Dave The Web Guy

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Leaving the house yesterday I picked this up from the garage alley. It looks like it got blown from somewhere during our overnight wind storm the day before.

  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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Meh - I'll Stick With Twitter


I've got this hunkering to "switch to" Mastodon.  It's billed as a Twitter replacement but it really isn't because it can't gratify the way that Twitter does.  And quite frankly when we talk about a more open and rogue web in comparison to Facebook, Twitter was my comparitive rebellion. 

I guess both Facebook and Twitter are their own little worlds, but somehow Twitter feels more like part of the "real" web.  For a long time it had very liberal APIs which meant that a lot of your stuff could be ingested and rebroadcast elsewhere through a variety of tools (the embeds work particularly well with my blogging engine to this day), whereas Facebook stuff was meant for the Facebook place, period.

Maybe that rationale is a little obtuse but in any case no matter how hard people try to roll Twitter into a problematic free speech menace, I've never felt that way about it.  

It's not just losing reach that would bother me about switching, it's the idea of joining somebody's good-will server instance that I know is costing them a lot to run.  To be "tooting" and gobbling up server space with the media content of the people that I follow would leave me feeling bad for whomever capriciously allowed me to hop on board.  At some point I'd wind up paying patronage if I have any kind of soul left at this age.  Or not, and having that much less of a soul.

So, I'd want to run my own instance.  But I'm finding out that doing so is pretty expensive.  Or, at least, in my case, backpedals on trying to save money while having more technical fun and control using my own equipment and internet connection.  To host this blog for example, I got rid of paid web hosting.  It's running on a machine inside my house that I pay nothing extra for other than the electricity and whatever capital expenses there are in setting up the (cough) "server".  Being pelted only a couple every other days with a single web visitor or two adds little to the overhead.  It's no fiscal burden whatsoever.

But Mastodon, when you aren't just seeing it with user-only eyes, like pretty much anything on the web, looks a lot different from a technical and economic perspective.  You have to pay for a database, the space, the data transfer, and so on. 

I looked into the "marketplace" installs of some of the cloud providers such as Linode and others, and all of them put one at around $30-$40/month for a reasonable Mastodon setup.  You can actually run a very meager instance for much less -- they had said meager offerings -- but I found myself wheezing with constraint just by reading about them. 

Paying for your own single-user instance Mastodon server is just too pricey  compared to the price of Twitter Blue.  If you want to get down to it, paying for a Twitter Blue account is the same as paying a hosting company but for far less money yet far more storage capacity.  And professionals there are left running it.  Or what's left of them I mean. 

Now, if you caught that I'm already running my own web server in general, you might wonder why not just run my own Mastodon instance and skip even the hosting fees?  Then I'd be completely federated on the cheap!

Except that my setup has a lot of inherent technical incompatibilities that would take a huge learning curve to close.  The biggest issue is that Mastodon runs on a Linux server (Debian) whereas everything I do is on boring old stupid-head Windows IIS. 

Sure this is a PHP blog and all, but Windows actually does PHP and basic MySQL fine.  That choice doesn't seem to be there with Mastodon.  Hosting my own Mastodon would mean switching everything over to Linux, or, setting up yet a completely separate box in my house, thereby stretching the final stable amps from the house's ancient wiring and forever condemning me to avoid using the microwave. 

Question of enough electrical power aside, I'd have to learn server-level Linux well enough to launch and maintain Mastodon, too.  Not impossible of course (and I would add, probably inevitable just generally speaking), but not enough in time to feel secure with my own operation.

So I find myself passing.  And I'm not even disagreeing that Twitter is crumbling apart.  It is.  It's just that it's collapsing in ways that aren't hitting me straight up yet.  Ironically a guy with a big mouth like me would seem the perfect type to clash with the rules of any major social media platform, but I have a reasonable big mouth (I learned at some point that's how you really drive people crazy).  I don't see myself ever violating Twitter, especially Elon's Twitter, and entering a contest of platform.

I must truly be old because I see Twitter as the most reasonably priced hosting provider for microblogging for a guy who will never say anything dangerous, in a dangerous enough way, to get booted.

  By Dave for Personal Blog.

maastodon twitter

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I Blew It All Up


I blew it all up.

This picture of me is literally the moment I realized what I had done.  I had the wherewithal to capture the Dave Cam image at the time to within a few seconds.

I was casting a new iteration of Battle Blog for another project when I forgot to cite a different database name other than the one that I was casting anew from  -- this one to be precise. 

So, when I pressed the button to do it, it reconstituted away three years of posts -- about 120 of them I estimate -- while building out the new instance.  Not to mention all the subscribed users and comments.  Sparse both I assure, but each very, very valued nonetheless.

Though not recent enough, I did have a back up from just before Christmas which you can see that I managed to restore with.  But, for my posts since about then, I had to refer to my RSS service for their text and rebuild that content manually.  

All in all a good save though you'll find the latest posts are a little out of order as a result.  And any comments on my most recent posts?  Like I say, toast. :(

Now, there's going to be some confusion here because last night I issued out some proactive user accounts.  These users got usernames for the site, a pre-fab password, and a big ol' welcome message.  Now, if those same people, which thankfully only amount to a few intimates who probably won't even try taking advantage of the wonderful invite in any event, were to actually do so, they won't find that those accounts work.  For you folks, it was a painful stretch in the first place to create them, so, if you wind up here, please just make your own accounts at this point. ;)

  By Dave for Personal Blog.

announcements projects

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Rumors of Looting Might Not Be Exaggerated


Note:  This post was originally made on December 25, 2022, the day of Buffalo's deadly Christmas Day blizzard.  It's a little out of the posting order which you can read about here.

Rumors are circulating that businesses (and in particular the Aaron's Rental on Grant Street, a few blocks up) in my neighborhood are being looted. If so, that might be one explanation for things like this my Arlo camera caught this afternoon.

I'm being wary though - I also suspect these folks and the stream of folks that came before and after them with goods, are just helping friends move. I mean, it is Christmas after all. These could just be gifts.

I conclude and therefore I judge nothing.

  By Dave for Personal Blog.

interesting video wtf

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Is There Such A Thing As The 'Quiet Web?'


We have the "clear web", the "deep web", and even the "dark web."  But, is there also something we could legitimately call the "quiet web?" 

I am not sure that the phrase "quiet web" describes what I mean exactly -- particularly since the first hit or two from a Google search brings up how it is used to describe the background machinations of the commercial e-commerce oriented web.  The telemetry and the cookie tracking and all of that sort of thing. 

What I'm trying to conceptualize is the web and the internet as it existed before the web became a place of advertising and data collection, where its instruments and philosophies were about openness and for lack of a better way of putting it, task readiness and optimization.

A good example of something optimized for the tasks at hand were Usenet or perhaps IRC clients (and to be sure, Usenet and IRC themselves).  In the 1990s the clients that you used for these were built to access and allow for engagement for perhaps the price of the software -- assuming you weren't using freeware.

Too, there were message forums, personal websites like the very one you are perusing now, novelty websites, file repositories, classified ad sites, and so on and so on.  All of which were built and provided to engage on the premise of usability first and foremost.

How the "quiet web" as I am thinking of it relates to any of that is that, surely, there has to be a population of web and internet users today who, having started their existence online in that era, fundamentally retained it as the tide of commercialization roared in and seemingly swamped everything around them.

These people, assuming they exist to a significant number to even define a community, still communicate on usenet, still keep open IRC clients, still prefer privately run message forums, and like me in this case at least, still maintain a WWW site that they will cling to until the day that they die.

They are there (again in a presumptive sense), but, because of the extra exertion it takes to live such a peaceful digital lifestyle, they are somehow elevated above the noise of the dumbed-down consumer web, possibly working smarter, faster, and better than their bent-neck human brethren who know of no potential beyond what a smartphone can demonstrate.  

How great it would be if the working parties of the would-be "Quiet Web" were to somehow find each other and establish a consistent base of persona.  If you think you might be one of these people, drop me a message.

As an Aside...

While Googling the "quiet web" as mentioned at the top of this entry, I came across the minimalist blogger of Manuel Moreale, which in turn led me to find Marginalia that describes itself as an:

an independent DIY search engine that focuses on non-commercial content, and attempts to show you sites you perhaps weren't aware of in favor of the sort of sites you probably already knew existed.

...just the fact that someone developed a web experiment with this vernacular is evidence that while disparate, people are nonetheless collectively beginning to wonder if we can somehow have (retain/bring back?) a better World Wide Web experience.

  By Dave for Personal Blog.

quietweb blogging www

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Picking An Online Expression Platform


If I were going to coach someone on which type of online expression platform to choose, I am not entirely sure how I would go about arranging the logic and subsequent conclusion. I suppose it would look something like this:

Traditional Blog

You have dynamic ever-evolving content that is fortified by your own drive for new questions in need of new and different answers. You're planning on leading a world conversation (not just participating in one) and are satisfied by constructing and presenting it without much count for attention, laud, or subsequent dopomine rushes. Cuz', nobody gonna read that blog in 2023 like they might have in 2005. But hey, congratulations, you're a thought leader.


You've no patience for writing and have the advantage of good verbal and animated communication skills. Maybe you're physcially attractive (read: "Cute girl does anything" to become lead YouTube voice in her subject -- though not to be sexist, it's really a question of charisma). You went to film or media school, or just dabbled your way to working with the tools well. YouTube isn't typically considered a "circle of friends only" medium, so as with blogs there's a presumption of wanting to flaunt your specific perspective to a wide audience. YouTube is a strictly monetizing contextual platform so while you can YouTube niche content with a low investment, you're not likely to get noticed unless you produce with profit development in mind to at least some degreee.

Social Media

The channels of social media require perhaps the least amount of investment or any type of ramp-up with respect to proficiency. Social media tools are meant to be driven from mobile phones by people who will have little skill beyond something like texting or placing a Facetime call. But this low barrier friction-free interface means that you'll be more able to "be yourself" and more importantly expose you to millions of people just being a little janky too. If you want to participate but don't want to stand out unless proven worthy by a viral act of one sort or another, keeping it to Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, or whatever the in thing is today, is probably the answer.

Message Forums, Comments

Believe it or not, being an avid commentator has evolved (strictly in my opinion but I stand by its accuracy) into a type of expression platform albeit a very fragmented one. You can gratify your need to publish and be known by being a consistent and thoughtful commentator on meaningful message boards, and possibly even rising to the level of a moderator, administrator, or the whole enchilada. You can build a message forum online just as you might a regular website or a blog. If what you say is rich and insightful, entertaining and thought-provoking, you'll gain respect as a great writer but also a potent authority. And all on someone else's hosting dime. Can you say reddit?


Most people don't realize that Wikipedia isn't just a major website for digging up shifty research facts, it's also a publishing framework that anyone can start on their own. If you've got a niche hobby or perspective and don't care to pontificate more than you do to intellectually develop by allowing others to help fortify, starting up your own Wiki might be the thing to do.

In all cases it is possible to monetize or seek patreon support of one sort or another to fund what you are doing or profit by what you are doing - if the latter is what you're in it for. All platform modes have neat dashboards rife with charts and stats that give anything you're doing that "gambly/stockbroker/crypto-tracking" vibe so that you can watch anaudience grow and figure out how to keep one happy and coming back.

And, keep in mind, if you're more interested in brand building than expressing, you're actually going to have to do all of these things (well, except maybe Wiki, though, I have seen that done). Being a marketer or entrepreneur entails expression, true, but getting across a story or delivering yourself to the world for the sole sake of doing som is different.

You pick one platform and you make it yours to master.

  By Dave for Personal Blog.

blogging socialmedia www

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