Sett Has Failed or “Why I Like Ghost”

It’s a new era of blogging.

Gone are the days of brightly coloured heavily cluttered personal sites as found on yahoo’s geocities, or old school MySpace. Now it is about minimalism. Stark contrasts, bold headers or subtle grey tones.

LiveJournal had to move over some time ago for Blogger and WordPress.com (though I still LOVE my LiveJournal and think it is a far more communicative blogging community  – I will keep it forever muahahaha)  and although sites like Tumblr have gained popularity, WordPress.org has reigned as king due to the fact it can be self hosted and one can more easily own their own content as well as have an enormous resource of plug-ins to make their wee little blog into a full blown professional representation.

In the past few years some new kids have come to town.

Posthaven, which was created by two guys of Posterous fame. They claim they intend this platform to last forever. I saw little way to customize anything. That might come later, I don’t know.

Medium which is nifty but quite limited due to being an offspring of twitter. No customization and you must use a twitter or Facebook account. However the in-post options are really quite cool and if you don’t care about being ‘unique’ or ownership, its quite awesome. Id rather use IT than twitter.

Silvrback  – a nice platform that is only 30.00 for a full year. One of the cheaper alternatives yet still very nice on the eyes and easy to use. More customization than the above two. Created by Damian Sowers.

Roon.io – looked promising and was acquired  by Ghost

Postagon – simple, easy to use. No customization but a nice little set up. Not sure why someone would want to pay to use it, at least not in my limited use of it.

Ghost – a new way to blog. The only one of these listed that can be self-hosted. Although most hosts don’t have the ability to run ghost yet, it can be run on non-shared hosting or through sites such as A Small Orange (which is what I use) or some others that you can find via this page. I would suggest to avoid ghoster.io if they are still on the list when you check as they lack any contact info so if you have a problem with your install you are shit-outta-luck.

And now, to Sett.

Checking Sett this morning to catch up with some blogs I follow there, I saw this post made by Sett founder Tynan

an excerpt:

We had hoped that Sett would become a major blogging platform and would have either made enough money to sustain itself, or that it would be purchased by a larger company and that we could work with their resources to make it even better. We also hoped that we’d be successful in converting many big bloggers to it. In the end we failed at all of those things.

Well — now in fairness, although Sett charges for the more usable packages, even at free it is quite functional and encourages lots of interaction. I quite liked it. It wasn’t as fun to use in posting as Medium is,  and is not capable of self installing like Ghost – but it worked hard to get people’s posts seen and had great sharing tools.

I think its disconcerting for users of a platform to see posts like Tynan’s. I guess it can go two ways – it can cause current users to start using paid accounts instead of free if the user likes it a lot and is worried about the possible demise. Or it can cause current users to say “screw it” and go off somewhere else.

Projects and companies close down all the time in this fast paced internet world.  That’s one reason why I really like Ghost.

Ghost lets me install it somewhere of my choosing, or onto my own server. Although one can also go  to ghost.org and use their paid service of 10.00/month. That might seem like a lot to pay for a simple blog (thought it is similar to many others ) however I realize that this goes back into the project and Ghost is something I really believe in. When there is a project I believe in, I want to help when possible. (this is the reason why I contribute even a small amount to my Diaspora pod at diasp.org)

Ghost has some bumps along the way. There are a few simple-ish configurations that are recommended for mail settings when setting up Ghost. Currently there is limited add-ons but this is something always in progress and you can pop over to ghost.org to see what’s going on. There are some amazing themes at their marketplace, and instructions on how to add the ability for mail followers etc. I REALLY think, that even given what is there right now, that Ghost is my platform of choice. Remember that this a community project, there is no 24/7 service for it like you will find with something like typepad, or wordpress.com etc. However it is a vibrant community. And an excited one. I really think that finally something has come along to put blogging back into the hands of bloggers.

 

“Four Devotional Practices for Naturalistic Pagans” by Anna Walther

Birch Wind:

A very nice, gentle reminder of simple ways we can honour and celebrate our relationship to the world and the energies that move within it.

Originally posted on Humanistic Paganism:

Go outside, and experience the weather, woods, waters, and celebrated sites of your place.

“Why is it so quiet?” my son asked. “I don’t know,” I replied in a whisper, without knowing why. My children and I were visiting Seiders Springs, limestone artesian springs that lie along Shoal Creek in Austin, Texas. They’re framed by crowded city streets and two busy medical facilities, one on each bank of Shoal Creek, such that the quiet blanketing the path past the springs was arresting. Water babbled up through limestone to collect in shallow fern-framed pools. While we stood there listening, a couple of hospital workers walked by, chatting in hushed tones, enjoying the soft beauty and respite of natural springs in the heart of a bustling, rapidly-growing city.

My children stopped briefly to wonder at the improbability of water flowing from rock, then took off down the path, past the springs without…

View original 662 more words

I posted a photo I took of fallen lea…

I posted a photo I took of fallen leaves three years ago.
[Jo S Wun](/people/d59b27da79f9c287) put a poem together for it. I found it fitting to reshare again.

I am but one of countless leaves

Who've fallen from the tree

We wear our hearts upon our sleeves

A golden potpourri

A final flash of colours bright

Before I fade to gray

I give you back some of the light

Which fed me on my way

So be not sad to see me perish

No, do not mourn for me

Life's cycle we should always cherish

It's nature's poetry

#IlyaZ #WeRemember

An Intro to Diaspora

originally from my blog at LiveJournal

I joined Diaspora a few years ago, in 2011. I had migrated to G+ when it came out and shortly afterward the #nymwars started up. Many people were unhappy that Google was forcing ‘real names’ onto people. Many bloggers, and people who were known primarliy by nicknames had their accounts shut down.
Meanwhile, a group of young men from NYU were already working on something amazing that people had heard about but weren’t quite sure how to join.
People were’t familiar with this ‘decentralized’ thing. And admittedly most people who wanted to own their content and have better privacy etc weren’t tech savvy enough to start their own ‘pod’ of Diaspora. All pods interconnect with one another, and many pods started up as a group effort for a few friends to run their own, but some big pods started up also. Diasp.org, Poddery.com and others. These were open to the public to join. Diaspora had their own as well called joindiaspora.com , however it proved to take a very long time to get an invite to, 1) because of the sheer volume of people wanting to join and 2) the team wanting a full stability at their end before letting everyone in. These other pods took off the load from that.
The downside however was that people waiting on an invite from JoinDiaspora didn’t necessarily know about all the other pods unless they were following the Diaspora project. In reality, what the largest percentage of the population did was request an invite and then just wait (and eventually forget). As time passed, they assumed Diaspora never happened. I still meet people that say “hm, I wonder what ever happened to Diaspora?”
Luckily there was a vast number of people following the progress quite closely and the ability to join other pods rather than wait on the core pod to get all the invites out became much more common knowledge during the #nymwars of Google +.
I came across a conversation on Google+ about Diaspora. People were talking about migrating there, my first thoughts:
What? It IS finished? How can I get an account? Where do i find information?
As is normally the way on social networks, info suddenly made it’s way round. Especially because so many people wanted to leave G+ and Facebook. That desire to avoid data mining and own content , especially while under the threat of having your account shut down due to one’s name not being ‘Real Enough’ was enough to get people looking into the status of the Diaspora they had heard about.
In the beginning Diaspora was wonky.
It has ALWAYS been a community project (much more so now) , and the boys from NYU were working 24/7 to get this stable for the people that were flocking to it.

People have a sense of ‘entitlement’, and even though something is free (TRULY free) and being offered to them out of a labour of love, there are still bound to be complaints and demands. Such was the way.
Regardless, Diaspora continued to grow.
Then, the unthinkable happened

Ilya took his own life. One of the Diaspora founders.
I won’t get into it here. This post isn’t about that. It can be read about here. But there is no shortage of grief still to this day. Most of the community suddenly really REALIZED – these are people. These Founders (like of any project) are people. As grief hit the community, I think too a sense of bonding began to grow. I know that I still feel very close to all those initial friends I made there, even those whom I often disagreed with.
As time passed I spent more time in Virtual Worlds, mainly Inworldz , and only spent time on social networking sites sporadically. I also began blogging more about my own personal internal journey with various things. I still logged into Diaspora, still checked in with friends, but wasn’t as active.
Then Ello came on the scene. The hype of this seemingly ‘grassroots’ type of project, and its claim of privacy, no datamining etc intrigued me. I joined to see how it compared with Diaspora. Whereas the news had been calling the Diaspora founders ‘Geeky, Nerds’ etc and almost mocking their attempts, Ello was the ultimate Hipster’s dream. Pretty, retro, minimalist . Actually, the clean interface reminded me a lot of Diaspora. However Ello, at the time of my last use of it (yesterday Sept. 26th) is dysfunctional. You’d think with a Venture Capital investment it would at least have a proper search function, or reshare. Or notifications?
nope.
Of course no one realized right away about the VC investment. Full story on what Ello really is:
https://aralbalkan.com/notes/ello-goodbye/
That’s all the time I’lll waste talking about Ello, except to mention that what got me on my Diaspora rant was coming across the same ignorance as before, but ON Ello. “Hm, I wonder if Ello is going to go the way of Diaspora?” “Will Ello succeed? Or fail, like Diaspora?” I corrected a few of those misconceptions and although my comments had 50-75+ views, no one responded.
So.
On Diaspora the past few days I have seen many new people, possibly due to the fact that people remember Diaspora now. Possibly due to the fact that they realize there is an actual TRULY free (and decentralized) option to Facebook, Google+ and , of course Ello.
So I decided to add some screenshots with some getting started tips.
1. When you join, make a NewHere post. The registration process is very simple and directs you into a good ‘Getting Started’, but I don’t think people realize how important that first post is. We follow tags at Diaspora. When anyone posts a public post with tags that I follow in it, that post gets into my Stream. Likewise, I also check JUST my tags to see what’s going on there. If you don’t have friends, and are posting privately, or without tags… no one is going to see your post
DiasporaStreaminst
As you can see above, this new member made a public post, used the NewHere tag as well as others to show interests. Because I follow NewHere, it arrived in my feed.

You can search topics in the Search bar, add a ‘#’ directly infront of the word you are searching.
diasporasearchwithtag
Along the side you can see others who share that interest/follow the tag, and of course you see the most recen posts about that topic.
There is the option on the page to Follow that tag (see above the space to enter text)  and/or post directly onto that tag page about the topic.
Once you have your followed tags, you can click them from your sidebar and just see what’s going on in the topics of your choice.

diasporataginst

To search for a person instead of a tag/topic, simply put the person’s name into the search window with no ‘#’
Diasporsearchnameinstr
And there,I found Leanna <3

Now along your sidebar, you can choose to look at indivdual tags, and you can also choose which aspects you want to see. I can choose just Friends and see just their content, and likewise the text/posting box on that page will by default ONLY go to friends.
If you Select All of your aspects then that will be the default destination of your posts. Be sure to choose ‘public’ below your text box however if you aren new and wanting to meet people via your tagged post.

diasporaaspectsinst

Now, this hasn’t been an extensive ‘how to’, but more of an overview.
If you’d like to join diaspora, there is a list of pods that indicates if they are open or closed at http://podupti.me, run by diasp.org’s David Morley. When choosing a pod, you can see what version it’s running, if it’s open or closed, amount of time running, and what services it offers (many of them offer cross posting to WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook)
I personally use diasp.org and feel free to look me up!
birchwind@diasp.org

I think that the sheer number of people flocking to Ello, even with it’s less than stellar origins and lack of function, indicate that people are really ready to move on from the datamining sites such as Facebook and Google+.

This might be Diaspora’s time to shine.
Maybe Diaspora was born a just before it’s time, and maybe now, people will realize what a gift has been given to us by the Diaspora founders and the community that continues to build, create and maintain this project.

Ello, goodbye

From this article here

Goodbye, Ello.

The only way to fight the venture capital model is not to support the product in the first place. Venture capital is private subsidy that keeps the startup alive long enough until enough people have joined their platform. At this point, it’s too late. By being part of the platform we have created its value. This is the value that is sold in an exit. The only way to resist this system is to not build that value in the first place. Once a network has grown to the sort of size Facebook or Twitter has, there is very little anyone can do. But we have an opportunity to make sure that new networks that are funded by venture capital do not reach that point.

I’m sorry, Paul, but by taking venture capital you have made a crucial mistake that is incompatible with the goals you set out in your manifesto and I will not support yet another venture-capital funded network only to be disappointed at the time of the inevitable exit.

So here’s what I’m doing: I’m leaving Ello. Before it can grow. Before it can exit. And I suggest that you do the same.

Or, even better, do not join it in the first place.

*read more at https://aralbalkan.com/notes/ello-goodbye/