posts tagged with the keyword ‘freedom’

2011.09.01

Blogging Monster!

It’s great to see posts like this one from Hugh MacLeod: “Reclaim Blogging”: Why I’m giving up Twitter and Facebook, mainly because he highlights a few key points that freedom loving people everywhere should identify with:

…Over on Twitter and Facebook, it’s not your content, it’s their content.

The content on your blog, however, belongs to you, and you alone. People come to your online home, to hear what you have to say, not to hear what everybody else has to say. This sense of personal sovereignty is important.

I’m fine with people using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, etc… I use them all too, but much of what I do on those services involves driving people here to my blog. And it’s not about eyeballs and revenue as much as it’s about sovereignty, longevity, freedom, and identity. Since starting in 1997, things like Friendster, and Vox, and even Myspace, have risen and fallen. I didn’t get locked into any of them. I didn’t choose LiveJournal, or Pitas, or any of the other hosted services out there, but chose to have my own domain, and put my stake in the ground here. And today I can still link to a post I wrote 14 years ago, and it’s there. It hasn’t disappeared due to some third party shutting down a service, or a startup running out of funding. It’s there because I kept it there, and I kept it safe.

I think now is a good time to remind people why we all got into blogging in the first place, all those years ago. I think now is a great time to “reclaim” blogging, so that is exactly what I’m doing. Here and now. Rock on.

And why did I get into blogging? I started in the personal publishing world in the mid-1980s when zines printed on paper was the best you could do… Once the web came along, I saw the potential, and jumped on it. The Internet is a world-wide publishing platform where the distribution costs are close enough to zero to make it available to anyone. Think about it. Think about it in terms of publishing in the 19th or early 20th century…That’s pretty damn powerful.

So remember kids, if you’ve got a blog, keep it up… if you abandoned it, reclaim it… and if you don’t have one, start one now.

2011.06.28

Mozilla

Dave is a cranky old man, and I say that in the nicest possible way, because really, I’m one too. Cranky old men like things the way they like them, and sometimes that means, the way they were before you damn kids came and messed everything up. And you did, really, you did.

Dave is not happy with the Mozilla folks and their Firefox browser.

Personally, I don’t think browsers are done or feature-complete yet. I say this because I’m dealing with developing web sites, with HTML5, with the <audio> and <video> tags, with codecs, with multiple computers/devices, etc. and it’s not perfect yet. Firefox 4 was a welcome upgrade from Firefox 3.x in my mind. Speed increases, Mozilla Sync, and a few other features were worth the small inconveniences I faced along the way. (Granted, I was running the beta for more than 6 months on one machine, so I wasn’t surprised by anything new.)

I’d admit that I am definitely a fan of Mozilla. I may even know a few people who still work there, but I’m not a Mozilla developer, or part of their marketing department, I’m just someone who wants to see them succeed.

And why do I want to see Mozilla succeed? If you notice the graphic above it says “We Believe in an Open Web” and while Apple and Google both have browsers, they’re both in a constant battle for mindshare and eyeballs, and ultimately are interested in making a profit. Mozilla is a non-profit organization that (and I hope I don’t sound naive) has an interest in keeping the web open and free. (I didn’t even mention Microsoft because they only make a browser for one single platform, and it’s a platform I don’t even use, except for testing.)

I’m a fan of freedom, and ultimately I believe that freedom (on the web) is better served by Mozilla than by Apple or Google. I fear the closing of that freedom, and think that supporting Mozilla may help prevent it.

And oh, the beauty of open source! If Dave really wants the keep using Firefox 3.x, there is nothing stopping him. It’s open source. The code is available. Hell, look at what the TenFourFox team is doing. You want Firefox 3.6 to live on forever? Start working on it, or hire some developers. This may not be entirely realistic, but it is completely possible.

I should note something here about Mozilla providing Firefox (software) for free versus Osbourne selling computers (hardware) for money. Maybe I’ll fill it in later.

Years ago when things were looking grim for the web, I always though some company would come out with a web browser that would do away with the ‘View Source’ command. I mean, sure, Chrome hides it, but Apple finally managed to get rid of it with Mobile Safari. Ugh, Mobile Safari… I wish I could run Firefox on an iOS device. This closing of the web concerns me.

I know all the cool kids abandoned Firefox, but to me, that’s like abandoning freedom, and I just can’t see doing that yet…

2010.08.21

Google is Busy!

To suggest that Google is busy would be an understatement.

You might even suggest that if they have their fingers in a lot of different things, that they are some multi-armed, thousand-fingered monster, trying to take over and control the entire web…

But I’m sure that’s not the case…

Happy Browsing!

2010.07.16

reclaim

The BarCampMadison folks are gearing up for August 28, 2010, and they’ve got something called Google Moderator in place to gauge interest in topics. I’d never heard of Google Moderator, but you see, I’m learning already… way to go BarCamp!

I’ve proposed a session titled “Reclaim What’s Yours… Take Back Your Data!” (You can vote on it if you like.) The idea is such… We spend a lot of time putting out data into other people’s streams, be it Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Delicious, Last.fm, and on and on… Our input makes these sites exist, and really, what would they be without us, the users, the contributors, the lifeblood of these sites.

Call it “user generated content” or “Social Media” or whatever… The fact is, you are probably creating content and giving it to others. Does that data still belong to you once you post it on those sites? Do you have the rights to it? How do you get it back? That’s the topic… That’s the problem… I have a few solutions, but I’m guessing others do as well.

That’s my idea…. What do you think?

2010.07.08

I’ve had a renewed interest in my data lately, and that’s manifested itself in making sure I’ve got copies of my data. Those bits and pieces we so easily create on other web site? I want them. I want them “here”, where here is under my own control, on my own site, my own server, not just living in the cloud somewhere, at the whim of some 3rd party.

Twitter - Since Sept 2006 See, I’ve been using Twitter for a long time… since September 2006 supposedly. I’d love to go back and see what my first dozen tweets look like, but Twitter doesn’t allow that. I’ve been kicking myself for not saving all of that data since the beginning, but with micro-content you tend to think that a. It’s tiny, so it doesn’t matter, and b. It’ll always be there. We’ve learned (time and time again) that this isn’t the case.

About 2 years ago I was doing some Drupal work and set up an aggregator to ingest my Twitter feed, which managed to back up a large portion of my tweets, but not all of them. It was more experimenting with Drupal than trying to create a good backup. Still, I was slightly happier knowing I had some sort of archive. I still wanted something that would display my own content (tweets) on my own site.

I then found Tweet Nest. Developed by Andy Graulund (@graulund) it’s a simple open source PHP/MySQL application that does just what I wanted. It grabs your tweets from Twitter using the API, and stores and displays them on your own site. Perfect!

Tweet Nest : @raster The install was pretty painless, and I actually spent more time customizing the CSS (and I’m still not happy with what I came up with.) Of course two days after I installed it, it appeared to stop working. But alas, no worries, it was just a “rate limit freakout” with the Twitter API. After that, things have been smooth.

Tweet Nest also did a great job of grabbing all of my tweets as far back as October 2009. Not quite back to September 2006, but I’m starting to think that will never happen. But, I did manage to get tweets as far back as March 2008, thanks to another service called Backupify. Now I’ve got to find a good way to load the data into Tweet Nest, and I’ll have most (but not all) of my tweets stored on my own site.

You can find my archived tweets at rasterweb.net/micro, and just like my recent Delicious/Scuttle/bookmarks exploration, I now feel that much better about my data. (But I’m not stopping there. The next project may take quite a bit more hacking on my part, but it’s another one that’s long overdue.)

So go check out Tweet Nest if you want an application on your own server, or Backupify if you just want a nice, secure backup.

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