Introduction A year and a half ago, I wrote about what a federated replacement for Facebook would look like. Part of that was differences from Facebook, and another part was differences from Mastodon, the leading federated social network software. Since then, I’ve used Mastodon a lot more, Mastodon has added and changed features, and my thinking has evolved, so I feel like it’s time to write an update to that article.
It has come to my attention that some people I interact with do not know how to cook grits. This is a matter of the greatest seriousness, which must be remedied immediately.
This is a recipe, or more just guidelines or instructions on how to properly cook grits. It will assume you are lacto-ovo-vegetarian, but will offer vegan substitutions where possible. If you do not like grits, it is probably because you have never had them properly prepared; you may be familiar only with instant grits, or the next-to-instant grits served by Waffle House or university cafeterias.
A little while ago, I wrote a thread on glitch.social about ephemerality of posting on social media as compared to Usenet. It got a little bit of traction, and one person asked if I could post more about Usenet clients. I haven’t gotten to it until today, and I thought I would post on my blog instead of on glitch. The original thread wasn’t really about Usenet clients; it was mainly about how posts on Usenet expired, which is contrary to people’s current expectations about social media, but actually worked very well.
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).