05.09.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Gemini and Techrights: Still Growing in Gemini Space and Always Supporting/Loving the Protocol

Posted in Site News at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: As we continue to expand in Gemini space (where our very large site became a very large and likely the largest capsule) it’s worth explaining some of the overlooked merits of the protocol; unlike the World Wide Web (WWW) it does not impose things on the user/visitor, who is more or less in charge

THE value of stories isn’t in images or in number of “hits”; what counts the most is accuracy and exclusivity, e.g. our EPO exclusives and ‘explosive’ exposé (in the journalism sense). Just merely repeating what some other sites say (like re-announcing some distro release) isn’t of much value; over time the interest in such stories will decline rapidly. How many people will bother reading a release announcement or article about Firefox 10 and Ubuntu 12.04 (in 2021)? Almost nobody. Not to mention sites that lie and promote rubbish… that sort of stuff does not age well as it rapidly slips into irrelevance.

A lot of what we publish is almost timeless and it recently formed the basis for this new wiki page about the GNOME Foundation.

“How many people will bother reading a release announcement or article about Firefox 10 and Ubuntu 12.04 (in 2021)? Almost nobody.”Readers of Techrights increase in number, IRC participants grew in numbers for a number of years, WWW traffic remains high, and we’ve been seeing in Gemini about 30,000 requests in the first week of this month (or 35,000 for the first 8 days). We saw just over 4,000 hits on the audio files of TechBytes this past week, and some more things are planned for the site (I spoke a lot with our sysadmin this morning). The site has just turned 14.5 years old, as noted earlier today (almost 30,400 blog posts so far).

In the video above I start with some mental notes (sporadic thoughts and scattered ‘mindfarts’) before getting to the main point, which is why Gemini excites us. It helps readers focus on what’s actually important, it takes the attention off superficial things such as images, it improves accessibility, and tackles clutter. Everything it serialised. That’s a design principle, an artificial and intentional limitation.

The Web kept growing for a number of decades and it ushered in unnecessary bloat, piggybacking the growing capacity of Internet networks. But we need to step back and think if we really need all that…

Roy in BerlinThat’s me in Berlin 2.5 years ago when we moved between servers. It was a stressful period in my life because the previous webhost was shutting down (there was a deadline) after almost a decade. So I spent a lot of Christmas that year just worrying about what to migrate, how to migrate, what needs testing and so on. A lot remains to be done, still. The upgrades are very slow and they include not only sites but also git repositories and various services. Collaboration depends on those. The latest change was code that helps limit the size of the video gallery to just one-month portions (e.g. for the current month alone). Programming reference pages/manuals have meanwhile been converted to Gemini protocol and format. Moreover, as per the mailing list, some Git stuff can be done over Gemini instead of the Web. That’s what happens when so many geeks embrace something and extend it to suit their needs, without extending the underlying protocol.

Over the coming weeks or maybe months we’ll try to release some of the code by branching or setting apart things that are ready (safe) for public access and things that for the time being need further preparatory work. Some of the code is Gemini stuff, programmed specifically to convert Techrights and accommodate the capsule (35,495 pages at the time of writing).

Gemini will probably never replace WWW, but it works well in tandem and it reduces the load/strain. Otherwise it’s difficult and potentially expensive to operate a very large site. There are other benefits, enjoyed by those who are easy to forget. To quote a new article entitled “What I Learned by Relearning HTML”: “Accessibility was also something I had never considered in depth. I knew that images should have alt descriptions, and that was about it. One of the course’s key points is that using the appropriate semantic elements is important to making a site more accessible.”

We urge readers to not only get a Gemini client but also to create their own capsules. It’s not hard. It can also be very cheap because provisioning typically involves one’s home computer (or single-board computer).

By the way, the wife’s Viber call went off towards the end of the video. Thankfully it was the end of the video anyway.

Schloss Charlottenburg Berlin
Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin

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