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Reading and Being Offline

Some time ago I’ve listened to Libre Lounge episode where Chris and Serge discussed the idea of PDAs and how much more those devices were focused on productivity than the smartphones of today.

That was some good food for thought and I’ve started shifting with my own use of the phone to make it work better for me, from “let’s fill this gap between tasks with the rubbish found online” to “now that I’ve got a few spare minutes, what can I do to make the most of that time?” I’ve already found some cool tricks when trying to focus more but the thought of having a device that helps me do my job instead of distracting me even more was really appealing and I wanted to experiment.

So I’m using Nextcloud’s Notes and Bookmarks applications to collect information and of course Calendar application, which helps me and my wife plan things together. And I don’t have to be online to access my calendar or notes.

Another thing I use is Feeder, a feed reader that supports RSS, Atom and JSON feeds. This application downloads any new articles it notices, so I not only get a notification about new articles: I also have the ability to stay offline and still be able to read those articles. This is really nice, esp. with phones' batteries getting so weak after a few years.

However, the most interesting thing designed to be available offline is the decentralized social network called Scuttlebutt. I’m not ready to describe its protocol or architecture, but the core concept behind this social network is the gossip protocol used to transport information across the network. It is an unbelievably cool project and I’d love to try it out, but unfortunately it’s been built on node.js, where things such as unpublishing a package are possible. (In this case, har-validator@5.1.2 has been unpublished. For people willing to use SSB (Secure Scuttlebutt) on Linux, this is fine because ther are pre-built binaries. For *BSD folks, building from source is the only option. And this option is unavailable.) I hope I’ll be able to join SSB when Sunrise Choir release their Rust-based node software.

For now I have to wait and imagine how awesome it would be to read entries from people I followed without access to the internet, for instance when travelling or when I just don’t want to be online.

We’re online almost all the time, with all kinds of information reaching our focus. But how much of that information do we actually need to get things done? And how much of it is rubbish that clutters our attention?

This work by Piotr Mieszkowski is licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0