Mental Distractions

21 May 2020

Dave Winer: "You should use Facebook"

Dave Winer, the “proto-blogger” and creator of the RSS news feed system, says that he basically agrees with the criticism of Facebook by the New York Times and other news publishers, but he believes also that their bias is disingenuous, as long as they cannot suggest alternatives.

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Tags: social-networking
16 May 2020

Documentary film festival

Spring is usually the time for the DocAviv documentary film festival in Tel Aviv, but this year, of course, there's the pandemic, so they have postponed it till September and, in the meantime, are streaming some films that one can watch from home.

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Tags: film
16 May 2020

Gradually importing my Wordpress blog

I've made a bit of progress in importing my Wordpress blog, though I must admit it is quite a struggle. Although I'm using Emacs for the blog, I'm very new to Emacs. As someone has said, it isn't so much an editor as an engine for the LISP programming language, with many arcane functionalities. You basically program Emacs to work in whatever way you want and do the things that you want. But I'm not a programmer and don't know LISP, so that means trying to figure out what other people have programmed for it and incorporating the useful parts.

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Tags: technology
10 May 2020


This blog

favicon-152.png This is the blog of Howard Shippin. It was started in the early 2000s and currently has some posts going back to around 2003. It has lived in various places, under SPIP, Wordpress (.com and .org), under Blazeblogger and as home-grown html. Currently I'm experimenting with a static blogging system in emacs org-mode, developed by Bastian Bechthold. The project can be found here. I love the simplicity of this system, mainly because it leaves source files in plain text and is easy to manage. I will be importing my Wordpress posts to it as soon as possible. Till that happens, there won't be very much here.

This person

gravatar.png I am Howard Shippin; born in the UK (1956); living in Israel/Palestine; working part time for the Communications office of Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom (

Contact information

  • Telegram: @howardshippin
  • xmpp:
  • google voice: +1 ‪(703) 951-3712‬
  • hubzilla:
  • mastodon:

I do not maintain active personal profiles on Facebook or Twitter.

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Home Server?

I’ve been thinking more seriously about setting up a home server. Yesterday I looked at the Freedombone, Yunohost and Freedombox projects – these are some of the noteworthy attempts to make a Linux distro specially geared towards home servers. All three are based on Debian Linux and can be run on a variety of hardware. Cheap Raspberry Pis, old computers and other cheap machines are what people normally use. In my case I will be trying from an Eeeepc netbook, since I have one lying around and its electricity needs are a bit smaller than those of a normal laptop. I do have an unused Raspberry Pi, but it’s one of the early models and has only half a gigabyte RAM.

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