I’m doing it again… instead of writing and creating new posts in the morning, I’m sitting there scrolling through Mastodon… or reading the latest news on Memeorandum or Techmeme… or jumping into work email or Slack before I really need to. And sooner or later, any of the “free” time I had is gone and it’s time to start the work day. The time has melted away.
Consumption has triumphed over creation, yet again.
That’s no way to get back into writing more. That’s no way to develop habits of consistent writing.
And yet it is so incredibly easy to fall into that pattern… again and again and again….
So today I’ll write this small post of self-reflection to start yet again. Here’s to yet another attempt to break that pattern and build newer, stronger habits!
Image credit: a generated image from Leonardo.ai
Of course my initial thought was some problem with the RSS feed. Yep!
On danyork.me I’m using the older FeedWordPress plugin for WordPress that does RSS syndication. A quick look told me that the feed it was supposed to be pulling in was:
Except… that was showing up as invalid XML. 🤷♂️
After some trial and error, I discovered that… I need to drop the “www” on the feed! 🤦♂️ If I instead use this:
Then… everything works!
I made the update to the FeedWordPress settings, forced an “Update Now” and … 🎉 …. the posts started appearing again at danyork.me!
So it’s somewhere between a DNS issue (cue “it’s always DNS!”) and a web hosting issue. My DanYork.com site is one of the ones that I still have running on the old TypePad platform…. and THAT is where I suspect the issue lies.
www.danyork.com is just a CNAME pointing over to
lodestar.typepad.com, where TypePad is then redirecting it to my specific blog. However, if I do a ‘
curl’ for the www URL, I can see I get a plain HTML page that looks like it may be trying to do a meta refresh. If I do a ‘
curl’ on the non-www URL, I get the correct RSS feed.
However, in an amusing bit of 🤦♂️, the RSS feed says that it should be at “
<atom10:link xmlns:atom10="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" rel="self" href="https://www.danyork.com/rss.xml" type="application/rss+xml" />
But of course that won’t work.
So… something for me to dive into at some point and figure out.
Maybe I should call my IT team! Oh, wait… that’s … me! 🤦♂️
As I was posting about on Mastodon, early this morning United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched their new Vulcan Centaur rocket into space from their launch site in Florida. The rocket carried the first US moon lander (Peregrine) from a private company (Astrobiotic), as well as a whole range of science experiments, part of the remains of several people, and even a collection of stories from writers.
The key point is that the rocket launched successfully!
As I wrote about back in my November 3rd issue of my “A View From the Crow’s Nest” newsletter, we are currently in this strange spot where there has been only ONE launch provider - globally - that has been consistently launching rockets… SpaceX.
And SpaceX has done AMAZING work! In 2023 they launched an incredible 98 rockets (96 Falcon 9s, 2 Starships) from four different launch locations. That’s a launch cadence that is truly amazing.
But as amazing as the SpaceX team is, it’s a bit scary from a resilience point-of-view to have only one company consistently launching systems into space. It would be good for all of us to have more competition.
And meanwhile, ULA in 2023 launched a grand total of… *3* rockets.
Largely because ULA is running out of its Atlas and Delta rockets and has been betting everything on this new Vulcan Centaur. However, as the Wikipedia page notes, the Vulcan Centaur has been in the works since 2014. It was supposed to first launch 5 years ago in 2019… and then it was delayed… and delayed… and delayed… and delayed… until today!
So it is great to see this successful launch. Hopefully this will lead to many more.
But we’ll have to see.
Right now ULA has only booked six launches over the rest of 2024 … while SpaceX is reportedly shooting for 144 launches! ULA could of course book more, particularly now that they’ve had a successful launch. But they are still far away from the volume and cadence that SpaceX is achieving.
And, as Eric Berger wrote in an excellent piece over at ArsTechnica, it’s not clear where ULA is heading as a company. There seems to be a good bit of tension between the company and its Boeing and Lockheed owners. And the owners are also putting the company up for sale. (The Wikipedia article about ULA is a good read.)
The good news for now is that the Vulcan Centaur’s first launch was successful. Hopefully their next will be as well, and they can start launching more and more satellites and systems.
Meanwhile, SpaceX will keep launching and launching and launching…
Image credit: Tweet from ULA
In thinking about my themes for 2024 and specifically about changing my habits, one change that I am going to try is to get consistent with both my “The Dan York Report” podcast and also my “A View From The Crow’s Nest” newsletter.
Right now they are both “irregular” or “periodic”… meaning I just do them whenever I think about them or have some reason for doing them. Which means that sometimes I publish 4 of them in a week… and then I don’t publish anything for four weeks or more! 🤦♂️
I want to get in the *habit* of doing both. I want to instill in myself the discipline of regular production.
And I also want to be realistic by planning a weekly production. Sometimes in the past I have tried to “get back into producing content” and targeted daily production. But that’s not realistic for me with everything else going on in life.
We’ll see. Weekly may turn out to be too much. Perhaps I will shoot for every other week.
My logic for the podcast being on Mondays is that it gives me time on the weekend to do the production. My logic for the newsletter on Fridays is that sometimes I write about stuff that people might want to experiment with over a weekend - or I have links to other longer reads or items that may take more time than people have in a typical week day.
There’s also a symbiosis where either the Friday newsletter can feed into the Monday podcast… or vice versa where the Monday podcast becomes the topic for the Friday newsletter.
Another aspect is that by limiting myself to weekly, I’m hoping to plan ahead and produce both newsletters and podcasts in advance! (Wild concept for me!!)
Which isn’t to say that I won’t also put out a podcast or newsletter at another time when something interesting or breaking news makes me want to publish a new edition. But I want to get to a consistent cadence.
Again… we’ll see! It’s all a grand experiment. Stay tuned… if I actually execute on this I’ll drop a podcast episode tomorrow…. 🙂
From the Burlington, Vermont area, it’s only about a 45 minute drive to the Canadian border. (Yes, we are *that*close!🙂) As you get close to the border on Interstate 89, there is a sign on the right side that says:
Latitude 45° North
Yes, indeed, once you drive past that point you are now getting closer to the North Pole than the Equator from a latitude perspective!
In fact, when we lived in Ottawa, Ontario, for five years from 2000-2005, I maintained a blog called “North of 45” about our experience living there. (Sadly now all filled with ads because of the decline of LiveJournal.)
These days, we mostly drive north of the 45th to either: 1) go curling just over the border in Bedford, Quebec; 2) go to the Montreal airport (YUL) to fly somewhere; or 3) go to our closest IKEA in Boucherville, Quebec, just to the east of Montreal. 😀
I just smile whenever I see the sign. We are definitely in the northern part of the northern hemisphere!
This morning brought a reminder that it was twenty years ago that I opened up an account on LiveJournal. For about four years, “LJ” was my home on the web. It was where I wrote MANY articles, connected with people across their journals, and started interacting with a few people with whom I am still in touch today.
My journal site is still there today, with a much younger photo of me (I still had brown hair!), but my last entry was 11 years ago in April 2013, and that was just an update to a post four years earlier in April 2009 saying where people could find my writing. I haven’t really written there for most of 16 years… since back in 2008.
In those early days in the mid-2000s, LJ was a vibrant, social place to be. There were no advertisements and it was one of those amazing places of creativity during that time. Strong communities were built and thrived. Many of the ways we started interacting there (ex. “friends”) would carry over into later services.
Wikipedia outlines some of what happened after that… Brad Fitzpatrick sold the site to SixApart and I think they understandably wanted to figure out how to turn it into a business. But then in 2007 it was sold to a Russian media company… and things changed more and more after that. (Viewing my site today I am amused to see some of the ads displayed to me having Cyrillic text.)
In my own case, I’d started to branch out. Those were the glory days of “blogging” as a thing, and at the end of 2005 I’d launched first Disruptive Telephony and then Disruptive Conversations as places where I very prolifically wrote on different topics. I continued to use LJ as a place for “personal” blogging… up until I decided to start up the site you are reading this article on.
Still, for a few years, it was my home on the Web - and I’m grateful for the time that I was there!
As I have been doing for the past 15 years (see list), my first post of 2024 across all my sites is of three words that are my aspirations or “themes” for the year ahead. They are not “resolutions” so much as guiding thoughts or principles.
This year I decided on 3 H’s: Hope, Health, and Habits.
We live in challenging times… and 2024 looks to present even greater challenges. A colleague of mine noted that there will be over 100 elections in 67 countries in 2024 - all of which will undoubtedly create communication and societal challenges in this time of great polarization. I expect great amounts of mis/disinformation, especially in this era of “generative AI”. With the climate, we’re just coming off the hottest year in recorded history, and signs are that 2024 could be even worse. Economic inequality keeps rising. Fewer and fewer people can afford to buy houses around where I live. We have a dictator who wants to be our next US President (and some % of people seem ready to vote for him 🤯). There’s a lot of gloom out there.
And yet… as the good folks at FutureCrunch remind us - there are a lot of good things going on: “66 Good News Stories You Didn't Hear About in 2023”. The challenge is that all of that gets drowned out in the media’s desire to get eyeballs. (“If it bleeds, it leads!”)
A couple of years ago I wrote this (re-shared on Mastodon last year):
The challenge that lies before us is more than choosing hope over fear.
It is choosing hope *amidst* the overwhelming narratives of fear and doom.
It is choosing hope and optimism *despite* those fears.
It is choosing hope as a daily, gritty act of resistance and resilience.
I believe that is truly our calling.
Last year, as I was preparing to become President of our local Rotary Club in July 2023, I was thrilled to find that the “theme” for this year’s Rotary International president is “Create Hope in the World”. That resonates so strongly with me.
Now, more than ever, with so much chaos around us, we need to provide whatever small shreds of hope we can.
Health (or a health-related word) has been one of my three words in 12 of these 15 years, including last year. This year I had some tests done and some checkups, and while I’m okay overall, my bad cholesterol levels are too high, my blood pressure is creeping toward a point where I need to be concerned, and I’m at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been. Addressing this MUST be a focus, or I won’t be here to write the 2025 version. 🙁
In 2023, I spent some time looking at how I spend my time, and some of the habits I have. Some of those are good (ex. daily language practice), but others need to change, such as being far too sedentary… or doomscrolling through social media instead of creating content. In 2024, I want to change and form some healthier habits… for my actual health, but also just for how I interact in the world. One of these I’ve already started is to rejuvenate my email newsletter (all are welcome to subscribe!) and to start writing there versus on social media.
To that point, I really want to focus on the POSSE model of publishing on my own sites first, and THEN sharing it out on social channels. Too much of what I’ve been writing lately has been on other people’s platforms. I want to form the strong habit of writing on my own sites first.
Interestingly, Om Malik recently wrote about his own desire to return to blogging, specifically to use his blog as more of a “commonplace journal”. I like that framing. Stay tuned to see if I actually do it!
I’m also hoping that the habit I’ve started in 2023 of doing a bit more with music continues. I’m trying to carve out time each day to noodle a bit with the piano or guitar. I want to see about doing even more.
The challenge, of course, will be to excise some of the not-so-good habits that have formed in my life. It will be an interesting year!
That’s what I’m looking forward to this year. How about you?
Today at the ISC2 Security Congress 2023 in Nashville, TN, I gave a well-received talk on "Demystifying the World of Routing Security". Unfortunately, the mobile app for the event had (and still has) the wrong set of slides. Instead of mine, the attached deck was for a 2019 talk. So I told participants I would put the slides up on one of my sites. And here they are:
As you will see, a great amount of the slides are about the Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) initiative.
Also, for people seeking info about how to be involved with the "MANRS+" effort, the link is: https://www.manrs.org/about/manrs-working-group/
Thanks to all who attended - and especially to the five who helped me with the on-stage demonstration. 😀
Booking airline tickets for my first business trip since December 2019, I get down to the part where United notes your status level and it says…
No “Premier” status of any level.
Which makes total sense given:
2020 - 0 flights
2021 - 0 flights
2022 - 0 flights
2023 - 2 flights (so far)
I totally understand why I am now just a “general” traveler. 😀
When ChatGPT and similar systems started being available, people noticed right away that they could provide completely wrong answers. But they would do so in language that was so confident and plausible (because that is how they are designed).
Some people started to say “ChatGPT lies about information”.
But somewhat immediately, people started pushing back and saying that it isn’t “lying” because that implies sentience or consciousness. Say it is “lying” is “anthropomorphizing”, i.e. attributing human behavior to something that is very definitely not human.
Instead, some people said, let’s refer to this false information as “hallucinations”, as that is in fact a term used in AI research. So we say instead “ChatGPT hallucinates information.”
I personally like that term. It provides a way to explain to people that these AI tools just make stuff up!
But, as noted in this excellent Ars Technica article by Benj Edwards (that you really need to read to understand all this!), the use of “hallucination” has two issues:
Which is fine… I can go along with that reasoning.
But… the author then suggests instead we use the term from psychology of “confabulation”, as in:
”ChatGPT confabulates information”
Hmm. While I get that “confabulation” may be more technically accurate, I think it still has the issues:
But more importantly… “confabulation” is NOT A WORD PEOPLE REGULARLY USE!
At least, people who are not in psychology.
If we as technologists want to help the broader public understand these AI systems, both their opportunities and challenges, then we need to speak in plain language.
I do think we need to go back to the beginning and just say “ChatGPT lies”.
This has two important aspects:
Yes, it’s anthropomorphizing. No, ChatGPT and other AI systems are NOT human or sentient. No, they can’t really “lie” in the human understanding of it.
But we can use that term to help people understand what is happening here.
ChatGPT and other systems are lying. They are NOT giving you true information.
Let’s call it like it is.
P.S. It turns out that Simon Willison, who has been diving deep into the world of AI far more than I, has written something similar: “We need to tell people ChatGPT will lie to them, not debate linguistics” - please read Simon’s post for a another view!
Image credit: from Bing Image Create (DALL-E) using prompt “create an image showing an AI that is hallucinating”
Dan York, CISSP, is Director, Internet Technology, at the Internet Society.
Please note that the Internet Society has no connection to this blog and any opinions stated here are entirely Dan's.