Stuff by Herb Bowie

A Resumption of our Humanity

Overall, taking the pieces of the inaugural ceremony all together, the entire gestalt for me was a feeling that our feelings and practices of humanity, after being put on hold for four years, could now be resumed.


21 Jan 2021

Notenik 5.4.0 Released


19 Jan 2021

The Big Truth

And so, I'm starting to wonder, if we want to end The Big Lie, what undisclosed pieces of truth do we need to bring out into the open in order to achieve a more spacious shared understanding of our common reality? In other words, what is The Big Truth that we have yet to acknowledge?


17 Jan 2021

Notenik 5.3.0 Released


14 Jan 2021

The Clown Coup

So much of our public attention is devoted to posturing, puffoonery[1] and empty opinionizing that many of our citizens seem to have lost the ability to distinguish this sort of behavior from actions that have real-world consequences.


08 Jan 2021

Notenik 5.2.0 Released


04 Jan 2021

Life is Complicated

We all would like a quick fix of simple certainty, and no matter where we turn today, we can find an army of pushers waiting to feed our habit, even giving the stuff away for free, just to keep us hooked.


26 Dec 2020

Notenik 5.1.0 Released


26 Dec 2020

Notenik Turns the Big Five-O!

Yes, that's right – Notenik version 5.0.0 has just been released, in all likelihood closing the books on 2020. So this feels like a good time to take a breather and look back on the path we've traveled, along with new routes yet to explore.


10 Dec 2020

Notenik 4.9.0 Released


30 Nov 2020

Diving Back into our American Muddle

In which I touch upon and connect thoughts from Jodi Doering, Dashiell Hammett and Ted Lasso, among others.


21 Nov 2020

Notenik 4.8.0 Released


13 Nov 2020

Notenik 4.7.0 Released


06 Nov 2020

Notenik 4.6.0 Released

Added Markdown parser support for footnotes, a common extension to the original Markdown spec.

Also added a Share option that will format a Note as an HTML blockquote.

Plus there's a new Collection Pref that allows Note Titles to be formatted using level 1 Headings on the Display tab.

Finally, added a Navigation Board to allow easy navigation to known Collections that can be readily accessed by Notenik without any additional user authorization.

Oh, and one more thing… wrote a new Notenik blog post summarizing Notenik improvements made over the last six months.


03 Aug 2020

Moved Practopian website to Drupal 8 now takes you to a website hosted on Pantheon, built using Drupal 8. Most of the same content is available on the new site, but the whole thing is now built dynamically, rather than using static pages. The menu navigation is improved, and the overall look has changed a bit.


28 Oct 2020

Social Distancing and our Essential Nature

Social distancing and wearing of face masks have become the new normal for most of us, thanks to the continued threat of COVID-19. And yet, as ever more people work from home, and more students attempt remote learning, I'm concerned about a growing chorus of folks who are celebrating this enforced distancing as a welcome wave of the future, and suggesting that what started as a temporary fix should be embraced as a permanent fixture of 21st century society.


04 Aug 2020

Reframing our Debates about Capitalism

There is a flaw in the reasoning behind our infernal, never-ending, society-splitting debate concerning socialism vs. capitalism, and I want to point it out.


04 Aug 2020

The Era of Environmental Accommodation is Over

When historians look at the long span of our human history, they try to make sense of our arc of cultural evolution by breaking it up into phases: the agrarian era, the industrial era, the digital era, and so forth.

But of course, there are multiple perspectives we can use for this sort of exercise.

Perhaps the most important perspective to consider is the relationship of our human population to the rest of our world.


04 Aug 2020

Undoing Trumpism

Many of the things that our current president came to stand for were around before his candidacy – and, in fact, helped him to get elected – and they won't simply vanish on their own. If we're foolish enough to think they will, then we're engaging in as much magical thinking as The Donald is when he claims that COVID-19 will simply disappear all by itself.


04 Aug 2020

Notenik 4.3.0 Released

Some bug fixes, and some new functionality. If you have a Mac, then check it out!


03 Aug 2020

Cooperation, Competition and Coercion

When we look at the major societal choices facing us today, the primary question is not whether we want a society that is more cooperative or more competitive, but whether we're ready for a society that is less coercive.


17 Jul 2020

Notenik 4.2.0 Released

Some bug fixes, and some new functionality. If you have a Mac, then check it out!


12 Jul 2020

RS 500 Blog - 400 - 375

Published the next batch of 25 albums to the RS 500 blog. Some notable albums in the 375 - 400 range, and some interesting comments from Charlie, Brian and myself. As always, three very different perspectives based on ages and interests.


20 Jun 2020

Can the US Become a Truly Egalitarian Society?

As with many of us, I've been thinking deeply lately about the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor, and so many other people of color, and wondering how and why these atrocities continue to occur in my country, and what we can do to turn things around.


15 Jun 2020

Notenik 4.0.0 Released

Added a new Counts window to check word count; several minor UI improvements.


13 Jun 2020

In-Depth Analysis of Jackson Browne's Late for the Sky Album

Finally completed an in-depth analysis of Jackson Browne's album Late for the Sky, a project I had begun years ago. It's a lot to read, but the album is worth it.


11 Jun 2020


Wrote up a Practical Utopian “basics” piece on the core value of Democracy, after reading How Democracies Die.


03 Jun 2020

8 Big Lessons We Can Learn from the Pandemic

Suffering through a pandemic is a terrible way to have to learn a lesson or two about the nature of humanity. But it's what we have, so we may as well make use of it.

Also cross-posted on Medium.


10 May 2020

Virtual Textbanking Party

For the progressive movement in 2020, a TextBanking party has nothing to do with your bank balances, and everything to do with who will be running our government for the next four years.

A blog post for Seattle Indivisible.


09 May 2020

Notenik 3.6.0 Released

Users can now drag and drop a Note from one Collection to another in order to copy it to the second Collection; a Note sharing option to insert Markdown block quotes has been added; improved apostrophe handling when using the Notenik Markdown parser; and a new Bookmarks Board allowing users to select an available Collection to be opened.


06 May 2020

Virtual Letter Writing Party

This is why leading progressive organizations are now organizing virtual letter-writing parties, to help us reach out to key voters in important states and encourage them to get out and vote in our critical elections this year.


28 Apr 2020

Notenik 3.5.0 Released

Users can now drag bookmarks from their web browser and drop them into the list view of an open collection in order to add them as a new note.


21 Apr 2020

RS500 401 - 420 Published

Published my and my co-authors' comments on the next 20 albums, working our way up the list of Rolling Stone's picks for the top 500 albums of all time.


19 Apr 2020

Why Do We Call It Capitalism?

Why do we call ours a capitalistic system, when so few members of our society actually possess any capital?

This was one of my more popular posts on Medium.


16 Apr 2020

Core Design Principles for Teams

David Sloan Wilson and his pals at Prosocial World have done the heavy lifting for us, providing the eight Core Design Principles to maximize the effectiveness of human groups of all sizes.


09 Apr 2020

Notenik 3.4.0 Released

Fixed a couple more Markdown parser bugs that popped up, added a couple of convenience shortcuts for toggling and incrementing the status field, and added an option to Sort a List by Tags plus Title.


09 Apr 2020

An Appreciation for "The Weight"

I recently came across the Playing for Change Song Around the World video of Robbie Robertson's composition “The Weight,” and it made me want to think – and write! – more deeply about how this song works, and what it means, and the timeless nature of its appeal.


06 Apr 2020

Patterns of Human Cooperation

As humans our superpower is the ability to work cooperatively with others of our species. We can see all of the following patterns of cooperation at work in our society.


03 Apr 2020

Notenik 3.3.0 Released

Released a new version of Notenik. Fixed a couple of bugs in the new Markdown parser and added logic to automatically add/increment a numeric suffix to a Note's title rather than rejecting it as a duplicate.


02 Apr 2020

Understanding Human History

In broad strokes, all of human history can be seen as a progressive spiral made up of four intertwining strands.


26 Mar 2020

Notenik 3.2.0 Released

See the Blog post on for a summary of recent changes to the Mac App.


24 Mar 2020

Notenik Now Up to 3.0.0

My little Mac app is now up to version 3.0.0, is up to 10 ratings in the Mac app store, and still has an average rating of 4.9! I've received lots of feedback about the app over the last few months, and the latest release is better than ever!


05 Feb 2020

Rolling Stone 500 Blog Makes It Thru the First 80 Albums

Brian, Charlie and I have now published our thoughts on the bottom 80 of Rolling Stone's list of the 500 best albums of all time. Check it out!


20 Jan 2020

Assessment of Democratic Presidential Candidates - Jan 2020

This is my assessment of the Democratic candidates for the US presidency, following the debates on the evening of 14 Jan 2020.


15 Jan 2020

Dethroning the False God of User Experience Design

As users of computers, do we really want our experiences to be so carefully and intentionally and restrictively designed for us?


27 Dec 2019

My Prayer for a More Integral New Year

I want to take a moment to offer up a prayer – not to God, but to all of us – for a more integral sense of who we are in the new year.


17 Dec 2019

Blogging Further Down the list of the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums

Some of the albums in the latest batch flew like eagles, while others sank like stones. Check out our latest multi-generational assessments of the top 500 albums of all time.


16 Dec 2019

Notenik Forges Ahead

I've been releasing new and improved versions of Notenik fairly regularly over the last couple of months, and it's now up to 2.2.0 in the Mac App Store, with 2.3.0 on the way.

As I write this, my little app now has 7 ratings in the store, and an average rating of 4.9.

I've received emails about the app from a couple of people I've never met before — one user in Australia, and another in Finland! Nice to know that my software can be used around the globe.

Brett Terpstra was nice enough to mention my app in one of his recent blog posts, calling it “intriguing.”

But there's still more to do, and continuing work on Notenik keeps me busy doing something I enjoy.

If you have a Mac, and haven't yet checked it out, then I encourage you to give it a whirl!


09 Dec 2019

Notenik 1.8.0 Released

See for details.


08 Nov 2019

The Personal vs. The Institutional

Published on The Practical Utopian, and on Medium, and emailed to subscribers in The Practopian Perspective Issue 40.


01 Nov 2019

Blogging the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time

A couple of friends/relatives of mine are taking a trip through Rolling Stone's list of the top 500 albums of all time, and commenting on each as we work our way up the list, starting with #500. We represent three different generations of listeners, and each brings his own unique perspective to this fascinating musical journey. See how far we've gotten and follow along. You might even discover some new old music worth a listen or two!


22 Oct 2019

Notenik 1.6.0 Released

Implemented a few additional fixes and minor enhancements. Changed scripted sorting so that fields whose labels begin with “seq” will be treated as sequence fields, meaning that numbers will sort in numeric sequence. Added a basic Textile parser that, while far from complete, is good enough for my needs, since I still use Textile on


15 Oct 2019

Notenik 1.5.0 Released

This release includes the following changes:

See for the updated User Guide and other documentation.


20 Sep 2019

Practopian Perspective Issue 38 Published

“Rejiggering Our Religion” published via email in The Practopian Perspective.


16 Sep 2019

Notenik 1.4.1 Released

This was a focused maintenance release designed to prevent the user from inadvertently specifying an existing folder as the repository for a new Notenik Collection.


09 Sep 2019

Notenik 1.4.0 Released

This release includes the following changes:

See the latest version of the User Guide on


06 Sep 2019

Elizabeth Warren in Seattle

I was one of the 15,000 people who gathered under the Space Needle yesterday to hear Warren speak. There were several things about her that impressed me.

All in all, she seems like a smart policy person who genuinely has our country's best interests at heart. but also a smart campaigner.


26 Aug 2019

Notenik 1.3.0 Released

This release includes the following changes:

This last item is a big one. It means that the site is now entirely generated by this latest version of Notenik writtein in Swift.

See the latest version of the User Guide on


16 Aug 2019

Rejiggering Our Religion

When it comes to religion, the main question for most people is whether to keep the one we were raised with, or to lose it altogether.

But now I’m starting to wonder whether, instead of losing my religion altogether, it might not be better just to rejigger it a bit?


13 Aug 2019

Apollo 11 - The Most Important Movie You'll See This Year

No matter what your age or orientation, it’s hard to gainsay the significance of humankind’s first trip through space to set foot on a celestial body other than our birth planet.


20 Jul 2019

Notenik 1.2.0 Released

This release includes the following changes:

See the latest version of the User Guide on


17 Jul 2019

What the Latest Trump Attack Means for Democrats

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Trump’s recent attacks on four Democratic congressional representatives, all women of color, urging them to “go back … to the crime-infested places from which they came.” How should Democrats respond? Here are the sorts of positions I’d like to hear them articulate.


16 Jul 2019

The Dangers of Political Nostalgia

I’m not quite as old as Biden, and I’ve never served in public office, but I can still share his nostalgia for seemingly simpler times when our political leaders displayed some sort of respect for each other, even when they disagreed over issues of state.


25 Jun 2019

Micro Blogging Again

Just reactivated my account at, and set up cross-posting to Twitter (@herbbowie) and my Facebook Practopians page. Happy to be part of the community and to join those supporting the open web!


15 Jun 2019

The Progressive Problem

No wonder zombie movies have been popular of late: so many of us feel like increasingly isolated survivors having to fight off forces that we thought were previously vanquished and long buried, forces that seem to be arising all around us, springing at us from all sides.


10 Jun 2019

Notenik now in the Mac App Store

I now have an application called Notenik listed in the Mac App Store!

I’d been doing some regular programming in Java over the past couple of decades, but decided this year to bite the bullet and try to learn Swift, Apple’s latest development language, and chose the Mac as my first target platform. It’s been quite an adventure to create a full-fledged Mac App in a new language, but I’m happy to report that I’ve finally crossed the goal line! More improvements to come, but I believe that version 1.0 is quite serviceable. And it’s free!


03 Jun 2019

How to Fix Big Tech

We all sort of know the problems, right? Monopolies. Lock-in. Stream addiction. Reality bubbles. Billionaires seeking market dominance. All other values taking a back seat to growth. I don’t think I need to elaborate. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably well aware of all these concerns.


22 May 2019

Building a Case for the Detective Story

Over the many years since the receipt of my Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan, I have probably spent more rewarding hours reading detective stories than any other form of fiction.


07 May 2019

The Challenge for Democrats -- Playing the Long Game

Right now Democrats are focused primarily on two things happening in 2020: 1. Beating Trump; 2. Regaining control of the Senate. These would both be great accomplishments for the party, and for the winning candidates. But for the country, not so much.


25 Apr 2019