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Saved searches make it easy to create custom feeds

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You can now save a search as a saved search feed. This works for individual sites, folders, All Site Stories, saved stories, and blurblogs.

Saved searches are great for creating custom feeds with just the stories you want. Think of these new feeds as spotlights on parts of a folder or feed, ways to keep track of stories that share a theme across different sites.

Or use saved searches to keep a single tag together for handy reference.

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19 hours ago
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2 public comments
19 hours ago
What would be really cool as well would be to be able to create searches that /remove/ items, similar to a Google search using the -term. So, for instance, if I follow the "Strong Towns" blog but I am not interested in the #strongesttowns series, I could save a "-#strongesttowns" search.
Washington, District of Columbia
20 hours ago
This is actually pretty genius. One of those features I never thought about, but see a million uses for it.
Topeka, KS

Preview: TYR @ OpenTech 2017

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One thing I’ve recently noticed knocking about the industry is what I’m beginning to call the “post-Internet” or maybe the “Afternet”. This is the conjunction of maybe three trends.

The first of these is the way 5G is panning out over in mobile.

To start with, pretty much everything in consumer and most things in enterprise are mobile these days so there’s no excuse for ignoring those boring 3GPP suits. Also, it looks very much as if the first deployments of the 5G New Radio are going to be fixed-wireless, as a replacement for DSL and a substitute for point-to-point microwave or maybe some fibre. So rather than being a “mobile thing”, they’re going to be another access network medium for the general public Internet service.

I’m not going to go into the radio stuff here, fascinating though it is. What interests me is that the 5G builders are increasingly keen on integrating general purpose computing capacity into the network, and importantly, putting it within the radio-access network or at least the mobile core network. So you might host an app inside T-Mobile or Orange Armenia or whoever’s RAN, which would obviously be lovely from a webperf point of view as a way of getting latency down. And, you know, distributed systems design is fun! Latency is a huge deal in 5G; 3GPP wants a round-trip time from the User Equipment (yes, they still call it that) to the carrier’s edge router facing the Internet of 10ms. The important point to bear in mind here is that if this is delivered, the competitive imperative to get the full benefit of it will be powerful. We’ve known for years that in all kinds of applications, latency and its standard deviation have a direct impact on user experience metrics and indeed on business KPIs.

This brings us to the next trend. I recall not so long ago Jamie Zawinski saying on his blog that Instagram was barely on the Internet at all, in any meaningful sense. At the time they didn’t have much of a Web site, so it was almost entirely an app store/smartphone experience. You couldn’t just download or upload stuff from whatever computer you happened to have with you. And you know, if they could host at least an upload accelerator reverse-proxy inside the mobile networks they certainly would. CDN nodes for the pix would also be valuable. Akamai will kinda-sorta do this for you but the actual coverage is pretty thin compared to what it is for fixed eyeball ISPs. Seeing as Google already has an absolutely huge global caching/CDN infrastructure, I’m surprised it’s not an Android API already.

Now for our third trend. If there’s one product that goes out supremely well in the enterprise these days, it’s Layer 2 Ethernet service, as opposed to IP-VPN or whatever T/E carrier grandad’s still using. One of the major applications for this is that some of the providers now have L2 interconnection (called an E-NNI for External Network to Network Interface, if you want people to think you’re a Bellhead for some strange reason) with the big clouds. So you sign up and suddenly MS Office 365 is sooo much snappier. From their point of view, this is really great if you’re a huge US telco or cableco that can get all its enterprise customers and three AWS Regions on-network, but not so good for everyone else. So the smaller operators – and some not-so-small but multinational ones – are trying to sign up as many E-NNI agreements as they can with each other, standardise their internal IT, all in the aim of being able to increase their L2 footprints.

The dark side of this is that in doing so they’re shifting emphasis from the Internet’s Layer 3, multilateral peering interconnection model to a new L2 private peering ecosystem. Personally I’m not sure it can work – one of the underestimated features of the Internet is that its federal nature means it has clear administrative demarcs, and this certainly won’t, as it’s going to be some sort of turtles-all-the-way-down but with VXLANs protocol tunnelling nightmare, which will make debugging it pure hell. A preview of this is the way a lot of the big clouds really struggle to do networking at all well.

The opposition, meanwhile, seems to be companies like Google who run proper IPv6 networks, but increasingly own everything but the last mile and increasingly rely on their own in-house fibre for everything. Google specifically has every reason to obsess about this after that time the NSA tapped all their inter-datacentre WANs and they bought the world’s supply of FASTLANE linerate encryption boxes all in a week.

Hence the Afternet – an oligopolistic collection of semi-autonomous clouds overlaying politicians’ demands for censorship and digital protectionism. Will your blog be on it? So, where are we going with this and who should we subject to remorseless public shaming? Well. That’s why I’m going to be speaking at this year’s OpenTech on the subject of 5G and Your Website. You may have noticed there’s a link to “5G Resources” at the top of the blog – there is nothing there at the moment but I promise it will be full of links before the 13th of May.

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2 days ago
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Of rice and men: A circular tale of changing food preferences

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Print section Print Rubric:  West Africans are eating more like Asians. Asians are eating more like Americans. And the richest Americans… Print Headline:  Of rice and men Print Fly Title:  Grain consumption UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Quantum leaps Fly Title:  Of rice and men Location:  LOS ANGELES, SINGAPORE AND TIASSALÉ Main image:  20170311_IRP001_0.jpg IF YOU think of food simply as sustenance, or as a source of pleasure, a trip to the farmer’s market in Pacific Palisades will open your eyes. To the Lycra-clad shoppers in this wealthy district of Los Angeles, eating is an intensely tricky activity. A woman in a felt hat, Julie, says she tries to avoid white flour because it makes her feel bloated—though she makes an exception for tortillas. A mother of a four-year-old eats rice ...
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Build an electronics lab for under $200

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Modern technology has exceeded my wildest dreams as a teenager struggling to build an electronics lab. With an Amazon.com order, one can have an entire electronics lab for next to nothing.

As a teen, I paid a guy $100 for a used oscilloscope that took two adults to lift. These days, you can get a solid state one for under forty bucks. And the component tester listed below is cooler than anything I could have conceived.

So if you want to get started in electronics from scratch, here’s what I’d recommend to get started. I’m not saying this is the best way to go. A single Fluke meter would cost more than $200 but provide a lifetime of quality service. This is aimed at folks getting started on a shoestring budget.

Prices are rounded off and subject to change.

Workbench $0. You’ve already got a desk, kitchen table or something. Start there.

Lighting $8. I grabbed these LED strips and plugged them into a 12 volt power brick I had laying around. 16.4 foot LED flexible strip

Multimeter $18. This isn’t the greatest, but it gets the job done. Even includes a frequency meter! Tacklife DM02A

Soldering station $22. This is the model I’ve used for years. Works great. Stahl SSVT Soldering Station

Solder ($5). 63/37

Flux ($8). It took me far too long to realize how useful flux is in getting solder to flow onto a connection. If you shop around, be sure NOT to get anything acidic. Flux pen

Component tester $12. This completely blows my mind. Plug in nearly any component, push the button, and get a read of the pinout and operating specs. A good project might be mounting this in a nice case. Mega328 component tester

Oscilloscope $23. Not the greatest bandwidth, but for poking around in Arduino circuits and leaning it’s great. DSO 138 TFT scope

Signal generator $17. Once you start testing circuits, you’ll need to inject signals. This little generator is a good start. XR2206 Signal Generator

Power Supply $31. It’s a rite of passage for electronic experimenters to build their own power supply. A good start might be with an ATX computer supply ($21) which you can hook up to an external current limiting regulator ($7). Another good project is to replace the tiny trimmer controls on this unit with multi-turn potentiometers (2 for $3).

Grab bag of parts $20. Go to Jameco for this one. Sorting through the grab bag is a different experience every time, and an educational experience in itself. Component grab bag (but collecting and dismantling old devices will be your primary source)

Wire strippers $5. Over time you’ll want to try several and see what works for you. But this is a good start. CP-301G

Diagonal cutter $6. CHP-170

Screwdrivers $12. This kit works with lots of unusual screws that you’ll encounter in iPhones and so on. And it includes tweezers and spudger tools to get into modern devices. Pro bit driver kit

Breadboard & wires $18. This set includes lots of components that will be helpful to get you started, including a bare-bones USB power supply. Electronics Fun Kit

So this adds up to a bit over $200, but this (plus a few trips to the library) would be a great start for someone getting started in electronics. Check out the EEVblog which has a huge wealth of informational videos.

Let me know what you think!


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3 days ago
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How to Write (and Draw) History in Africa: A Review of Abina and the Important Men

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9780190238742AiW Guest: Tamara Moellenberg

The second edition of Trevor R. Getz’s and Liz Clarke’s Abina and the Important Men (OUP, 2016) creates a scholarly ‘forum’ around Abina, a nineteenth-century Ghanaian woman who sought her freedom from slavery through the British colonial courts. (Britain abolished slavery in its protectorate of the Gold Coast in 1874.) Divided into five parts, Abina offers an innovative model of how to engage and entertain readers while, at the same time, introducing them to key historiographical methods and debates.


Photograph of the “Regina vs. Quamina Eddoo” record – image via abina.org

Part I of Abina and the Important Men represents Abina’s struggle to prove her status as a ‘slave’–and to convict her former owner, Quamina Eddoo–as a graphic history. Vividly illustrated, fast-paced and organized as a compelling narrative, the pictures and text provide an accessible entry point into a complicated court decision for young scholars (the authors identify their primary audience as undergraduate and graduate students). Following this, later sections of the textbook add context and nuance to Abina’s story, pulling up the veil on the researchers’ methods and inviting readers to craft their own interpretations of the 1876 case. Hence, Part II of Abina and The Important Men, ‘The Transcript’, encourages readers to compare the complete, reprinted transcript of Regina vs. Quamina Eddoo with Getz’s and Clarke’s own graphic representation, acknowledging the latter as only one way of reading Abina’s story. Part III, ‘Historical Context’, surveys some of the salient political, economic, social and cultural events that had an impact on the court’s decision, while Part IV, the ‘Reading Guide’, unpacks fundamental historiographical discussions relevant to Abina’s case. Part V, ‘Engaging Abina’, probes criticisms of the first edition of Abina and the Important Men, published in 2012.

gold_coast_region_mapA central question explored throughout all of these sections is ‘Was Abina indeed a “slave” as she claimed?’ Further, what did it mean to be a ‘slave’ in nineteenth-century Ghana, where local customs allowed girls from poor families to be ‘bound’ in relationships of obligation to family friends and elders? How were certain forms of slavery tacitly tolerated by the colonial government, and what was their significance within the economy and social structures of the Gold Coast? Embracing this uncertainty, in ‘The Reading Guide’ the authors encourage students to look at Abina’s story as a ‘staircase of voices’. First, we have Abina and her experiences; next, a series of mediators such as Getz and Clarke who interpret Abina’s story and present it in heterogeneous ways; and, finally, the readers of Getz’s and Clarke’s text, who are asked to form their own opinions about Abina and her plight. Modeling rigorous historiography, the authors investigate the extent to which it is possible to strip back these layers–beginning with their own representation of Abina in the graphic history–and ‘move down through the stairs like an archaeologist […]’, eventually arriving, as far as is possible, at the original event (136). Fortunately, Getz and Clarke are not essentialists; their goal is not to create a ‘temple’ of history, ‘where people of a particular group can celebrate or commemorate their “authentic” story’ (156). Rather, in ‘The Reading Guide’, the authors foreground the interpretive process that separates all researchers from complete knowledge of historical events. Using circumspect, qualified language, Getz and Clarke make clear that they seek ‘some message, metaphor or “truth”’ about the past (150; italics mine)–not the truth of the events–which then might be judged ‘recognizable and useful by Ghanaians today’ (153; italics the authors’), a grounded, pragmatic aim.


Balme Library, University of Ghana, Legon – image by Regents of the University of Michigan

I would have liked to see more direct engagement with Ghanaian readers and their responses, however, as a way of developing this point about the usefulness of the work for Ghanaians, not only for students in North America, where Getz teaches. Have Getz and Clarke presented their textbook in Ghanaian schools and universities? What about bookstores and academic conferences? The authors cite in passing Sue Gonzalez, a US-based educator who has taken Abina and the Important Men into Ghanaian classrooms: notably, many of Gonzalez’s students, particularly girls, see elements of their own experiences reflected in Abina’s struggle (163). Yet Getz and Clarke largely eschew such local interactions, thereby detracting from the otherwise laudable attention they give to Ghanaian actors, events and regionally specific concepts. To be sure, by incorporating more insights from contemporary Ghanaians, the authors would have added yet another fascinating layer to ‘the staircase of voices’ explored in their work, while also advancing significantly towards their stated end.

Admittedly, in ‘Part V: Engaging Abina,’ the authors do incorporate diverse perspectives, particularly belonging to scholars. A definite strength of the second edition is its attempt to grapple in sensitive, self-critical ways with critiques made of the first edition. The most notable of these is Laura Mitchell’s assertion that, in the earlier edition, Getz and Clarke insufficiently examine what Abina’s gender, sexuality and sexual availability as a woman in colonial Ghana might have meant for her court case. Getz’s and Clarke’s subsequent willingness to embrace Mitchell’s insight, and to make her critique their own, points to the authors’ commitment to represent Abina’s story faithfully. In Part V, they take Mitchell’s comment further, staring boldly at the gaps in their own analysis and using these to elucidate historiographical methods, querying what it might mean to ‘gender’ Abina’s story. The authors go on to examine, for instance, how gender constructions constrain Abina’s interactions with the ‘important men’ of 1870s Ghana, including her lawyer, judge, ex-husband and former master. The final section of Abina and the Important Men, which precedes substantial appendices, also explores how gender shades the various meanings of ‘slave,’ ‘marriage’ and ‘woman’ that ultimately decide Abina’s fate.

Thoughtfully conceptualized and skillfully executed, Abina and the Important Men is an engaging example of how to teach–and do–history today. With a passion I found immediately endearing, Getz and Clarke show how it is possible to extract a wealth of information from a single primary source: in this case, the transcript of Abina’s court case discovered by Getz in an archive. Getz’s infectious love of historical methods–and Clarke’s remarkable ability to illustrate nineteenth-century Ghana despite the dearth of visual evidence from this period–make this a standout textbook. Reading it, I often found myself wishing I could take Getz’s courses at San Francisco State University, though, in a way, I feel I already have, having learnt so much from Abina. Want to write, draw, teach or tell African history? Abina and the Important Men should prove a valuable resource.

Moellenberg Photo 1


Tamara Moellenberg completed her DPhil in English at the University of Oxford in 2016. She is a former AiW Reviews Editor.


Trevor R. Getz is Professor of History at San Francisco State University; Liz Clarke is a freelance illustrator based in Cape Town.

Filed under: Reviews - Books, Uncategorized

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PUB: Festschrift for Niyi Osundare at 70

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CfP: Festschrift for
Niyi Osundare at 70

deadline 15 May 2017 


niyi 01

Professor Oluwaniyi Osundare – NNOM, scholar, teacher, stylistician, poet, playwright, public intellectual, newspaper columnist, etc. – will be seventy years old on March 12, 2017. The multiple award-winning poet has had a great impact on the Nigerian and African literary scenes in many obvious ways, but particularly in the areas of poetry, style, stylistics and the sociolinguistics of African literature. There have been hundreds of doctoral dissertations, books and scholarly articles on his poetry, in international and local journals and books, just as there have been earlier collections of essays on his works.


niyi 02

For this festschrift, the editors wish to focus on conceptual issues in style and stylistics, and on summative theoretical explications of Osundare’s work. Contributions that focus on the impact of his work on the theory and practice of style in Nigerian poetry are of particular interest to the editors. The editors therefore invite scholarly articles in the general area of language and style, which examine Osundare’s works from specific literary and linguistic perspectives. Contributions may be guided by, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Theories of Style and Stylistics
  • Literary and linguistic approaches to Stylistics
  • Literary and Linguistic approaches to Niyi Osundare’s Poetry
  • The Eurocentric and the Alter-Native: Niyi Osundare and the poetic revolution in Nigeria
  • A comprehensive survey of the literature on Niyi Osundare’s poetry:
  • Niyi Osundare as critic and theorist
  • Niyi Osundare as satirist
  • The dramatist in Niyi Osundare
  • Niyi Osundare as essayist
  • Tributes from friends, colleagues, former and current students are also

LENGTH OF ARTICLES: 3500 to 6500 words.

Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju
Dept of English
University of Ilorin,
Ilorin, Nigeria

Obododimma Oha
Dept of English
University of Ibadan,
Ibadan, Nigeria

Joseph A. Ushie
Dept of English,
University of Uyo,
Uyo, Nigeria


>via: https://africainwords.com/2017/03/22/cfp-festschrift-for-niyi-osundare-at-70-deadline-15-may-2017/

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