Orange Tip Butterfly on cuckoo flower

My wife said listen to the grasshopper, I can’t hear them, but heard this. so I opened my phone and the Merlin app: Common Grasshopper warbler. No sight of it.
Lots of orange tips butterflies. Plenty of bird song, D saw a weasel. Warm afternoon.

Willow Warbler in leafless branches
Willow Warbler

Scots Pines in the dark

This morning I joined in with the reveil Dawn Chorus Day 2024.

Reveil (2014—) is a collective production by streamers at listening points around the earth. Starting on the morning of Saturday 4 May in South London near the Greenwich Meridian, the broadcast will pick up feeds one by one, tracking the sunrise west from microphone to microphone, following the wave of intensified sound that loops the earth every 24 hours at first light.

I was streaming from Victoria Park, a short walk from our flat. I was on my way by 4:00

I had to change my audio setup a little this year, a new phone put my lightning mic out of action, so I used a h4n recorder as a mic.

It was dark overcast and the ground was pretty wet, but it didn’t rain. All the way to the park the blackbirds were already singing loudly. A shadow fox seemed to be around a bin but no one else was about. There was a bit of traffic on the Expressway making a noise.

Audio setup in the dark. H4N recorder with dead cat, connected to iPhone
I got set up and was streaming by 4:30.

An old sim-less iPhone 6 using my broadcasting phone as a hot point allowed me to listen at the same time. It is quite strange listening to local birds in one ear and ones that are very far away in the other.

Unfortunately although I could hear the main stream the IRC widget on the page didn’t work for me. When I tested it earlier in the 24 hours it was fine, but this morning it wanted a password…

A short clip of my stream.

I could listen and see what was playing, look at the schedule and figure out it might be a little behind. I kept my broadcast running. I think just after 5:30 I heard a shout out for my stream. Unfortunately by that time a helicopter was flying around the park and the result was pretty unpleasant. The broadcast moves quite swiftly on to the next stream.

A clip with helicopter, I think this is what was broadcast, around a minute in!
Dawn view, audio set up with park in background. A path through an avenue of trees.
Dawn View ~ 5:30am

Reveil was a good excuse/motivator to get up and listen for a while. I found it hard to listen and identify any birds locally, while listening to other sites. My bird song knowledge is not good. The old iPhone 6 wouldn’t let me use the Merlin app to sound ID. I am also interested in distributed collaboration so the whole process was good to see. There were some amazing broadcasts form around the world.

Listening back to some of my recordings I can hear just how much traffic and noise pollution there is even with helicopters.

If this is on next year and I join in, I might try going further afield to somewhere with less traffic and thinking about a better second device. I suppose that I could also try getting up and 3:30am all by myself, but I am not sure I’ve got the willpower or my wife would understand.

AI in action

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This was posted in response to a post on the Glow Blog help: Glow Blogs Start of Session FAQ 2022.

I’ve been generating a bit of text for example sites recently and this text has the same smell I get from ChatGPT and co-pilot.

I’ve loved RSS since I started blogging. I’ve been using Feedland as an RSS reader since it started.

Feedland is an interesting and opinionated take on an RSS reader. I particularly like the way it makes me think about the interface & purpose of readers.

Dave Winer has been writing a lot about blogrolls recently. He developing a way for you to display a list of Feedland feeds on a drummer blog and now in WordPress. I tried both and they work.

I had been displaying my Feedland feeds on my blogroll page. I am using some Javascript of my own. Inn my sidebar using the links widget and Jan Boddez‘s plugin to sync my links with Feedland. My new Feedland Blogroll uses Dave’s technology.

A Feedland blogroll is a bit different than a straightforward list of links. It is more like a mini feedreader. Each link can be expanded to show the recent posts from a site. The list is constantly reordered to show the most updated site at the top. This reordering points to the river of news idea, I think, as opposed to the completionist way of doing things. There is no marking things as read. It is a handy way to read and a great alternative to other feed readers.

I just added my whole list of Feedland feeds. This is a subset of RSS feeds I’ve followed, some from years ago, it is not yet thoughtful list. All of the recent blogroll discussion has had me thinking a bit about this.

When I started blogging, pre twitter, a lot of my posts were in response to other ‘ScotEduBloggers’. For a while we had a lively community going. Back then I could have really used this Feedland style blog roll in my sidebar. The blogroll then would have reflected this community. The conversation then moved on to twitter and other places, even LinkedIn!

Now I am thinking that my blogroll should go on its own page. To use as a casual feedreader by myself and a source of interesting sources for others.

The perceived audience might affect the feeds I include. If I was creating a blogroll to share links I might skip many of the more popular and well shared feeds and concentrate on ones that might not be so obvious. For example I don’t support many mac inclined people would need a link to Daring Fireball. If the audience is me, I might want a different set of feeds.

At the moment the plugin gets the users whose feeds and categories you display from the settings. I wonder could these be replace/augmented by parameters in the shortcode, for example instead of [feedland-blogroll] you could have [feedland-blogroll user="johnjohnston" category="nature" ] that would mean you could have different blogrolls on different pages.

The Feedland Blogroll interface is rather nice, reminiscent of Mac system 7 in some ways (my first ui and I loved it). It is a perfect fit for a blog sidebar on a desktop/laptop screen. I am wondering about a couple of things:

  1. Since I want it on a page on its own, would it be sensible to add a bit of css to fill more of my page.
  2. Could it be adapted for mobile. That is where I often read feeds. I’d like it to have a slightly bigger font so that the links and disclosure arrows are easier to hit. The interface has a nice tooltips on hover. I wonder could that be adapted for a phone.

I am not sure if these ideas are either practical or possible. I am sure The FeedLand Blogroll is an idea to follow.

Here is the  WordPress plugin and instructions for Drummer.