From Facebook and Google+ to Diaspora

With the demise of Google Plus, a rush of people in search of an alternative is underway. Many of these “Plussers” and “G+ Refugees” have found their way to Diaspora! And a lot of folks are jumping over from Facebook as well, with all the news about censorship, bias, data-mining, and breaches.

I have written about Diaspora before. I complained that FOSS projects like Diaspora seem to attract anticapitalists and politically liberal folks who see all for-profit companies as inherently evil. So finding other like-minded conservatives and Christian folk on Diaspora, historically, was hard to do. Diaspora also attracts people who believe that “even hate speech is free speech, so don’t you dare try to limit my free speech!” So there are Nazis, white supremacists, anti-Semites, etc. I dumped Diaspora eventually because finding others who share my values was so rare and so difficult.

That has completely changed now, because of the vast numbers of folks fleeing the Left-leaning censorship of Facebook and Google. I have found dozens of conservative patriots and evangelical Christians on Diaspora, and a growing number of Diaspora pods are moderated and have terms of service that make better sense than before. When it was learned that some Islamic extremist groups were actually using Diaspora accounts to promote / recruit / radicalize and plan acts of terror, suddenly there was a bit of a backlash against the policy of absolute iron-clad non-censorship and non-moderation. Most podmins (these are the folks who run the Diaspora software on servers and operate their own Diaspora “pods”) cleaned up the mess they had made and erased and banned the terror extremists. They haven’t fully cleaned out the Nazi infestation, but that’s a fringe group that most people simply block and ignore anyway.

When I fled from Facebook this last time, I gave Diaspora one last shot before I thought I would simply give up on social media and stick to e-mail and forums. There are a few pods that are just downright awesome now, and lots of people using the hashtags #Christian, #Christ-follower, #conservative, #bible, etc. And at least one of them is working on opening his own Diaspora pod that will be Christian-friendly and heavily moderated to keep it family friendly. I would have done it long ago myself if I had the money and time it would take to set up and maintain a Diaspora pod. So I’m delighted to find someone else taking it seriously enough to start his own pod (a “pod” is Diaspora’s term for an instance, a server that people can use to receive and send posts and comments from others on Diaspora and the Federation.

Karin, a newcomer from Google Plus, wrote this really cool review of why diaspora is 10 ways better than Google Plus. She called Diaspora “pluspora,” but that’s the name of the particular pod she joined from.

It’s definitely worth a shot now, for those of you who may have been holding off, or who might have abandoned an older Diaspora account because of the very small number of people who share “family values” and respect for those with religious beliefs, traditions, and values. If you decide to try Diaspora, whether again or for the first time, look me up! Find me here and say hello!

Social Media and Mental Health

So I got on Diaspora and dumped Facebook (and Google) because of all the paranoid geeky stuff about them manipulating news and spying on people and using all your stuff to take over the world.

I ran away from systemd on Linux because of all the paranoid geeky stuff I read on Diaspora about how Red Hat and Microsoft (and the NSA, FBI, Illuminati, and who knows, some alien race from the Eighth Dimension) are using systemd on Linux to take over the world and enslave Linux users.

As it turns out, in spite of Monstanto, GMOs, vaccines, the Left, the Right, Microsoft, Google, the Borg, Canonical, Red Hat, and systemd, my computer and my privacy are as safe as anyone who ever connects to the Internet on any device or platform can expect to be.

Who is manipulating who here? Who is really thriving on the fears of others here?

People told us to stop flying the American flag and stop showing our support for the military and first responders or else we could be targeted for violence, blacklisting, discrimination, etc. Did I take down my flag? Hell no. Let them come. I’ll gut them if they bring their threats beyond my front door.

And guess what else? I’ve got a systemd-equipped Linux distro running because it works better on my machine than the two systemd-free distros I tried. And y’know what else? I rejoined Facebook today. I’m using it with my eyes open and sensible precautions in place. I’ll keep my Diaspora but I’m making big changes there. All that paranoia and conspiracy stuff is not good for people who have ever been diagnosed with depression, whatever the cause.

All I can say now is,

I didn’t take my flag down. And I’m not avoiding systemd, Facebook, Google, or any other tool that serves me.

I’ll use the Internet wisely, my systemd-equipped Linux distro wisely, and Facebook wisely. Just like I do with my car, my firearms, my power tools, and anything else that requires a little thought and caution. I’m not throwing away all the perfectly good tools that make modern life so nice and so rich.

I’m through running away from phantoms. If and when the time comes to fight, against whoever the bad guys are, I’ll fight and die like a Klingon in glorious battle. In the meantime time, all you anti-vaccine, anti-Google, and anti-everything-that-isn’t-home-grown-or-home-made people can kiss my grits.

Hey, I just had a thought…. maybe my medicine is working now after all!

Are Linux Users Anti-Capitalist?

I’ve seen a lot of stuff in Linux forums and blogs to make me think so, in spite of the existence of for-profit Linux companies like Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical. During my very brief membership in Diaspora, the free and open-source social network that bills itself as an alternative to Facebook, I found no other members there who believe in good old fashioned free market capitalism. Diaspora attracts many Linux/FOSS users. There were hundreds of posts from Diaspora community members equating profit with greed, as though it is somehow unethical to reap the rewards of one’s own hard work. For all I could tell, I may have been the only one in the whole network with an opposing point of view.

Now comes another rant from Richard Stallman, the rabid FOSS advocate who sees all other software as inherently evil because it may have a profit motive. In his most recent anti-capitalist rant, the Bearded One rails against Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, the most popular and most widely used desktop Linux distribution in history. He urges Linux users to abandon Ubuntu because of an advertized feature of it’s innovative Unity desktop interface (here). He claims that the “shopping lens” in the desktop “dash” (think of “dashboard” – that Unity desktop is pretty cool, and is designed with a view towards touch screens and such – the future!) is a “sneaky” invasion of the user’s privacy with an eeeeevil profit motive.

First of all, the shopping lens is an advertized feature of Ubuntu, so there’s nothing “sneaky” about it. And users can easily opt out if they don’t want to use it. Secondly, it takes money to fund development of Ubuntu’s innovations, which they then provide for free to their users. Canonical’s deal with Amazon helps provide some of that funding while preserving the user’s privacy by not collecting any “user-identifiable” information. What expectation of privacy does any online shopper have anyway? Gimme a break! If Canonical can get enough profit from deals with companies like Dell, Amazon, and Google to continue funding their awesome and innovative operating system and then give that operating system away for free, how can that be considered greedy and selfish?

It’s only considered “greedy” by anarchists, communists, and others who believe that the rewards of one’s own hard work should not be retained by those who earn those rewards. “Share the wealth,” we are told by those who would remove any incentive to work at all, much less invest in the work of others. The Linux and Free and Open Source Software communities have more than their fair share of such rabid anti-capitalists who think they are entitled to all the benefits of other people’s work. What about their own volunteer contributions to the Free Software Foundation? How is that different from any Ubuntu user who wants to use Ubuntu’s cool search feature or shopping feature to support their favorite Linux/FOSS project? Answer: It’s no different at all. It’s just easier than writing a check to support the Bearded One’s favorite Linux/FOSS projects – or more accurately, to support the Bearded One himself.

Shut up, Stallman. Quit begging and bitching and get a real job. I bet if you did, you would come to resent the efforts of other socialists and anarchists to confiscate your wages in order to “share the wealth” with other bums like you.