margins on the left and right, but I have no way to fix those. There is no image resolution large enough to fit the fell width of the window. But for those of you with slightly scaled down windows, it’s all good to you. Let me know about the colors, I did my best to maintain the previous settings, which I liked, but some of them had to be changed. Yes, I do know that orange does not go with blue, but I want it so the people can see the date very clearly, which I believe I succeeded in doing. Any comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. My email, is once again:


That’s all for now.