Bookmark: De-google-ify Internet

What we have here from France, is a campaign to provide free, open source, no spyware, replacements for many Google online services including some services that Google has abandoned.

There is some pretty neat stuff here. There is a replacement for the  late Google Groups (you send an email to the Group and it gets emailed on to every member of the group, same for replies back).  I like this better than those damn chat rooms.  There is cloud storage to replace Google Drive and Dropbox. There is an URL shortener.  Collaborative writing and spreadsheets and and even their own clone of GitHub and much more and it’s all free.

Now here is the catch.  Some seems to be translated into English but most is in French.  I don’t think that is a huge problem with the simpler services.  I mean you don’t need to understand French to figure out a URL shortener.

So if money is tight and every dime counts you don’t have to surrender your privacy to get access to these types of services.  Worth Bookmarking.

 

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Bookmark: New Clues

This has been around for awhile but this is the first time I’ve seen it.  I’m glad Doc Searls and David Weinberger wrote this.  When I say this stuff I get blank looks and people think I’m a crackpot.  (Okay, more of a crackpot than I already am.  I’m not denying my own crackpottery here.)  Anyway I’m glad they wrote it all out, it’s really good.

 

H/T: Doc Searls via John Philpin

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Bookmarked by an author

The larger problem, it seems has much more to do with the general distrust for disruptive innovations. The European approach, consistently, appears to favor slowing (or stopping) innovation unless all possible “harms” are minimized, even if this comes at the expense of the benefits.

Bookmark: Why Europe Will Never Build Its Own Digital Giants | Techdirt

 

IMHO this goes beyond the digital.  This is one of the EU’s major flaws on everything: diplomacy, business, military defense, trade.  They can’t maneuver with any speed, even in a crisis.  This will be part of the EU’s undoing.

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Bookmark: PmWiki | PmWiki / PmWiki

This is an interesting script. I have not installed it or tried it, just browsed through the instructions.

Things that caught my eye:

There is no mention of mySQL or any database needed.  I like that.  Flat files can be good.  All you seem to need is PHP.

You can install this on your home computer if you want a truly private wiki.  Or you can install on web server.

Has a plugin type system so you can extend it.

If you add the calendar plugin you get one page per day.  You could do a diary or daily journal with that.

Seems to be a very high powered wiki.

 

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Bookmark: Home | Solid

(From the Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Inrupt.)

Solid empowers users and organizations to separate their data from the applications that use it. It allows people to look at the same data with different apps at the same time. It opens brand new avenues for creativity, problem-solving, and commerce.

Note: Ownership of your own data and having control of your own data are very Indieweb.org concepts. Solid brings the concept to more to mobile and apps but it applies to the web too.

This was also posted to
/en/indieweb.

 

 

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Bookmark: Inrupt

It’s time to reset the balance of power on the web and reignite its true potential.

When Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the web, it was intended for everyone. The excitement and creativity of its early days were driven from the notion that we can all participate – and the impact was world-changing.

But the web has shifted from its original promise – and it’s time to make a change.

This could be one of the most significant startups – ever.

Article by Fast Company:

This week, Berners-Lee will launch, Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon.

This was also posted to
/en/web.

 

 

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I have been using Mojeek.com privacy search engine for about 3 weeks as my daily driver on all laptops.  Most of my initial thoughts have turned out to be right.

I used Mojeek just as hard as I did Qwant and all the other search engines.  There were many times where I was adjusting my search terminology to refine my results.  Unlike Qwant, I was never mistaken for a robot in the middle of important work and challenged to prove I was human.  Mojeek gave me what it had every time, no time outs, no challenges to my humanity.

Mojeek has an optional feature for Emotional Search.  I did not use this, and I really do not care about it.

The search engine has one of the most uncluttered SERP of any search engine: no ads, no trying to lure you to onsite portal features, no product placement, just straight up search results with appropriate Wikipedia articles linked to in the right hand column.

The Mojeek algorithm seems pretty darn good.  I do know that the algo uses both on-page and off-page (linking) factors for ranking which is exactly what you would expect for any modern crawling search engine.  Only Mojeek knows exactly how these are applied.

I do a lot of certain types of searches: Navigational searches and review, comparison type searches.  Navigational searches are where I know the site I want, but I’m unsure of the domain name: (eg: was it FOMOCO, Ford Motors, Ford Cars, ford.com?)  Review comparison searches (eg. “best free email client for Windows 10,” “best notes software for linux 2018”)

Navigational Searches:

On big brands Mojeek did fine, on more obscure sites Mojeek would fail.  I strongly suspect this is due to the size of the search index.  If the index was larger, it would have been there.  For the big brands, I was always surprised when I didn’t see what I wanted in the left organic results column, but if I glanced right, to the Wikipedia box, there was the link to the website at the top of the box, while the link to the Wikipedia article link was at the bottom.  It works just fine, I just wasn’t used to it.

Review Comparison Searches:

When I search Duckduckgo (DDG uses Bing results) I can almost predict the websites I will find on the first page of the SERPS.  DDG uses the same stable of trusted sites for these kind of searches most of the time with some others mixed in.  They are good, large, well established sites and I don’t blame them for using them.  With Mojeek I got relevant results, but from sites I never heard of before.  It’s like Mojeek was giving me the second tier, in terms of popularity, of software review sites, but some of these had reviews better written and in much more depth than DDG/Bing’s stable.  These were real gems.  It reinforced my assertion that the just because a page is popular does not make it the best.  Many times Mojeek surprised me like this.  It dug up some real treasure.

However, the size of the index does come into play.  Sometimes the topic is so obscure that Mojeek just didn’t have either very many results or not enough good results. This is when I would try to phrase my search a different way.  Mostly that didn’t work.

Long complex multi keyword searches often came up with very few results. Again this is just index size.  Mojeek understood the complex search, it just didn’t have much that fit all the keywords.

I would say about 70 percent of the time, in daily default use, Mojeek gave me something useful.  Sometimes it dug up gems that Google or Bing fed search engines would have buried on page 4 or more.  And it was because of those gems, that I really didn’t mind using Mojeek as my primary search engine.  If it failed I could easily run the same search on another engine for backup.  All said, this test with Mojeek was more fun than annoying.

Actually, the more I used Mojeek the more I came to respect it.  Working with only their own index and algo is like performing a high wire act without a net.  You don’t have that feed from Google or Bing as a safety net to back you up.  I kind of looked forward to seeing what it would bring up, but that is just me, YMMV.

Pros:

  • Bringing up good, relevant pages that Big engines ignore or bury.
  • Crisp, uncluttered SERP’s
  • Unbiased results.
  • Fast enough page loading.
  • Privacy respecting.

Cons:

  • Needs a larger index.

Would my conclusions be the same with the UK version Mojeek.co.uk?  I’ll never really know, as an American I welcome UK based sites in my SERP’s for information.  But only a UK resident can really test the UK version as a daily default search.  I wish some British person would do that for a few weeks and write up their conclusions, because I do think national search engines, owned and operated from within their own country, are very important.

Conclusions:

I liked Mojeek from the start, and I liked it more the more I used it.  I think the Mojeek team is on to something good.  I will probably be back at intervals using it as my default to test progress.  I truely hope that they can continue to expand the search index and remain independent.  I like that they have been privacy respecting from the start.  This is the most promising search engine with it’s own crawler and index that I have seen in a long time.

I don’t think most mainstream people will use Mojeek yet as their primary search engine but I do think, right now, it is a good second search engine, for when you are tired of seeing the same domains dominating your search results, you can pop over to Mojeek and find other voices.  I still wish I could code a parallel search form with DDG and Mojeek on it, I would use that every day and have the best of both worlds.

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