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.


Enthusiasm returning for MacBook

After a rocky start with my MacBook experience, my enthusiasm is returning.

My previous computer was a 1999 G4, the first one they released, running some version of the 9.X.X operating system. Of course, for at least a couple of years it has been impossible to upgrade any software on it. So its nice to have the new OS.

The MacBook is very fast, and it isn’t even the “Pro” version. I got the 2 GHz, 13″ white machine. Everything runs fast. Connecting to our Canon digital camera, the iPhoto application quickly recognized the camera and downloaded 100 images very, very fast. Faster than our Dell Inspiron laptop, and tons faster than the old G4.

On thing I really love, however, is that it boots up and shuts down really quickly.

There’s a lot of really nice, free software available on the Apple site. One of the first things I needed was a good FTP program, for transferring large files to my various sites. I downloaded and tried Transmit. Like all the other software I’ve checked out, it has a clean and elegant user interface and works like a charm. I’m also going to check out Interarchy 8.5.

For the whole tagging/social-bookmarking thing, there’s an app called Socialist that I’m going to try. There are lots of RSS readers/aggregators available.

A few words about the customer experience: Assuming you get a machine without any little problems, Apple has created a very smoooooooth customer experience with the MacBook. When you boot the machine up for the first time, it gives you a really cool looking and sounding “welcome” message, and then guides you easily through some initial setup functions, where you enter your name and other information, create an account on the computer, etc. At this point the system introduces you to the built-in camera at the top of the screen, allowing you to take your picture for your account profile.

Blended into the process is a pitch for Apple’s online services — called “.mac” .mac provides email accounts, disk backup service, remote storage space, blog/website hosting, and some other stuff. It’s actually really cool, but it does cost about $100 year, so I did not sign up. My point here is that the whole experience of starting with these computers is so warm and cozy that you almost just want to sign up.

Anyway, I’ve really just started to explore the software the system comes with. iPhoto is really cool for managing your digital images. GarageBand looks like it will be fun, but there will be a learning curve.

So as long as the MacBook keeps working correctly, I think I’m going to like it.