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New to Mastodon? Here are four intro guides to help you understand how everything works here. 

Are you a Canadian who likes outdoor stuff? If so, you were probably surprised a few days ago when you heard that Mountain Equipment Co-op has been sold to an American company. Because hey, MEC is a co-op, and nobody asked the members. How is that even possible?

Apparently there is still time to block this transaction. If you want to save your co-op, this is the time to act. See for details.

In the space of a few days, the Save Our Co-op group has raised over $80,000. That money will fund a legal challenge that will aim to prevent the sale of MEC. So now the fight's on, and it's going to be really interesting to see what happens next.

A lot of novels these days go like this: one chapter of what happened years ago, one chapter of what is happening now. The whole book does this. Past, present, past, present. Or some other kind of alternating story. I'm tired of this. I wish I could tell from the book's cover whether or not the author has used this technique.

Covid-19 risk factors, podcast, epidemiology 

Yesterday at some fascinating website there was a "subscribe to our newsletter" form. I subscribed, but then the confirmation email arrived, and it was from . Oh.

I abhor Mailchimp, so I did not confirm my subscription. "Well, won't be getting that newsletter," I thought. And that is just fine, because I don't want Mailchimp in my life.

But guess what? They subscribed me after all. So the confirmation thing is just for show?

Seems like everybody is baking bread these days! If you follow a keto or low-carb approach to eating and you feel like trying a bread recipe, you might take a look at the ones here:

The collection includes breads, muffins, buns, tortillas, pizza crusts, crackers, croutons, foccacia, and naan.

A few weeks ago it became clear that the gyms would all close, so I got organized and bought a bar and some plate weights. Now I can work out on the porch while ravens laugh at me. I like this.

When the gyms re-open, I wonder how they'll do. Will business resume as before, or will all the people who figured out how to work out at home just give up on going to the gym?

In the most unlikely of places, there's a bush of these lovely flowers. Camelia, I think.

When I have to sign for a package at the post office, I draw an animal in the signature space. Nobody has ever minded about this, and it seems silly to put my signature in places where it isn't really needed.

But now the post office worker says "I'm just going to sign for you with an X" before I even get to the drawing stage. Oh. I guess we're all admitting that the signature thing is stupid.

What happened here? The tree fell some time ago, and sap oozed out when somebody cut the trunk. But... feathers? Yes, there are feathers stuck all over the cut wood.

What do you think happened? Did Owl kill a little bird here and.... oh, I don't know. Do you?

The trail goes across a little creek in the forest. There were large stones in the creek, strategically placed so that a person and a dog could hop from stone to stone to get across. We used to do this, dog and I, but now my dog is elderly and less athletic. So we have been avoiding that trail for a while. But now, look! Somebody has built a bridge across the creek. It is a fine bridge, and very useful.

I love hellebores, because they bloom in winter and early spring when almost nothing else does. Zero effort, pretty flowers.

This is a photo of a hellebore I added to my garden last year, on a whim.

I miss Majordomo and Listserv mailing lists. They used to be so common! You would find a list for one of your interests, sign up, and then you would be set to go. Any subscriber could send email to one address, and all the other subscribers would get a copy of the message. Discussions happened, community formed.

Do you know of any interesting mailing lists that are around now? Not tech ones, not some stupid mailchimp annoyance, but real community-focused email discussion lists. Anybody?

It's hard to change the laws around drug use, but maybe the virus crisis can do that. Because addicts are not going to stay at home if they need drugs, are they? So giving drug users a safe and legal suply of the drugs that addict might help all of us.

I'm tired of "social distancing" and related terms. I think we should call it "spacing out," as if we are all back in the 70s. We'd say "space out, man" and it would be way more fun.

It's amazing how a few days of 'few outside activities' affect a person. My email box has been hovering at about 800 unread, un-dealt with messges for ages now. Not any more! All sorted out.

So, hey. All you people who used to go to the gym to keep fit: what fitness things are you doing now?

Help! Classes will be replaced by video-conferencing lectures soon, because of the Coronavirus spread. I fear that the instructors will want to use FB for this, because it is what they know. I want to suggest alternatives. Any ideas?

Jitsi Meet has been awesome for me, but will it handle a group of 10 or 20 people?

What video conferencing software do you recommend? I need something that will not make any participant join a bad social network. What are the best options?

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What sets appart?

As a general instance, we are not centered on a specific theme, or a specific language. Everyone is welcome as long as they follow the few rules we have.

We always run the latest stable version of Mastodon, providing you a stock experience, with the following modifications:

  • 2048 character limit (not 500).
  • 512 character limits for the account's bio (not 160).
  • full column width (not fixed size).
  • more search results (20 instead of 5 per type of search).
  • Audio upload (not limited to videos only).
  • full text search of statuses (not restricted to searching tags and users).
  • trending tags are displayed on the main UI ( and a more complete view is available here)
  • boosts and replies are shown in the timelines (more complete view for everyone).
  • Your account is also a XMPP account (Federated Instant Messaging, take a look online to find a client and use your username and password to configure it, you can also use our online web client). Woohoo! two services in one!
  • We also have a very good view of the federation (our federated timeline gives you a more broad view of the Mastodon network than a 'normal' instance, there's a lot to read in a lot of languages).
  • We also host a Peertube instance for the convenience. Try it and let us know what you think !
  • In the same vein, we host a Funkwhale instance for the convenience. Try it and let us know what you think !
  • If you want to be on a more quiet, moderated instance, or use another AP implementation, we host a Pleroma instance for the convenience. This is the same fediverse as with Mastodon, but with a different default UI and way more optimized backend. Try and see which one you prefer !
  • Now if you want a different UI, the stock mastodon one does not please you, you can check Pinafore.
  • We do also host for the convenience a video Conference server ( Jitsi Meet )
  • We have a mastodon relay for other instances to bootstrap their timelines:

Although we are a medium+ sized instance, we'd like to keep the feeling that you are at home and safe here.