A “Catholic Signal Corps” and thinking about a Catholic digital future

I think we need a kind of “Catholic Signal Corps“.

What do I mean?

Firstly, consider that big social media outlets are filtering, censoring, shadow banning content and users whose opinions are not “acceptable” to them.

Consider also that this is going to get worse as we continue to polarize.

Shifting gears, I suspect there are some people who would like to use the interwebs for good, Catholic works but who don’t have the tech background to, say, be a server administrator or to unwedge problems as they arise… and they always do.

Building up a free standing site and keeping it updated and running is not easy. Not just anyone can do it.  Believe me.  I have practical knowledge of the problem, not theoretical.

It it hard to find good tech help that is both capable and reliable.

Yesterday I had a good conversation with a friend who is solidly Catholic and seriously involved in tech development.

In our discussion there arose a promising scenario.

Imagine not having to go to wordpress.com or to amazon for hosting. Instead, several Catholic sites or enterprises band together to share some space. That way they can also afford – together – the services of someone who is tech savvy, but also RELIABLE. These are key: reliability and capability.

Also, we talked about this new thing that is on the horizon, Dat Project, distributed architecture technology. IPFS.  I am really intrigued by this. This is a decentralized web. Imagine if you will a time when truly Catholic things – or truth at all – is less and less tolerated. Right now, if the registry people – DNS – turn the key on your site, your site is gone. No one can find you.

By analogy, think about how Bitcoin is sort of out there, spread around, decentralized.  I’m not saying that Bitcoin is great.  The tech idea behind it is really interesting.

By another analogy, I’ve long thought that Catholic entities should have ham radio operators against the time that they might have to stay in touch with each other DX, etc.

Lastly, I have been wanting a tech person to maintain the back-end of this site for a long time. I haven’t found anyone reliable and capable in the same person. I’ve gotten to the point where I want to shake this blog tree a little and say:

Send me your CVs!

I’m not kidding around with any of this.

The times we are in call for some thought about the future.

Semper paratus!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to A “Catholic Signal Corps” and thinking about a Catholic digital future

  1. tho says:

    Why are all the home pages so liberal? For example Yahoo, their articles are for the most part terribly slanted, or as President Trump says, fake news. The same with our daily papers. I can imagine how all this happened, I just don’t understand it.

  2. FrAnt says:

    Such an undertaking could be funded with the money no longer going to the USCCB anti-Catholic National Collections.

  3. JesusFreak84 says:

    The only “back-end” skills I have are in writing PHP code, not in actually setting up and configuring servers so they’re secure and whatnot.

    This sounds like what Father has in mind, though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I2P

  4. Charivari Rob says:

    Father Z, did you ever happen to visit Fort Monmouth, NJ (before it closed, naturally)?

    Your theme in this post made me think of Fort Monmouth because (among other roles) (a) it was host to a good chunk of the history of the Signal Corps, and (b) it was also home to the US Army Chaplain School.

    [Alas, no.]

  5. Charivari Rob says:

    Father Z, did you ever happen to visit Fort Monmouth, NJ (before it closed, naturally)?

    Your theme in this post made me think of Fort Monmouth because (among other roles) (a) it was host to a good chunk of the history of the Signal Corps, and (b) it was also home to the US Army Chaplain School.

  6. Unwilling says:

    I believe that reason, justice, and decency will return to the civic forum. The absurdities we are faced with are too absurd to last (though the time needed may pace the biological solution). So, when that happens, how will “we” restrain ourselves [or zealous allies] from “filtering, censoring, shadow banning content and users whose opinions are not “acceptable” to “us”? Without compromising the Truth, how can/will we maintain love and respect for preachers and perpetrators of outrageous/disgusting things?

  7. Pingback: TVESDAY MORNING EDITION – Big Pulpit

  8. One decentralized alternative to Twitter and its filtering is Mastodon. It so happens… that I just launched a Catholic-focused instance: https://RCsocial.net.

    More on Mastodon and the reasoning behind RCsocial.net is at https://using.RCsocial.net.

    Fr. Z, this kind of work (even for those with heavy tech skills) takes a huge amount of time. The costs for resources are actually going down — at least for technically skilled users.

  9. Heinrich says:

    I like the idea of an independent Catholic bastion on the webs that is outside the ability to be shut down or censored.

    I’ve also been meaning to get my HAM license, I suppose I need to get on this. Anyone have recommendations for materials that would help study for the exam? Also, transceiver recommendations?

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    Heinrich,

    I would recommend the ARRL License manuals; or the KB6NU “No Nonsense” license manuals. The KB6NU ones are available as a free download – just Google KB6NU. If you want to send me an e-mail at w2lj@arrl.net, my club came up with a “Amateur Radio Technician Class License Self Study Program” document that I would be happy to e-mail to you.

    Larry W2LJ

  11. Chuck4247 says:

    I will pass this on to St. Isidore’s Guild. Perhaps one or more of us might be able to help out.

  12. Chuck4247 says:

    Actually, Fr Z. another suggestion I might throw out your way might be to get ahold of a College’s Computer Science Club, and see if they would be willing to help you out. I might recommend my alma mater, but you probably would want a university that is Catholic in more than name…

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    Interesting idea Fr. Z. One method that might be useful in extremis is “packet radio”- using radio to transmit digital data.

    The US Army published several historical volumes on the Signal Corps, here’s one volume in PDF:

    https://history.army.mil/html/books/010/10-16/index.html

    Among the useful information transmitted in extremis could be weather data. During a civil war or TEOTWAWKI who knows what would happen to weather satellites and ground stations. Agriculture, military operations, etc. rely on forecasting from temperature readings, barometers, wind direction and velocity, and rainfall records.

    For the far end of contingency planning such as post-Super EMP, there’s semaphore, telescopes, and colored lights that do not require electricity (or radio transmissions- see Direction Finding) but are useful for communicating rapidly from village to village. Just my two cents, that’s one way to outwit the unwashed barbarian hordes.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

  14. Semper Gumby says: useful in extremis

    Indeed! “All things under heaven”, have happened before and they will happen again.