I have a bike now. I've been resisting for a while, because biking is scary and I felt like I needed a leg up into being willing to do it. I do have a ton of friends who do bike, though, and they all seem to be really into it, so I let one of them talk me into going on a bike ride with her and really enjoyed it. And that led to the slippery slope of actually buying a bike and then riding it to work. And then riding it back home in the pouring rain. It does cut down my commute to about 1/3 to 1/4 of how long it used to take, so it's definitely going to be useful going forward, especially if I need to get someplace that's obnoxious to get to otherwise. I don't think I'm going to give up on walking everywhere, though. I like the slowed down pace and not having to worry about locking up my bike.
One of the awesome things about getting the bike is that I got it, plus accessories, from a local non-profit called Bikes Not Bombs
, and the money I gave them will also hopefully support the cool work that they do both locally and abroad.
Other thing I have been fascinated by lately is Mastodon
. It kind of is a roll-your-own Twitter clone, but it also is built to be less awful than Twitter? 500 word character limits, cut-tags (called content warnings) for hiding content if necessary, per-toot(tweet) privacy settings. Open source, free of advertising, strong moderation rules. And a way of viewing the local community through the 'local timeline', where you can see the stream of the entire site in one place.
You might be wondering how this idea scales, because a local timeline on Twitter would be a shitshow, and you're right. It would be. But the idea of Mastodon is to be decentralized, which is kinda difficult to grasp these days when all of our social media is so very centralized. What does that mean in this case? It means that there are a bunch of different webistes that run the Mastodon code, but all of these websites can integrate and talk to one another. The easiest comparable example is e-mail. You may be on yahoo.com and I may be on gmail.com, but we can still send e-mail to one another without issue. The way the local timeline is supposed to work is that you get to see the chatter that's happening in your particular instance, and hopefully you've built a cool little community there. But you can also follow people on other Mastodon servers and see their content and interact with them.
Anyway, I started investigating the idea of setting up a fannish Mastodon site ("instance" in the local parlance), where we can gather and talk about fannish things and have fandom-oriented content policies and code of conducts, but still be connected to the larger Mastodon universe if people want to be. It seems like I'm a bit late to the party, as someone else has started a similar project, but I've been invited to help out as well, so that could be fun. Hooray.
There's also a great set of newbie documentation
that's been compiled if you're interested in exploring it further.
I'm not going to lie. It's kind of funky. The UI is generally pretty good, but it can be kind of weird at times. The Tweetdeck-but-not can feel kind of limiting. There's tons of Twitter features that haven't been implemented, whether by lack of time or by design. There's still some weirdness with the distributed nature that makes the integration less than seamless. But I still find it interesting and fun, and I'm a sucker for new things.
If you want to find me (at least for now), I'm @email@example.com
. My instance is closed down for new signups right now, but if you're interested, I can also dig up other reputable instances if need-be.