I haven’t been on Twitter in a few years, and was even surprised to find that I’d made 298 tweets over the years. That’s about 200 more than I’d expected. Anyway, with Twitter imploding it seems everyone’s migrating to Mastodon and I thought I’d give it a go.
Mastodon is decentralised, or federated, meaning the servers are not owned and data not served from any one location or company. It’s made up by thousands of servers, or ‘instances’ around the globe being run independently.
For me, choosing the right server was the biggest hurdle because you can choose from those that cater to your interests. I went for mastodon.london because that’s where I was born, but you could just as easily choose mastodon.art or veganism.social; it really doesn’t matter and you can easily change servers at a later time.
Fast forward a week or two later and I found myself wanting to have my own server, partly because I wanted control over things and partly mainly because I wanted to see if I could. Very me. I eventually decided to use a managed instance and went with masto.host which has proved to be excellent in all ways; price, speed and support. There were a few hiccups to begin with but not through any fault of masto.host but the domain name registrar.
Now that I have it up and running I’m truly discovering how federation works, and have to admit it’s a little lonely to start with! Finding others with similar interests is harder and takes a little more work, and also there aren’t that many photographers, artists and people I’m interested in following on Mastodon yet. I’m hoping things will become better but in the meantime, if you’re interested, I can be found at @firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s open to other photographers and artists, especially those working with (but not limited to) film and/or the alternative processes. Feel free to email me with questions.
I was thinking of writing a post on backups only last week when on Saturday the inevitable happened. I was locked out of all my websites (all are on one server) and unable to correct it. The sites were still live, so people could see my websites (the front end) but I was unable to login as an administrator at the back end to add posts and new content, or to delete and change any settings or files that may have caused the problem in the first place.
During the day and a half that my sites were affected and while I waited for the hosting company to figure out a solution (by now we realised it was on the server side), I decided to do some cleaning up of the server and a undertake a completely clean install of WordPress on my main website. Not just the WordPress files but the database too – everything. In for a penny, in for a pound I figured, so I erased all the files. All. Of. Them. And the database.
The good news was that I knew I had solid backups going back twelve months for everything; the database, plugins and themes etc. No way would I ever have contemplated doing any of this without knowing that they were there and, more importantly, that they would work. The bad news was that it took the best part of Sunday for me to go through the backups and upload only the most relevant files. Out with the cruft and in with the new. Now I’m all “Ooh, look, shiny!”.
The Setup is a website that revolves around asking four simple questions; Who are you and what do you do? What hardware do you use? And what software? What would be your dream setup? The interviewees range from web designers, photographers and musicians to animators, engineers, librarians and scientists.
Dead means that they are no longer interesting to the drive-by technorati. Dead means that the curiousity factor has been satisfied, that people have gotten the joke.
These people rarely do anything of much value, though.
Great music wasn’t created by the first people to grab an electric guitar or a synthesizer. Great snowboarding moves didn’t come from the guy who invented the snowboard… No one thinks Gutenberg was a great author, and some of the best books will be written long after books are truly dead.
Only when an innovation is dead can the real work begin. That’s when people who are seeking leverage get to work, when we can focus on what we’re saying, not how (or where) we’re saying it.
The drive-by technorati are well-informed, curious and always probing. They’re also hiding… hiding from the real work of creating work that matters, connections with impact and art that lasts. I love to hear about the next big thing, but I’m far more interested in what you’re doing with the old big thing.