#signsandcodes a couple notes on how to get settled in on the Fediverse:
1. Probably the best mobile app is to simply visit in a browser and select "add to home screen".
2. Finding people to follow can be a little tricky but very rewarding. Start with the Federated Timeline and skim it for weirdos you like. Also try searching for hashtags that interest you. I've found some great people that way.
3. This is a DIY world over here. If something looks missing, make it! Post, share, make noise!
This long ad hoc musing basically brings me around to this question. I'm writing this on my 2014 Thinkpad that, curiously, I can still run my personal and professional life from. I even DJ sets on it without any problem.
For modern living where you've still got to connect to the world, is this basically it? Is this the daily driver and we can do no better? 8 year-old hardware, Linux, i3, and modern apps? I'm wondering if perhaps it is. 17/17
In practical sense, I guess this is all making me realize that looking to the 80s or 90s for inspiration of "the simpler but practical life" is looking back too far. The shift started in the late 90s, was mostly underway by the early 00s, and was well and truly done by 2010. 16/
Even our modes of software development now reflect this change in social relations to the computer. The "package manager" model of downloading gobs of dependencies subject to rapid version updates would be untenable in a world of slower transfer speeds, episodic connections, and longer delays community interactions. 15/
But that, I fear, isn't a problem that even a reasonably sized and dedicated FOSS community can meet. Anyone who's tried to live on the command line knows this comes crashing down the moment OAuth or 2FA come into play and suddenly your favorite TUI app opens a browser, and the counterparty often requires it be Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome to work. And your authenticator app is on your smart phone. And, and... 14/
The third is to interrogate the current state of what it means to be de facto forced into living life through, rather than around, your computers, and to find appropriate minimal, open, humanizing technologies that meet this model where it is. 13/
The second, just as obviously, is marginality. This is basically hipsterism without a backup plan. It's intentionally throwing yourself, and likely your family, down the "wrong side" of "the digital divide". While surely those who'd do so would be the most invested in the projects to make technology useful in minimal ways, I strongly doubt there's sufficient critical mass to form a workable community with workable solutions. 12/
The first, obviously, is hipsterism. It's possible to choose to reclaim old aspects of life from being done through the computer. This is interesting, but I'd claim can't lead to sustainable projects, because it's a curiosity by design. Hipsterism basically ditches its aesthetics the moment it becomes "necessary". Most hipsters of any stripe, including me on my pretentious days, know the "real world" is ready to catch us when our pretentions fail. 11/
Our need for encryption grew as our lives, and especially our commerce, migrated into always-available links that were easier to exploit. Now, because our lives are through our computers and not around our computers, our options for "minimal computing" have changed. 10/
And this traffic was often insecure and unencrypted not only because encryption's expensive on old hardware but also because the need was less. So someone read your worthless opinions on the first season of The Simpsons. So what? And even if you did do a little banking, stock trading or ticket booking online, who was going to hack you? Being man-in-the-middle on a phone line requires wire tapping and computers were rare so an attacker wouldn't get a big score 9/
PCs basically started as personal management machines, improvements on the typewriter, educational curiosities, and lightweight games devices. It's only as methods for getting email, usenet, chat, and information over a phone line became more common, that we started to think of them as devices for communication and sharing. 8/
I could go on and on. Movies? Leave the computer. TV? Leave the computer. TTRPG night? Leave the computer. Talking to friends? Leave the computer. 7/
This has had a profound effect on how the relationship to the music works, too. Before the rise of digital music, I (and I suspect most people), knew musicians by their albums and singles. Now I rarely even know when my favorite bands drop a new record and, if I do, it's because I see a track posted on YouTube. Many artists don't even waste their time with full albums any longer 6/
This was basically all media. You might hear on usenet or a mailing list that Cocteau Twins has a new record out, and maybe on the early Web you might even read about it there (maybe even with an image or two to go with it), but you'd still have to go buy the album or CD and listen to it on your stereo. Again, you'd leave the computer, rather than use the computer, to appreciate most music. 5/
No, if you wanted to share pictures with a friend, you probably got your old film negatives and took them to the photo lab to have duplicate prints made, and you mailed them. Sharing pictures meant leaving the computer, not using it. 4/
Consider, for example, how seamlessly we consume digital images today. You're probably looking at my userpic right now. Many older machines had image viewing as something separate from communications, in part because sharing pictures was a less common use case. And why wouldn't it be? Nobody had a digital camera, so at best, you might be able to scan photos and share them. This was not super common, though 3/
When I think about a "minimal daily life" computer, often looking back to the last non-PC pre-Internet machines like the Apple iigs and the Amiga, it rapidly becomes apparent how a "minimal daily life" machine doesn't even fit the metaphors of those machines because they were tailored to be *part* of daily life and not *the center of* daily life. 2/
Signs & Codes Founder. Hacker, geek, ham, derby ref. Poly, kinky, queer.
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