Category: projects

The social ad-networks, the Fediverse, and my Live is back

The social ad-networks, the Fediverse, and my Live is back

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, now TikTok, the world is eaten alive by a few websites that pretend to want to “connect” people. They even call themselves “social” networks. In fact they are ad networks. We have a few such accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube (TIFY) and I am sick of them. So sick I created a TROM Live page where I started to post directly on the tromsite, forgetting about these ad-networks. But even when I was posting on TROM Live, we kept those TIFY adcounts updated through Hootsuite (a tool for which we pay) that allows us to schedule posts on all of those networks. It is like our livestock industry today. Just put more stuff out there, else the world seems to collapse.

This craze of nonstop eating nothingness has transformed the eaters and the feeders into untamed animals that seem to be unable to stop. I post, you watch. I post, you watch, I post, you watch. If I do not post, the TIFY AI will forget about me and not notify you. I cease to exist.

Thing is, if we stop posting on TIFY, then we go even deeper into the hole of silence, because TIFY wants something from you (data, attention, money), so they have created a cattle industry, where the milked cattle are people, and if you do not feed the cattle (as a “creator”) then no more cattle, and your ideas and projects will sink. Both of you are actually the cattle for TIFY, who milks you both, while you the creator milks others…endless fuckery.

I never wanted any of this, but when we released a new book for example, I liked to break it into “memes”. Images that I made with the bits of text I would grab from the new book. I saw it as an educational thingy. So I would make lots of them, and schedule them via Hootsuite on all of these networks. I NEVER duplicated any image/post. For the past year or so, we did not release any new book, so no more new memes. I kinda gave up to this posting-memes idea for educational purposes, especially since I feel it stronger and stronger that people who are on TIFY are too bombarded with shit to even make a difference if you try to post scientific and well made content. So what’s the point!?

Sasha kept these TIFY alive by reposting a lot of memes and videos for the past year or so, and she still wants to keep them alive. In the end, I agree, if is not much work and others can help with it…lets shoot in the dark and keep on posting there too. But I hate TIFY as much as I hate any company and charlatan. I don’t even want to type their url into any text field, that’s how much I hate these charlatans that are selling delusional ideas of “connectivity” and “sociability”, while the cattle are eating their vomit.

WHAT. TO. DO. !.?.

We have a bunch of projects: tromjaro.com, tromsite.com, videoneat.com, trade-free.org/directory, tromland.org. Except tromland and tromsite, the rest are very active. We post new stuff there. Plus, when we make a new video, or book, or have TROMcast….we need to let people know about these.

So. How to let people know about these things in a sane way and still keep the TIFY cancer fed, while not feeling disastrously depressed by using these tumors?

WELCOME TO THE FEDIVERSE.

Posting updates on TROMsite.com/live via an improvised chat, felt cozy, at home, but not at all interactive for anyone in case they wanted to reply, share, follow. It was mainly me going to my balcony and giving some updates to the empty town. At least that’s how I felt, which is cozy to me. But I get it…some people want to interact a bit, not in a TIFY way, but in a sane way. The answer is: THE FEEEEEEEEEEDIVEEEEEEEEEEEEEERSEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

It is difficult for me to explain what this is, and a mighty task to make you (the reader) as excited as I am. I will try to explain in the most simple way possible. So. Let’s use the Facebook example. Let’s imagine we make Facebook trade-free. That means, Facebook doesn’t ask anything in return (no trade) for the service that they provide. So, no more ads, no more data collection, no more making money from paid advertising. Nothing of that. Basically imagine a Facebook without 90% of its current content. It is like wanting to remove a tumor from a patient, but you realize that the tumor is a lot bigger than the patient. So you end up removing the patient. A tumor with a human.

Anyways. Trade-Free (TF) Facebook. Honest. No more bad incentives to make you stay on their platform. Why would they want to trap you into their world if they do not get anything back from you? So this TF Facebook allows you to create posts (text), share images, make albums, add videos, crate groups, pages, comment, share, etc.. And instead of being on Facebook.com, a copy of its software is installed on Facebook.net, Facebook.org, Facebook.free, and 50 more domains. Let’s call these “instances”. All run the same software, like imagine a barebone FB without any users, on multiple such websites. We start freshly new. GO.

You, the user (not a cattle this time), can choose whichever “instance” suits you best, because each instance is run by different people/organizations, and they can tweak their version of FB the way they want to. Of course, they are mainly the same, but some may not accept people who post their dick photos, while some do. Now, the user (not the cattle, again!), can choose which FB they want, and register an account there. There is no competition between these instances, mind you, since there is no incentive for that. If my instance has too many users and puts a toll on my server, I can tell people to go to other instances so that we disperse the load. The other instances are my friends.

BUT TIO, that means I LOSE my friends. I register here, to show my dick picks, but my friends register there…I can’t there…they don’t want here…we NEED TO STAY IN TOUCH.

I HEAR YOU. CALM DOWN. JIZAS. ACTUALLY THIS IS WHAT FEDIVERSE IS ALL ABOUT.

Now that we have many instances, we connect them with each other by default. User A registers on FB.ORG, user B on FB.PENIS. But if user A searches for user B in their FB search, they find him. They can follow him, comment on his posts, and all that. As if user B is on FB.ORG, even tho is not. How is that possible? Don’t ask me, ask the Fediverse God.

So now we have multiple instances, each instance is a TF FB, each instance has some users (different from other instances), and all of them are connected. I, on this instance, can instantly communicate with you and others on any instances. This way, the power of FB is distributed. If I do not like one instance, I pack my bags and move to another one. Export -> Import. My contacts, messages, posts. All that. Like magic.

WELCOME TO

THE FEDIVERSE

But there is a downside to this right? I mean….it has to be. It is slow. Unreliable. UWGLY…. ???
 
Actually no. And even if it may be a few minutes behind reality, it is still hardly noticeable from my experience. And guess what? There is more to this!
 
Imagine we do the same with Youtube. De-tradiffy it. Federate it. Many Youtubes, many domains. All communicating with each other. We do the same with Twitter and Instagram. Now, we have hundreds of websites (instances) of TIFY. TF-TIFY. Best part? Since they all use the same protocol (fancy word that means nothing for normal people, and a lot for programmers), they can communicate with each other. Me on Facebook can follow a Youtube channel and see its posts in my newsfeed. Even comment on it, reshare it, like it, and all that. Twitter users can communicate with Facebook users too. And instagram is useless anyways so probably they don’t care to communicate with neither, even tho is possible. A world where we connect all of these platforms.
 

WE'VE REACHED NIRVANA!

If you think about it, this is how the Internet should work. Back in the days most, if not all websites had another “protocol” embedded underneath their skin: RSS. That was a “text” file that each website generated automatically, and it contained all of your latest posts or comments. So, if you wanted to stay up to date with what bigbunnyforgood.soemthing website was posting, you would grab its RSS feed (usually by adding the word “feed” after the url), and paste that into an RSS Reader. This program will then grab the latest posts from the bunny. You could choose any RSS Reader for the job. And add as many such websites to the mix.

Nowadays RSS is still alive, although youngsters probably think that’s a pornhub category like Rubber Sex Slaves or a subreddit, Racist Skinny Sluts. Not sure which one is which…. Anyhow, RSS is still an important protocol. Email is another such protocol. I can communicate with you via email even if your email is on gmail.com, and mine is on tromsite.com. It does not matter. Fediverse is like combining RSS with Email, and feed it magic mushrooms.

Examples of Fediverse tools: Friendica, Mastodon, Peertube, Pixelfed. Mix them up and we have PPFM, MFPP, PMFP…whatever. They are the TF and Federated versions of TIFY.

Peertube is a Federated Youtube, Piixelfed is a Federated Instagram, Mastodon is a Federated Twitter, and Friendica is a Federated Facebook. Of course, they are more than that, They are their own thing. They look different, work different. But, they are meant to be replacements for those ugly ones. I will mainly talk about Friedica since it is what we use to deal with our Social Dilemma.

Can’t help but notice that while writing for this blog, our latest post from Friendica is this documentary from VideoNeat, that’s about these big online companies taking over the world.

Friendica is so awesome I don’t even know where to start. For one the design is modern and so clean. Here’s how TROM’s pages look like on FB vs Friendica:

A very simple post composer, yet good enough to create long posts with some basic text editing. You can add multiple images, format the text, add links, location, add a post into a category, add tags or even mention friends or pages. You can create a full-blown post with this. Sure, with a simple design. What’ya’want’more?

Basic photo albums. You can comment on any photo, add tags and mentions, captions, or rotate them. Depends on the Instance, but from my tests you can’t add videos. Only from external sources in posts. Videos are images. But BIGGER. So ya’ need a BIGGER server for the job.

Events. We can use this for our TROM-Cast for sure. When we go live, and what hour. Add to the calendar. Share it. Tag, mention. Simple.

And for your page profile you can add as many fields as you want, with multiple websites, descriptions and such.

In the Settings you have great control over who to follow, how to see or not posts, how to post and where, export your data and all that. I won’t go into details, I’ll only highlight some of the features I love.

Your profile can be a page, a personal stream, an organization, a forum….different types, depending on your needs.

You can choose between several themes, or customize any of them. Colors, background image, opacity, and stuff like that. It is a minimal-based theming, but definitely a cool thing to have access to.

You can also choose between infinite scroll or pagination, you can disable the dislike buttons, or ban posts containing certain URLs or words.

You can connect to some social networks and cross post to them or from them to your Friendica, automatically or manually. For example, you can set up your WordPress website so that when you post to Friendica, it will create a post on your website.

You can even add “moderators” or “admins” to your pages, which is handy.

But all of this is not like “whoa”. It’s more like, yah….I’ve seen this before…remember MySpace? Hi5? What’s so cool about Friendica? Well, here’s where the amazing part comes, and it is because of the Federation.

CONTACTS.

These 3 contacts come from 3 different platforms. One is from Mstodon (a Twitter alternative), one from PeerTube (the good Youtube), and one from Friendica. The way I added them as friends is by copying their URLs or “handles” into the search box in my Friendica page. Friendica finds them, and I can follow them. I can send them private messages or see their posts in my newsfeed. As simply as it is on Facebook to search for contacts. Here is how posts from all of these contacts look like on my Friendica homepage (stream):

This is how a post from someone on Friendica looks like:

This is how a post from someone on Mastodon looks like:

This is how a post from someone on PeerTube looks like:

This is how a post from someone on Twitter looks like:

Aham. I said Twitter, because you can connect with Twitter if you have a Twitter account (in seconds) and you can see the posts in your feed and reply and all that from your Friendica. How to add a Twitter contact? Same as you add any, put the URL of a Twitter account in the search field and then click follow. Done.

So, you can follow and interact with people from the entire Fediverse, even from the non-federated Twitter, but there is one more neat thing about Friendica. Take any website, say videoneat.com, and paste that URL into the same search field. Guess what? If the website has an RSS feed (remember the Rare Skinny Sluts?), then you can follow that too. Here’s how an RSS post looks like:

Yah…same as any other posts…and if the website has a full RSS feed, then you can read the entire post in your news feed.

So, contacts from any Fediverse accounts, plus Twitter, plus RSS sources. All look the same. And you can interact with all just like you would do with any contact.

I will bore you for 3-4 minutes. bare with me tho, I need to vent this….

And the best feature for me, is this: in the settings of any user, you can opt in to automatically grab their posts and either reshare them, or post as your own. Why is this so cool? Because we have several websites that produce content daily, and I’ve set it up so that the RSS feed from these websites, is grabbed and posted as our page posts, automatically. This is so so cool. Federation + RSS is bliss. You can even contact people over Email through Friendica, but I won’t even mention that 😀 – it’s too much awesomness.

With all that in mind, this is how I am now managing all of these social networks, most of which are adcounts.

1. I created 2 Freindica accounts. One is my personal account and one is the TROM page. Both are managed by one single account. These are “identities” actually. One login. Two identities.

2. I setup tromjaro.com, videoneat.com, and trade-free.org/directory to mirror the RSS Feeds as our Friendica TROM’s page posts. So, whenever there is a new post on these, our Friendica TROM page will post about it.

3. Since there is no easy way to schedule posts on Friendica + we also have to keep the TIFY tumor alive (at least for now), I came up with a solution. We are still using Hootsuite to schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now, with the help of the amazing trade-free piece of software called RSS-Bridge, and our own TROMland instance. I can create an RSS feed for our Facebook page, and add it as a contact to our Friendica TROM page, and as above, mirror the posts as Friendica TROM posts. Now, our Friendica TROM page automatically pulls posts from our websites + our Facebook page RSS (scheduled posts). And, of course, whenever we need to post something directly there.

So, right now, if Sasha keeps on scheduling on Hootsuite, and I keep those websites updated, we will have an active TROM Friendica page.

Last cool thing. I’ll bore you a bit more.

Using our RSS Reader from tromsite.com, that is responsible for our curated news, videos, and such https://www.tromsite.com/tools/news/, I created a news feed for the Fediverse to use it as our TROM Live. It pulls posts from my personal Friendica and TROM’s Friendica + the TROM people I’ll add there. And, whenever I tag a post with #tromlive, or anyone from TROM does that, or our TROM Friendica page does it, it will go to https://www.tromsite.com/live/. And to any tromsite.com page (click the top TROM logo).

Imagine this: I work on something for TROM and I post about my work on my personal Friendica profile. I tag it with #tromlive, and it goes to our tromsite.com/live page. Aaron uses Mastodon and when he does something for TROM and wants to share, again tags his post with #tromlive and it goes to the same place. Alexio, who is on Friendica, can do the same. And you can see on TROM Live who posts what and click our names to go to our Fediverse profiles and you can even follow us there. As cool as that. New TROM-Cast? Create a Friendica event, tag with #tromlive. Goes on Friendica + TROM Live. Schedule something on Hootsuite that you also want to go to TROM Live? Just tag it with #tromlive. Easy! And, for my own personal Live, because YES, IT IS BACK ->>>> https://www.tiotrom.com/live/, it is the same system only that all of what I post on my Friendica goes to my live. At times, I post stuff that is personal, so I would want only #tromlive posts to go to TROM Live.

Basically we “manually” post on Hootsuite (mostly scheduled posts), to our websites (normal work for us), and to our Fediverse accounts. Seems like a lot, but I for one will 95% post on my Friendica account. That’s all. It is in fact a very simple and easy to manage “mess”. I move away from TIF, and I create a mega stream of content on TROM’s Friendica page. A Trade-Free place. A Trade-Free Social Network. Plus, keep our TROM Live updated + my Live. So you can either follow the hand or the jesus jump. Or both. And that’s all. No need to go anywhere else to see updates from us.

a. I am using the Flow Flow paid plugin as our RSS Reader for tromsite.com and this website. I bought this one many years ago so I might as well use it. Download it from here for free. I set up a stream of TROM's Friendica and my personal Friendica with Flow Flow + other Fediverse sources. Say Aaron is on Mastodon, so I grab the RSS feed for Aaron's Mastodon because yes, Fediverse sources also have an RSS feed. How to find that? Ask around is easy.

 

b. I grab TROM's and my Friendica RSS. This is actually an Atom Feed, similar to RSS. Looks something like this https://instanceurl/feed/username/posts.

 

c. Because the Flow Flow plugin doesn't work with Atom Feeds, I need to convert it into an RSS feed. Unfortunately I have to use FeedBurner (by Google) to do it. Add the Atom url in FeedBurner and in the options click "convert" to RSS 2.0. Grab the new RSS url. That's what you have to use. As a side-note, the developers of the Flow Flow plugin plan to implement Atom feeds support.

 

d. Flow Flow + Fediverse RSS feeds =  great. But, in order to only grab posts that contain #tromlive, you have to add a filter in Flow Flow for each of the RSS feed you have added.

 

And that's all.

 

Now, for TROM Live I had to add a HTML code to the page to refresh the page automatically every 10 minutes so that users don't have to do it manually.

 

The downside for TROM Live is that it takes around 15-20 minutes for a post to go live. Say I make a post on my Friendica. It takes Friendica a few minutes to update the Atom Feed. Then the Atom Feed needs to be read by FeedBurner - FeedBurner checks it every couple of minutes. Once it grabs the update, Flow Flow must check it too. It checks every 5 minutes (you need to change the plugin code a bit to allow for 5 min - ask me in the comments if you need to). Once Flow Flow grabs the update, the Live Page must refresh (every couple of minutes).

 

I post on Friendica -> Atom Feed gets created -> FeedBurner reads it -> Flow Flow reads the FeedBurner RSS and filters by #tromlive -> TROM Live gets refreshed with the new update. All automated so no sweat.

What you have to understand from all this, is that the Internet should work this way. The Fediverse way. If TIFY wouldn’t make a business out of the human cattle, keeping them trapped into their own garden, then they would for sure implement such tools. Why can’t I follow a Facebook page or profile, or Youtube account, without registering with these companies? Because that will hurt their business. TIFY is trade-based, so its sole purpose is to engage in trades with the users. Users are its clients. I give you a “social” platform, you give me your data. They are like any other store out there. If I sell tomatoes, but they are not as good as the ones in the shop next door, or I don’t have enough of them, I will never send you to the other shop. I’ll lose!
 

The reason Friendica and the like are so great, is because they are trade-free. They ask nothing in return from the users. They give you this platform, and grab nothing from you. Yes, at times you trade your freedom since you may not be allowed to post this or that (violence, gore, nudity, etc..), but these are smallish trades and you may find instances where they do not inject such rules. Also, we live in a fucked up world of mindless zombies and charlatans, so they can abuse such platforms. These rules are in place for that. When TIFY puts up such rules, they are usually to make their advertisers happy that their platforms are as clean as the inside of a disinfectant bottle, so they can advertise there in abundance.

Facebook

Friendica

I feel relaxed by using Friendica and knowing about the Fediverse. I need to keep my online life as clean as possible, in order to focus on the stuff I create and what I digest online.

It also goes to show how, with billions under their mattresses, TIFY created platforms that are technically inferior to what a handful of good humans created, with not even a fraction of a percent of the resources these TIFY giants have.

The moral of the story is this: if you create trade-free goods/services, it is very likely that you will create good quality and honest goods/services. Because there is no incentive for you to do “bad”. Imagine if these platforms would label themselves as “trade-free” so we can also educate humans about the problem that they are trying to address. Because in the end, these people created these platforms because they wanted to solve some problems: that of data collection, of proprietary software, of privacy, etc.. Problems that are in fact symptoms of our trade-based society. And I explained that in great detail in this book.

I understand that the vast majority of people will not use these platforms. The sad truth is that humans got so enculturated that they will hardly ever change. If you can’t change your online social network, how can you change anything in your life? Really. Is there anything easier than this? If humans can’t use a different Facebook, that is honest and so much better, when it exists, then there is no hope we will ever change anything in this world: how we distribute resources, organize our society, etc.. We will cling onto old notions and platforms. We will die on facebook, screaming about democracy, in a trade-based society that makes both of these, irrelevant, useless, illusionary, and at times harmful.

So don’t be one of the morons. If you really want to use a social platform, use Friendica or other Fediverse alternative. If you still have to use TIFY use it as a disposal machine. Just to put your “ads” there about your work. A necessary evil, but put gloves when you use it, like we do with Hootsuite. I am sure, one day, in the near future, I’ll close all of the TIFY. We ONLY use them to automatically share our work.

We are on TROMSITE.COM/LIVE. We are on FRIENDICA. We are on our personal websites. That’s all. The rest, we are not.

In a saner world, we would create stuff and not care how many people we reach. Who likes what we do. We just do it. And that’s what I’ve been doing all of my life. I care about my work and what I do and I enjoy that. The rest can fuck off. This is why I have the “courage” to go use another social network and won’t care much or at all if I will close all of the TIFY accounts. Our stuff is hosted on our servers or archive.org anyways. Our work and chats are done via NextCloud. I am using the tools I think are best and trade-free. We have lost lots of “followers” because of that. And I don’t care.

In the end, you have to enjoy what you do. Else you are a prostitute of a trade system, trading your stuff for currency, likes, reactions. Don’t be a sad cattle.

Make a Friendica account. I recommend you https://venera.social/. Takes a minute. Get familiar with it. Add me as your contact. Add others. You’ll be surprised how friendly the community is. Then add more contacts from the Fediverse, add RSS sources like our website, and all that. Ask me here if you need any help. And use https://fediverse.party/ to find other such Federated places in the digital universe.

UPDATE 1

Shortly after writing this blog post I realized that it is super uncomfortable for me to pat 12 Euros a month for Hootsuite to what? To post on those trade-based social networks? To then have those posts mirrored on Friendica? What for!? So I changed the plan. Friendica (TROM and Tio), both pages, are the ONLY ones I will touch. Instead of posting on Hootsuite that will send posts to Facebook, Insta, and Twitter, and then FB RSS to push to Friendica, I will do the opposite way. All posts from Friendica go to Facebook and Twitter automatically. Like so:

The biggest advantage is that the way I make the posts on Friendica is simply beautiful and clean and smart. The way I compose them. You can make full posts there, like a blog post. Also, the fact that I only manage 1 single place for updates: Friendica. The biggest downside is that I am using a 3rd party service (IFTTT) and when it tries to push updates from Friendica’s RSS to Facebook or Twitter, it does not send the images….so….posts without images…which sucks. Bad. Cause many times we relied on images to tell a message. But…I will try and try to see if that can be fixed….at least the setup is done. Also, we lose the ability to schedule “memes”. However I will look for a trade-free solution for that. I imagine a fediverse or other tools for say WordPress that allow us to upload our memes and schedule them and then grab an RSS feed and push it to Friendica.

Trust me I tried so much…I made accounts….I even made a new website to try to push proper updates to Facebook through WordPress…nothing really works….Facebook is the most awful company….Anyways. Maybe I’ll update the post again…I feel so drained of energy.

UPDATE 2

There we go, one more update hahah. Maybe this is the last? Will see. I made it even better. Improving. Mind you, I want stuff to be as automated as possible. I also don’t want to completely shut down FB and Twitter since there are people following us there…

So, the bellow image explains it very well. 5 RSS sources. 3 bubbles in the picture. They auto feed TROM Friendica and FB. For FB I had to do an IFTTT hook-thing…it is free for 3 or so hooks. These are automated. The social.tromsite.com is a new thing that I made….JEEZ. Basically it is a new website that uses 3 main plugins to automate all of our memes. We have around 6k memes. Only 1k or so are converted for tromsite.com from tvpmagazine. I used the plugins: “Auto Post After Image Upload” to make a new post whenever we upload an image. Thus, we can uplaod 1k photos to this website, and it creates 1k posts. Amazing. “Revive Old Posts” is a plugin that takes 2 random posts and posts them on FB. The free version only post them as links, so doesn’t look 100% ok on FB but is the best I can do. Is fine. And lastly “WP Auto Republish” to republish these posts in random fashion on the website – this is necessary for the RSS. It makes sure that we always have at least 2 new posts a day out of those random ones made out of the 1k images we uploaded. This is so that when Friendica checks for new posts from social.tromsite.com, it finds new ones daily.

So the automated RSS feeds Friendica and FB. Plus I also manually post on Friendica. And whenever i tag my posts with #tromlive, the Friendica TROM page ones go to FB, and TROM Live, and my personal Friendica (tagged with #tromlive) go only to TROM Live.
 
And, of course, the last ones: Posts from Friendica are mirrored to Twitter, from my Friendica profile to my Live.
 
Trust me. It makes a lot of sense :D. This way we don’t replicate posts anywhere. And keep TROM Friendica updated (that’s the best source for what TROM releases or the most important news) + TROM Live with our work + FB and Twitter (yaks) + my personal website.
 
Brilliant! 🙂
 
And all works. Tested. I am so so so so so happy with social.tromsite.com because we basically have to upload photos there and that’s it. They are randomly posted 2 a day. And these memes are super interesting.
 
Let’s see if this is my last update.

UPDATE 3

Oh yeah, update numero tres. Ha-Ha. I kinda perfected the system. I really want to make it very well. I looks like this is the last update, but don’t quote me on that for now. Here’s the thing, although TIFY sucks balls, and I hate it, I understand that there are some people who find it super difficult to move to some Fediverse alternative because maybe their friends and families are on TIFY. So my goal is to keep TIFY updated in a proper way, while not giving a shit about it ;).
 
The update numero doz, above, had a few critical flaws. The images I scheduled on FB were not posted as images, but as links that could use the image as a “preview”. So the image was cut. Not good! Same on Twitter. Thus, all of the work on social.tromsite.com was only great for Friendica and partially good for these two. I FIXED THAT through IFTTT hooks. Now those 2 images that we post daily in a random and automated fashion are indeed posted as images on FB and Twitter. Great!
 
Another issue is when I posted on FB from Friendica via the hashtag thing, it only posted a sentence. FIXED IT! Now it posts the entire posts.
 
Here’s the beauty:
The RSS feeds from videoneat, tromjaro, and trade-free.org/directory feed via IFTTT to FB and Twitter, and directly to Freindica. The 2 images-a-day from social.tromsite.com are going through the same exact process. And when I post on TROM’s Friendica page it goes nowhere unless I tag it with #tromlive and that makes the post go fully on FB and TROM Live + I can also “tick” (check) a simple box when I post it, and goes to Twitter too. So Friendica feeds the rest when it comes to direct messages. GREAT!

I’ve also bulk edited all of the 1.140 posts on social.tromsite.com and added as the title “Read our books at https://www.tromsite.com/books”, so now all of these images that are posted on the 3 social networks (Friendica, FB, Twitter) are posted with that message.

Lastly, I had to remove some plugins that didn’t work very well (from social.tromsite.com) and add new ones. Actually I only use “Auto Post Scheduler” that basically I setup to choose 2 random posts a day and change their publishing date to the most recent date possible. Thus, we have 2 new random “posts” on that website, a day, at different hours. The RSS is then read by our octopus above, and feeds the social networks.

Oh, and to make it perfect, Georgi (my sister), will manually repost as many images from FB to our Instagram account. it is easy.

Thus, we treat all of these social networks like first class citizens. Frendica, FB, Twitter, will post the same exact content (most of the time). And most of it is automated (but good and new content). I may have found BLISS with this…finally…. I did all of this because I wanted to focus on creating stuff and the “sharing”  of it to not stay in my way + I wanted to not use TIFY anymore. Like directly use it.

We will close Hootsuite the following days. We will save 11 Euros a month. This can help pay for all of our domains. Entirely. So it is a good saving of money kind of thing ;).

There is one single downside: when I share from Friendica to FB, I can only share plain text….and links. But images won’t display on FB…maybe I’ll find a way to fix this last thing, but is not really that important. Usually I do not share images directly from Friendica to FB.

UPDATE 4

Another update haha. I fixed a few issues and such. So, the main issue was that whenever I would post on Friendica with the hashtag #tromlive, it would only go on Facebook. For Twitter I had to manually select to post it (from the Friendica’s message composer). I always forgot to do that. Now, when I tag a post with #tromlive on TROM’s Friendica page, it goes on both. Great! However if I were to add an image to such a post, on Friendica, it would not upload the image on either. It would only post the message. I fixed that. If I make a post and tag it with #tromimg instead of #tromlive, then the post goes on Facebook and Twitter and also uploads the Friendica’s image. So a proper post with an image on those networks. That’s very useful since at times I make posts and add images to these posts on Friendica, and I want the images to also go on the ad-networks.
 
Another thing I did: we have released our TROM II Documentary campaign, and the documentary will take at least a year to finish. And I want to post updates about the work since it is a very important project for TROM. So on the campaign page tromsite.com/trom2, I have added the same RSS feed like I did for TROM Live, only that this time it only posts items that are tagged #trom2 from Friendica’s TROM page and my personal Friendica account.
 
It sounds complicated but it is NOT. I still only posts on 2 accounts on Friendica, mine and TROM’s. On mine I post all the time, on TROM’s only when there is an important update that I want to stream to all social networks. And I have to keep in mind 3 tags:
 
#tromlive – the posts go to TROM Live + Facebook + Twitter, if they come from TROM’s Friendica. And they go only to TROm Live if they come from my personal account since that one is used for the work I do.

#tromimg – it is exactly as above, the only difference is to use this tag when I also post an image together with the message. And this is only relevant for TROM’s Friendica page.
 
#trom2 – when I post updates about the documentary
 
So imagine I want to make a post telling people about the next TROM-Cast. Since it is an important message for TROM, I will post on TROM’s Friendica page and tag it with #tromlive. That’s all. And it goes on TROM Live, Twitter, and Facebook. If I post something important about TROM II and I also include an image, I do that from TROM’s Friendica account again, and tag with #tromimg and #trom2, and it will go to TROM Live, Facebook, Twitter, and our TROM 2 campaign page.
 
#tromlive pushes posts to all of our places (TROM Live, Facebook, Twitter). #tromimg does the same only that it also uploads an image to those. And #trom to posts on TROM II campaign page. Combine them and it is great. Easy. Not difficult at all :).
My experience with the Manjaro Forums

My experience with the Manjaro Forums

This is about my past 2 years experience with these people, but to be honest it is an experience with some of them, not the majority of them. The article won’t be as long as it should since I linked to a bunch of discussions to highlight my points. In all, the Manjaro Forums are littered here and there with very mean schoolgirls that I felt like they conspired against me and TROMjaro :)). And TROMjaro became, from a Manjaro “spin” that was appreciated by a bunch on their forum, to this black sheep that admins got allergic to. And I wonder why since I’ve been very friendly there….let’s see. We debated about the trade-free idea, morality and ethics, about Manjaro and TROMjaro, and more.

I added some videos of me scrolling through the threads I linked to just in case Manjaro removes them. You can easily pause the videos to read through them. It is almost like I scroll for ya’ :). If the videos cannot be played in the browser, right click and “save link as” and watch them on your computer.

I like computers. They are a great tool that let you express your thoughts and do stuff. You can write articles, make videos, podcasts, websites, software, and so forth. My relationship with them started in the late 90s when we had a very old computer – so old you won’t recognize that as a computer. Black and white, using floppy disks. I was playing around through the MSDos system back then. It even had 2-3 old and weird games installed.

In the early 2000 a french lady came to Romania (via a school program or whatever) and stayed at our place. Eventually she bought us a Pentium computer. Now in color. Now even bigger floppy disks. I was playing Aladin and other such games, while poking around Windows 95. I quickly learned a thing or two about Windows and evolved with a few Pentium computers and pirated versions of Win98, later on XP, Vista or Windows 7.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/_LVjLA5HrQYM/TJzCjCGtDDI/AAAAAAAAAOQ/CEPOCg21dFA/w1200-h630-p-k-no-nu/all-widows-driver-logo.jpg

For more than 10 years I was playing with Windows. I was the guy you would call to install Windows on your computer or repair your Windows installation. I tweaked Windows to its limits so much so that I remember one day the “internet” guy came to set up my connection and windows looked so different that he was unable to navigate my computer. Like you would click a tree and the file manager will open haha. I spent so much time in front of the computer back then, learning how to make websites, edit videos or photos, and much more.

I never knew of another operating system. Until around 2012 when I started to hear more and more about Ubuntu and Linux. Back then Windows was pushing an awful update called “windows-ads-8”. They started to push ads inside the operating system and made it collect as much data as possible, and overall I felt like I don’t have control over this monster.

I tried Ubuntu and I was super impressed about this new world of Open Source. No drivers needed (everything worked out of the box), a Software Center (so bye bye using Google to install weird .exe files), and so easy to customize. I liked it so much that I migrated to it for several years, learning more and more about what Linux and Open Source are.

Although there were so many Linux distributions out there (Ubuntu being one of them), and me testing many of them, one stood up. Manjaro. Manjaro brought what Ubuntu lacked: super easy installation of software and access to a lot more software than Ubuntu by default. Their “software center” was full of every app, driver, and package you can imagine. I loved it. I didn’t have to use the terminal ever again to install some specific packages like I did in Ubuntu. Manjaro was also pushing updates faster so you got to taste the bleeding edge of the Open Source. After 4 years of using Ubuntu I switched to Manjaro.

Manjaro also had a great forum full of knowledge and from my experience back then, full of very nice people.

I am doing a lot of online work. I write books, make documentaries, videos, curate videos, news, software, documentaries, courses, I have a music website, a personal blog, and more. I am super busy so I need a computer that works. Although Manjaro didn’t work very well out of the box, in time I made it work thanks to the updates pushed by the Open Source community and some help from the Manjaro forums. I wanted to help Manjaro by suggesting some (maybe) knowledgeable improvements from my past experience with Windows and Ubuntu.

I started by making this post on their forum in 2018 “What I would add/change to Manjaro” (video). I just wanted to suggest some improvements.

The feedback was overall nice and at times useful, but then you’d see comments like this out of nowhere:

we seem to have this topic every couple of months and almost always posted by a newcomer hell-bent on changing Manjaro to their vision of what they want it to be without paying the dues necessary to even really now what that is. Not in truth.

Maybe you could read their posts and you little gossip-whores can get your ■■■■ together on this topic?

My best advice is to get some more (a lot more) time under your belt truly using Manjaro as-designed. Really learn Manjaro, rather than your very limited, mostly cursory examination before you go anywhere else with this topic.

Your post is specious at best.

You can read the entire thing for yourself to see that all I wanted was to suggest some improvements. A month later, this guy Jonathon closed the thread out of the blue with the message “I need to read through this thread. Call me tomorrow.”. Tomorrow never came for Jonathon or no one called him because that thread remained closed.

I said ok….you know, their forum, their rules. Interestingly after months, they did implement one of my suggestions from that post: to sort installed applications by date. So apparently it was a useful suggestion in the end.

Next I thought to suggest to them to add more types of packages in their Software Center, like appimages, snaps or flatpaks. “Appimages, snaps, and flatpaks in Manjaro’s Package Manager” (video). That post got a lot of attention and the responses were mixed. The discussion seemed a bit more fruitful, but guys like this Jonathon either started to have a crush on me or hated me for some reason. 🙂

He’s sarcasm is palpable :).

In the end I understood that it can be a bit complicated to add these other packages to the same software center. I said ok, I got their points. Now, 2 years later and they did just that. Flatpaks and Snaps are integrated into their Software Center….and it is great. But seeing so many no-sayers being bothered by a mere suggesting such an idea, was depressing.

In time I wanted to suggest some applications that were not found in their Software Center so maybe they can add them. I didn’t know how that works so I thought to suggest stuff. This (video) post is an example how the discussion escalates very quickly into a very mean tone. Jonathon seems to be my nemesis haha. At the end of this thread he posted a comment then closed the thread so I can’t reply. Later on we at TROM ended up making an app for AUR for that image converter that I was suggesting…And also, like Jonathon suggested, to make a post and ask if anyone can add these apps to their repositories, I did so here (video). No one did them. We made them eventually…

After some more discussions on their forum I decided to build my own version of Manjaro since that could be easier than requesting this or that. I said it could be a great way to also showcase this idea of trade-free in action, applied to software. I did so, after weeks of learning how. I got some help here and there on their forums. And I did it.

https://www.tromjaro.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/simple-desktop.png

I even asked (video) how to not duplicate the work and be part of their team to add new applications to their repositories, but that led to nowhere….I wanted to help directly, I asked how, but I wasn’t able to.

A few months later everyone started to get pissed off when Manjaro made a deal with a company called FreeOffice and started to promote their Office Suite instead of LibreOffice, which was trade-free. Basically Manjaro wanted to ship with FreeOffice by default and get rid of LibreOffice. FreeOffice is a freeware, meaning that they use the word “free” but it is almost as relevant as using the word “meat” as in MeatOffice, since they are so much about Free as they are about Meat. They are selling pro subscriptions if users want to really use their software. We know this tactic very well. All companies engage in it. So I, like others, wrote about it on their forum. My comment started here. What followed was a heated debate of the influence of trades on such projects. And, again, in the end, after such discussions, Manjaro agreed not to ship with MeatOffice installed by default. Maybe my noise added to the decision, yet while making the noise, people on the forum jumped at me like wild dogs.

I finished TROMjaro and I wanted to showcase it on their forum since they have a section where people post their versions of Manjaro. And so I did here (video).

This post is now locked and hidden from Manjaro’s forum or any search engine, so no one can see it unless they have the link. What was so awful about this thread that they made it like that? I recommend you to read it for yourself to judge. Basically all I wanted is to showcase what we did with TROMjaro. But shortly after, I was accused that all I wanted was to promote our “ideology” and such….

This Jonathon even moved the discussion about the “ideology” to a different thread, so that we “keep on point” in the first one. Here (video) he moved it. Guess what? He closed it in a few days or hours, I don’t remember….There is a interesting discussion in this thread and I recommend you read it ;). We basically debated over this trade-free idea. What is trade and so forth. It is an interesting discussion overall. I tried my best to keep calm and reply to their points. In the end their questions were very silly but well….

I tried to communicate with these people over private messages as seen here:

One of the private messages is in romanian since the guy was apparently from romania – he contacted me to “threaten” me haha

And this one when I contacted Jonathon about him editing my comments:

Aaron also posted about TROMjaro in their German section of the website, to then have its post removed entirely by the same Jonathon. Aaron contacted the guy in charge of Manjaro (since the guy is from Germany) but not much was done….

It is interesting that when I first made TROMjaro and showcased it to some people on some threads on their forum, some of them recommended me to brand it as TROMjaro to be better like that (more unique). We were using the Manjaro logos and such, because I didn’t care. Yes it was and still is Manjaro with some tweaks and unique features. Actually the guy in charge of Manjaro’s Gnome version (what we use) thought me how to brand TROMjaro so that I can remove the Manjaro branding. And so we did. To later on be “accused” that all we did is to remove Manjaro’s branding and added our own….

I really started to feel like on the Manjaro’s forum there are a bunch of mean schoolgirls that want to poke at you, and from that moment on, after the post about TROMjaro that got the attention of thousands of people, I was doomed on that forum :). I simply could not mention TROMjaro without someone being “mean” to me about it. Like take this recent post where someone asked what others think about TROMjaro and the first reply is from my crush, Jonathon, who says:

It is not the first time he deflects people from TROMjaro to other Linux Distributions. Funny part is that he recommended one that is already dead, Cleanjaro. Better dead than sorry, right!? :))

Over the past 2 years I think I mentioned TROMjaro a few more times, and others did it too, for sure, but I do not know if all of these posts are still available or not on their forum. They are keen to close threads and/or make them invisible. At one point this Jonathon started to edit my comments to remove links to our TROM books when they were questioning me about our trade-free idea. They were saying that linking to our stuff is promotion….I mean these are the sources I have about the idea. Jeez…

Seeing their childish attitude I decided to forget about their forums completely, despite me using them in the past to help others too, so not only to fix my own computer problems. Until today….

You see, Manjaro pushes a lot of updates almost weekly. That’s great since it means a lot of new features. But that also means users are bothered with constant update notifications. On top of that, it makes it mathematically more likely for the system to break here and there if you push so many updates. Overall we keep TROMjaro super simple and updates go smoothly most of the time. At times they break stuff and I have to deal with the aftermath for TROMjaro users that contact us, and the same is true for manjaro that has to deal with the same aftermath but in larger quantities. From my experience Manjaro could make it easier for people to deal with the updates and also to install and remove software. Just a few minor improvements can make the experience better in my view. And so, like in the past, I thought to make a post on their forum to tell them about my ideas. And guess what happened? 🙂 They closed the thread in a few hours after I posted. Am I that evil? Please read the thread if you have the time and decide if this thread should have been closed… “A few ideas about handling the installation and updates of software in Manjaro after 1 year of experience” (video).

I was about to add this comment when they closed again the thread:

As the story goes, maybe in a few months time they will take these suggestions into account….

It is sad to see this attitude from an Open Source project. Maybe some of these creatures got too bothered by all kinds of users posting crap on their forum and their patience is as thin and robust as a fart in a storm. 🙂

I wanted to make this blog post to let people know about all this. I will definitely stop posting on their forums. It is beyond ridiculous how they handled my threads and comments. Maybe you have the time to go through these pages of content, maybe you don’t, but it is the proof that some of Manjaro Forum admins are like little kids that get protective with their toys and if they get pissed off by you then you can fuck off cause they will forever hate you! “meanfaceemoji”.

The good part is that, Manjaro being open source, I can continue the work on TROMjaro uninterrupted and undisturbed. Despite our differences we can use each other’s work. I can suggest features to Manjaro directly to their project’s Gitlab pages and forget about their forum. There at least it seems like they are more “pro” and these mean little girls from the forum do not travel to such places that often.

In the end, I made some of them think a bit about this trade-free idea and I’m sure TROMjaro made them curious a bit in like “what the fuck is this”. At least that, if not more ;).

OurMinds.Online, a new project

OurMinds.Online, a new project

I created a new project: OurMinds.Online. Before I explain what it is, I want to explain why it is.

Many years ago I bought the tromblog.com domain thinking that I will start a blog-like-website where I can quickly and easily write about interesting topics. I started a blog around 2006 in the romanian language and I used it as my mind-collector for many years already. It is damn comfortable to have access to such a place where you can cook your thoughts at low flame. No distractions. No competition. No disposable content. It is you and your mind.

But in today’s world humans choose to rent their thoughts to these “social ad networks”. Sure, it is a comfy way of transcoding your ideas into these “posts”, through your “mandatory” account. Billions are on faceplant, instapoop, twerkter, and the like, so for them having a “blog” is too old fashioned. Too difficult. Too expensive. Too unknown. Humans got trained by today’s trade-based society to want 100kg of content now! And in powder format so that they can easily mix it with water and drink it in-between taking a shit. Thoughts are brief and meaningless. They must be shocking, extreme, or in image format in order to suck-in some likes or reactions. Else they disappear. It is the dementia of today’s Internet. Thoughts come and go. Disposable content. A post-posted 5 hours ago seems long forgotten into the abyss of other disposable thoughts.

It is true that making your own website seems like cooking again. We are used to fast-foods, or meals that come pre-cooked, and all we have to do is either order them or put them into the microwave. It is fast, we say. It is easy, we think. But despite those being true, eating junk food may have some impacts on your health such as obesity or other disturbances of your insides. Having a blog seems like starting to cook for yourself. And, in a way, it is. But the advantages are palpable.

I will explain.

Faceplant banned me a few times because I posted some titties or ass-chicks, or some “violent” message on their platform. Despite these posts being about educational content, they got evaporated by their system faster than most men ejaculate at their first sexual encounter with a female. Under a minute. These posts never saw the light of the inter-web. These “gestures” are a reminder that you are not allowed to post your thoughts on such networks, you are only allowed to post certain thoughts. You know, similar to what China does overall. It is the same. Look, if it taste like poop, it smells like poop, and it looks like poop, then stop eating that chocolate! Faceplant and China are the same kind of ‘chocolates’.

So, despite being easier to eat fast-food meals, in the long run all you do is rent your thoughts to these platforms that will become your Pavlov, training you like Pavlov trained his dog. In small but consistent steps, your behavior will reflect their rules. Today they ban your dick, tomorrow they ban you protest. On top of this, they collect your data and inject ads into your face, so these platforms are anything but free. And they are ugly and cluttered.

You are their customer, but they did a hell of a job to make you feel like their “user”, their friend. You know….they just want to connect the world…. A few weeks ago I saw this documentary and I almost puked when one of faceplant’s high rank bosses said that their mission is not to make money. That’s secondary. Their mission is to connect people. Sure…and the US military’s mission is to say “hi” to people from all over the world. Greet them. Meet them. Visit their places and remember their faces.

Ok. An account. Constant trading of data and attention. Plus, limited choices in terms of what you think and share on these high flame ovens where everything evaporates really fast. So, how else can one share their thoughts online? Well, this is either much harder than you think or much easier. If you are already a wixfanboi, then for a merely 9 euros a month you get access to an easy tool to create your website. Yes, you only get 3GB storage, or like my inner photographer would say “enough to host a few high quality photos and one video”. Yes you get 2GB of bandwidth, so hopefully you are one of those that no one knows about, because if Eva, Mily and Bono go through your photo gallery twice a month, they will completely destroy your monthly plan. And yes, going for a 13 euros a month plan will give you enough to satisfy your tits. Their website builder is “easy-and-fun” to use and all that.

There are a plethora of such services out there nowadays, and they seem to be one step away from social-ad-networks in terms of “your-place”. Although I understand that it is easy to pay these centralized places to host your thoughts, my thoughts are too important for me to surrender them to any company. So, how do I cook then?

WordPress for now.

I will make some articles on tromjaro.com about how one can create an entire website, in an very easy manner, on their computer and broadcast it online without the need of any company. This is a new thing, but a super exciting one. For now, we still need some companies to create and host websites, else how can others access them?

If faceplant is like fast-food (someone else cooking high fat and high sugar food for you), and wixy is like that Blue Apron thing, that sends you home the raw ingredients and easy-to-follow steps to cook one meal at the price of three, then WordPress is mostly like you having access to a supermarket and buying what you need and cooking what you want. Doesn’t seem so daunting, right?

If you use Dreamhost (where we host our websites for now), it costs you around 4 euros a month to have a Wodrpess website with unlimited bandwith and storage. Of course these are “unlimited” as in “limited but you probably won’t exceed our quota”. In any case, for almost 3 times less the price, you could have a WordPress website. But then, it is hard to build a website in Wordpres you say? Those days when WordPress was only managed by Bobby who finished IT, are gone. Wodpress, the default installation (done by your hosting automatically most likely), is what we use for OurMinds.Online and it is as easy as wixy, if not easier. You can choose any of the thousands of templates out there, then customize it (easy-peasy, drag and drop, click and edit). Then any page you create, post you write, is as simple to do as any Word document.

Add text, images, buttons, galleries, super easy. I won’t go into details, but if anyone is scared of WordPress, then this “anyone” never got to taste the default WordPress installation in 2020. It is almost like never going out to buy food for yourself, thinking that’s too complicated.

So, cooking in WordPress is super easy and if you want to get cocky, and cook that Italian dish, you can do it in WordPress, granted that you learn the simple notion of themes+plugins. In WordPress you have blocks of elements, drag-and-drop style, and you have to install and enable them and tweak. After all, if you want to cook some exotic dishes you should at least read some recipes or watch some video tutorials, else you should stick to that fast-food. Despite WordPress, the default installation, being super simplistic yet complex enough for the vast majority of needs, it also allows a great expansion of creativity and complexity, something the other alternatives do not allow. You can also easily export all of your WordPress data and move your stuff to another server if Dreamhost or others start touching you inappropriately. Not to mention that you can even install WordPress on your own computer and run it from there. But that’s for the chefs.

So, now that I made my arguments of why it is important to have your own online space, and how to do it, let’s talk shortly about OurMinds.Online.

TROM is now comprised of a bunch of heads that, over the past 2 or so years, got more and more close to each other. More vocal, More themselves. They want a voice. Some have one through their websites, videos or other means, but some do not. For some setting up WordPress may still be challenging and it is understandable if you never had to deal with such cooking before. On top of that, I can cook pretty well in WordPress, so I can help out very easily.

TromBlog was more than my place, I wanted it to be a place for other TROM-like-minds, but then I thought it will be difficult to fact-check everything people may post in TROM’s name. So I gave up to the idea.

A few weeks ago, my neighbor Dima (the pirate who’s sober), told me about this idea of his to create a website where TROM-like-minded people would post. He said, it could be interesting for the ones who “follow” us to have a central hub where we post, rather than us posting on our own websites, spread across the ocean of the internet, like lonely migratory birds. I argued against that since, again, I was thinking it is a pain in the ass to keep an eye on the possible BS that some may post and such. Plus, I won’t give up my tiotrom.com anytime soon. He said he can copy-paste the articles that we write on our own websites, to this central hub. But….you know, some of such articles have custom made layouts and such….I argued against. On top of that I was busy with other stuff so I said if he wants to do it, he should try and see what’s the result. But I said I won’t be able or willing to help :D. I was a mean-machine.

A few weeks have gone and then Jen, this other TROM creature, sends us a “rant” (article) about this COVID-19 spectacle. Very good “rant”. But it was in a Google Docs…she writes very well and in a very interesting way. But Boogle Gocs?! I also talked to Yoann who wanted to build his own website…he’s another TROM-mind :). So then I said, fuck it, let’s build a super simple WordPress website and host it on TROM’s servers and give trade-free access to these creatures. One thing was different from my TromBlog idea: this time it’s not a TROM project, it is an independent one so anyone can post whatever they want. So, I won’t stress myself over what anyone posts. It is a trade-free service that I create for them. Period. 🙂

And so, OurMinds.Online was born. Now anyone close to TROM has a voice. It is their trade-free supermarket of goodies. They will find here the most basic ingredients to create any food they wish. Sure, we are limited in terms of storage space for example, but that’s a real limitation not an artificial one that these other companies create. There are no trades. No data collection, no ads, no one to censor the content. The website is divided into Thoughts and Minds, and they are self-explanatory. A mind is a person. A thought are the person’s ideas. So, you can see an accumulation of our thoughts on this website, or our individual minds. I made sure to keep this website super simple and to the point. I hope you all like it and we will start posting more and more stuff there ;).

In time, I want to give access to more and more people to post there. But we need to know them a bit, else we end up with conspiracy theories and all kinds of crap, and we don’t want to pollute this space. OurMinds.Online is a trade-free “service” for a few TROM people. Let’s see how it will evolve!

Take responsibility! And how to do it properly!

Take responsibility! And how to do it properly!

Long time since I wrote a blog post, and I’ll explain you why in another big one when I have the time to do it :P. But now, take responsibility!

When you manage a project or more, for many years like I do, you get better at it but also busier and busier. I used to be a “creator” and now I’m a “creator-manager” because I have to manage many things. I don’t even want to start by explaining what I’m managing because it is a lot: TROM-jaro (test, curate, build, report…), TROM books (review, write, design, promote, memes…), VideoNeat (keep it active), and a ton more. Any website looks bad on mobile? Well, tell Tio about it :D. Typo in a book? Tell Tio to fix it. Bugs? Tio. Criticism for any of our materials?…Address it to Tio. Did you translate any of our materials? Tell Tio to add it to tromsite.com and check it. New ideas about how to manage these projects or what to be added to them? Well…Tio is there to listen. You can’t find God in your life? Ask Tio where the dude is. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that I am busy means that people are interested in such things, which is fantastic. But I am unable to cope with it. However instead of complaining I DO STUFF to fix it.

Translations were killing me.

Before eating the meat, let’s eat some veggies. First of all, TROM (and other projects that I manage) create a lot of content: new books, videobooks, audiobooks, videos of all kind, tools, curate apps, news, memes, etc.. I am overwhelmed with the many formats and kinds. So, if anyone wants to translate any of our projects, how is he/she going to do it? They need multiple programs, access to our projects and so forth. A TROM book needs a Draw Project file to edit it + the PDF to translate the text and get the links from + a way to host it + a way to display it (a reader).

Fixing the mess.

Alexio, who is part of our TROM team, told me about this awesome new website builder called TiddlyWiki. In short is a neat way to build a website where you are not required to login or use any special software to do it. Do it in the browser if you wish. So, I took a lot of my time to rebuild tromsite.com in that format. Entirely. You can see the result here: https://www.tromsite.com/translation.html#:HOME.  And the instructions of how to do it, over here: https://www.tromsite.com/translation.html#:Instructions. It was a massive amount of work, but at least now I can take this off of my pressurized chest now. There, people have everything they need, in very simple forms, to translate and dub our materials + host this website anywhere. If that doesn’t help, then nothing will. Yes, people need to know how to host this website, but if they follow the steps (very simple ones) in the instruction PDF, then they can do that easily. I gave them the details, the links, the means. It is my way to say goodbye translators! With a smile on my face. Translators are amazing people who do a ton of work, so don’t take this wrongly. I live with one in the same apartment and he is a german-translating-machine. A super nice guy who does a shit ton of work. That’s why when I decided to divorce myself from managing the translations, I made sure that anyone can translate tromsite.com without my input.

For tromjaro.com it is even easier since there are no files to translate there – so via a plugin anyone can translate the site from the site itself. No hosting needed. Just to translate.

For trade-free.org it is a bit more complicated because that website is weird. It is a new kind of website which streams videos from p2p. But if you follow the simple instructions form the main page you can do it! Roma made a super cool script that allows for a new kind of 100% custom made translation process.

So, tromsite.com, tromjaro.com, and trade-free.org are ready for translate!

I can’t tell you how good I feel knowing that I won’t have to deal with the translations. Look….I want to do stuff ok? I don’t want to manage stuff! I want to make some cool videos, a new documentary, new books, and so forth. But I want to make sure all of these can be easily translated. But please translators, leave me alone 🙂 – I (we) gave you more than you need for the job, and if you feel at times that is a bit difficult for you to translate something or host your translated website, then please take more responsibility and learn how to do it. I simply cannot hold people’s hands for everything. They need to do it by themselves. Be strong! Be translators! Also, use our Translation Chat from here https://www.tromsite.com/act/#translate-dub and others will help you out. 😉

I think, in general, I would like for people to take responsibility more for such things. I didn’t know how to make videos, but I learned because I felt it was important to make the TROM Documentary. Same when it comes to websites. Or Linux. Or other things. We need more people who do stuff, rather than just talk about doing stuff or relying on others to teach them how to do stuff.

I am so busy I can’t even write blogs anymore 🙁 – I want that life back, ‘alright?!

Now that translations are away from my personal space, I hope that I will have more time for creating stuff and that translators will be able to more easily translate these creations. I won’t even thank you, translators! Please do it for you! Not for me. Stay awesome!

Another ‘big’ change to VideoNeat

Another ‘big’ change to VideoNeat

I started VN a few years ago because I wanted to reference good documentaries for articles or in general to say to people “Hey look at this documentary to learn more about X”. You see, when it comes to documentaries there are 2 big “enemies”:

  1. Bad quality
  2. Location is unreliable

 

1. Bad quality:

A book is as good as its content is, and the same is true for documentaries. Just because a video is called “documentary” it does not make it good. From my experience, curating documentaries for the past years, most documentaries are BS. Made to shock and sell. The best documentaries come from governmental financed entities, that are independent of course, and who produce kinda “boring” documentaries in the eyes of the “normal” human that lives in our super-cool-man-breakthrough-society!

So to find good (well-made) and factual documentaries requires a lot of digging into the mud that the Internet has become because of our trade-based society. This is why I am checking every single documentary that goes on VN (or lecture/movie for that matter). Of course this relies on me doing a good job. And I try to do it well. This makes the process slow, I know, but I watch a lot of documentaries and so far I added a ton of them regularly. This is the best feature of VN. Since the project is involved into no trades (no ads, no data collection, etc.) then it is an honest project so you’ll find only quality materials there. I cannot say this about the vast majority of such similar websites that simply post dozens of documentaries a day for the sake of “views = money”.

2. Location is unreliable:

I know that many do this, but I feel like I’m having a heart attack when I see people watching a documentary on youtube or facebook. To me is like you eat food that you find on the street while you are driving at fast speeds. You pass by, see some food, grab and eat it, and if you like it or not you pass that place so you don’t know how to get back to that place if you ever want to + do you really want to eat food that you find in the streets randomly? I can make a documentary about any kind of crazy topic and make it look very scientific and post on youtube or facebook, and gullible people will watch it and think it’s the “real shit”. I never watch a documentary unless I know who made it. Else it is easy to get scammed into bullshit.

Also these online places like facebook and youtube only produce disposable products. The same documentary that you see today on those platforms will be deleted tomorrow. It simply is unreliable. So then, how can you use these good pieces of information to inform others or as sources? You can’t. They are like electrons sensitive to any measurements, too damn sensitive for today’s copyright trolling world. So we have to adopt a new approach. But the approach should not be to use other streaming websites rather than youtube, but use p2p. Meaning, that video file (documentary/movie/lecture) is stored on people’s computers and they share with each each other in an automated fashion. This way there is no central point that this documentary is stored on, so it becomes very reliable as long as people “seed” it. By seed it is simply to upload it to others – to let others download pieces of that content on their computers too. This is automatic. You download a p2p file and normally the torrent client that you use is then going to also “seed” that file to others who want it. It is neat and it has survived laws, political changes, even technological change for the past decades.

And this is why VN relies on “magnet” which is nothing more than a bunch of numbers and letters that once opened with your favorite torrent client it knows how to download that file in this decentralized way.

So that you are not confused if you are not new to this, p2p basically means peer-to-peer and it describes the technology behind this; torrent is mainly the file that contains the info to download the other files – it does not contain what you want to download, but the info about what you want to download and from where; and “magnet” is simply the same as the torrent file but instead of relying on a digital file that you have to download and then open with your torrent client, it works by this kind of unique number (hash) that it has attached to it – it is almost like sharing a link. That’s why is better to rely on magnets and not torrent files.

So, what changed to VN?

My idea is to rely 100% on magnets since that’s the best option, but the problem is that good documentaries are not very popular on p2p so there are less to no seeds, and thus downloading them is very slow (most of the time), and not at all (sometimes). I am trying to personally improve the situation but I am just one guy (computer) into the system. If anyone wants to help VN, please download and seed any VN documentary!

Because of this I am forced to add links to streaming or downloading websites that are not p2p. Up until now I had a database of such websites and every time I added a new documentary to VN I had to manually search for it on every single such website, and check to see if it works, and then make a button for that particular website and add the link and then the button to the documentary’s page. One by one! This made it very uncomfortable to add new materials to VN because it took me quite a while to do so. On top of that these websites are also as sensitive as electrons, and they get banned, blocked, shut down, or they change their url or their content. To combat that I tried to rely on people flagging links as broken, but that added more to my work since I had to fix them. After a while we ended up with many broken VN links for the download and watch sections for each documentary. This was not sustainable!

So what then?

I said why not create 2 custom google search engines for each of the “watch” and “download” that simply are using the same database of websites to search for a particular material. After all it is similarly to what I had to do manually, except that now I don’t have to take each and every website and search on it manually. And when a website goes down for whatever reasons I don’t have to do anything since the custom search simply won’t find any results on that website. I am also able to add a lot more websites to these custom search engines. So basically I had to manually replace the links for ALL VN materials one by one to work with the custom search engines. I still have to make sure that the results are sensical and not nonsensical, but I have to do this 2 times for one documentary (for watch and download) instead of 50 times for each documentary for every website like I did before. This took me several days to fix. Now it is all done, and this is the ‘big’ VN change that has several PROs and CONs.

PRO:

  • searches on way more websites so it is more likely to find links to download or watch a particular materials
  • 10 times less work for me for each documentary, and this allows me to post more often on VN
  • no more broken links
  • very automated

CON:

  • Google! I hate google and they may change their business model so they may even remove this custom search engine service and/or limit it, etc.. Thus, in the long run it is unreliable, but I found no other alternative to this
  • The results, at times, may be completely off. Say you want to find the documentary Life by BBC made in 2001; well, the engine will get confused because it is such a short and common name “life” and will show you crazy and unrelated results. So you have to put up with that and sort through the mess.
  • Ads. All such external links will be full of ads and scams. Of course no one should use the internet without an adblocker but even with it you’ll still see ads.

So get used to VN in this ‘new’ format 😉

 

IDEALLY

Ideally I would love to see VN similar to popcorntime:

Popcorn time is an amazing application promoting dumb content. Popcorn time only relies on p2p to stream the content. Simple, useful, efficient, non-destroy-able. To make VN this way it is in theory possible, but we would need tens of people seeding VN content at all times and to integrate it with WebTorrent technology so that people can stream the content from p2p. Difficult task for me.

Right now we kinda do this in a way. If people have WebTorrent installed on their system then simply click VN magnet links and they, if enough seeds, should be available for stream directly without the need to wait until they are downloaded.

If the seeds thing was not an issue for VN, I would remove the “watch” and “download” links entirely and rely only on magnets. If I find help with this then that’s what I’m going to do.

But for now, because VN’s content is quite unique in the world of p2p, I will have to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past years.

I DO NOT recommend that you use anything but the MAGNET on VN. And please SEED!

Me and Aaron :) – and TROM

Me and Aaron :) – and TROM

Aaron came to visit me and we spent an entire month having really deep and interesting discussions about TROM. For those who don’t know, Aaron is translating TROM materials into German (he almost translated everything) – https://www.tromsite.com/de/ He is such a kind and wonderful human being, like pretty much everyone who is active with TROM. Well, everyone! 🙂

I and Aaron brainstormed a lot about how we should approach this project and some of the ideas, that will be detailed in future TROM books and the new documentary we will make this year, are that we should focus on trade-free goods and services and/or projects. We want to promote such things because we do 2 things at once with that: 1. We talk about the source of most problems (trade), and 2. We create free (truly free) services for people. Think about VideoNeat, TROM books or curated news and videos, quizzes, TROM-Jaro, MusikWave, and so forth. We want to put a label on them all as trade-free and create a directory of many such services or goods (if we find) from all around the world. Let’s “attack” the world with solutions and education.

We are also thinking of creating a yearly event based on this trade-free idea where people can come and present their trade-free goods and services. Imagine inviting people from many domains: from open source, to volunteers and citizen scientists, or activists of all kinds. It sure will start small, but we have to start somewhere.

Our “immediate” plans for now are the following: Finish the massive The Origin of Most Problems book and release it + finish the big Entertainment book and release it + create the script for the upcoming documentary that will be all about the origin of most problems. As we said before, we want to release the documentary in several languages at once in a decentralized way (website + streaming). Also release TROM-Jaro and restructure a bit tromsite.com so that we emphasize on all of the TROM free tools that we’ve created over the years.

In May this year several people who are helping with TROM (they are part of the project) will meet me in Spain in my town, to work on new ideas and the new documentary and brainstorm some stuff. Plus, to meet each other for the first time!

Dima, who is writing books for TROM and also translates TROM stuff into Russian, is also working on another documentary about activism and he will interview us for it.

So, lots of plans for this year! Thank you for your financial support everyone, it allows me to still keep on focusing on this project! And I love it! I’ve meet very interesting minds in this last 2 years, minds that are now close friends and are helping TROM grow. Will try to grow this entire thing together, in terms of the project, in terms of relationships and support.

I really love to write on this blog from time to time, thought didn’t have much time lately….and btw, Aaron is translating some of my blog posts into German so go check his website if you are German 🙂 – thanks Aaron!

My Facebook Advertising experience

My Facebook Advertising experience

So, Facebook is this monster that is so big no one can fuck with. They have 0 competitors and a “privacy policy” that no one can understand, is subject to interpretation, and can change any time. In other words, you do as they wish and there is no argue about it.

ecently someone contacted us at TROM and proposed to give 500 Euro to promote tromsite.com trailer. Fantastic! We never invested any money in advertising for the project because for one we have no money for that, and second the last think that I would want to do with limited funds is to give the money to FB or Google. But, if we would have lots of funds we would do this more often because we want to reach new minds. Ok, so this great guy called Mark gave us 500 Euro to advertise tromsite trailer. This is the trailer:

On FB the trailer had a top and bottom text to attract people’s attention (FB videos are like that) + caption (since most FB videos are autoplay on mute). I created an ad for it, targeting people like volunteers or those interested in TVP, TZM, or environmental issues and the like. FB said we would reach between 5.800 – 27.000 people daily and it will run the ad for 14 days:

I had to wait 24h for the ad to be approved by FB, which turned into 2-3 days wait. Finally they approved it. We started to get a lot of engagement and comments. So much so that I will transform all of these comments into a comic book because the discussions were very important for TROM. You can see the entire thing here.

These are the results for the first 12 days:

So, 53.357/12=4.446 people reached per day. That’s bellow the minimum that FB told us we will reach. Really bad and I consider FB’s approach to be a bit scammy. They promised way more reach. As you can see we’ve already spent a total of around 410 Euro so we had 90 Euro left. Let’s calculate how many people the entire ad would have reached: so, for 409,54 Euro we reached 53.357 people; thus, for 500 Euro we would have reached 500*53.357/409,54= ~65.142, or 4.653 people per day. FB said that we should reach a minimum of 81.200 (5.800*14) and a maximum of 378.000 (27.000*14). What about that FB? Should I consider this a scam?

Anyways, 2 days before the ad had to end I get this message from FB:

Heh….violence? Shocking? I had to “appeal” it and wait another 24h for FB to reply – in FB’s world that was, again, 2 days or so. This is my appeal (I have to mention that I am tired of fighting these retarded companies – been doing this for a long time with FB banning me several times, Youtube the same):

They replied finally:

This is their attachment:

And then they became robotic:

I doubt there is anything I can do at this stage. Will try to see if I can get a refund but I don’t think this will happen. If not, then we’ll use the rest of 90 Euro to advertise the trailer on Youtube maybe. The FB Charlatan is such a hypocrite. They only care about their profits, of course.

This is the reason why I created a live update on TROMsite.com (click top logo on any page – except homepage) so that people can get the updates from there and not from FB or other third parties that are censoring stuff left or right. Think about it, if we cannot advertise our tromsite.com trailer, that is all about education and a positive look at the future, plus we make 0 profits, then how can we achieve much with this project? The only good part is that we’ve reached many new minds and had great conversations there. Thank you Mark so so much! If we will do this in the future we must be aware of the Charlatan that is FB and do this in a smarter way if possible, to avoid the shit-show that FB can draw you into.

Will keep everyone updated on TROMsite.com live.

EDIT: In one image it says: “this ad ran for 14 days and you spent 460 Euro on the ad.” This is bullshit on 2 accounts. One, the ad ran for about 12 (maybe 11) and the other days it was banned/suspended so I see they calculated those days as “active”. Second, when I started the campaign I’ve added a budget of 500 Euro, then FB started the campaign by charging me 40 Euro, and then started to calculate those 500 Euro for the ad…they advertised for the 40 Euro they took, but if I were to have left it as it was they would have charged me 540 Euro so I had to change the budget to 460 Euro. Very annoying!

VideoNeat is back, and why that’s important.

VideoNeat is back, and why that’s important.

A month and a half ago, half of VideoNeat went offline. I knew this will happen one day and I was prepared to let it go. To move away from the project, because it was too much of a hassle to rebuild it in case it will happen. But I spent the last month and a half rebuilding VideoNeat.

 

But dude, why you spend time on this and not only focus on TROM? You know, we have Netflix, Youtube, shit like that for documentaries, why bother reinventing the wheel? Or at least why not just make a list of recommended documentaries and people will find them online to watch if they are interested….

I think people do not have the ability to distinguish between good science documentaries and bad science documentaries. Just because it is called “a documentary” it does not mean it properly “documents” a particular subject. I feel like people nowadays are just impressed by the way something is presented and they don’t go further than that. If they see a cool Netflix trailer for a documentary they are hooked. The package is what people are looking for, and not the content. From my experience of curating documentaries and science materials for the past years, I would say that when you see a great package it is very likely that the content is shit. Netflix, NatGeo, Discovery, and the like, are in the business of selling you stuff, so it is in all of their interests to make documentaries that look “wow” so that you pay to watch them, or TV stations and Cinemas pay to broadcast them. BBC or PBS are very different in that they get a budget from their countries (from taxpayers money) to make educational materials, so they don’t have to sell the stuff they create, and so the quality of their products trumps the other like Netflix because the focus is on making these documentaries for the public. These last ones are far from perfect, but it is something you should bear in mind. But these publicly funded organizations that make documentaries are limited in budget and distribution. US makes some documentaries from its citizens’ money via such organizations (like PBS), and then US is like: “We only make them available for out taxpayers, our citizens, and the rest of the world can suck a duck.” And so these documentaries are rarely available anywhere else.

Show me a site like VideoNeat with its library and I’ll shut it down :D.

So no, Netflix and other sources do not compare to VideoNeat. Not to mention that VideoNeat is free, providing multiple options in terms of watching/downloading. If a documentary cannot be found on youtube, it is on p2p, or Dailymotion, or Internet Archive, or other sources. At times there will be links to pay for a particular documentary/course/movie, but you’ll find more options than on any other website. Plus people can submit more links (more options).

The basic idea is this: good documentaries are hard to find, and Netflix and the like (although more available) make quite shallow content.

 

Ok dude, but we can find documentaries on Youtube for free nowadays. So why make a website that sends me to youtube to watch a documentary?

I know people who search “documentary 2017” on Youtube to watch documentaries, and my head explodes when I see that. Here’s the thing: if you watch funny videos, or videos that do not try to explain you the reality, then I see no harm in searching “funny videos 2017” on youtube and watch a bunch. But when it comes to watching documentaries, then you can’t be that naive, can you!? We live in a world of attention whores, a rush for likes, views, shares, because that brings money money money. Therefore Youtube is just another platform for prostitution and many people along with scripts (bots) upload a shit ton of fucked up content there for this reason. Content that is messed up: the footage, the year, the title, the everything. They will take good documentaries, chop them up so they are not detected by google copyright or for other reasons, combine them with other documentaries, and label them with a bombastic title and a “2017” tag, so that they can get more naive people watching them and make money off of ads. Not to mention the shitload of ‘documentaries’ that are just videos made by lunatics about all sort of conspiracies. Youtube is full of crap. If you are really looking on youtube for documentaries then you are either knowledgeable of what I said and you know what to search for, or you are very naive.

 

Look dude, there are a dozen of websites out there (like topdocumentaryfilms), who sort these documentaries for us and recommend us good ones. So you are a copycat of those websites basically.

These websites are one of the worst parts of the Internet. They do not sort documentaries, they find tons of content that can be labeled as “documentary” and simply add them on their websites for ad revenue. Look at these websites: they are full of ads. Their goal is not to curate documentaries for you, their goal is views, likes….money. Not to mention that the vast majority of the content they post becomes unavailable in just a few weeks after posting because they take videos from YouTube and embed them on their website and these videos are deleted soon after (for all kinds of reasons). These websites are zombie full of ads.

VideoNeat never added or will add any ads. I make no money from VN. I rely on donations to keep the site alive. If I’ll have no money I’ll shut down the site. I won’t prostitute it over anything. That being said I have 0 reasons to add stuff to VN for views. I only add stuff for VN that I watched and consider good quality material.

 

Ok, enough with asking myself questions. Let’s point out to other important aspects.

 

One source = Troubles.

Vpro is a public broadcaster (like BBC or PBS) from Netherlands. They make very good quality documentaries and post them for free on youtube either in English or with English subtitles. They contacted me a few months ago and asked if I want to post their documentaries on VideoNeat. Sure, I said, but I must review what I post so that it is good quality. All great so far. I posted several documentaries and looking forward to posting more. It’s great that they themselves post these for free on Youtube as they are easily accessible, but because Vpro is quite unknown worldwide (not like BBC or PBS) these documentaries can ONLY be found on youtube and this is problematic. Why? Because Vpro can shut down or restrict their channel at any point, and all of those documentaries will be gone. Or maybe Youtube will close their account, who knows. If that’s the only source where they post their documentaries then it is a shaky decision. Same applies to ABC Four Corners, great journalism-based documentaries and again public broadcasting (in Australia this time) – it is super hard to find their work in any form online, and that’s perhaps because they are largely unknown and/or do not make the effort to distribute their content on multiple platforms.

This is where VideoNeat tries to stand out: options, options, options. And you can always help by submitting links. If you see a documentary only available on Youtube via VideoNeat, but you find it on another website, then don’t be a dick :D, submit the link (I made it so easy – just paste the link, and send, that’s all). Look at what happened to the old VideoNeat – it relied on a single source for streaming, that source was shut down, then all the site got fucked. This aint’ gonna happen’ anymore with the new VN. Now with the new VN you can use p2p along with streaming and indexing sites. You can find direct links to watch a documentary, or link to websites that search online for that documentary, or magnet links to stream/download that documentary via peer to peer (sharing) technology. Plus download these materials when available. Even buy them at times.

Actually, the original idea of VN was a database of documentaries for sourcing purposes for TROM ebooks. I linked hundreds of times from TROM ebooks to VN to cite/source parts of TROM ebooks, so that’s what I wanted VN to be. But then I realized I also have to make it easy for people to access these materials because if I make a claim in an article and I source a documentary, but people can’t watch that documentary (only read a description of it), that’s pointless. So I had to make this option a must.

 

Why VideoNeat is crucial for TROM.

Besides the fact that it acts as a database of citations/sourcing, VN is a wonderful tool to keep people sane on a daily basis. TROM is about educating people on how to think scientifically and contemplate a very different kind of world than today’s one. People need a shit load of scientific baggage to accept a world without trade, to contemplate a world without work, to get comfortable with a world where we share instead of sell. It is a life long journey. VN can (and is) keep people busy with relevant stuff. As simple as that. If I only focus on TROM and release TROM ebooks that can be read in a few days, though it takes more than a month to make one, then what are people doing the rest of the month? At least with VN they can keep on enjoying good science content.

 

Being busy is great and sucks.

I work way more on VN and TROM than most people work at their jobs. I said this many times but it is hard to explain properly. So I have this ‘masterplan’ about VN – to make it a great tool (stream from p2p, offer options, and all that I explained and more), and I start working on it and doing it, but then I feel so tired to explain it to people. I do a lot of work and I have tons of ideas, but it is hard for me to explain them to you. I want to explain to you why this is important though I feel I can’t do that properly because it is too complex to perhaps understand for someone who doesn’t read my mind :D. I don’t just make VN, I know a great deal about other documentary-based-websites, I know a great deal about how and why some documentaries are bad quality, and so forth. I am doing this kind of thing for a while now, so it is not like I make a simple, blog-like website, where I share some documentaries I see, and post some links to Youtube where you can watch them. I add proper sourcing for these documentaries (so you can trace them down and see who made them), I add a proper description, I add proper trailers/previews, I create a system that enables people to watch these documentaries. I made VN stand time in a world of the internet where everything is so shaky.

 

Don’t use the Internet without these!

I wrote about this on VN (tips page) but I’ll briefly mention it here too: The Internet is a reflection of our profit-based (trade induced) world. People want and will take advantage of you for their own gain. This is not a conspiracy, it is pure business. Your browsing is tracked to show you targeted ads, your internet traffic is monitored to punish you if you do ‘bad’ things. Whatever these are, they exist. Give them all the middle finger with these 3 tools that will allow you to enjoy VN and use the Internet like a boss:

  1. Virtual Private Server to encrypt all your internet traffic. No one would be able to look at your traffic. I recommend Private Internet Access (PIA). The best one out there, period. Don’t get fooled by their cheap stock footage on their site, they are old in the business and everyone recommends them. $40 a year is a bargain. They also block trackers and ads. Free VPN’s are very limited.
  2. AdBlocked. I recommend AdGuard. It is free as a browser extension and $8 or so a year for desktop and app license. On phone, you don’t have to root it as with other AdBlockers to make it work.
  3. P2P client. The best, most robust, and safest way to share stuff. This is basically about “torrents”. I recommend installing WebTorrent as a P2P client. It is free and open source. On VN most items have a MAGNET link. Click it and it’ll open WebTorrent and you can download and watch the stuff. Simple as that. No ads and nothing like that.

That’s it. Be smart online. On top of these, I would recommend the Brave browser (for beginners). Free and open source browser that blocks trackers and ads by default and allows for downloading of torrent files (p2p) and also to stream these files. You can simply install Brave browser and that’s all. But I would recommend the above 3 options.

 

That’s all. Enjoy VideoNeat! It is not as simple to watch as before where you would click and play, but it is something like (click, click, play; or click, wait….play). The new VN is robust, secure, fast, optimized for all screens.

The end of VideoNeat and TROM Series youtube channel

The end of VideoNeat and TROM Series youtube channel

Last night I finished rendering the next TROM Series episode, 1h 16min long episode. Today I wanted to upload it to our TROM Series Youtube channel and surprise: I wasn’t logged in and my password was invalid. I was also unable to recover it. Nothing to say that my entire google account for TROM series (gmail: tromsite@gmail.com and everything associated with it) was shut down overnight. I had to ‘google it’ (the irony) and after reading a bunch of forums I realized that’s the case. I submitted a request for more info to a google page for disabled accounts and I’ve got an email (to my personal address) that indeed it was disabled.

Ok. So now I am not sure what lead to this, and this is the frustrating and scary part. Indeed on that account, there were several documentaries posted on google drive, and we had tons of copyright strikes on our youtube channel, some of whom we disputed. But to close all my account: gmail, picasa photos, youtube, google drive (for which I paid each month), and all google services like access to API’s…that’s a hard hit that will for sure force me to move away from google, at least not rely on it for anything because this can also happen to my personal account any time without warning.

Since documentaries from VideoNeat were connected (I think) to tromsite@gmail.com google drive then those are dead now. That’s almost half (if not more) of VideoNeat (plus images like posters and thumbnails). Google Drive, like all hosting entities out there for sure says “If you do not own a material do not upload here.” but how can you know if you are allowed to upload a documentary or a photo or stuff like that…As I knew all the documentaries I uploaded there were free for educational purposes, for which they were used. More than that what you might have seen on VideoNeat was a youtube-kind-of-version of those files, converted and streamed by google (not by me), not what I uploaded to their drive. More so, google removed a few such files (because weirdly it has bots scanning for copyrighted materials on your ‘personal’ drive that you bought) and deleted a handful of them and I was like “Oh, ok, didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to upload those, but good to know google automated system can detect and fix that like they do on youtube.”. So they had the power to delete any file that was ‘infringing’ their terms and services, and I was “Ok, whatever.” So why, if that was the reason to end all my account, didn’t they just delete all files that were “filthy” (copyright-wise)? Or at least send me an email “Tio, bro, be careful because we detected lots of copyrighted stuff on your drive.”. So I suspect that wasn’t teh reason at all.

Maybe it was the youtube channel where we uploaded stuff that had ‘copyrighted’ materials in them. TROM Series could not avoid getting away from that since we used fragments from documentaries in our videos, that were (again), for educational purposes and we successfully disputed these claims for our TROM Series and we won, at least that’s what I thought because youtube is like “You really want to dispute this? Becuase if you lose we will shut down all your account!”. And I disputed several such claims, never heard back from google, so maybe they decided later on that “Yeah, he didn’t win the dispute, so let’s remove his channel.”. TROM Series was also the channel where TROM Documentary was first uploaded and then butchered by copyright strikes. So maybe it was a really filthy channel….

Therefore, was it my gdrive and my collection of documentaries? Or my youtube channel where we posted original content? I will never know since that’s in google’s policy: they do not disclose the reason more than the email you saw above for which I had to do a request to get it. Basically google can shut down your account and give you no warning. That’s so Hitler-like that is hard to believe, but it is true.

 

What now?

First, acceptance. There is nothing I can do. To submit counter-notifications is synonymous to perhaps going to court for this or hire a lawyer. Not going there.

Second is to transform VideoNeat into something else where you can’t watch documentaries but you can only read about them. It sucks, but soon all videos will be gone. I will make a beautiful website where I recommend documentaries and I’ll provide the best sources of where you can watch them.

Third, reopening a TROM Series Youtube channel and NOT dispute any claim. If we have a video that might get us in troubles we will post a short video announcement about that and let people know where to watch it (on tromsite.com for sure). We have no choice.

Fourth, speaking of that, I will take all the stuff I made over the years (videos, books, etc.) and save them all to an offline hard drive + upload them in several online places to not rely only on Youtube or Vimeo. Tromsite.com is still the hub where TROM stuff will always have a home and not be raped by companies. This is why it is important to have a website because Youtube or Vimeo or others can get too bossy and fuck you up and you will realize everything you did will be gone overnight. I was aware of this before this is why the TROM Documentary and TROM Series were also uploaded to Vimeo. But now I will extend that to other places. I am also concerned because TROM Series is uploaded on my personal google drive as well, for those who want to download the episodes and do voice over for them. So I’ll have to do something about that too. In brief, I will have to completely divorce from any entity on the web: google, vimeo, etc.

I hope you understand that I’ll be somewhat busy the following days with this and won’t be able to work much on TROM. I will keep you posted here.

 

Update 1: I see the channel is still up https://www.youtube.com/user/TROMdocumentary/videos so this is likely a gdrive issue. I can’t access the channel. So it will live like a zombie channel there forever I suppose. Trying to contact google to see if at least we can recover the youtube channel, though I doubt.

Update 2: I can’t contact google apparently. The decision is quite final. The only way for me to fight with them would be the legal way – legal and meaningless words, lots of time, perhaps money, and who knows what. No way for me to do this. So goodbye forever to the above. Also, just to mention this: I or no one else made any money from VideoNeat or TROM Series. And videoenat was mainly used as a source of information (to cite claims) for TROM ebooks – like to prove a point or to source from where I got that info. It is not my fault that this world is fucked up and I can’t even source these documentaries because they are blanketed beneath rules, money, tribes, whatever. What are you people doing these ‘educational’ things for if you lock them up and keep them for yourself? And you are doing this in a world where to copy a documentary a billion times for a billion people costs nothing. Awful species. The shame of the universe.

Update 3: I created a kind of personal Twitter, a page where I can post updates and it updates live, no need to refresh. Here it is https://www.tiotrom.com/live/ – from now on I’ll use this all the time to post updates. I will try to ignore fb, twitter, and the like (the unsocial networks) from now on. I’ll rely on my own website at the expense of losing eyeballs. At least I keep my balls :D.

Update 4: I am working on rebuilding VideoNeat. This time though it will be unbreakable. Indeed you won’t be able to watch documentaries on the website directly, but I’ll say just don’t worry about that. You’ll see. It will be mobile friendly and I will also add some awesome special stuff like George Carlin’s specials, more lectures, and other stuff. Btw please support me if you can https://www.patreon.com/tio – I am nearly broke and I have to spend money on templates and plugins for the new VideoNeat. Thanks!

Update 5: VideoNeat is back! :).

My Own Music Website

My Own Music Website

MusikWave – http://www.musikwave.com/

I don’t listen to music that often (I prefer listening to Alan Watts, Jacque Fresco, or other such ‘entertaining’ people 🙂 ) but I do like to listen to music from time to time, especially while working on some websites or design the magazine. I never pay attention to the lyrics though, as I saw many do, so I can listen to all kinds of crap yet I enjoy it :).

I was surprised when I found a few years ago that people pay to listen to music, I honestly had no idea that with so many free streaming services out there people still pay to listen to music. I come from an environment where if you buy something online you are an oddity. The people I know never pay for Windows, or any software, movies or music. Maybe because they do not have the money and they got used to find them much easier for free, online. For instance, the torrents can even be streamed right now via services like WebTorrent so it is even more easy to watch movies via torrents. Also, free (and ‘illegal’) services like PopcornTime made Netflix or Hulu look completely outdated and pointless.

Anyways, I used Grooveshark.com to listen to music for the past years, and I have tried many such streaming services, but that looked to be the best one. I don’t download or have any songs on my computer since 2007, I find it completely irrelevant since you have an internet connection 99% or 100% of the time (without internet I honestly don’t know what do do with my computer 🙂 ). Grooveshark was closed a few months ago though due to being ‘illegal’, so I tried to find another such service but found none that was good enough or ‘legal so it will not get shut down. I tried the very well known and legal Spotify and I got lost through its user interface plus I did not find many of the songs I was looking for, not to mention the annoying ads (but even without the ads, I would have never paid for such a limited srvice). So, looking for an alternative I found a great template that automatizes pretty much everything: sorts albums, artists, songs, etc. It uses Last.fm for sorting and Youtube for streaming, thus it is 100% legal and you can find all the songs you can imagine via this service.

So, I bought and set up this template and made my own music website :). As simple as that.

Even though as I said I do not find music that important/interesting, I am completely impressed by this template and in my view it make services like Spotify look completely obsolete. It is true, for mobile is not a great experience right now, but as soon as the developers improve that, I will update the website.

I will also look into how this template works because I would love to make a VIdeoNeat TV kind of service, with streaming science videos from youtube in a very smart way.

So, enjoy it as it si free and great 🙂

MusikWave – http://www.musikwave.com/