People fleeing Twitter have turned to Eugen Rochko’s alternative. He says social networks can support healthy debate—without any one person in control.
What if someone—say an impulsive billionaire—wanted to buy Mastodon or take control of it somehow?
The network is protected from something like that. The code is free, open-source software, and nobody can change the license or take it back retroactively, and all of the different servers are owned by other people. Somebody could buy Mastodon gGmbH [the German nonprofit that maintains the software] and with it the trademark and the servers we run—mastodon.social and mastodon.online—but it wouldn’t affect the Fediverse in any significant way.
In other pieces on Mastodon, Clive Thompson suggests that it is an example antiviral design that encourages murmuring conversations, rather than the must-see post.
And I’ve realized that Mastodon is a superb example of antiviral design.
It was engineered specifically to create friction — to slow things down a bit. This is a big part of why it behaves so differently from mainstream social networks.
Jeremy Keith compares the exodus from Twitter to being at Dunkirk.
Right now, Twitter feels like Dunkirk beach in May 1940. And look, here comes a plucky armada of web servers running Mastodon instances!
Wouter Groeneveld wonders if social media scrolling is the answer, something I have been wondering about for a while.
I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here except that it’s perhaps not worth it to scroll endlessly on yet another social media platform where posts are starting to converge into the emptiness that Twitter had to offer.
Jim Groom and the team at Reclaim Hosting have documented how to setup your own instance.
But the electrical energy we stash away in batteries is not entirely unlike a bunch of school children all squashed into a classroom. The children fidget about, full of energy, really wishing they could be outside the confines of the classroom, racing about the playground. You could easily argue that it is not the natural state of children to stay calm and still in neatly organized rows.
The electrons packed away in your battery are like those fidgety kids, practically dying to be free and bouncing around again. The natural organization of the chemical compounds in the battery is not calm and neatly organized rows, so to speak—which is why batteries can be quite dangerous when things go wrong.
Kind of poetic, isn’t it? The act of speaking to an art-AI feels like a communication word-game — like playing Charades or Taboo, where you have to trigger your collaborator to produce the right result by talking around a subject. Except in this case, the goal is to find the correct incantation that awakens the spirits residing within yonder eldritch cauldron of vectors, and summons them to do your bidding.
Blockchain and smart contracts are truly groundbreaking advances. They fascinate me. I hope they mature and succeed. However, we had to trust people before blockchain, in all sorts of ways, and we still do now. It’s the basis of modern civilization. This is a good thing, not a bad thing. Let’s remember that.
Next time you hear someone say they’ve taken a real world problem and solved it by putting it on the blockchain, ask them how. How do they authenticate the data? How do they vet the systems that do that authentication? How does the data get onto the blockchain? The more guarantees they make, the more they’ll depend on off-chain tools, procedures, organizations, and people. Always people. Verisart punted on many of these problems, as did most of its cousins, but that didn’t make them go away.
For me, this touches on the association between.
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For me, it really highlighted how much I take for granted that everything just works. It has me thinking about improving my backup process. Was also interesting reading Wouter Groeneveld’s reflection on whether we should all have our own Wayback Machine.
the students arrange the sensors into a “public art piece” in the lobby – a table covered in sensors spelling out “NO!,” surrounded by Sharpie annotations decrying the program.
Meanwhile, students are still furious. It’s not just that the sensors are invasive, nor that they are scientifically incoherent, nor that they cost more than a year’s salary – they also emit lots of RF noise that interferes with the students’ own research.
I think there will always be, at least, a handful of masochists who want to struggle to make a GIF and struggle again to post it somewhere—all because they are devoted to the perfect animated loop, and because they think there is something spiritually important about contorting themselves to create it. “[Igor] Stravinsky has a quote about constraints,” Kohler told me. Then he read the whole thing aloud: “The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.”
Ir is interesting to look back on when I presented on.
Data is the currency of the tools we enhance our classrooms with. Yet no individual educator can assure safe usage: there are simply too many tools and too many TOS that aren’t meant to be read, or that don’t address educational or ethical concerns.
As a sector, we don’t have to cede our educational infrastructures to corporate entities and data brokers. We could use our collective voices and procurement power – on postsecondary campuses and in K-12 – to demand that educational technology platforms post clear, plain language, and pedagogically-focused data privacy assurances. As institutions and individuals, we could refuse tools that don’t comply. We could protect our students from extraction and surveillance, while educating them – and ourselves – about privacy in this brave new world.
This would take a culture shift. Like everyone else living through the last decade, educators have become acculturated to a “click yes and ignore” approach to data.
Amy Orben wanted to answer a very modern question: How do digital connections compare with other forms of connection? It’s the kind of thing only a wonky, hyperanalytic person would think to ask. Orben is that person. She received a master’s in natural science from the University of Cambridge, and then went to the University… Read More
- Something seems different
- Politicians get involved
- Scientists slam the gas
- The low-information free-for-all
Feifer explains that the way to break out of this cycle is to start collecting evidence prior to being aware.
It’s time to keep a record. The next time you surprise yourself by loving something you thought you’d hate, write it down. Memorialize it in a notebook, or on a Word doc, or just an email to yourself. It doesn’t matter. Describe why you didn’t want to do this thing, and then what happened after you did it, and how you feel now. Then store that piece of writing somewhere that you can easily find — because one day, I guarantee, the boulder you just rolled up a hill will roll back down, and you’ll be at the bottom, feeling lazy and defeated, and you will not want to push it back up. That’s when you need the reminder that you’ve been there before — but that there are great things on the other side of these feelings. All you need to do is say yes.
The question I am left wondering what the difference is between being critical compared to the act of panicking? Is concern overor is it something different?
I would say that floppy disks have a future, but it won’t see a revival like Vinyl. People like the idea of the record player and it will be around for a long time as a very niche or cool kind of thing. Floppy disks are going to be a little bit more like buggy whips or typewriters. They’re going to be a collectible marvel of their time. Imagine how hard it would be to manufacture a new typewriter today. There are a number of American authors who talk about the fact that they can only write on a typewriter. It’s something very important to them that is tied into their artistic genius. I think that floppy disks are going to be a little bit like that.
The customers that are the easiest to provide for are the hobbyists – people who want to buy ten, 20, or maybe 50 floppy disks. However, my biggest customers — and the place where most of the money comes from — are the industrial users. These are people who use floppy disks as a way to get information in and out of a machine. Imagine it’s 1990, and you’re building a big industrial machine of one kind or another. You design it to last 50 years and you’d want to use the best technology available. At the time this was a 3.5-inch floppy disk. Take the airline industry for example. Probably half of the air fleet in the world today is more than 20 years old and still uses floppy disks in some of the avionics. That’s a huge consumer. There’s also medical equipment, which requires floppy disks to get the information in and out of medical devices. The biggest customer of all is probably the embroidery business though. Thousands and thousands of machines that use floppy disks were made for this, and they still use these. There are even some industrial companies that still use Sony Mavica cameras to take photographs. The vast majority of what I sell is for these industrial uses, but there is a significant hobbyist element to it as well.
Email is now an oligopoly, a service gatekept by a few big companies which does not follow the principles of net neutrality.
I’m not asking for a revolution. Please hear my simple proposal out:
- Let’s keep antispam measures. Of course. Continue using filters and crowdsourced/AI signals to reinforce the outputs of those algorithms.
- Change blacklisting protocols so they are not permanent and use an exponential cooldown penalty. After spam is detected from an IP, it should be banned for, say, ten minutes. Then, a day. A week. A month, and so on. This discourages spammers from reusing IPs after the ban is lifted and will allow the IP pool to be cleaned over time by legitimate owners.
- Blacklists should not include whole IP blocks. I am not responsible for what my IP neighbor is doing with their server.
- Stop blackholing. No need to bounce every email, which adds overhead, but please send a daily notification to postmaster alerting them.
- There should be a recourse for legitimate servers. I’m not asking for a blank check. I don’t mind doing some paperwork or paying a fee to prove I’m legit. Spammers will not do that, and if they do, they will get blacklisted anyways after sending more spam.
These changes are very minor, they mostly keep the status quo, and have almost no cost. Except for the last item, all the others require no human overhead and can be implemented by just tweaking the current policies and algorithms.
Fenollosa argues that instead of worrying about interoperability between closed platforms, we should be protecting the open ones we already have.
This all reminds me of Quinn Norton’s post from a few years ago about how some like David Truss, email has simply failed us as a means of communication and technology.. However, for
If I had to teach history again, I would focus on the following:
- An evidence-based instructional strategy with a heuristic to scaffold students as they learn it
- A digital tool that supported a wide variety instructional strategies
- A way to encourage reflection that led to deeper applications of strategy and digital tool.
Take those first prints for what they are: learning experiences. With practice will eventually come mastery, at which point the upgrades and bells and whistles will make more sense and bring you greater satisfaction and reward. Learn the fundamentals—what speeds your printer and filament extruder enjoy, what types of plastics work best at your elevation and ambient temperature, and where you can improve on your creation and modeling inside the CAD software—before jumping ahead.
Above all, remember, it is a hobby at this level. Enjoy the journey and its many rewards.
– Know Why You’re Buying
– Choosing a Type of Printer
– Beware the Upgrade Spiral
– Don’t Set and Forget
Edtech is learning from that model, replicating it, amplifying it. ‘Content’ made of bite-size video lectures and pop quizzes, reinforced by adaptive models, vie for pole position in charts of online learning products. These are not the products of a diseased imagination. They are the products of one that has atrophied.
This is not what we intended. This is not what we imagined. This is not what we wanted. Sucked into a bigger machine, scaled up, our inventions turned against us. Willingly, half-wittedly, we became what we are not. We became parts in someone else’s machine.
We must make playgrounds, not production lines. We must embrace the logic of the poem, not the logic of the program. We must see one another in all our multifaceted strangeness, not just in our self-curated surfaces. We must celebrate and nurture the diversity, the eccentricities, the desires, the fears, the things that make us who we are, that make us more than we were, together and as individuals. The things we do not and, often, cannot measure.
Dron’s list of dot-points are a useful provocation. I feel it also fits within the wider discussion of the small web.
In a post-Roe America, women will bear the costs of letting data collection undermine our liberty.
In 2020, Consumer Reports exposed that GoodRX, a popular drug discount and coupons service, was selling information on what medications people were searching or buying to Facebook, Google and other data marketing firms. GoodRX said it would stop, but there is no law against them, or any pharmacy, doing this.
That data becomes even more powerful whenmerged. A woman who regularly eats sushi and suddenly stops, or stops taking Pepto-Bismol, or starts taking vitamin B6 may be easily identified as someone following guidelines for pregnancy. If that woman doesn’t give birth she might find herself being questioned by the police, who may think she had an abortion. (Already, in some places, women who seek medical help after miscarriages have reported questioning to this effect.)
When Tufekci says ‘we’, she is talking about more than personal action, but rather collective change through law. She highlights how attempts to turn off location settings, use a burner phone or stay away from big tech are fraught, and explains how we need more systemic change.
Congress, and states, should restrict or ban the collection of many types of data, especially those used solely for tracking, and limit how long data can be retained for necessary functions — like getting directions on a phone.
Selling, trading and merging personal data should be restricted or outlawed. Law enforcement could obtain it subject to specific judicial oversight.
Sadly, as she demonstrates with the example of Louis Brandeis in 1890 responding to Kodak camera small enough to carry and loaded with 100 shots, calls to protect privacy are not new.
It is interesting to think of this in regards to cyber attacks when it could be said the greatest fear is often in plain sight.. I guess Tufekci’s point is that maybe some things should not be ‘remembered’ in the first place. Often we worry about the threat of