Hacking your salads since 2018

My Journey Through A New Internet

18 Dec 2020 - Garrett Brown

I've always been a fan of the idea of a "new internet." I remember the first time I even heard of such a concept was while watching Silicon Valley. When Richard first talked of the idea of creating a new, decentralized internet that left out all of the garbage that plagues today's internet, I was immediately intrigued. Since then, I've looked into different initiatives to create a new privacy-focused and decentralized internet, and the journey has changed the way I use the internet for the better. The first initiative I found was the Blockstack decentralized network. As the name implies, Blockstack is a decentralized network of sites based on blockchain technology. It works the same way the normal internet would, and can be used in any modern web browser. The difference is that everything is associated with your Blockstack account, and your data is stored and transferred on the Stacks blockchain. Using it is pretty straight forward. You just go to the Blockstack Browser, and create a new account. You can then use this account to browse a large selection of decentralized websites. This was cool, but I didn't ever end up using a lot of the services. One that did stick with me however was Arcane Office. This is essentially a decentralized alternative to Google's online office suite, and I absolutely love it! In my journey for finding new alternatives to certain internet services, I also found a lot of different self-hosted services, specifically search engines. These search engines would still do what other search engines do, but on your device. All you would need to do is install it, start it up, and go to localhost to run the site. The first one I encountered was Searx. This was a pretty good search engine, but I ultimately stopped using it as I didn't like it as much as sites like duckduckgo and Google as far as results go. Recently, however, I found a couple of new initiatives. One is Xain, which is a mobile search app that runs it's search algorithm on the device. The UI is a bit clunky, but it gets the job done really well! The other one is Whoogle. As the name might imply, Whoogle is a version of Google without all of the tracking, ads, and other garbage. Using it is as simple as installing it, running it in the terminal, (which you do automatically at startup with a bit of work,) and go to localhost in your browser. I haven't used it much, but I'm loving it so far! Finally, there's the Fediverse. I found out about this magical place when looking into Mastodon. The idea behind the Fediverse (which a lot of you might know since most of the people who read this probably came here from Mastodon) is that one service is split into instances. This could be a server hosted somewhere for all to join, or a self hosted instance for you and only you. This allows for easier moderation of content, and better control over your data. I started out joining Fosstodon, a Mastodon instance for fans of open source software, and have started using more sites as time went on. For example, I signed up for Pixelfed (the Fediverse's Instagram) and this blog is written on Wordsmith, which is an instance of WriteFreely. It's been a long journey since I first heard of the ideas of a new internet, and while most of the internet is still a big mess, I still feel like I've found the new internet in Blockstack, and especially the Fediverse! I'm excited to keep traveling down this exciting new road, and to see what I'll discover next! Post 11 of #100daystooffload