Read the latest posts from Wordsmith.

from Otter's Holt

I know it's cliche at this point, Linux seems daunting as a platform, but please hear me out when I say it's so much better in the modern day opposed to how it was 10-20 years ago.

Sure, the Year of The Linux Desktop is almost a meme within the Linux community at this point, but with each year that goes by, that question cements itself further into my mind: “Why isn't it a much more popular platform?“.

The obvious answer here is that Windows and Mac OS X both have their place as the operating systems nobody feels the need to replace or even know that they can replace at all. That's completely understandable, it's unrealistic to expect everyone to know these types of things when your computer is looked at more as a tool you just use for browsing Facebook or word processing.

But, if you're one of those people that consider yourself even slightly tech savvy (and I mean even in the slightest), then it might be worth a shot, even if it's running off of a spare hard drive or a small 4GB USB stick. We're getting to a point now where it's no harm to give it a shot, even without making changes to your current system.

What Even is a Linux, Anyway?

Chances are you're running either Windows or Mac OS X if you're asking this question. Linux is basically what those are, a low-level program responsible for being the intermediary between your hardware and programs you intend to run (software).

There's a catch, though (depending on how you look at it) – Linux, while not pre-installed on nearly as many devices as Microsoft and Apple's OSs, is completely free, ditching the requirement to pay £120 to Microsoft or drop several thousands on a device that runs Mac OS X.

It might seem impossible for an entire OS to be free, but Linux is part of what we call 'Free and Open Source Software' (FOSS), which is self-explanatory. FOSS is free and the source code (the lines of code that make it up) are available for anyone to see or modify should they deem it appropriate.

Despite the premise of creating software for free without any type of guaranteed financial gain or support may seem unrealistic at first, if Linus Torvalds created an entire kernel without even expecting a penny in return (as well as a variety of other developers on smaller or similar scale), I'm sure the argument of the only motivator being financial gain is a bit of a flawed one.

Before I go any further, I must clarify one thing. Linux isn't an Operating System per-say, it's what we call a Kernel. A kernel is a piece of software that sits between applications and your physical device hardware, acting as line of communication between the two.

When I mention Linux as an operating system, I mean the large variety of operating systems known as “Linux Distributions”, which contain the Linux kernel but offer their own sets of software or intended use-cases. If the names Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint or – let's not forget – Android ring any bells, these are examples of operating systems which utilise the Linux kernel (albeit modified).

A few popular desktop Linux distributions I can name off of the top of my head are

  • Ubuntu
  • Fedora
  • Linux Mint
  • Arch Linux (Not recommended for new users)
  • Debian
  • Manjaro
  • Antergos (Abandoned)

A few of these distributions share similarities. For example, Ubuntu is based on Debian. But Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. Manjaro and Antergos are is based on Arch Linux and aims to make a pretty rough distribution really easy for new users.

Confusing, I know, but this is all based on the fundamental core of what Linux (and FOSS as a whole) stands for. Anyone and ANYONE can modify, change and redistribute other Linux distributions (or even make their own: Linux From Scratch (Seriously, this is advanced level stuff that not even a majority of Linux users will probably ever attempt))

As far as the basics go, I would recommend Ubuntu or Ubuntu-based distributions for your first endeavours into Linux. I personally use Pop!_OS, an Ubuntu based distribution developed by System76, which providers more up to date software than what Ubuntu does out of the box. There's also Linux Mint, which is the de-facto New Linux User distribution due to it's base similarity to Windows in terms of User Interface.

Don't feel embarrassed about what distribution you pick, in reality distribution does NOT matter.

(unless you choose a highly specialised distribution such as Kali Linux, which is intended to not be used as a daily driver)

Linux is a bit of a shaky subject and it's a lot to go through, so I think I'll link you to someone who explains Linux very well: Anthony from Linus Tech Tips.

This video goes over Linux Gaming, but overall I feel like benefits to gaming translate pretty well to general usability.

Microsoft Should be VERY Afraid – Noob's Guide to Linux Gaming

If you're not ready to take the plunge yet, remember Linux distributions are often able to be installed directly onto USB drives or external hard drives as if they were your primary boot device. Just select the device as a boot drive when starting up your system.

When you're ready go back to Windows or Mac OS X, shut down completely, remove the device and start up again. (If you selected the drive from a boot device selector when you first booted, you won't even need to unplug it, just reboot.)

I hope this convinces you to give Linux a shot. Personally, I feel like the Year of the Linux Desktop phrase is due to become less of a meme and more of a legitimate claim.

All the best, -Matt, OtterGauze


from Vattuvarg's

Manically musical

Was a musician once and I've been away from it for too long it seems. Something in me fidgets along with the music in my bluetooth headset. It drums on the boxes i pack at work. Gnashes my jaws at night. Hums aimlessly while walking home. Vibrates my soul and wants out. Shows up in the search history, in the junk mail and among downloaded software.

A rhythm and something else to replace my broken voice.

Läs mer...

from Goblin Thoughts

On Marie Brennan's “A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir of Lady Trent”

Oftentimes there is a marked dissonance between how a book tries to sell itself and the realities of that book. I don't believe anyone in particular is to blame here; attempting to sum up a hundreds-of-pages-long novel in 2 VERY short paragraphs must be a daunting task and I do not envy those whose jobs it is to write cover blurbs, but still this fact remains. Sometimes a book is simply not what you thought it was going to be.

Such was the case for me with A Natural History of Dragons. The blurb on the back cover is ridiculously short; only 4 sentences in all (all the better to leave space for the starred reviews!), which makes it very hard to properly convey what, precisely, this book actually is. Based on the blurb and the reviews, I knew it was written in a memoir style similar to that of the Victorian Age and I gathered that the setting would be much the same (and I welcomed a chance not to read ANOTHER medieval fantasy story), but what the cover fails to mention is just how low-magic the setting actually is. It makes mention of the fact that the protagonist is a dragon naturalist, which sets certain expectations about the content of the story; one should expect a bit more of a soft sci-fi approach to the subject matter than other fantasy novels would apply as one follows Isabella, Lady Trent, on her quest to document Facts About Dragons and record them in a scientific manner. However, aside from dragons, there are no fantastical elements to the story. In many ways, this is not a fantasy novel at all, it is merely a fictional memoir from an Earth AU where dragons are real. Now, of course, there are different places and marginally different cultures from our world, but the worldbuilding is so sparse that it does almost nothing to prevent the reader from simply inserting [closest real world equivalent] into the story.

So, there wasn't much fantasy and the worldbuilding was rather lackluster. Neither of those are REALLY why I came to a book about studying dragons in the wild, I wanted to read fictionalized accounts of natural science studying dragons. The great shame is that a ridiculously small portion of the novel is actually devoted to doing natural science about dragons. There are a few chapters devoted to a small expedition into the mountains which involves killing and dissecting a dragon for study but a large part of the novel is dedicated to exploring Fantasy Victorian Times in a very unengaging way. I think the book has 3 total asides where Isabella, Lady Trent pauses everything to write a paragraph about how she feels no shame in writing about sexual topics because “it's only natural,” while also ignoring the fact that she never so much as says the word “sex” in the entire manuscript. How transgressive! Multiple times conversations are paused to apologize for “coarse language” to the lady in the company and events are put on hold to argue about whether or not it would be “proper” for a woman to go and do such-and-such.

Now, I understand the basic idea behind these interruptions about Society and a Woman's Place Therein, but the novel doesn't put in the work to make it clear that these are things being criticized. They are merely presented as The Way Things Are. Isabella, Lady Trent herself seems quite beholden to various standard Victorian hangups, going so far as to refuse to enter the sauna around local women. So it reaches a point where the reader is left to wonder whether we are meant to understand these as criticisms of Victorian social mores in the first place or whether we should simply accept them as a matter of course and not think too much about them.

The novel, as I found out near the end, is actually supposed to be a mystery story, not a fantasy story NOR a natural science field journal, but while in retrospect I can absolutely see where the seeds of the mystery were being sown, I did not, in the moment, pick up on them and say “Hm, this is an intriguing puzzle! I bet we will see it solved by the end!” Mostly I reached the end, saw the mystery solved with almost no actual legwork put in by anyone, and realized “Oh. This was a mystery story.” Not exactly the most satisfying conclusion to a 300-page mystery.

Honestly I don't have tons to say about this one. I could talk about how gross and casual the book was about colonialism, how there was a lot of casual racism and xenophobia to deal with, how frustrating it was to listen to men be very misogynistic with a woman standing in the room, but I feel like all those things get summed up when you read the phrase “Victorian Times.” Ultimately, this was a book more concerned with Victorian Times than it was with dragons.

Can't say I agree.


from Musings by @rg

Start Me Up!

It's January 2020, and in a few days Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 users. No more security fixes, no more bug fixes.

While this might be causing some anxiety to anyone still running a Windows 7 computer, here is a Good News item for you.

Microsoft is still allowing Windows 7 and 8.x users to upgrade their systems (which must be activated) for FREE to a Windows 10 of the same family or variant.

Someone running Windows 7 Home, Home Premium or Ultimate can go thru the process (it's simple and worked well in my personal experience), and have a legal and Activated Windows 10 Home digital license at the end.

If you start with a Windows 7 or 8.x Professional, you will end up with Windows 10 Professional, again fully licensed and activated. No gimmicks!

I was really surprised when RYen, a friend at Hackers.Town mentioned this when he saw my earlier Blog post about how to get OEM Windows 10 Pro license keys cheaply. I followed a link he provided, and read the article.

Why is Microsoft still doing this ?

A good quote from the article clarifies:

The answer to that first question is easy. Remember, Microsoft's Windows business is predicated on its partnership with PC makers, who pay a license fee for every copy of Windows they install on a new PC. Those OEMs are none too happy about the idea of extending the life of an older PC; they would much rather have you buy a brand new PC instead.

So, to mollify its OEM partners, Microsoft put a time limit on the free upgrade offer, and they simply don't speak of it now. The Windows marketing team continues to promote new models of Windows PCs, and the enterprise sales staff continues to sell volume licenses of Windows 10 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 subscriptions. Nobody talks about upgrades.

Frankly, at this point the only people who are still interested in a free upgrade are enthusiasts, home users, and very small businesses running hardware that's at least four years old.

Makes complete sense, and thank you Ed Bott, from ZDNet!

What are the Requirements ?

Microsoft allowed this kind of free upgrade, officially, until July, 2016, and closed the door at that time. To qualify for this undisclosed offer (again, tested successfully with 2 systems, worked in both Win 7 and 8.1), to qualify you need to have a fully activated operating system installed.

  • It will be upgraded within the same family (Home versions, or Pro versions).
  • You need to use the same type of release; 32 bit installs only upgrade to 32 bit Windows 10 versions.
  • Memory requirements, a 2 GB system would work better with a 32 bit version install, imo, as the 64 bit ones require more RAM for the system itself.

Upgrade options ?

The upgrade installation is very easy for any average user – you just need to download a small program from Microsoft, which will check your system for compatibility. Download the install program from this page.

The page has some explanations and tips, you can read those — or simply get the install tool directly from Microsoft Servers.

  • The upgrade program will list any incompatible software found, and offer to uninstall it for you.
  • This again without any user intervention besides accepting the offer to remove the program.

Once those preliminary checks are made, he upgrade program will ask you how you want to handle existing files and applications :

  • Keep all user data only. No apps will be migrated to the new install.
  • Keep all user data and apps – the easiest to keep everything as is and accessible.

Create Install Media or Not ?

On the next stage, you have two options about how the installation will proceed.

  • download and install in this system only. No extra media is needed (USB stick, external drive, etc).
  • Download the operating system package, and save it or prepare installation media (USB stick, DVD R disc, etc).

If you only have one system in the house (or office) that needs the upgrade, the simple choice is to let the installer handle it, and simply install and clean up afterwards.

If you need to upgrade more than one system, accept the option and the installer will download and later help you prepare a bootable USB drive, which can be used multiple times. Or burn the same to a DVD R disc, you will need a blank 8 GB disc.

Running the install ?

Very simply, you started it with the upgrade tool from within your working Windows 7 (or 8.x) system; make the choices, as described above. And relax and do something else while it goes to work

The installer will request and download the correct version from the Microsoft servers; this will be a large download, about 5 GB. (have more systems to upgrade? Save this and prepare the Boot media as offered in the installer, and reuse this. Saves another large download).

Once the download is completed, the Setup will start, and proceed to install, migrating your apps if you chose so, saving your files intact.

What to expect ?

Although it can take some time, the process is painless and no user intervention is needed. So I would recommend this to anyone who still runs a Windows 7 or 8.x system, as long as you have at least the 2 GB minimum system RAM as required.

I have personally followed this procedure and done two complete upgrades – both without any difficulties.

  • A Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits laptop, now running Windows 10 Home 64 bits.
  • A Windows 8.1 Pro 32 bits desktop, now upgraded to Windows 10 Pro, 32 bits.

Good luck and enjoy you freely upgraded and more modern O.S. Happy New Year!

Thank you for reading this, please feel free to comment about this post, your input is important. This page created entirely in MarkDown language.

R.G. @design_RG@Qoto.org


from Chribs und Krams

Endlich mal bei der RTF in Weinstadt Ende September noch mal länger aufs Rad und den Herbst begrüßen. Nach meinen vielen Radtouren im Urlaub hatte ich noch eine Veranstaltung auf dem Zettel. Die RTF in Weinstadt. Mit der S-Bahn gut zu erreichen, wollte ich dort eigentlich schon seit 2017 mal hin. Nur dauernd kam was dazwischen. Mein Plan: Mal die große Runde. 180 km auf Asphalt mit allerdings 2700 Höhenmetern erschien mir realistisch. Die erste Challenge scheiterte aber schon daheim. Früh aufstehen. 5 Uhr raus. 6 Uhr Abfahrt. 7 Uhr los radeln. Der Wecker klingelte und ich entschied das ganze um eine Stunde zu verschieben. Am Ende war ich dann um 9 am Startpunkt.

Auf dem Weg zum Start traf ich schon einige Radler und war erstaunt dass niemand so ganz genau wusste wie es dorthin geht. Ich hatte auch die Route Bahnhof-Startpunkt zusammen geklickt um nicht lang suchen zu müssen. Am Start waren noch ca. 15 Fahrer. Zettel ausfüllen und zur Anmeldung. Welche Tour? Tour A! Der Kommentar des freundlichen Herren an der Anmeldung war nur

“Den Mutigen gehört die Welt”.

War das ein Wink mit dem Zaunpfahl an meine grenzenlose Selbstüberschätzung oder könnte es das Motto des Tages werden? Ich wollte keine Zeit werlieren denn ich hatte ja große Pläne. Neben all den Rennrädern wirkte mein Breitreifenrennrad wie ein Traktor. Ich hatte fast als einziger auch noch Oberrohrtasche, Foodpouch und Fronttasche drangebaut und meinen Kram verstaut. Zunächst ging es auf die Landstraße weiter aus Beutelsbach raus. Ein paar andere Fahrer zogen vor mir weg. Hinter mir waren noch ein paar wenige. Am ersten längeren Anstieg traf ich auf weitere Teilnehmer. Ich überholte einige und fragte mich ob ich irgendwas falsch machte. Aber ich fuhr und fühlte mich gut. Das Rad war leicht. Ganz im Gegenteil zu den letzten Touren und deshalb lief es wohl auch so gut. Wir Nachzügler blieben alle relativ dicht zusammen. Immer wieder traf ich andere Fahrer die mich dann doch schnell wieder abhängten. Der Rollwiderstand.


Nach 40km die erste Kontrolle und Verpflegungstation. Die kam sehr gelegen. Hier waren jetzt richtig viele Radler*innen. Auch viele jüngere und natürlich die alten Veteranen die die RTF Geschichten auspackten. Das Los der Nachzügler: So langsam wurde das Essen knapp. Ich ergatterte eines der letzten Butterbrote. Zur nächsten Runde gab es dann nur noch Brot. Tee war auch aus. Ich probierte die beworbene Gemüsebrühe. Die Cliffbar aus der Tasche ersetzte das fehlende Butterbrot. Die Bikepackingerfahrung machte sich bezahlt. Ich hatte genug zu essen dabei um noch mehr Butterbrotengpässe zu überstehen. Hier war auch ein Karte der Route mit der Anweisung dass man die A-Schleife nur bis 11:30 ab der nächsten Kontrolle starten könnte. Hier änderte sich der Plan weil schon kurz vor halb war. Jetzt also Tour B.

Kontrolle 1


Einige Ortsnamen kannte ich. Dort gewesen war ich aber noch nie. Es ging über ruhige Straßen und durch kleine Orte. Mich überholte ein langer Zug einer sehr schnellen Truppe und ganz hinten ein vielleicht 12-13 jähriger Junge der super bei den Großen dran hing. Nicht mein Tempo. Der Asphalt verhalf mir zwar zu einem schnelleren Schnitt als auf Waldwegen aber mit einer Gruppe mithalten war undenkbar. Es galten immer noch etwas mehr als 100km abzuarbeiten. Die Waldwege. Öfters mal bogen sie von der doch schönen Straße ab und ich dachte oft daran mal rechts abzubiegen und die ersten Meter zu genießen wenn die Reifen auf dem Kies greifen und man merkt wo das Rad eigentlich zuhause ist. Aber heute war Asphalt angesagt. Und ganz fern der Natur war ich ja auch nicht.

Die nächste Kontrolle kam schon 20km später in Altdorf. Es war etwas weniger los und es gab noch mehr zu essen. Die Pause wurde länger. Das Wurstbrot war so lecker, es gab sogar Kaffee und es war mehr miteinander mit den anderen Radlern und Helfern. Mit Vitamin B oder was auch immer konnte man hier sogar ein Bier abstauben. Viele kannten sich und erzählten von anderen Fahrten. Nach dem zweiten Kaffee konnte ich mich dann doch losreißen.

Weiter ging es Richtung Norden. Es wurde ländlicher. Man tauchte auch etwas mehr in Wälder ein, blieb aber auf Asphalt. Bis auf einer Abfahrt die Straße plötzlich zu einer feinen Schotterpiste wurde. Endlich ein bisschen Gravel! Am Straßenrand stand ein anderer Radler und fragte sich ob er noch richtig sei. Laut meinem Navi war alles gut. Wir fuhren gemeinsam weiter und die nächste Abfahrt kam inklusive wieder dem feine Kies. Nichts für die schmalen Reifen meines Mitfahrers. Ich kam durch den leichten Schotter auch etwas ins schwimmen. Die zwei Kies-Sektionen waren im Ziel dann das große Thema. Es stellte sich heraus dass die Stadt spontan mit den Straßenarbeiten angefangen hatte. Wir fuhren gemeinsam weiter. Auf den Asphalt Stücken war der Rennradler weit vorne. Wie verabredeten uns für den nächsten Anstieg. Irgendwann war er dann weg.

Letzte Kontrolle in Miedelbach. Mit mir waren noch ungefähr 5-6 Leute unterwegs. Ein paar traf ich dort. An der Kontrolle war das Essen ausgegangen. die Helfer hatten aber noch schnell Nachschub besorgt. Somit wurden wir Nachzügler trotzdem gut umsorgt. Mit mir war auch ein Päarchen da mit zwei schönen Bianchirädern in der klassischen Farbe. Was das Gesprächsthema war. Mein Rad sorgte nicht so für Gesprächsstoff. Ich wurde nur gefragt ob das mein Pendlerrad ist. Ansonsten wurden Rennradgeschichten ausgetauscht. Und die Orga gelobt. Bei anderen Verantaltungen sieht es wohl ganz anders aus.

Der Rest der Route verlief viel üner Radwege fernab der Straße. Es ging runter ins Remstal und ich wollte doch bis 17:00 ankommen. Die Ebene nutzte ich um ein bisschen Gas zu geben. Aber auf der anderen Seite ging es schon wieder hoch. Mit meinem Plan wurde es nichts. Als ich nach dem letzten Anstieg wieder in Beutelsbach war tröpfelte es zum ersten Mal an diesem sonst so wunderbaren Rad-Sonntag.

Angekommen am Ziel wurde schon fast abgebaut. Viele waren nicht mehr da. Ein Fahrer die ich an den Kontrollen gesehen hatten. Ich gehörte leider zu keiner Gruppe. Ich war ja auch alleine gestartet. Ich holte mir den letzten Stempel und durfte mir noch ein Fläschchen Wein aussuchen. Etwas Essen und ein Bier sollte es trotzdem sein. Es hatte sich wohl rumgesprochen dass die Nachzügler nicht mehr so viel zu essen bekommen hatten und so bekam ich Bier und einen großen Teller Nudeln geschenkt.

“Damals beim Arlberggiro gabs nix. Das geht ja nicht!”

Diese Geschichte hörte ich an dem Tag häufiger.

An dem letzten Tisch, an dem ich saß gesellten sich noch 2 Fahrer und einige Leute aus dem Verein dazu und es wurde doch noch ein nette Runde. Großes Thema: Die Schotterabschnitte.


Alles in allem war es ein schöner Sonntag auf dem Rad. Ich kam an Ecken an denen ich noch nie war. Teil eines Events zu sein ist was schönes. Man trifft doch immer mal wieder Leute und hat was verbindendes. Für einen überschaubaren Betrag wird man ausreichend verpflegt und kann unter den Voraussetzungen vielleicht auch mal ein paar Kilometer mehr fahren. Meine größte Herausforderung bleibt wohl das früh loskommen. Ich würde auch nicht von meinen Bikepacking-Erfahrungen absehen und sowohl die Route als auch ein bisschen Snacks einpacken. Das hält die gute Laune hoch und man hat keinen Stress wenn man sich mal verfährt.


  • 134 km
  • 1933 hm

Edit: Vom RTC Stuttgart waren auch ein paar Radler:innen dabei und haben einen kleinen Artikel geschrieben.

#fahrrad #rtf #langstrecke


from Betr "Lobby für Menschen ohne Wohnung"

Dieser Blogeintrag bezieht sich auf eine aktuelle Veröffentlichung des #KölnerWochenspiegel, die man unter dem Kurz-Link http://gleft.de/3rg auf der Webseite des Anzeigenblatt aufrufen kann. Aus dem eigentlichen Bericht möchte ich drei Punkte aufgreifen.

  • “Tatsächlich konnte die Obdachlosigkeit laut Medienberichten in Finnland reduziert werden. Diese Tendenz basiert auf dem sogenannten “Housing-First-Programm””

#HousingFirst? Dazu kann man sich entweder unter https://frama.link/housingfirst-doku eine Dokumentation des Senders ARTE anschauen oder, wer es kurz und knackig mag, einen Kurz-Clip der #YsäätiöFoundation unter https://frama.link/housingfirst. Bei dem Kurz-Clip sind die Untertitel in Englisch, Original in Suomi.

  • “verweist Karl-Heinz Iffland vom #KALZ” (Anmerkung: #KölnerArbeitslosenzentrum) “auf mehr als 6.000 betroffene Kölner”

Diese Aussage ist zunächst, wegen dem “mehr als”, sachlich richtig. Denn schlussendlich weiß niemand genau wie viele obdach- UND wohnungslose Menschen es in Köln gibt. #Obdachlosigkeit wird in Deutschland statistisch nicht erfasst. Weder vom Bund, noch von den Ländern, noch von den Gemeinden und Städten. In #NRW zumindest wird zwar #Wohnungslosigkeit erfasst, jedoch arbeitet hier die Verwaltung der Stadt Köln mit Zahlen die nicht korrekt sind. Weil diese nicht alle Menschen berücksichtigen die an einem Stichtag ordnungsbehördlich durch die Stadt Köln untergebracht sind.

  • “Die Politik muss hier schnell ein Konzept entwickeln.”

Hier zunächst die Anmerkung dass man in #Köln entgegen der Auffassung der Verwaltung der Stadt oder mancher Freier (Kirchlicher) Träger in keiner Weise “gut aufgestellt” ist. Die Schlüsselfrage die zu klären ist? Wie will man Menschen, die zur Zeit ohne eigenen Wohnraum sind, unterbringen bis mehr bezahlbarer Wohnraum geschaffen wurde und bezugsfertig ist? Die Antwort muss lauten, #menschenwürdig, und zwar so, dass Betroffene #selbstbestimmt leben und #frei entscheiden können.


from Vattuvarg's

Earphones are not good enough for me

The speakers have left the building and found new work with their real owner in her new home. My own speakers are not fully assembled so I use earphones.

sigh I need to complete my own speakers soon...


Läs mer...

from Musings by @rg

And today we start the day with a To Do clean-up; pending things that need action. Including a recent discovery I made, surprising to me, that my home and primary instance in the Mastodon network was not visible, searchable and in fact, fully Blocked at another place.

Being active and curious, I do have accounts in maybe 10 instances or so, used in varying degrees, some frequently visited, others less so.

Very recently I made a blog post with discussions on why choosing an instance is important, what factors to consider when doing so, and a partial list with descriptions and details of some of the ones I enjoy.

That post is located here.

After creating a new blog post, I prepare a release text for announcing it in the Fediverse. About 500 characters, it also includes a good image and is posted at Qoto.org, my primary account (and the one which signs off all posts here).

Once this is ready, the text and image are posted at Qoto, and I do visit some of my other accounts, search for that Status URL, and proceed to Boost it for reaching more people if possible.

While doing this, I visited one, Mastodon.Technology, where I could not find the status on that normal search. Odd. What is going on?

A search for my user profile at Qoto did not bring ANY results either. It dawned on me that something was amiss...

WTF ? Blocked possibly ?

Yes, that was the first thing that crossed my mind. M.T has some clear rules at their front door, the famous About-More pages. I looked there, and found a link to a Git instance, with a list.

And. We are on it. Last on the list, suggesting possibly a recent addition to his Disgraceful People List. (some are ghastly places, I would agree)

Why ?

Good question. I couldn't see why. Ash has provided some info :

Blocked Instances :

“Here are the instances that m.t has blocked. This list is not meant to be authoritative for other administrators. We reserve the right to silence or suspend any instance for any reason. If you are an administrator of an instance on this list, feel that you shouldn't be blocked, and have checked our Code of Conduct, you can contact Ash Furrow through email to discuss getting unblocked.”


This happened a few days ago. What then?

How to Proceed :

Since it was now clear that an Instance Ban was in place, the next step was communicating with our Admin. We discussed it, and I offered to try and deal with Mr. Furrow and request a review of their decision. Dr. Freeman, our admin and domain owner, agreed, and I went about preparing a case.

  • First step, read his provided link to Code of Conduct (the About-More page).
  • Upon reading it, find what we could have done to be black listed.

And it seems it's the final paragraphs, shown in this snapshot.

So, Guilty by Association, I gather? Ah, yes, to protect the Free Speech of some users, I see.

Had this in my notes and on a admin Forum thread, and now took time and wrote a full, formal letter to Mr. Furrow.

Which, being a writer and a budding citizen journalist, I chose to publish here, in full as well. Text of letter follows, it is only being altered here for formatting enhancements that MarkDown and Write Freely provide.

Full Letter Text :

January 6, 2020.

To : Ash Furrow, administrator, Mastodon.Technology via email – ash@ashfurrow.com

From : RG, staff member, Moderator at Qoto.org domain

CC : @freemo@qoto.org, Admin, Qoto.org

Re : Blocked status of Qoto.org on your instance, Mastodon.technology.

Dear Mr. Furrow,

I am a member of Qoto.org, where I am part of the domain Staff, and moderator at both the Mastodon instance and our Discourse Forums. Being an active user and a curious human being, I do have accounts in various other instances, including yours, where my handle is @rgx.

Thank you for hosting that service, it seems a nice and active community, and themed on Technology which is one of my personal interests. Being so busy with my Qoto participation, user support, starting to write my own personal Blog, I haven't had the opportunity of participating as much at M.T.

Was however surprised to discover I could not find one of my own Blog announcement posts, from the search function at M.T, where I intended to Boost it for wider audience viewing possibilities.

The Search turned out Blank, no results. A search for my own account at Qoto, @design_RG@qoto.org, also turned out blank.

My hunch that this was possibly due to an Instance Block was confirmed by viewing your Blocked instances list .

Honestly, I was appalled. I feel that we are doing a good job and providing valuable services, an active community and an instance theme that is unique, as far as I know.

As mentioned in the page above :

“If you are an administrator of an instance on this list, feel that you shouldn't be blocked, and have checked our Code of Conduct, you can contact Ash Furrow through email to discuss getting unblocked.”

I did read the referenced page for CofC, and discussed my findings in our Admin forum at Qoto with Dr. Jeff Freeman, our domain owner and Admin. Mr. Freeman agreed to my proposal of contacting you via email to discuss this, and any remediation possibilities.

From reading your CofC, and considering that we are an instance and community in good standing, preeminently listed at the head of Suggested Instances at JoinMastodon.org , I am contacting you to request your consideration of a lift on this instance ban.

I imagine your reason for such is :

“To protect the free speech of users belonging to marginalized groups, mastodon.technology does not federate with overtly fascist instances. Additionally, we will refuse to federate with instances that themselves choose to federate with fascist instances.”

Is that correct? I can't think of any other possible reason.

I would like to add that I personally dislike some of the communities which are part of the Fediverse; and exercise my user rights on blocking Gab and their peripheral instances in my own personal account. I also intend on writing, shortly, a new blog post documenting all kinds of Filtering and Content blocking that users can utilize to their own satisfaction and better enjoyment of their Fedi accounts.

But as an active user and content provider at Qoto, which is also the channel for my personal blog writing announcements, I am dismayed by our instance being blocked by M.T., specially considering it's a large community and themed in Tech, one of my main personal interests.

On behalf of myself and many other Qoto users, who daily provide good content and valuable interactions with many other instances, I am hereby, with authorization from Dr. Freeman, requesting that you please consider lifting your instance blocking of Qoto.org.

I am also happy to discuss this matter and accept any comments and suggestions on this matter, on behalf of Qoto administration staff and our user community.

I can be reached via this email, which is my Fedi accounts mainline, or via DM to my @design_RG@qoto.org account. In your own instance, my account is @rgx@mastodon.technology .

Thank you for your time, attention and considering this request.


RG, for the Qoto.org administration team.

cc: QOTO@syncleus.com

Final Thoughts :

I have sent this letter, the Image at the head of today's blog is a snapshot of my email client just after sending it. Will be waiting for a response, which I hope Mr. Furrow will provide to a courteous and carefully written inquiry.

Thank you, Mr Furrow. I will update this with any news as it develops.

Thank you for reading this, please feel free to comment about this post, your input is important. This page created entirely in MarkDown language.

R.G. @design_RG@Qoto.org


from Vattuvarg's

Why I am leaving Facebook behind

Recently people have asked me about why I am minimizing my presence at Facebook. I wish I could give them a simple answer.

Most things I do is based on something in my head that I simply call the machine. I throw all kinds of stuff into it and after a while it pops out an answer or solution. It's a handy mechanism even though I only know fractions about how it works. It works, that's the main thing, and it works well.

So the short answer could now be that the machine came up with that solution.

But even in my conscious mind the thoughts have gathered around the influence of social media on our society, both locally and globally. It seems like the actors of commercial social media isn't neutral, and that their bias probably is dangerous for our planet.

I will let you come to your own conclusions but as far as I can see the only real option is to stop using commercial social media and that is the process I have decided to begin.

This blog software – Writefreely – is part of an open and federated alternative called the Fediverse. You will find links to my other federated media sites in later posts.

...and this topic will be revisited again too, I promise.

#fediverse #thoughts

Läs mer...

from Musings by @rg

Casual Conversation, Interesting Tips.

Once again I had an enjoyable conversation, earlier today. From my laptop, logged into my Qoto acount via Web client, I also browsed Mastodon.social via Pinafore, and we started a chat.

Achso was there(@achso@mastodon.social), and we kind of continued a conversation from a day or two before. I enjoyed it, said a lot, and thought it would make for a nice blog post.

The full thread is online, and can be seen here. I was posting via Pinafore, and limited to 500 characters, unfortunately – which led to some choppy posts (instance there limited to 500 chars max).

We really should petition Eugen R. @gargron@mastodon.social and beg for a larger limit for the MaximumTootSize variable. Currently, it's 500 characters, larger in some instances that customized their own limits.

Conversation Follows.

( Achso's Toots are shown in quoted form, mine are in plain text form. )

@achso : Otherwise this will stay a niche thing. And it deserves better than that. I think it is sad that many of my old contacts from abroad – US and other places – refuse to leave their old biotope.

Some people will come and see what is going on here if it keeps growing and getting media reports.

I only joined here in November — close to 2 months now, but in that short time I went from total newbie to having 3,400 posts or so, Staff position at my main instance, and being part of maybe 10 instances of Mastodon alone.

Plus the wonderful integrated services – love Write.freely!

Insta, I stayed away, always. Dumb people, hashtag binging, bothers me, they are clueless.

Curiously — I found my curiosity and interest in this Fediverse due to a BBC News report about the Indian Diaspora, from TW to mastodon instances.

Saw it on my rarely visited TW timeline, read the article. Uhm, what is mastodon?

LOL, the rest is #history.... :-P

Having lots of fun, it's keeping me happy and busy thru Winter, depressive in general in our Northern latitudes.

This very article :

@achso : Twitter classified the famous Landmesser-photo as “hateful imagery”? Wow... I think there is no lack of antifascist people on Twitter now, but many of them act like – cough... – fascists. Intolerant, stubborn, uptight... Anyway, Mastodon is different, which is good. ;)

Yes, I like it here, it's very refreshing!

With politics and all, but like on Fidonet, we can make waves, run our own things, and have a voice.

On the algorithm driven major soc media sites, not a chance, they silence you simply by not showing your content.

Hey, if you even want to try a smaller instance, come and visit Qoto.org, it's a nice place, if I may say so.

But does Choosing an Instance Matter ?

@achso: Is it really important which instance some is on? Isn't it the core of the fediverse that it does not? Just asking...

I think that is an excellent question! And I am part of various ones, although lift the flag and sign my blog with my main one.

How does it differ, being in one or another?

  • a very small instance will likely have a very quiet local Feed. This is sad, as the Local feed is where I find most social interaction happens; camaraderie, we see each other, all posts. And sometimes we provide support just to encourage a friend to keep going.

  • at the opposite end, a very large instance will have an extremely busy Local feed; no lack of things to look at, but like Twitter, many will fly by without any reaction, as people don't have the time to relate, read, respond before another barrage of posts land.

I visit and post somethings here in ms.soc, it's the Flagship and sometimes good for exposure. But it wouldn't work for me as a home. I find the Local feed overwhelming indeed.

  • So size is important. Theme also – there are generalist instances, and posts from all kinds; might be good to discover new things, interesting. Less good for more focused posts or interests, which sometimes a more focused instance can better take care of.

  • Language, one's native one is ideal, even if we do fluent English, thankfully, bridging the divide; I still love to write and converse in other languages.

  • Culture : like travel, seeing the instances in other countries, is fun.

I love this discussion and will likely collate all of my posts above and build an article for a blog post on it. I have been enjoying doing that.

Wanted to ask you, remember our chat from yesterday, regarding Fidonet, Front Door? wanted to request if you allow me to quote you on a possible article for the blog?

If you prefer not to, I understand, but I am a learning journalist and respect my sources. Thank you for the nice conversations!

@achso: Sure, no problem.Nothing wrong with a little bit of sentimentality. :)

BTW: As a journalist (desk editor, reporter) for more than 30 years I have to help my young fellow colleagues, no? ;)

Thanks, Achso!

This was a fun conversation, and helped me organize thoughts on why visiting, getting to know different instances is fun and important.

I enjoy traveling and choosing small cafés or restaurants in the streets of towns and cities abroad. Our mastodon instances are very much like Cafés, and the quality varies, the customer base is a big part of how nice they are, how active specially. Management can also make or break a community.

I am grateful to the administrators and staff team of the various instances which I belong to; with all of them I have learned, observed and thought about different ways things can be done. Fun. Thank you, friends. ;–)

Below I will outline a little about these instances I frequent. No specific recommendations, just notes, maybe help you know what's available and how they can vary?

Some instances I frequent :

In no particular order, just writing from the top of my head in my text editor...

  • Qoto.org – listed in my blog signature, Qoto is my primary instance; one where I spend most of my time, have made many posts and enjoy socializing with local friends which follow my work closely. I have volunteered and been elected as a Moderator there recently.

Instance Theme : STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are the theme here. Not strictly enforced in everyday posting, which can be relaxed (I do contribute a lot of Cat pictures!).

Users number : just over 6,500 now with a recent influx of Spanish Twitter migration. Registrations : open.

  • Todon.nl – A Leftwing instance, Todon has some nice people I had met over the Feeds and enjoyed conversations with. I am also aligned with the local political lean, so it's one of my favourites. Well connected, posts distribute quickly.

Instance Theme : there's a number of activists, and users who enjoy the place, where they won't meet any vociferous politically opposing people.

Users number : just over 5,300. Registrations : are via an application, explain how your personal views align with Todon's. [temporarily Closed atm]

  • Hackers.town – a community of people interested in computing, network and systems administration, security, privacy, and related topics. An interesting place for people interested in learning about those topics, which is my case, because it has experienced users in these various fields.

Instance Theme ; Technology, Computing, Security, CyberPunk.

Users number : about 200, although their total post count is astronomical. Registrations : are controlled, as the front door says “Speak friend and enter.”

  • Toot.Cafe – This is an instance frequented by programmers, web designers, etc, and administered by Nolan, the author of the brilliant Pinafore mastodon client. For many knowledgeable users, Pinafore is tops, for it's speed, streamlining and support of multiple instances – and ease of switching between them. See more information at the project's home. Not a general instance, but I enjoy visiting and chatting with Nolan when I have a suggestion for Pinafore.

Instance Theme : Web design, Mastodon, programming, UI design, Clients for Mastodon network. Users number : 2,772 Registrations : Open, via Request an Invite link at front door.

“All friendly creatures are welcome. Be excellent to each other, live humanism, no nazis, no hate speech. Not only for nerds, but the domain is somewhat cool. ;) No bots in general! (only with prior permission)”.

E.U. based, so European Privacy and other laws apply – an advantage for me, in any network services choice if available.

Instance Theme : A General instance, based in Germany. Posts in English and German.

Users number : 365 Registrations : Open

  • Mastodon.social – The Mothership, this instance is home to Eugene R., who is the lead developer of the Mastodon project.

For many new users, it's the only instance they know of, so it has a large influx of new people and the largest number of users in Fediverse (not counting the Gab instance and peripheral systems, as they are not widely accepted by a lot of other fediverse instances).

A very, very busy local timeline, if you get bored of waiting for some new post at any smaller instances. A good place to see what a very large Mastodon instance would feel like (and to know what kids of hardware it takes for such high numbers of users). Also a good place to boost posts from, if you want some extra spreading for a new thread.

Instance Theme : a General instance, no specific theme.

Users number : 455,000 as I write. Registrations : open.

  • Mastodon.technology – A fairly large instance, with a Tech theme and actively moderated. The administrator has clearly stated rules and isolates his instance from many others.

Some of the excluded instances (as listed in his git page here) are black balled simply for federating with other instances that Ash Furrow, the local admin, does not want connections with. Sadly this blocks a lot of info from other, more open minded instances (and I mean the ones that are not fascist dominated, but get tarred here in his extensive blocked list).

Instance Theme : Tecnnology. But selectively disconnected, see note above.

Users number : 19,500 Registrations : Open, fill in form (“Why do you want to Join us?”) to request an invite.

Mastodon Instances in the World :

Bonus, if you read this far in the page, lol... A nice world Map showing the local concentration of Instances. Click on Image for Large Version. Map of Mastodon instances from Mastodon Network Monitoring Project, August 17, 2017.

From an interesting article At Medium.com.

Thank you for reading this, please feel free to comment about this post, your input is important. This page created entirely in MarkDown language.

R.G. @design_RG@Qoto.org


from Vattuvarg's

Thank you

Yes, a sincere thank you for remembering me on my birthday! For those of you that don't know (or can't calculate/remember) this was my 54th.

The birthday itself wasn't too spectacular but that was only fitting. Turning 54 isn't special like 50 or 60, and I'm quite the introvert so lavish celebrations would be a bit strange anyway.

The week where the applications for holiday vacation were supposed to be handed in coincided with an autumn vacation so I started the day by working as usual. Nowadays my employer is a subcontractor to IKEA, if you didn't know that already.

The rest of the family was waiting in the car when I stepped out into the parking lot at the factory. After a quick change from work uniform to something less casual (including shirt and neck tie) we headed for the restaurant.

We ordered five sets of Chinese buffet while waiting for my older brother and his family. We are just four in our little family so I must have had a big question mark tattooed on my face until a dear friend showed up, secretly invited by my fiancee. A wonderful surprise that put a golden edge to everything in the buffet.

My brother brought a big helping of politics to the table and we all suffered valiantly through it all. The dinner would have been less of a feast without it, though. The tastebuds require all tastes, including bitter.

Back at home we sat down to see a Japanese animated movie. “A letter to Momo” was strange but funny and fuel for further thought. A recommendation by another dear friend that lives abroad, by the way.

And while the evening was quite young the children disappeared into their room so the older generation was free to fall asleep in each-others' embrace.

The day couldn't have been better so whether I saw you in real life or on social media – Big Hugs and Thank You!

— Pasi

Läs mer...

from Counter Culture Comments

This is an edited version of the transcript for Counter Points Media's video 'The Cost Of Cancel Culture' The information might be old or outdated, and the author might not hold the same opinion today.

The Cost Of Cancel Culture (on BitChute)

The Cost Of Cancel Culture (on YouTube)

Before we begin, this message is necessary for context.

Under no circumstance should anyone ever harass anyone for their opinion or use of free speech.

Additionally, under no circumstance should anyone, even a black person, use the n word.

I am using the names of the persons involved, since by now this information is already public and viral.

Please do not harass them in any way.

A case has been made by some that this is harassment, or doxxing, and legal charges could be in order. I will leave a link below so that you can explore the information regarding this if your wish.

If any of the persons involved in this video would like to contact me for any reason, please message me.

My Twitter handle is @thecaseyrollins, and on both Qoto and mstdn.social my handle is @realcaseyrollins.

2020 is finally upon us, and while many are excited to enter the new year, for two young teenagers, the new decade couldn’t have started on a worse note.

The controversy began two days before the dawn of 2020, when Bailee Beckett and her friend Bethany Bonar were hanging out. Bailee is white, and Bethany is black. The issues began when Bailee posted a selfie with Bethany, saying she was her white friend, and stating that she doesn’t hang out with n words. When another user, who previously went by the name Oli but now goes by Iris Hera on Twitter, recorded a direct Snapchat message created by the both of them, clarifying that Bethany had given her permission to use the n word, and explaining why, in her eyes, it was fine to use.

While the case can certainly be made that no one should be using the n word, and while it has a massive, looming history of being used to oppress African Americans, and not all black people are comfortable with white people using the n word, Bethany’s main point is right. Bethany is fine with the message in the video, and the message was shared in a private context.

However, this was not enough for Iris Hera, who took it upon herself to post their entire exchange publically on Twitter, exposing their names to her followers, leading many to slander them and call for major companies to never hire them, and for colleges to not accept them.

Bailee responded with two videos, asking Oli to take the posts down, claiming that this could ruin her life, and accusing her of harassment.

Bailee went on to reveal that her mother also wanted Oli to delete the videos.

The exchange prompted a flurry of responses, such as condemning Bethany for being an oreo, or condemning Bailee of being racist.

This, of course, is unfortunately a sign of the next generation. Raised up with figures such as Kolin Kaepernick, Jussie Smollett, and LeBron James as role models, it should be no surprise that Oli decided to immediately post the info online, is gloating over her newfound clout, and is considering making a merch line with her girlfriend. The term “social justice warrior” might be overused, but the fact is that SJWs are some of the most highly praised personalities in modern pop culture. Marry this with Cancel Culture, and the Tik Tok Generation has become a ticking time bomb, rife with infighting and just waiting for something to spark an explosion. Many in politics today are warning that there’s impending civil war. In reality, it might be necessary to merely wait for the 15 year olds to become adults.

While calling out actual racism is a noble thing to do, to point out a single mistake made early in someone’s life as something that should end any hope of them being successful, especially for a one-time use of a bad word, is anything but, and the support Oli has received is troubling.

Humans were created as flawed creatures. To demand that they be perfect and never make a mistake is certainly unreasonable. What is reasonable is to allow teens to grow up and learn from their own mistakes how to operate in the real world. After all, all of us are mere works in progress.

Written by Casey Rollins.



@thecaseyrollins on Twitter


from Vattuvarg's

New [Sibling] on the Block

The other computer arrived today. In mere seconds the tiny Raspberry Pi Zero W sat there on my kitchen table. Assembled and ready for the microSD card. It is up and running now.

The pi will stay at home and be my server while the xa2 and the pbp will travel with me. All three computers dependent on eachother. All very effective and low power. ...and all running linux.

I have waited a long time for this day and I'm happy.


Läs mer...

from Musings by @rg

Received an interesting suggestion via Direct Message, it said :

What do you think about: Starting a hashtag like : “qotoarticle” and all qoto-users who publish journalism-like or good pieces from the internet shall use this # to make it possible to find an interesting collection of qoto-news, without all the fun-stuff burying it?

This is a nice idea — and I am opening a Discourse Forum thread to chat about it.

Why there, not in the normal Mastodon Local timeline? A few reasons:

  • we won't be posting all kinds of tag ideas with hashes that will go live, and maybe never used again.
  • it's open to anyone who wants to read it, as I will add thread URL here, and it's publicly readable to all.
  • it's open to replies, all you need is a quick registration, confirm the email, and presto, you are in.

So all good, isn't it?

Consider it done;

Done, my friend, and here are some of my hash suggestions.

  • They need to be easy, short if possible.
  • easy to spell so both posters and searchers can use the tag for their own means.
  • unique, so they will collect the intended posts and no strain content.

Which do I think could work? Uhmmm... Brainstorming, put ideas out and don't judge them. Add more ideas. Decide later, at evaluation time.

Maybe : qoto-news . qoto-journal . qoto-daily . qoto-top . qoto-stem . qoto-hq .

or : stem-news . stem-hq . stem-daily . stem-mvp .

Do they have to include the “qoto” word and brand ID? not necessarily, we are just considering ideas here.

  • If including, they might get people to pay attention to our instance in general.
  • It could be used by others, in fact any hash tag can be overwhelmed and spammed, unfortunately;
  • not much defense from that other than blocking the twits who did it.

There, the ball is at play, let's hear what you all think?

Thank you for considering and participating.

#STEM #science #math #Engineering #Math news are of interest to people all over the #Fediverse

Follow-Up :

All of my long posts are not written in the Toot Editor box — too small for serious writing. I use a simple Text Editor, EditPad Lite, free and powerful. Love to get into it and away from the zillion Tabs open in my browsers (2 to 3 sets, in separate windows. I know, busy guy here.)

  • So, I wrote all of the above in the text editor.
  • Then copied it to Clipboard, pasted into the Discourse Forum, new Thread.
  • Copied the URL (address) of that new thread, to use in Mastodon announcement.
  • Switched tab to Qoto Mastodon; pasted the Clipboard contents, first the full text, then the URL, also stored in it.
  • I had searched on Bing for a good image, sized it for my normal Blog post header at 640 pixels width.
  • Opened and added it to post via Toot Editor insert Image (paper clip icon).

Hit Enter and now that was complete! Ah, sent my friend a link to the Forum with the URL too.

Some replies followed, and considering their content (showing interest, support and some extra suggestions), I made one more longer post, next.

Additional Contents Requirements ?

I found it was a wonderful idea and suggestion — was glad to receive it, can see the use, for sure.

We need a good hash word, as outlined above, so it will get used.

I like the suggestions of some content standards for people using the tag. These not only liven each post, but can lead the way to everyone following the model and producing richer posts all the time.

Some of the possibilities for suggested requirements:

  • a relevant image in each post. Size should be manageable, too large a file uses disk space everywhere, we can including an image at about 700x700 pixels comfortably. And include a link in the post if you think a higher resolution version is important; then it's available if people want to see it.

  • A clear and relevant Title in the first line. Before starting the post, put a blank line after it. So the title will stand out on it's own in people's Feedlines. A better change to snag a reader is important!

  • Always provide any relevant links with the post. If something is a more extensive post, maybe it can benefit from a Blog placement; Like the posts I write and post at WriteFreely. Still, these longer articles can be Announced in Mastodon, with the same format as other, shorter ones; a Clear Title; some text Body; link to full article elsewhere; Always a Good Image! (we are fighting for people's attention, everyday)

  • You can post longer pieces in Mastodon as well; Qoto is very special in allowing a HUGE 65,000 characters max per Toot. But even elsewhere, it's feasible to make a Thread, successive posts in reply to the previous one; Best done as a Thread with the 2nd and later replies all set to Unlisted privacy setting (to avoid clogging Local timelines)

  • if doing multipart posts, you need to work careful and quickly — to try and avoid anyone jumping in with a comment or reply while you are still mid-stream in the posts. It's possible, but a bit tense (I did this before). Best done with a machine supporting an enhanced Clipboard, capable of storing multiple pieces of information.

  • I have and use this daily — Windows 10 now supports it, all you need is to press WinKey-V, and it will show all current clipboard contents, in time order; you can select any of them, text, URL, image, to insert at this point. So a multi-part post can ALL be copied to Clipboard, piece by piece, then inserted into Toot Editor in quick succession. Insert, Toot. Click Reply, insert next, Toot. and so on, until complete. You will overwhelm any humans looking at the post, less likely to have a stray response.

I made a nice and long thread with the story of a visit to a Museum, posted here. Later it became a Full Blog post, which took more work but all the story was written already. I used a plain text editor in my laptop, and tuned away all the distractions.

At the end of a post, it would be nice to find some References — links, see also, anything related to your article. This can be done in a simple way, as a list of words and links to further info, as seen in the very last Toot in my Museum thread.

Stopping at this point, as it's getting long, but I already see this thread as my topic of the day for a blog post. ;–)


We now have the Forum thread, and it allows for easier reading to anyone using a laptop or Desktop computer. Posts there can also be edited, enhanced with in-line images, and use all of the formatting power and beauty of the MarkDown language. A lot of this was formatted there.

Later, I copied all of the text into Clipboard, and into my own WriteFreely instance — my editing platform for Blog work is running in my own laptop here, so I can use it even if Internet goes down, and the responses are lightning fast.

Once I am happy with the text and layout, imagery, I can copy and paste the full MarkDown source into my blog hosts.

Hopefully we get good response in the Forum thread, where everyone can respond fast and easily with their comments, ideas. Again, the Discourse Forum Thread is Here. Please visit there or respond to our Mastodon Thread about this idea here.

Thank you for reading this, please feel free to comment about this post, your input is important. This page created entirely in MarkDown language.

R.G. @design_RG@Qoto.org


from Musings by @rg

New Year's day, and all is quiet in the land. :–)

Time to catch up, and I remembered an idea for a blog post a few days ago. We were having some discussions (which turned a bit heated), but later things calmed down.

Chatting in a Mastodon network thread, I mentioned the situation reminded me a lot of my days in the BBS world; where I started in computers, dial-up modems, and the network I was soon participating in – called FidoNet. The conversation went as follows:

Brings memories of sysops battling it out on our local FidoNet network!!

Time goes on, humanity continues.

Fediverse is indeed quite similar to the wonderful pioneer that Fidonet was. Way before internet was accessible to the masses.

@anarchiv : as a part of the unthinking masses, I don't know what that is.

Fidonet? it was a network formed by independant system operators (sysops for short) in the days of BBSes (Bulletin Board Systems) being the only computers you could reach and connect to from home.

We only had dial up lines, but it was amazing to dial up and connect to a place with information, software for download, online games. All of this for free in most cases.

People operated those as a hobby, all of them loved computing. It attracted similar people, which is how I joined. 1992.

I will write a blog post or more about it soon, there's so many good stories and similarities to the Fediverse. It felt immediately similar when I joined here.

Even the brawling with other sysops, who sometimes we didn't like, we did that as well, lol.

Great fun to be had, lots of coffee was consumed, talks went late into the night.

The network was worldwide, and sent international mail via phone calls. Data lines? not available at the time.


Another conversation mentioned Fidonet on our Local instance chats.

I have been seeing and feeling many similarities between the fediverse and my first experience with networking, way back in the early 90s.

Back then, all we had were BBSes, phone lines and 2400 bps modems, but there was an international network linking many of them already – FidoNet.

FidoNet had as one of its core principles something similar to your approach here:

  • Thou Shall not be Annoying. immediately followed by :
  • Thou Shall not be Easily Annoyed.
    Words of wisdom to live by!

@freemo : I started on the BBS dialup days as well. The connected network between them was just coming around at the time.

Did you play the Doors games like LOTRD?

Yes, I did play some of the games. Sometimes you had to be waiting to be able to connect, as in most cases there was only one phone line. People had fun running a BBS in a spare computer, and we could get software galore, when there was no Internet access to the public, which only came later (about 1995 or so here in Canada).

Watching the dialing, the link negotiation between the modems, seeing the ASCII art load, it was so much fun.

@freemo : The good ol' days :)

From those pioneer days, fast forward 25 years — And now we have online, free streaming video of the nice “BBS – The Documentary” series, by Jason Scott.

The full series is on Qoto Peertube; see a playlist with all 8 episodes here. If you want to see the FidoNet episode, part 4, it's here.

Synopsis from DVD version :

From the DocuWiki page for this series, we have the full synopsis :

Long before the Internet escaped from the lab, connected the planet and redefined what it meant to use a computer there was a brave and pioneering band of computer users who spent their time, money and sanity setting up their home computers and phone lines to welcome anyone who called. By using a modem, anyone else who knew the phone number of these computers could connect to them, leave messages, send and recieve files.... and millions did.

They called these places “Bulletin Board Systems”, or BBSes. And their collections of messages, rants, thoughts and dreams became the way that an entire generation learned about being online. When the Internet grew in popularity in the early 1990s, the world of the BBS faded, changed, and became a part of the present networked world.. but it wasn't the same.

Get your own copies :

Jason Scott has released the original DVDs to the Internet Archive, and anyone interested can watch online, download individual episodes — or the 3 DVD ISO images here.

Our PeerTube videos are better quality, a DVD rip by MVGroup.org and released in Bit Torrent and eMule networks (free user registration, login required).

References :

a. BBS systems :

A Bulletin Board System or BBS (once called Computer Bulletin Board Service, CBBS[1]) is a computer server running software that allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, the user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users through public message boards and sometimes via direct chatting. In the early 1980s, message networks such as FidoNet sprung up to provide services such as NetMail, which is similar to email. Wikipedia page

b. FidoNet computer network :

FidoNet is a worldwide computer network that is used for communication between bulletin board systems (BBSes). It uses a store-and-forward system to exchange private (email) and public (forum) messages between the BBSes in the network, as well as other files and protocols in some cases. Wikipedia page

c. Dial-Up Networking :

Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access that uses the facilities of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to establish a connection to an Internet service provider (ISP) by dialing a telephone number on a conventional telephone line. Dial-up connections use modems to decode audio signals into data to send to a router or computer, and to encode signals from the latter two devices to send to another modem. Wikipedia page Dial up modem sounds Dial up video (26 secs)

#modem #DialUp #networking #Retro #Computing

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