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Goodbye Twitter?

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 14th January 2013

No Twitter logoJon Newton writes:

Goodbye Twitter

Twitter […] has become a hard-core marketing vehicle, with all that implies.
[…]
With several hicups and false I’ve been posting on identi.ca for quite a while; but I can’t see any point in continuing with Twitter.

On identi.ca I can at least be fairly certain people are following because they’re genuinely interested 🙂

That’s a principled, honourable, and brave move.

I’m as strong an advocate of Free, Libre, and Open Source Software as anyone, but I’m still making use of Twitter because of the network effects — there are so many people I find interesting on Twitter that the pain of using it is less than the benefit. On the other hand, the people I find interesting don’t use Identi.ca because there aren’t enough other interesting people there…

Of course, I’m not seeing much of the promotional material on Twitter because I use other software such as Pidgin and Mustard to view the messages. More F/LOSS applications to keep me safe from commercialism.

Another reason I probably won’t abandon Twitter altogether is because I’m also an advocate of keeping a (low) profile on the mainstream services (such as Facebook and Google Plus), simply to prevent others from acquiring my username and hijacking my identity. So I only post to Identi.ca, but Identi.ca sends those messages to Twitter automatically, and again I don’t have to deal with Twitter’s rampant commercialism.

Hopefully your good example will encourage me (and others) to take the next step and reject Twitter completely. You’ve given me something to think about.

–Bob.

No Twitter Logo is based on twitter-logo by The Daring Librarian, modified by Bob Jonkman. Used and re-licensed under CC BY-SACreative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic — CC BY-SA 2.0.

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GNU/Linux resources in Kitchener-Waterloo

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 4th June 2012

Drawing of Tux the Penguin, mascot of the Linux kernel

Tux the Penguin, official mascot of the Linux kernel

More GNU/Linux Resources

People have asked me about GNU/Linux resources in K-W, so here are some of them, gathered in one convenient place. This is by no means an exhaustive list (yet). If you know of others, please let me know in the comments.

KW Linux Users Group — http://kwlug.org
The KWLUG mailing list for general discussion is where all the action is, along with a “Help” list for specific questions. Microblogging as @kwlug and !kwlug on Identi.ca and also @kwlug on Twitter.
Ubuntu Canada KW chapter — https://wiki.ubuntu.com/CanadianTeam/KitchenerWaterloo
There’s a low traffic Ubuntu-CA-KW mailing list. Microblogging on Twitter as @ubuntuwaterloo and on Identi.ca as @ubuntuwaterloo too, with a group at !ubuntucakw. Some members can also be found on the IRC channel #ubuntu-ca-kw on Freenode.net.

Ubuntu-CA-KW has regular Ubuntu Hours in Kitchener (first Friday of the month) and Waterloo (third Wednesday of the month) announced on Identi.ca, Twitter, and sometimes the mailing list.

Ubuntu Canada — https://wiki.ubuntu.com/CanadianTeam
Again, the Ubuntu Canada mailing list is where the action is, but there is also a web forum and the Ubuntu-ca.org website. Check out the Ubuntu Canada events listing. There’s an !ubuntuca group on Identi.ca, and many people can be found on the IRC channel #ubuntu-ca on Freenode.net.
Computer Recycling — http://theworkingcentre.org/at/comp_recycling/comp_recycling.html
Computer Recycling at The Working Centre sells refurbished computers pre-installed with GNU/Linux, and offers a repair shop with staff and volunteers who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about GNU/Linux. Every Saturday is Ubuntu Day: 10:00am to 4:00pm, Hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm, at 66 Queen St. S. in Kitchener (use the entrance on Charles St).
Kwartzlab — http://kwartzlab.ca
You’ll also want to keep an eye on Kwartzlab, the local makerspace where many of the Ubuntu events are held. There’s a discussion mailing list for members and non-members alike. Visit the workshop on Tuesday Open Night, 7:00pm to 10:00pm at 283 Duke St. W., Kitchener.
Watcamp Calendar — http://watcamp.com

Also check the Watcamp calendar for other GNU/Linux and many other tech events happening in the Waterloo area.

That should keep you going…

Bob Jonkman can be your GNU/Linux resource

Bob Jonkman <bjonkman@sobac.com>         http://sobac.com/sobac/
SOBAC Microcomputer Services              Voice: +1-519-669-0388
6 James Street, Elmira ON  Canada  N3B 1L5  Cel: +1-519-635-9413
Software   ---   Office&  Business Automation   ---   Consulting

Update 6 June 2012: Clarified microblogging names and groups

Image of Tux by Larry Ewing, copied from Wikimedia Commons. Permission to use and/or modify this image is granted provided you acknowledge Larry Ewing lewing@isc.tamu.edu and The GIMP if someone asks.

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The Verdict on Google Plus: Mostly Harmless

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 13th October 2011

Don't Panic, They're Only Vogons

Don't Panic, They're Only Vogons by Patrick Hoesly

After dissing Google Plus I was persuaded to try it out for a while before rendering a verdict. So now it’s been over two months, and my verdict is: Mostly Harmless.

When I get home after a hard day of working with a computer, I sit down for a pleasant evening of relaxation with a computer. I read my e-mail, read the news, and read the microblogs. I subscribe to 55 people on Identi.ca, and I follow 84 people on Twitter. Those 139 people generate sufficient 140 character messages to keep me reading until bedtime and beyond.

But on my Google Plus account, I have 27 people in my circles. Those 27 people create a lot of large messages. In fact, they generate a lot more content than my 139 Identicats and Tweeple, since Google Plus puts no limit on the size of messages.

22 of the 27 people are in my Tech Circle. But instead of receiving only technical content from these people, they’re posting messages about vacations, favourite bands, philosophy, and yes, pictures of cats.  Now, this happens on the microblogs too, but on a microblog it’s limited to 140 characters, and I can ignore them.  On Google Plus the posts are much longer, have pictures attached, comments from other people, and those ubiquitous “John Q. Public originally shared this post” and “Click to +1 this post”.  Google Plus does not have the tools to filter messages by content, or even a method to collapse a conversation thread.

There’s no Atom/RSS feed, so I can’t use my preferred feed reader to analyze, sort and organize my Google Plus message stream. And I don’t know of any third-party applications to read, write and manage content on Google Plus. Google Plus does allow the export of all its content, under Account Settings, Data Liberation. Contact info is in the standard vCard format, suitable for importing into addressbooks.

Kudos to Google for giving users useful control of their data. Still, Google also has access to that data, and continues to collect ever more. In the past I’ve recommended Google Mail as a preferred no-cost e-mail host. Recently Google has taken to verifying new users by requiring them to supply a phone number. Google then sends a text message for the user to enter into the registration form. This is a level of data collection that I find creepy, and so I no longer recommend Google Mail.

Finally, to top it all off are the Google Nymwars. Much has been written about why Google’s policy of requiring real names is wrong-headed. Some people whom I might follow have stopped using Google Plus because of the nymwar controversy. I think I’ll be joining them in disdaining Google Plus.

  • Google Minus: Banality of user content (not Google’s fault)
  • Google Minus: Lack of management tools
  • Google Plus: User control over data
  • Google Minus: Google control over data
  • Google Minus: Nymwars

I think that Google Plus is not the Facebook Killer the folks in Mountain View want it to be.



The image 740 – Towel Day – Pattern by Patrick Hoesly is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

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