Category Archives: Culture: new media

New eco-blog

A big welcome to a new eco-blog, Flowscapes: Everday Adventures for Ecological Resource Solutions. It’s not your average eco-blog. There are thoughtful posts considering ecological issues you’ve never even considered, like why the World Toilet Organitzation’s “Big Squat Day” might not be a good idea. There are posts offering different perspectives on topics you’ve probably been thinking about, like whether wind turbines are too loud or not. There are posts on bigger issues, like the importance of “followership.” And there’s fun random stuff, like a photograph of an art car. Did I mention this new blog is written by my sweetheart, Carol Steinfeld? So what are you waiting for? Go check it out.

Diaspora is in alpha

Diaspora, the much-publicized coding project to create an open-source, encrypted social networking platform that will integrate with existing social networks (e.g., Facebook), has been available in a developer’s version for a week now. Today on the Diaspora blog, the developers write:

The [developer] community’s response to our release has been amazing. Within the first week of releasing code to developers, Diaspora is the 10th most popular project on Github with over 2500+ watchers. We’ve had 412 forks of Diaspora to date, and about a half a million views of the code as well.

In other words, developers are excited by this project, and are actively working on it. Looking at their roadmap, there’s still a lot of work to be done — but they’ve also made an amazing amount of progress.

Alpha version due in October. I hope beta is not far behind. I’m really getting sick of fighting with Facebook.

Integrating Facebook and blogs

I finally reconnected my blog with my Facebook account. I had done this a couple of years ago, but decided the two formats didn’t mix particularly well: Facebook is really a micro-blogging format, while I write long blog posts. But what the hell — it doesn’t cost me anything to put my blog’s RSS feed on Facebook, and someone might actually read it once in a blue moon.

But who really cares about my personal blog. I’m going to try to get my church to put together a good RSS feed from the church Web site, so I can place that on the church’s Facebook page.

Later note — This post was supposed to carry a link to a related article on Peter Bowden’s blog: Here’s the link.

Welcoming a new blog

In her first post at the new blog yUU’re a what?, blogger cUrioUs gUUrl talks about how she was a humanist until she had an experience of God a year ago. Speaking from personal experience, those transcendental experiences do have a way of breaking in on you and throwing into doubt long-held assumptions and beliefs. I look forward to seeing how this new blog develops.

Facebook and privacy, redux

This week, Facebook has faced severe criticism from European data protection officials, the ACLU, and prominent tech bloggers about its privacy policies. Most of what came out was unsurprising. But then I saw this: “A number of high-profile users have … deleted their Facebook accounts after the site introduced a new feature that lets non-Facebook websites, or third parties, post the personal views of Facebook users without their consent” (full BBC article here).1 Blah. Does this mean I have suddenly given up my copyright protection for material posted on Facebook without my knowledge? I don’t have the patience to read through Facebook’s constantly-changing user agreement and privacy policy to find out. At least when I post things here, on my own Web site, in the highly unlikely occurrence that someone should rip stuff off, I can feel righteously indignant about it.

1 Doesn’t this an awful lot like what happened at MySpace a couple of years ago, when they suddenly claimed they had the rights to anything posted on MySpace? Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg seem to have about the same low level of morality.

Waiting for Diaspora

Remember how Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook by allegedly ripping off some code from a Harvard classmate? (I have to say “allegedly” because the lawsuit was eventually settled by Facebook for $65 million, and there was no finding of guilt.)

Well, now four hip programmers, students at New York University, are working on Diaspora. They’re not going to rip anything off, because they’re going to create open source software. BBC reports: “Maxwell Salzberg, Daniel Grippi, Raphael Sofaer and Ilya Zhitomirskiy are the brains behind Diaspora which they describe as ‘the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network’.” They have raised $25,000 for a summer coding sprint to make the first iteration of Diaspora public.

Boy do I hope they succeed. Facebook sucks. The platform is “disorganized and buggy,” Facebook clearly has no concerns for your personal privacy, and it’s a closed system that reminds me of the bad old days of LiveJournal.

District assembly or…?

The Pacific Central District of Unitarian Universalist congregations managed to schedule its annual meeting, district assembly, for this Saturday, the same day that Wordcamp is taking place. So I could go to district assembly and hear Paul Rasor talk about theology, or I could go to Wordcamp and learn more about using WordPress as a Website platform.

Much as I’d like to hear Paul Rasor, it’s no contest: if I didn’t have to run an OWL retreat at church on Saturday, I’d go to Wordcamp. Theology is cool, but learning more about how WordPress could power online religion feels like a more pressing need right now. After all, I can always read Paul Rasor’s next book when it comes out. (If you go to Wordcamp SF, leave a comment and let us know what you learned.)