Challenge accepted: Archiving a Mastodon account with Huginn

Last weekend I was running short of stuff to hack around on and lamented this fact on the Fediverse.  I was summarily challenged to find a way to archive posts to the Fediverse in an open, easy to understand data format that was easy to index, and did not use any third party services (like IFTTT or Zapier).  I thought about it a bit and came up with a reasonably simple solution that uses three Huginn agents to collect, process, and write out posts as individual JSON documents to the same box I run that part of my exocortex on …

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Notes toward the Network 25 unhosted social network application.

Quite a few years (and a couple of re-orgs) ago on the Zero State mailing list we were kicking around the idea of building an unhosted social network to keep in touch, which is to say, a socnet that was implemented only as a single file, with all of the JavaScript and CSS embedded at the end.  Some of the ideas included using a distributed hash table so each instance could find the others, as many crazy but feasible ways as possible to bootstrap a new member of the network into the DHT, and using using the browser's built-in local …

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What is Keybase good for, anyway?

UPDATE - 20170228 - Added more stuff I've discovered about KBFS.

A couple of years ago you probably heard about this thing called Keybase launching with a private beta, and it purported itself to be a new form of public key encryption for the masses, blah blah blah, whatever.. but what's this thing good for, exactly?  I mean, it was pretty easy to request an invite from the service and either never get one, or eventually receive an e-mail and promptly forget about it.  I've been using it off and on for a while, and I recently sat down to really mess …

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Some thoughts on how to announce one's presence.

A while back I wrote an article about web applications that can live wherever you can store a file and not necessarily on a web server out of your control. I probably should have posted a link to Google Group dedicated to unhosted applications, but that's neither here nor there. To recap briefly, what I discussed in the previous article are called unhosted communications applications, like social networking or instant messaging software. This begs a crucial question: Assuming that you're running an unhosted application in your web browser, how do you tell other people how to connect to you with …

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Twitter begins censoring content based upon account and point of origin.

Last week, the addictively simple social networking site Twitter announced that it would be adding the capability to selectively censor tweets based upon where the viewer appears to be sourcing from. Like most websites, when handed a properly acquired takedown notice they're pretty snappy about making certain things disappear (note that some of the taken down posts are reprinted in the takedown notices) but this is, as they say, a whole 'nother smoke. This change of policy means that if you post something that the government of a different country doesn't like (like this), they can request that Twitter make …

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A day late and a dollar short, but we're the ones who'll pay.

For nearly twenty years in the United States a law called CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994) has been on the books. To summarize, CALEA set the federal requirement that telecommunications companies (phone companies, long distance companies, cellular carriers, and so forth) had to modify their infrastructures such that various forms of wiretapping of customers had to be possible upon presentation of a warrant. Contrary to popular belief, there are methods of surveillance other than recording a conversation. The simplest involves making a list of every phone number that a particular number calls, when the calls were …

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MySpace selling user data on the open market.

MySpace, one of the biggest and best known social networking websites on the Net has announced that they'll be putting volumes of their users' data for sale on the open market. An outfit called Infochimps, which specializes in such bodies of data as stock market trading activity archives, political statistics, public service usage surveys, and social network data dumps will be handling the sales. The data will include such user generated content as playlists of music, posted photographs, blog posts, and users' stated locations. Some of the data dumps will even be organized by the (approximate) latitude and longitude of …

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Everybody :-) - Big Brother's watching (your blog)!

An outfit called In-Q-Tel in Arlington, Virginia, founded in 1999, is known to be a semi-independent but private aspect of the US intelligence community which invests in tech companies that do things deemed strategically useful. Practically all of those things are on the cutting edge of commercial technology for the time. They say as much on their website, in case you're wondering if I've been listening to a little too much Coast to Coast AM lately. Their latest investment project is a most interesting one, a company called Visible Technologies which develop software to monitor social activities on the global …

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Blips from the future.

While doing some research for another entry I stumbled across a pair of articles in my daily news feed scan that jumped out at me because they seem thematically appropriate. Warren Ellis called them “outbreaks of the future” because they hint at things to come when they appear in the media. Or maybe it’s because they ring of what was once science fiction while carrying a byline of the now.

James Symington of the Halifax, Canada police department’s K-9 unit worked with a search-and-rescue dog named Trakr for fifteen years. Trakr’s claim to fame came during the …

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