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Advocacy, and the gentle art of persuasion.

In the wake of the recent facebook/Cambridge Analytica data mining story, i hope to get some of my

friends and famiy,  interested enough to have a serious conversation ( in an ideal world: #deletefacebook )

about their online privacy, and the gory details of how, facebook, google et al... have taken over most people's digital life.

My first step, is to write an article/open letter - addressed to my family and friends, advocating personal privacy online, and gently introducing (most of) them, to FOSS/decentralised communications and social networking. I aim to create, a handful of compelling reasons, to be interested, and will post up my  first article/essay here and in other places on the net, for possible peer review, before letting my facebook circle read my piece.

All comments and suggestions, are very much welcome.



Posted by mo on Tue Apr 10 2018 12:25:21 EDT
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I'm thinking of deleting my facebook account. It will be painful though. I have so many real life family and friends on there, who i will almost certainly loose contact with online,

unless i can persuade them to use another means of online communication.

I could let everyone have my email address ( gmail Hmmm )? Will anyone bother to mail me? I'm not sure.

I could tell them to phone or sms message me on my mobile number? 

And i could try to get them to use another social media or online communications platform, where we could all see who is doing what, in one place; like facebook?



I was thinking of setting up an alternate open source, and decentralised social network; such as diaspore, or (my favourite) friendica.

I have had an account on a mastodon (twitter-like, FOSS, decentralised ... ) instance, and am loving it (even though i have never really grown to like twitter).

Mastodon actually has garnered a fair few users this past few months , compared to the others. The server i am a member of has alot of good people on it

(including a couple of my online friends ). But there is also one more solution (staring me in the face :) ); and that is the citadel software system.

Citadel is a general purpose communications platform, and i feel sure would replace any social media community software.


Posted by mo on Sun Mar 25 2018 17:52:46 EDT
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Add ( 1+1 )

This was the first entry for my new blog of 2016, which after being written (roughly),
on December 31/January 1st, gathered dust on my hard drive- until today. So here it is,
and with this week being the start of the new financial/tax year in the UK, and the start
of the growing season/spring (this really is the New Year, why we celebrate on Jan 1st in
the middle of the winter is beyond me??), at the end i have some new thoughts  i have added.
So here it is, <drumroll> post one on week one:

The first day of the New Year, and after coming home from the nearby shop that 
morning- i am now breakfasted and at my desktop. I need to quickly add some figures,
and having been used to my usual Linux distro having a GUI desktop calculator, go
I could have added up in my head, or on paper, what i needed in no time. But! This
is the 21st Century and there is an app to do my thinking. A quick look and, with
disgust, i find there is no desktop caculator included by default.
After searching my package manager for a desktop calculator, and coming up with at
least two that would have installed in under a minute, (i still find Linux package
management, a magical thing - miraculous!) i suddenly remember there are many
command-line programs that will do the job. So off i go, to look up various programs,
from the UNIX "bc", obviously the insanely feature rich GNU version to, "qalc" the
command-line interface to the "qalculate" GUI calculation program i spotted in my
package manager's listing. Then i come across the handy tip that Google has a
"calculator" program acessable from the search bar window - nice-- i like this-but
the "qalc" program has won the day. I notice that Google has a currency converter
program to compliment "calculator", also available direct from the search window -
they both work a treat. But yet again, i remember there are command-line alternatives,
"faster" i imagine, "save me time" :/ i think... So it is another GNU program,
"units" which can convert anything to anything including currency, but it seems
this - as it is a fluctuating unit, uses 3rd party services to look up the current
exchange rates. This service has either changed URL or something, and no longer works
(?) - but now, qalc to the rescue again. The qalc program supports currency exchange
as well as converting units - and after a quick test i am satisfied i have found the
very best tool for the job: now my sum:-- 1-2-3=bingo!
After at least half an hour getting my axe sharp, i wish i had a few more trees to
I press a key and the terminal window that had dropped down to fill a third of my
screen with a black canvas and a flashing green prompt, after my user-name, rolls up
instantly and is gone. Just like the last half to three-quarters of an hour.
My shiny new spanner sits waiting on me for next time, unless my phone is handy,
i have a pencil and paper in-front of me, or i might actually attempt to add more than
two numbers in my head for a change.

And three months after i wrote the above, it is spring, and it is the start of the tax year.
Week one on my payslip, and true to form i have just dug out a program i have been meaning
to test, and compiled it - just to add up my wages :) . Actually it was worth the small effort.
The program is: tapecalc aka "add" and is perfect for this sort of thing, giving an editable
running total - a simple curses program for the terminal, to compliment qalc and bc and sc.

My wages were correct, and my calculator (a real one with a small solar panel backup power),
just saved some battery life this week. And now i need to get some fresh air and cook something
healthy for my dinner. 

Happy New(Financial/Tax)Year!

Posted by mo on Fri Apr 08 2016 14:00:31 EDT
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