Dumb pipes

Google exists to mediate the unmediated. That's what it does.
That's what the company's search tool does: It mediates our relationship with the Internet. That's why Google killed Google Reader, for example. Subscribing to an RSS feed and having an RSS reader deliver 100% of what the user signed up for in an orderly, linear and predictable and reliable fashion is a pointless business for Google.
It's also why I believe Google will kill Gmail as soon as it comes up with a mediated alternative everyone loves.

-- from Why Google wants to replace Gmail (Mike Elgan)

I really like my dumb pipe. Enough so that I'd like to make something that let me use my dumb pipe as a social network. The problem is, we need smarter dumb pipes - that is, software that's easy enough for Average Joe to install on a basic tilde.club-esque server (that Joe is the customer for, and that Joe owns the data on, the Two Commandments of the free Internet). There's a certain amount of stuff that GMail can do (mostly spamcatching) based on the large numbers of emails it gets to analyze, but for the most part nothing Inbox does can't be done by a reasonably smart client reading a dumb-pipe IMAP mail account.

But obviously, if I'm a really good developer* I can make a heck of a lot more money building a service and harvesting data than I can selling software. (Today my husband complained about a phone app that cost an outrageous TEN DOLLARS. And then commented on the strangeness of the app stores that we've reached a point that that's outrageous instead of a bargain.) So I have to be a really altruistic, possibly even crazy one* to decide to build things that let people do this themselves. But I think that's what tilde should do: not just enjoy the freedom of the old tools, but make modern equivalents that even non-tildenizens can use (and would want to).

* Spoiler: I am.

* Spoiler: I am.

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