Category Archives: social networking

Using Mastodon Social Media

Here are a few quick notes to help some friends understand Mastodon as a replacement for Twitter.

  • You know how you can get text messages on your phone from people who have different kinds of phones and use different cellular providers? That’s how Mastodon works. People run lots of Mastodon servers. Some are big, some are small, but they all speak the same language. You can sign up on one server and still follow and interact with people on other servers.
  • Finding the server you want to start on may be the most difficult part right now. I found one related to roleplaying games. There are hundreds of them, but only a few show up on the Mastodon Social website.
  • If the server you are on decides to shut down, you can easily transfer your whole Mastodon account and everything to another server. It it built into the system.
  • Different servers have different rules. No one person owns all the servers. No one can buy Mastodon.
  • The web interface for Mastodon looks a lot like Tweet Deck if you switch it to the “advanced” version. You can set up columns for the post that happen locally on that server, for the people you follow, for a list of people your follow or a list based on topic. You can follow the entire universe (Fediverse) of Mastodon tweets if you want (I don’t). This allows you to curate your feed.
  • There is no algorithm in Mastodon deciding what you should see.
  • There are no suggestions of stupid shit.
  • If someone you follow boosts (retweets) stuff you don’t want to see, you can set it so that you don’t see boosts from that person.

The mobile app does not allow as much customization, but it is still better than Twitter for most of the reasons above.

Here’s a screenshot of my Mastodon page (below). I’m using it mostly to follow people in the tabletop RPG world. Those on my home server show up in the Local Timeline. Those I follow on other servers are all in a list of “Gamers Elsewhere” I created, and show up in that column. You can change the order of the columns, turn them off, etc.


Opting Out

Before Trump, Twitter was already bad. It was already a forum for harassment, bullying, propogation of stupid ideas. Trump made it worse. He makes everything worse.

Wil Wheaton is right.

But I still have some personal agency left. Tonight I’m deleting both of my Twitter accounts, and never looking at it again. Not give the morons, scumbags, and evil fucks any more of my attention. Not letting it make me worse. My job is to get better. Always better. Always aim higher.

Facebook and Work

Here is a very good post on a friend’s blog, about Facebook and “friending” people at work. I think I am one of the people mentioned with a “no friends from work” policy.  At any rate, my friend brings up some very good points in this post, and it’s worth a read.


Try as I might, I just can’t get into social bookmarking/tagging. I have tried using, and digg, but I can not dig the deliciousness of either. I try to add appropriate tags to my blog posts, but that is it.

I’m not sure why. I like them. I think they are cool. But I just don’t use them.


Blogging, WordPress themes, and Good People

Now that I’m running this site on my own server (having moved from, I have a few things to say:

1) WordPress is bad ass. What a great blogging system to get for FREE. Killer. I love it. Why do I love it? Well, I’ve mentioned the spam control — that is huge. I also really like the availability of lots of themes, and the total ease with which those themes can be used. Did I mention that all this stuff is free?

2) In my blog roll, you’ll see This is the blog of my one-time coworker, Manton Reece. Manton is an independent Mac software developer. Besides being a cool guy and married to a very cool former classmate of mine, Manton knows lots of cool people, and he’ll often point to them in his blog posts. For example, this Red Sweater Blog. This is the blog of another independent Mac software developer. Why do I point to this site? Well, I really like the simple but effective layout of this blog. Like Manton’s blog, the layout is simple, attractive, and totally lacking in bullshit. It works.

Having searched for simple, effective WordPress themes, I can tell you that most are neither. A lot of developers want to show how crazy they can get, resulting in some seriously jacked themes. Red Sweater Man didn’t make this mistake. His blog looks good. It is readable. Me likee.

Manton’s blog has, again and again, pointed me to interesting and useful information. So Manton, if you’re reading this, thanks!

3) So I’m in the middle of moving all my other websites to Let me say this: moving large sites is a huge pain in the neck. Particularly moving — arrghhh — phpBB message forums. Moving large galleries of photos isn’t fun either. I have a pathetic DSL line here at home, and the upload speed is just snail-like. Can’t wait to get into a new house and get a nice, fast connection.

4) I’m seriously thinking about moving all the old videos from Bob’s Trick Tips over to this site, setting them up on an archive page, and shutting BTT down. After 8 years this is hard for me to do, but a) it simply isn’t making enough money to keep me interested, and b) I’m just not that interested in it anymore. I still want to do some trick tips videos, but I want to make them more advanced, as befits our current age of broadband internet access. Well, we’ll see. If I can move BTT with a mininum of headache, I keep it going. If it turns into a problem, it will evolve into part of this site.