Ian thinks: I actually chuckle at the #askfirefox videos but this video makes good points about buying a surveillance device for friends and family this festive holiday. Shop smart with Mozilla’s privacy not included.
Ian thinks: Its good to see this discussion at this level but am concerned there isn’t more focus beyond broadcasting. Public service is much bigger and its time to bring what makes public service unique to this space.
Ian thinks: Mozilla although well know in certain circles, has been losing a lot of market share. However has good plans to build on its community roots for a bright and sustainable future. Don’t forget the Mozilla festival’s call for proposals ends Dec 16th
Ian thinks: Interesting points made and worthy of listening to in full. Likewise this small panel with the folks from Bluesky, Manyverse and others exploring the possibilities way beyond what’s currently available.
Ian thinks: This is great news Automattic (WordPress) are once again supporting the standard ActivityPub and joining the large open network of the fediverse. How Tumblr will work on the Fediverse is another question.
After the long wait and some wonder if anything was going to happen. On Monday I got my invite to join a very small number of people on Beeper.
I am impressed…
I thought I had a blog post about Beeper but I didn’t write one. So in short this picture sums up Beeper in one go.
Imagine if you could use one client to access all these different networks, but unlike pidgin or trillian which needs software plugins to connect to them all. Beeper is actually a Matrix client which connects to specific Matrix bridges (server based, instead of client based) to other messaging networks.
Matrix is open source and you can run it on your own infrastructure (we will get back to that soon). You can even install your own bridges.
In short Beeper is the Matrix dream in a managed service which you pay $10 a month. You can self host it and its something I may do after a while but right now I’m happy to give some money to get use to things
First thing I did is install the appimage for Linux, set it up using the code I had received via email. Then setup a few networks. Within a few minutes I was replying to friends
I tested Slack using Storyteller United and was quite impressed, although I ended up disabling it due to the amount of channels and how busy the slack can be.
I may enable it again for a few slacks I am part of but don’t want the whole of slack on. Currently I have the Slack app on my laptop and work phone but I like the idea of the messaging parts without the heavy slack app.
I noticed you can input Gifs, emoji’s, attachments, etc in almost every single message in a unified way. I haven’t hooked up my SMS yet (mainly because there is no RCS bridge yet which I would miss). I also would like to see scheduling as I’m so use to it now.
Of course the phone interface for beeper is similar, Gif and all. You can use the unified inbox which puts everything in one timeline. The spaces cuts everything by network.
To be frank, Beeper is impressive and if I could change a few things they would be.the ability to have multiple accounts. For example I would love to be able to finally have one client for the multiple Signal accounts (I have one for my personal and work mobiles). This might be a limitation of Signal, but it would be great if I could spin up 2 bridges. I say this as I added 2 slack accounts and could add more with ease.
Right now Beeper is very much work in progress, but its got most of the key features. I don’t feel like I have fully added the networks yet as I hold on to apps like Android messages due to RCS and scheduled messages. I could add Twitter and Discord but I’m quite happy with my Mastodon clients and cross posting to Twitter. Although I might hook up my ianforrester account on twitter just to see what its like in beeper. I even consider setting up Telegram, i-message, etc accounts just because I can now without the stress.
I forgot, Beeper doesn’t replace the existing messaging systems, meaning when I finally hooked up Android messages, I can still send scheduled messages and RCS from the app. But reply and send general messages from Beeper.
The network diagram at the very top is actually slight wrong because Beeper sits within the Matrix network and once I understood this via the support channel. It became clear I could easily share things between all my mobiles and laptop with ease. Bit like how I use Signal’s personal space/notes to yourself. I haven’t tried connecting to any of the Matrix systems I’m part of like publicspaces, sdeps or redecentralise. But I’ll give it a try over the next few days.
I like Beeper, but do long to setup my own bridges in a docker container or rasberrypi in the near future. Is 10$ a month quite a bit expensive for this? Maybe but only because I am still getting use to it and not fully using it. I think if I was using it for everything, 10$ a month would great value. Its a good business model, as most won’t or can’t run their own bridge server. (I have already looked to see if Yuno host has support or not)
I look forward to the regular updates and seeing it mature into something unique.
Funny enough I heard Beeper on Twit.TV’s all about android too. The person who wrote in didn’t blur any of his conversations and contacts which I would say is super brave or not thinking things fully through? However its interesting to see someone else also using Beeper and the reaction to it from people not fully aware of
Obviously in the middle of a pandemic, it would be a awful idea to bring together a bunch of people from different households to spend 2 days and a night together. Lucky as we all are, we have the internet.
The bright sparks running BarCampManchester decided it could work online and they made it happen with some custom coding for the session wall and a clever setup of Discord.
I haven’t been a fan of discord but was surprised once I downloaded the Flatpak version for Linux, how effective it was. Before long I was barcamp as usual. Except I had some things I needed to do in the morning. I left a note saying save me a spot on the session wall, knowing how they fill up in the afternoon. Chris pointed out, its all virtual, it would be trivial to create another space/room. Of course I mistakenly was thinking with my physical brain, welcome to the virtual. It was like Eames in inception to Arthur
You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.
Once back I threw myself in with a number of other people not just from Manchester but around the UK. Why limit yourself to just Manchester right? Old friends showed up and we had a good old natter. The sessions were good and even ran a couple myself (one about adaptive podcasting and the other about my gratitude habit).
Of course at the end after the end talk, some diabolo time, some food and a catch up with my family. There was still enough people to play werewolf on werewolv.es with discord.
I got to say it was all good, ok its not going to beat a physical in person barcamp but once I got use to discord it worked quite well. I enjoyed it and as potentially we are looking at another 12-18 months of this pandemic, this could potentially be a good community way to run barcamp.
There was talk about a BarCampManchester11 during winter and if there was, I certainly would get a ticket and make sure theres nothing clashing. Its tricky for sponsorship but I was thinking maybe if people paid between £2-10 maybe that could really help if you were able to get upwards of 50-100 people? This could be done with Eventbrite too, making things less friction.
Could you run a conference this way? Potentially but it would depend on what kind of conference. Good luck getting the public to install discord I would think.