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Got to say goodbye to the bird site

I’m a tad annoyed that Twitter didn’t think me scary enough to ban. I am smol and wik.

I have to get off of there, though. It’s making me nuts. But I’m not quite ready to walk away from social media entirely.

I don’t think I’m a great fit with Gab. I’m not exactly the demographic. I didn’t like Parler when it existed – the interface was klunky and slow. I’m not sure changing what basket we put all our eggs in is the right way to go.

I’m exploring the nerdy open-source apps like Mastodon or Pleroma. (The two can talk to each other). They have a refreshingly ‘old Internet’ feel about them.

They’re decentralized, which has to be the direction we move in to get out of this mess. The way it works is, anyone can set up a Mastodon node (called an “instance”). The interface looks like Tweetdeck, with multiple columns. One column is system messages and your blank message form. One column is for your notifications. One column shows what people you follow are saying (“tooting” in the local lingo, which makes me smirk). And one column can either be your local instance feed, or the federated feed.

The “fediverse” is what they call the loose association of machines that communicate with each other. You can follow anyone in the Fediverse, in theory.

In practice, though, each instance makes up its own rules, sometimes really restrictive rules, and can block whole other instances (and therefore the people on them). And Mastodon, being new tech, is dominated by young people who are either far left or, at best, shitposting libertarians. The tools for finding other instances are really terrible – mostly just great long lists.

It’s really important that you find an instance that is well suited to you. I haven’t managed. I will let you know how the search goes.


Comment from p2
Time: January 11, 2021, 9:50 pm

Social media is, IMHO, most of our problem. Mostly undereducated or totally misinformed yahoos spouting drivel which gets respouted and becomes “duh troot.” Its a massive game of “telephone” (if you’re as old as I, you’ll get the reference) with zero accountability and virtually no fact review. Needs to go away.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 11, 2021, 9:55 pm

Yeah, I remember telephone. And I agree with you that social media is making people crazy. Twitter’s design is particularly crazy-making.

But I do remember the original excitement of USENET, when I realized I was communicating in realtime with people all over the world. I’m a little hooked on it.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: January 11, 2021, 10:41 pm

@P2 – indeed, the ignorant dumbass whackjob people we once ‘tolerated’ on street corners who wore sandwich boards and screamed about “the end of the world” now have a very sophisticated video and audio system that spans the globe provided they’re screaming the right things.

And every other howling looney who either thinks, or wants, ‘the end’ to be near joins in the howling mob chorus.

And since the chorus is now promising free food and drinks and houses at someone else’s expense (Tax that guy behind the tree!) it’s growing louder as the basement dwelling mama’s boys and girls come to believe they’re going to get their cash, house and food from ‘someone’ if they can just implement this socialism thing.

Never Tweeted, or Faced, and never will.
People who used this stuff sold Zuckerborg and crew their information for ‘free’ and now it’s the rope they’re being hung with.

They wouldn’t want me anyway, I’m a deplorable white male insurrectionist.

Wheezy, yep it’s just USENET with video, audio, faster and with a better set of interfaces. And this is now a real time, real life, flame war.

Comment from p2
Time: January 12, 2021, 1:12 am

I remember going to Speaker’s Corner in London when my buds & i would run down there on the weekends. It was always worth a listen just to hear what kind of vitriol was being about Maggie. Eerily similar to all the Orange Man Bad stuff over the ladt 4 years if memory serves.

Comment from BJM
Time: January 12, 2021, 1:46 am

@P2…It’s even eerier, as many now realize, Maggie was right…so was the Donald.

Stoaty’s absolutely right too, we have to leave centralized platforms and allow the internecine flame wars to commence.

No one will use any of today’s online giants platforms/apps any more than they use Usenet, Compuserv, Yahoo, Netscape, AOL, The Well or GENie.

The Well got very ugly, with the mods unable or unwilling to control flame wars, and when the ban hammers came down, it was over in the blink of an eye as users split. So shall the bird app and its ilk fall…by the weight of their own hubris.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: January 12, 2021, 2:25 am

So, here’s the deal…I am old enough to remember my basic computer classes in high school using punch cards. I once learned PASCAL and Cobalt. I don’t remember a bit of that stuff anymore as I made my living in healthcare. I now buy Apple products because I’m pudgy and lazy and just want to plug shit in and have it all work and talk together. So when this site goes somewhere please be kind enough to leave me a breadcrumb at the e-mail address that I type in the boxes to be able to post here…😁

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: January 12, 2021, 12:04 pm

PASCAL – heh.
@Armybrat – my PASCAL instructor in ’78 told us that COBOL was a dead language.
I retired last year, still writing COBOL code, and never wrote a lick of PASCAL code for business 🙂

But they can’t delete SWeasel! How the heck would we learn neat things we never knew we needed to know?

Comment from drew458
Time: January 12, 2021, 2:23 pm

Cobalt? COBOL maybe. And Fortran. Ah, those were the days, when digital resources were dear and programming was art, not a loosely glued up stack of pre-made building blocks, assembled against the corporate time clock, built to run in an infinite environment.

Yeah, like anybody out there can handle data structures, do the Dining Philosopher’s problem, or understand pointers or recursive algorithms. It’s all just shake the box stuff these days.

Pascal, the “learn to code” language by Nick Wirth, spawned generations of languages, like Ada and Modula-2. The JAVA the youngsters use today is just simplified automated Pascal.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: January 12, 2021, 2:25 pm

Yeah, COBOL is very much still around and is at the heart of a lot of business back office stuff. I made a nice bit of extra bux in the two years or so of the Y2K panic doing COBOL program fixes for stupid assumptions about how many digits you needed to store a date.

But I think I’ve got any other old coders here beat: I have programmed computers using wires and plug boards. Neener!

As for social media, the sweasel.com paradigm works just fine for me. Those other things are socialist media for the most part, and their business model isn’t much more ethical as, “Would you like a piece of candy, little girl? Here, climb into my van.”

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: January 12, 2021, 2:32 pm


Stoaty, your nice little Flash running weasel has finally gone to his mustelid great reward. He was still alive yesterday, Jan. 11, but as of today he is happily slinking about in the Heavenly Chicken Coop. Very sad.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: January 12, 2021, 3:30 pm

@Uncle Al – yeah, you got me beat, we learned ‘how’ to wire them, but I never used it in the wild outside of school. I used to see the plug boards stacked in the back room of the first data center I worked in, that’s as close as I ever got to them (thank “The Thing”).

My oldest was using Hollerith cards, and toggling in the commands for the system to load the OS off the tape drive on a Tandem T-16 (mini-computers! bah! they’ll never catch on!)

And hey! You know darn well data space in ‘core’ and disk was expensive man! 4 digit dates are cheap and easy now, but pricey in storage back there in the dawn of time! We had a whole 32k of data space we could keep around in ‘memory’ to play with, overlays, etc. and moving it over comm lines at 1200 Baud? OMG! Imagine HTML or XML over lines running at 1200!

Never did insurance processing, only banking, so we used to look at a date and anything, say, > 74 (arbitrary depended on what we were coding for) was assumed to be 1975-1999 and any date < 75 was 2000-2074. It worked for most of the bank apps, wire transfers, etc that I worked on.

Y2k cracked me up – like a power plant, etc, was going to shut down if it suddenly discovered it had been transported back in time to 01/01/00.

And even if it did, okay, LIE to it till you can put a code fix in. Tell it today's date is 12/01/99.

I realize now it was the first opportunity for the media to practice writing FEAR PORN on a global scale.

Comment from Blake (bitmaelstrom)
Time: January 12, 2021, 4:57 pm

Well, the Mastodon link begins with a big list of “no -ism”s so that’s probably not for me. Platform’s all I want. Let me manage the rest.

Decentralizing is going to be critical. P2P maybe moreso. I’m looking at Urbit, elastOS…

And I’ve made a TON of money writing Pascal business code, but I’m a bit younger than some of you apparently. I never used Hollerith cards but my parents used them as coasters… 😉

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: January 12, 2021, 5:00 pm

Paint em green and gold, bend, staple, ta-da, Christmas wreaths.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: January 12, 2021, 5:07 pm

But hey! Global Warming in SPAIN!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 12, 2021, 5:55 pm

That’s just for using Mastodon’s own instance, Blake. As I said, it’s mostly left-themed topical stuff. LBTQ+ and the like, plus lots of programming-related instances.

There *are* conservative instances. I’ve found one, but I’m not confident I want to promote it yet.

Comment from Blake (bitmaelstrom)
Time: January 12, 2021, 6:07 pm


I need to research. I’m going to set up something.

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