making the roaming future


mr -

Posts by Manton Reece and Noah Read, as well as a recent Core Intuition episode 155 inspired me, among other things, to add snippets on my blog. Though it’s a lot easier to switch to a Twitter app and simply tap away, Twitter owns whatever you write to the level of controlling the way it’s allowed to be shared outside of the ecosystem. I.e. it’s a platform that’s open to content being added to it.

As I mentioned in the 1.0 post, the idea of a decentralized Internet is dear to me. Although I was talking about gathering content distributed across the tubes and they were mostly touching on owning the content one created, we have similar goals.

Own it

I already own my blog’s content, because all posts originate from my hard drive as Markdown files. They are then transformed by a Go tool I wrote into an HTML index, post pages, RSS feeds (for both posts and snippets) and then rsynced along with a touch of CSS to HTTP server’s document directory. The server itself is kept in a cloud thingy kids from my lawn told me about, but given the extremely simple structure of the blog, I can redeploy it just anywhere quickly without any extensive configuration or endless dependencies.

Blog and microblog type content is now under my control – that’s awesome. What about real time conversations? Replying with a blog post or an email doesn’t have the same dynamic that’s sometimes needed. If I wanted to have full control of the conversations I have with others, even if it’s just to exchange thoughts on the post me or they wrote or to clear up something quickly, I’d be inclined to install an XMPP service on my machine and babysit it. That’s not all though. I’d have to hope that the other person has an account on any XMPP server as well or would have to provide them a guest account on mine. The other issue is that others can’t join easily. In case I need it, most XMPP servers support server-side extensions along with client access to it, although I don’t know which clients support it exactly. Feature-wise anyway, it’s a pretty decent solution.

IRC is easier in terms of participation, but it’s essentially anonymous – anyone can go in and take any nickname they want. There are mechanisms for reserving your nickname, but again we have an issue of creating yet another account somewhere. And server side history is non-existent.

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and some ideas come to mind. Maybe I need to roll up my sleeves and see what those Javascript and Websocket toys do.

Think of the people

One thing that’s bothering me is that although we, nerds, have our own blog and microblog content on our own domains, hosted on servers we control (at least in part), there are lots of people for whom that’s a little too much work and skills needed to essentially share their thoughts with others. We definitely need solutions, perhaps in form of apps like Sunlit, that along with a supporting backend, enable to easily create blog or microblog, while leaving the original content in user’s posession. Maybe that’s what Manton is up to?

tags: decentralization snippets