This is going to be one of those posts where I get to piss off the right and the left at the same time. Regarding government officials, non-governmental email and government business, there are multiple things that are true at the same time: First, using non-government email to handle government business is problematic, for several reasons. Second, no one should be locked up for using private email to handle government business. Not Hilary and not Ivanca. Third, if the government wants to prevent people from using non-governmental email as opposed to its own infrastructure, then it needs to update its infrastructure. There’s a reason people choose to use non-governmental email, and it’s because by using non-governmental email they have a lot more choice when it comes to the user interface needed to handle email, and that matters. A lot. Fifth, please stop saying private email. Unless the mail being sent is encrypted at the sender’s and receiver’s end, it’s not private. Sixth, if you think there’s something special under the hood that causes governmental email to work differently than non-governmental email, you are sadly mistaken and I will suggest, (in the friendliest of manners possible), that you go spend some time reading up on email and how it works. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
My Facebook archive is finally ready. Time to download and then spend time, (although not tonight), adding Python 3 to my path so I can run Ditchbook and import all the content into my own website. I of course will turn of syndication while this is being done because there’s a lot of content here. I still need to finish the work on my “Subscribe” page, add some stuff to my menu, and probably write something on the structure and philosophy of this site. The next step will be pulling everything out of Goodreads and beginning the process of owning my updates on the books I’m reading. I will restart the photo challenge at a later date, (probably later on this week), since I missed Saturday and Sunday.
“If you did not request a copy of your Facebook information, your account may be compromised. Please take steps to secure your account.” I wonder how many people see that message and immediately think their Facebook account’s been hacked? I’d love to think that Facebook is just looking out for its users’ best interests, but well, given their decade of shady practices and their obvious lack of interest in fixing all the problems, I have to believe that this is just a scare tactic to keep people from downloading full archive, since that’s a good sign someone might be attempting to break out. I’m still waiting on my archive to be generated and we’re going on twelve hours. There’s a lot of data here and I’ve requested it in json format with high-resolution media so it’ll be interesting to see how long this actually takes.
I lucked out and came across an announcement for this week’s Homebrew Website Club meetup in San Francisco by way of the Indieweb stream and I’m going to attend. It’ll give me an excuse for some structured work on the two websites I’m working on, this one and Customer Servant consultancy, which is in the midst of a switch from corporate-looking with very few Indieweb building blocks to not-so-corporate-looking but with lots more Indieweb building blocks. I’m looking forward to it.
Join us for an evening of IndieWeb personal site demos and discussions! Any questions? Ask in the chatroom! More…
This week I used cinnamon and nutmeg for the spices during Havdalah. Winter is coming and it’s getting colder out, and I enjoy those smells during this time of year.

The end of Shabbat (the Sabbath) is one of the most intense Jewish experiences of time. According to rabbinic tradition, Adam and Eve, created on the sixth day, sinned and were sentenced to exile from the Garden of Eden. God granted them stay of sentence, allowing them to spend one day, Shabbat itself, in the garden. During that day, say the Sages, the sun did not set. As Shabbat came to an end, and darkness began to fall, the first human beings prepared to leave paradise and enter the world outside with its conflicts and challenges, hazards and fears. Assuring them that He would be with them, God gave them a gift, the ability to make light: hence our custom of making a blessing over light in the Havdalah service. Havdalah is to the end of Shabbat what Kiddush is at the beginning: the marking of a transition from secular to holy time and vice versa. It is our way of fulfilling the mitzvah (commandment from God) to “Remember the Sabbath day”, understood by the Sages to mean: Remember it at the beginning and at the end” – in both cases over a cup of wine.
Its deeper meaning recalls the moment at which Adam and Eve, exiled from Eden because of their sin, prepared to enter, for the first time, the world outside, with its darkness and dangers. As a gift, God showed them how to make light. Hence the light of Havdalah.
This profound parable is the reverse of the Greek myth of Prometheus – who stole fire from the Gods and was sentenced to everlasting torment. Judaism teaches that God wants and blesses human creativity. Day 8, for humans, was the counterpart to Day 1 for God. Just as God began creation by making light, so He taught humans how to make light inviting them to become “His partners in the work of creation.”
One of the key verbs in Genesis 1 is bet-dalet-lammed, “to separate, distinguish, divide” -the root of the word Havdalah. It appears five times in the chapter. By inviting human beings to engage in Havdalah at the end of Shabbat, God invites us to create worlds. Creation involves the ability to make distinctions, to rescue order from chaos, to respect the integrity of creation. Havdalah is thus not only a human blessing over the end of the day of rest, but as it were a Divine blessing over the days of work. The Creator invites us to be creative – but always and only in a way that respects differences and distinctions, the laws of nature and the moral law. The message of Havdalah is: if we respect the integrity of boundaries, we can turn chaos into order, darkness into light.
The order of Havdalah is: 1. preliminary verses from Isaiah and Psalms; 2. the blessing over wine; 3. spices, to refresh us after the loss of the “extra soul” we had on Shabbat; 4. a blessing over lights; 5. the Havdalah blessing itself, for the ability to recognise, and the responsibility to honour, boundaries.

If you’re a blind person using the NFB V. Walmart lawsuit to preach about good optics, you can fuck right off with that nonsense. That WordPress Accessibility Team report on the state of Gutenberg demonstrates the results of what you get with good optics. We’ve played by all the rules. We’ve been civil. We’ve focused on the benefits and not fear tactics. We’ve focused on how accessibility benefits everyone and not just people with disabilities and we’ve focused on the business case. We’ve made a point of making sure we don’t beat people over the head with the morality of the thing. And the result is, despite our best efforts and despite our following all the rules, WordPress is shipping an inaccessible editor on November 19 and we’re recommending that people with disabilities install a plugin to retain the classic editor. So fuck your optics. Fuck civility. Fuck whether or not people have the right intentions, because at the end of the day good intentions are not doing a God damned thing to change the result. And if the NFB wants to play hardball and use shitty tactics, then so be it. Those tactics everyone hates so much get things done, and if you don’t like them then come up with a better way to get results. But good optics sure as hell ain’t it.