Jesse Lawson

buy me a coffee ☕ / GitHub / Mastodon

Hello 👋🏻 I'm Jesse. I build and write about community tools for independent publishers and content creators. Follow me with your favorite ActivityPub-compliant system via

@mjf_pro @david @Gargron @nova @nivenly Totally hear you on that one. I myself have decided over the last few years as I'm gliding toward 40 years old that my time, talent, and experience is best served creating community tools and software that empower us to take charge of our means of connectedness. I believe our future will have us scattered across distant starships and settlements, and I'd like to do my part in leaving behind art, philosophies, and tools that help connect people.

You know who can afford Twitter’s new API prices? Foreign governments and state actors.

I had this idea of a client side system that federates with other client side systems when you open it. All social graph data is cached locally and you only send activity when you open the client. It’s a P2P-esque version of a ActivityPub-speaking server.

“Writing is the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about. Importantly, writing is also the process by which you figure it out.”

Important words as we watch people rush to absolve themselves of the self-reflection that comes with doing the hard work of writing.

@clarkesworld hey Neil 👋 I run Proton Reader and am the guy in our editors mailing list building Submission Bee (a soon-to-be open sourced submission mgmt system with an option for folks who don’t want to host it). My next community project is exactly what you’re talking about. We can get a head start now by itemizing need-to-have and nice-to-have features. Planning it all out is the first step and you (& other publishers) know what will and will not work—if you’re interested!

@Ciantic they absolutely will and it will come with an amazing and slick front end that is only available if servers agree to share any and all data with Meta. Then they will start creating non-human activity and forcing it into people’s social graphs. We should be asking people like @cwebber to help us red team ActivityPub: given enough resources, how might Meta exploit it for profit? Of course I don’t expect free labor. But that’s the question we need to ask.

@david the first thing I would do if I wanted to profit from decentralized social networks is implement a way for activitypub to be throttled unless clients sign up for API access. Then I would require those clients to give me all of their server and user data. Then I would implement features that people want, invest in UX and acquisition, and start injecting advertisements disguised as posts and activity into people’s streams. The “activity” that is pub’d WILL include ads.

“Who are you” is the latent question answered when we hand someone our email or username. Nostr’s decentralized protocol relying on private keys won’t make sense to most folks because that’s not how they think about computing. On top of that, the hard problem in decentralization is not identity: it’s moderation. There is a proportional relationship between the size of a platform and that platform’s susceptibility to abuse — spam, CSAM, nazis, etc. Rich moderation is the killer feature.

@colmdoyle @jimray MuckrackerGPT will never be a thing don’t worry. Generative AI shit has polluted online discourse for the last decade and I really believe that it will be folks who don’t hop on the hype train that will come out ahead. By ahead of course I mean through my lens as a creator, an artist, a human… when the curtains close and we rejoin the cosmic river we came from, what beauty will we have left for those who remain — and for when we return?

I told you they would come:

"If you're utilizing an AI to animate suffering, you remove the human element of what it means to actually suffer, thus trivializing it in an exchange for making the process of animating it more convenient. If you must animate suffering then illustrate it by hand so that there is a gravitas to it, felt by both the creator and the audience."

I don't know why I thought about you when I saw this @jimray

Andreas Eriksen's PotatoP Is a Lisp-Powered Laptop with a Battery Life Measured in Years

“among a certain audi­ence of poten­tial users, paren­theses are a deter­rent. Who knows why? But in the last 60 years, simply grab­bing these dissenters by the lapels and fumi­gating them with the stinky garlic breath of paren­the­sized S-expres­sions has not been a winning strategy. If Lisp parti­sans want different results in the next 60 years, we need to try some­thing new.”

Over the next 2-3 years we're going to see a radical shift in public sentiment toward the companies that are now rushing to integrate non-human communication functionalities into products designed and sold as human connection systems.

How on Earth does the Racket community allow Matthias Felleisen to remain part of the project? I've recently gotten really excited about exploring Racket and its ecosystem, and as soon as I stuck my foot into the community, I see horror stories left and right for *years* about this person and the way he has treated people. I don't care if he does nice things, too; he's a massive liability to adoption, psychological safety, and belonging. When you tolerate intolerance you lose 100% of the time.

Poor kid has no idea what’s coming

A life ceaselessly examined is to live in a prison of your own making.

One of the most disappointing things I come across in autodidacticism is poorly typeset physical books in the Creative Commons. Money-hungry people find texts to "typeset" (read: force into paperback form as fast as possible) and produce horrific reading and learning experiences out of text produced and shared by those with big hearts and minds about their subject.

@brentsimmons ahh yes, the commons. I hope you are well past taking these to heart; when you build for everyone, you build for *everyone*, including the entitled. I love your project and your philosophy, and am moved by how you’ve written about both. Keep on keepin on.

It dips like this all the time since getting covid

There is a great quote from Terence Parr, creator of the ANTLR parser generator:

“Why program by hand in five days what you can spend five years of your life automating?”

Type "math factoring practice" into Google and you get some interactive educational content:

@NormanDunbar oh my gosh thank you much for your kind words! The Hugo theme is a custom version of highly accessible "Cupper" project & theme ( I'll be open sourcing my contributions later this year once work settles down a bit!

Locked doors, headaches, and intellectual need | Affording Play

My book "Getting Started with Rust" will soon have a follow-on companion, "Getting Comfortable with Rust", in which we build an entire static site generator and cover everything the first book left out: lifetimes, traits, structs, closures, project organization, rich error handling, and more. I have a huge project at work that will take the next couple months, then hoping to get a good version ready for everyone by end of the year. Stay tuned.

Peace is not the absence of war. War is the absence of peace.

@brentsimmons ymmv but when my Touch ID doesn’t recognize my finger I’ll breathe hot air on my finger for a bit then it works. Disinfect after if you’re a fellow anti microbial enthusiast.

My fingers can become dry and cold after a while and it seems to not work when that’s the case.

@Andrewhinton I tried that ONCE and I will never try it again.

Remember the story about the tortoise and the hare?

All I see now is shit like "Work faster with AI! Do more with AI! Increase your productivity with AI!"

The real winners are going to be those who remember how important it is to move slow and make things that matter.

@atomicpoet @fediversenews @panic @playdate The way I frame it is as us taking back control of the Means of Connectedness

Oh my god it gets better lol

‘’I put a quarter in the siren. Ten minutes later, I was on the scene. It was a normal office building, strangled on all sides by public sidewalks. I hopped over them and went inside.

“Home Depot™ Presents the Police!®” I said, flashing my badge and my gun and a small picture of Ron Paul. “Nobody move unless you want to!” They didn’t.’’

I wonder if guestbooks will ever make a comeback.

How have I been using rails for this many years and I am just now learning about rails assets:clobber

Oof, I feel this one:

“Overall, it is a soft peacetime culture where nothing is worth fighting for,” Seshadri wrote “The people who are inclined to fight on behalf of customers or new ideas or creativity soon learn the downside of doing so.”

What characteristics must a balloon exhibit to trigger a NORAD response? In this TED talk, I’ll —

Sami found old Halloween candy and she has become a candy gremlin

My Clarion West application is almost finished, but how on Earth will I carve out six weeks in summer to focus on this 😭 Maybe there’s some sort of osmotic option for becoming a better writer…

@jimray “powered by Microsoft’s $90B investment in Wafflestack.bro, this AI-enhanced heat and oil experience will—“

“I always tell my designers that you can’t control your output, you can only control the input.”

“That’s why I tell my designers to always think like an engineer. So I set up really strict rules on how they are allowed to work. So for example, we’re only allowed to use six or eight colours in total, same with the typeface, we only write in lowercase with one font in a set of sizes that is in a system connected to a grid.”

“Right now, there is a certain cultural fascination with fast growth, IPOs and so on, but I want to go slow, really slow and think long-term. It takes time to do good things. You see, this cultural phenomenon of speed and growth at all costs is displayed in every startup, they all look the same, it’s like fast food: it looks good, its taste it’s consistent but then you feel horrible afterwards.”

One day we'll look back on this day of ChatGPT and AI hustle bros and learn that it was all just an elaborate ruse to sell more .ai domains.

@jimray "I needed something to fail at every night to feel normal. And I was also manic, dysregulated, and wide-eyed, sleeping five hours a night, run-walking, with pressured speech; my friends, happy for me but confused, called me “cocaine Paul.”

Very relatable. And the article is a great read—thank you.

I really miss curating and writing the kind of non-fiction that plucks out and humanizes what has become a cosmic sentence synthesized between the silicon dreams of our computing machines.

The bug with the submission pages has been fixed. This turned out to be Rails changing the mime type of .doc files to application/x-ole-storage. I just deployed the fix, so uploads should work as expected now. Thanks everyone for your patience with as we sand out the rough edges—and update our tests!

🐝 SubmissionBee is now officially in Closed Beta! The MVP is fully deployed and in production for our third installment of the Proton Reader experience ( Huge thanks to B. Morris Allen of @Metaphorosis for the healthy conversations about current and future ideas.

Hopefully the start of a great community product!

Here's a wireframe for a v2 of the submission manager screen, along with a screenshot of what I'm upgrading from:

For this MVP, when you don't have an active subscription, you're presented with Frederick Sandy's Medea, 1868. Submission Bee is an online submission manager for busy editorial teams. Minimal, gets out of your way, and a joy to work in if I may say so myself.

- Past demonstrations of proactively working outside of this job description


See we don't need UBI in the future because we'll all just make enough for ramen from data breach and other class action lawsuits.

If anyone ever asks me what capitalism looked like online, I'll pull up the holos and take them to

Does anyone have any insight into how many people use the Kindle app to read their books versus a Kindle device?

Think about that word: business. If you ask why it exists by changing the I to Y, you get 'busyness'.

Excited for Ex Marginalia to come out next month!