A Good, Complete, and Native Matrix Client

I'm pretty confident that in the future most people will do their real-time electronic communication with the Matrix protocol. Encryption, federation, bridges, Matrix has almoist everything going for it. Except for a high-quality, feature-complete, native client. The most popular and feature-complete client is Riot.im - an Electron app. It's slow, buggy, and ugly.

I propose that we write a Matrix client daemon in a fast systems language like C, Go, or Rust. This daemon will provide an api implementing the entire Matrix spec that any GUI, TUI, or shell script could interface with, dramatically reducing the barrier to entry. Additionally, this would allow the user to interact with their Matrix accounts through different interfaces without having to share encryption keys between multiple client sessions.

My personal use-case would be a nice gtk/qt client for desktop use, a TUI (probably Weechat-based) interface for when I'm hanging out in the TTY, and a some cron jobs that could post diagnostic information to a dedicated room.

A Modern Text-Only Browser with Vi Bindings

Most of the ultra-minimal web browsers (w3m, Links/Xlinks, Lynx, Dillo, eww) all feel pretty clunky. A minimal web browser that implements a subset of html and and maybe css, features buffer/tab browsing, ergonomic Vi-like bindings, and can run from either a terminal or X/Wayland would be pretty nice. The only browser that feels sufficiently ergonomic in my opinion is eww, but it's an Emacs mode, not a standalone application. Bonus points if it supports the Gopher, Gemini, and Finger protocols.

A Full-Featured Web Browser for Nerds

I use Firefox because I don't want to fall under the Chromium monopoly. But with every release, Firefox falls asymptotically to Google Chrome in an attempt to lure normies into using it. While this is not a bad thing in and of itself, it means that Mozilla is devoting more engineer hours to adding dubious features like Sync and Pocket while neglecting more nerd-friendly improvements.

Mainstream web browsers like Chromium, Brave, and Firefox are designed for normies. I want a browser designed for nerds. This means:

  • Full support of modern standards (disqualifying most Webkit-based browsers),
  • Configuration and scripting through a plain-text config file,
  • Easy uMatrix-style control over web content,
  • Customizable keybindings,
  • Customizable blacklists and whitelists,
  • Customizable site redirection,
  • Rich protocol support (eg, FTP, Gopher, TOR etc),
  • Regex in-page search,
  • Private defaults,
  • Effective native ad and tracker blocking,

… basically everything that you can't do in Firefox without installing Addons, messing with about:config, and/or compiling from source.

The only browsers I've found that meet even some of these requirements are Qutebrowser, Nyxt and the Otter browser. Qutebrowser supports plain text configurations, but is targeted primarily to Vim fanatics. Nyxt is written in Lisp and has a compellingly Emacs-like interface with buffers instead of tabs. While Nyxt and Qutebrowser are comfortable and innovative, their unusual designs means that neither of them can gain a userbase amongst more mainstream nerds. The Otter browser is a Qt-Webkit clone of Opera 12 (~2013), looks really promising, but it's support of modern standards is a little lacking. From playing aroung with it, I think that with some more development and larger userbase Otter would fill all these criteria really well.


Freedom-Respecting Feature Phones

Purism, Pine64, Ubports, and PostmarketOS are making excelent work on free-as-in-freedom smartphones, but I don't want a smartphone. I just think they're gross and unhealthy. I want a simple dumb phone with days of battery life, a small form-factor, and the ability to run mainline Linux or *BSD. The closest that currently exists is the WiPhone, but that is based on an ESP32 and is VoIP only.

As sort of a corollary, being able to send encrypted SMS texts would be nice. Maybe something like SmsMatrix could be used.

A FOSS Fitness Tracker

I love statistics and numbers and I think it would be pretty neat if I could quantitatively keep track of what my body is up to without "sharing" my data with $MEGACORP. I want something like a fitbit that is built with open-source software and hardware and can sync with a data-visualization app over NFC, USB, or a Micro SD card. It might be possible to hack a Garmin smartwatch for that purpose.

A Simple, Hackable, Off-Road Electric Car

One of the cool things about electric vehicles is how few moving parts they have compared to fuel-burners, which should make them easier to service. Unfortunately most modern EVs are designed for road use by the sorts of high tech companies that think more computers is a good thing. My dream car would basically be a 40 year old Jeep with Tesla internals and a modern airbag configuration. The closest I can get at the moment would be retrofitting an old car with parts from Ev West or shelling out six figures to Bollinger Motors and waiting for the B1 to hit the market.


HRT Implants

There are several companies working on implantable insulin pumps for type-1 diabetics, and it is common to administer hormone-blockers to transgender youths and men with prostate cancer via an implant (Vantas or Supprelin LA). I'd really like it if there was a similar implant to administer estrogen or testosterone to post-op trans people. I really don't want to have to worry about taking pills for the rest of my life. Better yet would be artificial gonads, but I'm not optimistic on that front.

Last Modified: 2021-01-02 Sat 10:13