Kale Goes to Gemspace
October 2, 2022
I've been waffling on starting a microblog/journal for an unreasonable amount of time now, but I'm giving in because I've accidentally turned this blog into a space for Polished Writing That I Put Effort Into (I hesitate to call it Good because good would be doing a lot of work in that sentence). Said microblog is tentatively called Hotel Kalefornia. You can find it at gemini.kalechips.net in both the HTTP and Gemini protocols. I'll mainly be using it for strictly personal posts, but also thoughts that aren't polished or well-researched enough for me to feel comfortable putting them here. Some of them may end up worming their way over here once I have time to refine them, but some will be condemned to stay in Hotel Kalefornia forever.
You may notice that this very unfancy new page is accessible in Gemini, and you may be wondering what Gemini is. Internet protocols are the framework through which information is transmitted on the internet. You're viewing this webpage using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). A less famous protocol is Gopher, which predates HTTP and is credited with popularizing the internet in the early 90s, but fell out of style in favor of the web by the end of the decade. Gopher pages are displayed in plain text, and servers are presented as a hierarchical collection of files. Gemini lives between Gopher and the web - it has the simplicity of Gopher with a few extra hypertext bells and whistles like images. Pages are written in a simple Markdown-adjacent language called Gemtext.
Why Gemini and not a regular old vanilla HTML microblog? I've been wading around in gemspace for a while before this, and I've enjoyed my time there so far. I think text-only content is great, I think not having to deal with bloated and unusable webpages is great, and I think advertiser-unfriendly spaces are great. It's all great and I wanted in on it. Journals and blogs are extremely common on Gemini for obvious reasons, so I thought a separate, less formal space distinct from this blog would be a good use of my property in Gemverse.
If you're interested in poking around some Gemini pages, you'll need a separate browser. Gemini Quickstart has a good list. My favored client is Lagrange, partially because of the name and partially because I like how it renders pages. It also runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Since Gemini is plain text, you have complete control over how pages are displayed, so you can pick all your favorite colors and nobody can tell you anything.
You may also want in on this, in which case you'll need to find someone to host you. If you're not allergic to computer, you can self-host; however, I am allergic to computer, so that's the first and last time I'm going to mention that. I use Smol Pub because it has a lot of customization options, CSS for web viewers, and you can hook a domain up to it. Some other easy options are gemlog.blue and Flounder. The aforementioned Gemini Quickstart page has a list of other hosts that could worth checking out if you're willing to do a bit of backend tinkering.
If you want more shenanigans from me, I hope you'll join me over at the new blog (here or in Gemspace)!