Matrix Messaging Matters

Earlier on Today, Matrix.org had to be pulled off line for emergency maintenance. It’s back up now and Kudos to Matthew Hodgson and his crew for getting it back up quickly.

On other matters, aside from a flurry of activity in the New Zealand Chat channel #nz.matrix.org, I’m still not seeing as much uptake of the protocol as I would like and today, If I search for any other Matrix chat resources in NZ, my out of date (and sorely need of an update / Fix up) Matrix chat sign up guide seems to come up as the first result.

Will try and pull my finger out and actually fix that page up (including the numbered bullet points and new screenshots) some day, though will state up front, I don’t plan on becoming any sort of Community Lead or Evangelist (Defacto or otherwise) for the Matrix chat / messaging protocol in New Zealand… Well at least not right now with my current commitments.

Matrix Messaging Matters

Motivations for setting up my own personal homepage

As mentioned in my Facebook Notice, I had elected to build my own personal homepage for staying in touch with Friends and Family as opposed to relying on Facebook. In short, I prefer staying with decentralized inter-operable web protocols and standards (particularly those that allow me to self-host) where practical as it offers me more freedom and control over my own personal web presence.

While It is acknowledged utilizing proprietary platforms that are singularly owned and operated by sole for profit business entities have their near term benefits (many such platforms are Free of charge), they aren’t “neutral” mediums and are typically run with the natural focus of maximizing profits, ahead of the best of interest of their users or the wider world at large. (Engineering their products to be as sticky as possible, to keep people on their platforms for longer in order to serve advertising, locking them in so that it’s difficult to leave and consequentially, with an increased tendency to cause addiction in quite a few people).

Proprietary platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat are structured in contrast to say inter-operable protocols like regular E-mail where you have a choice of providers. A user on their choice of provider can E-mail another user on a different provider. No one provider controls the protocol.

It is worth highlighting that the more we use, rely, and pressure others to use these proprietary platforms (by way of the network effect), the more powerful these entities will naturally become. In the case of Facebook, it’s already large and still ever increasing influence and power in our lives (be it through through Facebook Original, Instagram, WhatsApp), I see as potentially detrimental thing to us in the longer term in the sense of…

“Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Personally, I desperately struggle to see how so much power concentrated in the hands of any given single entity, especially a “for-profit” one, could ever be considered as a good thing for us in the longer run. While Facebook certainly isn’t alone in trying to get their mittens on everything we do online, there is a concern within me that should we allow the general trend to continue, (along side the gradual erosion of Civic Responsibility) we could see an erosion in our own individual self determination as we collectively cede ever increasingly control and power over our lives to such (non-democratic) business entities whom are ultimately answerable only to their owners and stockholders.

If you wish to visit the possibility of using alternatives mediums to stay in contact with friends and family, please see “Keeping in contact with loved ones” where I’ve listed out what I’ve done and the recommended stepping stones to reduce reliance on centralized, proprietary and commercially run services.

Disclosure

As of February 2017 (About a year ago as of writing this), I am now a direct shareholder in NASDAQ:FB. The reality is I don’t think we Netizens are going to realize the longer term implications of where we are headed anytime soon. I do recall people seven years ago rebuked me as being “so pessimistic” for even suggesting that Facebook would become as powerful and ubiquitous as they are now. People are saying Facebook is dying and while that may now be true in North America for their original main name sake platform, many of those same people go on to suggest Instagram and WhatsApp (both Owned by Facebook), along with Snapchat (whom personally I consider as equally as obnoxious) as examples as to where everyone is now flocking to.


Fergus Young
www.nui.nz

 

Motivations for setting up my own personal homepage

Matrix RIOT two Month Review.

Have had an Instance of the Matrix “Synapse” Chat Server for two months now (instructions). The system operates alright, but in short, the User Interface for both the Android App and the Web Based user interface I found hasn’t been particularly fast… In fact, it feels a bit lethargic in a way akin to walking through a swamp.

Having said that, there is a new series of the server in development called “Dendrite” that promises to be faster with more optimal resource usage, but do not know when the developers are going to get around to formally releasing it to the public.

Will keep the current server up for now, but won’t be actively pushing or promoting it beyond family and a handful of friends. If people expressly mention that they are looking for an alternative, will mention it there and then along with my instance of Matrix/RIOT, but generally not before then.

 

Matrix RIOT two Month Review.

Riot Matrix: Background + Findings

The following post deals with the background, along with my personal experiences and findings to-date with the RIOT/Matrix instant messaging and group chat system. To connect to the Matrix Synapse instance, please refer to the basic guide to get started.

In Late December 2017, some concerns were raised among friends regarding their discomfort with Relying on WeChat (along with other proprietary commercial instant messaging apps) for communicating among ourselves, and subsequently I was asked whether or not it would be possible to add some sort of chat function to my website.

I’m going to be upfront. I don’t believe at this stage that I am ever going to pull the majority of my Facebook Addicted friend base out from the clutches of the Facebook eco-system (FB Messenger and WhatsApp) and at this present time, only aiming this service at Family and a handful of closer friends who have expressed desire to use an alternative instant messaging platform. Continue reading “Riot Matrix: Background + Findings”

Riot Matrix: Background + Findings

Ranger says No

Relatively short Multiday Trip to Tama Lakes, Waihohonu Hut and Oturere hut and back out to Desert Road. Was going to go around to Mangetepopo Hut and complete the Northern Circuit though an updated 11:00 a.m. Weather report upon reaching Oturere Hut, the Ranger advised us not to proceed due to dangerously high wind gusts.

Click photo below to access the gallery…

Mount Ruapehu

Hut Rangers, Doug and Horse, who we met on the trail, were fantastic.

A dip in the Springs near Waihohonu Hut provided some much needed refresh and temporarily removed the pain of my Left foot.

Ranger says No

Future Website Plans

Over the next month or two, I’m planning (where I have time) to go back through past posts and photo albums and tidying a few things up. Namely…

  • Finish captioning as many un-captioned photos as I can.
  • Writing up more detailed Trip reports to go with the Photo Albums (where I can, particularly with those to do with Hiking).

While originally the intent of this homepage was purely set up as a means of keeping in contact with friends and loved ones (in preference to relying on Facebook), the reason for the Tidy up planning came about while I was trying to search for some new possible hiking trips to do and then ending up back at my own homepage.

It appears some of the pages have been ranking a little higher in search results than they have in the past and this corresponds with a noticeable uptick in general visitation arriving from various search engines, combined with an increase in the general email inquiries about various trips and what not.

I’m thinking some people will no doubt be landing on my website (expecting to find more information about a given hike or place), seeing a photo and going… “Where the Flip is this? Where is this landmark / building? Where’s the Information?!” Potentially frustrating casual visitors in the process.

All that said, the intent of this website was to be a personal homepage (to keep in contact with loved ones and friends) and I never really envisioned it being anything more than that. I don’t at present have any plans as such of turning this into any sort of  travel blog with any intention to monetize or paste it over with adverts, at least not yet anyway. (Website is currently funded solely through my own personal funds)

Video

Keeping in contact with friends and Family at home and abroad

The often used line for people who sometimes quite vigorously defend (their use of) Facebook is that “It helps me keep in contact with Friends and Family far away (or overseas)!”

Here’s the kicker, People I firmly feel were already freely doing that across the Wider general Internet way before the likes of MySpace and Facebook ever came on the scene.

Many people had their own Personal Homepages (at their ISP, colleges or elsewhere) or Personal Blogs and people would find each other by way of any number of search engines of the time, go to their page and flick them an email or sign their ‘guestbook’. (I know I have reconnected with many people I’ve lost contact with this way.),

RSS and ATOM standards were common place where people could subscribe to each other’s blogs or web pages, using any number of RSS readers and be able to keep abreast with articles from multiple sources, be it from their friends’ blogs, News media publication, or elsewhere in one place, (very much, I feel, in the same way how Facebook’s “newsfeed” operates today, but with far more granular control over what you wish to see than the Facebook newsfeed of today ever offered).

Another often used excuse for relying on facebook is “How can I share my photos with my family and friends overseas?”, Facebook is hardly the only medium or tool to do this. Again, your own blog could fill the same role with NUI.NZ as being my living example.

It’s worth remembering that Facebook as a communication medium is entirely controlled by a single corporation whose natural overarching focus is to maximize profits for their shareholders and is not an inter-operable communication protocol with several (typically competing) providers like how Email is structured.

If some people are serious about reducing their reliance on Facebook, are concerned as I am about the increasingly centralization of power to a few for-profit run silos, and are in favour of supporting open inter-operable web standards, I would kindly suggest that a regular Blog could fill that role as the first stepping stone.

Setting up your own personal blog I strongly feel needn’t be solely the domain of I.T. geeks. There are now blogging services which make it easy to get started as it is signing up for a Facebook Account.

There are several different blogging platforms, including B2Evoluation, WordPress, and many others. WordPress as a blogging platform seems fairly okay in my opinion… if you want a quick start, then suggest as an initial starting point signing up for a free account at wordpress.com at least as a stepping stone to get you on your way (it is very easy to sign up, as easy as it is to sign up for Facebook or any other social network).

Once you outgrow WordPress.com and/or you get sick of the adverts, you can then fairly easily move off on to your own self hosted WordPress blog at any web host of your choice once you’re ready.

What ever blogging platform you eventually get going with (Preferably an open source one that allows you to self-host in the future if not now), you can simply post links on your social media profiles (Faceborg, Google+, etc) back to your blog / homepage and have your blog / homepage as your main (web identity) hub and point of presence on the Internet in which to syndicate / share your content from. Much like what I do with on my own Faceborg Profile.

Keeping in contact with friends and Family at home and abroad

Celebrity Worship and The Widening Wealth Gap

The following appeared in NZ Herald’s letter to the editor dated 3rd November 2016

Obscene deal

Wow, this $142 million deal is great for Steven Adams and I congratulate him. I guess he will now be a contender for the Halberg Awards? No doubt there will be in a movie about him one day, too. A script writer’s dream. One of 14 children from at Rotorua to a super star in the US. Not only will this deal do wonders for basketball in this country but it will help put New Zealand on the map in USA perhaps?
Sadly, though, this deal also highlights all that is wrong in the world and especially in America. Let’s be honest and say it like it really is. Is “obscene” the right word or is “absurd” a better description? For any sports person to be paid $820,000 an hour for bouncing a basketball around a court is just ludicrous. To think the top surgeons who are saving people’s lives are getting a fraction of this is the real obscenity. Only in America.

Glen Stanton, Mairangi Bay.

To be brutally blunt, While I echo much of sentiments expressed in this letter (Except the “Only in America” bit), the scenario is perhaps only going to get more pronounced as time goes on.

It’s really our own collective / combined actions (as commoners) that ball games players are getting the figures they do. Aside from the Rags to Riches / Fooled by randomness story. The feeling I get on the street is that the majority are generally hungry for Entertainment, Distractions, Escapism and Vicarious living, while perhaps ignoring  more pressing issues affecting the world in general, and the longer term implications of our actions ultimately on ourselves as individuals in the long run.

Bread and circuses I call it.  Only this time, we’re falling head over heels to pay the entertainment elite (for lack of a better term) to perhaps distract us, and help us escape from the realities of living our otherwise meagre lives and in a perverse kind of way, further deepening the divide.  The rich get richer as a result of the majority’s demand for diversions and we get even more desperate to escape or engage in some vicarious living further entrenching and accelerating the transfer of power from the Ourselves as commoners to the few.

Have to admit, I struggle to understand the level at the public’s fascination and obsession of some Public figures, may be my Celebrity Worship brain circuitry is fried, also gone is my ability to live vicariously. The ability was there when I was young, so not sure when It went, but goes at least some way to explaining why I am having trouble understanding mass psychology and why masses do what they do at times.

I may regard highly, the abilities of a given public figure, but frankly, unable to conjure up any sort of implied relationship (faux or otherwise) with them, unless I’ve met them in person, shook hands and engaged in a conversation with the said person.  Otherwise, it’s this… I don’t know them personally and they don’t know me. Having had a cursory trawl through the Internet, it looks like there is even a test for Celebrity Worship Syndrome [PDF here] to which I confess, I’m very perplexed at the level at which this is occurring at… Have we ceased thinking?

 

Celebrity Worship and The Widening Wealth Gap

Faceborg Assimilated

As as I said in an earlier post, I have recently had to capitulate and join Facebook (proper) amid much escalating and heated (“Angry” and “Shouty”) protestation from different, quite distinct (Separate) circle of friends and acquaintances for not being contactable via facebook.

To my friends, I just wish to say, I really appreciate having you all as friends. I really do, however on a personal level, I have difficulties with supporting a company like facebook considering their past and present behaviour and have concerns that we are collectively allowing a single for-profit minded company too much power over our lives collectively.

Anyway, as of writing this, 10 people have discovered my profile and have since “friended” me on my regular faceborg profile. if I know you and you want to try and dissuade me from leaving the faceborg collective for a 3rd time, now’s a good time to go to profile and “friend” me. (ugh, hate using the verb in that context)

See Also…

Faceborg Assimilated

Faceborg

28th October 2016 – Have had to finally capitulate amid much (quite heated and “shouty”) protestation at my lack thereof and get assimilated by faceborg as detailed in this article.

Original post below. My views on facebook still firmly stand…

In answer to a fairly regular query I receive: “Why aren’t you on facebook?”

While facebook as a platform may be considered the best thing since sliced bread to many, I have to admit, I disagree with how the sole company behind the platform has behaved on several counts and have elected not to support them nor their behaviour by staying off of their platform.

May be if “facebook” as a medium was instead a de-centralised and inter-operable  communication standard (with a choice of providers, much like we have with Email) rather than a proprietary medium control by a single for-profit motivated entity (whose natural motivations are profits ahead of any concern for their users and the world at large), then perhaps, I would indeed see myself using “facebook”.

I will also mention that I am particularly uncomfortable (actually to be honest, “Alarmed” would be more accurate) about how we collectively appear to be handing (by virtue of providing them our personal data) over so much power and control over our our lives, and the Internet in general to a single for-profit corporation such as facebook.  I often do wonder whether or not any one has stopped to think whether so much power over our personal data, the internet and ultimately our lives in general concentrated in the hands of a single profit orientated entity is really a good idea for us collectively in the long run?

There is this long held saying that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, have we all forgotten about this somehow?

It is for these reasons (and several others) why I prefer (and have chosen) to maintain my own homepage  as opposed to handing over personal data to the likes of facebook whom I have little trust in as a custodian of such data.

See also…

Faceborg