Probably need to be posting more.

The challenge is that I don't like posting of I don't have anything to say, but saying thoughtful or insightful things takes time and mental energy, and I already have two (or three, depending how you count) jobs and a family, all of which demand my time and mental energy.

Harriet Tubman: Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to change the world.

It's the kind of thing that people with my level of tech and security knowledge should be aware of, but I hadn't really thought about it: Your phone number can easily be stolen by calling customer service, knowing the answers to some simple questions and having it transferred to a new SIM. And then you're seriously screwed.

The Internet never forgets. There's a nonzero chance this will happen to your Mastodon thoughts as well.

Brain Dump (CW for length) Show more

Albert Einstein: There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war... Except its ending.

I'm really glad to see that Dell is still actively supporting Linux on their laptops.

The 2018 XPS 13 Developer’s Edition—Have it your way on a “just works” Linux laptop.

I've been thinking a lot lately about federated platforms and the tools users need to manage their online presence when it's spread over multiple apps and instances, instead of consolidated into a single Facebook profile.

The challenges seem to boil down to how to manage, for a given "post" (a unit of content that a person would like to share), what other people should see that post. By extension, that means that the other thing to manage is what other people a given person wants to communicate with and how those people can be reached.

One of the biggest lessons that was hammered into me in my college writing courses was to always consider my audience. I think we do far too much "shouting into the void" where we either post in public to nobody in particular, or worse, we post on public content that was created with a much more limited audience in mind. (Yes, I see the irony—hypocrisy even—of posting that sentence to my Mastodon account.)

I also have a very strong tendency to avoid starting on anything until I can see how it would be completed, which leads me to start few things and therefore finish few things. I also tend to think more about digital tools that are polished enough for my mother to use, which is also a high bar to clear.

To combat that, what I'd like to do in this case is start working on a set of tools for publishing content that I create. They'll be very rough and specific, because I'll design them only to solve my immediate problems. But I do hope to write about them, and hopefully over time they can morph into something more socially beneficial.

For what it's worth, the writing that I do here is mostly done from my iPhone, in markdown using the Pretext app ( I keep a copy of what I write in a git repository (using the Working Copy app to push it to GitLab), which should give me the option to do things with it later if I want.

I think the next step, as I alluded to yesterday, is creating some kind of basic app for iPhone that will allow for sharing content via the activity hook. I don't know anything about iPhone development, so I might need to recruit someone for that.

I also have in mind the creation of scripts or utilities that could run on a Raspberry Pi and do some publishing type work (like tweeting my Mastodon posts) automatically. We'll see how far I get: it's not as though I have copious amounts of spare time.

And here's my first :

There must be some framework or platform that can provide a bridge between the bird site and Mastodon. I'd prefer to be here, but most of the content is there. I don't know that I'd want the content simply "tooted" here by a bot, because I think that would break the interaction model (you'd end up boosting or retooting the bot, rather than the user who actually posted the content).

Maybe a partial answer would be something that makes it easier to respond to Twitter content on Mastodon (my main Mastodon client, Amoroq, doesn't have the necessary activity hook to be able to do that easily from either TweetBot or Twitter). There might be real value (to me at least, and probably other iOS users) in having a "bridging" app, that would allow you to post or link content from various iOS apps (Twitter, Safari, etc.) with optional text, and tags of some kind indicating what action should be taken (e.g., save for later reading, post to a configured Mastodon account, publish to a blog, etc.).

In the interest of creating more content on Mastodon, and because I have so many thoughts in my head that are all clamoring to get out at once, I'm going to try and do semi-regular "Brain Dumps" here.

I won't attempt any consistent structure (though if I fall into one, that wouldn't be such a bad thing), but it won't be unfiltered or stream of consciousness either, as I am posting it online in my name.

I'll also probably limit myself to topics and ideas that aren't focused on my specific geographic community, as they'll be more likely to resonate with a more geographically distributed audience.

from Twitter Show more

I like the overall Fediverse approach, but even the default 500 character limit isn't conducive to more nuanced and contemplative thought.

I'm hoping the effectively unlimited post length here on qoto will mean higher quality, less impulsive posts.

If that's the case, it could serve as a great alternative to Medium, for assorted blog-like content.

QOTO Mastodon

Welcome to the QOTO instance

QOTO: Question Others, Teach Others

A Mastodon instance for scholars in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and all yearning to learn.

A free speech space. No censorship here.
We do not silence or block any instances.

Unique Features
  • Inline math Latex support - Use \ ( and \ ) for inline LaTeX, and \ [ and \ ] for display mode.
  • 65,535 character limit for toots (usually 500)
  • 65,535 character limit for profile bio (usually 160)
  • Full text searches - usually you can only search hashtags and usernames
  • Halcyon / Twitter clone front-end - Want the interface to look exactly like the Twitter interface? After you signed up just go here to login:
  • PeerTube - We host our own PeerTube server with open registration for up to 100MB, but all of our active users get unlimited quotas. Sign up here:
  • Professionally hosted with nightly backups
  • light modern theme with full width columns (not fixed)
  • Several extra themes - including mastodon default and mastodon default with full width columns (not fixed)

Message to New Members

Welcome to the Qoto Mastodon instance, its like twitter but better!

Please don't hesitate to Direct Message me or tag me in Toots (what we call tweets here) if you have any questions or even if you just want to chat.

If you are new to Mastodon you may want to check out this official getting started guide:

We are a free speech, no censorship zone. Feel free to talk about whatever you want, say whatever you want, as long as it is legal you wont ever get banned from the server. With that said we do have a few rules: No spam, and no using multiple accounts to circumvent personal bans.

This server isnt a typical mastodon server either. I have personally modified the code on this server to give it several unique features you wont find on other servers.

If you are new to Mastodon here is some useful info.

First off, if your coming from Twitter and you'd prefer an interface that looks exactly like twitter, then just go here and login with your Qoto credential: No need to create an account there, your account on this server will work just fine. Just enter your username in the following format @[username] so for me it would be @freemo But personally I think our default skin here is way better.

Basically Mastodon is a decentralized twitter. That means anyone can run a server (like Qoto) that people can sign up to and use just like twitter. The unique part is how the servers talk to each other.

If you want to tag someone on the same server as you then you can just do @user however if you want to specify someone on a different server you can do @user@server. If someone follows you or mentions you on any server on the internet you'll get notified right here. So my full tag is

So now a bit about the timelines, there are three (unlike twitter there is just one): Home, Local, Federated.

The Home timeline is just like what you'd expect on twitter, that is, everyone you are following.

The local timeline is any post made by anyone on your local server.

The federated timeline is what is cool. It combines the timeline of everyone on the server into one. This way you can see the posts of everyone that is followed by anyone on the server (assuming the post is public). So this timeline is a close representation of everyone on the internet who has Mastadon (though not really). Moreover we have a bot here that goes around and federates with everyone it can find, so our Federated Feed is rather robust covering thousands of instances.

Only other thing that is unique is listed vs unlisted posts. You have normal privacy settings like on twitter but you also can set a post to be listed or unlisted. If it is listed it acts just as i described. If it is unlisted then it acts just as a normal tweet would but it doesnt show up on local or federated timelines anywhere.

Also this goes without saying, but don't be racist, sexist, hateful, and don't harass people. Its a pretty shitty thing to do, don't be shitty!

The following is the list of QOTO administrators/moderators.
Note: The account listed as the administrator is NOT an actively monitored account. It was selected so as not to show favoritism among our moderator group, we are a democracy and even our administrators and moderators are held to the same high standards of decency as the rest of the community.

***We will never advertise on QOTO or sell your information to third-parties***