Got quite a grab-bag of stuff this time. Been busy enough with life that what should be a simple evening habit one night a week has gone for…three weeks? I guess that’s not so bad. It’s long enough, though, that I can’t clearly remember all of the articles in my backlog. And there are too many topics to make a coherent theme. Let’s work through them, then.
Music for this linkblog: Twin Black Lodges, a generative soundscape from mynoise.
Going to try to do this whole link blog entry from emacs. Normally I have a workflow that involves dragging links from Firefox into emacs, where, by a bit of emacs magic, they are automatically converted into Markdown links. But I’m trying to live in the terminal (with Cool Retro Term) this week, so I’m using pinboard-list.el to give me my list of links to share. Hopefully I’ll have a macro or something that is almost as easy as my drag-and-drop hack…
A properly short linkblog today!
Designing for the modern web in a way that pleases users with great, fast designs needn’t be this maze of impenetrable complexity.
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.
US Politics It’s Bernie, Bitch | Amber A’Lee Frost Amber from Chapo Trap House explains why Bernie is the only viable candidate for 2020, even if he dies on the campaign trail and his corpse has to be operated like a Muppet.
The Border Patrol Has Been a Cult of Brutality Since 1924 Even among law enforcement agencies, the Border Patrol has always been notably racist.
How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Allies Supplanted the Obama Generation | The New Yorker In brief: the Green New Deal completely changes the conversation.
Facebook Facebook rolls out AI to detect suicidal posts before they’re reported | TechCrunch This could actually increase deaths as armed police are dispatched to “check in” on reportedly suicidal people. And that’s not counting the opportunities for algorithmic cruelty, like notifying someone’s domestic abuser that they’re suicidal.
Goodbye Facebook This was the last straw for the fediverse’s jjg, who reports on the previous techcrunch post in his goodbye letter to Facebook.
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.
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).
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.
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.