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    Insteon looks dead - just like its users’ smart homes - Always try to use open standards for cloud based IoT, so you're not left stranded

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Monday, 18 April - 20:09

The smart home company Insteon has vanished. The entire company seems to have abruptly shut down just before the weekend, breaking users' cloud-dependent smart-home setups without warning. Users say the service has been down for three days now, despite the company status page saying, "All Services Online." The company forums are down, and no one is replying to users on social media.

Insteon is (or, more likely, "was") a smart home company that produced a variety of Internet-connected lights, thermostats, plugs, sensors, and of course, the Insteon Hub. At the core of the company was Insteon's propriety networking protocol, which was a competitor to more popular and licensable alternatives like Z-Wave and Zigbee.

A proprietary protocol can often mean your device is a useless paperweight if the company which owns it goes bust. Open standards like MQTT however mean other support exists to continue using your devices, for example, on Home Assistant and other open smart home services. More and more we are seeing companies close down, leaving consumers stranded, so it is imperative to instead choose to buy products which support open standards.

See https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/04/shameful-insteon-looks-dead-just-like-its-users-smart-homes/

#technology #openstandards #smarthome #MQTT #IoT

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    The internet was designed around principles of openness, simplicity, and decentralization, but Big Tech's private networks and protocols threaten the 'net, say internet registries

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 9 December, 2021 - 14:05

So says a Study on the Internet's Technical Success Factors commissioned by APNIC and LACNIC – the regional internet address registries for the Asia–Pacific and Latin America and Caribbean regions respectively – and written by consultancy Analysys Mason.

The document states that "a significant fraction of global IP traffic now consists of data that is moved between the datacentres and edge networks of large internet companies." Those companies' needs, and growing networks, lead the analysts to suggest that "over time, we could see the internet transform into a more centralised system with a few global private networks carrying most of the content and services.

Another risk is that when private networks break, many users suffer. Exhibit A: yesterday's AWS brownout, which hurt Netflix and Disney+, among others.

Yet, if you look at nearly all the alternative social networks springing up, you'll see decentralisation, openness, interoperability, chronological feeds, no Big Tech...

See https://www.theregister.com/2021/12/09/study_on_the_internets_technical_success_factors/

#technology #interoperability #BigTech #openstandards #decentralisation

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    E-Mail is 50 years old this month, and it works pretty much the same, which is good, otherwise we'd all have to use one e-mail company

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 29 October, 2021 - 17:45

Think about it, you can pick an e-mail domain anywhere and use any e-mail client on any platform, to send an e-mail to someone anywhere else... We just take that for granted, but if e-mail were newly invented today by a company like say Meta, all the billions of people in the world would have to belong to that same single company in order to send and receive mail to anyone else...

E-mail's greatest success lies in it's open standards and decentralisation. It will no doubt me replaced at some point in the future, as all technologies will, but let us hope that instant messaging and social networks go back to being open and decentralised (like they too were once).

See https://www.sparkpost.com/blog/a-look-back-at-50-years-of-email/

#technology #email #decentralisation #openstandards #deletemeta

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    The Fediverse is a collection of independently run federated servers used for web publishing and social networking, connected by open standards

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Saturday, 23 October, 2021 - 14:42

The Fediverse is an ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other. On different servers (instances), users can create so-called identities. These identities are able to communicate over the boundaries of the instances because the software running on the servers supports one or more communication protocols which follow an open standard.

As an identity on the fediverse, users are able to post text and other media, or to follow posts by other identities. In some cases, users can even show or share data (video, audio, text, and other files) publicly or to a selected group of identities and allow other identities to edit other users' data (such as a calendar or an address book).

These communication protocols, which implement open standards, are used in the fediverse: ActivityPub, Diaspora Network, OStatus, and Zot. The diagram on the linked page shows really well how these services connect through the different protocols which they support.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fediverse

#technology #openstandards #opensource #Fediverse #socialnetworks

  • Fediverse

    The Fediverse (a portmanteau of "federation" and "universe") is an ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other. On different servers (instances), users can create so-called identities. These identities are able to communicate over the boundaries of the instances because the software running on the servers supports one or more communication protocols which follow an open standard. As an identity on the fediverse, users are able to post text and other media, or to follow posts by other identities. In some cases, users can even show or share data (video, audio, text, and other files) publicly or to a selected group of identities and allow other identities to edit other users' data (such as a calendar or an address book). History In 2008, the social network identi.ca was founded by Evan Prodromou. He published the software GNU social under a free license (GNU Affero General Public License, AGPL). It defined the OStatus protocol. Besides the...

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    The Rise and Demise of RSS - Before the internet was consolidated into centralized information silos, RSS imagined a better way to let users control their online personas

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 - 14:33 · 1 minute

About a decade ago, the average internet user might well have heard of RSS. Really Simple Syndication, or Rich Site Summary — what the acronym stands for depends on whom you ask — is an open standard that websites and podcasts can use to offer a feed of content to their users, one easily understood by lots of different computer programs. Today, though RSS continues to power many applications on the web, it has become, for most people, an obscure technology.

The story of how this happened is really two stories. The first is a story about a broad vision for the web’s future that never quite came to fruition. The second is a story about how a collaborative effort to improve a popular standard devolved into one of the most contentious forks in the history of open-source software development.

RSS is by no means dead at all, but it is just not as prominent as it once was. It is still often found on websites and even some social media sites, even if they do not advertise it with an icon (I use a browser extension to check a site). I use it every single day, and it is still my preferred way of tracking news and updates across 100 plus sites daily all in one place without adverts and distractions.

See https://www.vice.com/en/article/a3mm4z/the-rise-and-demise-of-rss

#technology #RSS #news #openstandards

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    Microsoft Office 2021 now supports ODF 1.3 - Open Standards ODF should be the default format though

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 3 October, 2021 - 17:25

OpenDocument formats are (finally) becoming more ubiquitous in everyday life — Microsoft going out of its way to support the latest spec in its latest office suite is evidence of that.

Why? Well, it isn’t solely down to millions of desktop Ubuntu tapping away in LibreOffice et al. While home user’s activities are important, the surge in use of open file formats in businesses, organisations, and governmental bodies around the world is a factor.

We’ve all heard tales of councils and municipalities switching away from closed-source (and pricey) proprietary file formats in favour of cheaper, equivalent open standards.

This change means that Office apps will now save to the ODF 1.3 format only. ODF 1.2 and earlier files can be opened, but will be saved as 1.3.

See https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2021/10/microsoft-office-2021-includes-better-support-for-opendocument-files

#technology #opensource #openstandards #ODF #opendocumentformat

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    Google’s new Address Maker app allows governments to easily create new addresses at scale using open source Plus Codes

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 30 September, 2021 - 14:31

Many don't realise that What3words is actually completely proprietary which means it's a bad idea for governments and others to adopt as a standard as at any time it can be changed, licensed with charges, or just disappear.

The Open Location Code (OLC or Plus Codes) is a geocode system for identifying an area anywhere on the Earth. It was developed at Google's Zürich engineering office, and the algorithm is licensed under the Apache License 2.0. and available on GitHub. It is also integrated into Google Maps, but anyone can freely integrate it into what they are developing. There is no backend server or service needed to use these codes.

There are many communities on Earth still which do not have a formal addressing system, nor even postal codes. Creating addresses for a whole town or village could take years. But with the Address Maker, it only takes a few weeks to get under-addressed communities on the map. Address Maker is already being used by governments and NGOs in India, Kenya, The Gambia, South Africa, and the US, “with more partners on the way.”

See https://www.xda-developers.com/google-address-maker-plus-codes-google-maps/

#technology #geolocation #openstandards #opensource #pluscodes

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    The Connectivity Standards Alliance Unveils Matter - An Open Standard To Unify The Smart Home Ecosystem Of The Largest Tech Giants

    Danie van der Merwe · news.movim.eu / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 13 August, 2021 - 18:38 · 1 minute

The proliferation of connected objects continues to change the way we live, work and play. From homes to offices, factories to hospitals, connected objects enable us to experience our environments in cohesive, interactive ways. Yet, for too long, disconnected platforms and disparate development paths have caused confusion for consumers and complicated processes for developers and innovators. Smart objects should be reliable, secure, and work together – this is the shared vision behind Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), now known as the new standard, Matter.

Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, SmartThings, and the Connectivity Standards Alliance came together in 2019 to develop and promote this new standard, joined by fellow Alliance board member companies IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, Somfy and Wulian. Now, there are more than 180 Member organizations of all sizes, across a range of business categories, and over 1,700 Member individuals participating in bringing the Matter specification, reference implementations, testing tools and certification programs to life.

Consumers get increased choice, compatibility, and more control of their experience. Developers get lower development and operational cost via a single SKU and more time for innovation. Retailers get reduced complexity in-store to create a more simplified purchasing experience, leading to fewer returns for compatibility issues.

It seems though that the actual implementation is going to be slightly delayed though.

See https://zigbeealliance.org/news_and_articles/chip-is-now-matter/

#technology #openstandards #smarthome