Ayu Guys!

Dear Rick and Tim,

Woodland friends

Dan has put out three trail cam videos since I last wrote about them here. They're all from October. There's the trailcam video for 2021-10-04, the trailcam video for 2021-10-17 and the trailcam video for 2021-10-23.

As usual, they are well worth a look if you're into nature. The young deer are growing and the stag is wandering through the woods. The hares and rabbits, including some very young-looking ones, are bouncing about. Foxes are sniffing around. Squirrels are springing into trees and hiding food. Not very well, because I can see the badgers are finding it with their long noses. Stubby-feathered young pheasants are strutting around. Mice take centre stage in front of Den Cam. There are several domestic cats out on the prowl. In summary, the woods are full of activity.

But there's been particular excitement around the following:

Would you like a web page you can send text messages to? [n/n]

I have two mobile phones. One is an old iPhone, which runs most of the apps I want to run, but runs out of battery pretty fast. The other is even older. It's a Motorola F3, a very basic phone with an e-paper display designed to appeal to the low-end market in the developing world. The display is really retro. It has one line of six fourteen-segment characters and another line of six seven-segment numbers. On the other hand, it is durable, I don't need to worry about losing it, and it is extremely energy-efficient. The battery lasts forever. I charge it about once a fortnight. It also seems to get a strong signal nearly all the time. These two phones serve different purposes in my life and by carrying both, I can be contacted nearly anywhere while still having a smartphone to watch videos or listen to podcasts on, or whatever. But when the iPhone gives up the ghost, I'm left with a rather narrow connection to the outside world. That is, text messaging on a six-character interface.

For better or worse, the world seems to have moved over to WhatsApp and other messengers now, Twitter seems to have descended into this global slanging match, and Mastodon seems to not have received the uptake we'd all hope for, so what is a nerd to do to update the world on the minutae of their life with such a device? Thanks to a little script I wrote, I can now text a number (01-SWEETFISH or 01793-383474) and the message will be relayed to sweetfish.io, to appear at my Sweetfish page. The page degrades nicely to ancient or text-based browsers, so anyone can see what I write there. Users on the service can choose to have their messages aggregated into groups, like on the heathens.club Sweetfish page. Each page has an Atom feed so that you can subscribe to it in your feed reader and be interrupted to read that someone is having waffles for breakfast.

Or, if you're not into all that microblogging nonsense, each page has a JSON endpoint too. This means people can write bots around it like Toxie did for #midgard, or write scripts to kick off actions based on messages appearing. Reboot your computer from a mountaintop! Switch off the Christmas tree lights from the pub! Trigger your cat's feeder via text message! Actually don't do that last one.

Phone numbers never appear on the site, and neither do ads or cookies or anything like that. It's just a web toy I wrote for fun, and then I realised I could share it with everyone else with only a little more effort. If you fancy a page of your own, drop me a line with your phone number(s), your preferred alias and your favourite emoji, and I'll do the needful. If you ever want to delete your data, you just text the command *WIPE to the number, and all trace of you is gone from the site.

Have a good week, y'all.