Let's start with the elephant in the room (this is a pun on the logo of the thing I'm talking about, so we're off to a flying start) - Mastodon. For those who don't know, Mastodon is a social network, a bit like Twitter but not completely like Twitter. It's federated, which takes some explaining, and that basically means that no one owns it and, crucially, it cannot therefore be taken over by a lunatic billionaire whose business strategy seems to be "what does this button do?"
Tell you what, let's all get up to speed on Mastodon by reading this piece, and then we can continue...
Done? Good. Alright, so I signed up for a Mastodon account all the way back in 2017. I can't remember why there was a sudden influx then, but there was and I jumped on the bandwagon and got accounts on a couple of instances. Back then it was pretty complicated and nothing was really happening, and so it didn't hold my attention. The shenanigans on Twitter over the past few weeks tempted me to take another look (along with thousands of others), and I found that the place has changed quite a bit. Mastodon today is a lot busier (though hardly hectic) and it has a much nicer atmosphere than Twitter. Obviously this could change as people move over and bring their bullshit with them, but I hope the instance moderators are going to be on top of that.
The nice thing about Mastodon is that it is possible to find your community and exist within that, so if you don't want to deal with people being racist or screaming about things or arguing pointlessly, you don't have to.
Mastodon is like a kind of hippy collective social network - a big mix of people all policing themselves and having a generally good and positive time that doesn't need to come at the expense of other people's experience.
I like it. I'm going to stick around for a while. Come find me there as @firstname.lastname@example.org. There's a chance I might switch to a less mainstream instance in the near future, but I'm assured that I can automatically take my followers and follow-lists with me.
This week has seen another episode of the new Aldrich Kemp series delivered - only one more to go now. As always, writing audio is a rewarding experience. Because I don't plan anything out for these shows in advance, I tend to find interesting things along the way. In this case, I didn't really lock onto what Clara's story was until this most recent script, but when I did hone in on it, I realised it had been there, lurking in the background all along. The writing process, absent execs insisting on detailed outlines in advance, can be a real journey of discovery.
A couple of red-hot movie recommendations this week, for those who like grown-up movies about people: EMILY THE CRIMINAL (rent or buy on Apple/Amazon) stars Aubrey Plaza as a young woman in LA trying to get a career started and being sucked into the criminal underworld. The movie dodges every single cliche and instead presents the reality of that character in that situation. It's brilliant.
As is CAUSEWAY (Apple TV+), which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry in a drama that's about people just trying to cope with the shit life throws at them.
Both movies are perfectly acted (as you'd expect from those casts) and give lots of time over to character and mood. But each one clocks in at a tight 90 minutes, which makes you wonder how empty bullshit like The Gray Man justified a 2hr+ running time.
We had quite enough of apps last week, but I do want to give a mention to the Save to Notion extension for Chrome browsers (I use Arc, and this works very well with that). Save to Notion is superior to the standard Notion Web Clipper in that it allows you to tag and link your webclips at the same time as you're saving them.
There's a whole piece on this here: Organizing Web Bookmarks Can be a Mess, Here’s an Easy Fix with Notion. | by Dave, The Notion Coach | Medium
Although it's not trumpeted as much as other features, Notion is incredibly good at storing web pages in an easily readable, easily searchable format. It's actually way better than Evernote or Raindrop or anything else I've tried, and great for research. I haven't really bedded in with this aspect of Notion yet, but I'm going to try to incorporate it in the future.
There was a bumper crop of links posted to the website this week, but here are some I was saving for today:
Opinion | Elon Musk Is Building a Sci-Fi World, and the Rest of Us Are Trapped in It - The New York Times - this article is a year old, but prescient.
That's your lot for today. Have a good one, and I'll see you on Mastodon.
Fuck it. Send.