A few weeks back I decided to give hosting my own social service a try. There are a various different projects that are being developed many of which have a pretty solid community around them. I have been using Diaspora pretty actively now for the last couple of years so that was my initial choice. But I have also poked around other networks like status net and pump, both of which are pretty active too. Ultimately I decided to use Friendica as my service.
Friendica is an open source social web platform which runs on a typical LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack. Installation is fairly easy because it relies on common and popular components which can be found on most Linux installs as well as hosting services. Friendica supports native connectivity to different open social networks such as Diaspora and StatusNet. For services that are not supported natively there are connectors for networks like pump.io, App.net, and even Twitter.
The end result is a system that I own and control which brings together my friends across many different networks seamlessly. I can stay connected and engaged with people regardless of the network they use. Provided of course that network has an open API that can be accessed. Today I’m interacting with friends on the Friendica network, Diaspora, Hubzilla, pump.io, App.net and StatusNet. All through my Friendica server and it works!
I will be writing more posts about this and the open social web as I explore and discover new and exciting things. You can find my Friendica profile and links to my other social accounts at thrrgilag.com.
#friendica #diaspora #thefederation #socialweb
My Friendica experimentation continues, this time with a cheesy no-substance blog post. Please excuse the noise for now but I’m thinking there will be a real blog post coming about my experiences with this software, and open social networks in general. :)
Another minor update is available for all BlackBerry 10 devices in BlackBerry World which fixes UTF-8 support. This application will be in maintenance mode for now only handling bug fixes as they surface. As such I’ve decided to make Renamed Todo available for free. I’m working on a rewrite bringing it to more platforms and will be putting the new code out as open source. More to come on that soon.
Download from BlackBerry World.
In June of 2012 I made the decision to pull the plug on Facebook and I deactivated my account and never looked back. I quit Facebook because I realized back then that the service doesn’t care about me as a person but rather me as data. Constantly changing terms of service, confusing privacy controls, it was a regular routine of discovering what they changed and how to change it back. It became too much for me to handle so I deleted all of my posts (in theory) and deactivated my account. In truth it wasn’t that hard for me to do. Facebook wasn’t my only link to those I cared about. I still had phone numbers, email, messaging, and of course real human interaction. I still get the “Oh that’s right, your not on Facebook” comment occasionally in conversation but the funny thing is, nobody actively tried to get me to rejoin.
I joined diaspora* back in 2011. There was a lot of buzz following their widely successful kickstarter campaign and back then I was annoyed with Facebook. The founders of the project wanted a decentralized and privacy aware network. I got my invite, signed up, and made only one post back then. I didn’t actively use the network until this year. I’ve discovered since they originally launched the network has grown up a lot. It doesn’t necessarily have all of the same features yet as the big services but those will come. The community is great and not just purely Google geeks. In fact it feels much more global. In my stream this morning there are posts in three different languages. And that speaks to one of the best features it has to offer. DECENTRALIZATION. There is no single company to control all of your data and interactions. You as the user can control who can see your posts, interact with you, and most importantly of all where your data actually lives. It is truly a global social network that runs on open and freely available software. Of course diaspora* isn’t the only network to offer this, but I feel it’s the best suited to replace Facebook.
What about <insert favorite social thing here>?
I actually do belong to various other services. Some of which I’m also pretty active on and rather enjoy. Others I’m not convinced are really solving the problem that Facebook has. I use Google+, but like Facebook, Google is driven on user data. It’s also a centralized closed access service so users are subject to their whim. I give them credit however for making it far easier to leave and take your data with you. I’m also on App.net, which has some truly fantastic people on it. It’s also an open network to some extent but the original business model proved to be unpopular and therefor is in a transition. My hope is that they’ll find themselves moving towards more open source, federating with other open services, and build on a great community that they still have. And then there is Ello. They talk about privacy, empowerment, and being ad-free. But it’s still a closed network, a silo, and too much like Twitter to offer anything different. I did get an invite but don’t plan on joining it anytime soon (if ever). As for pump.io and GNU social I think I’ll save my thoughts for a future post. I’m very new to those networks so I don’t have a solid opinion on them yet.
A new year
As 2014 comes to a close I find myself trying to best respond to people who feel they must keep using Facebook or risk loosing touch with their friends, family, or even the world as a whole. My answer is to take control of your network, don’t let others dictate it to you. Join the open social network on diaspora* and encourage others to as well. If you have system admin skills and resources, start your own pod. If you have development experience, contribute to the code base. If you are in media, use it, talk about it, don’t limit your audience to the silos of Facebook, Google, or Twitter. Be a part of a free and open Internet.
I was hoping this release would include new features but time was not on my side this go around. I decided to go ahead with a minor bug fix release instead. Solving an erroneous authentication error when authorizing the app with Dropbox. Enjoy and stay tuned for more enhancements down the road.
Download from BlackBerry World.
Companies like Facebook, Twitter, or Google should not own or control your relationships. If you are unhappy with a company or their service then stop using it. There are many ways to interact online and offline without a large company owning you.
It’s been a crazy busy 2014 and there are no signs that it will let up anytime soon. I have a tendency to line up several projects which I don’t necessarily have time for but work on anyway. So here is a quick recap of what I have brewing in the background.
Over the last year or so BlackBerry has gone through a lot of much needed transformation as a company. In the process though they curtailed their developer relations considerably and are focusing their energy toward enterprise development. Regardless of the focus shift on their part I decided to continue developing native applications for the platform. I love developing in Qt/C++ and I’ll continue to publish in BlackBerry World for as long as they’ll allow me to.
Just as I was about to officially sunset my app for webOS I saw the official first release of LuneOS from the webos-ports team. My curiosity got the better of me and I took it for a spin and liked what I saw. So I started contributing small amounts of work to the project. Nothing major thus far but it’s been fun getting involved and learning about the internal workings.
Renamed Todo and Todo.txt Enyo
I’ve got some fixes and updates to Renamed Todo for BlackBerry 10 in progress and hope to get it out the door in time for the BlackBerry Classic release. Todo.txt Enyo got a minor update to work properly under the initial LuneOS release. Going forward however I’m doing a complete overhaul and switching to the Enyo 2 framework. At that point I’ll be able to go beyond webOS based platforms and support more platforms.
In case you missed it I have unplugged from Twitter. The network has changed a lot over the years even though it’s core function (microblogging) has remained the same. Ads have become more central, third party clients have been pushed away, and the experience is no longer the enjoyable. Combine that with the ever growing ever louder abuse by others with little to no action on the part of Twitter led me to leave the network. It’s just not worth it. I’ll do a separate post on my social presence soon.
- Updated icon and splash screen
- UI changes to adjust for new device screen sizes
- Filter by due date (due:YYYY-MM-DD)
- Support for Extended Search from the BlackBerry search app
- New permission (Device Identifying Information) for analytics
- Minor bug fixes
I’ve been working on an update to Renamed Todo and made some good progress over this last weekend. Mostly minor stuff, a few cosmetic changes, a few UI tweaks, and a small bug fix which I’m attempting to squash now. I’m also doing some work under the hood to prepare for a much bigger update to follow.
On a related note I’ve decided to pull Todo.txt Enyo from the HP app catalog (webOS for those who may not know). I haven’t worked on it in some time and it doesn’t have the same features as Renamed Todo for BlackBerry 10. The source code it still available however on github and I’ll make packages directly available but it isn’t being activily developed. I am considering doing a new port of Renamed Todo and will consider webOS if there is still some usage of it. Stay tuned…
Now that summer is over it’s time to release another update. With this update I’m continuing to make tweaks to the interface while adding some useful new features. Most notably due date support with use of the custom due: tag. Along with that comes some ability to manage the local sandbox files such as export and delete. I have many more updated planned down the road. As always your feedback is appreciated.
- Help text when no filters are present
- Initial due date support (due:YYYY-MM-DD)
- Project & Context chooser
- Purge local sandbox files
- Export local sandbox files
- Various date related bug fixes