#024: platform puzzle pieces • automatic associations interface • Tendril

Welcome to the twenty-fourth ceremony of Ephemerata: reflections, observations, and life at the edge.


I’m doing this to stimulate discussion around what I find interesting, and also to share things before they disappear into the void of my journal.

Thanks to Sasquatch in Orange Shoes for becoming a backer this week ❤️.


  1. This is a ceremony
  2. Platform puzzle pieces
  3. A way of fatherhood
  4. Automatic associations interface
  5. Asides
  6. Music


Ephemerata has always felt like an event to me (some kind of gathering or party), but David Luecke recently put that ‘c’ word in my head, and I find it most fitting—thanks David 🙏🏽. It shall hereby be referred to as such ✨.


Currently thinking about how to integrate multiple systems while building community and sustainable income.

It’s possible for me to ‘build my own system’ but that would take time from doing what it’s designed to support, especially as a single-person operation; this might be a case where it’s better to use existing parts and close gaps by creating plugins or automating with tools like Zapier or n8n. Let’s review the existing systems…


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I’m very attached to my kid, but I don’t expect him to be attached to me. I don’t want him to feel more tied to some people than others. I hope he ventures out into the world, makes new bonds, and feels no obligation to me. He doesn’t owe me anything. His life is his own. He didn’t ask to be born, and has no debts.
Derek Sivers


I often find myself glazing over conceptual interfaces for computing because I usually just want to use the thing to see how it feels, but the nice demos on this one stopped me.

The promise of digital systems for me has always had something to do with ‘surfacing the right amount of meaningful things at the right time’. I have approximated this in my apps by requiring explicit actions to surface things because it’s beyond my capacity to imagine how to do this more automatically, and also generally distrust machines to automate this well. So how nice it is to see a vision for creating structures and associations with little friction, more or less by directing your attention. Computers should be good at this while allowing us to tweak things, to avoid relying completely on a black box:

The system can handle most of the heavy lifting by simply paying attention to how we move through our items within different contexts, but we can further manage the associations manually as we like.

Bringing things to view in the way presented here is so much more compelling than clicking around through filesystems or apps. The closest that I’ve seen and used is Quicksilver’s way of ‘knowing’ by key combinations and their frequency, but this requires explicit association. Successfully capturing intent passively instead of explicitly makes it so that being a programmer is not necessary.

It’s important to have higher-level primitives baked into lower levels, rather than reconstructing them in each app–this can mean schemas, file formats, or an operating system itself. Your trail or history is valuable and shouldn’t be siloed in or built bespoke for certain apps. How can this be constructed without a universal app for all the things? (or is that just another operating system?) How can this be done in a way where the data is not siloed within this system (even though it seems to afford great flexibility across app boundaries)?


My book is in my body.
— Elena

Pay What You Want and the Four Currencies. Breaks down the ‘cost’ of something into “money-dollars”, “time-dollars”, “pain-in-the-butt-dollars”, and “integrity-dollars”, which is a useful framework for thinking about why people might choose to pay versus pirate something. The whole series considers the perspective of a buyer, but this part focuses on why donation-based software doesn’t work. Worth paying attention if you sell apps…

[Optional contributions in software don’t work because they’re more of a pain in the ass than the free experience. If you forced a minimum price of even a cent, people would likely be more generous than the minimum because they’re already in the payment process.]

Notes from a mystic:

[Knowledge, like a drug, gives you a hallucination of knowing.]
[Logic has never led anyone to truth.]
[Nothingness exists without support or creator.]

The roads to understanding misinformation…. Tons of tips on how to recognize signs of misinformation, but more about understanding sources than shaming people. Heightens your attention to certain ways of communicating without too much explanation. I thought I had a good grasp of this kind of thing but learned lots here. Maybe worth sharing this even with people who have experience?

[If a headline provokes an emotional reaction, be on guard: it should pique your curiosity more than convince you to form an opinion—inform over inflame.]
[The context of a poll, how it was collected, is as important as the findings.]
[The words ‘seems’, ‘appears’, ‘apparently’ is an indication of opinion about intent.]

Advice on hosting a group discussion:

[Challenge people to contrast with what others have said. Encourage them to talk to each other.]
[Togetherness needs a plurality of relationships. Demonstrate a personal connection with you during intros. Show them they can participate in different levels.]
[Prompt in the event description to collect and come with thoughts about questions.]
[People love to be invited, and feel egotistical about barging in on a conversation (‘everyone seems smart, why should I talk?’).]
Casey Sokol


All the following items can be accessed as a one-click playlist via Joybox without accounts or sign up—just open and play.



Ayyuka: Maslak Halayı (2020). Unapologetic and seamless weaving of Turkish scales and melodies, psychedelic rock, prepared electronic ambience and live instruments. Pay attention to the effects, the intensity without ‘loudness’, the microtonal inflections played on seemingly ordinary electric guitar. Tight drumming and a badass vibe throughout the album. My favourites: Maslak Halayı fills me with power; Yukadans is alive, helps body move, cool harmonizing between the two leads near the end; Komalı’s got that pitch bending that I love from some kinds of Arab music; Ah Be Baba is an adventure filled with sudden turns and odd meters. (via @kevin@merveilles.town)


Lyra Pramuk: Tendril from Fountain (2020). The celestial feeling evoked without words shows what is possible with the simplest of materials: only voice, no other instruments, minimal effects (mostly reverb and echo); the layering of parts to create rich harmonies; a variety of vocal textures, syllables, sounds. There is a kind of static rhythm throughout the whole work, but contrast in the form keeps it interesting. A sublime creation. (via RVNG Intl.)

Tkay Maidza: 24k from Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 (2020). Velvet smooth electronic dance grove, lyrics and breathing slotted into the beat perfectly. Nothing to do here except ride along. (via April)


Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad Qawwal, Party Ghar ki Mehfil: Chaap Tilak Sab Chheeni (2014). Great example of music as communal experience: the lead singers invite people in the ‘audience’ (using words, or music and movement itself) to participate—at times it feels like a salon discussion even though it’s mostly musical throughout. I’m not familiar with this style of music, but it’s wonderful to observe singing with devotion intense ornamentation. Fun to see others enjoying music not just in the mind but with hands and much of the upper body. I linked to a part that skips the introduction with many individuals in the room ‘taking the spotlight’ to sing, which is beautiful to watch (start from the beginning if you want to check that out). As asides: 1) bonus points that this occurred in Montreal; and 2) refreshing and nostalgic to hear this pre-pandemic performance with people coughing loudly without masks or stigma. (via Pedro Silva)

The Halluci Nation: Electric Pow Wow Drum from A Tribe Called Red (2013). There’s already so much power in traditional indigenous chanting, to add blasting electronic synths and amplification gives it just a little more oomph. Possible to tastefully connect such far away aesthetics. Super simple form, but interesting timbres from metal shakers and leather-skinned drums. (via RVNG Intl.)


Check out Fleeting Arrivals for more music.

(I heart music)

I always love receiving music. Send me recommendations anytime, anywhere!

That’s all folks!

Feel free to reply and share any reflections you might have, or just say hello. Have a great week 🙂.

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