sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
[vid] Something Good (Will Come From That)
100 years of moving pictures about Holmes and Watson

Download, streaming, and sources at DW/LJ and AO3.
Rebloggable version at tumblr.

For the past year I've been watching a LOT of Holmes and Watson while trying not to say too much about any of it in public. (I was allegedly ‘preserving my anonymity,’ hah! I needn’t have bothered; the [ profile] holmestice comm seems to have known more-or-less instantly who made that vid.)

So here, have a bunch of random, pent-up commentary, with numerous digressions and side-notes. :-)

A Year Spent Watching Holmes and Watson )

'All the Holmeses' and 'All the Watsons' )

100 Years of Moving Pictures )

100 Years of Cinematography )

Cinematography and Shippiness )

Gender and Race, oh my! )

'Always' 1895 )

Would You Like to Take a Walk? )
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
As I said earlier, we've just finished a round of Holmestice. I made a vid for [ profile] gardnerhill.

Streaming and download here and mirrored at AO3.
Rebloggable version at tumblr.
Commentary in a post to follow.

Title: Something Good (Will Come From That)
Characters/Pairings: Holmes & Watson; Holmes/Watson
Rating: General
Summary: One hundred years of moving pictures about Holmes and Watson.

My deepest thanks to my collaborator and source-monkey, [ profile] k_e_p/[personal profile] language_escapes, without whom this would have required twice the work and been half as good. Major thanks also to [personal profile] grrlpup, who watched many hours of source and many drafts of the vid, and to [personal profile] ghost_lingering, who provided excellent beta and technical advice.

If you spot an error in the source list, please say so. I am uncertain that I have credited the correct actors for Jighangsha (1951). If there’s anyone out there who can double-check against the in-film credits (which are in Bengali script), that would be a great boon, thank you.

Something Good (Will Come From That) from Sanguinity on Vimeo.

Download (.mp4, 65MB)

Sources )

Lyrics )

Friday Five

Jun. 24th, 2016 11:12 am
grrlpup: (rose)
[personal profile] grrlpup

1. When we moved into our house 20 years ago, sanguinity and I ripped up the incredibly gross carpet in one room, and with friends’ help we resanded the softwood floor underneath. It was pretty worn, but we got one more sanding out of it. Sang convinced me to finish with old-school shellac, and it worked out fine. (No wet shoes or muddy pets allowed in that room.)

We mostly cleared the room last month to make space for workers restoring the window, so it seemed like a good opportunity for another couple of coats. The hardware store employees were incredulous that shellac could be a floor covering, and I had to be adamant to get them to order me a quart of it. (It was weird, they’re not usually like that.) Sang wielded the brush and had to go lie down and giggle afterwards because of the alcohol fumes. But look, pretty!

shellacked softwood floor

2. After Vass mentioned a game called Alphabear, I put it on my phone and tried it out. I may get hooked enough to have to delete it soon, although so far it’s strenuous enough that my brain’s tired of it after a round or two. It’s just as well I left my phone at home today.

3. This art car has been for sale down by the Reed campus for a couple of weeks.

art-car wagon in the sun

Thing is, the front panel spells out in beads that it’s dedicated to the memory of someone. It would be a considerable and maybe odd responsibility to take over an art car memorial for someone you didn’t know.

We had an art car plan, never executed, for my old Camry– the paint on the hood was worn and scratched, and Sang suggsted we could paint on a knitting-stitch pattern, with cables or whatever, and then maybe put a big ball of yarn and needles on the roof. But in reality, I’m so averse to attracting attention that even a bumper sticker is pushing it. Also the reason I’ll probably never have a recumbent bike, unless someday they’re no longer conversation magnets.

4. Tomorrow evening I’m volunteering at the Portland World Naked Bike Ride. They’re taking off from the park nearest my house, and it seemed a shame not to go see such an iconic event, but I didn’t want to un-cobweb my bike or be a creepy rubbernecker. So I’ll help with the first pass of cleanup after the ride leaves. (Another crew comes through at 8 a.m. to get whatever we miss in the dark.)

5. 1970s rereading jag, including most of the Al books by Constance C. Greene. Books set in apartment buildings were strange and fascinating to me as a kid– friends living down the hall, taking the laundry to the basement, and people called “supers” who also lived in the basement? The Al books are such a comedy act in their dialogue and timing and repetition that I’m a little surprised that they felt like real novels to me then. I didn’t even notice for years that we never learn the narrator’s name. Now I’m on to Beat the Turtle Drum and it’s very weird to hear echoes of that same voice in Kate and Joss, but slower and more serious.

This post also appears at read write run repeat. Comments read and welcomed in either place!

Holmestice recs!

Jun. 24th, 2016 08:58 am
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
[ profile] holmestice just completed another round!

My lovely gift was a Watson and Holmes story about Violetta Smith and Irene Adlero, their music, their careers, and their relationship:
A Time to Remember by [ profile] venusinthenight
Violetta Smith & Irene Adlero
G, No Archive Warnings Apply
Music; Female Friendship; Canon Character of Color; Black Character(s); Life-Changing Moments; Female-Centric; Volume 2 Spoilers; Community: holmestice
1779 words

The Adventuress was a pivotal album for Violetta, but meeting the woman who made it would become life-changing.

Lots of people aren’t familiar with the Watson and Holmes comic, so have some panels introducing Violetta and Irene:
Violetta’s and Irene’s introductions )

I turned that page at the end of Solitary Cyclist, discovered that Irene and Violetta knew each other, and fireworks went off in my brain. I immediately made a note to request them for the next round of Holmestice, and look what happened! I got a thing! :-)

I also had the pleasure of getting to beta ALL THREE My Dearly Beloved Detective stories. (Three! Three! We got three MDBD stories!) My Dearly Beloved Detective is a Russian farce with a pathos-filled underbelly, in which Doyle’s Holmes and Watson are fictional characters, but so many people kept applying to 221B Baker Street for aid, that a pair of detectives were hired to fill the need: Shirley Holmes and Jane Watson. Scotland Yard is not so thrilled to be bested by a pair of women, and decided to take them down. The film is available on YouTube with fan-produced English subtitles: My Dearly Beloved Detective.

The three stories very nearly have a consistent throughline between them — pre-canon, mid-canon, and post-canon — all centering on the stresses between Shirley and Jane concerning Jane’s desire to get married.

The Hue and Cry by [ profile] garonne for [ profile] k_e_p
An evening at home with a stack of newspapers.

my tired soul on fire by [ profile] PhoenixFalls for [personal profile] garonne
I ached for everything we had been to each other, everything we could have been together. For every case we would not get to solve together; for all the useful skills I would not get to teach her; for every quiet evening in we would no longer spend chatting over our books or our mending.

so that you will hear me by [ profile] k_e_p for [ profile] venusinthenight
She needs Jane to know.

A stand-out this round was the Murder by Decree story, Art in the Blood, by [ profile] rachelindeed. (Author’s summary: After the events of Murder by Decree, Mycroft Holmes leaves the British government and tries to decide what to do with the rest of his life.) Dear reader, I laughed and I cried.

I also particularly enjoyed:
  • [ profile] gardnerhill’s Bee Yourself (Elementary, Joan-centric, “Things get Kafkaesque around the brownstone.”)
  • [ profile] rabidsamfan’s Loose End (Game of Shadows, Moran vs. Watson, “The hunter becomes the hunted.”)
  • [ profile] scfrankles’s Dust and Ashes (ACD, humor, “Holmes and Watson investigate three cases which appear to have some similarities. Could there be something bigger going on in the background?”)
  • [ profile] gray_cardinal’s Broken Silence (ACD, post-Reichenbach, "I shook my head slightly, levered myself to my feet – and, for the first and only time since the founding of the Diogenes, broke the club’s most cardinal rule. 'Come,' I said to Dr. Watson, 'and we shall discuss the matter.'")

…and I have to go take the car to have the brakes looked at. I’ll talk about my own contribution to the round when I get back. :-)

There's No Place Like Home

Jun. 24th, 2016 06:49 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Back in 2009, Daniel Zalewski wrote in the New Yorker about the anxious, helicopter parents of contemporary children’s literature and their demanding, unruly children:

An easier way to get help using Slack

Jun. 23rd, 2016 05:05 pm
[syndicated profile] slack_feed

Posted by Slack

Slackbot now has answers to your most common questions

You may recall your first encounter with Slackbot, the friendly virtual assistant that helped set up your account:

Now, Slackbot can also answer your basic questions about using Slack. The next time you need help — and would like to avoid interrupting a coworker or posting your question in a channel — ask your question in a direct message to @slackbot instead.

We’ve collected your most common questions, to which Slackbot will reply with the information you need. If Slackbot doesn’t know the answer to the particular question you’re asking, it will search through important words or phrases in your message and match them up with articles in our Help Center. If you’re not getting quite what you need, try reducing questions to just a few keywords.

Because Slackbot’s custom responses are limited to your Slack-related questions, it will get stumped by your most pressing inquiries:

(Keep in mind, in the world of bots, Slackbot is still very rudimentary. In fact, Slackbot would be the first to admit this — but only if “yes” had first been added as a custom response to the words, “Are you still very rudimentary?”)

It’s ok though — you can always browse our Help Center to look for any answers Slackbot can’t find.

Direct messages for (you)

Because of this change in how Slackbot works, it no longer functions as a private scratch pad. If you used Slackbot as a place to store messages to yourself, it’s advisable not to do this any longer as Slackbot will inevitably, chirpily reply that there is no clear answer for whatever it is you’re asking.

However, you can now send direct messages to yourself as a way to compose drafts, test /giphy, or tap out reminders. It’s the same thing you’ve been doing all along, just now in a different place.

Our Help Center article contains additional details about how Slackbot works. Feel free to send feedback or tweet us at @SlackHQ.

An easier way to get help using Slack was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Read the responses to this story on Medium.

There’s no “I” in crisis

Jun. 23rd, 2016 05:17 pm
[syndicated profile] slack_feed

Posted by Slack

A physician-in-training on teamwork and trauma in the ER

Illustration by Alice Lee

When you’re a doctor, your signature scrawled at the bottom of a patient’s record assumes a lot of responsibility. It says that, no matter the outcome, you were responsible for making the final calls. This burden breeds two kinds of doctors: cautious and cowboy.

“Every attending [physician] measures risk differently. A really cautious attending will admit a patient to make sure they don’t have a heart attack a few hours later, but a cowboy doctor—which isn’t to say they’re reckless, just more assertive—will be quick to send someone home so we can serve more patients,” explains a bleary-eyed Matthew Rogers over video conference.

Now in his third year as an emergency department resident at Bellevue Hospital — a teaching hospital in New York and the largest public hospital in the United States — Rogers is in the midst of figuring out which kind of doctor he’s going to be. For now, he’s focused on learning how to lead a team, and make decisions, under a relentless firehose of pressure — a skill that takes anywhere between four to five years to fully develop.

“I’m lucky that right now I have a bit of a protective cushion with a senior resident and attending above me,” he says, “but I’ll probably be quite cautious my first year out as an official attending. Right now, I just keep thinking to myself: Okay, if I were the last person making this decision for this patient, what would I do? That’s when things start to feel really hairy.”

Fortunately, he’s got a few strategies under his belt.

Confidence (or at least the appearance of it) is key

Your confidence as a doctor has little to do with your ability to control your nerves under pressure, says Rogers. In fact, he says most ER staff tend to be fairly laid back. The real test is in your ability to command a team during the chaos of trauma.

In classroom simulations, Rogers struggles with juggling communications and corralling staff members during an emergency. “It’s a strange position to be in because on the one hand you’re still learning and on the other you have zero time to second-guess yourself,” he says, recalling one of his first simulations a few months ago. “Part of the role is speaking up and telling people to be quiet, people who are much more senior than you. That’s hard for me. I’m not used to telling people what to do all the time.”

Let everyone know who’s boss, literally

On the ER floor, the nature of shift work further complicates things. In a single eight, ten, or twelve hour shift, the entire emergency department staff can rotate multiple times. It’s not uncommon to have members on your team whom you’ve never met.

“Funnily enough, the most important thing you can do is announce yourself at the start,” says Rogers.

“There’s a lot of noise, you wouldn’t believe how loud it gets, all these people are talking over each other. I have to come in and make it clear that I’m running the trauma. My job is to orchestrate: delegate roles, update everyone on new developments and where we’re at, and keep side communication to a minimum.”

Share information early and often

In training, doctors learn early on that the best way to figure out the unknown is to start by stating your known facts. The first things to check for are the ABC’s: airway, breathing, and circulation. If Rogers isn’t positioned at the head of the bed, he’ll call out to whoever is there to find out the status of the patient’s ABCs. “That gets you into the first couple of minutes. Now everyone has some basic information to work with but, more importantly, I’ve bought myself some time to figure out what needs to happen next.”

As machines beep and carts clang, Rogers has to continue to rise above the din to keep everyone on the same page.

“It’s easy to get lost in where the team is at in the process. One nurse could be changing an IV here, another could be checking vitals. I have to constantly recap what’s happening. Even if we’re just a minute into it, I’ll say something like, ‘Okay, so just to recap where we’re at, this is a 30 year old man who got hit by a car. We have established that he’s breathing on his own. His leg is broken.’ There’s a million different dynamics and bits of information to process at the same time.”

This is what makes callbacks essential, something Rogers has been dinged for missing in past simulations: “Say I ask a nurse for the patient’s glucose level and she responds, ‘It was 72’, but it was too noisy to hear, if I don’t repeat, or call back, she’ll know I didn’t hear her.”

Get second opinions

Recapping events as they unfold, out loud, also helps to prevent one of the most fatal decision-making mistakes in the ER: Anchoring, a common cognitive bias that describes people’s tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information presented (the “anchor”) when making decisions, then basing all subsequent decisions on that information.

“There are times when you’ll be working off an initial diagnosis, then mid-way through you find out the patient had a stroke three days ago which can totally change your course of action,” says Rogers, “talking through the process out loud isn’t just about controlling the flow of information in the ER, it’s kind of an invitation to your teammates to provide their input, check your thinking, and make sure you’re not getting stuck on one idea.”

For all its challenges, it’s in these moments Rogers is grateful to have chosen the ER over other medical disciplines. “It’s not like up in surgery, where the attending is sort of the lord ruler and everyone’s just doing what they say. The ER is more democratic. Emergency is a team sport.”

Lima Al-Azzeh is grateful for the service of ER doctors.

There’s no “I” in crisis was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Read the responses to this story on Medium.

[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
If you’re a school or public librarian on the look-out for those picture books that equate to story-time gold, you can confidently add Daniel Bernstrom’s One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel, to your collection. Released in May to a starred Kirkus review (“marvelous fun”), it’s a rhythmic original cumulative folktale, featuring a clever boy, one hungry snake, some delicious onomatopoeia, and one gloriously loud belch. As more than one reviewer has noted, there’s also an entertaining Kipling-esque vibe to the whole affair.  

I've bought some more awful IoT stuff

Jun. 21st, 2016 03:13 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
I bought some awful WiFi lightbulbs a few months ago. The short version: they introduced terrible vulnerabilities on your network, they violated the GPL and they were also just bad at being lightbulbs. Since then I've bought some other Internet of Things devices, and since people seem to have a bizarre level of fascination with figuring out just what kind of fractal of poor design choices these things frequently embody, I thought I'd oblige.

Today we're going to be talking about the KanKun SP3, a plug that's been around for a while. The idea here is pretty simple - there's lots of devices that you'd like to be able to turn on and off in a programmatic way, and rather than rewiring them the simplest thing to do is just to insert a control device in between the wall and the device andn ow you can turn your foot bath on and off from your phone. Most vendors go further and also allow you to program timers and even provide some sort of remote tunneling protocol so you can turn off your lights from the comfort of somebody else's home.

The KanKun has all of these features and a bunch more, although when I say "features" I kind of mean the opposite. I plugged mine in and followed the install instructions. As is pretty typical, this took the form of the plug bringing up its own Wifi access point, the app on the phone connecting to it and sending configuration data, and the plug then using that data to join your network. Except it didn't work. I connected to the plug's network, gave it my SSID and password and waited. Nothing happened. No useful diagnostic data. Eventually I plugged my phone into my laptop and ran adb logcat, and the Android debug logs told me that the app was trying to modify a network that it hadn't created. Apparently this isn't permitted as of Android 6, but the app was handling this denial by just trying again. I deleted the network from the system settings, restarted the app, and this time the app created the network record and could modify it. It still didn't work, but that's because it let me give it a 5GHz network and it only has a 2.4GHz radio, so one reset later and I finally had it online.

The first thing I normally do to one of these things is run nmap with the -O argument, which gives you an indication of what OS it's running. I didn't really need to in this case, because if I just telnetted to port 22 I got a dropbear ssh banner. Googling turned up the root password ("p9z34c") and I was logged into a lightly hacked (and fairly obsolete) OpenWRT environment.

It turns out that here's a whole community of people playing with these plugs, and it's common for people to install CGI scripts on them so they can turn them on and off via an API. At first this sounds somewhat confusing, because if the phone app can control the plug then there clearly is some kind of API, right? Well ha yeah ok that's a great question and oh good lord do things start getting bad quickly at this point.

I'd grabbed the apk for the app and a copy of jadx, an incredibly useful piece of code that's surprisingly good at turning compiled Android apps into something resembling Java source. I dug through that for a while before figuring out that before packets were being sent, they were being handed off to some sort of encryption code. I couldn't find that in the app, but there was a native ARM library shipped with it. Running strings on that showed functions with names matching the calls in the Java code, so that made sense. There were also references to AES, which explained why when I ran tcpdump I only saw bizarre garbage packets.

But what was surprising was that most of these packets were substantially similar. There were a load that were identical other than a 16-byte chunk in the middle. That plus the fact that every payload length was a multiple of 16 bytes strongly indicated that AES was being used in ECB mode. In ECB mode each plaintext is split up into 16-byte chunks and encrypted with the same key. The same plaintext will always result in the same encrypted output. This implied that the packets were substantially similar and that the encryption key was static.

Some more digging showed that someone had figured out the encryption key last year, and that someone else had written some tools to control the plug without needing to modify it. The protocol is basically ascii and consists mostly of the MAC address of the target device, a password and a command. This is then encrypted and sent to the device's IP address. The device then sends a challenge packet containing a random number. The app has to decrypt this, obtain the random number, create a response, encrypt that and send it before the command takes effect. This avoids the most obvious weakness around using ECB - since the same plaintext always encrypts to the same ciphertext, you could just watch encrypted packets go past and replay them to get the same effect, even if you didn't have the encryption key. Using a random number in a challenge forces you to prove that you actually have the key.

At least, it would do if the numbers were actually random. It turns out that the plug is just calling rand(). Further, it turns out that it never calls srand(). This means that the plug will always generate the same sequence of challenges after a reboot, which means you can still carry out replay attacks if you can reboot the plug. Strong work.

But there was still the question of how the remote control works, since the code on github only worked locally. tcpdumping the traffic from the server and trying to decrypt it in the same way as local packets worked fine, and showed that the only difference was that the packet started "wan" rather than "lan". The server decrypts the packet, looks at the MAC address, re-encrypts it and sends it over the tunnel to the plug that registered with that address.

That's not really a great deal of authentication. The protocol permits a password, but the app doesn't insist on it - some quick playing suggests that about 90% of these devices still use the default password. And the devices are all based on the same wifi module, so the MAC addresses are all in the same range. The process of sending status check packets to the server with every MAC address wouldn't take that long and would tell you how many of these devices are out there. If they're using the default password, that's enough to have full control over them.

There's some other failings. The github repo mentioned earlier includes a script that allows arbitrary command execution - the wifi configuration information is passed to the system() command, so leaving a semicolon in the middle of it will result in your own commands being executed. Thankfully this doesn't seem to be true of the daemon that's listening for the remote control packets, which seems to restrict its use of system() to data entirely under its control. But even if you change the default root password, anyone on your local network can get root on the plug. So that's a thing. It also downloads firmware updates over http and doesn't appear to check signatures on them, so there's the potential for MITM attacks on the plug itself. The remote control server is on AWS unless your timezone is GMT+8, in which case it's in China. Sorry, Western Australia.

It's running Linux and includes Busybox and dnsmasq, so plenty of GPLed code. I emailed the manufacturer asking for a copy and got told that they wouldn't give it to me, which is unsurprising but still disappointing.

The use of AES is still somewhat confusing, given the relatively small amount of security it provides. One thing I've wondered is whether it's not actually intended to provide security at all. The remote servers need to accept connections from anywhere and funnel decent amounts of traffic around from phones to switches. If that weren't restricted in any way, competitors would be able to use existing servers rather than setting up their own. Using AES at least provides a minor obstacle that might encourage them to set up their own server.

Overall: the hardware seems fine, the software is shoddy and the security is terrible. If you have one of these, set a strong password. There's no rate-limiting on the server, so a weak password will be broken pretty quickly. It's also infringing my copyright, so I'd recommend against it on that point alone.
[syndicated profile] nara_feed

Posted by dcolenara

Today’s post comes from our Tumblr guru and Today’s Document lead, Darren Cole.

"Amending America" Tumblr Answer Time banner featuring Christine Blackerby and Jennifer Johnson

 Where are the aliens?”

“Did Nicholas Cage ever return the Declaration of Independence?”

“What’s the worst amendment ever proposed?”


Tumblr Answer Time bio picture and signatures for Christine and Jennifer

These are just a sampling of the questions recently put to National Archives curators during our inaugural “Answer Time” Q&A session on Tumblr.

On May 17, Tumblr users were invited to the National Archives Exhibits Tumblr to ask co-curators Christine Blackerby and Jennifer Johnson questions about the new “Amending America” exhibition.

Opened in March at the National Archives in Washington, DC, “Amending America” explores some of the 11,000 attempts to amend the Constitution.  It includes petitions, interactives, landmark documents, and political cartoons addressing issues including child labor, prayer in schools, free speech, suffrage, civil rights, and more.  The National Archives Exhibits Tumblr blog serves as a companion portal, sharing these items and others that couldn’t fit in the exhibit online.

tumblr several questions

The  live, online chat provided a great opportunity to engage with audiences about the mission and work of the National Archives. During the event, Christine and Jennifer fielded a variety of questions from Tumblr users, ranging from classic interests like exhibit design and the inner workings of the National Archives to the more niche topics of ‘craziest failed amendments’ and favorite sandwiches.

NARA's First Tumblr Answer Time

National Archives exhibit curators Christine Blackerby, Jennifer Johnson, and Alice Kamps confer on a question. (Photo by Jeff Reed, National Archives)

tumblr aliens question

The biggest challenge was keeping up with the steady deluge of questions.  By the end of the session, over 1,100 questions had been submitted.  Ultimately the hosts were able to respond to 32 questions over the course of the 2 hour event. The most popular topic? Queries about “aliens in the Archives” comprised over 11% of user submissions.

NARA's First Tumblr Answer Time

Some members of our Answer Time team: Darren Cole, IT Specialist; Hilary Parkinson, writer-editor; Cindy Sandoval, writer-editor;  Meredith Doviak, Digital Engagement Specialist; and exhibit curators Jennifer Johnson and Christine Blackerby. (Photo by Jeff Reed, National Archives)

Questions included the serious, silly, and speculative.  The most popular question asked whether the National Archives might hold records on the comic book character “Captain America.” While the subject may have been fictional, it was a great intro to more realistic archival topics, including military personnel records, declassification issues, and actual comic books in our records.

tumblr fighting american


  • Preparation was essential.  Our curators had documents and images from the exhibit ready to go as needed.
  • Staying on top of the questions was exhausting.  Our team of six started reviewing questions that morning, only to see them gradually double over the course of the day.  Most fell into thematic groups so we tried to choose representative questions from each set.
  • Divide and conquer.  To make the session run smoothly, each member of our team had an assigned task.  Some questions were answered jointly by the curators but in general they assigned according to their specialty and interest.  A member of the communications staff then proofread and edited their draft answers.  Relevant images and links to relevant blog posts and pages on were added to the answers by the Web & Social Media staff and finally queued up for posting.
  • Keep it fun. Don’t avoid the silly or lighthearted questions. They’re still a great opportunity to engage with users and add some levity to the conversation.

    NARA's First Tumblr Answer Time

    Darren Cole, IT Specialist; Christine Blackerby, exhibit curator; Jennifer Johnson, exhibit curator; and Hilary Parkinson, writer-editor. (Photo by Jeff Reed, National Archives)

See the complete thread of questions and answers at:

Catch our next AnswerTime on July 1 when you can send your questions to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero at !

Click, done.

Jun. 20th, 2016 10:45 pm
[syndicated profile] slack_feed

Posted by Slack

Do more of your work from Slack

Imagine getting an expense report in Slack and simply tapping Approve or Deny to change its status. Instead of having to search your inbox or open three new browser tabs, you’d be able to complete your task straight from Slack and move on to what’s next.

Now you can do just that in Slack with Message Buttons. These buttons make Slack the place where you can click one button to get your work done, whether that’s posting a tweet, approving a new job posting, or filing your expense report.

The first dozen apps have already added Message Buttons, and with over 500 apps now available in the Slack App Directory, more interactive integrations are to come.

Here are some ways you can put Message Buttons to use:

File your expenses with Abacus

With Abacus, employees can upload receipts and submit expenses that their managers can then review and approve.

Approve new hires with Greenhouse

Recruiting teams who use Greenhouse can get hiring manager approval for new job postings and candidate offer letters.

Manage your Trello projects

Move projects in Trello forward by assigning due dates, categorizing tasks, and linking conversations from a Slack channel to a Trello card.

To start using Message Buttons today with your Slack team, install one of the apps above or try out Current, Kayak, Kip, Kyber, PagerDuty, Qualtrics, Riffsy, Talkdesk, and Talkus.

If you’re a developer interested in adding message buttons to your app, check out the Slack Developer Blog post.

Click, done. was originally published in Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Read the responses to this story on Medium.

On A Fraught Word

Jun. 21st, 2016 04:28 pm
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed

(This is a blog post specifically aimed at people who aren't in or from the United States and who have conversations with people from the US, especially online. Also, content note: I explain what lynching is and why it's a bad idea to joke about it, with examples.)

Sometimes when people are joking about vigilante justice, they might use the word "lynch," like "we ought to lynch so-and-so," and think it is a harmless and hyperbolic way of saying "we ought to punish them". As a person who likely (if you are reading this blog) cares about inclusivity and social justice, you probably should not use this term in this way. While some people certainly think it has that generic and benign meaning, in the US (the country whose history I know best), it mostly means white people getting together in mobs to kill black people -- for succeeding, for daring to buy houses or vote, or simply for anything deemed unacceptable by those angry racist mobs. It very rarely still happens here, but it was a more common occurrence not so long ago, such that the history and ramifications of this particular form of race-based terrorism are still very present in the American conscience.

In the summer of 1955, Emmett Till, a 14 year old black boy from Chicago, was spending the summer with family members in Mississippi, when he was suddenly accused of breaking the South's unwritten rules of interracial conduct by catcalling a white woman. He was abruptly apprehended by an angry white mob, tortured, and lynched. His mother asked for him to have an open-casket funeral, so people could see the extent of the battering and butchery, and newspapers around the country published the photos. This raised the consciousness of Americans across the nation and helped to spur the movement for civil rights in the United States.

More recently: in the 1990s, for the first time, a black man (Clarence Thomas) was appointed to be a US Supreme Court justice. Anita Hill, an accomplished black female lawyer and Thomas's former employee, came forward and publicly stated that he had sexually harassed her. This accusation, and the subsequent televised judicial hearings, were a watershed moment that brought the issue of workplace sexual harassment into widespread national debate. Thomas responded to the accusations by calling them "a high-tech lynching". Hill was alternately applauded and attacked; however, the hearings ultimately proved no obstacle for Thomas, as the legislature went on to confirm his appointment. Twenty-five years later, Justice Thomas still sits on the US Supreme Court.

I know the basic facts above from memory, and those of us who were raised in the USA basically know much of this stuff by heart as part of the history of hate crimes. So that's the kind of shit that we are reminded of when someone jokes about lynching, and why you probably just shouldn't do it around us.

(Thanks to Camille Acey for suggesting revisions that improved this piece. And thanks to the white person I spoke with on this point in private conversation; I adapted that conversation into this post.)

[syndicated profile] w3c_dpub_ig_feed

Posted by Ivan Herman

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions. (The headers below link into the relevant sections of the minutes.)

Bridging with the CSS WG

This was a continuation of the discussion from last week on how to bridge with the CSS WG better. What was agreed is that there should be more active contacts with (a) reading system developers who hit the major issues themselves and are major part of the ecosystem and (b) with technical people in e-publication production who may hit issues that they have to circumvent with special code (possibly polyfills). It would also be important to find out how the features defined in XSL-FO are currently used in publishing and what difficulties are hit when those are mapped onto CSS. Two actions are planned

  1. organize a meeting with the major Reading System developers, like Google Play, iBooks, Readium, AER.IO, Bluefire, etc, to collect their input
  2. set up a (wiki) page to collect the XSL-FO experiences (eg, from Antenna House, Prince, etc) that should be mapped on CSS and what difficulties they hit

It was emphasized that real business cases are needed; an experimental implementation in a not-widely-used platform will not be convincing enough for browser manufacturers…

Use Cases’ Document Structure and Editing

The discussion (also in preparation to the upcoming Virtual F2F) was mainly on how to structure the current use case document. The example of the use cases of the archival task force was mentioned, although it was felt that the structure in that document is a little bit too complex (and also related to some sort of a workflow), so it should be somewhere in between. Also, some real “story” should be added around the individual use cases, which are often just a one sentence. It was therefore agreed that, for example in section 2.7 of the document we should all add a story around 1-2 case, and then organize the document accordingly.

What are also missing for a proper organization are

  • succinct definitions of the requirements that are referred to from the use cases
  • prioritization of the requirements

It was also noted that some requirements are mutually contradictory; these should be at least called out and, possibly, discussed and decided upon. (Part of this may be the subject of the Virtual F2F.)

[Linkspam] Monday, June 20

Jun. 20th, 2016 07:41 pm
tim: A bright orange fish. (fish)
[personal profile] tim
I'm going to try doing a weekly linkspam post, because why not? Maybe it'll motivate me to get through my Pinboard backlog.

  • "Parents, right? Psh, who needs em!", by Talia Jane (2016-06-20). A hot personal take on the silencing of people who were parented incompetently. "Why would you care about the rocky nature of my personal life? Well, why do you think I’d care about how healthy your personal life is? Why would you think I’d enjoy seeing happy photos of you with your parents, outside of the fact that I might be happy you’re not curled up in a ball crying for six hours?"
  • Unsuck It: A bullshit-business-jargon-to-English translator (occasional ableism but on the whole pretty on-the-mark). "wellness: A notional substitute for a decent health insurance plan. Frequently includes chipper admonishments to do obvious things, such as get off your ass and walk or eat more vegetables."
  • "creativity and responsibility", by [personal profile] graydon2 (2016-06-17). On "creativity" as applied to software development: "I think 'creative' also serves as a rhetorical dodge about expectations, or perhaps more bluntly: responsibilities." Tangentially, this post reminds me of a quote from Samuel Delany that I love:
    The sad truth is, there’s very little that’s creative in creativity. The vast majority is submission – submission to the laws of grammar, to the possibilities of rhetoric, to the grammar of narrative, to narrative’s various and possible restructurings. In a society that privileges individuality, self-reliance, and mastery, submission is a frightening thing.

    (I think the software industry could do with a bit more submission to models, and there's probably something to be teased out here about why some people are so resistant to type systems and other forms of static verification.)
  • "To Keep The Blood Supply Safe, Screening Blood Is More Important Than Banning Donors", by Maggie Koerth-Baker for FiveThirtyEight (2016-06-18). We've all known for a long time that the ban on MSM donating blood is based in homophobia and not science, but it's always nice to see more evidence of that.
  • "The Myth of the Violent, Self-Hating Gay Homophobe", by Cari Romm for New York magazine (2016-06-16). No, homophobes aren't all (or even mostly) closeted self-hating queers. Hetero people really do hate us that much.
  • Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks, by Jia Tolentino for Jezebel (2016-06-15). Long, harrowing interview with a woman who had a very late-term abortion. Makes me feel glad that there are still a few doctors courageous enough to provide this care, and sad that so many have been terrorized out of doing it.
  • "How Bernie Sanders Exposed the Democrats’ Racial Rift", by Issac J. Bailey for Politico (2016-06-08). "To minority voters, Trump’s candidacy feels like an existential threat. It’s one thing for Republicans to either ignore or embrace his racism; the party already seems unwilling or incapable of making the kinds of adjustments it must to attract more non-white voters. It’s quite another for white Democrats to not appreciate how liberal minorities feel about the possibility of a Trump presidency and what that would say about the state of racial progress in America. It would be a slap in the face, the latest sign that a kind of white privilege—throwing a temper tantrum because they don’t get their way despite how much it hurts people of color—is deeply rooted within liberal, Democratic ranks as well."
  • "The Ethics of Mob Justice", by Sady Doyle for In These Times (2013-11-08). Unfortunately, relevant again. "So we’re left with upholding structural principles, and this brings me to the Internet’s other poisoned gift to social justice: Even as it enhances our ability to censure those who violate the social contract, it makes the individual members of that society more visible, warts and all. Where the radicals of previous generations could spout high-minded rhetoric about the Common Man, Womankind or the Human Spirit while interacting mainly with the limited circle of people they found tolerable, we contemporary activists have to uphold our principles while dealing with the fact that actual common men, women and human spirits are continually being presented to us in harshly lit, unflattering close-up..." (I don't read this article as being opposed to public shaming, and I'm certainly not. Just as taking a skeptical eye to the targeting of women for having unacceptable feelings in public.)


Jun. 19th, 2016 08:35 pm
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Guess the mobile site remains unchanged?

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2016 10:44 am
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Happy Dad's Day to all of the wonderful dads out there, including mine. New beta page working well with Chromevox too.

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2016 09:40 am
[personal profile] jazzyjj
This is just a test of the new beta Create Entries page on the mighty Dreamwidth. Looks good so far, doesn't it? Comments will be turned off for this entry, I think.
alixtii: Summer pulling off the strap to her dress, in a very glitzy and model-y image. (makes me go guh)
[personal profile] alixtii
I was cleaning my room and I came across a couple of "lost" pages from To Live in Hearts the fic in my Watcher!verse which really shifts the universe in several major ways (including the death of Buffy, the beginning of Faith/Kennedy, and the first steps towards Dawn/Giles). I wanted to type them up and decided to post them here, since it seems unlikely (but not impossible!) that the entire fic will ever be written.

excerpt(s) )

Code push imminent!

Jun. 18th, 2016 06:51 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Reminder that I'm going to start working on tonight's code push in the next 30-45 minutes or so. I know you just CAN'T WAIT to use the larger icon filesize for your animated gif talents, so I'm going to start a bit earlier than originally planned, closer to 5:30pm PDT. I'll update this post when we're done!

Update: All done! Comment here if you notice any issues that need our attention.
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