Thinking (somewhat abstractly) about the logistics of creating a printed server — an internet-connected set-up that writes to inert physical media (possibly paper), with a "reader" mechanism that only powers up when it receives a request and powers back down again once it's served the requested file.


I'm also wondering how you could make the receiving end as inert as possible.

In other words, you send a request, and get back the requested data. How could you device display that data with minimal energy use?

In other, other words, to display a web page, a monitor has to constantly consume energy. How could you rig a system that uses energy to write to a rewrite-able surface so that the data stays displayed without that constant energy use? Like an Etch-a-Sketch screen.

I believe that we're on the verge of passing the window of opportunity where the sort of broad structural changes that could prepare us for fundamental changes in the environment can still be made voluntarily. Not everything in our technological culture is going to be feasible once we reach the other side, and the parts that can be saved are those that we have the foresight to reconfigure for the likeliest forms of scarcity.

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Now I'm daydreaming about how to optimize social media for e-ink, and wondering if that even makes sense. Maybe the underlying ideological assumptions of social media and low-impact technology are simply inimical to one another.

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@lrhodes I think about this one pretty often. It may stem from the fragility of the image of capitalism. I’m not sure why long term technology can’t at least be a parallel development track, but the problem is that at a base level it requires and acknowledgement of the need for such things.

Is is unfortunate.

yesterday I saw a post from someone who would like a Tinder-like client for the Fediverse, where the direction you swipe into controls liking, boosting, replying and ignoring. I feel like such an interface could work for an #eInk device too, since it'd not be that dissimilar to just reading pages of an e-book.

@lrhodes you might like to follow @ajroach42 who talks about this sorta stuff.

@emsenn @lrhodes I have explored the paper storage idea a bit, and ultimately decided that the mechanism required to find and scan the paper on demand would be error prone and consume more energy than it saved in many cases, but I'm interested in the topic in general.

@lrhodes @emsenn As for social media and e-ink, this is what I do now:

- most fediverse software lets you subscribe to public posts via rss, so I do that for some people

- I also automatically scrape a few phlogs, blogs, and emails from one inbox.

- the feeds get parsed in to markdown files, some of which get converted to epub and dropped on my ebook reader, some of which get queued for printing.

- this allows me to consume social media offline first.

@emsenn @lrhodes I don't yet have a good method for marking favorites or replies, but it will come eventually.

@68km @lrhodes @emsenn My plan is to start adding footnotes to each piece that have the URL of the original, so if there is something I need to respond to I can scan the QR code with my phone to get there.

I haven't done that yet, though.

@lrhodes I think they are indeed, and that's why it's great starting point to rethink social media within certain constraints!

While it doesn't answer your question/daydream, reading your toot made me think of Jon Kyle Mohr's Hardly Everything

@lrhodes bitlbee is a nice interface to twitter that renders it as text, which is antithetical to all the ads and ‘in case you missed it’ etc

@lrhodes You're describing an E-ink display! It goes inert after changing the image, requiring no power to continue displaying information and producing no waste when the information changes.

@lrhodes I've been wanting a laptop with E-ink support for ages — imagine, low-power, outdoor computing! I could write software with nothing but the sunlight falling on the back of my monitor.

@evan Does E-ink work well with responsive uses? Typing requires pretty immediate feedback — if there's a long delay between striking a key and seeing the corresponding letter onscreen, that throws a pretty big wrench in the process of typing, right?

@lrhodes if the software is written properly and only triggers a partial refresh for the typed letters, the input lag on a high quality #eInk display isn't that bad.

#TechnologyConnections did some interesting videos on these kinds of displays:

and especially from 8:42 and onwards on you can get a idea of the typing experience on a Boox e-ink Android tablet running Google Docs inside Firefox

@lrhodes @FiXato @evan

Huh. I wonder how useful (n)curses would be for that. It’s designed to minimize screen drawing on slow terminals already.

@suetanvil @lrhodes @FiXato If the CPU is also quite slow, curses might help? But the lagginess of E-ink is a hardware thing.

@evan @lrhodes @FiXato

Curses is designed to minimize the number of times the screen needs to be redrawn, so it does a lot of batching of drawing commands and removing the redundant ones (e.g. draw, then overwrite at x,y). This was really handy for using a terminal over a slow serial connection. So there's be a good chance that could map to e-ink displays as well.

@evan @lrhodes It's slower by orders of magnitude, but you don't actually need a very high refresh rate unless you're watching video. I remember somebody building a low-power computer out of raspberry pi + e-ink screen.

@jaranta @evan @lrhodes

I believe the Kobo e-readers already run Linux under the hood. If you can figure out how to root one and attach a keyboard, that’s most of one right there.

@evan Yeah, I think some e-readers use E-ink, correct? I'd love to see a technical discussion of how the tech works, if you know of any good resources.

@jere Probably something along those lines, but I'm interested to know if there are any rival technologies.

@lrhodes not that I'm aware of, though I haven't researched much about it yet

@lrhodes that's literally the point of E-ink screens, though.
Also you could just use a teletype system and have it displayed to paper :)

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Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.