Instructional Tech at Reclaim Hosting: a Crossover with Everything

This post was originally published on Reclaim Hosting on February 9th 2022.

This post will likely be less organized, and more of a messy stream of consciousness has I make sense of the new Instructional Tech team/offering/thing at Reclaim Hosting. Documenting my way of thinking at a given time is challenging, but I think this is necessary for reflection and later use. …

Dive into the Twitter Time Tunnel (or just hack your url way in)

This post was originally published on CogDogBlog on January 15th 2022.

One tweet somehow manages to send me off to the web experimentation rabbit hole for building a new gizmo. But the bigger lesson is that knowing how to read, edit, and modify URL parameters can give you the power over the algorithmic lords. From One Tweet… I managed to just click this out of curiosity […]

5 Best WordPress Podcast Plugins for 2021

This post was originally published on BloggingPro on August 16th 2021.

Podcasts could be an untapped channel bloggers need to take their WordPress business to the top. Similar to video, you can use audio content to help power up your blog posts. For instance, instead of writing about a topic, you can just create a podcast about the episode and write the show notes about it. […]

The Sisyphean Labor of Link Love

This post was originally published on bavatuesdays on September 16th 2021.

I woke up this morning to a Twitter exchange between Alan Levine and Ken Bauer about creating a plugin that points dead links on a blog to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine: I might need a WordPress plugin than converts … Continue reading →

Il viaggio verso la montagna, nello spazio turbolento dell’io: Emmanuel Carrère è tornato con “Yoga”

This post was originally published on CriticaLetteraria on May 27th 2021.

Yogadi Emmanuel CarrèreAdelphi, maggio 2021Traduzione di Lorenza Di Lella e Francesca Scalapp. 367€ 20 (cartaceo)€ 13,99 (ebook)
Noi siamo puro caos, confusione, siamo una poltiglia di ricordi e paure e fantasie e vane aspettative ma dentro di noi c’è qualcuno di più tranquillo, che vigila e riferisce. (p. 35)A un certo punto di questo libro Carrère parla di un “dossier sullo yoga

What the ALT survey tells us about the online pivot

This post was originally published on The Ed Techie on March 30th 2021.

The Association of Learning Technology conducts an annual survey. This is always a useful tool to track learning technologists (and their institutions) attitudes towards different technology. This year though they had a special section on Covid, and the results of that are worth noting. They provide an interesting historical snapshot, at the end of 2020. …Continue reading

Write-only Twitter

This post was originally published on Laura Kalbag on March 29th 2021.

A couple of weeks ago, Aral asked me if I could write a user stylesheet for web browsers to make Twitter nothing but a compose box.
Jump straight to how it works
I totally get it. Twitter sucks your time and soul. But sometimes you need to use it to share what you’re working on, or promote events. Essentially, you want to use Twitter but you don’t want it to use you. The way to do this is to hide every part of Twitter’s interface that doesn’t help you compose a tweet, or otherwise likely to distract or derail you.
The power of CSS pseudo classes
As part of my work on Better’s blocking rules, I sometimes have to hide parts of the page using CSS. Hiding ads isn’t really Better’s purpose, we try to block the tracking and behavioural advertising scripts before they put anything on the page. But occasionally, sites have rolled their own obnoxious first-party targeted ad system that is inseparable from the rest of their site’s functionality. On such occasions, I roll up my sleeves, and get my pseudo CSS selectors out to set these elements to display: none. Because, of course, these sites design their HTML and CSS to avoid blockers like Better.
The problem with user stylesheets
Hiding parts of Twitter’s interface is a similar problem. Luckily, a lot of Twitter’s interface has semantic naming (amongst the gazillion nested divs and robot-generated CSS classes) for accessibility purposes, so it’s simple enough to hook into these elements for a user stylesheet. The problem with user stylesheets is that they’re a blunt instrument, aimed at making global changes across every site you visit. Really useful for making font sizes big on every site you visit, but if you use it to hide any element with the class of “timeline”, chances are you’ll break a lot of websites you visit.
A solution to target specific websites
My solution was to chain what I suspect are fairly unique element selectors in a likely unique sequence, ensuring that these rules will only apply to, even though the stylesheet will be used on every site visited.
/* Hide the Home timeline and Explore timeline */
div[data-at-shortcutkeys] header[role=”banner"] + main[role="main"] div[aria-label="Timeline: Your Home Timeline"],
div[data-at-shortcutkeys] header[role="banner"] + main[role="main"] div[aria-label="Timeline: Explore"] {
display: none !important;
As you can tell from the selectors I’ve used, it is fragile as anything. As soon as Twitter decides to change the aria-label for its home timeline, the stylesheet will no longer effectively hide the home timeline. But, as with a lot of Better’s blocking rules, this is a balance between using a fragile rule that works against a big corporation that tends to be pretty slow in rolling out changes to its interface.
After a couple of weeks of using this stylesheet in my primary browser and not noticing any issues with other sites, I’m fairly confident in sharing this stylesheet with anyone else who might find it useful.
How the stylesheet works
I ended up creating two stylesheets, one for Aral’s way of working (write-only.css), and one for my way of working (read-some.css).
Write-only Twitter
write-only.css is a user stylesheet for the browser that hides absolutely everything except the Home feed compose box on Twitter.

write-only.css in action.

Read-some Twitter
My Twitter use varies, particularly as I sometimes use it for Better support, so I need to be able to access a bit more of Twitter’s interface.
read-some.css is a user stylesheet for the browser that hides:

Home timeline
Explore timeline
List timelines

but keeps:

Settings etc

And let me tell you, having this stylesheet on my desktop Safari for the last couple of weeks has made a huge difference. Now I can check our @mentions without getting further distracted. Even when my muscle memory types “” when I’m procrastinating or seeking distraction, the page loads so minimally, I take one look at it and close the tab. It no longer appears in my “Frequently Visited” sites!

read-some.css in action.

Where to find the stylesheets
You can download the Write-Only Twitter stylesheets and find out more about them on our Small Tech repository. I’ll update them when needed. There’s not instructions for every browser in there, but it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find that information if you need it. Personally I recommend Safari for everyday browsing as you can use Better Blocker to block trackers while you browse 😉

Like this? Support my work!
If you find my work useful or valuable, please help me continue by supporting our work at Small Technology Foundation. We are a tiny not-for-profit organisation working on everyday tools for everyday people designed to increase human welfare, not corporate profits.
You can support us by becoming a patron of our foundation, or just by giving my work a shout-out. It really means a lot to me ❤️

Read the original post, ‘Write-only Twitter’.