The break is over, summer is here, and newsletters are back!
Podcasts are one of the few remaining truly decentralized forms of content on the web, and the only one that's still mainstream. Currently though, they are under attack by Spotify and others. We simply can't let this happen. When content becomes centralized, freedom of speech disappears. The platform that controls the space now has full control over what you can say, and how much income you make. After podcasts, the only truly independent media will be blogs. Nobody reads blogs. (except us nerds) Spotify is currently in the process of buying up podcasts, and runs an extremely popular podcast hosting company called Anchor. Another concerning fact about podcasts is that 67% of all podcast ads are dynamically inserted. This means that the host has no control over the ads being played, and if there's a centralized platform, the ads could be changed to become target ads. :(
This is the part where I would tell you how to help, but I really don't have a solution. The best you can do is tell your neighborhood podcaster, and stop using Spotify for podcasts. http://newpodcastapps.com
I know, lots of podcasting talk right? Well I want to talk about a new set of standards for Podcasting called Podcasting 2.0. It's an extension on top of RSS (If you don't know what it is, go look it up, I'll wait) that adds much-needed features like chapters, multiple A/V formats, seasons, trailers, and so much more. In my opinion, the coolest one is value for value. This is a system that allows listeners directly through their podcast apps, to directly support creators by giving them cryptocurrency. The system could potentially eliminate the need for advertising, which would allow creators to speak about whatever they wanted without any censorship.
This sounds great, now how do I use it?
If you're a creator and use a hosting company, check if it supports Podcasting 2.0. If not, shoot them an email telling them that you want these features. However, if they do support it, start taking advantage of the features. Add chapters to your podcast, transcripts, value for value, etc. If you self-host, look into add the “podcast namespace” to your RSS feed, and wire it up to your infrastructure.
If you're a listener on the other hand, start using a podcast player that supports Podcasting 2.0. You can find a list of them at http://newpodcastapps.com.
The podcast talk just keeps on rolling. I found this well-designed, open source, self-hostable podcast host called Castopod. It even fully supports Podcasting 2.0! I recently deployed it for a client, and I have to say, I was impressed. Super easy-to-use and deploy, and the client could manage it without my help. Highly recommended! You can self-host (https://castopod.org), or buy their hosting services at https://castopod.com
I recently switched all my messaging (well not quite all of it, but the vast majority) over to using Matrix. Matrix is a decentralized open protocol, like email, for instant messaging. It's not controlled by any one company, and it's end-to-end encrypted. Discord, a popular alternative, is known to collect a wide range of information, and does not encrypt any messages, direct or not. iMessage is better, but not great. It does encrypt your messages, but has a backdoor. If you use iCloud backups, the messages are stored unencrypted in that. Completely defeating the security sadly. Signal is pretty great except for the fact that it requires a phone number to sign up, and is centralized. If their servers go bust, your messages are gone. No protection. In short, Matrix solves all of those problems, and has a nice UI to go with it.
Just use Matrix.
I'm just longing for the day that I can ditch my iPhone, not for Android, but for real Linux. With the recent developments in mobile GNOME, I'm really excited. Phosh is cool, but seeing it be embraced by the real GNOME devs is awesome to see. That's all, just wanted to be excited about mobile Linux. I want my iPhone to die in a hole so bad, but it's just not feasible right now.
Umbrel is a new, user-friendly launchpad for self-hosting. I recently gave it a shot in my homelab, and while I liked it overall, there were some major issues that caused me to drop it entirely.
Time for... Pros and Cons! (insert audio clip of game show host saying that here)
Authentication proxy (in theory)
It's based on docker for its apps, but you can't install arbitrary docker containers, only the apps in the store.
It uses ports for the services, not a reverse proxy + DNS names. This is annoying because accessing services with a domain name isn't intuitive when you also have to enter the port number. I wish Umbrel would become your DNS server, and use a proxy + internal hostname approach and then tie into Pi-hole if desired. This way, someone could add an external domain, and it would work as you expect.
NO HTTPS. This is just ridiculous, it's 2022. Do I have to say more?
I officially outlasted project:answered! (will)
This newsletter was 900 words long!