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Pierre Marshall

Chinese minitel

2 min read

Yesterday evening I got a mobile SIM card, which means I now have mobile internet access. My WiFi account at the university will be connected today, maybe, hopefully.

As expected, I'm up against the great firewall. When I tried yesterday both tor and my vpn wouldn't connect. It felt so strange to have nominal internet access, but without the default rostrum of gmail, twitter, facebook, or youtube.

My phone, despite running an open source ROM, has Google apps flashed onto it, and Google play services are crashing repeatedly. Sorry Google.

It just compounds how much we rely on a handful of large services for communication with the rest of the world. Imagine trying to contact your family and friends, without the help of any major silicon valley company. Nor can you ask a neighbour for help as the firewall extends nationwide. Not easy is it?

What is the internet when you're not clicking through the same handful of websites over and over again? It's only really noticeable when they become inaccessible.

And yet, all the little services are untouched. I can still connect to my preferred irc chatroom without a problem. I can still post to the small forums I visit from time to time. Telegram messenger, p2p Bleep messenger, withknown, indymedia, gnu social; all work fine.

So I'm ok with this for the moment, if only that it puts me in a different bubble of dissenters who shy away from mainstream social media.