So, it appears that I’ve (accidentally?) written a Mastodon client! It’s been public for long enough that I probably ought to write about it.
Brutaldon is a brutalist (mostly) web client for Mastodon and Pleroma. You can use it to connect to most instances from almost any web browser — I commonly use it from Lynx and w3m, as well as my day-to-day Firefox, and I’ve seen others use it on retro browsers on 1990s and early 2000s hardware.
What is Prosody? Prosody is an XMPP server; for most people and most uses, that means it’s an instant messaging server that anyone can run, and talk to anyone with an account on any other XMPP server. So unlike centralized chat platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, you don’t have to trust a single big company to run it and to not misuse your data. I’m focusing on Prosody here because I run a Prosody server, and in my experience it’s easier to set up and run than others.
This is a quick update to my article on Firefox Focus for Android, which is to say that I’ve, at least temporarily, stopped using Firefox Focus. But the reason is good for Firefox!
Most people know by now that Firefox Quantum has landed in mobile, and brings the same speed improvements as on desktop. What’s even newer (I think) is that at least Firefox Beta for Android includes a Custom Tabs implementation, compatible with Chrome Custom Tabs.
I had an entirely remarkable cup of coffee this past weekend while I was on the road. It was a cheap cup of medium-roast that had been sitting in a Bunn-O-Matic at a highway-exit gas station for hours.
It tasted exactly like the coffee I drank with friends in high school, sitting in the smoking section of Shoneys and talking for hours. The taste immediately took me back over 25 years.
On a lot of blogs and QA sites, you’ll find the recommendation to, if you have a low-RAM Linux desktop or laptop, to reduce vm.swappiness, the tuning knob that tells the kernel how much to prioritize moving unused application memory to swap to free up memory for the cache. It’s commonly recommended to reduce it to 10, and many guides recommend reducing it to extreme values like 0 (disable swap) or 1 (swap only when the only other option would be to OOM-kill processes).
Based on about six months away from Facebook and on Mastodon, I’ve had
some thoughts on improving your social media experience. There are a lot of
common pieces of advice (turn off notifications, disable Facebook timeline with
a browser extension) which I am not going to repeat. I hope the advice I’m
offering is more novel (if not totally).
Defend the Archive! is the latest novella by radical author Saab Lofton. It is a far-future space opera set principally on a space station, the Archive of the title.
I want to avoid spoilers at this point, and hope to do a more in-depth review later. What I want to emphasize at this point is that Defend the Archive! will be of interest to fans of Star Trek, and to people with an interest in anti-racism, freedom of speech, and non-violence.
This is a quick review/blurb about Firefox Focus for Android, which really does solve all of your web browsing problems on Android. Or at least mine, which may or may not be similar to yours.
What it is: Firefox Focus is a tiny, fast-loading browser comparable to Chrome Custom Tabs. Unlike Chrome Custom Tabs, it is privacy focused, and includes an ad-blocker.
My main problem with browsing on Android is that, while I love Firefox on Android, I have to admit that it uses a lot of RAM relative to what’s installed in my very old phone.
The trend in thinking about social networking is pretty negative, and to an extent this is justified. The usual complaints are that social networking substitutes superficial interactions for more meaningful ones, and that commercial social networking (the only kind most people use) manipulate your emotions for monetizing them. But I want to highlight an under-appreciated benefit.
We are often encouraged to use direct communications rather than social media: phone calls, text messages, email.
I am now offering Conscience-as-a-Service to select clients. This service is intended to allow conscience-free individuals to interact on a moral basis with normal human beings.
Here’s how it works:
We sign a contract putting me on retainer as your conscience; you agree to disclose all of your major business and life decisions to me before you make them. You may, at your discretion, disclose minor business and life decisions to me either before or after the fact.
One issue that is unfortunately contentious these days is whether denying Nazis a platform to organize and recruit by banning them from online spaces and university campuses (hereafter “No Platform”) is a violation of free speech principles. I say “unfortunately”, because it is hard to believe that we are actually having this discussion: of course it is not a violation of free speech principles to prevent evil people from organizing to commit genocide.
About this post I meant to be writing a couple of blog posts on Mastodon. But a thread on Mastodon led me to start thinking about Mastodon:Twitter::X:Facebook. There have been a few alternatives that haven’t really gone anywhere, which is kind of unfortunate, but perhaps they were just too early. And I was thinking about what we’d want today.
I want to write a full article on this, but I started by outlining it, and I think the outline is pretty readable, and I’m just going to post it on the principle that done is better than good.
Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman! Since his creation by Siegel and Schuster in 1933 and his debut in Action Comics in 1938, Superman has become the most widely-known superhero of all, and possibly the world’s best-known fictional character. Along the way, he has been interpreted in many ways by different writers, from the rough socialist crusader of his early Golden Age appearances, to the Silver Age’s protector of “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”, to the “big blue Boy Scout” of the modern era and the conflicted alien of the recent movies.