We are doing a release! Finally! Stable, too!
or: Why is my Federated Timeline empty?
A lot of people join our support channel (#pleroma on freenode) with the same sentence: “I just set up Pleroma but federation isn’t working”. Usually, this is not actually true, they just have an empty timeline. What they don’t know is how posts actually get into your instance. This short post is about the mechanisms that can make a post use your instance.
This is Pleroma specific, other fediverse servers may use different systems, although they are all very similar.
Un-Bloating the Fediverse
As you may already know, Pleroma is high-performance and low-resource fediverse server mean to run even on small devices like a Raspberry Pi.
Still, there is one part of Pleroma that is wasteful to the extreme…
So where did we go wrong? I think the problem goes way back. We made a deal with the Devil when we accepted free-form HTML into our systems. The best solution is to not make this mistake anymore, and go back to the future to a better alternative.
And that’s why, today, I’m announcing Gopher support for Pleroma!
How much privacy can you expect on the fediverse
Recently, there have been some shocking revelations. Facebook, a company in the business of selling your data to advertisers, had some of its data used illegally by a third party that used it to advertise to you. As people hate nothing more than getting their data misused without Facebook getting a cut, they are now up in arms and want to leave Facebook once and for all.
Media eye seems to have fallen on
the Mastodon network as a solution this time. For an example, look at this Washington Post article, The new technology that aspires to #DeleteFacebook for good (19 trackers on the page, including Facebook), in which they tout it as a privacy-preserving alternative to walled-garden company-run networks.
Mastodon BDFL Gargron himself wrote an article with the nice subtitle Perspective from a platform that doesn’t put democracy in peril. He is privacy conscious, so this page only has two trackers.
(Aside: This article contains the delightful phrase “#DeleteFacebook is trending on Twitter.”)
In all of these articles, Mastodon (and by extension, the Fediverse) are described as a more private and secure way of posting cat pictures and “please subscribe to my patreon” online. But is this actually true? Let’s check the situation on the fediverse.
An introduction to the Pleroma microblogging server
In my last few posts I talked a bit about Pleroma. Since then, we had a lot of questions about what Pleroma is, how it is different from GNU Social and Mastodon, why you should use it and so on. This post will be an introduction to Pleroma, so read on if you are interested.
Implementing ActivityPub in Pleroma
After some work, ActivityPub support will be merged into the develop branch of Pleroma in the next days.
This change will add the following user facing features:
- Support for Mastodon’s visibility suggestion settings, like private posts and direct messages.
- Slightly faster federation
Not too much for a few weeks of work. Anyway, here are my thoughts about the whole process.
Replacing the belt on a Sharp Twin Famicom Disk Drive
I recently got a Sharp Twin Famicom for around 70€. This is rather cheap, they usually go for over 200€ in good condition. The Twin Famicom is a Famicom with a built-in Famicom Disk System drive. This was a floppy disk system for the Famicom that was only used in Japan. The one I got worked well with carts (at least with 8BIT MUSIC POWER FINAL), but disks wouldn’t read at all.
Testing a basic chinese knockoff Mega Everdrive
If you remember my post from a few days ago, you’ll know that I modded my PAL Mega Drive with a region switch. This works well for Mega Drive games, but Mega CD games have their own problems. The Mega CD bios is region locked and will display an error when you start it in the wrong region.
There are a few ways to get other bios roms running on the system. One is to swap the EPROM on the Mega CD with either another region or a region free bios. This is rather invasive and involves soldering. An easier way is to use a Mega Drive flash cart. These can also run the Mega CD bios files, which makes them a good way to make your Mega CD region free.
What is ActivityPub and why?
In my free time, I develop a free software social network server called Pleroma (code). It is compatible with GNU Social, Mastodon, Friendica, and any other server that implements the OStatus protocol. Recently, there has been some buzz about a new protocol for federated social networking: ActivityPub. This protocol is now a W3C Recommendation, which means that it’s a kind of ‘standard’, if you care about that sort of thing. Here’s my opinion on it, and how it came to be where it is now.
Setting up a Neo Geo MVS with a power supply and jamma adapter
If you want to get a Neo Geo, you should probably get the MVS (arcade) model instead of the AES (home) model. The games are much cheaper and 200-in-1 type cartridges are readily available. If you have an MVS board, you’ll need a way to power it and a way to connect controls and the screen.
As the Neo Geo MVS uses the JAMMA arcade connector standard, there are many ready-made solutions that will give you standard SCART RGB output, some controller connectors and a way to connect a power supply (either ATX or special arcade ones). I got one from http://www.retroelectronik.com. You can reuse this for non Neo Geo arcade boards, too.
Here’s the system how it was when I got it.
Putting a 3-way region switch into a PAL Mega drive
The PAL Mega Drive can rather easily be modded with a switch that enables switching between PAL, NTSC-J and NTSC-US. It doesn’t require much skill, if you can do basic soldering, this one is for you. For proper instructions, take a look at this site.
Here’s a picture of my Mega Drive running at 50hz.