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RSS Is the Answer to Enshittification

Okay, that might sound like hyperbole, but hear me out: I think RSS needs to make a mainstream comeback, and doing so would kill off a lot of the tracking and data-gathering that powers the enshittification of your favorite websites. Not all of it, but certainly the bits of it that are tied to your user accounts. The primary reason (I’m guessing here) for why people sign up for places like Youtube, Twitter, etc., is to keep up with their favorite folks. RSS does so anonymously and can be customized to your own liking, and can be checked anywhere you like, depending on which service you go with.
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Exploring the Internet Archive

I spend quite a bit of time on Archive.org looking through their various collections for all sorts of things. I've found music, books, movies--it's really a treasure trove! And lately I have a specific project I've been working on using public domain images, and the Archive has been especially helpful for sources. However, it can be a bit intimidating at times to navigate the huge collections they have, so I figured I'd highlight a few neat things I've found.

Click the cut link to see the pretty things!

Continue reading "Exploring the Internet Archive"

I archived some stuff from the Yesterweb

If you hang around the retro/indie/non-corporate web, you've probably come across Yesterweb.org, which was a community meant to spark enthusiasm for the self-owned web and serve as a resource for learning about how to build your own websites. It's being shut down, for a variety of reasons, which you can read about on the page I've linked above.

I'm not interested in talking about why it's being shuttered, though, I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that I've archived several of the pages they used to have available, and saved them both here to my website and to the Internet Archive. Some of these are also available via the Wayback Machine, but it's more difficult to navigate to them that way, and some of the more dynamic pages aren't easily manipulated there, so I've pulled them down into zips that you can crawl through locally.

Click through to the post to grab the forum archive, links directory, webring member list, and some visual resources that were shared via the Yesterweb Discord. Continue reading "I archived some stuff from the Yesterweb"

Answering questions about PeerTube + Curated Playlists


Currently Feeling: groggy

nyan nyan nyannyan...

Currently Listening: My washing machine


PeerTube is a decentralized alternative to Youtube that does not (currently) support monetization, and is not controlled by a single entity, and also happens to be my current obsession. Although the official website goes over the basics of how to use it, the official documentation assumes something of a technical background and a lot of people remain confused. I know I had a number of questions that weren't answered by the website.

So I'm not going to write up a complete, comprehensive introduction to how to use PeerTube, because it seems you can find those on every blog on the internet. If you're looking for that, there's a good one written up on Medium here:

https://medium.com/we-distribute/getting-started-with-peertube-ec5dbf007058

But I am going to answer a few of the questions I had that I had to search around for, and hopefully this will help someone out there. Continue reading "Answering questions about PeerTube + Curated Playlists"

Vintage Computers in your browser


Currently Feeling: creative

nyan nyan nyannyan...

Currently Listening: Tingting ASMR


Ever wanted to play around with vintage computing, but don't have the time/money/space? I get you. I love old PCs and other gadgets, but I'm really pretty limited on space and what I can bring into my house. And in some cases, I just don't have the money or time to devote to keeping them in running condition.

Fortunately a lot of really great, smart folks have taken the time to emulate a variety of different systems and you can run them right in your browser! I love playing around with these things and using them to run programs. A few of them let you upload and download files to them, so you can run your own applications and download any files you've created. I really like playing around with the paint programs in these in particular.

https://system7.app/ - Emulates MacOS 7
https://macos8.app/ - Emulates MacOS 8
https://macos9.app/ - Emulates MacOS 9

These MacOS emulators are great, and even let you add and remove files from them. They even support networking! Unfortunately I've had some issues with them crashing after a little bit of use in my case (on Windows 10). Hopefully you'll have better luck than me.

https://archive.org/details/win95_in_dosbox - Windows 95, courtesy of archive.org
https://jamesfriend.com.au/pce-js/ - This is another MacOS 7 emulator, but also contains links to many others!
https://classicreload.com/Windows-1-01.html - Windows 1.01. It's got a lot of ads, though, and I couldn't find it hosted anywhere else yet.
https://classicreload.com/win3x-windows-31.html - From the same site. Turn your adblocker on!
http://retroweb.maclab.org/ - Little hard to use, but this one has several emulated systems
https://www.pcjs.org/ - More emulated systems. There are a TON here and they're lots of fun to play with!

Fuck Facebook and Instagram


Currently Feeling: angry

So here’s something rich. A lovely creative developer named Austin Huang created an app a while back that lets you browse Instagram without being tracked or logged in. I found out about it because I was browsing a list of Humane Tech up on Github that mentioned it in their Social and Fediverse section (P.S. check it out it’s cool). Anyways, by the time I traveled over to this person’s site, the app had unfortunately been taken down because of a very threatening letter that Facebook had sent them. The letter itself has kindly been uploaded by the creator, and you can read it in all of its bullshit victim-blaming glory right here:

https://github.com/austinhuang0131/austinhuang0131/issues/2

Can I just point out the incredibly obvious hypocrisy of accusing a third party developer of violating insta’s T&C by, as they put it, “Using or sharing user data without the users’ consent”???? I know this person doesn’t have the time, money, or will to fight this bullshit demand, but I highly doubt that everything in this scare letter is actionable, especially the bit about voluntarily sending them all sorts of code and data that they would undoubtedly use to try and patch whatever holes their walled garden may have. I very very much hope they did not get that information, because they have no right to it, not from one person who built an app for viewing their site.

But let’s be real about what they’re really concerned about here--the main thing they’re taking issue with is the ability to use the service while being anonymized, which a ton of folks want because a) they don’t want targeted ads, and b) some of them have friends and family on the service, but don’t want to get an account to view their content, mostly because of said ads. Facebook is really only upset because this app lets them do that, which screws up their metrics and keeps them from being able to sell their users the way Facebook is known to do. I do hope these things keep popping up too fast for FB to shut them down, because this cancerous business model needs to go.

To be honest, IG is the only social media I really have left. I do have friends and family on it that I don’t connect with elsewhere, and it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve told them that I can’t communicate with them this way. I could make that jump, but the part that keeps me from doing it is that IG allows me to connect with several art communities that are very niche and not present elsewhere, at least in such large numbers. In particular, the dolling community, which is vibrant, but small, and it’s difficult to find most of its members in one place anywhere else (except for one very toxic not-to-be-named forum which deleted my account. If you know, you know). Since most of the doll community is art-focused and does customizing, painting, sewing, etc., there are quite a lot of them there, and tagging features makes it really easy for us to find each other. I really hate giving that up, though I may start to look for connections in other places moving forward. Pinterest has a similar presence, but since they do almost as much ad-targeting and tracking, so I’m not sure if that’s much of an improvement, or if I’m just replacing one evil with another. I will say I’ve been posting less these days, though, since I’m just too disgusted to engage with IG’s BS most of the time.

Not that I’m against being the change or anything, but it’s usually a lonely enterprise until others show up.