Personal API: Progress in Pursuit of Nirvana

catching up

I’m going to give periodic updates on the personal API journey as way to make myself accountable and document progress.

As Kin Lane reminded me this is a journey and so I’ve decided there are strange parallels between my API/Reclaiming-my-content work and the path to enlightenment.1 Like a Buddhist with very low expectations, I seek an end to (platform-related) suffering and rebirths. I am attempting to extinguish the fires of-

  • ignorance – I don’t know exactly where all my stuff is or the rules governing it/me or what I’m “paying” for the service.
  • short-sightendness – I’ve put work/energy/content in places without enough/any thought about the future.
  • acceptance – I’ve accepted sub-par experiences, oppressive EULAs

There may be a fourth flame to extinguish around isolationism (not taking advantage of the connectedness of all things API) but I’ve probably butchered Buddhism enough for one post.

Since our last installment

I’ve migrated from Bluehost to Reclaim. People might claim that’s a move from a vendor to another vendor. I disagree. Reclaim is both people I know and love and a company focused on the things I care about. Their goal is not entirely profit driven. I have no problem with people making money but I do have a problem with profit being the only driving force. It was a seamless move I put off for too long. It does reinforce

The place where I’m currently struggling is how much of this I want to do directly. A good example is Pinboard. I like it. I like the guy who runs it. I can use their API to do pretty much anything I want. On the other hand, I could do a richer kind of bookmarking using WordPress and the “Press This” option. I could bookmark images, videos etc. in a more media rich way and, at this point, I think I could do the weekly aggregation posts as well. I’m tempted to do that but I also wonder where I stop.

I have given some thought to the nouns of my personal API. If you look at the ugly list below I have the following types of content. I’m not entirely sure I need to break it up this finely but I’m operating under the idea that a little too much detail/granularity is better than not quite enough detail.

  1. Posts – WP handles that
  2. Pages – WP handles that
  3. Images – have about 80% of a plugin solution to pull Flickr into WP similar to importing the Discog record records2
  4. Bookmarks
  5. Video
  6. Tweets
  7. Google Files – do native files have any value outside Google? what value exports as Office or other?
  8. Gits(?) – whatever you’d call chunks of code and would include random HTML/JS/PHP I’ve written over time
  9. Text – from papers to email

In my head, I could certainly pull all this into WordPress and use it as the API creation machine. The new JSON API would make it pretty easy to create endpoints for various custom post types aligned with those terms. I’m not sure if that’d be a good idea or not. I don’t want WP to always be my answer and I don’t necessarily like having my eggs so deeply in one basket. The voices in my head then echo back . . . we’ll WP stores media in year/directory folders that would be easy to transfer. The data would be in MySQL which ought to be really friendly to travel and the new JSON API should open yet more doors for any future migration needs . . .3 It does spawn new questions to me like “Should email/papers just become posts in an email/paper category?” Probably. Same for Tweets? Probably.4

Missed Pieces

I didn’t really think about email before. True, I hate most of my email but I wish I had all my email from college. I had some printed out between family members but I’m not sure I can find it.

I’m not quite sure where to put some odd things like an iBook I made or other strange media creations. Maybe just “media.” More likely one-off items don’t need an API. I also probably need to think a bit more about the digital content I have that I bought.

The List

  •  Domains/Servers
    • bionicteaching.com on bluehost until I can do the reclaim migration Migrated! Thanks to Tim.
      • mainly the blog but lots of random files as well- no real idea what’s on here
    • tomwoodward.us on bluehost until I can do the reclaim migration
    • rampages.us (work) – on reclaim, code stuff is mostly on github but content is in the wind
    • augmenting.me (work) – on media temple, code stuff is mostly on github, maybe
    • greatvcubikerace.net (work) – limited, no idea if I’ve got this on github
    • teachers.henrico.k12.va.us – (old work) not sure it’s salvageable in time  (lost to the monsters?)
  • Google Docs
    • bionicteaching – 5GB
    • vcu- work – 11GB
    • montessori – work
    • henrico – work (lost to the monsters – I document this as reminder of how much stuff can be lost when you change jobs- remember changing ownership across google domains does not work)
  • Photos
  • Bookmarks
    • Diigo – mirrored to pinboard (now deceased as I can’t get to the api w/o $)
    • Delicious – mirrored to diigo (now deceased as I’ve abandoned IFTTT)
    • Pinboard – now the place but need to mirror it somewhere
  • Video
  • Code
  • Twitter – archived and updating thanks to Martin Hawksey (although saved in Google Drive)
  • Stack Exchange
  • Facebook – let it burn
  • Reddit – it’s been a long time probably not worth it
  • Feedly – get that OPML fil

1 It’s also the presentation pitch we’re making for Open Ed 2016 – The Personal API Path: Steps Towards Nirvana

2 . . . record . . . . . . . record

3 The voices in my head are very persuasive. Let us hope they continue to only advise me on technology matters.

4 See? Writing this was helpful.

Comments on this post

  1. CogDog said on April 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I like the idea of establishing some sort of importance/urgency level to your list, but to me, it’s a bit binary (reclaim or “let it burn”). I still maintain there’s a fair bit of room in the middle ground. When Boone Gorges and D’Arcy Norman did their aggressive acts of Reclaiming a few years back, my thought was “That’s impressive” as well as “That looks like a lot of work”.

    See, I would rather take, edit, and share my photos than maintain my own flickr wanna be in WordPress or whatever. And there is the loss of potential social interaction you give up when you do a total reclaim, as happened when people went to Trovebox.

    I am content to store 44,000+ photos in flickr, even if it might burn up one day or get sold. If it disappeared, well I’d be pissed, but its not the end of the world. Because I have my primary archive on my own hard drives and Aperture as a library. Likewise, I *could* build a link manager, but I really do not feel like bothering with it.

    Yet, my rationale does not match others, I just am not convinced that a personal API requires a total reclaim act.

    I do think what you are doing here is good model for something we might create a guide for or some spreadsheet thing or some Kin Lane Magic Elf API thing for people to keep an active inventory of “where my stuff is” beyond a blog post.

    • Tom Woodward said on April 19, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      I think my version of reclaim is a bit blurry. For a chunk of this it’s more maintain a backup/reclaim a backup and then establish something ongoing. That’s one aspect that’s attractive to me about the API elements. I’m not sure I’m a POSSE person either because some places are about being in the space itself (Stackoverflow sits somewhere in there) but I’m disorganized enough and lazy enough to want that stuff to flow far better than it does for me now.

      I agree about the guide. I wonder if a browser plugin makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Trackbacks and Pingbacks on this post

  1. […] Personal API: Progress in Pursuit of Nirvana – http://bionicteaching.com/personal-api-progress-in-pursuit-of-nirvana/ […]

  2. A Bit More on the Personal API – Bionic Teaching said on April 22, 2016 at 9:34 am

    […] tweet above and Alan’s comment on the post (below) and figured I haven’t really made a chunk of why I’m doing this clear or even […]

  3. […] Tom is well on his way, when it comes to the API journey. Tom understands that he doesn’t have to be a rockstar ninja developer, or all mighty IT player to use APIs. Tom is just working to understand the footprint he leaves online each day, where all hist bits and bytes live, and how he can assert more control over this digital version of his existence. Tom will mostly likely never have a perfect stack of APIs (as technologists envision), but he is making some impressive inroads when it comes to identifying where he operates online, where he’d prefer to be operating, and how APIs can help him achieve the level of understanding and control he is seeking. […]

TrackBack URL