Data Ownership

  • Mastodon is the latest “Twitter replacement”. Yesterday I said on Twitter that something described as its “bigger flaw” seems no big deal to me. Here I explain why. I had never heard of Mastodon until 2 days ago, when I wrote that yes, even Nazis can use it. Yesterday I found this comment on BoingBoing to a more complete article by Sean Bonner. The Boingboing comment ends with this quote:
  • On February 28th, 2017, a “cockup at Amazon facility in Virginia, US” caused its S3 cloud storage to fail. This fault led to “major websites and services - including Imgur, Medium, Trello, Yahoo webmail, the Docker Registry Hub.. falling offline, losing images, or left running like treacle. Basically, that outage “knackered half the internet, it seems, because it all relies on S3 to store data online”. Just to stress: this is one S3 region that has become inaccessible, yet web apps are tripping up and vanishing as their backend evaporates away.
  • On the left: the “new” Nokia cell phone. On the right: why they may be a HUGE commercial success. The phone on the left is a reboot of the Nokia 3310 model, “the most reliable phone ever made”. That article calls it “dumbphone” because… it should be, as its direct ancestor, a real, serious mobile phone. A mobile phone, that is, that: receives and makes phone calls, SMS and nothing more should be “nearly indestructible” (compared to modern “smartphones”, at least) wouldn’t know what to do with a Wi-Fi signal, no matter how strong but… has a battery that will last one month on one charge will connect even from the bottom of a cave, if there is a base station in a radius of 2 KM… costs only 59 Euros The screenshots on the right outline the excellent reasons why many people may want to buy that phone, or one like that, as soon as possible: switch to a phone like that and you will be able to hand over your phone without problems to any border guard, anywhere.
  • I had (at least) three big reasons to be at the fOSSa 2015 conference, a couple of weeks ago. Two already covered elsewhere and one, “Citizen Cloud: Towards a more decentralized internet?”, that deserves its own separate post. Before getting to that, however, let me quickly remind the first two reasons: first, I and Wouter Tebbens had to present a great research project we of the Free Knowledge Institute are working on, that is Digital Do-It-Yourself (DiDIY).
  • (please note that this was just the second part of this other post!) Don’t you see that the percloud could never be as secure, performant, flexible etc as [some other project]? Of course it couldn’t. It doesn’t even try to, it just aims to be actually used by many people. I propose it as an intermediate step towards such solutions, that it is absolutely necessary to provide as soon as possible.
  • Fargo is (I’m really simplifying here!) Open Source software by Dave Winer that lets you build a blog out of files stored on your Dropbox online storage account. Ron Chester explains very well here why he is using the Fargo Web publishing system. I find particularly important, and a must-read for many “sophisticated” users of the current popular social networks, his explanation of why it’s pretty dumb to publish anything more relevant than pictures of your last breakfast on Facebook:
  • Sometimes support comes in the most unexpected ways. Today the NSA, the super-secret spy agency that intercepts countless digital communications worldwide, greatly helped me, by providing evidence that a little project of mine is a really great idea that is sorely needed NOW.Thanks NSA. I mean it. And the reason is that (full story here): the NSA is gathering contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world’s e-mail and instant messaging accounts.
  • Shortly after launching my proposal for a personal, p2p replacement of Facebook, Gmail and similar services I was contacted by the developers of Cozy Cloud. We had a very interesting discussion, which ended with their proposal to write a post for their blog, to explain what similarities, differences and possible synergies I see between the two projects. Here I am, looking forward to your feedback! (this post had been sent on 2013/10/08 to the cozycloud team for immediate publication on their blog.
  • I just got an email by somebody asking how the Free Software alternative to corporate social networks that I call percloud would work. I answered that…In a certain sense, we may compare a percloud to a traditional FTP server on which you would upload your posts, pictures and so on, in order to make them available from any computer or smartphone with an FTP client or Web browser, to you and every other Internet user else with the right permissions.