I’m playing with words. As usual. I ain’t no chat ai thing just a frail human. “Right” here is not in the sense of correct or justified (although someone on the internet might be correct at this very moment), but right as plugged in to its essence, the original wizards staying up late sense, as in being of the web, not just being on the web (my old trope).

blah.

To get here I have to take the reader (as if there is one but I will imagine said audience) on a trip through a diversion of the day.

It starts with today’s DS106 Daily Create. To start the new year I have so far (one week in) stayed on pace. And tomorrow is pretty significant as it marks the 11th year for the daily create, which, unlike me, has not missed a day since TDC1 on January 8, 2012.

Today’s was one that could have been dashed off quickly, as the should be, but sometimes I cannot help myself…TDC4012 was “You Number One Album” – the task was to pick an image from a fun twitter account @ImagesAlbum (Images That Could Be Album Covers) a twitter account sourced from a subreddit. It’s a nifty prompt as its one that you can take in almost any direction

I scrolled past a few images but something clicked for this one:

The lone figure in the window harkened back to one xkcd comic I always seemed to remember, well, Duty Calls which dates back to February 2008.

Duty Calls xkcd comic by Randall Munroe licensed CC BY-NC.

Thus framing my 30 minutes of Photoshop dinkering:

This was all fun, but I was struck by so many things when I Iooked up that original comic from https://xkcd.com/ a long running series that tailors to geeks, internet nerds, but as the tag line suggests, covers more– “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”. It’s quirky, insanely sarcastic and to me just pleasantly reeks of the drive and creativity of one person– in all ways a blog in the definition of Dave Winer as the unedited voice of a person.

One thing of note is the single page archive, with an entry for every comic published three times a week since 2006… in fact to find the date when Duty Calls was published, I had to command-F to find it, and hover to reveal the February 20, 2008. Sure a single page is long, but from the URL pattern I note that the current comic is number 2721 in the series. You can see how the artist’s style has evolved since the first one.

Perhaps more notable, and appreciated, and why I went for an xkcd comic is that each one is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. In fact, read the human essence of the license terms.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

This means that you are free to copy and reuse any of my drawings (noncommercially) as long as you tell people where they’re from.

That is, you don’t need my permission to post these pictures on your website (and hotlinking with <img> is fine); just include a link back to this page. Or you can make Livejournal icons from them, but — if possible — put xkcd.com in the comment field. You can use them freely (with some kind of link) in not-for-profit publications, and I’m also okay with people reprinting occasional comics (with clear attribution) in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, and presentations. If you’re not sure whether your use is noncommercial, feel free to email me and ask (if you’re not sure, it’s probably okay).

https://xkcd.com/license.html

This is a rather fun set of terms.

There is more to appreciate all over the site. Look at that illegible text just above the licence statement in each comic’s footer. At 6px font size you have to make an effort to read the small print (rather then super zooming, I copied pasted to a text editor).

xkcd.com is best viewed with Netscape Navigator 4.0 or below on a Pentium 3±1 emulated in Javascript on an Apple IIGS at a screen resolution of 1024×1. Please enable your ad blockers, disable high-heat drying, and remove your device from Airplane Mode and set it to Boat Mode. For security reasons, please leave caps lock on while browsing.

https://xkcd.com/

Sure, maybe someone can get a ChatGPT prompt to generate something like this, but rich/sarcasm is my kind of Turing test. For now.

And if you do not have enough of human presence, the artists about page has it oozing. How about this bio:

I’m just this guy, you know? I’m a CNU graduate with a degree in physics. Before starting xkcd, I worked on robots at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. As of June 2007 I live in Massachusetts. In my spare time I climb things, open strange doors, and go to goth clubs dressed as a frat guy so I can stand around and look terribly uncomfortable. At frat parties I do the same thing, but the other way around.

https://xkcd.com/about/

Munroe not only reiterates the open reuse for non-commercial use, but even opens a geek door by sharing that every comic (or the current one) as an API that can return it’s info in JSON format- the data for Duty Calls is in https://xkcd.com/386/info.0.json

I’ve gone on enough here, but the force of human presence in keeping this web going for 16 years speaks against the total gloom and doom of AI taking over the world. All the hype seems to again look over all he human creativity alive and more than well right there in the long tail of the internet.

When I say someone like Randall Munroe and all others who independently publish weird, original human crafted openly shared stuff, is right on the internet I mean in terms of keeping its entirety uncontrollable and as unknowable by its organic vastness. You cannot paint the web with broad general brush strokes that easily.

And for all who do this outside the algorithmic grips of big neural machines , this out here human says thanks.


Featured Image: Someone is Right on this internet by Alan Levine is licensed CC BY-NC based on Duty Calls xkcd comic by Randall Munroe licensed CC BY-NC modified by cropping and changing “WRONG” to “RIGHT” and filtered, superimposed on organic growth flickr photo by jurvetson shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

comic stick figure seated at desk looking at computer with words- someone is Right on the internet superimposed on a massive multicolored network diagram of the internet
Someone (human) is right there on the internet.
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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. Finally a clearly illustrated example of how humans make things different. Thanks for the great post! I’ve read too many that were “generated by ChatGTP” or whatever and they’re dreadful to read (as one can expect); this is fun and encourages all to put some more of our quirky humanity into our blogs!

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