Goodbye is a promising concept, but there is much room for improvement. I am tired of waiting. (µblog), has positioned itself as a platform aligning with the IndieWeb community. While its intentions are commendable, there are opportunities for improvement to enhance the overall user experience.

The platform has garnered recognition within the IndieWeb community and was featured prominently on the IndieWeb wiki, accompanied by informative content. Manton Reece, the creator of µblog, frequently emphasises its alignment with IndieWeb principles, portraying it as an Indie-friendly platform. Outbound webmentions are fully supported but only accepts incoming webmentions from sites which have registered on the service using their sending base URL.

However, there appears to be a discrepancy between the platform's perceived integration with IndieWeb architecture and its actual implementation. For instance, I've encountered challenges when trying to engage with µblog comments from my IndieWeb WordPress site, where my webmentions are sent and acknowledged but don't reflect on the timeline. is not just an alternative silo. It’s worse than your average silo. It’s worse than Twitter. From the point of view of IndieWeb, it’s even worse than Facebook. Evgeny Kuznetsov

Certainly, µblog has many attributes of a traditional social media platform, which might lead to some confusion regarding its role in the IndieWeb ecosystem. While it makes strides towards IndieWeb principles, there's room for dialogue about how closely it adheres to the core tenets and how it can continue to evolve. This dialogue presents an opportunity for the platform to evolve and foster a more seamless experience for users.

Designed with Considerable Friction

µblog's approach often introduces significant friction. For users aiming to host a comprehensive photo blog, navigating µblog's interface can prove challenging. Unlike WordPress, where adding media is straightforward with the "Add Media" button, µblog requires managing two browser tabs simultaneously—one for editing and another for uploading. The upload page lacks search functionality, necessitating manual copying and pasting of HTML (or markdown) from the uploads page into the editor.

Additionally, µblog's themes do not support header images, resulting in limited visual customization. Upon post publication, only a title, link, and thumbnail image, often minuscule in size, are displayed publicly on the timeline.

The userbase seems actually pretty good at putting the effort into leaving real comments, but on some other sites (or if I had a blog that wasn’t integrated into a social media platform like this), this lack can result in people making post after post that gets no apparent response, and feeling like they’re shouting into the void.

µblog users can see and managed whom they follow but are not privy to who follows them. This creates the possibility that a user might be following a number of people but no one is reading that users posts.

Challenges with Customer Support

Customer support, unfortunately, can be slow, especially for a paid service like µblog. Despite having an active subscription expiring on April 4, 2024, I've faced ongoing difficulties with posting to the timeline. Despite reaching out multiple times to support for assistance, I'm still awaiting a permanent resolution. annual invoice does not recognise that I have a subscription.

µblog's Social and Community Dynamics and Platform Limitations

The diversity of participants and resulting conversations are somewhat limited and are likely to remain so. This might suit some people just fine, but I appreciate people of different races, creeds, colors, economic backgrounds, and even those with differing political opinions. The kind of people you might find on a more mainstream social media service or the right Mastodon instance.PhoneBoy

µblog's simplicity is commendable, offering a clutter-free experience devoid of ads. However, this streamlined approach also translates into limitations, such as the absence of features like direct messaging, group chats, and advanced search functionalities.

Discoverability remains a challenge due to µblog's design choices aimed at curbing abuse and harassment. The lack of hashtag support and topic searches hinders users' ability to find content and connect based on shared interests.

The platform's emphasis on content ownership within the IndieWeb community is evident, yet it struggles with balancing freedom of expression with community safety. The cautious approach to user directories and content curation has implications for visibility and collaboration.

I always think appreciation, likes, reactions, and follower count should be made available privately to the content owner. Making them public should be an opt-in decision, if at all possible.Havn

Despite these challenges, µblog's community continues to offer valuable insights and suggestions for improvement, reflecting a shared desire for a more inclusive and feature-rich platform experience.

There seems to be a lot of community push back when anyone advocates for incorporating standard social media features in a manner that benefits all.

While some users may opt to disable "Likes" on their timeline, others, like myself, find value in having this feature available.numericcitizen

Evaluating µblog

Reflecting on my journey with µblog, I appreciate its vision but find the execution somewhat constrained by an emphasis on preventing harassment, which at times hampers community growth and user interaction. Throughout this discussion, the concept of "community" has emerged repeatedly, highlighting the significance of shared connections and interactions that contribute to a sense of belonging—an aspect that µblog could enhance.

The diversity of participants and resulting conversations are somewhat limited and are likely to remain so. This might suit some people just fine, but I appreciate people of different races, creeds, colors, economic backgrounds, and even those with differing political opinions. The kind of people you might find on a more mainstream social media service or the right Mastodon instance.PhoneBoy

In conclusion, there are several factors leading me to withhold a full recommendation for the current iteration of While acknowledging the challenges, it's worth noting that platform governance, akin to Twitter, rests with the owner. Despite this, I maintain a positive view of Manton's character, even if we haven't met in person. However, the platform's responsiveness to change requests could benefit from improvement.

Wishing for a future where µblog strikes a better balance between fostering a safe environment and encouraging vibrant community engagement, I bid farewell.

Oakflower Brewing

Following a suggestion from Flounder Brewing, Bhavna and I visited Oakflower Brewing in Millington.

After we told the head brewer at Flounder Brewing about our negative experience at Burnt Mills Cider Company, he said, "Why didn't you just go to Oakflower?". As it happens, Oakflower Brewing Company is a 20-minute drive from Burnt Mills Cider Company. But we didn't know that at the time. As we packed up to head home from our most recent visit to Mills Cider Company, Bhavna remembered that conversation, and we made new plans.

We had no expectations, but we were happy we made the trip. Oakflower is located in Millington across from the Millington Station. Based on what I read online, Millington is a small, charming community within Long Hill Township in Morris County.

Breeze (kellerbier ) and Station (Kölsch) · 16 December 2023 · Apple iPhone 11 Pro · iPhone 11 Pro back camera 6mm f/2

Millington Station is a commuter rail stop on NJ Transit's Gladstone Branch of the Morris & Essex Lines. It provides residents with convenient access to New York City and surrounding areas.

We found free parking on the street just outside the brewery. The tap room at Oakflower is small, with a tiny bar area. Four-person1 Tables and chairs are placed throughout the tap room. It was cosy and comfortable, with the late afternoon sun providing warmth through the large glass windows. The tap list is small, with about ten beers.

16 December 2023 · Apple iPhone 11 Pro · iPhone 11 Pro back camera 6mm f/2

We chatted briefly with the friendly tap server before ordering two flights. Our server explained that flights were limited to two 3 oz pours so patrons could enjoy the beer cold. I like that. Bhavna had a flight of two New England pale ales (Ring 6 and Borrowed Time), while I had a flight that included a Kellerbier called Breeze and a Kölsch called Station.

Ringboiz: Internet Cicerone and Double Ring IPA, Lammy Lager, First Cup Coffee Stout · 16 December 2023 · Apple iPhone 11 Pro · iPhone 11 Pro back camera 6mm f/2

We finished that flight and ordered a second flight. Bhavna ordered a flight of two IPAs, the Ringboiz: Internet Cicerone and Double Ring. I sampled some of her beers. They are as good as some Troon and Root + Branch NEIPA I have tried. Ringboiz: Internet Cicerone is a collaboration with Hazeboiz. I had the First Cup for my second flight, an Oatmeal stout conditioned on Burundian coffee from Barrister Coffee House and Lammy, a Munich-style Helles lager. Barrister Coffee House is a cafe and roastery in Basking Ridge.

16 December 2023 · Apple iPhone 11 Pro · iPhone 11 Pro back camera 6mm f/2

Shaan didn't have any beer of her own. She chose to sample what we had.

This first visit was a positive experience. I want to go back.

  1. I recognise Flounder Brewing has ample space with long tables. I love the community feel of German beer halls, and I sometimes wish Americans embraced that open, communal spirit more readily. ? 

Burnt Mills Cider - It’s all about timing

The large parking area suggests a large tap room. But the tap room is way too small.

Bhavna, Shaan, and I recently had two disparate experiences at Burnt Mills Cider in Bedminster, Somerset County. Our first trip on a weekend in the summer of 2022 was enjoyable, encouraging us to plan another visit. As residents of Somerset County, we wanted to support our local businesses. We left home in Montgomery Township around 5:15 PM on a workday this time, driving north for an hour to reach the cidery around 6:15 PM. Our goal? To sip cider and munch on goodies from the Veganish food truck. But, as life often reminds us, things don't always go according to plan.

Upon arrival, we faced our first challenge: a packed, dimly lit, unpaved, and uneven parking area. It took a lot of work to navigate the potholes and bumps in the parking lot to find parking. We found a parking spot near the entrance, far from the tap room. Armed with our iPhones as torches, we reached the taproom.

We got to the taproom and realised there was no food truck. I understand this isn't Burnt Mills Cidery's fault, but they must work with reliable food truck vendors. We thought about ordering delivery from one of the nearby restaurants, but we expected it would be at least a 30-minute wait, and we were hungry.

Inside, the small tap room was packed. We could hardly hear ourselves discussing what to do next. We had just driven almost an hour, and based on how filled the small tap room looked, we expected a shitty experience. We did not relish the experience of standing around drinking while shouting over the din. The outdoor space was available. It was cold outside, even with winter coats. Sitting outside drinking cider while inhaling smoke from a firepit was not the experience we wanted.

Inside, the tiny taproom was buzzing with people, making it hard to think, let alone chat. Faced with the prospect of a less-than-appealing experience, we made a call. Instead of braving the crowded space or the cold outdoors next to a smoky firepit, we decided to head to Flounder Brewing, grabbing pizza en route. It was a great decision – Flounder's spacious taproom and heated outdoor area offered a comfortable and relaxing evening.

Burnt Mills Cider, Bedminster
Burnt Mills Cider, Bedminster · 16 December 2023 · Apple iPhone 11 Pro · iPhone 11 Pro back camera 6mm f/2

But we weren't ready to give up on Burnt Mills Cider yet! Determined to give the cidery a chance, we planned a daytime visit. We pre-ordered pizza from Bedminster Pizza this time and arrived early on a Saturday. What a difference!

The welcoming staff clustered behind the small taproom. As we ate pizza, we explored a variety of cider flavours. Bhavna and Shaan each enjoyed a flight: Shaan's included Fall Spice, Blackcurrant, Cider Donut, and The Hunt, while Bhavna's featured Fall Spice, Jersey Peach, Cider Donut, and The Hunt. My picks? I enjoyed half pours of the "Semi-Dry" and "Hops. I was disappointed that the "Sparkling Dry" was, so I had a half-pour of Blackcurrant. Shaan was delighted by the "Cider Donut" cider, which she said tasted like cider doughnuts. The jam-like qualities of the Black Currant were a shared favourite. We ended our visit just as the crowd began to get larger, bringing home cans of "Semi-Dry," "Hops," and "Black Currant,"

My problem with Burnt Mills Cider cider is that the tap room needs to be bigger to accommodate the number of people arriving in the cars that fill the large parking area. To a first-time visitor, the parking area suggests a large tap room. Once the tap room gets packed, ordering cider becomes problematic. The recipe for a good experience is to visit on the weekend, arrive as close to opening as possible, and pre-order your food for delivery or pickup.