Net neutrality progress?

PresO seems to be asking the FCC to classify the Internet as a common carrier (ref.


Now, dear Pres, please back this up with muscle!

One potential loophole: He’s asking the FCC to, “Reclassify the Internet under Title II of … the Telecommunications Act.” He’s not asking them to reclassify them as a┬ácommon carrier under under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. I don’t know if reclassification under Title II in itself means that it becomes a┬ácommon carrier or if there is a specific reclassification under Title II that’s required.

Anyone know?

Google Talk alternatives


Google Talk has been my preferred instant messaging service for years because it federates with other XMPP services. In other words, if someone wants to IM with you, she doesn’t need to sign up with Google; she can sign up with anyone who offers XMPP services or she can install an (open source) XMPP server on her own machine and connect with you with that.

All that is changing. A while back, Google limited XMPP federation, then reinstated it claiming it was done as an anti-spam measure. More recently, the huge Google Hangouts rollout finds XMPP federation at best being shoved to a back seat and at worst being entirely deprecated. Given that now redirects to it’s pretty clear that Google Talk is a deprecated service–so it’s hopeless to hang onto whatever federation Google Talk itself might provide. Federation lost.

Therefore, I will probably be shifting my default online presence from Google Talk to an account provided by someone offering unfettered XMPP service. Candidates include (who I hope have solved their DDoS problems) and DuckDuckGo.

Thoughts on Free Communication redux


I’m doing some international traveling at the moment. Wanting to stay in touch with loved ones has me contemplating Thoughts on Free Communication once again. It seems that all the pieces are there … I wish I had the headroom to set something up.

An alternative I hadn’t considered is Mumble+Murmur. An old post from Keshav Khera has turned me onto the idea that gamers might inadvertently lead the way toward decentralized and self-controlled realtime communication, and Mumble+Murmur seems to hold some promise in that area. AFAIK, it doesn’t support video and the Android clients don’t seem so very awesome, but at least one of them is FOSS. Something to look more deeply into.

Are there any good blogging engines?

I’ve spent the last few days evaluating various self-hosted blogging engines from three different points of view: as an author, a designer, and a developer/maintainer. And I haven’t been able to find anything that doesn’t have a significant issue in at least one of those areas.

Of course, you might be wondering why I’m bothering at all. Why not just host your blog(s) at Blogger or or Tumblr or Posterous? The main reason is that I think it’s a good idea to own your data, and self-hosted anything is one way to do that.

The next question is why I just don’t stick with WordPress and call it a day? It turns out that the popularity of this platform makes it a target for hackers and other miscreants. It’s the Windows malware problem all over again. Vulnerability through lack of obscurity.

One option is to install WP and then lock it down as much as possible. And that may very well be what I end up doing, because I’m at a loss for anything that sucks less.