Ftrain Reader Services

A collection of utilities to make reading a given Web site more interesting.

Ftrain Reader Services are currently offline, because they didn't work.

The Ftrain Reader Services toolbar appears on the right of every page on Ftrain.com. At this writing (2002-01-27) reader services is a collection of very simple, primitive, only-slightly-useful functions; with every page view, the reader is told how much he or she has read, the pages he or she has visited most often, and the last pages seen. The reader may also take quick notes (up to 5) on a given page.

These functions should be considered a prototype; eventually this feature set will grow to include more helpful features which might suggest relevant unread sections of the site, help the user navigate through interesting narrative paths, highlight terms, and so forth. The same functionality that is applied in Reader Services can also be used to create a conditional narrative, where the reader sees different pieces of text in a section depending on which sections her or she has already visited. This same functionality allows for a variety of “Interactive Fiction” - style functions, where the reader is only allowed to progress in a narrative if he or she has collected a variety of tokens, etc; it may also allow for fictional characters whose behavior alters depending on which portions of the site have been seen before.

Ftrain Reader Services Help
Advice for particular features in Reader Services
Monday, January 28, 2002
4 sections.
Ftrain Privacy Statement
I watch your every move, but you remain a number disconnected from flesh and life.
Sunday, January 27, 2002
Reader Services FAQ
What are Ftrain Reader Services? Why don't they work?
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
Future Plans for Reader Services
Where I'd like to take Ftrain. Some options.
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
Some Miscellaneous Ideas
Some ideas which came out of some programming and problem-solving exercises. Half-coherent.
Tuesday, January 29, 2002




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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