Daily notes for 19 September 2023

Redesigning the DDaT Capability Framework.

Can data help me solve this problem?

Dorset Council claims progress with roll out of digital social care records.

Elon Musk: Social media platform X could go behind paywall” Shoulda woulda coulda. People need to stop reporting on what this man says and focus on what he does.

Why Voice Failed as a Platform”. Definitely this: ‘It is too difficult to use voice interfaces for more than just a handful of purposes.’ Setting alarms? Yes. Almost anything else? No.

More scray Chrome stuff.

Improving Bluesky

Bluesky is definitely feeling like the nicest Twitter/X replacement going. But it’s a long way from perfect.

The community feels compact, small but friendly. There’s a sense that people want to be there, and that it isn’t a chore (Mastodon sometimes just feels like hard work). It’s chatty, and whimsical, which is just how early Twitter felt.

It definitely needs more users. Hopefully the invites are dropping regularly enough to keep the flow up.

The main issue for me is that the web interface is really clunky. It’s ludicrously hard to actually clear notifications, so often it looks like there’s something new happening, when there isn’t. I find myself refreshing the browser a lot, which shouldn’t be necessary really.

The app on iOS suffers in the same sort of ways.

There’s also a bit of distraction with Bluesky – all the stuff about servers and things. I guess that important to people who think federation is important, but I suspect those people are limited in number. Most folk just want a usable, stable, Twitter-like experience that isn’t full of horrible behaviour.

Dave Winer would like to see Markdown style editing. Am not totally convinced of that, as I like the plain text approach, and I guess you can still use markup, only the reader has to use their imagination 😆

One thing it lacks, which actually I don’t care about too much, is private direct messages. Twitter/X has those, of course. Sometimes they are useful to drop someone a note to say you’d like to talk to them about something. Maybe though, it would be better to just let people feature their email addresses or other ways to contact them on their profiles. After all, nobody needs yet another place to check for these things.

What they definitely shouldn’t do is copy the way Mastodon does private messaging, which is a proper dog’s dinner. ‘Private mentions’ are almost indistinguishable from public ones, and it terrifies me!

Weekly note for 25 August 2023

One note for the whole week as I haven’t been working. Instead, had a week at home having fun with the family. However, I did occasionally look at a computer, hence the below.

So Twitter/X finally took Tweetdeck away from me, which has made the site a bit less useful. However, I still get way more use from it than any other social site, with the possible exception of LinkedIn, which for people like me is the real winner from the Twitter/X meltdown, I think. Bluesky seems to be picking up members, but it is still very quiet. Mastodon remains Mastodon.

Am back on a Mac now, as my daily driver, and it’s lovely. More on that in a proper post. But one change as a result is that I am now writing these notes in the venerable MarsEdit, which is a great improvement on Simplenote and means I can hit a button to publish them, and not have to faff around copying and pasting.

Fab work by Tewkesbury Council, going live with their new – WordPress powered – website.

Catching up on the weird world of LLMs“. Great resource from Simon Willison.

Alan Wright’s blog is chock full of brilliantly useful articles, like this one on splitting product teams.

How the iMac saved Apple


The latest ridiculous behaviour from Twitter seems to genuinely be sending the site into a death spiral, which saddens me in a lot of ways. I’ve been on there since the early days, and I’ve built a reasonably sized following on there as a result. I don’t really have anywhere else where I can easily put things that a sizable chunk of the people I’d like to see them would actually have a chance of doing so. But it’s more than that: Twitter was never just a channel, it was also a place I made actual friends, folk who I speak to regularly. Loose communities formed, dispersed, and reformed as and when they were needed. Looking back, those who were saying that Twitter wasn’t really a company, it was a bit of internet infrastructure, were probably right, but nobody listened.

So now there are hundreds of alternatives sprouting up, including the Instagram based Threads which is due to be released on Thursday. Bluesky seems popular, Mastodon is doing well within its slightly dorky niche. But what they all lack is the moment. It’s 2023, not 2007 when all this seemed so new and exciting; it’s not 2010 when the whole world seemed to wake up to what was possible on sites like Twitter. Without that excited, exploratory, experimental surge, I’m gloomy about the prospects of any of these places filling the gap that Twitter did, uniquely. Imperfectly, but uniquely.

If someone, somehow, managed to lift my whole Twitter network and shift it into a different thing, I would jump there like a shot. In the meantime, I think I will keep dabbling, but also spending time on more personal, and less ephemeral, spaces like this blog – and maybe make use of the newsletter more.

Interesting links, 20 April 2022

Things I’ve seen that are worth sharing.

Exciting next steps for Local Digital and Cyber – Local Digital Collaboration Unit

The Local Digital and Cyber teams are going to be making some exciting changes over the next few months, backed by multi-year funding to the tune of £85 million.

We’re developing an enhanced approach that will allow us to support the local government sector to achieve even more brilliant things, as well as fix the core problems.

Read on to find out about our plans, how we got here, and what this means for local government.

Product design: when private beta isn’t the next step – Lindsay Green

We know that not all projects move from alpha to private beta. But there’s an expectation that it’s the next logical step… then to public beta, then live.

So, when we realised our project wouldn’t make it out of alpha, it felt a bit sad. Almost like something had gone wrong.

We won’t be the only team who find themselves in this situation and we wanted to share what we have learned and more importantly, how it’s actually been a positive thing.

Back to the Future of Twitter – Ben Thompson

The vast majority of commentary about the Musk-Twitter saga has focused on the first three paragraphs: what does Musk mean by making Twitter more free speech oriented? Why doesn’t Musk believe he can work with the current board and management? Does Musk have the cash available to buy Twitter, and would the Twitter board accept his offer (no on the latter, but more on this below)?

The most interesting question of all, though, is the last paragraph: what potential does Musk see, and could he unlock it? For my part, not only do I agree the potential is vast, but I do think Musk could unlock it — and that itself has implications for the preceding paragraphs.

A Web Renaissance – Anil Dash

Thanks to the mistrust of big tech, the creation of better tools for developers, and the weird and wonderful creativity of ordinary people, we’re seeing an incredibly unlikely comeback: the web is thriving again.

From the Made Tech content factory:

How to build a stress-free Slack experience for your whole team – Kim Kaveh

In your Slack workspace, you can work with your team, connect software tools and services, keep up to date with announcements and find the information you need to do your best work. Managed without care, it does have the potential to be distracting – and even a source of stress. It can affect productivity and mental wellbeing.

But there are ways your organisation’s leaders, Slack administrators and team can use Slack to minimise distraction and ease stress levels to help your team make the most of their working day. In this post, I’ll talk you through some helpful strategies.

Podcast: Product management and STEM Diversity, with Karl Dickman

What do STEM ambassadors do? Learn about product management and diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Tame your Twitter stream

tame-itNot sure how I had never come across this before, but Tame is super useful!

You set up an account as with all these services, and then connect to your Twitter account. Tame then goes away and comes back with a dashboard style view, in three columns.

The columns display the most popular links being shared by the people you follow, the most popular hashtags being used, and the most popular accounts being mentioned.

It’s a simple idea, but for those moments when you don’t have time for much more than a quick glance at Twitter, it gives you a fast summary of what’s popular in your stream – which might be all you need.

Here’s a video to show how it works:

Connect with WorkSmart

wiresAs you would expect, WorkSmart is all over the internet!

The first thing to do is to join the site. Membership is free, and means you get the regular email newsletter. In the future it will also give you access to exclusive member resources – more on that soon. You can sign up here if you haven’t already.

Next, WorkSmart is of course on Twitter, where you can get alerted to new articles published on the blog, and to interesting links as we spot and curate them. Follow @worksmarthq now.

Are you a big Facebook user? It might be that the Facebook page is the best way to keep up to date, and to have your say on the articles and other content that are published there. Like WorkSmart on Facebook here.

How about Google+? I’m not convinced either, but there is a WorkSmart page there, which also has content posted up as it gets published on the blog. Follow WorkSmart on Google+ here.

Last but not least, WorkSmart currently has two (count ’em!) boards on Pinterest. One features all the posts that are published on the blog – so if you like to get your content in Pinterest, they are all there waiting for you. The other one is where content is curated from across the web, and is called Bookmarks.

So, you really have no excuse not to keep up to date with what is happening here! It will be great to see you on our various channels.

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to: