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.
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.
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).
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.
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.