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How I'm doing the Internet in 2024

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Preamble

Hello. It’s been a while. Let’s just recognise it was a thing that happened, and move on.

I started writing this post months ago. I had the bright idea to lay out how I was “internetting” in 2024, and what tools I was using to do it. Somewhere along the way I got into a whole bunch of tangents on various related topics and the post that was supposed to be quite narrowly focussed became a 8000 word sprawling mess. So I edited it back down to a list of tools and associated reflections before I got pulled onto other things for a while.

I picked up the post again yesterday (2nd May) and started updating it with everything that’s changed. As it happened, today I received a gentle prod from Manuel about the lack of updates to the site, and I knew I had to finish it off and get it out there. Slay the proverbial dragon, as it were…

I will ask again at the end, but I’m going to ask up front, because I want you thinking about it, and because I want to know:

“How are you doing the internet in 2024?”

And, finally, before we get into the main article I have one last caveat for you: I’m boring. While you might find some useful tidbits here, I do not expect you to be wowed or find anything mindblowingly new. That’s one reason I want to hear what you’re doing - so I can find all the cool and interesting things more interesting people are doing with the internet.

Browser (Desktop)

I’ve switched from “regular” Firefox, to LibreWolf, which is a “custom version of Firefox, focused on privacy, security and freedom”. So far it’s going pretty well, though I have turned off one of the default settings for my convenience. Otherwise, it comes out of the box pretty much how I had customised my Firefox setup, plus a few extra tweaks, so it’s all very familiar and mostly just saves me tweaking things further.

Start page

I don’t really have a “start page” as such, but I do have several pinned tabs - email/Mastodon/etc. I think the closest to a start page out of the pinned tabs is RS.S JOY.lol, which is a page listing some really enjoyable sites/blogs and their latest posts (via RSS, hence the name) which was made by Sara Joy

Search

I’ve been using using DuckDuckGo as my main search engine on all my devices for 7 or 8 years now. I can’t remember the last time I had to use anything else to find what I was looking for, and I also can’t remember the last time I willingly browsed to the Google home page. I do keep meaning to try some of the other “alternative” engines, like Ecosia and others but I’ve never had enough reason to.

Extensions

I keep this very light at the moment:

Browser (Mobile)

It’s Safari, because it pretty much has to be.

Extensions

Blogging

Sites

I have my main blog, my “hobby blog”, The Underground, and a Micro.blog site which I mostly use as a GoodReads replacement, or for writing something I want to cross-post to social media. That’s probably enough blogs for one person? What can I say? I like blogs ¯\(ツ)/¯.

My goal is to have these be the primary places I publish to on the internet; I should be reaching for one of these places before considering publishing directly on social media or another site or service. Some stuff won’t fit, and that’s fine in the moment, but maybe it should also prompt thoughts about how I can make it fit. I’ve been adding more and more content to my site(s) - some of it just for me - and I plan to keep expanding where it makes sense.

One problem I am running into is deciding which blog a post idea should be published to. This is primarily a problem choosing between my main site and The Underground. More than one draft post is stuck in the limbo between the two sites. Heck, this post has spent 3 months in limbo before I decided it was best placed on The Underground.

Tools

Drafting Posts

Primarily I’m drafting blog posts in Obsidian. I have a QuickAdd plugin action linked to a template, that pre-populates some of the frontmatter and creates the note in my Blog Drafts folder. I can use Obsidian on both a desktop and on mobile, with full syncing, so it works well for me. If I’m at work, with no Obsidian, I’ll usually use VS Code.

Hobby Blog posts are usually short, or just a photo with a caption. For these I’m content to use the Micro.blog app.

Publishing

Publishing blog posts to my main blog or The Underground involves taking the finished draft and getting it into the Github repository for the relevant site. I generally use one of 3 methods:

  • If I’m on my personal laptop, I’ll copy the file into the folder structure and then use Git from the command-line.
  • If I’m on mobile, I’ll either use Working Copy to check the files in, or I’ll use IndieKit.
  • If I’m on my work laptop (it happens sometimes) then I’ll use IndieKit or the GitHub web-based editor.

If the post requires any images then I need to upload these to my Azure blob storage container before I can use them. For this I use Azure Storage Explorer (which makes it a “from my personal laptop” only task for now).

Bookmark posts are made using the IndieKit UI, or an iOS Shortcut that interacts with IndieKit.

Book-related posts are made using [Epilogue]((https://epilogue.micro.blog/), a companion app for Micro.blog.

Reading Feeds/Read It Later

I’ve jumped back to using Inoreader full-time for my feed reading. Feedbin was nice but it didn’t offer me enough to warrant keeping around when I still have another 8 months on my Inoreader subscription.

I’m also trying to use FraidyCat to encourage me to go to visit the sites I am reading, rather than just getting their content through RSS. I’m still in the process of deciding which sites are going to be added into FraidyCat.

For Read It Later needs I half-heartedly use Omnivore. This isn’t a knock on Omnivore itself - I haven’t used enough to judge one way or the other - I just don’t find myself needing to use it very often. If I’m going to “read it later” I’ll usually leave a tab open in the browser. I have my bookmarks feed hooked up to Omnivore, meaning I don’t really need to worry about using extensions or anything to save interesting links - I just have to post them to my website.

Cross-posting

To cross-post new posts to social media I’m currently using Micro.blog for most things. I went through a phase where I was going to replace Micro.blog for something else, because it was very intermittent about picking up new posts on my main site. That turned out to be a problem on my end - Azure was doing some pretty aggressive caching of the feed file, which I think I’ve resolved. So I’ve been sticking with Micro.blog for the moment.

When it works, posts from my main blog, micro blog, and hobby blog are cross-posted to Mastodon and Bluesky using the Micro.blog rules for how they are presented.

I’m using my bookmarks feed as a way of trying out EchoFeed by Robb. It cross-posts those bookmarks to Mastodon and Bluesky. I will probably move my main feed over as well. Given how flexible EchoFeed is, I’m trying to think of other interesting ways I could make use of it. Perhaps even use it to “echo” something from a third-party site into my own?

Social Media

Lately I’ve been feeling the siren pull of social media less keenly. Maybe it’s because I’ve been really freaking busy at work, or maybe because I’ve generally been feeling pretty zen recently (for the most part). Whereas at the start of the year I was doomscrolling a lot, for the last few weeks it’s been something to fill a “micro break” once or twice a day. I’m not going to lie: it’s been feeling really good.

With that said, I have 2 main public accounts I use - Mastodon and Bluesky. I also have a semi-public[2] Instagram account I use infrequently for miniature painting content that has landed there following the decline of Twitter.

Mastodon

Mastodon is far-and-away my main social media “presence” these days. It’s where I usually post the stuff that doesn’t fit in a blog, and where I spend the most time scrolling through things and interacting. I wouldn’t say I have things setup exactly how I want them - I don’t necessarily find Mastodon all that user-friendly still, particularly away from the 3rd-party iOS apps. My feed could definitely do with some tuning (i.e. follow more and better accounts), and for some things I’ve found it preferable to follow hashtags instead of accounts. If I could sum it up: “getting there, but needs more work”.

Bluesky

My Bluesky account is one I don’t use as much these days; I’m mostly just cross-posting links there and maybe scan my timeline 2-3 times a week, liking and/or reposting anything that catches my eye. The reason I stick with it is because that’s where a bunch of Twitter exiles I enjoyed ended up.

Anything Else?

Chat/Instant Messaging

I don’t. How dare you suggest such a thing.

Discovery

Oh my word how I miss Nuzzle. I’m still searching for a replacement. Perhaps one that works with Mastodon? Please let me know if you know of something.

In lieu of an aggregator telling me what people are talking about that I might be interested in, I have to do it manually (ugh). Where’s the algorithm when you actually want it?[3]

Basically I try to keep a mental note of anything that’s coming up repeatedly (or just grabs my attention) in my feed reader or social feeds, and check it out when I can. It’s far from an ideal process and I’m probably missing out on loads. I follow Kottke and Waxy specifically for all the neat little gems they surface on their sites. They have their own folder in Inoreader and everything. I’d love to add more sites to this folder, so if you know of any that deal mostly with resharing the weird and wonderful of the web, please share!

I really wish there were other, convenient, ways to find all the neat stuff on the web. Again, if you have any suggestions here then please get in touch.

Other Apps

This blog post about my default apps should have you covered. At least until I update it for 2024.

Wrapping Up

I asked at the start “how are you doing the internet in 2024?” - so now I want to know! It’s currently WeblogPoMo (Weblog Posting Month), and this would make an ideal post. Just don’t take as long to write it as I did, or you’ll miss the boat 😅

If you do write a post, you can now let me know by sending a webmention to the The Underground’s home page - simply link to the site (not the feed) and it should pop up for me to see. Or you can email me at the address below/tag me on social media. Please don’t feel you need to follow the same structure as I’ve done here; this is only the way I was able to edit and wrangle things down into a manageable word count. Do your own thing.

My plan is to collate as many of your posts as I can into the next update here, so we can see all the different ways people are using the internet of late.

As always, if you do have any feedback or ideas for future topics, you can reach out on Mastodon, or email feedback@theunderground.blog.


  1. Yes, I should probably switch to something else, but every time I’ve tried it’s not gone well. It’s on the to-do list. ↩︎

  2. I say “semi-public” because while it’s not set to private, I don’t really link to it anywhere, and it’s so low usage it’s practically read-only. ↩︎

  3. This is partly sarcasm, if it wasn’t obvious. But I do miss Nuzzle, especially in a world where the social sites I use are largely algorithm-free and if you don’t see a post when it was posted you’ll probably never see that post. ↩︎

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jonathanpeterson
40 days ago
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asd
Atlanta, GA

United States Map

7 Comments and 13 Shares
It would be pretty unfair to give to someone a blank version of this map as a 'how many states can you name?' quiz. (If you include Alaska and Hawaii, you should swap the Aleutian Islands with the Hawaiian ones.)
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jonathanpeterson
3018 days ago
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Just went and moved the cajuns back to where there were before.
Atlanta, GA
pavel_lishin
3019 days ago
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I wonder how many possible rearrangements there are that still result in a vaguely US-ian map.
New York, NY
louloupix
3019 days ago
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Interesting work
[deleted]
3019 days ago
🤔
zippy72
3019 days ago
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There's a joke here? Or a point, at least?
FourSquare, qv
kazriko
3019 days ago
Not that I can see, aside from making it roughly the same shape with all the pieces moved around.
ktgeek
3019 days ago
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Well, a lot of Illinois people return and move to Florida, so this tracks.
Bartlett, IL
norb
3020 days ago
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Man this is weird
clmbs.oh
alt_text_bot
3020 days ago
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It would be pretty unfair to give to someone a blank version of this map as a 'how many states can you name?' quiz. (If you include Alaska and Hawaii, you should swap the Aleutian Islands with the Hawaiian ones.)

“Verschlimmbessern”

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25. Verschlimmbessern (German): To accidentally make something worse in the process of attempting to mend or improve it. Multiple applications around computers, cake baking and relationships.

From this fascinating list of Untranslatable Words.

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jonathanpeterson
3048 days ago
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This should probably be a brand of sheetrock mud sold to home owners.
Atlanta, GA
jhamill
3048 days ago
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I was just wondering if there was a word for this re relationships.
California

I in Team

5 Comments and 16 Shares
There's no "I" in "VOWELS".
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jth
3224 days ago
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Yes there is, a-hole. http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mb8f97spxV1qz7mcro1_500.png
Saint Paul, MN, USA
silberbaer
3225 days ago
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...and there is no F in way.
New Baltimore, MI
jonathanpeterson
3232 days ago
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There's no A in Fonzie
Atlanta, GA
jepler
3232 days ago
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There is no Y in SCIENCE
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
TheTom
3232 days ago
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hehe
Adelaide
treedweller
3232 days ago
There is "M" and "E" though

Watch great white shark photobombed by another great white shark

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A great white shark photobombs another great white shark near Seal Island in Mossel Bay, South Africa. Video posted by Remo Sabatini. (more…)

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jonathanpeterson
3263 days ago
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shark. jumped
Atlanta, GA

How NSA Anger at President Obama Undermines the Surveillance State

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Reuters

U.S. officials loyal to President Obama began the week by denying that he knew about NSA spying on German Chancellor Germany's Angela Merkel and leaders of other allied countries. Now other current and former intelligence officials say the White House knew all along—and along -- and they appear to have implicated Hillary Clinton in approving the high-stakes high stakes spying.

The Los Angeles Times has the scoop:

The White House and State Department signed off on surveillance targeting phone conversations of friendly foreign leaders, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said Monday, pushing back against assertions that President Obama and his aides were unaware of the high-level eavesdropping.

Professional staff members at the National Security Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies are angry, these officials say, believing the president has cast them adrift as he tries to distance himself from the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that have strained ties with close allies.

Did President Obama know himself? The article stops short of saying so, but describes the information flow between the NSA and the White House in these

terms (emphasis added):... if terms:...if

a foreign leader is targeted for eavesdropping, the relevant U.S. ambassador and the National Security Council staffer at the White House who deals with the country are given regular reports, said two former senior intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in discussing classified information. Obama may not have been specifically briefed on NSA operations targeting a foreign leader's cellphone or email communications, one of the officials said. "But certainly the National Security Council and senior people across the intelligence community knew exactly what was going on, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous."

If U.S. spying on key foreign leaders was news to the White House, current and former officials said, then White House officials have not been reading their briefing books. Some U.S. intelligence officials said they were being blamed by the White House for conducting surveillance that was authorized under the law and utilized at the White House. "People are furious," said a senior intelligence official who would not be identified discussing classified information. "This is officially the White House cutting off the intelligence community." Any decision to spy on friendly foreign leaders is made with input from the State Department, which considers the political risk, the official said. Any useful intelligence is then given to the president's counter-terrorism advisor, Lisa Monaco, among other White House officials.

So what do we make of this? Here's what we know for sure: There there are some U.S. officials in Washington Washington, D.C., leaking Team Obama's narrative to journalists, and other current and former U.S. officials leaking the surveillance state's narrative. As much as Team Obama has done to empower Team Surveillance, they have distinct interests. Both have proved willing to lie to advance their interests. And whether Obama knew or not, these leaks are going to make it extremely difficult for him to have plausible deniability when he speaks with allied leaders (though Marcy Wheeler finds it plausible that Obama really didn't know).

That's just the beginning of the bad news for Obama—there's Obama -- there's just no way he comes out of this with his reputation intact. Either he knew about the spying and is lying to us, raising the question of how truthful he's been in his other statements about surveillance, or else he was ignorant of spying that he really ought to have known about. Recall Obama's assurances that NSA activities shouldn't worry Americans, due to allegedly stringent oversight from Congress and allegedly intense monitoring and checks within the executive branch. Yet here is a major program of consequence, and both Obama and the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, intelligence committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and President Obama claim total ignorance! What's more, when it's discovered they say upon it's discovery they say that it really shouldn't have happened. What else is the NSA doing that they wouldn't defend if they knew about it?

The irony is that insofar as U.S. surveillance officials succeed in making Obama look like a lying hypocrite, they undermine trust in the surveillance state that he ultimately runs.

Indeed, the legitimacy of the surveillance state is unraveling before our eyes. As yet, it's impossible to know for sure who is lying about what, which claims are true and which are false. But Edward Snowden's revelations and the reaction to them has opened a public rift between the spies and the civilians in charge of them; exposed U.S. officials with conflicting stories; prompted White House narratives in conflict with one another; and bemused a Senate Intelligence Committee intelligence committee leader. And that's just the fallout from a narrow controversy about spying on world leaders.

The impression is of a surveillance state that's out of control.

Spying on tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of innocent foreigners is far more objectionable than NSA spying on 35 world leaders. But if the surveillance state is finally taken down a peg by an angry Angela Merkel and some senators who only seem to get upset at spying on other governing elites, so be it.








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jonathanpeterson
3879 days ago
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"The impression is of a surveillance state that's out of control."

Is there ANYONE on the planet who DOESN'T have that impression since the Snowden leaks started?
Atlanta, GA
gmuslera
3880 days ago
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Remember, James Clapper was found lying to the very Congress regarding NSA, and even was promoted for that. If they don't care about lying to the congress or its consequences, why should tell the truth to others?
montevideo, uy
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