The 2018 Inter-Korean Summit Feels Surreal

This is a photo of South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean president Kim Jong-Un raising their hands together. But this isn't your average meeting between world leaders. This is a meeting between two leaders of two countries that were formerly one, divided by war, anger, and threats for over half a century. Yet, here they are. Holding their hands in the air together, acting almost like old friends. This photo represents peace. It represents a new Korea bound together by unity, instead of war. A Korea of cooperation. Suddenly, after years of Kim Jong-Un and North Korea testing nuclear weapons and missiles, threating annihilation against Japan, The United States, and it's neighbor South Korea, we have this photo, of said leader raising his hand in the air alongside the president of a country he previously threatened to invade.

This feels surreal to me. I remember just a few months ago reading reports of new North Korean missile and nuclear tests, with this conflict appearing to escalate. Now, we have the two koreas announcing that they are going to sign a formal peace treaty ending a war that never truely ended (the two Koreas signed a Armistice, but not a peace treaty) This has all happened in a matter of months. It feels so fast.

I wish the best of luck to both Koreas in their quest for peace, and to the Korean people. Maybe one day we'll see a unified Korea again.

Disclaimer: The photo in question was originally posted to the Flickr account here. It is currently licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 2.0 license.

YouTube Remix Might Kill Google Play Music

According to this article by 9to5Google, Google is preparing to launch a new streaming service called "YouTube Remix" that will replace Google Play Music.

I'm considering cancelling my Google Play Music/YouTube Red subscription if this happens. Google Play Music, although not perfect, is a great solution for me, primarily because I like uploading my own music and it comes with YouTube Red. Although I could, I don't use the YouTube Music app because I like to keep my music and videos separate. Knowing Google, YouTube Remix is not going to have any of the things that I like about Google Play Music.

Additionally, the article notes that in an APK teardown of the YouTube app, 9to5Google found references to a "YouTube Plus" subscription tier. To me, this suggests that either YouTube Red and Google Play Music are going to be combined into the "YouTube Plus" service, or it will be an entirely separate tier.

I'm hoping that Google doesn't go through with this. Google Play Music already works fine for plenty of people, and we don't need another app that already does the same thing that we were able to do previously. Google already has a problem with this (See: Every single Google chat platform)

WHOIS Won't Work Under The GDPR

According to an article by The Register, it looks like the EU has a problem with the current WHOIS system, with the EU claiming that the current WHOIS system isn't compliant with the upcoming GDPR. As a result, ICANN now has to come up with a replacement for WHOIS, or make changes to it in order to be compliant. The article does note, however, that "the Whois service may still publish some personal details once everything has been worked through, so long as there is a clear justification for it." So it looks like there will be changes coming to the WHOIS system in the future.

Honestly, this is great. I really dislike the current WHOIS system, as it makes tons of personal information about the owner of the domain name easily publically available, unless you're either with a registar that offers WHOIS "protection" (basically it replaces a lot of the WHOIS details with it's own, masking your personal info) for free or one that offers it as a paid service (that you're subscribed to). I don't think the need for this much info to be made public is really justifiable, so I'm glad changes are being made. We'll have to see what those changes are, however.

Also, I'd like to note that the GDPR going to effect is almost here, with it going into effect on the 25th of May of this year. So far we're seeing a lot of interesting privacy changes by Google and Facebook to be in compliance with it, which is good, as it's time that privacy be taken seriously. I'm hoping that eventually something like this comes to the US, however I won't hold my breath knowing how congress isn't exactly good at understanding technology.

Who knows what the future holds for technology and privacy. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Russia Can't Block Telegram

On April 13, 2018 a Russian court ordered telegram to be blocked. Now, Russia is trying to implement that ban, and it isn't working. As a result, Telegram moved to Amazon AWS and Google Cloud Services in an attempt to bypass the ban. That seems to be working, as Russia is now trying to block IPs belonging to AWS and GCP in an attempt to block telegram. So far, Russia has blocked over 15.8 million IP addresses in an attempt to ban Telegram. This has caused lots of collateral damage, resulting in credit card services, some banks, games, grocery store sites, viber, and other such services to stop working, while Telegram is somehow still functioning.

I find it both hilarious and ridiculous that Russia is trying this hard to ban Telegram and is failing this hard. Perhaps this is a bit much for a single app, no? I honestly wonder how far the Russian government will go.

The Neocities Problem

UPDATE 2: I'm no longer using neocities. However, my points listed here still stand.

Update: I'd like to make some clarifications regarding this article. First, I understand that Neocities is very small and new company. It may be difficult to hire developers. I'd also like to make it clear that I love Neocities, what it does, and what it stands for. I will continue to be a paying customer for the forseeable future, as I love the site. However, my point still stands that development has stalled and that more transparency and more info on what's coming next is needed. Sorry if this came off a bit too negative. I don't hate Neocities, I just want it to be the best it can be.

Neocities is without a doubt, my favorite web host. Sure, it's limited to static websites, but that's what's fun about it. Neocities makes working on websites fun. When I first started using Neocities in 2016, I quickly fell in love with it, and quickly became a paid supporter, and migrated my site to Neocities. I believe in its goal of creating a fast, reliable, and feature-packed spiritual successor to Geocities for the new age. However, I feel as if Neocities has been on a downward slope for a while now. This can be fixed, but if it keeps going, it will get worse. In this post, I'll list some of my complaints with the current state of Neocities. I hope that these complaints are taken into consideration, as it is my belief that if Neocities wants to succeed, it needs to do better.

1. Developer Inactivity

It's becoming increasingly obvious that the developers of Neocities have been very inactive, with hardly any changes coming to Neocities in the last year. For reference, the last post on The Neocities Blog was made in August 2017, or almost 8 months ago. It's not any better with the GitHub. It appears that on average, commits are made either every two weeks or sometimes, commits can be almost a month apart. There are also pull requests that have been sitting there for months with no response (my very simple pull request has been sitting there with no response for almost 6 months, and it's the most recent one)

This appears to be due to the fact that as it stands, Neocities has really only one developer, Kyle Drake. (Victoria Wang is also listed on the Neocities Github as a member, but her last commit to the GitHub was in 2016) I can understand that it may be too much for one person, but some activity beyond every month or so would be nice. If it's too overwhelming, then people need to be hired. If you're busy with something else, then transparency would be nice.

2. Lack of Transparency

In addition to having no idea why the sole developer is inactive, we also have no idea what the future of Neocities is. We have no roadmap, no list of planned or upcoming features, no idea when existing features that are currently down will be coming back, nothing. We, the users of Neocities, are being totally left into the dark in terms of the future of Neocities.

We need an explanation for what's been going on. We need to know what's coming next. We need transparency.

3. Site Decay

Neocities is currently losing features more than it's gaining them. These features include IPFS archiving, the stats page, and browse mode. The stats page and browse mode are currently disabled for "bugs". Meanwhile, IPFS archiving has been down for a while with no updates as to why or when it will be returning. Combine that with the fact that site stability has been getting worse, with me regularly getting error pages with simply accessing the front page of the site, and you have a problem. This really needs to be addressed, and we should at least get a basic time frame as to when these will be back up. It's not a good look when major features are down for so long.

4. Spam

It's becoming increasingly obvious that Neocities has a spam problem. Spam sites are being created en masse on Neocities, with little being done about it. Many of these sites impersonate popular online services, companies, or banks, and attempt to steal user info. When sites like these are allowed on Neocities, you have a problem. Neocities really needs to update the Acceptable Use Policy to disallow spam (while clearly defining what qualifies as spam to prevent it from being overly broad) and implement a system of reporting sites that violate the TOS. Having lots of spam sites appear on the browse page is not a good look for Neocities, and will turn people away.

5. TL;DR

  • The Neocities devs need to be more active, and if it's not possible for the sole developer to be more active than new staff need to be hired
  • We need more transparency on what's been going on and what the future of Neocities is
  • There's an issue when major features keep going down due to "bugs" or just go down. This needs to be addressed.
  • Neocities has a spam problem. The AUP needs to be updated to disallow spam and a reporting system needs to be put in place to report sites like these.

6. Conclusions

While I love Neocities and will most likely continue to be a paid supporter, it cannot be denied that Neocities has lots of issues. These need to be addressed, as I feel that if they are not, than Neocities may be going down the same path as the original Geocities.