Beeper makes Matrix bridges into a business model

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.

Beeper bridges

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.

Its one of the thing which blew me away when I saw Matrix at Mozfest 2017.

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

What centralised systems could learn from the fediverse when it comes to trolls

This video from the activitypub conference 2020, is a perfect example of what I have tried to explain to friends and colleagues. The moderation isn’t just people but a system which is baked into the infrastructure of the fediverse. As the video explains its not perfect but its likely more effective than the centralised systems of Twitter, Facebook, etc.

I do remember when I heard about gab joining the fediverse and the outcry by many who didn’t fully understand how the fediverse works.

Give the social dilemma some credit

There is a scene in the social dilemma which is quite impactful.

A character looks at her social media feed in the bathroom alone, she sighs and turns looks in to a mirror trying to understand the negative reaction shes getting. While she looked at her self a tear runs down her face.

The social dilemma

Its something easily overlooked but pretty powerful, I have to say watching it again.

Trying Indigenous social timeline app

IndieWeb ecosystem
When I first saw this last year, I instantly thought about small pieces loosely joined

Last year I went to IndieWebCampBerlin, I learned a lot and really enjoyed it. One of the things I found most interesting is the indieweb ecosystem and in the indieweb way, how people were creating parts of the ecosystem. This is quite a different to the way existing social networks are built, dare I mentioned protocols not platforms again.

There was an app which was mentioned a few times as a example of how it could work. Indigenous, which supports micropub (publishing) and microsub (subscription) across the different pub/sub supporting services. It was neat but I couldn’t get it working on my Android phone. Mainly down to the Indieauth which didn’t work well with this blog. So I kinda left it till this week.

Indigenous allows you to engage with the internet as you do on social media sites, and post on your IndieWeb powered website or a federated instance like Mastodon, Pleroma or Pixelfed

Using Indigenous on Android

Unlike last time, there is a better more user-friendly introduction to the app. It seems to set up a default user for you and allows you add other accounts to it. I assume once you finally add a indieweb account it will release the default user and move the added accounts.

I added my Mastodon and Pixelfed account did a test post using Mastodon in Indigenous.

I did try and post it via Pixelfed but it didn’t seem to work, so I used Mastodon instead. So far so good, but I hoped to still get IndieAuth working but still no dice unfortunately.

It was only a day ago when I realised there was a desktop version, a electron app for Linux, so I gave it a try.

Its a bit different but I recognise parts. Although I couldn’t find the account part s wasn’t able to try the indieauth.

Expect more posting as I explore more, of course if anyone has pointers…? Do jump into the comments/web mentions or drop me something on Mastodon or Twitter.

Why oh why Vero?

Mastodon

Something is rising in the public consciousness around the social network apps we are using. Be it due to the changes in Snapchat, the massive turd which is facebook messenger (I’m using the lite version with locked down permissions) or Instagram algorithm changes.

There was a opportunity to move people away from these networks (at least in mobile) but what happened? The media and people started suggesting the use of another proprietary closed sourced startup app… this one called Vero.

I’m unsure like a lot of people, what pushed Vero to the forth front at the right time but i have to give them some credit with picking the right moment?

Ideally I’d like to see systems like Mastodon pushed forward but I think there are lessons which can be learned from Vero’s push into the limelight. Because although Vero’s end user licence looks barely reasonable right now, you have no idea when it will change or/and it will be come a roach motel just like the ones people are unhappy with now…

Maybe its not too late… ? Or its time to start thinking about the next opportunity? I certainly think it can be done, you only have to look at the way the Mastodon community made it easy for avid twitter users to shift over. Whats needed now is user experience expertise around the apps to expose the advantage of Mastodon to the user without over-loading or intimating. Aral talks about the lack of focus on the user experience and in this case, he’s dead right.

Its all for the taking; expose the natural benefits of Mastodon to the user and make them a key part of the experience.

I joined mastodon microbloging service, not the rock band!

mastodonI have always been a big fan of Jabber, Laconi.ca and Status.net. All are federated services which go well beyond the centralised and even decentralised ideas. But they all were second fiddle to the centralised services like Twitter mainly down to user experience.

So I’m wondering if Mastondon will be any different? Of course theres only one way to find out, and thats to try it out.

So I am… but what is it?

Mastodon is a fast-growing Twitter-like social network that seeks to re-create the service’s best parts while eliminating its whale-sized problems. The distributed, open-source platform offers better tools for privacy and fighting harassment than Twitter does, but it also comes with a learning curve. Mastodon’s federated nature means there’s no single website to use, and learning how to wade through its timeline of tweets (which it calls toots) takes some time to adjust to.

But for anyone who misses “the old Twitter” — the days of purely chronological timelines, no ads, and an inescapable flood of harassment — Mastodon can feel like a haven

Old twitter was great I’ll be honest but its not that I long for the old days of twitter. Its just I can feel the their business model imposed from their backers/investors infringing on why I originally used twitter. There is a blog drafted which is all about how business models imposed by VC/backers/etc ruins services/products. For example Pebble, Evernote, Twitter, etc.

So I’m cubicgarden on mastodon.cloud, which should federate across to other Mastondon server instances. Feel free to say hi…

Breaking the rules of online dating with bristlr

At Silicon Drinkabout last night, I was introduced to John Kershaw who created a social network/dating site for people with and like beards – Bristlr. (yes this is the uniform dating style thing, basically for anybody)

  • Tell us where you are, and if you have a bear
  • Got a beard? We find people looking for beards
  • Want a beard? We find people with beards worth looking for
  • Send messages to people you match with
  • Your life now contains more beard love, you’re welcome

John seems to have got quite a few people on-board with no advertising or promotion. Its a interesting site and hits a niche really well.

How does it make money? Well funny enough me and John talked about this at length. Unlike most dating sites, he won’t be collecting and selling the data  of the users. His privacy policy seems to follow through on this

Bristlr

We take your privacy seriously. We won’t sell your data. That’s a dick thing to do.

When you use Bristlr, we collect a fair chunk of data about you, but it’s the bare minimum required for the website to function. All of the information is collected explicitly from you.

As this is the internet, our servers collect loads of info like your IP address and some browser details. We do use standard internet tracking and monitoring software, namely Google Analytics, to tell us about who is using the website.

If ever we need to use your personal information for any reason which isn’t essential to the running of Bristlr, we will ask for your consent.

We may disclose your personal information if we are required by law. But we would be super fucking unhappy if this happened.

There is a premium option (there always is!) which shows you the people you’ve yet to match with who have “liked” you.  But realistically, its the price of a coffee or theres the pyramid approach with a referrals..

Bristlr Matches screen

I’m signed up, giving it a try and of course you can give it a try too for free. Theres a referral if you like to enable me premium for a bit  http://www.bristlr.com/?referral=cubicgarden

Ello and welcome to no pesky ads

inspired by ello, the network

Been keeping my eye on the move to create ethical social networks which don’t take the living piss with our data. Things like Tent.io, Known and now Ello are gathering some momentum…

We originally built Ello as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that we built a public version of Ello for everyone to use.

Ello recently got quite serious about its non-ad and no selling of personal data.

Ad-free

Ello doesn’t sell ads. Nor do we sell data about you to third parties.

Virtually every other social network is run by advertisers. Behind the scenes they employ armies of ad salesmen and data miners to record every move you make. Data about you is then auctioned off to advertisers and data brokers. You’re the product that’s being bought and sold.

Collecting and selling your personal data, reading your posts to your friends, and mapping your social connections for profit is both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a “free” service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy.

We also think ads are tacky, that they insult our intelligence and that we’re better without them.

To be fair its way off being something massive, but thats what makes it interesting I feel. I’m now on the network, so if you are interested in a invite and we are friends, drop me a email or tweet…

The audience vs twitter…

Mainstream

Channel4 is known for some very interesting social experiments including something which really gets at something which I have a lot of opinions about

However before I talk about that TV programme. Let me give you my thoughts on The Audience

If you don’t know it, its basically… A bunch of people follow a chosen person for a week and help solve there problems.

People with life-changing decisions to make – from ‘should I give up the family business?’ to ‘should I have a gastric band fitted?’ or ‘should I consider fostering?’ – are followed around by 50 strangers for a week. These strangers must then agree on a decision and deliver their verdict on the path to take. For the person with the dilemma the process is emotional, sometimes difficult and often eye-opening. And the audience holding this enormous responsibility have to navigate through layers of heartache, resistance and personal revelations, as well as the nights out, kitchens and cramped offices of the people they’re trying to help.

Although I’ve not quite watched the first one yet… It strikes me as odd because frankly…

Isn’t this just Twitter???

I say twitter oppose to your social network because its people who you don’t know. The stranger advice is a well known human effect. People generally prefer to confide in the stranger.

Or maybe I’m wrong…?

I know this requires a level of transparency and openness which most people are not willing to disclose but personally I’ve had very good things happen from being so open and asking questions of strangers…

Securebook update adds real Social Steganography

After all the comments and blog posts about secure book, rob best added real steganography to Securebook.

I paid the money for the full version and will be posting some secret messages to my flickr and twitter friends in the near future.

Its clearly amazing how this project has progressed and I’m really happy to have had a tiny helping hand in making this what it has become. Now I need to run this pass some to the guys at work to see what they think. But in the mean time Rob really needs to get this in front of Schneier and Steve Gibson on the security end  and Danah Boyd and Stowe Boyd on the social tip.

I’m wondering if there is a interesting tie up with Google plus’s automatic uploading of photos and securebook’s social steganography? On #Techgrumps it was already mentioned that this would be great for those taking and sharing sensitive photos if there camera was later seized. Not only would your photos be online straight away, but they would also include hidden and secret information which you could only see if your a friend.

Social networking your filmz

My Films

The man behind Reader2, myprogs and tagfacts is in the final phase of testing Myfilmz.net. Go check it out, same login applies if your subscribed to any of his other tools and it looks to have all and maybe more features than listal.

Its based on Amazon again, which is great but means you will have problems adding brand new films just out in the cinema. But I blame IMDB (i mean Amazon) for this. When is IMDB going to open there doors to Webservices and expose a ton of Webapi's? Even RSS would be a start.

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