Jumping on the Bandwagon

So, what am I doing here? WTF is this place?

Hardly unreasonable questions; as it stands, I could probably do a fair bit of this myself -- this is even more likely with the effort that has gone into making the Puppet script that sets up tilde.whatever sites on virtual machines. As it is, I already have a virtual machine on one site as well as Oracle's VMWare on machines that I typically use. So by any means, it seems silly for me to be on someone else's such site. Especially with whatever limitations it may have.

I guess the appeal to me is that it feels like someone had the idea to create the reverse of the infamous social network. A step back into the way things used to be. There's enough of a technical hurdle on these sites that Joe User is unlikely to show up. It's all text? It's not in the web browser? What the hell is a "ssh keypair"? Nobody else I know is already on there? What is all this crazy talk?

The unavoidable fact is that Facebook is awful; your thoughts and ideas are constrained to a small space, where your text will be shaped by someone else's idea as to how a page should look, and where others simply may not see it because the almighty Facebook decided somehow that you're not interested in this sort of thing, trust us. Ideas are not to be expressed in text because a picture is worth a thousand likes now, and isn't that more important? It's like they've gamified social interaction and surprise! Everybody loses.

Then there's Google+ which digs its own grave by aping Facebook, badly. Nearly every good idea they've had has been copied by someone else or simply eliminated. G+ follows the trend of closing open protocols and shoving things in your face their way -- observe the shift from Google Talk to the astonishing abortion that is Hangouts.

So here I am, looking backward with a fondness of the "old ways" and finding new and exciting ways to be a crotchety old man about technology. In some cases, things really were better back before everything was shoved into the Internet's orifice known as port 80. HTML is a perfectly reasonable way to display and link text, and I'd be a fool to argue that things done there have been anything short of impressive. But, did we need web forums? Surely anybody with a functioning brainstem can see that Usenet was far better; if someone was an idiot, you didn't have to wait for mods to throw them out, you just added them to your killfile. There wasn't a bouncing smiley face in sight! Sadly, Usenet's fallen by the wayside. Similar too is IRC. It remains a perfectly servicable way to chat with others, but instant messaging applications and property webchat nonsense have more or less killed it. Not that it doesn't have its adherents in the world of free software, but those are generally people with some functional overlap with myself.

In short, I'm here to see what happens and possibly participate. I do hope that this is a trend rather than a blip on the rader, but I guess we'll have to see what happens.


Written 2014-Oct-19, 0253