Some more links; unsurprisingly, there have been a few articles about Mastodon open in my browser recently. I’ve been on Mastodon since August 2019, but haven’t really paid much attention to it until recently. It’s always been quieter than Twitter (obvs!) but I like it a lot because of that. Way fewer people trying to be “thought leaders” 🤢 and—generally—way more kindness being shown to others. I hope that doesn’t change with the influx os new people (but I’m not hopeful, TBH… as a group, we don’t tend to look after nice things).

Home invasion: Mastodon’s Eternal September begins

It’s not entirely the Twitter people’s fault. They’ve been taught to behave in certain ways. To chase likes and retweets/boosts. To promote themselves. To perform. All of that sort of thing is anathema to most of the people who were on Mastodon a week ago. It was part of the reason many moved to Mastodon in the first place. This means there’s been a jarring culture clash all week as a huge murmuration of tweeters descended onto Mastodon in ever increasing waves each day. To the Twitter people it feels like a confusing new world, whilst they mourn their old life on Twitter. They call themselves “refugees”, but to the Mastodon locals it feels like a busload of Kontiki tourists just arrived, blundering around yelling at each other and complaining that they don’t know how to order room service. We also mourn the world we’re losing.

This article has made the rounds a lot over the last week or so, and for good reason. The sudden influx of people coming from Twitter and expecting Mastodon to replicate that experience can’t have been easy for administrators and long-time tooters to handle. But on the plus side, Mastodon is actually designed to curb some of the more rampant asshattery that happens on Twitter, which leads me to…

Twitter alternative: how Mastodon is designed to be “antiviral”

…I’ve realized that Mastodon is a superb example of antiviral design.

It was engineered specifically to create friction — to slow things down a bit. This is a big part of why it behaves so differently from mainstream social networks.

It’s this antivirality, this designed-in friction, that makes Mastodon so much calmer, and—in my experience, at least—much more conducive to kindness. If that sounds appealing, we can segue to…

How to Get Started on Mastodon

It can be tempting to compare Mastodon directly with Twitter, which on one level makes sense. Both are microblogging platforms where people can follow your posts, both have “like” buttons and allow you to share content, and both allow you to follow other people’s posts. But this isn’t a perfect analogy.

One of the better intro-to-Mastodon articles I’ve read recently. But probably the most important thing for people to remember is that Mastodon ≠ Twitter; don’t go in expecting Mastodon to be a drop-in replacement for Twitter—it’s very different in a lot of ways, and that’s a good thing.

Who Said It: Elon Musk or Mr. Burns?

The Simpsons’s Mr. Burns and Elon Musk share an eerie number of similarities. Each is the richest person in his respective universe—Springfield for the former, planet Earth for the latter. They boast about their green energy initiatives of electric cars and nuclear power plants, but use their power to advance right-wing politics and fuel their petty personal grievances.

This was much harder than I expected it to be, probably because Elon Musk has pretty much become a caricature of the “evil tech billionaire” and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to hear that he’d said any of these things.

Digital Books wear out faster than Physical Books

Mega-publishers are saying electronic books do not wear out, but this is not true at all. The Internet Archive processes and reprocesses the books it has digitized as new optical character recognition technologies come around, as new text understanding technologies open new analysis, as formats change from djvu to daisy to epub1 to epub2 to epub3 to pdf-a and on and on. This takes thousands of computer-months and programmer-years to do this work. This is what libraries have signed up for—our long-term custodial roles.

I hadn’t ever really considered how quickly digital media degrades relative to physical media, but evolving/changing formats and hardware (and DRM!) make long-term maintenance of any kind of digital library a massive effort.

Floor796

Floor796 is an ever-expanding animation scene showing the life of the 796th floor of the huge space station! The goal of the project is to create as huge animation as possible, with many references to movies, games, anime and memes.

Warning: huge time sink. I spent a large portion of last night “Where’s Wally-ing” (or “Where’s Waldo-ing” for my North American friends) things. Some pretty obscure references in places, but a lot of stuff that I did manage to get, too. I’ll have to remember to check back periodically to see what else has been added.

Star Wars Gets Political

The show is populated by ordinary people who become revolutionaries or Imperial cronies, not just magic monks, space-cowboy smugglers, or ruthless bounty hunters (not that I don’t love all of those types too). Similarly, the show’s factions, whether part of the Rebels or the Empire, are not monolithic but troubled by their own divisions and rivalries. The show, in other words, is interested in what kind of person joins the Rebels or goes Imperial, and why.

Andor is by far my favorite addition to the Star Wars universe since the original trilogy. I enjoyed The Mandolorian, The Book of Boba Fest and Obi-Wan Kenobi (well, kind of enjoyed the last of those), but none of them have really gone deep on the motivations of the characters, and certainly haven’t gone deep on the motivations of multiple characters, both “goodies” and “baddies”.

Originally posted then updated