Insurrection and the 14th

First off, this is compiled from my tweetstorm, but it’s probably easier to read here.

Just a couple quick ideas for how the next meeting of the US Senate should go, once our two new Georgia senators @ossoff and @ReverendWarnock are sworn in because it seems that this could be fun. (also hat tip to @gnrosenberg for solidifying the ideas in my head.)

The formality of the new Majority leader is accomplished and we have a 51/50 Dem lead. This is key, and will be necessary first, but is expected and could be as early as January 15th (which would be awesome!) or as late as January 22nd due to Georgia certifying votes. But!

Second order of business: Censure the Seditious 13. This would be everyone who had told the press that they were going to fight the certification of Biden’s win because they wanted to kiss Trump’s ass. Censure takes a simple majority, and “insurrection” is key, because doing this specifically marks them with the word “insurrection” which appears in the lovely 14th Amendment, which you can read in its entirety here.

It’s a thing of beauty!

Why? I’ll tell you!

It’s a thing of beauty because it doesn’t say “convicted of” or “accused of” it simply says “engaged”. And what happens with the censure process? Well, as long as the censure says “Ted Cruz engaged in insurrection” then he did. And the censure says he did. What more do you need? There hasn’t been a ton of case law on this because it’s rare for a sitting elected official to be so fucking stupid, but it’s this timeline so here we are. Insurrection. What next?

Oh let me tell you! 🤗

Back to the 14th Amendment where it has this lovely bit, called Section 3: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

That’s a lot.

Maybe read it again.

Now notice what it does not say? Nowhere in it does it ever say “convicted of” or “tried for” it simply says “engaged” and having the censure from the Senate or the House saying they “engaged in insurrection” is a simple thing. How simple? Censures take…

wait for it…

Censures takes a simple majority to be done. In the Senate that’s 51 votes (which we have) and in the House that’s 218 (which we also have). So they get censured saying they engaged in insurrection and what then? Let’s go to Section 3 again, specifically final line of Section 3: “But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

That’s fancy language for “a supermajority vote can reinstate their ability to hold office”. Guess what neither chamber of Congress has right now?

THAT’S RIGHT! Neither chamber has a supermajority who would vote to let Ted Cruz hold any office again. The Dems wouldn’t do it anyway, but I wouldn’t bet big money that if the GOP even could that they would. But they can’t, so that’s perfect. BOOM. Ted’s career be ded.


They then do the other 12 Senators and the 130ish Representatives, and guess what?

And then they do Don Jr., Eric, Melania, Ivanka, Giuliani, Wood, et al, and then not one of them can hold office, either. Is it harsh AF? Yes. But it’s justice.

Now, some of you might be saying “Oh, once we go down this path, it’ll be weaponized.” And that’s definitely a concern. But guess what? The GOP has facilitated fascists and we must fight back with every weapon and by removing these people from holding any office we’re removing a cancerous tumor that’s been growing for decades. And go ahead, red states, elect more crazies. The moment they pull this shit again, we fire back. We can’t act like this is easy or fun but it’s necessary and correct.

Every single person who supported the lies put forth by Donald Trump in his brazen attempt to stage a coup and destroy this republic must be removed from office and never allowed to hold one again. There is a clear way to do it.

Make it so.


An acronym for Anti-Vaxxer/Flat-Earther, and it’s pronounced as if you are about to energetically argue against ignorance and idiocy only to quickly realize that you cannot fix stupid, so you end up merely sighing heavily as you realize the world is going to just burn to the ground anyway because of the morons around us. “aaaahhhhhhffffffvvvvehhhhhhh”.

You shared “Plandemic” because you believe that shit? Do you want AVFEs? Because that’s how you get AVFEs.

A Nice Tan?

He’s tall. She didn’t jump. She could hear herself breathing, but she wasn’t startled. She didn’t understand why she wasn’t startled. She had locked the door. She clearly remembered locking the door. He’s blond, too. She opened her mouth to ask something, but nothing emerged. He smiled, slightly, a curve to his lips and a spark in his eyes. What beautiful amber, golden eyes. Kate stared into his eyes, losing everything in them.

He didn’t move. Perfect stillness, like a painting that seems real until the stillness takes away the illusion of life, and you’re left wondering how it was created. He looked like that, artistic perfection by tricks of tints and shades and brushstrokes. She could hear his breathing, but his eyes kept her from seeing him move. The light shown around his eyes, sparks of sunlight burst into miniature flickering flowers surrounded him. She stared.

He slowly blinked, a languorous release from an encompassing event. Kate inhaled deeply, holding her breath as she savored that moment.

“Who are you?” escaped before she realized what she was asking. She lurched back to the room, standing still, and finally seeing all of him again. He’s very tall, taller than James. “How did you get in here?”

“I walked through the door,” he gestured to the open door beside her. She blinked, several times, remembering clearly closing the door. She looked from him to the door and back, confusion visibly building in her eyes. It happened quite a lot. This constant memory game of what was real and what wasn’t real, and she was wrong more often than right. Maybe. She really couldn’t recall being right, or feeling right, in so long. James was there, he was perfect, they were in love. He was gone, she was broken, alone, and lost. She’d wake up knowing that he was asleep beside her, and then really wake up to the nightmare where she drowned in their bedding, alone. She’d ripped sheets to shreds. She’d slept at friend’s, on the couch, in her car, in the office. She wandered alone in a crowd for hours, wondering if she’d ever feel again. She’d feel something, somewhere, and then remember that she couldn’t share it with James and would break.

“Kate?” Jules bounded through the doorway, in full mother-hen mode. “What’s up?”

Kate started and gasped, falling backwards to the wall and then sideways into a chair. Jules quickly caught her arm and stopped her from planting her forehead into the carpet.

“That would not be cute.” He smoothed her sleeves and held her shoulders, forcing her to look him in the eye. “You can’t explain away rug-burn on your forehead. The nuns never buy your story.” Kate laughed, slightly, and some of the life returned to her eye, only to fade, as quick as it came.

“Where did he go?” She searched the room, but there was no where for him to hide.

“Dennis? With Miss Hates-his-guts to try to salvage the shit work he did for her. Why?”

Kate kept looking around the room. Jules didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Conference table, chairs, the easel, the windows, the world outside. Nothing to see here.

“Not Dennis. He…” she stumbled over the memory, searching for his name. “I think he said Elijah or something.”

“You think who said ‘Elijah’?”

“The man. In here.”

“There’s been no man in here. Just me and Dennis,” Jules’s right eyebrow shot up, “neither of whom qualify.”

“Queen, I’m being serious. There was a man in here,” Kate’s hands were moving as she talked, helping her to describe what she could remember of him. “A tall man. Big. Gold.”

“Gold? Like the metal?”

“You know what I mean.”

“A nice tan?”

“No.” She stopped, crossing her arms, then twirling a strand of her hair. “Maybe. I don’t know. But he was here.” She pointed to where he’d been standing, right at Jules’s feet.

(I found this in my odds and ends, and I really should probably write the rest of this story, but I have no clue what it is. How delightful.)


or The Case For Verizon to Support Net Neutrality

One of the most fascinating self-destructions lately has got to be Tumblr’s change to not let “explicit material”, or as we adults call it, “porn”, be viewed on the site. Or in the app.

In case you missed the reasoning, Apple did the right thing in pulling the Tumblr app from the App Store when it became clear that Tumblr had child porn out in the open for all to see. For those of you who still support Woody Allen, let me spell it out: child porn is bad. And there was apparently a lot of it being flung about the internet via posts on Tumblr. Who could’ve guessed?

When I heard about this I was both not surprised by Apple’s move and completely flabberghasted by Tumblr’s apparent disregard for what’s on their site. I had thought there was a database of known images that sites could check against to make sure that images or clips from known child porn would be hidden, and the users reported. That something like this exists is, in 2018, completely reasonable. That Tumblr wasn’t using it is completely insane. After all, Net Neutrality doesn’t really apply to content on your own site, no matter who created it, so Tumblr should’ve known and should’ve worked to combat it.

Apple got proof that Tumblr wasn’t fighting child porn, and rightly banned the iOS app, and everyone lost their godsbedamned minds. Apple did the right thing, and in doing the right thing, Apple forced Tumblr to do something, too.

(Here’s where I point out that Tumblr is owned by Verizon, so that you won’t be shocked by WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.)

Instead of doing the right thing, Tumblr did the easy thing: ban anything that might look like porn, up to and included “female-presenting nipples”. In the annals of idiot corporatisms, this is very high on the list. Perhaps peaking out, just a bit, near the top. Unlike Miley’s.


Verizon is dumb. Tumblr is dumb. Just dumb. The policy is dumb, the implimentation is dumb, the explanation is dumb, the whole thing, as once said by a great cartoonist, is a “buncha dumbs”. And Verizon owns Tumblr.

Did you know that Verizon owns Tumblr? Yeah, they do. It’s a weird thing, and it sets them up for a nasty set of lawsuits at some point, but Verizon decided that they couldn’t just be a telecom, they needed to own the content as well, that way they can direct people to their content faster, and make more money. Unless there’s Net Neutrality. And that’s the reason that Verizon hates Net Neutrality: Money.

Owning the content is supposed to make Verizon more profitable, and profits make shareholders happy. At least that’s the theory. It’s been the theory since the Bell System was broken up, and it’ll be a theory forever, because, again, buncha dumbs.

Did you know that USWest/Qwest once owned Time/Warner? Did you know that AT&T now owns Time/Warner and also owns DirecTV? And do you know why this stupidity happens? BECAUSE BUNCHA DUMBS.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m a 5th Generation Bell Baby. My great-great-grandfather owned a local telecom in Stamps, Arkansas, and that was eventually bought up by Southern Bell, which was part of, and then not part of, AT&T back in the day. My family has, in some way, in every generation, worked in telecom. I own a small ISP in Helena, MT, and I cannot even begin to explain the twisted road that lead me here, and it’s a story for another time. That all being said, I know this business pretty well.

Back to the stupidity. It is toxic and it happens. It’s also cyclic. Here’s how it goes:

  1. The Telecom builds out a bunch of last-mile connections1 in areas where another company will never build because last-mile connections are expensive.
  2.  The Telecom expands pretty rapidly owning all those last-mile connections, because no one else will bring service to those locations.
  3. The Telecom stops building out last-mile connections because some bean-counter ran the numbers and realized that the costs to build don’t create a return in the current quarter, and
  4. The Telecom is publicly-traded and must serve the unending maw of stockholders, and so must find new growth revenue
  5. The Telecom sees the data going over its network, which it stupidly refers to as ‘dumb pipes’2, and thinks it should own that data.
  6. The Telecom buys Content properties, leveraging it’s current worth for some fantastical foolishness thought up by an investment banker. Telecom then owns business it knows nothing about, but now is legally responsible for.
  7. The Telecom is overwhelmed with the crazy at Content property, and gets called out for some shady goings on over there.
  8. The Telecom overreacts and effectively shuts down Content company and loses billions.
  9. The Telecom either figures out an area where it can begin to build out last-mile connections again, or it acquires a smaller, growing telecom, that build last-mile connections.

This happens every time.

That is The Telecom Cycle and it’s been going on since Ma Bell3 was broken up and all the RBOCs4 were forced to compete with other companies along the same terms as any other publicly-traded business.

Now, I’ve already written about why the current standard for publicly-traded businesses is ridiculous, and this cycle is just one more bit of proof. But this has also been a diversion from the main point of this article, which is how Net Neutrality is something that Verizon should be all for, but because it keeps thinking it needs to own content, it cannot have.

You see, when you are just a telecom, what goes over your wire is immaterial to you. You aren’t responsible for content, you can ignore it. And that’s critical. “Why?” you ask. Well, think about the last movie you saw where someone set off a bomb by calling a cell phone and using the ringer as a detonator. If telecoms were responsible for the content, that becomes the telecoms’ bomb.

No, I’m not kidding. Yes, that’s also dumb. But hey, we aren’t here to pick on the law, just to point out where it gets a bit wonky. No one in their right mind would want the telecom to be responsible for the content that is carried over the wire. Hell, look at most of my posts. If your ISP is responsible for the things I’ve said, you better hope you’re on my ISP. (Shameless plug, if you can be on my ISP, you should be. We’re pretty great.)

Mostly you wouldn’t want the telecom to be in charge of the content because they will, as they’ve proven time and again, overreact to any bad actions, and destroy content to absolve themselves from something they should have never put into their portfolio. They are, due to regulations and some history, very afraid of what they can and cannot do, and when they try to appease the stock market, they get into areas that put them afoul of some freedoms they cannot risk. This is that moment for Verizon.

Verizon made today inevitable the day they bought Tumblr. Anyone who’d spent more than 20 minutes on the site could see it was closer to PornHub than Twitter, and at least PornHub is upfront and honest about what it is, and works to keep the skeevies off the site (which, really, Tumblr, how dumb can you be?). There’s no excuse for Verizon doing this, but there’s also no hope for Tumblr now. It’s core as an outlet for the indiscreet and sexual is over, and that’s going to cost it more than the indiscreet and sexual. It’s already damaged the site to the point that many are gone for good. Don’t be surprised when it’s a has-been like geocities.

In all of this, Verizon is the problem. They refuse to enjoy the many advantages they have just being, as they say, ‘dumb pipes’. Being the best at delivering everything on the internet is a lofty goal, and one worth pursuing. Yes, it’s expensive to get fiber-optics to everyone’s home and office, but no one else is going to do it, and you get to be a monopoly simply because everyone else chooses to leave you as a monopoly.5 That’s a very powerful place to be. So never mind, I’m glad that Verizon hasn’t figured that out.

Trump Fixin’ Nixon

We’re live in interesting times. It’s something that I’ve been looking at and wondering about without a lot of hope, so I’m writing this down. I’m not sure it completely makes sense, but it’s a start.

We have a problem. It started with Nixon. We might be able to solve it with Trump.

Hear me out.

When Richard Nixon made the deal to resign the presidency in exchange for a pardon for the crimes he committed, he changed how we see the president. I’m not talking about Nixon himself, who we, as a nation, saw as a crook and a criminal for a while. That tarnish wore off relatively quickly, and by the 1980s he was mostly viewed as a former president, and by his death, he was almost completely seen as “that guy who might’ve done a thing or two wrong” but mostly he was just seen as the 37th President, the one before Ford.

Because Nixon was pardoned, and there wasn’t an impeachment, wasn’t a removal, and wasn’t a criminal prosecution nor a sentence or jail time, he escaped justice. He was excused from the normal parts of the system, and was given freedom he didn’t deserve. This was done for many reasons, but the biggest was, I believe, to not have a president that we as a nation viewed as shameful. We didn’t want to be embarrassed.

To avoid embarassment, we decided to do far more damage to our republic, damage that continues to this day: the notion that the president is, somehow, above the law.

When Nixon was pardoned, the others in power in Washington D.C. were trying to save face and keep the office from being besmirched by the activities of its current occupant. We don’t have a president in our history books that we look back on and say “and this jerk went to prison for breaking the law” and we, honestly, should. But our national pride got the better of us, and instead of doing the right thing we did the easy thing because we thought that saving face somehow was more important. That’s not true at all, but we did it anyway.

While Nixon was pardonedm, his vice president and many in his administration went to jail. Nixon deserved to go to jail, and would have if all that we now know he did had been presented in a court of law. Would that have made a laughingstock of the U.S. in the eyes of the world? Maybe for a while, but as our government got back to doing its job, it would have been simply one of those things that happened, and we move on from it.

Instead we pardoned Nixon, and in doing so, we made the president above the law. Now, to be clear, I know the president most expressly is not above the law, legally, but in practical terms, they are. And that’s the damage that Nixon wrought. I get that this is unintended, but it’s still very real. That was our mistake, and we’ve been paying for it ever since, although it’s been relatively small payments up until very recently.

In the Reagan administration we saw many people go to jail for their actions, most notoriously the Iran/Contra scandal that took down Oliver North. It didn’t even destroy North’s ability to affect politics, as he’s currently a talking head on cable news, but at least he went to jail.

Reagan was never even charged with anything, because of a certain party’s allegiance to itself over the rule of law and our country. If he’d been charged, would he have been removed? Probably not. But if Nixon hadn’t been pardoned, do you honestly believe that the Reagan administration would have the guts to even attempt that fiasco?

George H.W. Bush was also part of the Iran/Contra, and if the congress had the courage to do its job he would have been charged when he was VP, and never would have been elected to the presidency. While there he didn’t do much worse than pardon some who had been convicted of being involved with the Iran/Contra affair, which is all kinds of ick, but understandable from a certain point of view. I think that he kept his nose as clean as possible during his presidency because someone knew something and it could blow up. But again, had Nixon not been pardoned and instead processed through the legal system as any other citizen, Bush would have been hard-pressed to avoid a much harder investigation into his actions as VP and probably wouldn’t have been able to run, much less win.

Clinton had a stack of scandals, but in the end the worst that anyone can say is that he told a young woman to lie about a beej. The details are not worth going into, but what is worth covering is the fact that congress, emboldened because the president wasn’t of the same party in power, decided to do something. That something included created the legal structures that now hold that a sitting president can be litigated against for his actions, even those prior to becoming president. While I find the partisan attacks on Clinton to be unworthy of praise, I find the irony in the tools created to carry out those attacks being the first line of tools to use against Trump to be delicious. On so many levels.

Obama was, as the saying goes, drama-free. His administration had one incident that took up the airwaves of Fox News for years, Benghazi, but that wasn’t to go after Obama himself, it was to go after Hillary Clinton. Not much to see here.

And for the eagle-eyed among you, you might’ve noticed I missed a Bush. On purpose.

George W. Bush, and his vice president, Dick Cheney, had more controversies than any administration prior to the current one. Rife with plagiarism, theft, embezzlement, violations of secrecy acts, contempt of courts, congress, and so many others, it’s hard to even begin. But the worst was the stack of lies and misdeeds that lead to a vote of war that took the U.S., and several of our allies, into Iraq. This unbelievable act was only made possible by the missteps of the past, where we as a people decided that the president was above the law. That protection had trickled down to the vice president at some point, and even Dick Cheney managed to avoid direct prosecution for his actions.

You can disagree with me on the politics of their actions, but if we didn’t see the president as above the law, the democratically controlled congress of the first two years of Obama’s administration could have easily gone after them for their actions, but didn’t.

Now, here we are with Trump. All the signs are pointed to a collusion with a foreign power, Russia, to win the white house and an administration filled with people who lie for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and then eat their own lies for dinner. The stack of crazy is appalling, and the already known criminal activity, specifically the foreign contact security form lies, is staggering. The GOP is not doing anything, choosing party over the rule of law, and over country, as they did when it came to Nixon. Nothing new there.

The silver-lining that might be present is that with the overwhelming pile of criminal activity that Trump is involved with, there may soon come a time when congress has no choice but to pursue him with impeachment and criminal charges – and if he’s found guilty, he needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. In doing so, and being able to do so, Trump may actually give us something we’ve been missing for half a century – a government by the people and for the people that is lead by people who are not above the law.

I might be crazy, but it’d be something to be thankful for from Trump. It sickens me that it takes this staggering pile of crap to fix this issue, but I guess I’m not really surprised.

I hope it happens.

Categorized as Politics

Finally! Closed Captions in FCPX

You might have read my complaint that Apple, the tech leader in all things accessibility, somehow had managed for nearly two decades to not bother with Closed Captions in their media software for professionals. While adding in tools for effects, for color grading, key, multi-cam, and so many other useful tools, we all were stuck waiting for good captioning tools. 

With the release of Final Cut Pro 10.4.1 we have Closed-Captions for everyone!

Having friends who are deaf or hearing-impaired, I have been making sure that as much of my work as possible was captioned because it’s important. It was not, however, easy. I was using Moviecaptioner, which works ok but isn’t ideal as you’d still had some failings when it came to final output. Most of those failings could be laid directly at the feet of Apple. Moviecaptioner would make CAE-608 compatable .scc files, but Apple’s Compressor wouldn’t always accept them, and the error codes Compressor generated were mind-numbingly useless. You could usually spend a bit of time (hours) and find the issue, resolve it, and get it working, but it took forever.

The other option was using MacCaption, which is what most production houses would use. It was what all caption houses used, and it’s a fine piece of software that worked slightly better, but not much better than Movcaptioner. It cost SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS back when I first had to do captions, and I see that Telestream, which bought it at some point in the last few years, has reduced the cost to a still unreasonable $1,750. For one seat. Without most of the functions you really need. Gee thanks.

For comparison, that’s more than the entire Adobe Creative Collection, which includes a video editor, Premier, a print publication tool used by massive institutions, InDesign, and stables such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Oh, it also includes After Effects, which is in use at 100% of the effects houses producing little-known movies like Black Panther and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Yet somehow a piece of software that literally just encoded text at timecode, with some metadata about color and position, costs several times more than this bundle. There’s a damned bargain for you.

Anyway, so back to captions in FCPX. Check out this screen[1]. 

Those purplish lozenges above the video track are captions. Attached to timecode. And when you click on them, you see this:

That’s the caption window. Then in the panel on the side, you can add text and set the styling you want. 

That’s bloody amazing. And super easy. Import from a text file, or just type them as you go, and it’s really just option-c to create a caption at your playhead position.  It’s attached to that time, and you can drag it’s beginning and end to the exact timing you want, and you’re done. Nothing hard about it.

Currently, you can only make CAE-608 and ITT captions. ITT are the most common type requests as most modern systems can use them, so that’s the default. YouTube, Vimeo, etc., can import those directly. CAE-608 are the broadcast standard closed-captions that we all see when we are watching with the sound off because we’re at the gym and they don’t let you blare the latest episode of Jessica Jones over the loud speakers. These are generally white on black text, and sometime they cover things you’d like to see because people don’t set them right.

Currently FCPX doesn’t support the newer CAE-708 captions, which gives you more formatting control than the 608 captions do, but considering that most systems can’t yet display 708 captions, even though they’ve been out for almost a decade, this gap is understandable. And not a deal breaker at all, since you can use all the advanced settings of 608 captions, which include color and position controls that do most of what you need.

Is it perfect? No. It’s it worlds better than what we have been dealing with? Yes. Yes it is. And it’s so easy to do that everyone should be doing captions for everything[2].

Categorized as geekery

Another Opening Night

Time to fix a thing, my friends! Please copy the bit below and please send an email to with your name on it. Thanks!

WHEREAS the current downtown has vibrant pockets of evening events that bring business to the area in the hours leading up to 10pm, and,

WHEREAS the events such as the Art Walk bring people who want to move between the various venues and locations to enjoy the varied multiplicity showcased in our city, and,

WHEREAS on those event nights, people walk between the businesses with their drinks disregarding the current ordinance prohibiting open-containers, and,

WHEREAS those events prove the nature of having an open-container area in the downtown gulch and walking mall is beneficial to the businesses that exist there, therefore,

WE PROPOSE, that the city create an open-container space that is inclusive of the following areas;

•Last Chance Gulch from Lawrence thru the Walking mall and up to Pioneer Park, extending west to include the parking lot on park and the crossings and sidewalks of park from the Library back down to Broadway;
•the parking lot and street west of the Helena Hotel (née Park Plaza Hotel) and the alley behind the Rialto and PowerBlock;
•6th Avenue from the PowerBlock to the Walking Mall;
•Great Northern Boulevard from the Cinemark to the Carousel;
•Front Street from 14th street to Neill;
•Neill crossing from Front Street to the Gulch;
•Fuller Ave from Neill to 6th Ave; Lawrence from Grandstreet Theatre to Holter Museum,

and WE PROPOSE, that the city offer this open-container space during the following hours
•Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 4pm-10pm.
•Saturday, Sunday, and any city recognized holiday: 12 noon – 10pm.

Apple & Accessibility & FCPX – Forgotten Again

Today Apple have released some amazing videos about the great work they do with accessibility. And it is great work, don’t get me wrong. The fact that these abilities are built into the systems of Mac and iOS is perhaps the best sign that Apple is interested in more than just profits, they truly do see their goal of a strong bottom line as being enhanced by being a good corporate citizen. For that I applaud them.

I own a small business, and in that business I made videos for my clients. From commercials to industrials to little fun weird projects, I get to let my creativity flow and madness revel in ideas and explorations. It’s amazing fun, and I really do enjoy it.

Until I have to deliver a final project to a client.

Not because I’m unhappy with the work I’ve done, or because I think it could be better – it could always be better, but then it would never be done – or because I don’t want to leave the project. It’s because I have to deal with Closed Captions.

Actually, I don’t have to, I want to. I have several friends who are deaf or hearing impaired in some way, and while those who can use hearing aids in some format don’t need captions to understand what I’ve created, the deaf do. Badly.

Final Cut Pro is where I produce my video work. I’ve been using FCP since 2003, and FCPX since it was released in 2011. I made the switch to FCPX completely in 2013, and I love it. Except for captions, but  then, no version of FCP has been good with captions at all. Now that we’re in 2017 it’s disheartening to say the least. Way back in 2010 I wrote about how I create and manage captions and not much has changed, except I don’t ever produce a DVD and instead just deliver the .scc file with the MP4 and let the broadcast station deal with the mess on their ingest cycle. It’s pathetic and gross. And in many cases, it means that local production doesn’t get captioned because while I think it’s important, the FCC gives companies at my level and out, and most use it.

Captions can be just text at timecode, which is simple. In their most complex, they are styled, located text at timecode. That’s it. Nothing more. I work in text and titles and timecode every day in every video I do, so there is no reason that this simple function isn’t baked in at this point. Words at timecode. That’s all it is.

That Apple is making their systems and products accessible is great. Xcode grants programmers the ability to build accessible apps, and has from the beginning, which is even better as it makes a massive part of the ecosystem accessible.

That Final Cut Pro hasn’t ever and still doesn’t create closed captions is a smudge on that image.

Updating the phones

Because Ubiquiti can’t put these someplace easy to find:



The ridiculous thing is that I had to type this in because the page it’s on, the links they built, and the dumb involved in that has caused me to lose my mind. But whatever, the links go to their static servers, so it’s not like you’re downloading from me if you come here.



Pick a Card, Any Card

Much hay has been made about the removal and consolidation of the various ports of the old MacBook Pros to the USB-C-only setup of the newly announced MBPs. A ton of it presumes to know what “professionals” use and need, and some has been close, but most of it conflates photography with video professionals, and frankly, I’ve heard so many outdated assumptions that I felt I had to speak up. So here goes.

No one in video cares that the SD slot is going away. No one. NO ONE.[2]

Yes, it’s a bold statement, but here’s a very basic list of the types of storage used to record and deliver video to editors:

  • SD Cards (yay, I don’t need to use an adaptor 🙄)
  • microSD Cards (in fact, my latest two 4K cameras both use this format, so I get to use an SD adaptor)
  • SxS Cards (because Sony hates everyone)
  • RED Cards (which are a type of SSD, but they have a weird connector, because of course they do)
  • SSDs (via mSATA connections or sometimes eSATA)
  • AJA Pak Recording (yet another type using SSDs)
  • CF Cards (which most pro still cameras used at one point)
  • CF 2.0 Cards (because Blackmagic needed another type of storage for their pro cameras, maybe?)

The list goes on and on and on. There are USB 3.0 drives, or Thunderbolt Drives, and just a mind-boggling plethora of things we need to connect to our Macs to ingest footage and get to work.

While I love the idea of a wireless future, currently it’s impossible for us to do our jobs at all via any wireless solutions because even the fastest WiFi is not going to cut it for video.  For the foreseeable future, we’re going to need a way to connect these drives, and while we used to use a cable that had USB-A on one end, we will need some with USB-C on one end, and whatever madness on the other. No big deal.

Is the SD card really that useful for video editors like me? Currently I have a still camera, one video camera, and an audio recorder that use SD cards. So, yes it’s useful, but I also have two cameras that use SSDs, and two that use MicroSD cards[1], and they all need adapters of some kind, so it’s not useful enough to worry about its loss from my next machine. I’ll need to get an SD reader, and my CF reader doesn’t do CF 2.0, so I need a new one of those anyway, and the microSD cards need a reader, or I need the micro-to-standard-SD adaptor, that I have approximately 17 of littered about the office, of which I can generally find one when I need it, and that will be sorted. My SATA connector just needs a USB-B-to-USB-C cable and I’m good to go there. The readers I have for the RED, AJA and some other cameras, again, just need a B-to-C or a MicroUSB-to-USB-C or they can use the A-to-C adaptors.

As USB-C/Thunderbolt is delightfully fast, the fact that it’s an external adaptor for all my cameras instead of just most of my cameras is really a benefit. The adapters work and they aren’t that expensive.

But wait, don’t you want the HDMI port?

I honestly forgot my MacBook had one, and I bought the Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adaptor anyway. It honestly never occurs to me that it’s there.

But Apple’s making you buy new adaptors!

Yes, as soon as I get a new MacBook Pro I will need a stack of new adaptors to use with all my stuff. Yes, it’s a bit of money, but it’s not terrible overall, and guess what – I actually use my adaptors constantly and they do wear out. I need to get a new set every year or two anyway, so that’s on cycle for me. In fact, that Thunderbolt-to-HDMI wore out recently, and, again, forgetting that I have an HDMI port, I replaced the dongle immediately.

But what about the RAM?

What about it? It’s 16GB for heaven’s sake. Right now I edit 4K video, from cameras as light as the Phantom 4 drone and Osmo system from DJI, to the extreme density of the ProRes HQ files of the Blackmagic Design cameras, to RED raw and CinemaDNG using the 8GB ON. MY. FOUR. YEAR. OLD. LAPTOP.

The speeds when I’m working with the original media are abysmal, but they are on the Mac Pro (no shock there) and will be on the new MacBook Pros as well because if you’re cutting with multiple 4k streams, especially ProRes & CinemaDNG streams, the amount of data you’re trying to move can easily exceed the bandwidth inside the computer, let alone the RAM. To be quite honest, it’s just ignorant to work with uncompressed, original media like that, on almost any system available today. Create and use Proxy Media, and if you don’t know how, spend the $35 on and learn how. It’s good business anyway.

As for actual editing on a 15″ screen? Meh, it’s not bad.[4] I do it daily. It doesn’t feel cramped to me, but it probably took me a little bit to get used to it, honestly I don’t recall. The reason that I edit on a laptop is that I do a lot of field editing, it isn’t an option I can avoid – I have to do it, so I get it done. Even at my desk, tho, where I can easily attach a huge monitor, I don’t. I just edit away on my 15″ retina screen, no second display at all, with my trackpad of all things, and I’m probably faster than 90% of the pros out there. I scream through my edits, and I’ve had other editors watch me work and they are dumbfounded at what I do. I’m not the only one who works this way.

I do wish I could see my 4K projects in pixel-for-pixel perfection, but I’ve had exactly 2 projects be finalized in 4K. I can and do connect and play those back from 4K sources, usually a Roku[3], but sometimes from YouTube[5]

Having three 5K monitors floating in front of me, one with pixel perfect views of my canvas, another with my timeline, and the last with my coloring tools, will be awesome, but do I need them to get through my job? Nope. That I’ll have that option is awesome, but it’s not make or break for me. For those who can’t work with one small screen, these new MacBook Pros are beyond compelling, because almost every video editor these days does some road editing. Additionally, the touchbar, with its ability to let me go hands-on with my timeline is incredibly compelling to me.[6]

I know that I’m just one guy, in Montana of all places, but this is my livelihood. I do just fine with what I have, and I’m looking forward to getting a new MacBook Pro with the touchbar because I want the overall increase in speed and processing it offers, and because the ports are all cleaned up to just USB-C. In fact, that’s a huge win for me.

Things You’ve Said

It seems that with the beginning of school we’ve been given the task of educating a sniveling little trash fire named Robert Saunders who wants really badly to be a member of the Montana House of Representatives. His desire is so strong that he’s given up driving his Mercedes out of the garage of his McMansion and instead has taken to driving a rusted out old truck because he needs to appear authentic – which he obviously struggles with, immensely.

While claiming to be for a woman’s right to choose her healthcare, claiming to be for public education, claiming to be for expanding Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, when he stops at the door of an obvious Democrat, he clearly is not. If you display anything GOP he’ll gladly rail against them all, just as he rails against over-reaching government and regulations that are strangling small businesses. And don’t get him started on taxes, you don’t have that kind of time. No one has that kind of time.

But what’s the worst of it? The worst is Mr. Saunders’ outlook on people he thinks are beneath him, and that’s everyone else.

You see, his mommy and daddy raised him and pay him well, and have enough money to have kept him from ever attending public schools. That’s right, he was home-schooled, so just imagine all the good and wondrous things that have been crammed into his skull, like birtherism and Ark History, along with a sense of entitlement and ego that are bigger than our skies, and comes attached to a set of wits duller than a David Spade movie.

saundersrobert-3But wait, there’s more! Mr. Saunder’s ego is so unbelievable that when his opponent rightfully pointed out his own words, self-written online, well, sad, weak-minded little Robert Saunders had to throw a temper tantrum and call up his daddy’s lawyer to get a very mean letter written and sent to the very mean woman who pointed out the exceedingly shitty things that Robert Saunders has said. When he was asked “Is it a desirable condition that between 40-50% of the members of the US Congress have more than $1 million dollars in assets, when less than 1% of the population of the USA has that level of wealth?” he answered, and I quote:

The Founding Fathers thought so. Our form of government was designed so that only people with a stake in the country’s future could vote.

In the early days, this meant that only people who owned property could vote – just like today, in business, only shareholders in the company can vote.

Likewise, only people who owned property could run for public office. Know why?

Because the Founders (rightly) believed that the people with the most to lose would be the least likely to screw up. People with money have the time and opportunity to educate themselves and a vested interest in doing so. Transients, college kids, and others without a dollar to their name have nothing to lose and are thus extremely unsafe custodians of power, being more likely to “experiment”, often with catastrophic results.

He goes on, you can follow the link here to see it.

This really isn’t that out of range for the GOP as some very strict originalists have taken to calling the GOP home, but this is slightly more to the right than Scalia ever was, and that’s saying something.

screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-2-44-30-pmMore to the point, it’s very easy to point out that he did say this. Here’s an image of the profile of the person on Quora and it matches his bio. This is him, and he thinks that only the wealthy should have a say in the governing of the country because, somehow, in his head, he thinks that they are the only ones with something to lose.

And when his opponent pointed this out to a person while out knocking doors, this person reported it back to Robert Saunders the Crybaby of Billings. Then Robert Saunders, the Silver-spoon-fed man-child, cried to his mommy and daddy and they hired a lawyer by the name of Emily Jones, who appears to understand several areas of the law but must have missed the days they covered the concept of Defamation, at least as it applies to public figures.

Let’s remember that because the dimwitted Robert Saunders is running for public office, he has voluntarily made himself a public figure. You’ve noticed, no doubt, that I’ve been using some very fun, colorful descriptions along with his name, and that’s because it’s my legal right to do so. But since it appears his lawyer has slightly less legal insight than I do in this matter, let’s go to the wonderful folks at FindLaw and see how they summarize it:

When an official is criticized in a false and injurious way for something that relates to their behavior in office, the official must prove all of the above elements associated with normal defamation, and must also show that the statement was made with “actual malice.”

You see, it’s that “actual malice” part that’s going to be really hard to prove. In court or even the court of public opinion.

But here’s the best part: Ms. Jones included in her rather nasty letter crying about how mean and unconscionable it was to say these things about the untrustworthy snotbucket Robert Saunders, included a link to the very page on Quora where the maniac said exactly what was quoted above.

Look, you can dislike your opponent, you can want to win at all costs, and you can go hire a lawyer and one of them may write for you what has to be the stupidest letter outside of the idiocy written by the Bundy boy in Oregon. I’ve included that PDF here, so you can read it, and see the legal brilliance shining through.

To the odious Robert Saunders, you can cry and scream and shout and whine all you want, but at the end of the day you have two things against you: 1) you wrote the answer on Quora and will have to stand by what you wrote and how ugly those statements really are; and 2) nothing I’ve written here rises to the level of slander or defamation, as the descriptives are my opinion of you, and the rest are demonstrably things you’ve said, I’m just illuminating them. If you can’t stand having people know what you think, you’d do well to shut up.

And Ms. Jones, to you I say, I hope you reconsider working as the legal equivalent of a mercenary. This letter is atrocious.

These are my thoughts, and this I freely share with you all: I firmly believe you should stand by what you say. And I do.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

slack_rgbIf you don’t know what Slack is, well, let’s see if I can explain it:

  • It’s a communication tool, allowing for group communications (rooms) and private communications (direct messages) and everything in-between.
  • Communication can be text, emoji, gifs, urls, and files.
  • Everything is searchable and, if you’re on a  paid account, that means EVERYTHING from ANYTIME for FOREVER. This has come in handy a few times, which I’ll detail in a minute.
  • It works on computers, both Mac & Windows, as well iOS, Android and the various phones and tablets they power.
  • Notifications are customizable and easily turned off.
  • It’s easy to use, and does some pretty amazing things.

At TSI&T we’ve been using it basically since the beginning of the company. We tried other solutions but they just didn’t work for us. Nothing was simpler, nothing was liked more, and in the end, nothing worked better. And while that seem damning with faint praise, the truth is we put everything through the ringer of dealing with us, and nothing else even survived, while Slack shone like a beacon of happiness in the darkest of nights.

But lately, we’ve evolved and found a new way to use Slack that doesn’t require one of many Slack Apps, this is built in from the get-go, and it’s just two parts

  1. Custom name a room: something like #install-new-client
  2. Add a single-channel guest.

That’s it. Now, when we are doing a massive installation that involves our SuperFi™ internet service, VoIP Phone Service, Security Cameras, and internal networking with public access, well, we like to have the customer contact involved every step of the way. This is important because in many cases we’re installing service to buildings that have been around for decades, have intricate or interesting access issues, have multiple issues with construction that might have been up to code at some point in the past but is surely not that way now, and could just have unexpected surprises or timing issues. By having a client inside our Slack we can discuss all of this, in real-time, and get answers to questions, adjust scheduling, buy materials, etc., and we don’t have to chase down clients via phone, or email or actually stopping by their desk because they’re at least as busy as we are and haven’t gotten to the 40 bazillion emails sitting in their inbox yet and why isn’t there hot coffee who the hell drank it all and where did my pen go andwhyisthisthefontwe’reusingonthisaddidsomeonegoblind?!


Anyway, we’ve started this practice and already it’s sped us up on projects. If you’re still using email and phone and text and smoke signals and postcards and ponies to communicate, it might be time to cut yourself some Slack.

And if you like what we’re doing at TSI&T, you might consider investing.

Better Connections

tsiandtblockAs most of you know I joined the team at TSI&T about a year ago as the Chief Marketing Officer and I’m also one of the owners of the company now. I’m super excited about what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it, and, after this rather short post, I’m hoping you will be, too.

You see, internet in Montana has gotten bad. We’re a very rural state, and in many cases, the rural is so rural is considered untouched by mankind. The saying that Montana is one city with really long roads is kinda true, and being the 4th largest state in the Union by landmass, while having a population that just barely scratched 1Million this decade, and there’s not a ton of businesses who see building infrastructure here as a good plan.

And I get that. I totally understand. When you’re looking at where to put your business a huge part of it is “where are my customers?” and that, my friend, is rarely a condensed group in Montana.

But we still need roads and highways. We still need water and electricity. We still need  internet. The growth of these needs is not the same. More roads are needed as more people are here, same with water and electricity. Internet needs, tho, go up based on what you do with the internet, and these days, there’s not much we don’t do online. Shop. Share. Watch. Communicate. Celebrate. It’s all online.

But holy buckets of chum does the internet suck a lot. Which brings me back to TSI&T, and what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I was kind of being glib when I said:

“Here’s the thing about Internet: It’s miserable around here,” Kevin Hamm, chief marketing officer for Treasure State Internet, said. He added that Montana is “like a third world country” in terms of Internet speed, which the small business is trying to change block by block.

but then again, I’m not wrong. Have you tried to get internet in Montana City? Century Link will tell you that they’re not signing up new customers, and even if you did their DSL service, it’d be 4Mbps down and 750kbps up, if you’re lucky. Just to be clear, Montana City is so close to Helena that my rather chunky bum could walk there if I had, too. And Charter doesn’t even offer anything in Montana City, and most of the homes are surrounded by towering trees and majestic rolling mountains and hills, and so wireless internet can’t happen either, and let’s just pretend that satellite wasn’t even mentioned as its speeds are still beaten by the dial-up modems of the early 90s. And again, this is within 10 miles of our state capitol. It’s pathetic.

How much worse is it in Winnett, population 182? There’s no incentive to go there for companies the size of Century Link, and much less Charter now that they’ve gobbled up Time/Warner Cable.

Enter TSI&T. And yes, we’re a bit different. We believe that

  1. Everyone deserves internet, no matter where they live;
  2. Slow internet is worse than no internet (after all, look where we live!);
  3. Caps are for heads, not for internet;
  4. Fiber to every home and office in Montana is doable.

We’ve been in business now for just over three years, with two years of active customers and construction. We’ve built a wISP system and realized its shortcomings are too egregious to continue that path much longer. We’ve built fiber out and the customers we’ve connected have been overwhelmed with how awesome that service is. We can’t wait to reach more people with our SuperFi™ network, because, yes, it’s that good. We have over 100 customers now, and if you talk to any of them, they’ll tell you how good we really are. Are we perfect? Nope. We’re just very good, and we’re here, responsive, and growing, and our service is really fast.

In fact, the only thing slow about our company is our growth, which takes money and time. Now it’s time for everyone who has complained about their internet to step up and invest in us. You don’t have to invest much – in fact, if you’re a Montana resident, you can invest as little as $100 – and you do have to make sure you understand the risks involved with investing,  but you’re all smart people. You can handle this.

And when enough of you invest, just wait and see what we can do!

Why not me?

I’m 42, soon to be 43, and I’m HIV-. I’m a gay male in the United State who grew up with the warning that if I had gay sex I would get AIDS and die. It hasn’t happened to me.

But why not? Luck. That’s all it can be.

I’m not particularly promiscuous, nor am I a prude, and nothing near a virgin. Sex can be amazing, and why not enjoy it?

I look at my friends, so many of whom are dealing with the disease in their lives. In their bodies. Living with it. Owning it. Not letting it control or destroy them.



Living, loving, and wildly still out there creating and changing the world. Fighting for a better place. Standing tall and proud and not backing down, not for the disease and not for the world, either.

Inspiring. That’s what they are.

I find that, on this day when we yell from the roof tops that AIDS is still here, still very real, and still very bad, that these amazing people stand on the front lines and fight to remove a stigma and that inspires me. I stand with them, beside them, hold their hands and shedding tears at losses just like them.

And because of dumb luck, I’m not on the front lines. I don’t have HIV, that I know, and I need to get tested today as it’s that day, and I’m pretty sure I know how it will come back, but it’s something we do.

I remember my first HIV test. It had to be a blood draw. In a doctors office. And sent away, like a macabre cereal box-top prize that would arrive in a few weeks. And it did. In a plain white envelop, with my name typed on the outside, with a single sheet inside it, and I had to steel myself to open it. I sat in the huge windows of my apartment in Bozeman that overlooked Main street and I cried as I opened the letter, sure that my world was about to crash to nothing.

But it didn’t. I was spared.

I move to Portland not long after, and met amazing, wonderful, talented people. And after a short few months, I got to go to my first funeral for one of those amazing, talented, wonderful people I’d just met. That was weird. It also started a pattern that I’ve kept for nearly 23 years of getting tested every 6 months. Not everyone died, but too many did. I still miss them, even though I can’t recall their real names, only faces or drag names or nick names or something they once said that was so funny I laughed until I cried, and it still brings a touch of joy with a soupçon of melancholy when I do remember it.

I moved to Phoenix, and met more amazing people. I was there when some found out they’d seroconverted. Most are still alive, but not all. Medical science has changed the world, but not eradicated this plague. It’s amazing what we can do, and it’s more amazing what people faced with this choose to do. Inspiring doesn’t really cover it.

I moved to Caribou, and met amazing people, who couldn’t wait to get out of The County and move to a city. I spoke about condoms and caring for yourself, and saw them leave and it was good. And things happen, and it’s not always good things.  But they stand and they fight and life continues for most of them.

I moved to Houston and got a taste of a truly metropolitan city, and worked at a nightclub of outstanding proportions. And I met many who were positive, and knew many who seroconverted and I know they face the challenges head-on and don’t shirk away from the fight. And they are awesome. And still, life continues for many, but not all.

I moved home to Montana. I met a group of gays, and found a life I love, and a community that accepts me for the bombastic asshole I am, knowing that my passion and my inability to shut up can work to make a difference in our lives. I thought maybe I could hold the virus at bay, stop it from creeping into my life here, but I was the first person called when a friend seroconverted, and we got together and I made sure he was ok and wouldn’t do anything to harm himself, and I was pissed at the virus that it was back and I couldn’t stop it. But I wasn’t going to sit down and stop fighting.

So I stand. I fight. For equality. Against the stigma. And when people ask me if I’m HIV+ I have to tell them, no, I’m not. But it’s simple luck, and I still get tested. In fact, I’m getting tested tonight, at 5:30, and while I don’t know the results, and I’m supremely lucky, I get tested with a pall of dread covering my mind because it can happen to anyone. It can happen at any time. It’s still here. It’s still deadly. And it’s not cured.

On this World AIDS Day, I stand with my friends who have been directly afflicted or affected by this scourge and miss so many of you. I want one more time to hold you, to tell you I love you, to give you warmth and a moment of safety, fleeting and imaginary that it may be. I don’t know why it got you. I don’t know why I’m so fucking insanely lucky.

I just know I want it to go away, and never bother anyone again. And I wish those it took were never taken, and that tears at my heart with sharpened claws and bloodied talons. I never want to lose another, but it seems I will because we have no cure.

Except knowledge.

Get tested. Know your status. Get on PrEP. Change the world. Love your friends.


If All Birds Could Fly

twitter-logoTwitter has been both an amazing service and an incredibly frustrating company nearly it’s entire existence. From the beginning when the founders made a service that they knew they liked but somehow didn’t understand, to the point where the company had more Fail Whales than hours of uptime, to when they decided that those who actually knew the service best should be strangled out of building on it, to today when they have no permanent CEO, a founder wants to come back, even though it’s not apparent what he’s going to do differently than his first go around, their stock is sinking, their goodwill is nearly burned through and the passion for the service has died off. How did we get here?

Hindsight being 20/20, we can easily answer that, and in doing so, we might find a solution to what can fix things.

I’ve been a twitter user since early 2007. I found I liked its concise communication, and more importantly, I liked the people I found on the system. Twitter wasn’t particularly about who you knew, it was about what shared interests you had and who else had them. It was the social network not for your real life, but to improve your real life. That was, and is, revolutionary.

More importantly, Twitter fulfilled a niche in our culture that accentuates what Facebook, Friendster, MySpace et all couldn’t do, because Twitter was ‘now’. Every other social media is the past. Things we’ve done. Things we’ve seen. Things we used to care about. Twitter, while still maintaining an archive that allows you to venture into the past, wasn’t and isn’t focused on the past. It’s focused on the now. That, too, is revolutionary.

It seems that two revolutions might be causing confusion, because somehow the people that founded it didn’t get this. There used to be a saying: “Facebook is the people I know and already hate. Twitter is the people I wish I knew in real life.” The really amazing part of Twitter in the early days is that if you followed people who you liked that happened to be on Twitter, they could follow you back, and you could create a relationship with them. That relationship could lead to many interesting things, up to and including actually meeting these amazing people in real life.

This didn’t just happen to me, it was common. I say “was” because something stupid happened inside Twitter that was the first of many clues that the corporation doesn’t understand the product they produce: they made it so that when someone replied to a person you weren’t following, you didn’t see the replies. Why? Twitter claimed it was to keep your timeline clean.

Do you know why I’m following the people I follow? I follow them because they have insights into the world around us that I lack, and those insights are freely given and awesomely on display in their tweets. Free! Open to the public (mostly)! And Twitter thought they were clutter! No, people, they are not clutter. In fact, they were and remain the easiest way to find smart people who are passionate about the same things that you’re passionate about, and I can’t see them in my stream without going to look for them.

What’s worse, Twitter included a mechanism to override the hiding of the reply, and everyone has seen this. The dot-lead tweet is a miasma of idiocy for one very real, tragic, reason: the people who use it shouldn’t, and even they don’t use it when they should. I follow a couple of people who constantly use the dot-lead to show their blistering wit or to enlist help in a flame war. I’ve been stupid enough to jump in and play along a few times, until it got through my head that it’s a waste of time and no one really cares. Those are the wrong moments to engage your entire following, yet it’s the only time people think to do so (again, I’m guilty of this).

When people are calm, lucid, and tweeting through a discussion with another person on Twitter, you see magic. Reasoned thinking and collaborative, concise, back-and-forth leads to amazing things, and that always, always, happens without the dot-lead because the participants have two things happening – they are conversing about something that they are both engaged in, and it’s not about anyone else. They never think to open the discussion to the wider world because they aren’t there to give a speech or hold a public debate, they are simply chatting.

Yet Twitter allows the rest of us to see it. This is magic. I can see a fantastic conversation happening between two of the leads at Pixar as they discuss a working environment that produces some of my most beloved stories. A work environment that I have little chance of seeing, much less of occupying in a professional capacity, but that I get to understand from some of the people who not only work in it, but who helped to make it a reality in the first place. In public. For free. It’s a thrilling reality, on display many times a day.

While over on Facebook, I get a funny cat picture. That’s nice.

Somehow Twitter is failing. Its stock is down below its IPO. It’s leaderless, and it’s managed to alienate the people who gave the service the power it had to change the world. When you send a tweet, you’re using the terminology that was developed by the team at The Iconfactory, not at Twitter. The Iconfactory came up with Ollie, a little bluebird of happiness, long before twitter even called their messages tweets. Even putting the @ before a username wasn’t a convention that Twitter came up with, but they adopted that one almost immediately. It was a tweet directed @ev that caused that, and it was integrated immediately. Hashtags are very much Twitter-centric, and again, weren’t something that Twitter invented. Twitter acquired a third-party search tool, integrated them, and hashtags were then a part of the system. And now, the world.

All the innovation for how people used Twitter came from people using Twitter and developers building things for people to use Twitter. All of it.

Naturally, a company that didn’t understand its own product and didn’t like that others appeared to not only get it, but got it well enough to invent things and make money on top of it, decided to do the only thing that would make things worse for everyone: cut off third-party developers from the API and bring everything in house. In-house development had made Twitter, but not most of the reasons people loved using Twitter. They brought in a CEO that didn’t use the product and didn’t understand its magic, and didn’t believe in anything but business school, money, investors, and the valley. Last time I checked, business school teaches you about things that have happened. Twitter is truly something new, so business school might not yet have a semester on its particular magic.

Regardless, Twitter has to figure out what it wants to be, and I have a suggestion: be Twitter. And be everywhere. If it’s everywhere, everyone will want to use it, because it becomes the one thing it’s really amazing at: What’s Happening NOW.

I want Twitter everywhere. I want to be able to have it in my car, read to me by Siri via Twitterrific, telling me that the polls show that Trump’s dumped, that the middle east is enjoying a turmoil-free day and that JC Penney is having a sale on fat pants and I could swing in and get some. Yes, I want the service to succeed and that means I have to deal with it making money somehow, and that probably means ads. Fine, just make them not suck.

A quick digression re: Advertising not sucking.

There’s a premise out there that people hate ads. That’s a lie. People love some ads. People hate plenty of them, but here’s the secret: people generally hate an ad for its delivery, not its product. Remember pop-up ads? Think hard, and I bet you realize that now you love Netflix, but if you ever see another pop-up or pop-under ad for them you’ll think of canceling the service. If you’re annoying me and shouting in my face, I’m probably not going to enjoy it, and that disgruntlement transfers to your product as a lost sale. If you’re nice, clever, cute and endearing, or even just clean and simple, I’m far more likely to engage with your ad and become a customer. The best example of this is The Deck ads. I’ve been a fan since I first came across them on Daringfireball in 2004. When Twitterrific launched, they had a free version that included showing ads via The Deck in the stream. I immediately bought a license and then didn’t activate that license because I enjoyed the ads from The Deck enough, and they weren’t intrusive and they were for products and services that, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate.

Yes, I appreciate not only the design and style of the ads, but the delivery was clever and clean and not only didn’t bother me, it added to my day and my work in subtle ways. And I spend a lot of money on products from The Deck.

When Twitterrific on iOS was released, same deal. I used it without restoring my purchase for months, right up until I needed to use a second account, and then that option went away. But I chose to see the ads, actively, for as long as I could.

Why? Because the products are relevant to me, and were presented in a way that didn’t disrupt my enjoyment of Twitter.

Again, the Iconfactory has already figured out what Twitter needs to do, and given them a map.

Everything about my usage of Twitter is available to Twitter. They can mine my access, my words, my times of day, everything. They have it all. And they can use that to create targeting for advertisers to tap into to deliver to me clean, crisp, concise, advertisements that show up in my stream and are easily digested and incorporated into my day. No disruption. No muss. No fuss.

And Twitter should be everywhere. The API should be re-opened so that third-party clients can do all the amazing new features (Quoted Tweets are the best!) directly, and Twitter should just design a simple way to create clean ads. Yes, they need links. Yes, they need images. Yes, they need to be awesome, but you can do that with a good team that says no to hideous and horrible and awful with a passion matched only by the users who will enjoy getting to see art in advertising again. Find a modern day Don Draper and make it happen.

Twitter should be everywhere. Everywhere. That should be the goal. On my phone. On my computer. On my watch. In my car. At my bar. Let me see everything that’s going on in the world in the cleanest, crispest way, using a tool that best matches my life. Some people want Tweetbot. Some want Twitterrific. Some want Tweetie back so bad they cry when they think of it. Let’s have them. Let’s access Twitter from whatever we choose, however we choose, because here’s the thing; Twitter has a choice to make: It can be a website that becomes part of history, or it can be integrated into our lives completely.

I look forward to the day that Twitter is back, integrated in my life in an awesome way.

Categorized as geekery