Archive for the 'General' Category

My instant messaging communications platform (2014)

In 2008 I have published a similar post. Wow, that’s six years ago – or 28 Internet years – that post is basically a classic already.

Today I decided to post an update. Interestingly, there are not that many changes – which probably shows how well that system is working for me:
The most noticeable addition is that I’m using mosh instead of ssh more and more, especially on the smartphone, through the Mosh-enabled Irssi ConnectBot App, which I launch directly from the IrssiNotifier App that brings up a notification when someone sends a message to me. IrssiNotifier leverages Google’s Push notification system, which makes it resource efficient – and the messages are end-to-end encrypted from my server to my phone. The mosh protocol makes it fun to work in a terminal, even if the server is far away and you’re changing between WLAN, 3G and back frequently through its roaming ability and the local echo.

Here is an updated Overview graphic (OpenDocument format).

Rendered as PNG:

That said, I also use WhatsApp more and more, for the same reason why I used to use ICQ many years back: Everyone has it. Let’s see how this will have evolved in another six years! 😉

Changing my e-mail habits: Hello formatting! Good bye signatures.

With the new year and all, I decided to change the way I use e-mail:

Important change number one: Formatting
As of today I decided that I don’t hate HTML in mails anymore – and that I’ll even send HTML mails myself if the mail can benefit from formatting. It’s 2013, and HTML rendering is about as commonplace as gravity – with the thing called the Web and all. And let’s face it – being able to create proper bullet lists, having universally working proper line wrapping*, and being able to have links where they belong is something that makes communicating by mail just a little bit easier. I’ll make an exception for some mailing lists though, for the sake of harmony – since I know those people hate HTML mail, just as I used to 😉

*) I recently saw a plain-text e-mail sent by me (with Thunderbird) on a friend’s Android phone, opened in the GMail app: the line breaks were all over the place. What a disgusting mess!

Important change number two: PGP signing
I am no longer signing my mails with PGP/GnuPG from now on, and I removed my signature containing my PGP key ID and fingerprint (0x86E346D4, 7745 E1BE FA8B FBAD 76AB 2BFC C981 E686 86E3 46D4), and a link to my key. I can count the times when somebody sent me an encrypted and/or signed e-mail on the fingers of one hand (excluding one regular contact). The whole encryption and signing thing just hasn’t picked up as I had wished / expected, when I started signing (and encouraging people to do the same) back in 2005. I will of course keep GnuPG around, and be able to verify signed mails and decrypt encoded mails, and I welcome encrypted e-mails just as I always did – I just don’t want to have the geeky stuff at the bottom of every e-mail anymore, for only a handful of people to care. Those who really want to write me an encrypted e-mail can find my key on the key servers.

Let me buy you an awesome book in exchange for your FOSS contributions

I have recently started reading books (on my smartphone) during my regular long public transit commute, since reading news for hours every day kept me well-informed but somehow drove me nuts.

The sci-fi novel I just finished reading is called Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross. It is such an awesome read that I just have to share it – both to support the authors financially, and to spread the joy I experienced to people I care about. So I thought about whom I could share this book with. But in the “real world” most people I know are not geeky enough or could language-wise not keep up, to fully appreciate that book.
Then it occurred to me: why not combine my passion for FOSS with my love for that book and the desire to support the authors – and that this blog might just have the right audience.

So here it is: I will sponsor this book (as dead-tree version or as DRM-free digital version of any kind that’s available for purchase) for the first three contributors to any popular FOSS project. Just submit a comment or send an e-mail telling me what project(s) you are or have been contributing to, and then we can figure out how I can get your edition of choice of Rapture of the Nerds to you.

Update (2012-12-28): Slight rewording, republished.