cozy eternal beta test mode

Not everything needs to be built at scale — sometimes it can just be for family and friends :)) Normalize creating playful and non-instrumental technology

See: small technology

An app can be a home-cooked meal

Source: Robin Sloan

Clay Shirky: “Situated software, by contrast, doesn’t need to be personalized — it is personal from its inception.”

I can, at this point, make the things happen on computers that I want to make happen. At the same time, I would not last a day as a professional software engineer. Leave me in charge of a critical database and you will return to a smoldering crater.

I am the programming equivalent of a home cook.

Spring ‘83


I love the disclaimer at the top: “It’s okay to share this link, but I want to underscore that I am sending it specifically to you with the hope that you will … really think about it! At such a primordial stage, a proposal like this doesn’t need diffuse, drive-by attention. It needs, instead, close consideration and generous imagination."

  • "There are no analytics, obviously. Nothing is counted. Boards can’t load tracking pixels, and they can’t ping remote analytics APIs. Sorry, folks … you’ve got to let go of the numbers. In 2022, they are not helpful feedback, but rather a clear warning you are in the wrong place.”
  • When you operate a server, you get a universe for free (see also: world seed).

Folk Software


People reappropriating existing software to solve their own unique problems

Folksonomies are informal taxonomies developed by users on social sharing platforms. Usually in the form of tags on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, or Instagram.

Folk creations fill a gap. They solve problems for individuals and small communities in a way that that centralised, top-down, industrial creations never can. They are informal, distributed practices that emerge from real world contexts.

Related to Tools for Conviviality

Against universal design

In Design Justice

Universal Design (UD) as defined by Center for UD at North Carolina State University: The design of products and environment to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design

At least in the digital domain, adaptive design that enables personalization and flexible configuration of shared core objects, tools, platforms, and systems provides a path out of the tension between the diverse needs of individual users and the economic advantages of a large-scale user base.

Universalization erases difference and produces self-reinforcing spirals of exclusion, but personalized and culturally adaptive systems too often are deployed in ways that reinforce surveillance capitalism.

We should destabilize the underlying assumption that what is best for the majority of users is best for all users.

“People are different sizes; they sit in different ways. And yet there is a tendency in modern times to make all chairs alike” (p.1158, Different Chairs, A Pattern Language)

Bicycles for the mind

  • We were promised bicycles but instead we got aircraft carriers
  • Bicycles: personal, light, moddable
  • Aircraft carriers: industrial, heavy, manufactured