Jason J. Gullickson

Jason J. Gullickson

Project Update June 2020

Ahead of schedule this month (we could all use some good news right?).

The Neuromantics

This is my second attempt at running a Fediverse node and my third attempt at providing friends and accomplices with a cool place to hang-out online. This time around I’m using a fairly turnkey Mastodon server in an attempt to provide a better experience for people used to other social networks.

Given the major social networks refusal to hold certain people to the same standards as others, and given the [ administrations ](https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-preventing- online-censorship/) desire to force these platforms to enable bad behavior, I wanted to provide an alternative. I’ve had such a positive experience on the fediverse over the last year or so that I want to provide an “on-ramp” for folks looking for something better.

If you’re interested in joining us, please, email .


Setting up a Mastodon node renewed my interest in building bots to inhabit the system so I went looking to see what’s new in bot-building tools. The last time I wrote a Twitter bot is was just a Python script using httplib to talk directly to the API. This time I found a neat little framework for writing Mastodon bots that handles some of the more tedious aspects of creating a bot and turns the process into little more than writing a regular Python module.

To further simplify the process I’ve created AlphaBot to serve as a “test harness” for all my bot-writing experiments.

So far it’s been little more than a basic Markov-chain responder but it’s enough to get the hang of the tooling so I can move on to focusing on the aspects of the programming that are unique to the new bots I want to create.


The topic of electronic contact tracing is controversial, but what’s not controversial is the potential value of electronic contact tracing for limiting the spread of diseases like COVID-19. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to receive the benefits of this technology in a way that minimized or eliminates the privacy risks that come with the designs I’ve seen elsewhere.

Freetrace is my solution to this problem.

In short, freetrace is a simple, stand-alone device that has no access to your personal information, and as such cannot leak this information. It does not communicate with any centralized servers or database and in fact has no network connection at all.

I elaborate on the how and why this works in the documentation.com/ . I’m currently building a couple proof- of-concept devices for use in developing the firmware and validating the theory of operation.

I admit that I may be overlooking something that may impact the value or utility of the device for disease control and invite input from anyone with any expertise or experience in this area.

Home Hive

This is more Jamie’s project than it is mine, but I wanted to mention it because after a very long search and several failed attempts we were finally able to find a low-friction solution for creating an online shop shop for Jamie’s work. The solution is Gumroad, something I played with in its embryonic state but hadn’t revisited again until a month or so ago. After spending 20 minutes experimenting it looked like it might be what we’ve been looking for, so we spent a couple hours one Saturday setting it up and listing a few items.

With a couple of weeks of experience using it and almost 75 items listed I’m happy to say it has worked like a charm! In fact it’s been so nice to work with I’m considering using it if I ever get to the point where I’ve made some things I wouldn’t be embarrassed to sell as well.

**t5fyntmbta & aifss **

Finally recent events have reinvigorated my desire to work on a couple writing projects that I’ve been slowly chipping-away at over the last few years. Last month I mentioned How to Hack , and this month I’m adding two more titles back to the active project list: https://github.com/jjg/The Five Friends You Need to Make Before the Apocalypse and Anarchy in Five Simple Steps .

That’s all for this month. Several of last month’s projects are still in- flight but not enough had happened to warrant posting any updates yet.

Stay safe: wear a mask, practice social distancing and Film The Police .