Saner social media

The socials are a handy way to stay in touch with friends, find out about dancing events (if they’re ever allowed again) and to get information direct from experts. They’re also an unrelenting cesspool of trolls, bots and undesireables. What to do?

Facebook

FB Purity config page

On my PC, FB Purity lets me filter on keyboards (I’ve chosen “trump” and “brexit”, as you can see). It can hide various types of update from your feed. I hide stuff like “Fred commented on this thing” (as FB friends sometimes like to argue with the undesirables), as well as adverts. You can also force the feed into chronological order rather than relying on Facebook’s algorithm to show you what it thinks you should see.

On my phone, I use Friendly for Facebook, which isn’t quite as good but does have the keyword filtering (“commented on” works as a filter) and, if you give them a donation, will also filter the adverts.

Twitter

Tweak New Twitter default appearance

Tweak New Twitter gets rid of a lot of noise (like the “Trending” stuff and sponsored tweets). It can put retweets on separate page too. To use it on mobile, you’d need a mobile browser which lets you run extensions, Chrome on Android doesn’t.

Twitter has keyword filtering built in.

Secateur blocks people and optionally all their followers, unless you’re following them too. It’s adding to your Twitter blocklist, so once people are blocked, they’re blocked however you view Twitter. I guess there’s a risk that some decent people are following undesirables to keep an eye on them, but if it catches on, I can imagine people using separate accounts for that (of course, the undesirables can do the same trick, having one account for trolling and one for following, but they don’t seem to be yet). It wouldn’t be that hard to extend Tweak New Twitter to add a “Secateur” button to Twitter, either, I might look into that.

The next stage on from this, especially if the undesirables maintain accounts where they don’t follow other undesirables, would be the web of trust: only show replies from people you follow, people they follow, people the original tweeter follows, say.

Nitter is a free and open source alternative Twitter front-end focused on privacy. It’s an alternative website for which you don’t need Javascript enabled. It will also turn someone’s tweets into an RSS feed, useful if you just want to read them without signing up for Twitter.

Ch-changes

I’ve been tidying up my website a bit, and I’ve put everything which used to be on LiveJournal on Dreamwidth, with a view to closing LJ (or replacing all the stuff there with redirects) and using DW as a bit of diary/venting place now LJ’s looking increasingly dodgy. It’s odd to type stuff into a LJ-clone, feels a bit retro, but in a nice way, like a comfy old jumper. Twitter’s a cesspool and neither it nor Facebook are good for more than a few sentences of text.

I’ve also spruced up things on the proper blog a bit, adding a funky new style. I got Journalpress going to post stuff from the proper blog to Dreamwidth, and did my very first GitHub pull request to add a feature to it. This started me off on a “add all my things to GitHub” kick, currently there’s just my LJ New Comments script, but there’s a bunch of other bits I want to keep somewhere sensible rather than on my laptop.

Twust

On the subject of cesspools, has anyone done a thing for Twitter which only shows you replies from people followed by you or the people you follow? Someone really should layer a web-of-trust over the top of it, but I hear their API is designed to stop you doing interesting things with it, because you run into rate limiting. It’s so bad TwitRSSme apparently does stuff by screen-scraping instead, which is icky but possibly unavoidable.

Link blog: politics, world-war-II, iot, italy

Who Will Command The Robot Armies?
Funny and worrying talk. Pinboard is always good for “Internet of shit” stories, but has a wider point here.
(tags: robots facebook twitter amazon work po politics surveillance technology automation iot)
Ur-Fascism | by Umberto Eco | The New York Review of Books
What are the common features of anything worth calling Fascism?
(tags: history politics fascism italy world-war-II)

Link blog: funny, c, twiddling, programming

Bit Twiddling Hacks
A collection of code snippets for doing useful things (sign extension, determine whether a number is a power of two, and so on).
(tags: bit-twiddling programming algorithms c hacks twiddling)
Anti-Brexit traitors outed on twitter
UKIP voters in “shit thick” shocker. Also features Louise Mensch.
(tags: twitter ukip funny brexit satire)
Horse! | Start here: See horse, Say Horse! – The Rules of Horse!
Horse!
(tags: funny game horse)

Link blog: management, language, english, god

Twitter’s missing manual / fuzzy notepad
Things I didn’t know, as I rarely actually write to Twitter because my impression is that it’s useless for discussion.
(tags: twitter manual)
What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team – The New York Times
It’s all about psychological safety.
(tags: collaboration team work employment management google)
Which God Do Atheists Reject?: David Hume on Straw Gods
The theist will say that there is Something or Other that Created the universe, but they cannot tell us what this Something or Other was (other than that they call it ‘God’) nor can they say what it means for the Something or Other to Create. At most, as Anthony Kenny argues, they can say that ‘Create’ specifies some unknown and incomprehensible relationship between the Something or Other and the universe.
The atheist can agree to this much. There is some explanation for the universe’s origins. Perhaps future inquiry will reveal the explanation and we’ll be able to fill in the details.
(tags: hume david-hume philosophy theology god atheism)
Genesis chapter 1 through 1500 years of English – YouTube
via livredor, a reading of Genesis 1 through 1500 years of English.
(tags: language english bible)

Link blog: radicalisation, isis, teleology, twitter

ISIS and the Lonely Young American – The New York Times
The NYT has a story about radical Muslims attempting to convert an American Christian and convince her to travel to join them in Syria, all done via the Internet, mainly Twitter and Skype.
(tags: isis islam internet twitter religion radicalisation)
Start-up Costs: ‘Silicon Valley,’ ‘Halt and Catch Fire,’ and How Microserfdom Ate the World «
It’s 20 years since “Microserfs” was published. Here’s an article looking at the changing portrayals of the tech industry in fiction, from Microserf’s optimism to a more cynical view today.
(tags: microserfs douglas-coupland technology silicon-valley programming)
A Quite Long Review of Edward Feser’s Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide | Thing of Things
Ozy reads Edward Feser so you don’t have to.
(tags: aquinas thomist edward-feser metaphysics teleology causality)

Link blog: donglegate, adria-richards, twitter, school

liv | Fat girl running
Liv discusses Naomi Alderman’s piece on being a fat person who made a fitness app (“Zombies, Run!”). School PE lessons get a mention again as something which ends up discouraging exercise. I mentioned the discussion of Alex Gabriel’s piece on school PE here previously, as well as my own experiences.
(tags: fitness running zombies PE physical-education school)
‘Overnight, everything I loved was gone’: the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone | Technology | The Guardian
Interesting stuff. There’s some more on the Adria Richards/donglegate thing: she gave an interview to Ronson where she describes having a physical reaction to the joke and feeling “unsafe”, which, given that she was in no danger at that point, sounds like a sort of anxiety/panic attack. May explain the disproportionate reaction on her part. There’s also the bit where she says she did know what she was doing by tweeting the photograph and doesn’t feel bad about it. Such goodwill diplomats are not really suited for a career in PR, I’d’ve thought, although SendGrid clearly just fired her to get Anonymous off their back.
(tags: shaming twitter internet dongle adria-richards donglegate)
Exclusive Extract From Jon Ronson Book ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’
A longer extract from Ronson’s book details Richards’s horrible childhood and I think lends weight to my panic attack theory.
(tags: adria-richards jon-ronson donglegate twitter pycon)
Hi, I’m Muhammad, President of Ex-Muslims of North America here with our leadership. We envision a world where every person is free to follow their conscience. Ask us anything : IAmA
Reddit “Ask Me Anything” with Muhammed the Atheist. Leftist critique of Islam should be lead by ex-Muslims, ISTM.
(tags: ex-muslim islam religion apostasy ama reddit)

Link blog: bletchley, mohammed, twitter, philosophy

Why I’m speaking up for Islam against the loudmouths who have hijacked it | Maajid Nawaz | Comment is free | The Guardian
“I tweeted a cartoon of Jesus and Mo. My aim was to carve out a space where Muslims can be heard without fearing the blasphemy charge.”
(tags: mohammed islam jesus cartoon twitter maajid-nawaz liberal-democrats)
The Philosophers’ Mail
It’s the Daily Mail as if written by philosophers: “We look at the stories of the mass media, then put our own philosophical gloss on them, in the direction of truth, wisdom and complexity.” I’m not sure how long they’ll be able to keep it up, but currently it’s pretty good.
(tags: mail philosophy stoicism paparazzi daily-mail)
Disharmony at Bletchley Park | Gareth Halfacree
All is not well at Bletchley, it appears, with tensions between the two museums on the site and between the guides (who are excellent) and the management of Bletchley Park Trust. What a shame, it’s a great place to visit.
(tags: bletchley charity uk computing history museum)