Like: Leaving Apple & Google: /e/ first beta is here! – Hacker Noon

I just reread the above article for the second time, this time more carefully.  Then I went back and read the older posts about this project that are linked to in the article, and I strongly suggest you read all of them too.

I think this is on the right track.

  1. /e/ is a fork of Android, already well established in mobile.
  2. They are including making their own private cloud services (mail, calendar, storage, maps, notes, etc.)  This is key, because they recognize that it does little good to make a secure OS and hardware if all the services you use are still tracking you.  That is not private.  By providing these services they can make a more seamless, one login, operation that mainstream users are accustomed too.  With cloud services it also makes you data available on your PC and other devices.
  3. They are developing their own app  store/repository (like Play) so that there will be a lot of free apps available.  I have a caution here: I expect Google will quietly maneuver to pressure Android app designers to make their apps exclusive on Google’s Play store and freeze out /e/.  But even so, there will likely be a lot of apps available.
  4. I have learned by my own experience, that for many things you don’t really need a smartphone app: I actually prefer Facebook and Twitter on my phone browser better than the apps.  Less chance to spy on you if you are not using the app.  But this makes the choice of default browser a key decision – it had better be good.
  5. They are making progress at a much faster pace than I anticipated. This is very good news.
  6. They fully intend to find an OEM, manufacture and sell new phones with this /e/ OS fully installed.  This is vital for mainstream adoption.

How does this compare to the efforts of the Linux camp for the Librem 5?

I like the Librem 5 approach to hardware.  I like Linux being adapted to smartphones.  There are two weaknesses that the Librem does not address:

  • Those cloud services we have been talking about.  You can have the most secure phone in the world but if you are still using Gmail, Calendar, Dropbox and Yahoo, than your data can be scanned and your privacy is compromised.
  • Very few apps.  The Librem will ship with bare bones apps (browser, email, messaging, calendar, notes).  You will be dependent on the browser for web apps.  Unless the Linux community jumps in and starts developing Linux phone apps quickly this will hinder mainstream adoption.  This could make or break the Librem.

That said, I want both the Librem 5 and /e/ to succeed.  Linux needs to get off their ass and get into the mobile OS market, plus, it would be great to have 2 choices in privacy smartphones. Friendly competition is good.

Source: Excursions.

This was also posted to
/en/privacy.

I got an email from my auto insurance agent, saying I can get a discount by letting the insurance company put a GPS tracker in my car for 90 days, and based on the results I might qualify for even more discounts.

As someone who strongly objects to all the tracking Facebook, Twitter, Google and every man and his dog do with my phone, I think I will turn her down.  I didn’t even have to think about it.

It just seems to me corporations want to know too much about us.  That needs to change.

Also I need to ditch this Android phone.

Like: NewsNow.co.uk > The UK’s #1 news portal

Don’t let the “UK” in the tag line fool you, while the UK is covered in the most depth the US and the rest of the world are also covered in massive detail along with subject and industry sectors.  Every 5 minutes, 365 days a year, 24/7 the Newsnow.co.uk  news aggregator relentlessly updates thousands of topics for the latest breaking news.  So if you want the latest commentary on Apple news, Android smartphones or crucial, breathless, breaking, Kardashian  butt-lift news you can find it all here.

This is the “Big Fire Hose” of RSS news feeds, but unlike Twitter NewsNow is organized, directory like, by subject so you can get news not only about smartphones but Nokia smartphones at that.  You can also search the index.  This is an awesome demonstration of the power of RSS.

Fair Warning: major rabbit hole here.

via Epic Privacy Browser, a secure chromium-based web browser that protects your privacy and browsing history | a free VPN privacy browser

With Epic you are always in Private Browsing mode.  No history and it blocks tracking cookies.  The big thing that makes it different from other browsers with private browsing is that it has a free VPN so your ISP can’t track your browsing.  I like that.

I wouldn’t make it my daily browser because I like having history and login details, but if I was traveling or on an open wifi network I’d use Epic.

We are down to just two operating systems for mobile phones (tablets too) Android and iOS.

Android is controlled by Google, no OEM phone maker that wants to do business globally will defy Google and try and fork it.  Android and a lot of the most popular apps tells Google everything it can about you and your every move.  In otherwords it leaks your privacy out like a sieve.

iOS is proprietary from Apple.  It’s a walled garden.  You do it Apple’s way or STFU.  It is probably more private than Android.  And it works.

That’s it. No other choices.

Long term the only other chances for a mobile OS come from Linux and here are the ones I’m aware of.

Sailfish – spun off from Nokia’s flirtation with Linux, this one does not seem to be gaining traction.  And it seems like the US is always being left out of release plans.  No OEM has adopted it. You can download it and try and install it on a couple of old model compatible phones.

KDE Plasma Mobile – it’s hard to tell how far along this Linux based OS is.  The screen shots are nice. (See notes for Librem 5 below.)

UBports Ubuntu Touch – This community effort seems to be making big strides.  When Ubuntu gave up on Ubuntu Mobile they turned it over to a volunteer community UBports who have been working away ever since.  It comes with a couple hundred apps and web apps, plus anything that the browser can handle.  If I were a phone OEM, I’d have my eye on this.  You can download this now and install it on several old model phones.  Some have an installation wizard.  (See notes for Librem 5 below.)

Puri.sm Librem 5 – this is actually a real phone hardware not just an OS.  The OS is Linux adapted to mobile.  The last I heard, the plan is that the Librem 5 will come with Purism’s mobile OS installed by default, but it will be fully compatible with UBports Touch and Plasma Mobile.  No word on how easy it will be to install any one of these.  Launch has been delayed from January 2019 to April 2019.  I’m hoping this is the point of the spear and proves very successful so that other OEM’s become interested in Linux phones.

Linux needs to get into mobile where all the growth is.  It can’t just stay on the desktop.  There may be others but these seem to be the furthest along.

Let me define this: Independent means not controlled by corporate or political masters. Unbiased means they don’t take sides with either the Right or the Left but state the facts.

I’m asking YOU. Whoever is reading this: What are the good, independent, unbiased, news sources?  I realized today I’m not sure anymore so I thought I would step outside my own little bubble and ask.  These could be any kind of news: news news, tech news, political news, international news, weird news, etc.  These can be big sites or news blogs. Who should I be paying attention too?

Feel free to use the comments below.

This is a follow on of: Let Us Build a New Web, so you might want to start with that.

Here I want to talk about expanding beyond a static site or just a blog.  For most of these I think I would probably also have a blog just because it’s easy to post updates and announcements on one.

Website Ideas:

Wiki – if you have used Wikipedia then you already have used a wiki.  Wiki’s are very good for collaborative websites.  You can build a knowledge base  with a wiki. You might not need a blog if you have a wiki.  Wiki’s are best for making vast globs of sprawling information able to be found through the wiki’s site search and hyperlinks.

You can use one for group journal type role play.  I have always wanted to use a wiki for world building for table-top RPG’s like D&D, CoC, Metamorphosis Alpha and/or Traveler.

Knowledge Base – a KB is great for making a detailed manual.  You see a lot of knowledge bases used in software support.  Here is an example for WSNLinks.

So if you have some detailed, step-by-step knowledge you want to share, a knowledge base might be perfect.

Some KB ideas: how to paint RPG miniatures, naval miniatures wargame rules,  table-top RPG rules manual, any kind of howto guide.

Directory – I’ll talk about two variants, there are more but I’ll stick with two for now.  1. Links Directories and 2. Business Directories.  Links Directories are collections of hyperlinks to websites (ie. Yahoo started out as a links directory.) Business Directories, may or may not have hyperlinks, but they generally list the name, address, phone number and hours of operation of a business.  Most include a map showing the business location (ie. Yelp, and the online Yellow Pages.)

  1. Links Directory – this could be something as simple as using a directory for hosting your own bookmarks.  (ie. back in the day I knew someone who had a “Cool Directory” which was anything he thought was cool.  Basically his bookmarks.)  Make a topical directory, links to websites about a topic you are passionate about. (A cause, hobby, science fiction, anime, comics, etc.)  I do think that a blog compliments a directory well.  It gives the directory owner a voice.
  2. Business Directory – these make perfect local directories, their strength is they can list bricks and mortar businesses that do not have a website.  These can also be used as restaurant review sites.  I always thought a directory of weird old tourist attractions would be cool.

Forums – forums are an old school social network.  For niche sites they can be perfect for like minded people to have in depth discussions. One advantage a forum has over social networks with moving timelines, a post or a reply, much like email, will sit there waiting for you until you return.  So maybe you only visit once a week, all activity will be there waiting for you.

Most hosting accounts have a couple of free forums scripts ready to deploy at the touch of a button.  I like SimpleMachines forum the best. YMMV.  If your community thrives and becomes big you can move up to something like Invision Community.

The down side of forums are they are very hard to get started.  They work best when you and a few friends decide beforehand you need one.  Otherwise, start a blog on the topic first, attract a following and then ask your followers if they would be interested in a forum for more chat.

For almost all the above I think you should have a blog.  It is always a good way to reach out by syndicating to social networks.  You can mix and match all the different scripts described above whatever works for you.  Again if all you need is X number of pages and then your topic is exhausted just make a static site.  Do it for you. Do what pleases you.

If you have ever had the yen to build a website the above can give you some ideas.  Feel free to comment if you have ideas of your own or questions.

This was also posted to
/en/web.

Masto.host has fully managed Mastodon hosting starting at 5 Euros a month.

Over the long run this is bad news especially for Twitter.  This is turnkey hosting, all you have to do is work the admin panel.  I  think we a crossing a threshold here in social networks and breaking silos.

The problem with Mastodon are that the weaknesses of Twitter remain, it is too easy to have pile-ons, mobs etc.  And so much depends on how well the Admins of each instance manage these things.  Plus there will be a lot of churn.

But with all that said a lot of small groups (including fringe groups) can have their own social network and it’s affordable.