Exciting technologies that you might not have heard about yet

Social

Mastodon is a free software alternative to Facebook and Twitter. It’s easy to use and a lot of smart people are moving over. Here is why:

  • It looks like it will remain the default microblogging platform for freedom lovers for a while.
  • https://www.codesections.com/blog/mastodon-elevator-pitch
  • It’s an open ecosystem based on ActivityPub so it interoperates with PeerTube (YouTube alternative) pixelFed (Instagram alternative) and other participants of the Fediverse.

Tusky and Fedilab are good Mastodon clients to try for Android. Search for Mastodon on other platforms.

Discourse is similar to forum software but better (in a lot of subtle ways). In my humble opinion one of the use cases is where ever you would have used forum software in the past. Especially nice if you want to create sticky posts and guides to explain and/or document and/or announce things. You can setup Discourse to automatically send certain notifications for example sending notifications of new posts of a certain category to a Telegram channel.

Mobilizon is an initiative from the people behind peerTube to create a better way of organizing events. Better as in: cost, freedom, privacy, security and federation (ActivityPub so seamless integration with Mastodon).

Matrix and Riot can be used as an alternative to Slack and similar tools. Have a dedicated environment for teamwork together. You can even run the server on a Freedombox.

Signal is the most secure messaging app that I know of. It’s similar to WhatsApp but without concerns for security, privacy and freedom.

Telegram is another messaging app. The big benefits of Telegram compared to Signal is the feature set including groups, channels, bots and sticker sets that are really funny.

The unity village project will probably start employing some (or all) of these social platforms.

For example we can create our own Mastodon instance with our own code of conduct and moderators. We can also connect whatever other technology we are developing easily into Mastodon (monitoring, notifications, bots, etcetera).

You can already follow me on Mastodon here:

https://mastodon.social/@crazydeepgrowth

https://fosstodon.org/@crazydeepgrowth

In my opinion social media technology is finally maturing to a level where the big companies are not the only serious players anymore. Early adoption is currently mostly freedom lovers. But I’m estimating that slowly others will follow. In the meantime we can build really cool tech and show the world what is possible. We just have to make sure that we also take in consideration that we want the setup on the user side as easy as possible for the non-geeks.

Here’s more info on switching your social applications to more secure and ethical options:

https://switching.social/

Mobile

F-Droid is an alternative app store for Android and G-Droid is a user friendly interface F-Droid. F-Droid is the default app store for CalyxOs and GrapheneOs. It is usable on all Android phones.

CalyxOs and GrapheneOS are two similar really cool projects. Taking back our freedom, security and privacy and still be able to use the Android stack. They are focusing their resources to only target devices that are the most secure. It involves buying a new phone and getting help from a geek friend to set it up.

Artificial Intelligence

Graphcore. Making computing power for neural nets available to those who need it. Can be put in your own server.

Tensorflow. A.I. library that wasn’t available when I was studying. Developed and heavily used by Google and completely free software.

Other

Raspberry Pi 4 is out.

Freedombox. They just announced the first commercially available Freedombox. Less than 100 dollar for a private home server that is focussed on helping you towards more freedom, privacy and security.

Qube OS is the most exciting desktop development I have seen since Ubuntu launched. And yes you can run Ubuntu on top of it. It’s not very user friendly (yet) but it shows a possible direction free software can take to improve desktop security.

And a bonus

Dell XPS 9380 (2019 with 16 GB ram) is powerful enough for Qubes OS. Here’s how:

https://villekaaria.eu/2019/06/22/qubes-4-with-dell-xps-13-9380/amp/