Software death

Over on Rubenerd aone of the last remaining bloggers, Ruben is upset about the death of his favourite feed reader, the Digg Reader.

First of all, who knew Digg still had products that people wanted to use. Second, I'm sort of in the same boat myself. Having just killed my Facebook account, while simultaneously soul searching about what I really want from social media, I've thought that maybe I can go back to consuming RSS feeds like I used to.

Only, I've logged into my self-hosted instance of Fever and fired up the beautifully made Press only to discover that Fever was shuttered and Press hasn't been updated since 2014. Which isn't a huge deal for now, as both still work (although Press can't be found without a direct link), and they both work as well as they did two or three years ago when I stopped using them. The problem is - if I start using them again, relying on them like I used to rely on Google Reader (or as Rubenerd relied on Digg Reader) what will happen when they finally actually die like they inevitably will?

Ruben added a pretty exhaustive list of self hosted software including feed readers, which I will certainly go through and take a look at, but teasing out the right replacement is going to be a pain considering I need to ensure:

  • The software works well and is pretty (I can't pretend I can use functional ugly software).
  • There's an equally well made Android client so I can read on the bus.
  • I can install it on my rudimentary cPanel hosting that may or may not allow Ruby/Python etc, but will handle PHP like a champ.

And finally, breaking out of my dot-points into a fully fledged paragraph - I'm not certain a plain feed reader is going to cut it for me any more. When I said I'd been thinking about what I want from social media, I realised that Facebook was not doing it for me because it was full of the opinions of my friends and family, and not a lot more. People might have been posting stuff, but the Facebook algorithm was letting me down, and only showing me page after page of stuff I just wasn't interested in bno offence everyone!.

On the flip side, I use Reddit a lot, and the thing that has me wasting hours of my life there is that it surfaces the quality stuff that thousands, or tens of thousands of people have upvoted from thousands of different communities all in one place. So I can flip from reading a joke, to watching a Russian dashcam, to poring over an article about some new scientific discovery all from a single app. It means I'm not reading the same type of stuff over and over cok, yes I'm not counting reposted content here, but a massive and diverse range of opinion and types of content from all over the world. And I just don't think there are any other sites quite like it.

Again, there's nothing that means I need to replace Reddit today either, just like I don't need to ditch the feed reader that's still working, but I also didn't have to ditch Facebook when I did. But I truly believe as responsible modern citizens we need to make better choices about where our software takes us, and the technology we use to get there. Part of that is to stop using stuff that frustrates us, when the only reason we keep doing it is because everyone else is.

So I'm looking for the next Reddit, the next Facebook and the next feed reader all in one. Something that can keep me in touch with people I know and love, but also give me more of what other people I don't know find funny or sad or inspiring. If something like this already exists, please let me know. If not, I'll be waiting over here using technology that just hasn't figured out its days are numbered.

Asides   [ + ]

a. one of the last remaining bloggers
b. no offence everyone!
c. ok, yes I'm not counting reposted content here

Unfriendly

I haven't properly "blogged" here in so very long. With so many other social sites around like the Facebloops and the whatnots, it's seemed a little pointless putting anything up here where no one would read it. I could post a pic of my kids on that site that everyone has an account for and get a bunch of interactions there instead, so putting the effort into this site seemed pointless.

The sheer lazyness of it is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg is counting on. Posting on Facebook takes no effort, it's simple, and your pictures and rants and low effort posting gets seen and liked and commented on, and no one ever wants to leave, unless they held out for years and never joined in the first place. And if you want to chat to your mum, or your wife through anything other than SMS, are you really going to make them install something else like Telegram instead of just using Messenger?

But I can't be lazy any more. I quit Twitter years ago (and finally deleted it a week ago), and this week I'm quitting Facebook. All the cool kids are doing it, but none of the cool kids I know do, so I'm the dumbass who has to look like a hipster wannabe rebel and close down my account. So I'm not "closing" it - I've simply deleted most of what information there was about me, unfriended everyone, and left a public message that people should email me or visit my site here from now on. I hope people don't get too offended. I've already been told off my my wife for removing the fact that we're married from her profile... I probably didn't think through some of the side effects here.

I'm really sorry everyone

I'm holding out for something new and federated. Something where I can own my data, but still share it in a way that's easy and lets old friends and family I never get to see know I'm alive. There are promising beginnings out there, but they all suffer from not being easy to set up, or not having enough people, or just plain not being what I'm really looking for. And no, Slack isn't it - it's just as closed and proprietary as Facebook.

If you've come here from Facebook to see what I'm doing or get in touch, you can email me. My personal email is Josh (my name) at demands.coffee - I know it doesn't look like an email address, but trust me it is. And if you want to instant message me, download and add me on Telegram - it's the closest thing to Facebook Messenger I've found that actually cares about privacy, security of your messages, and is just plain useful. And if you're really paranoid, I've got a Wickr account too.

Wizballin’



Wiz the Wizard and Nifta the cat

Big 840×420 version of the pixelised Wiz and Nifta from Wizball, my favourite game as a kid.

The Christmas Playlist That Doesn’t Suck (2017)

Space santa

I've scoured Soundcloud to find the best Christmas music I could find. It's chock full of Christmas favourites that are guaranteed to:

  1. Bring Christmas cheer
  2. Not suck

This years playlist includes:

Jingle Bells, Ding Dong Merrily on High, The First Noel, the only version of Jingle Bell Rock that doesn't make me want to cancel Christmas, Silent Night, and sixteen more classics reimagined in ways that don't suck.

The whole Christmas Playlist That Doesn't Suck (2017) is up on Soundcloud right now, go have a listen!

Thank you to all the artists who have shared their Christmas songs on SoundCloud for the rest of us!

The Christmas Playlist That Doesn’t Suck (2016)

Christmas on Skaro

I've scoured Soundcloud to find the best Christmas music I could find. It's chock full of Christmas favourites (and a few new ones) that are guaranteed to:

  1. Bring Christmas cheer
  2. Not suck

This years playlist includes:

We Wish You A Merry Christmas, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, Joy To The World, Santa Clause Is Coming To Town, Mele Kalikimaka, Wonderful Christmastime, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, We Three Kings, Drummer Boy, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Home Alone Theme, Marshmallow World, White Christmas, Away In A Manger, Always In The Season, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, The Grinch, Let It Snow, Sleigh Ride, O Come All Ye Faithful, The First Noel, Jingle Bells, as well as four originals.

The whole Christmas Playlist That Doesn't Suck (2016) is up on Soundcloud right now, go have a listen!

Thank you to all the artists who have shared their Christmas songs on SoundCloud for the rest of us!

I footnotes