The FCC Net Neutrality decision on Dec. 14th, 2017 (*) has rightly caused a lot of outrage, and concrete reactions, both political (e.g. petitions) and technical (if you have no idea yet of why you too should be worried, please read this first). Several contacts of mine have asked me what I think of those technical reactions. Here’s what.
Email is a crucial, basic service that is almost impossible to not use these days, but the way email is normally used these days has serious limits. The most common answer I get when I try to explaine those limits is some variation of “you may be right, but… I’m not I software programmer and never will, so I have no choice but to use what’s around”. This is wrong. I already run my own email server and I never had to compile or write any software in order to do it. I only had to study some configuration options and set them properly. While I did that configuration by manually editing text files, the same operations could be done in a window of any browser.
(this is the second part of an interview to Tony Baechler about the usability of Free Software by vision-impaired users).
As I wrote in the Online Loser Guide, Internet is a wonderful thing, but should be used with lots of attention. Following the flow without thinking you just risk to contribute to lots of confusion, as shown in the example below (which is quite recent, even if for several reasons I was unable to publish it earlier).
The online petition of the week, at least in Europe, is called “Internet for Democracy - Shut Down the Europarliament. Now!”. I will not sign it, and I recommend everybody to do the same. However, I do suggest that everybody reads it because it’s about very general issues that you should really, really think about.
We regularly hear from prime time news or urban legends how Internet is some sort of Big Brother (the real one…) able to track and report to some more or less hidden controllers everything we do online, to the point that what was once called privacy is dead.
The Online Loser Guide that I just wrote was born also as a reaction to a vision of the Internet (haven for perverted and terrorists, huge time-wasting toy or mere work tool) very limited and narrow-minded. A proof that the effects of digital technologies are much deeper is in how they are influencing the religious sphere, in ways still largely ignored by traditional, mainstream media and by many blogs. The following paragraphs contain some evidence of this trend in Catholicism, but I’d guess that the same general concept is valid for any other religion (more on this at the end).