A Better Browser Alternative? February 2021

Need a better one?

An update I will share with friends, I have been looking for an alternative to my previous favourite browser. Waterfox, which I have used for years now, is itself an alternative to Firefox, developed based on it, and improved.

But - it has been laggy and acting up on the most recent releases. See the many new topics and people complaining about problems, in the Reddit Waterfox sub-forum. Time to look around for a better tool.

I tried a couple of alternatives, and here there's a summary of info and impressions.

That is the topic of Today's Blog post

updates recommended.

Pinafore, a wonderful Client for the Fediverse

A Powerful and Light, FAST client for Mastodon, etc...

Originally posted as a sequence of Toots from my account at Koyu.Space, this was well received, appreciated by the Pinafore client's Author and I think is quite informative.

There's a lack of good reporting and documentation on many projects in the Fediverse.

But Pinafore is beloved of its users - see screenshot below, from the Pinafore fediverse hashtag. And some others in the blog too. 👍🙂❤

...and that is just the beginning of this special Christmas Day edition of my Tech Blog.

Dedicated to Nolan, with a big thank you for the great work in the Pinafore client.

Pinafore, a wonderful Client for the Fediverse - Mastodon, Glitch-Social and Pleroma Instances all supported

on for Power Users.

for All Fedi Users in fact.

MarkText editor - nice free, open source tool

New find, a lovely MarkDown text editor

This morning I stumbled across an interesting blog - The Plain Text Project, and in it, a reference to a good markdown text editor.

Have tried others before, and not for long; I am familiar with the MD tags, and work well with the EditPad Lite text editor, or from inside the nice Dark Themed Write.freely blog editor, if I am composing a new blog page.

The review is really well done,

...got my attention - and I made a post on Twitter about it soon after. Painful, with Twitter's crippling small limit for posts, broken up in many parts, which makes it more difficult to create a coherent presentation.

However - writing it was the push to download and install MarkText - and to collate some of the thoughts in the Tweets into a longer, Fediverse intended post. This one, being written inside MarkText itself, my first trial. And it looks and feels wonderful already.

See my Blog post for Today about it Here.

new Tools of the Trade report... Recommended.

is a great find!

This Blog Page announce was entirely produced with MarkText editor.

Zonelets -- Storing new Blog pages names, dates in a custom file

An idea for improvement?

This is in regards to the cool new 'Zonelets Blogs', created and maintained by Marina Kittaka.

Marina create this new project last month, November 2020, and it's got some really interesting aspects - a very simple approach, pure html source code, allowing people to learn and get familiar with the inner workings of the Web.

It is a minimalist approach, intentionally - as opposed to the heavy and too complex situation we see with WordPress and other large publishing platforms.

Based on simple fundamentals

Like having a free host ([like NeoCities.org](https;//neocities.org/)), which gives everyone a home, 1 GigaByte of storage space for their files, full access to them via a web tool, allows java-scripting and other good points.

I have been blogging for a year now with the very nice Write.freely platform, and am very happy. It is simple, polished and fast - a comparison with WordPress really did not impress me (bloated, slow to load a page upon an edit, preview).

Zonelets is javascript driven

All of the work needed to show a list of all recent posts, the one previous or newer to one you are currently reading, some assorted headers for the blog as desired -- all of this is done via Marina's nice work in the 'scripts.js' file.

(In stark comparison to that, my loved Write.freely platform does not allow any javascript at all to be used; for security, which is understandable.)

Zonelets works well, it's light and fast.

But I was worried about messing up the magical 'scripts.js' file with the frequent editing needed to add new posts to the blog (hopefully a frequent occurrence, no?)

Fast forward a day, and we have it.

Thanks to the assistance of a fellow programmer, much more versed in web dev than myself, I have made some modifications that allow this to happen.

The full report and details are on Today's Blog Post - at Write.Freely via TeDomum.net or via Zonelets - at Neocities.org

new tools in development

Verdana Pro -- why use 'Arial'

...when something much nicer is freely available?

20 different styles on the Windows Store download pack, Free. Verdana and Georgia were specially developed for on-screen reading.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verdana

FREE Download from :

Microsoft directly

or Online Web Fonts

Georgia is also a better on-screen font

...designed to replace a serif font like Times New Roman.

Georgia is a serif typeface designed in 1993 by Matthew Carter and hinted by Tom Rickner for the Microsoft Corporation. It was intended as a serif typeface that would appear elegant but legible when printed small or on low-resolution screens. The typeface is inspired by Scotch Roman designs of the 19th century.

-source: Wikipedia

Georgia is a serif typeface designed by Matthew Carter for Microsoft Corporation in the mid-1990s. This typeface was designed as a serif companion to the Verdana font family with a goal to appear elegant but legible on low-resolution screens as well as when printed at small sizes.

-source: Microsoft

Also a FREE Download from :

Microsoft directly

or Online Web Fonts

Improve your on-screen Browser reading

...by selecting custom fonts which were developed for this exact task. Professional work, skilled designers. All for no cost and a minimal effort.

Install the better fonts (if not in your system yet) and :

a. Replace 'Times New Roman' with much smoother 'Georgia'. ✔

b. Replace 'Arial' or 'Sans' with 'Verdana Pro' ✔

And voilá. Enjoy. (see attached screenshot)

Repeat this customization for other systems you use regularly as well. 😉👍

This is the Topic of Today's Web Magazine

tips for better web reading experience
are important

Image Hosting Services with Zonelets Blogs

Many times we need a place to store Images, online

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Finding some free Image Hosting for Forum, Mastodon and Blog Posts — it's something needed by many of us, when we get active in Forums, etc.

I had to find a place to host images for my Blog pages, as my usual WriteFreely platform does not offer the option of uploading an image to the server.

A good image host recommendation

Found PostImage.org — and since then, that's what I use, very happy. I can upload a file right from my machine's File manager window. They have a nice Windows 10 client app, and it works really well.

That is the Topic of today's Blog

The same page is also on my Zonelets Blog - here

new blogging platform report is cool too

Creating a Zonelets post in Markdown format

An easier to use web formatting tool, for a new and simple blog platform

Yesterday I came across a small blog, posted at Neocities.org, which I found interesting. It was created using 'Zonelets' – which I hadn't heard about until now.

A bit of link following and I discovered a wonderful new project, which I am now trying out for small posts, hosted at Neocities as well.

HTML editing is not as free and easy flowing like my normal writing in the Write.Freely editor, which uses MarkDown formatting (or html if you need, or prefer; a mix of formats works perfectly too).

So this new page is an experiment, using the WF editor, and later copying it's generated HTML source code for use in the Zonelets page. And it worked fine.

That is the Topic of today's Blog

The same page is also on my Zonelets Blog - here

new blogging platform report is cool too

How To Write A Blog Post People Read

by Rachel Thompson, @BadRedheadMedia

Unsure how to structure your blog posts? Here’s a quick guide to get you started!

Writing a blog post people will read isn’t rocket science, yet it does take some skill. As I work with writers new to blogging, many are stumped by how to go about structuring a blog post.

A nice read, recommend it for anyone interested in writing and blogging in special. Thank you, Rachel!

Full Article is at Medium.com


is wonderful

good reads

An Excellent article at The Atlantic

...which I find myself frequently referring friends to.

Might be useful for someone here possibly? We are all affected by this.

Is Google making us Stupid?

reference article - recommended.

Welcoming a personal Friend to our instance.

Bienvenue, @globcoco

[ Moving posts from the old place 🙄, and this was a lovely image, preserving it. 😎🌻❤]

Long Post on an important Subject -- the 500 Chars Toot limit is dismal

In response to : mastodon.social/@joaopinheiro/

..but posted at the top level here for Exposure -- this needs to be discussed at Large. RG.

-----[ reply to an ongoing topic follows ]------

@joaopinheiro@mastodon.social

As Niklas has mentioned, it's Eugen's idea - and since he rules the Mastodon development with a strong hand, it is difficult to change.

The whole Glitch-Social project was born from people who used to be in the main development channel, and got tired of obstruction, to the point of leaving and starting their own project, forking from it (basing their work on another project, but adding, changing as they see fit).

There is NO technical restriction at all -- Qoto allows 65 thousand characters max, and any sized post will be processed fine by all the instances, it's built right in; it has to, so not to break other people's posts if they are large.

So why does he oppose and actively obstructs the proposals to make it easier to change the limit ?

For "design" reasons. He likes a steady stream of short little posts, flowing in his TweetDeck favourite view.

Eugen was a Twitter user for many years, and like other Fediverse people with the same pedigree, grew accustomed to the brutal 144 characters limit that Twitter had at first (when it was created, there was no Data service for phones, not smart phones. People created tweets and they were sent over SMS, with the 144 chars limit that Text messages still have).

I have written extensively about it. And asked mastodon admins to please consider increasing. Been turned down in most of those requests.

One of the reasons is the amount of work needed to find and edit the Max Toot Size variable -- it is NOT stored in a single file, a configuration file as it should be (and as it IS, on glitch-social).

Eugen buried the limit in various source files, you need to find and edit them ALL to make a change. Then, next time an update comes out, do it all over again. Busy people refused me based on this continuous maintenance requirement, and I can understand it.

A developer name LambadaLambda came to the main Mastodon development site, and posted a Pull Request -- code he created, and which would change the main version so the Max Toot Length would be in ONE location only.

Working code, ready for use. The developer in this case is the head of the Pleroma project.

Eugen responded, denying it. Explained his reasons, and closed the PR.

I have snapshots of those, and am including them here. A real event, and this was back in 2018 or so. Nothing has changed in the mean time, other than more of us despairing of Mastodon's slow advance and going elsewhere.

Glitch-Social is a bright place to be, and where I am now moving all my personal Publishing.

For reference, see also : qoto.org/@design_RG/1034612132

Attachments : two snapshots of mentioned Pull Request topic at mastodon's GitHub.

Up your Game -- Take a MarkDown Tutorial

.
If you really want to learn and use it well, take the MarkDown Interactive Tutorial - A free, quick and enjoyable way to learn.

Highly Recommended - I have worked in Education for many years and it's the Best application of Tech to Learning that I have ever seen. That good!

🇬🇧 Available in English.
🇫🇷 Aussi disponible en Français.
🇪🇸 Y también en Español!

recommended

Image Hosting for Forum, Mastodon and Blog Post -- Host Recommendation

@globcoco I had to find a place to host them, as WriteFreely doesn't offer image hosting locally.

I have used different ones over the years, and back in December, when I was starting the Blog, went and spent a day looking for what's available, their features, etc.

Found PostImage.org -- and that's what I use, I love it. I can upload a file right from my File manager window..

Right-Click -- Send To -- PostImage and it takes it, uploads and gives me the URL for that image. Copy/Paste into Blog text window.

Lovely and very productive. Simple as can be.

Here, made two screenshots, visual is always helpful -- and I will use these for my new Blogger's toolkit post when I write it.

That smaller second image, btw -- here's the URL copied from it, there's even a super handy "Copy"button right beside the URL after the upload is done.

i.postimg.cc/LsBLMd2g/GS-Dark-

Highly recommend this host -- postimage.org/

FediRenderer - A much needed Mastodon tool

Long wished for, a way to view user data Backups

'FediRenderer' -- a project for a much needed new tool for viewing User Backup Exports from Mastodon instances in the Fediverse.

See a backed up toot as displayed by the viewer?

We have a working FediRenderer. And some background as well. Plus, very detailed, illustrated instructions for new users.

Sharing this in hope we can find people who value the idea and could take part in it in any way - contributing, suggesting, etc.

That is the Topic of today's Blog

new tool...

Fediverse - Cats Follow on Friday Suggestions

Furry Friday and Caturdays are great

And it's but also or ... In fact, I am late in posting this, a pretty Blog version of my original Discourse Forum post. And now it's even

So I thought -- why not post a neat Referral to our feline loving Fediverse accounts that are present in these hash tags ?

That is the Topic of today's Blog

Location Changes – For Privacy or Any Reason

.
Our Internet Location is Important

So many reasons why. Some sites will not show you content, due to it. Others will carefully track you, even after you have long left. And mobile devices are even worse — if that's possible.

Real solutions can be had, usually for a cost. VPN services offer privacy, anonymity, and access to remote Geo-locations which could unlock some content.

But there are some applications that provide a simpler solution — without creating a real 'tunnel' between you and the remote server.

These work by allowing us to change the device's GPS coordinates readings. And while they will not encrypt or deliver traffic to a far away end point, they DO work for some games and apps. Many times at no cost to the user, so worth considering and testing.

That is the Topic of today's Blog

Pleroma - Finding the Good Instances, part 2

.
As Requested; Recommended Instances Suggestions

I was pleasantly surprised by the interest generated by my Discover Pleroma. An alternative to Mastodon page. Various people contacted me, interested in trying out Pleroma, and asking for some recommended instances.

So this page is intended to provide :

  • some thoughts on why it is important, which instance you are in.
  • general tips on looking up information for any Pleroma instance.
  • and a list of recommended Pleroma instances for your consideration.

As usual, I love Writing, so this is Long Form prose. Lavishly illustrated, References and links included. A Web Magazine page I am proud of.

That is the Topic of today's Blog.

This post is dedicated to Puniko, *who was so gentle and welcoming when I joined FAB -- fedi.absturztau.be

Show thread

Write.Freely Blogs -- showing an Excerpt :

.
I had asked, remembered seeing a mention to this a long time ago (when I was starting in WF, and there was so much to learn already).

There's a way to show an Excerpt -- just a stub, a small part of each post in your Blog, if the reader arrives there via its URL.

The Excerpt will show a small part of each page, and make it easier for a visitor to see what topics you have covered, before selecting which ones to read in full.

This is not the default display in the WF blogs, which will show Full Articles to a visitor. And if our pages are long, there's a lot of scrolling just to get an idea of what's covered in this particular blog.

Thanks to Ange at TeDomum.net, my WF host, who sent me a link to the Write.as Writing Guide, I located the feature and how to do it.

Here's the paragraph in question :

Showing an excerpt

By default, your blog home page shows every post fully. However, you can choose to show an excerpt instead on any posts you want, creating a "Read more..." link at the end of the post that readers can click to get the full story.

To do this, simply insert <!--more--> where you'd like to split the post and end the excerpt. A great place for this is at the end of a paragraph.

.
And the result is a much more compact display on my own blog, now with about 70 pages almost.

Sharing this as I am certain that @globcoco and other writers might be interested and benefit.

Mastodon - Extra Uses for Delete/Redraft ?

.
Mastodon's Delete/Redraft is a nice and simple tool that can be used for various reasons.
.
The simplest is when you realize there's some small typo, or the wrong image was attached to a post. With Delete/Redraft, a quick fix is possible without having to re-enter the text, or to copy it to Clipboard, before using a Delete, then a full new post (or new reply to whichever post it related to, if that was the case).

I find this to be one of the RARE cases when Mastodon offers me more functionality than my Pleroma account -- where Delete/Redraft is NOT available (more on this later in the article).

So let's see how we can use this feature in more elaborate ways? Some more Advanced Use Cases for this nice tool.

That is the Topic of today's Blog

Edit Post Functionality -- being discussed at Pleroma Git

Have to thank Puniko for mentioning this, when I lamented the lack of Delete/Redraft function in Pleroma.

Better yet is in the works - an open issue and discussion with quite a bit of participation. Looks like it will come. 👍 🙂

4 me!

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