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Tux Machines Improvements

roy rianne

OVER the past couple of weeks we have made major visual changes in Tux Machines, including modernisation that keeps up with new browser technologies like CSS3. Traffic in the site is growing fast and we hope to gain readers who are as passionate about Free software as we are.

Twitter is Dying, Twitter ‘Clones’ Died Long Ago

DYING is a crude term, I admit, but when something circles around the toilet’s spiral, then you know it’s inevitably dead. Based on some Web statistics I prefer not to name, while Twitter boasts expansion in the number of registered users (this number can hardly even decrease), it sure seems like fewer registered users log in or are being actively followed. This can be also felt by many existing (and sometimes long-lasting) users in the form of communication, participation, and “engagement” as marketing people like to call it. Before I joined Twitter I had posted a fair deal in Identi.ca, but ever since they moved to a new version of their software a lot of people jumped over to Google+ and other platforms. Having a lot of technical issues, including downtimes, contributed a lot to this. I am now the most prolific poster in Identi.ca, but how important is this platform anyway?

Now, some might say that Twitter et al. are the next MySpace. I would concur. And moreover, the likes of Facebook and Google+ are queued to follow. Facebook staff — not just outside investors — are reportedly dumping their stock this month. They would know. Yes, they see what’s going on inside Facebook.

My hope is that the next generation of social network will be self-hosted and communally-federated. The Diaspora project gives me hope that we already have the necessary code and some deployed platforms (pods) with reasonably good adoption.

Digg Stabs All Users in the Back, Deletes All Their Content, EVERYTHING!

THE site known as “Digg” did something worse than negligence; it’s destruction. The Digg which Kevin Rose had created sold us all out when it sold core assets for half a million dollars, apparently just meaning domain name (and no code that will actually be reused). FSDaily became bigger than Digg overnight. The site was sold to some NYC-based company, which as its first step decided to throw to the garbage can many people’s volunteer work (like over 10,000 submissions from me, over 13,000 comments from me, etc.). So perhaps hundreds of millions of pages are just gone, incinerated. This is a deja vu for me; Netscape/Propeller ended up just throwing away all the content because it doesn’t seem to make a profit for AOL.

The attitude here shows total disregard for the time and effort people have put into various Web site, never mind preservation of valuable public record.

For the disgusting decision made by the new owners of Digg.com, I honestly hope they quickly go out of business; no, not that they would go bankrupt and end up in the streets, just whatever can bring the old site back. What they do is unethical (they require Facebook for login, which in itself is comical) and they show zero respect for those who helped created Digg.com, at great cost to themselves and for no profit.

Looking Back at 5.5 Years of Techrights and 15,000 Posts

BACK in 2004 I set up this Web log where I posted every day, and almost without a single exception (usually I posted around 3 posts per day). It was only in 2006 that I started to focus on more specific issues and developed an expertise in particular subjects. Techrights was a lot more focused than this personal blog, which has not produced about 2,000 posts.

Last Thursday I crossed the 15,000-article milestone over at Techrights. It still serves a lot of requests owing (for the most part) to the huge archives. Now, just to clarify, there is also a lot of traffic in some other sites such as this one, but when I stopped writing on a regular basis here in schestowitz.com the traffic dropped from about 20,000 hits per day (gradual decline). I wrote 15,000 articles/posts in Techrights, which now serves about a quarter of a million hits per day (since 2010), giving me little reason to post in this personal blog any longer. At Techrights, over the course of 5+ years, I have been posting at the pace of almost 8 posts a day for 5 years (but at the highest points a lot more than the average, with a peak of 31 posts in one day).

Techrights has reached a sort of plateau now — a point where it stays about the same when it comes to traffic, despite expansion in content. The visitors count stopped growing some time around 2009 when I was entering Twitter and was on Twit TV, a TV show I was invited to be in for 1.5 hours or so, speaking for the site. These days I am busier with my jobs and my fiancée, but I still find a lot of time to dent, tweet, blog, and occasionally record shows (although not as much as of late because my co-host and I are exceedingly busy). Thanks to all those who are supporting my work and spreading the key points (even contributing time, HT to “wallclimber” among others). I will carry on doing this for a long time to come. Activism, to me, always comes first (well, family comes first, but it’s a close second).

2009

2012

My Most Common Blogging Platform: Palm OS

Palm Tungsten

A LOT of people may not know this, but most of my blogging I actually do from a proprietary operating system, Palm OS. I find little reason to write from home, so taking the text out with jpilot and my Palm Tungsten is what inspires me to write long posts such as this one. Much of Techrights is also being composed in Palm OS.

Why Palm Tungsten?

Well, it’s simple really. In one word: keyboard. As devices get smaller and smaller they often neglect to accommodate for productivity, so they resort to gimmicks like touch (which Palm had over a decade ago) and not a good, affordable foldable keyboard.

Is someone else blogging from a PDA?

Topic Exhaustion

There is this thing about blogging which almost everyone who blogs has experienced at one stage, especially after blogging a lot (in the past 5 years I wrote over 15,000 blog posts). There is an understandable reluctance to write about something which was covered before and can therefore be addressed by linkage, unless things have changed considerably since it was written (in most cases, linkage with a small corrective remark would do). When that phase is reached, one tends to observe the news and look for new material to ‘feed on’, so to speak (putting it crudely).

This blog had published about 1,000 posts before I started writing in another blog (the main blog I write for is still Techrights). My personal life and tricks for management of work are already thoroughly covered here (available through the archives) and other bloggers seem to have followed similar trajectories because other people care about events and ideas, not people. Once there is an exhaustion of subjects to write about regarding one’s life, a writer would naturally write about his/her surroundings. Making critical assessments of different things in the world does not take much effort, but it does take perseverance. There is usually little or no incentive in it. So what is it that motivates people to read the news and remark on it? Sheer boredom or media hype? Whatever it is, the more the issues are brought up, the more a person is likely to become emotionally attached to them and then seek a solution. At the moment my goal is to help abolish software patents. There is never a lack of work to be done in this area and progress is always made towards attaining this goal.

Have topics been exhausted then? Never.

Social Networks/Content Hosting Always Evolved

Back in the days, people created Geocities-hosted Web sites. Well, Yahoo! has axed it, shortly after getting abducted by Microsoft in fact, so Geocities is no more (although many sites similar to it still exist). I created my site there in 1997/1998 and a few years later I got interested in Open Diary, which in some sense resembles Live Journal. Further down the line there was the phenomenon of blogging, which started in particular sites like Blogspot and Blogger, among many more (some of them are not surviving well). Free software like B2 and WordPress soon filled a gap and enabled more and more people to take control of their blogging platform and also register their own sites for the purpose. Around the same time, sites like MySpace grew, but they soon perished mostly because of competition which included an extension to ‘people-indexing’ services (resembling classmates reunion sites). Facebook was prominent among those. For news and discussion people had Digg, Reddit, and several more large sites, Many experiments emulating the above failed miserably for reasons that would require a separate long post. Later on, in recent years, celebrities joined Twitter and helped it grow very quickly, along with Free software clones such as Identi.ca. What joins together many of those services and pieces of Free software one can download to substitute the hosted prison is that they provide people with a place to express themselves and also find out what others are thinking. The thoughts of others are sometimes expressed by citation (news) or multimedia. It all helps weaken the cetralisation of so-called ‘mass media’ and it empowers people. This is one of the better achievements of the Web — that alongside wikis such as Wikipedia, but that’s another category of sites and a subject for another day.

People’s blogs have become somewhat less active and more people choose to post material under other people’s platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on). Journalists too failed to evolve (for the most part) and their occupation dying, mostly to be replaced by PR. One has to transition constantly. The world today is inventing and progressing faster than ever before, especially on the Web which is relatively new.

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