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from Jøta Seth

Aunque estoy saludando como si acabara de llegar realmente podría decir que el fediverso es un viejo conocido; o al menos viejo si consideramos que registré mis primeras cuentas en Mastodon en Abril de 2017 para dedicarle un artículo en RealDroid.es ya que durante esos días adquirió bastante relevancia en diversos medios como la alternativa a Twitter, haciendo incapié en ser una alternativa “nazi-free” como llegaron a señalar en algún sitio.

La verdad es que el artículo que le dediqué era bastante descreído porque cada poco tiempo nos bombardean con la alternativa que va a plantar cara a Twitter, Facebook, etc. Y además en su momento ya había tenido una breve experiencia con otra red federada Diaspora con una cuenta que hace poco descubrí que aún seguía activa. Así como he ido probando Ello, Quitter (otra que tuvo su momento de gloria en medios como alternativa a Twitter), Peach, Imzy, Path, Google + o hace poco Vero.

Con el paso de los días el furor Mastodon fue quedando atrás y mis cuentas, que había tenido que crear en servidores alternativos ya que el principal, mastodon.social había tenido incluso que cerrar el registro ante la avalancha, quedaron abandonadas.

De vez en cuanto volví a entrar y cuando mastodon.social volvió a abrir sus registros aproveché para registrar cuentas y comprobar que incluso algún otro servidor en el que me registré había cerrado.

Pero no sería hasta la siguiente avalancha en Octubre de 2018 por una nueva polémica por la censura de cuentas en Twitter que no volví en serio a la red del paquidermo peludo, dedicándole de paso un nuevo artículo más serio a Mastodon.

Y ahí fue donde por primera vez le presté atención al concepto de Fediverso (#Fediverse).

Redes descentralizadas

Hasta ese momento solo me había quedado con la idea de la red descentralizada que ya tenía de Diaspora, es decir, la red que se organiza en diversos servidores/nodos/instancias en vez de en un único servidor.

No hay un solo Mastodon sino que es un software con el que quien quiera (si tiene un servidor donde instalarlo) puede crear su propia red social y hacerla abierta o privada, y dejar el registro abierto o controlarlo. Y entre los diversos Mastodon los usuarios se pueden comunicar, ya sean @usuario@mastodon.social, @usuario@mastodon.cloud, @usuario@chaos.social.

Pero detrás de esta comunicación entre usuarios de diversas instancias había algo que implicaba muchísimo más. Un protocolo ActivityPub y un concepto, el Fediverso.

El Fediverso

Si Internet ha permitido que alcancemos un grado de conexión mundial nunca antes visto es ridículo pensar que, más allá de las grandes redes, nos vayamos a encerrar en pequeñas instancias donde solo podamos hablar con los usuarios que entren en ellas, así que la comunicación entre usuarios de distintas instancias es algo básico. O si lo comparamos con una casa hablaríamos de comunicarnos no solo con quien compartamos piso, sino con los vecinos del edificio.

¿Pero qué pasa si el mismo protocolo que lo permite, ActivityPub, lo integramos en diversas redes? ¿Podrían los usuarios de una red hablar con los de otra distinta? La respuesta es sí. La respuesta es el Fediverso

Imaginaros que con vuestra cuenta en Twitter pudierais seguir no solo a otros usuarios de la red del pajarito sino que también lo pudierais hacer con usuarios de Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc. Y que sus publicaciones te aparecieran en tu timeline, y pudieras interactuar con ellas con comentarios, los típicos like, y demás.

El Fediverso es un universo formado por redes federadas donde los usuarios de unas pueden seguir a los usuarios de otras sea cual sea el contenido de esas redes.

Las redes del Fediverso

Si me pongo a detallar todas las redes que existen el artículo sería larguísimo. Además podéis encontrar un buen listado en The-Federation.info.

Pero lo que sí puedo hacer es dejaros una lista de redes que he visitado o donde me he registrado y su equivalencia con las redes generalistas más conocidas para que sepáis en qué consiste cada una.

  • Mastodon: La puerta de entrada de muchos hoy en día al Fediverso y alternativa a Twitter.
  • PeerTube: Sí, el Fediverso tiene su propio YouTube.
  • PixelFed: Su propio Instagram.
  • Funkwhale: No es Spotify sino más bien una alternativa a Soundcloud donde disfrutar de la música.
  • Pleroma y MissKey: Ambas opciones las englobaría como alternativa a Twitter y al propio Mastodon sin que signfique que sean lo mismo ni mucho menos.
  • Prismo: Es lo más cercano que tenemos a Reddit en el Fediverso.
  • WriteFreely: Es todo un ecosistema de blogs federados, por ejemplo este que estás leyendo que se aloja en Write.as. Porque sí, también puedes seguir blogs y sus publicaciones desde cualquier red del Fediverso. (Puedes echar un vistazo a publicaciones de esta red en read.write.as).
  • Plume: Con Plume nos encontramos otra red de blogs pero que muestra los artículos como si fueran paneles, como podemos ver en plume.mastodon.host.
  • Por último, aunque hay bastantes redes más, incluyendo las que se encuentran en desarrollo e incluso las que solo son un boceto, incluiría tres nombres propios: GNU social, Friendica y Hubzilla. Redes que ya existían antes del auge de Mastodon y con comunidades con solera pero que han visto como poco a poco algunos usuarios iban trasladando sus cuentas a las redes recién llegadas.

El futuro del Fediverso

Aunque me puedo equivocar y todo puede quedar en nada, cada vez hay más gente que piensa que el futuro de las redes está en el Fediverso.

Pueden o no ser redes descentralizadas, aunque si queremos escapar de los intereses de compañías como Facebook, Google, etc sería la opción necesaria. Pero lo que está claro es que el siguiente paso es la conexión entre redes, y no me refiero a la forma en que pueden perseguir gigantes como Facebook uniendo las comunicaciones y notificaciones entre las redes bajo su paraguas, sino a como hemos visto el poder conectarnos con otros usuarios e interactuar con ellos se encuentren en la red que se encuentren.

Mastodon superaba hace poco los 2 millones de usuarios pero quizás, un aviso de la importancia que puede tener en el futuro las redes federadas es que en plataformas más conocidas, como es el caso de Wordpress, hay desarrolladores que han lanzado plugins como ActivityPub for WordPress y Pterotype para que sus blogs también puedan ser seguidos desde el Fediverso.

 
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from slackz

I love write.as

Not only is it everything I wanted from a personal blog / publishing tool; it is so much more than that. It is also a community of writers and creators.

On read.write.as I've already stumbled upon interesting and enjoyable reads I never would have seen otherwise. I can browse and follow blogs on the #fediverse or through #RSS.

One thing that I immediately wanted to do though, was provide a way for ppl to engage (and similarly engage with authors whose work I am interested in). Just heard about remark.as which is currently being developed and I'm excited about.

But there is also a simple tool already available to us: links to fediverse posts :)

So here is my proposed convention (and something I'm going to do myself). As the last line of write.as posts, I will include a fediverse link. Please know it'll take a sec between when post is live and link is included (lil catch-22 there :) Also this is my personal fedi account since the federation account via write.as is not hosted, thus doesn't contain a shareable link.

Hope this is a useful way to make space for engagement if that's what authors want. Lol, obv not so much with the anonymous posts


Thoughts, comments? Fediverse comment link

 
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from I Am A Camera

In Which Your Humble Narrator Stumbles Ass-Backwards Into The Newest Thing On The Internet, Which Might Turn Out To Be A Big New Thing, But Might...Um, Not

#writeas #blogging #cms #framework #decision #opensource #free #anonymous #journal #journaling #mastodon #federation #socialnetwork #fediverse #FEDIVERSE!!! #markdown #GratuitousGenerationXReference #52weekphotographychallenge #2019photographychallenge #52week #photography #challenge #week1 #dramatic #shadow

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Ha ho, my gents and laddies! Greetings from the newest member of THE FEDIVERSE!!! The newest thing on the internet to predict itself to be the next big hot thing on the internet! Will it convert? Well...

This all started because I got motivated to finally get off my ass this year and move my personal journal off Medium.com, where it's been since 2015, after Medium moved to a paid-access business model and suddenly tons of people wouldn't have access to my blog unless paying money. Over New Year's, the online publication Tedium published an article challenging its readers to move off social media and into owning their own intellectual property by running their own blog or publication-style newsletter/podcast, and recommended the minimalist publishing platform Write.as as a great destination; and that finally got me up and going as far as moving my personal journal off of Medium and onto https://write.as/jasonpettus. Or, not off Medium, but no longer exclusively on it; one of the nice things about Write.as is that it taps into Medium's public API and will repost your blog entries there if you ask it to.

Where I'm composing my essays, though, is now over at Write.as, and it's merely sending a copy over to Medium. No third party is dictating who can and can't see it at Write.as, and it has a public RSS feed too. I actually kind of like composing essays there in Markdown a little more than the WYSIWIG dashboard at Medium — it's faster and cleaner for someone like me, who isn't a great coder but a good enough one that Markdown comes easily. But one of the biggest new benefits, I'm coming to discover, is that Write.as is broadcasting my feed in a way so that a Mastodon-built server, any of them, can add me as either a “friend” in a social network or a “feed to follow” in a news reader. In other words, it's not one central social network like Twitter or Facebook, but a bunch of social networks that all run off the same shared free public API, so that any member at any of them can follow or friend any other member at any other of them, just like being able to directly dial any other phone on the planet just by knowing its number. It's a federation of different, competing social networks, just with one communications protocol to Rule Them All. It's a... FEEEDIIVEEERSSSE! [echo] [echo]

And I'm like, okay, sure, I believe in supporting your hippie vision, I do. But I also lived through the birth and death of THE BLOGOSPHERE!!! twenty years ago. I was on Geocities and then I was on LiveJournal, then was on TypePad and then MovableType, then Blogger and then Blogspot, then was on a gay porn server space being provided to me for free by one of my fans, and eventually all of them failed me in one way or another, so forgive me if I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool believer just quite yet. Still, it's an admirable system, and really the next generation of how the social web online is going to work. Ironically, the technology for it's been around for awhile, but it's just now with the big major social networks having ethical meltdowns that it's suddenly become a hot thing that a bunch of people are interested in at once. It'd be a beautiful way of opening up Twitter-like benefits (the immediacy, the rapid scope) but without anyone ever again having to worry about the random whims and badly enforced censorship of any one large corporation like Twitter; you simply all share a core code base for exchanging information with each other, just how like how 100 percent of email clients now share a core protocol for communicating.

So we'll see whether it catches on or not; but for now, you can add this blog to any account at any Mastodon server anywhere with @jasonpettus@write.as . And, sigh, yes, I suppose I will sign up for an account myself at some Mastodon server somewhere just to see if the hype is earned. Now fetch me my Mondo 2000 and a cyberpunk movie on videotape, my Nine-Inch-Nails-listening Generation-X Blogosphere Comrade!


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Here's the image I chose as the best at the end of week #1 of my new 52 Week Photography Challenge of 2019, the theme this week being “dramatic shadows.” Four other finalists from a nighttime shoot are below. As always, check out more at my Instagram or Flickr accounts. They were all taken in the Buena Park neighborhood of Chicago where I live. Next week, some thoughts on joining Spotify last week for the first time ever, and the windowless room full of nerd slaves they must undoubtedly have somewhere in order to make their recommendation algorithms work so well. Talk with you then again.

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from slackz

Over the past year I've dropped several massive Internet “services”. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Github, Twitter, Spotify... gone. I've also adopted / embraced a plethora of other tools – #Mastodon, #RSS, the #Gopher protocol, #Jabber, #MPD (for local music). Besides the privacy / security / moral reasons for these changes, another theme has emerged from these transitions: the primacy of simple, user-controlled, user-generated content.

The constant distractions, bloat, and exploitation of Internet data is pervasive and deeply impactful. Facebook hires neuroscientists to make their platform as addictive as possible. Web behemoths invest copious resources into locking us all in. “Engagement” online has often been reduced to swiping passively through endless timelines, reflexively checking notifications, increasingly detached and impersonal. All carefully constructed for ad revenue and commodification.

Breaking away from these modes of being online (especially given how much time I spend personally / professionally in front of a computer), has been both tumultuous and cathartic beyond words. Losing youtube/fb videos, having to invest time in migrating server infrastructure, not being able to rent / buy digital media as easily, not being able to click on music links from my colleagues, reckoning with not seeing my comrades' work online since most post on Facebook... these have been deeply difficult changes and it's clear as hell why folks become very tied to these platforms. And yet, every one of these decisions has been critically necessary and has been fully in line with my principles and has opened up an entirely different world.

There is a gorgeous renaissance happening right now on the web. Federated, user-hosted, decentralized services. An ethos of eschewing corporate control and state surveillance. And the focus is directly on user-generated content. Artists, engineers, independent journalists, teachers, workers of all kinds... it is an environment by, and for, the people.

When I joined the #fediverse I was immediately blown away by the cultural shift. Finally a social media platform with strong privacy and moderation controls, a beautiful and modern UI, clean and solid fundamental design. A place for nerds and leftists, for queer and trans comrades, for folks marginalized across a spectrum of identity. This is our fucking space and we will make it the vibrant, supportive, radical, visionary place we deserve for engaging / connecting online.

From a bunch of fantastic fediverse convos and subsequent research, I've ventured into all sorts of beautiful tools in a similar space:

  • RSS – a divine mechanism for managing feeds of content (news, youtube vids, fediverse profiles, blogs across the web, etc); (check out FeedReader for *nix and Feeder for android
  • Gopher – as old school as The Net, this protocol on port 70 is a brilliantly simple way to serve up plaintext and other content in a hierarchical way (yup, just throw your stuff in directories on a server, and have it displayed in your favorite client (be it lynx for *nix or Pocket Gopher for android). lol, I have a secret hope that write.as will someday support gopher integration :)
  • Jabber – bringin' the chat back!! I'm running Prosody for my server which supports OMEMO / OTR / PGP encryption, group chat, etc), and I looove the Conversations app for android. You know you miss the days of ICQ / AIM; so pure. Get on that train! :D
  • MPD – Spotify / pandora had fundamentally poisoned the way I listened to music. I fucking love buying albums. I love listening to discographies. Hip hop, Irish folk, classical, good R&B... The Music Player Daemon is an incredible tool, a music server that lets you connect on whatever client you want from multiple places, stream music, create playlists, view all the ID3 tags. And with a gorgeous ncurses-driven console client like ncmpc, it is truly a joy to navigate and appreciate an entire music library

These shifts have opened up new communities and incredible content and I think these technologies and spaces share a common thread: one where we are liberated from corporate exploitation and constant surveillance; one where we take notice when our friends and comrades stop posting or are having a hard time; one where we are spending our time reading and writing and sharing and organizing; one where our content is our own and the focus of our digital spaces.

We are the Internet we've been waiting for.


Thoughts, comments? Fediverse comment link

 
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from ec_ho

I joined Mastodon the 9th of September this year. I joined the mastodon.social instance, later switching to phpc.social. Later that month, I joined Friendica. In this post, I'm going to address the issues I've encountered, issues others have encountered, the technical limitations of this decentralized model and why it still matters.

Mastodon-specific issues

One of the traps new users in the fediverse will fall into is: mastodon.social, and that Mastodon is the only software in the fediverse. And it's not their fault.

Their are loads and loads of articles that don't mention that Mastodon isn't the only federated software, and that there isn't any other instance than mastodon.social. Sometimes this is by mistake, sometimes its not. A good article on Mastodon or the fediverse would point out the other software that developers and volunteers have also put so much work into (Pleroma, Misskey, PixelFed, Friendica, GNU Social, etc). It's also important they list a way to donate to Gargron (Eugen Rochko), the creator of Mastodon, considering how much time he puts into this project, and the cost of running this and mastodon.social.

Gargron has tried to defer signups from the 2nd most popular Mastodon instance (as of today, source) by closing signups during peak periods (such as times when the platform gets reported the most in the media, and when Tumblr banned adult content), and redirecting traffic from search engines to the Mastodon project website (this still doesn't work on my end).

The main technical pitfall of Mastodon is how heavyweight the software is: it requires at least five software (Rails, PostgreSQL, Redis, Sidekiq and NodeJS), and if you want search, you need ElasticSearch. It's rather hard to host on your own servers, although there is shared hosting platforms that will specifically run Mastodon (such as masto.host) that will host Mastodon for you.

A UX issue with Mastodon is the user interface: it has many features, but will be uncomfortable for the average consumer. The main thing that Mastodon should implement is making the Home timeline bigger than the other timelines. Gargron recommends that people who want a single-column user interface can use Nolan Lawson's Pinafore UI.

General federation issues

Anything you post on a federated platform that's private, can be read by other server's owners. This is a minor issue since if you suspect some server of doing that, or that they are publishing this information to others, you can block that instance and set your account to followers only, so you can approve each person who gets to follow you.

The 'unlisted' post privacy in Pleroma and Mastodon is a joke. It's not written down in the ActivityPub standard.

Privacy issues

This year, instances newjack.city (down as of writing this post) and albin.social opened. These instances have cause concern for in the fediverse.

newjack.city was blocked by most instances and is known for botting. Bots on the instance would go and follow random people in the fediverse. Registrations were closed on the instance. It is believed it was data mining information.

albin.social was also blocked by most instances (and if not, blocked by most users) and was known for their commercialized instance “for privacy”. As of the time of writing it still doesn't serve any targeted ads (although their privacy policy reserves them permissions to do so), and was blocked by most users/instances for fears of data mining. They run a PixelFed instance is well, and plan to run a chat server (likely Matrix or XMPP). Their privacy policy states that their targeted ads are “delivered in such a way that:

better for society, because we put rules on political ads. less annoying, because you can binge watch. and more fair, because you can opt out. Better for you, because you can delete not only your information, but also our information about you.”

Most advertising networks do this anyway. Targeted advertising must not exist, but if it must exist, it should be an opt-in experience.

albin.social also have an Android app in the Play Store which is a modified version of Mastalab. As of the time of writing, this app has 1-10 installs.

Why does decentralization matter

Decentralization matters because it ensures that no business is able to exclude users from content. Ever go on Facebook and see those “To see more of x, log in to Facebook” notices? With decentralization, you won't get those. With the federated model, everyone can easily interact with each other. Decentralization is important because it gives users a choice. It allows users to own their data, free from any corporation or government's hands. This makes targeted advertising and surveillance much harder, if not impossible.

It's about user experience as well. Some users may prefer Misskey, some may prefer Friendica, but they can still interact with each other and keep up to date with each other.

#fediverse #mastodon #pleroma #friendica

 
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from the joyride.

On Bookmarks, Information Scattering, and Lost Learning

#bookmarks #ADHD #selfhosting #organization #workingknowledge #asktheFediverse

In the nearly 23 years that I have been using the Internet, I can only recall a brief time when I was able to bookmark some information, keeping my most needed links omnipresent on the browser toolbar and everything else in a reasonable menu tree with a somewhat reasonable structure of topic and subtopics. Only a few oddballs put scratches on a near picture perfect hierarchy. They wanted to fit everywhere or not fit in a group at all. Sometimes these lingered in a uninspiring temporary folder. The setup was easy to add to, remove from, or even reflow when things just seemed to need some tweaking.

For a couple of years, it was persistent through multiple platforms, distro hopping, software testing, and careless errors. Bookmarks were backed up, synced, and even limited to the devices I needed them and not overloading the eyes with clutter on devices that they were not need on . I could keep work away from home and home away from work. By adding these role contexts , it kept unwanted judgmental, prying, or even glancing eyes from generating unneeded narratives and tainted environments of discomfort, false assessments, and ostracizing gossip. I mean, if you have anxiety issues, why put a button to be pushed that would exponentially cause added suffering.

The system was nearly perfect except for two flaws. The first was blatant while the other only became understood in extended use. First off, the system was closed source, stored on remote servers not within my control. My ability to access my accumulated research, curiosities, and guilty pleasures was at both my ability to continue to pay for the service and the whims of the provider to continue the service and to continue it under the same terms in which I chose to become a client. Should the business shutdown, be taken over, or decide to change directions what happens to my collection and how do I maintain that collection without the tools that helped structure and access?

As those fears mounted, I kept trying to find a viable escape route that would lead me away from being a hostage. Many of searches on Github, tech sites, and casual inquiries of my peers led me nowhere. Yet, I had to be free in that nowhere so I discontinued the service and have been lost ever since. The service was Xmarks, formerly known as Foxmarks. It was owned by Lastpass. That company has since been sold and as of May 2018, the service no longer exists. I was not thrown overboard, I just abandoned ship with no viable flotation device or port of safety. Information became disjointed, lost by lack of a backup strategy, and even forgotten in the growing catchall folder. I was swimming with no direction for what I needed. To this day, I still have not recovered a fraction of what I had discovered and meticulously fought to preserve connection to.

Furthermore, there was design flaw in the system that only started to make itself known after the system had extended use. As more information and structure was piped in, the quiet void began to take hold. This flaw later would claim multiple ill-planned drive wipes and overwrites by older copies. That flaw was that the service and software did not take in account a condition of the end-user. That condition was long denied and even blinded the end-user from reaping the full value of information management. That condition was ADHD.

It was not enough to be able to capture information, filter it, and make a place for it. The information had to be woken up now and then, stir its way out the depths for it to be acted upon. Without a means of bringing to light the jewels of information buried under structure and shallow more visible paths. It is perpetually living in the unaware existence of Schrodinger's Cat that defines experienced existence. On a conscious level, I have no perception of the box with the cat. The lack of perception is so powerful and encompassing that, for me, the box does not exist. The idea that such a box could have existed does not exist either. There is no residual marker in the mind to raise the questions: “Where did the box go? Was there a box here? What did I do with the box? What was in the box?”. To put it another way, it is The Nothing. It is not a gap in mind, a hole in time. Those would be something. There is simply nothing.

Out of sight. Out of mind. My collection of links and notations don't exist nor do they have any memory of existence if they are not readily visible. It is like the rotting package of spinach in the crisper drawer because someone moved it off the main shelf where I had a constant reminder of it.

I have tried Wallabag. I like the idea of keeping a cached copy of a site a long with tags and the url. I like the idea of being able to export a page or article to PDF and then upload it to my e-ink reader for a more comfortable reading. I like Shaarli for the ability to tag, make public links, write descriptions, and search. I have played around with Buku a bit as well. They all fail in some key point in use. They do not integrate well into both a desktop and mobile device workflow. They suffer from the same ADHD flaw of piling up and pushing things out of actionable view. In earlier times I had used Firefox Sync, but it suffers from the third-party issue and from what I have read the selfhosted setup is kind of a frustrating mess.

What options are out there? What have you found that works for you? Was is your general or ADHD solution to managing online information sources?

Thank you in advance, dear #Fediverse.

 
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