Finally, more Guardian – and some webby stuff

First of all, I decided to use my free time to finally move my recs blog from Tumblr – I’d moved there after Delicious, but ever since the tag cloud script broke last year, it’s become impossible to navigate. So my recs collection (started in 2015) is hosted on recs.fandomish.net – but you can still follow it all over the place: Tumblr | Twitter | RSS (including a Dreamwidth feed) | ActivityPub (as shirasade@recs.fandomish.net)

Talking ActivityPub – I’d been quite frustrated that it wouldn’t work for my hub here. Today I finally figured out that it was because the WP install was in a subfolder instead of on its own domain. So I moved shirasade.net/me to me.shirasade.net, and now you can find me in the Fediverse as shirasade@me.shirasade.net.

And last but not least: Today, I finally watched another episode of Guardian – I still can’t handle it in large doses, I’m waaaay too emotionally invested, the feels are killing me. So naturally I liveblogged episode 20:

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Afternoon in the spa & recs

This afternoon I went to a spa in a nearby town – they’ve got saline waters and an awesome sauna area, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

Usually, I go to the sauna regularly in winter, feeling that it helps my crappy immune system in addition to simply being wonderfully relaxing and therefore combating the winter blues. This winter, I got a gym membership instead, but I really wanted to go at least once before the operation makes it impossible for several weeks. I mostly go for the sauna – out of almost 3 hours I spend maybe 30 minutes in the “clothed” area, bathing. What I like best is the high-saline bath, where you can float in the half-dark, listening to meditation music underwater. Then it’s clothes off (although I do take a robe for in between, plus my e-reader) and several rounds in the various saunas. Just… heavenly!

In other news, last year I read and very much enjoyed The Calculating Stars, the first in the Lady Astronaut series – and today, in a DW post by christycorr, I learned that the second book has been released (yay!) and found a link to the original short story, The Lady Astronaut of Mars. I love alternate histories, and this is a good one, feeling very rooted in reality.

And talking about reading: despite my resolution to finally work on my TBR stack (I even joined the Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads, although I’m not really using that site anymore, having decamped to Booklikes), I just finished re-reading Fire by Kristin Cashore – and immediately started on The Handmaid’s Tale, one of my all-time favourite books since I was a teenager. I don’t know, but re-reading is like visiting old friends, I find it very comforting, even when a book is as unsettling as The Handmaid’s Tale… It’s kind of weird, though, reading it for the first time after the tv show, because now the faces/voices of the show keep intruding.

Kind of related: I haven’t actually watched any more Guardian and instead re-watched shows, but I have been reading fic – you can find some recs in my recs tumblr.

Which reminds me that maybe it’s time to find a new home for those – they were originally on Delicious (RIP!), and I’ve never been really happy with Tumblr as an alternative, especially since the tag cloud scripts broke, making finding stuff pretty much impossible. However, although they’re mostly for my own personal use, I’ve gotten used to sharing them publicly, and I’m not sure which site would work… Any ideas would be appreciated!

Lastly, I’ve fiddled around with my Hubzilla layout (thanks for the help, vamp!) and found a WordPress plugin that supposedly makes crossposting possible (we’ll see as soon as I press “publish” on this post *g*), so I’m slowly starting to feel more comfortable over there. Right now I have both it and Masto open, which means I see most posts twice (thanks to Federation I’m following people across platforms), but I don’t want to miss anything! ๐Ÿ™‚

ETA: Sadly, the crossposting to Hubzilla doesn’t seem to work. ๐Ÿ™

New year, more privacy

Over the course of the past couple of months I’ve become more aware of the privacy issues of the modern internet. I’m not paranoid, but I’m also not a fan of big corporations tracking me and trying to sell me stuff.

Back in the day, I left Hotmail and signed up for Gmail, when it had a 1 GB storage limit that far exceeded most other services as well as probably the best spam filter around. I liked the company with its “Don’t be evil” motto – and somehow, over the years, I came to rely on it for a big part of my online life, especially after switching from the original iPhone to Android (because I’d gotten tired of having to jailbreak after every update just to get functioning video recording and of having only 4GB of storage).

However, recently I started to feel that it was more than a little creepy, how much Google knew about me – plus I got sick and tired of having ads in my email. So I made some changes, and now I can say that the only Google service I still use regularly is Youtube (mostly because that’s where the ASMR videos live *g*) and the Android app store on my phone.

This might not interest anyone, but here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • switched from Chrome to Firefox, which seems to best option if one doesn’t want to go full on Tor… I’d also considered Opera, but there seem to be privacy concerns as well.
  • signed up with Protonmail, a Swiss-based encrypted mail service – they do have a free option, but I chose to pay, because I wanted several email addresses. (Another provider I looked at was Tutanova, a German company. Both Switzerland and the EU have stricter data privacy legislation.)
  • signed up with a Nextcloud provider for calendars/contacts (easily set up to sync with my phone) and the Collab online office suite. Nextcloud can also be self-hosted (for full privacy and control), but that doesn’t work on my shared hosting (plus I’m not sure my tech skills are up to scratch), and I don’t need a lot of space, so the free options suffice for now. I figured it can’t be worse (and is probably better) than saving files in Dropbox, for example.
  • installed F-Droid on my phone, an open-source app store alternative.
  • already quite a while ago I switched from Google as my default search engine to DuckDuckGo – this works on Chrome as well as Firefox, btw.
  • I was also reccced Privacy Tools for some additional tips – glad to see that I’m already using most the Firefox extensions they recommend (Privacy Badger, uBlock Origin, etc.).
  • Also possibly relevant: for a couple of years I’ve been using a paid-for VPN when accessing public wifi with my phone or laptop. Also, for my home server, because I *cough* torrent onto it (downloading isn’t illegal in Switzerland, but uploading is). I’ve used AirVPN before switching to PIA for money reasons – both get good reviews online and were relatively easy to set up.

Additionally I’m checking out Mastodon, a federated Twitter alternative.

(Edited Jan 28 with some more links, since this post seems to get a bit of traffic.)

A fandom space of my own

After leaving LJ, I never really set up shop on DW, and I sincerely missed the social side of fandom, since AO3 (my main source of fandom content for several years) isn’t really set up for it. Then I joined Tumblr, and while the site is a hell hole, I got kind of used to it – until the big policy change in December made it pretty clear to a lot of people that fandom needs other spaces, safe spaces, that aren’t arbitrarily controlled by big companies.

So now I’m trying out new things, like Pillowfort, Mastodon (fandom.ink) and Hubzilla (where there’s a concerted effort by several fans on fandom.stopthatimp.net to create something that works for us), as well as getting back into Dreamwidth. However, I’ve always liked having one place to go, and while for the time being at least, that’s simply not feasible, unless I want to lose connections I value (because there hasn’t been one big migration to a single site but rather a dispersal, with many still sticking around Tumblr), I can at least try to have somewhere where I can keep track of what I post to the different sites.

Not sure yet whether I can make it work, because I’m by no means a techie. All I can do is see what other people have set up.

Right now, shirasade.net/me can

I haven’t found a way to connect to Hubzilla or get comments from Dreamwidth and Peertube (although the latter would be more useful for my fic archive, where I back up my vids).

Also, I installed ActivityPub but have no idea how people are supposed to find or follow me. And there’s things like ActivityStream and IndieWeb that sound interesting but where I also haven’t been able to figure out how to make them work.

I don’t know, maybe this is way above my skill level, but I want to try… I enjoy having projects like that and have already spent several hours on it today. ๐Ÿ™‚