- 1 Authentication systems
- 2 Interesting projects, products, and standards
- 3 Interesting features
- 3.1 Layers of conversation
- 3.2 Collab button
- 3.3 Decision-making
- 3.4 Threaded conversations
- 3.5 Voting up threads
- 3.6 Bookmarking
- 3.7 Trusted profiles/accounts
- 3.8 Deep-work mode
- 3.9 Built-in voice/video chat
- 3.10 Shared to-do functionality
- 3.11 Filtering stream by language
- 3.12 Connect with other educators
- 4 NGDLE
- Mozilla Persona (decommissioned, but useful info in project - including this post)
Interesting projects, products, and standards
- ActivityPub - a "decentralized social networking protocol based upon the ActivityStreams 2.0 data format. It provides a client to server API for creating, updating and deleting content, as well as a federated server to server API for delivering notifications and content". Useful comments and caveats in this Hacker News thread. The spec (latest version: Nov 2017) is well-written.
- Beaker - a peer-to-peer browser with tools to create and host websites.
- BigchainDB - a decentralised open-source database with blockchain data structure to enhance scalability, write and read speed, and data extraction capability.
- Blockstack - a new network for decentralised applications, including an alternate DNS and public-key infrastructure.
- Co-operative Storage Cloud - a "decentralized model of networked online storage where data is stored on multiple computers (nodes), hosted by the participants cooperating in the cloud".
- Cryptosphere - an "open-source P2P web application platform for decentralized, privacy-preserving software which keeps users in control of their own content". Defunct?
- Dat - a "data distribution tool with a version control feature for tracking changes and publishing datasets". Funded by major donors such as the Knight Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
- Diaspora - a "nonprofit, user-owned, distributed social network" consisting of "independently owned nodes (called pods) which interoperate to form the network".
- Edmodo - the app "is probably the closest thing to MoodleNet that exists" according to Martin Dougiamas.
- Ethereum - a "decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference".
- Filecoin - an "open-source, public, cryptocurrency and digital payment system intended to be a blockchain-based digital storage and data retrieval method" building on top of IPFS.
- Freenet - a somewhat notorious peer-to-peer platform using the 'dark web' for censorship-resistant communication. 'Freesites' contains only static content, meaning it cannot provide content that requires a database or server-side scripts.
- Friendica - "open source software for a distributed social network" focusing on "effective privacy settings and easy installation of personal servers". Also allows other social networks and blogs to be integrated.
- GNUnet - an "alternative ne twork stack for building secure, decentralized and privacy-preserving distributed applications". The framework features "link encryption, peer discovery, resource allocation, communication over many transports (such as TCP, UDP, HTTP, HTTPS, WLAN and Bluetooth) and various basic peer-to-peer algorithms for routing, multicast and network size estimation".
- GNU social - "social communication software for both public and private communications" - "widely supported and has a large userbase".
- Hubzilla - a "powerful platform for creating interconnected websites featuring a decentralized identity, communications, and permissions framework built using common webserver technology".
- I2P - a network that provides "strong privacy protections for communication over the Internet". Used for serverless email, anonymous websites, gateways to/from the public internet, blogging, forums, realtime chat, filesharing, decentralised file storage, and more.
- IPDB - stands for 'InterPlanetary DataBase', a "blockchain database network for the decentralized stack". It's ready to use, with strong governance (including many large non-profits).
- IPFS - stands for 'InterPlanetary File System', a protocol "designed to create a permanent and decentralized method of storing and sharing files". Content-addressable, peer-to-peer, distributed file system. Provides a resilient way to serve files, removing duplication and centralisation.
- IPWB - stands for 'InterPlanetary WayBack' and "facilitates permanence and collaboration in web archives".
- Libsodium - the Sodium crypto library is "a modern, easy-to-use software library for encryption, decryption, signatures, password hashing and more".
- LTI - stands for Learning Tools Interoperability, a standard developed by IMS Global Learning Consortium. Main use case is to enable web apps, tools or content to connect seamlessly and securely with digital learning environments.
- LTI Advantage - a new package of extensions to the Learning Tools Interoperability standard that currently includes: Assignment and Grade Services, Deep Linking, and Names and Role Provisioning Service. Allows for better two-way sharing of data between digital learning environments and other apps/services.
- Maidsafe - bills itself as "the world's first autonomous data network". Reliant on cryptocurrency, but not blockchain, for network services.
- Mastodon - a federated social network similar to Twitter, "but administrated as a decentralized federation of independently operated servers running open source software". Users join a specific instance, and their updates can then be federated to other instances. Mastodon is built on OStatus, meaning that federated Mastodon instances form just one part of a wider 'Fediverse'.
- Matrix - an "open protocol for real-time communication". Aims to be like SMTP for real-time communication between different service providers.
- Mediachain - a "blockchain data solution for connecting applications to media and information about it". Best-known as an attribution engine for content creators.
- Namecoin - an "experimental open-source technology which improves decentralization, security, censorship resistance, privacy, and speed of certain components of the Internet infrastructure such as DNS and identities".
- OpenBazaar - "an open source project developing a protocol for e-commerce transactions in a fully decentralized marketplace".
- Open Publish - "a publishing protocol for registering media as a digital asset on the Bitcoin blockchain".
- Osiris - a "freeware program used to create web portals distributed via peer-to-peer networking (P2P) and autonomous from centralized servers". Mostly defunct, although the Wikipedia page outlines some interesting features around reputation and 'anarchist' vs 'monarchist' community structures.
- Product Hunt | Artificial Intelligence | APIs - a continually-updated list of products/services using A.I. APIs. Useful for seeing what's out there to build upon.
- Sia - an example of co-operative cloud storage, build on blockchain technology. Depends on cryptocurrency called 'Siacoin'.
- Storj - another example of co-operative cloud storage. End-to-end encrypted, blockchain-based.
- SkipFlag - "a knowledge base that builds itself" using your "existing conversations, support tickets, and other communication... to autonomously answer questions".
- Socialhome - "allows you to build a rich profile that federates across the federated social web".
- Steem - a "social news service which runs a blogging and social networking website on top of a blockchain database, known as Steem. The service produces STEEM and Steem Dollars which are tradeable tokens users obtain for posting, discovering, and commenting on interesting content."
- Swarm - a "distributed storage platform and content distribution service". Users don't notice much difference to regular websites, except that "uploads are not to a specific server" meaning that Swarm is "DDOS-resistant, zero-downtime, fault-tolerant and censorship-resistant as well as self-sustaining due to a built-in incentive system". Free and open source.
- trsst - "looks and feels like twitter but encrypted and anonymized and decentralized and only you hold the keys".
- Twister - a "fully decentralized P2P microblogging platform leveraging from the free software implementations of Bitcoin and BitTorrent protocols".
- Unhosted - "also known as "serverless", "client-side", or "static" web apps, unhosted web apps do not send your user data to their server. Either you connect your own server at runtime, or your data stays within the browser."
- WebRTC - stands for Web Real Time Communication, and is "a collection of communications protocols and application programming interfaces that enable real-time communication over peer-to-peer connections". Used for "video conferencing, file transfer, chat, or desktop sharing without the need of either internal or external plugins". Supported in all major desktop and mobile browsers as of iOS 11. Developed by W3C members.
- ZeroNet - a "decentralized Internet-like network of peer-to-peer users". Fully open source. Uses bitcoin cryptography to identify sites (instead of IP addresses) and bittorrent technology to propagate changes within the network. Sites are accessed via a web browser, but served from localhost.
- Zooko's triangle - interesting less for the theory, more for the technologies / approaches which refute the conjecture. Notably: Blockstack, GNUnet, and OpenAlias
Layers of conversation
Medium, the publishing platform / social network, allows you to see who in your network has replied to posts you have written. You can view all responses and conversations by clicking a button to show the whole network.
Ello, the social network, has a 'Collab' button which users can turn on if they are up for collaborations with other users. There's also a 'Hire Me' button for freelancers and consultants, as detailed on this page.
Loomio is a tool that allows for discussion but also for distributed decision-making. It came out of the creators' experiences with the Occupy movement.
Voting up threads
Keybase is a security app for mobile phones and computers. It provides a trusted way to verify identity and ownership of accounts. More recently, they've added Slack-like social networking features - but end-to-end encrypted. Keybase also has an interesting browser extension that allows you to leave encrypted messages for people, even before they've joined the service!
Atlassian's new team chat app, Stride has many of the same features as other team chat apps. However, they have a 'deep work' mode which allows users to block out time where they are not disturbed and other people are told what they're working on.
Built-in voice/video chat
Microsoft Teams, like many team chat apps, has voice and video chat functionality built-in. This allows users to switch seamlessly from text chat to a voice/video discussion.
Basecamp is a project management application. It has a shared to-do feature, where people can check off something that has been assigned to them - and other people are notified that they have done so.
Filtering stream by language
Mastodon is an open-source, decentralised, federated microblogging network. One of its features is to be able to filter the stream of 'toots' (it's equivalent of Twitter's 'tweets') in languages of your choice.
Connect with other educators
As part of its onboarding process for new users, Edmodo encourages those who self-identify as teachers to "join discussions and share resources with other educators!"
NGDLE stands for Next Generation Digital Learning Environment. A useful overview of the history of the concept since it was coined in 2015 is provided in this EDUCAUSE article. In a post from 2016, Clint Lalonde sums up the NGDLE as "the idea that the next generation of learning tools isn’t the single monolithic LMS, but rather a series of applications connected together using different sets of emerging and established learning tool standards". The original report can be found here with a 7 Things You Should Know About NGDLE brief also available.