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Humanist technologist. Equality and adventures.

I co-founded Elgg and Known, worked on Medium, and now invest in innovative media startups to support a stronger democracy at Matter.

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ben@benwerd.com

 

And now for something completely different: I was interviewed about my plans for . https://medium.com/nanowrimo/nanowrimo-superhero-on-medium-ben-werdmuller-fa0a2ed8c024

 

I'm live-publishing my draft this year. It's a story about the internet. This is the third part. https://medium.com/decision-tree/looks-good-to-me-269b7c9faa63#.fz2rl7brb

 

This month, I'm live-publishing my draft. It's a story about the internet. This is the second part. https://medium.com/decision-tree/an-open-letter-b33a2e1aea53#.7wrjx2cpe

 
 
 
 

Replied to a post on werd.io :

I feel like might be something my friends might be into.

 

I'm doing again this year. A great creative project run for a good cause. Anyone else? http://nanowrimo.org

 

To everyone starting today: good luck! It's not easy, but it's so much fun.

 

In this year's story (which I sadly had to abandon), a virus is spread from handset to handset over inaudible sound because they've got always-on microphones. When I started writing, I wasn't sure how plausible this was going to be, but now I see that a bunch of phones - the Moto X, for example - actually do have always-on microphones waiting for voice commands. Which means that my out-there plot about phones as stealth listening devices - and the potential to hack the surveillance state by subverting that information channel - isn't so far-fetched after all. I might go back and write it properly.

 

Having given up on , I'm wondering about "make a feature length film using consumer hardware and software in six months." Keep those challenges small, y'know?

 

Sadly abandoning this year. Not enough time, or brain. Here's how far I got: http://benwerd.com/openbrace

 

I go to bed feeling smug for being over par; I wake up under par. is rough. Wrote about Love Actually and ultrasonic networking yesterday.

 

How I'm writing #nanowrimo this year (using @GitHub)

2 min read

I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month again, mostly because last year was so much fun.

Last year I wrote a simple database-backed CMS to help me write. My brain was so addled by blogging for a decade that I found I could only be creative in a big text box in the middle of a web browser. It was kind of sobering, but I powered through, and I'm proud of the end result.

This year, I'm writing in public again - you can follow my story, such as it is, as I write it. But I've abandoned my database-driven CMS approach and am going another way.

Each of my chapters is a simple text file, named in chronological order: 01.txt, 02.txt and so on. I've been using TextWrangler, my favorite Mac text editor, but of course it doesn't matter at all.

My changes are synced to a a GitHub repository, where anyone can download the original source text files. (I've decided to license the whole thing under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) Creative Commons license.

I also plan on using Poetica to work with editors to refine my text as I go on (it's by far the best online service that does this). Right now, though, I'm in shitty first draft mode.

My web server also regularly syncs with the GitHub repository, so I know that if I commit a text change, it'll be reflected publicly online. For the public version, I decided it would be nice to include an HTML snippet at the top of each chapter. Mostly, for now, this includes embeddable music from around the web, but I also plan to include animated GIFs, Javascript-enhanced illustrations and a bunch of other stuff. I built a very simple reader script that takes the text files, formats them appropriately, and then injects the equivalent chapter-number.html file at the top. Keeping the HTML and the text separate will make it easier for me to keep track of word count as the project grows.

It's working well - at the time of writing, I'm ahead! You can follow along at benwerd.com/openbrace.

 

I'm writing this year's story in public again. The first installment is up: http://benwerd.com/openbrace/

 

Looking forward to using <a href="http://poetica.com">@poetica</a> for this year.