The Unshittification of Technology

Tech news that’s happy!


Kudos to these guys.

I love to poop on Musk, but this is not poopable.


And of course


Cool drone tech with major value for climate research:


I’m writing, and it’s frustrating.

The worst is when sources are just irrelevant, and add nothing.

The best is when they are relevant, and add a lot of useful information, but, of course, I have to jump back and forth through the text to add this information in the appropriate sections.

The most frustrating is when they are fragments of relevant stuff, and I’ll need other sources to complete this, but have to jump about anyway.

The thing is this is … annoying … with a good word processor, but would be practically impossible without.


I remember doing a literature review as a grad student back in about 1978. I had dozens of photocopied references spread out on a conference table at the lab, writing the draft in long hand. Word processors made it so much easier, but I was still using paper journal articles till around 2000. You had to have a good short term memory to keep it all straight, so I’m glad I retired.


Change control systems for vital portolanos:

By 1500 advances in navigation and shipbuilding technology lengthened common trade routes, sending ships farther from the ports and coastlines depicted on their portolanos. Sailors on the open seas turned to celestial navigation and to maps depicting more and more of the globe to find their way. But they continued to rely on new and increasingly accurate portolanos for navigation near land. Sailors were tasked with keeping their home countries up-to-date on their findings to make these innovations possible. Portuguese ships traveling to the Indian ocean, for example, were each given two nautical charts that pilots were expected to correct and return to the Armazém da Guiné, the government body responsible for storing the kingdom’s nautical knowledge.


Worked like Waze on the high seas.

Ain’t nothing new in the world.


The kings, of course, claimed ownership of the result just like Google.


Possibly untrue unshittification news:

Is there a wiki-style tool for personal writing projects? So I could create a page, tag it for completeness, cleanup, and whether it needs reference improvements, use links to jump between pages, go to a handy list of page statuses, etc.?

For historical research, its merits seem obvious.

For game rules, too, since it’s often important to cross-reference rules.

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I think Scribd

I was thinking something on my computer, rather than on an external website.

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You can do all that with Word, just involves learning the advanced features.

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I don’t have Word. I currently use NeoOffice, but want something with better wiki support. I looked into Voodoopad, but can’t figure out how to do footnotes in it.

P.S. Apparently Scrivener has wiki support, but I’d rather avoid Scrivener.

“I would prefer not to.”


I use dokuwiki for that. I like it the most of all the things I’ve tried. There’s a “dokuwiki on a stick” version that’s simple to install and run with a built-in stripped-down localhost web server to run it. I like that it uses plain text files for its data, and it handles tables well.

An alternative is Zim wiki ( which runs as a desktop application. It has a more desktop-application style interface, while still being a wiki. I’m not totally sold on it, but it’s worth considering.

For fiction writing, yWriter is worth looking into. It gives some useful ways to organize your writing. Some people use it as an alternative to Scrivener. Can’t say whether it would apply as well to other areas like history and game rules, and it’s not wiki-style, but it is designed for writers and has some nice features.

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Thank you. As far as I can see, neither Zim nor Doku support footnotes. I don’t know if Tomboy supports footnotes, but so far it has a blinking cursor.

Doku has footnotes built-in: and there’s a plugin for extended reference note functionality (though I haven’t used it):

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We’ll see if this means more focus on usability and enabling human AIs rather than just another investment scam.