Vikshepa Blog

Mental Distractions

22 Nov 2021

2021-11-22-news-feeds-paywalls-books

Organizing some news feeds under Vivaldi

I put some of my RSS Newsfeeds in order in Vivaldi. My idea is to use it for blogs, rather than busy news sources. For that reason I first added RMS’s political notes, and then removed it. Because if I want to use it as what Dave Winer calls “a river of news”, RMS dominates too much. But the links are good. It would be better if Vivaldi made it possible to use sub-folders for different areas (and hence sub-rivers – by being able to click on the top folder that includes each set of feeds).

It’s a little disappointing to see many of the bloggers whom I bookmarked falling silent for months on end. Many people invest a lot of time in producing a nice looking blog, and then forget to use it.

Paywalled systems

I had a look at Glenn Greenwald’s website (http://glenngreenwald.net). It’s an outdated mess, with stuff requiring Flash player. His website doesn’t mention that he is now on Substack, (greenwald.substack.com) of which I was already aware. I can’t afford to subscribe to him on Substack, any more than I can afford to pay for other news sources. For now, I support the Guardian with a monthly donation, but can’t afford to do that for every web journal I visit. Steve Winer, who is wealthier than I am, has written about this problem. If enough websites gang up on me and offer a subscription model that works more like the music streaming services, offering a monthly subscription that allows me to read, say, 50 or 100 articles a month, across different journals, maybe I would pay for it. I think that the only real solution to paywalls is a model similar to the music streaming services, with a flat monthly subscription similar to that of Medium. But Medium reminds me a little of the gig economy; there are a few top earners, but even they are not getting paid so much. For bloggers and independent writers, what would work best would be to get together and create a “writers guild” or cooperative, working as a non-profit, so that the writers themselves don’t get cheated.

I don’t mind the presence of ads, only the nasty ones and trackers.

Open Library

I was delighted, then disappointed, to find https://openlibrary.org, where one can “borrow” books for a limited time. The problem is that the presentation makes them not very readable. Might be okay for students, but not really for readers. Someone put in a considerable amount of work in making the books available, but didn’t go the full route. At minimum there should be a phone application enabling comfortable reading of the books. The project belongs to archive.org, the internet archive, and uses the same login for both.

Links

India hovers over the Pause button for Big Tech’s march onto one hundred million farms • The Register https://www.theregister.com/2021/11/22/india_agristack/

Tags: software books links
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