Fedilab for Android

Third party Mastodon, PeerTube & Fediverse app, free open source software, available from Google Play (paid) ⧉ & F-Droid (free) ⧉

General impressions

At first glance appears to be pretty standard, but once you start going through the options and settings there is so much more under the surface. Many, many useful features and good support for non-Mastodon Fediverse servers. It’s not the best-looking app, but that doesn’t matter because it does lots of things other apps cannot do.

Nice stuff

  • All the standard extras available the web interface such as post editing, pinned posts, hashtag follows, lists, filters, trending tags, trending posts etc.
  • All the timelines (Home, Local, Federated, Explore) are there, as are all the visibilities (Public, Unlisted, Followers-Only, Mentions-Only and Local-Only (for servers that support local-only posts))
  • Free open source software
  • Allows users to be muted just on home timeline while still appearing on lists, which is great for creating multiple separate timelines from the same account. (Also, you can set lists to automatically include home muted users.)
  • Scheduled posts and scheduled boosts, including boosts of own or others’ posts
  • Post drafts, automatically asks you if you close a message without posting it
  • Built-in translation, built-in dictionary and spell checker
  • Good support for non-Mastodon Fediverse server types including Pixelfed, PeerTube, Friendica etc. Also includes support for extra features on Mastodon forks such as Glitch and Hometown.
  • PeerTube interface is particularly good, allows all the options from the web interface including uploads, and Fedilab can easily be used as a dedicated PeerTube app
  • Customisable timeline and interface options, colour themes, adjustable text and icon sizes.
  • Conversation thread maps
  • Lets you fetch data from remote servers which allows conversations and profiles to be updated with information that hasn’t federated to your server yet.
  • Optional privacy features for links such as UTM stripping, and using alternative frontends for links to popular services (for example Nitter to view Twitter links, Invidious to view YouTube links etc).
  • Lots more options such as automatic cache clearance.

Not sure one way or other

  • Fedilab is a paid app on Google Play but free-of-charge on F-Droid. This is as the developer wishes to encourage people onto alternatives to Google Play.

Potential drawbacks

  • Some of the formatting could be slicker and neater, for example metadata tables on profiles look a bit messy
  • Some English translations slightly odd, such as “trending messages” when it means trending posts
  • Occasional weird bugs, for example the Manage Timelines page brings up a “No timelines was found on this instance” error message

Hints & Tips

  • Polls can be added to posts by clicking the attachment button (the paperclip) and selecting the poll icon
  • You can jump to the top of a timeline by double-tapping the timeline’s icon

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PeerTube: Video hosting on the Fediverse

Screenshot of the PeerTube server Fedi.Video ⧉

PeerTube is a video server for the Fediverse, and allows anyone to start their own independent video site.

PeerTube videos are distributed using clever peer-to-peer technology which means the more people watch a video the more bandwidth it will receive. This allows even smaller servers to host viral videos without needing data centres.

I’m already on Mastodon, do I need a PeerTube account?

If you just want to watch, like, comment and subscribe to PeerTube video accounts, you can do all of those things entirely from within Mastodon. You can follow PeerTube accounts the same way you follow Mastodon accounts, and they have similar account addresses too.

When you follow a PeerTube account from Mastodon, new videos published by that account will appear in your Mastodon timeline, and they will look exactly like ordinary Mastodon posts but with a video embedded in them. If you like one of these posts, it will show as a thumbs up for that video on PeerTube, and if you reply to one of these posts it will show up as a comment on PeerTube.

Of course, you can do all these things within PeerTube as well, but then you would have to have a PeerTube account. Having a PeerTube account also lets you create playlists, save videos for later and upload your own videos.

Which PeerTube accounts should I follow?

You can discover interesting PeerTube videos and accounts by following FediVideo on Mastodon ⧉. There’s a also a playlist of all the recommended videos here ⧉.

What if I want to upload videos to PeerTube?

If you want to publish videos on PeerTube, you will need a PeerTube account. These can be requested from PeerTube servers which are open for new sign-up requests.

Where can I sign up for a PeerTube account?

Some good servers to sign up on include spectra.video ⧉, diode.zone ⧉, makertube.net ⧉ and tilvids.com ⧉. There are lots more servers out there, but it’s best to stick to responsibly run ones.

Bear in mind you can only request an account, there is no guarantee your request will be accepted. Videos take up a lot of space on servers, and the server owners are generally supported by donations from users, so they may not always have room to accept new users.

What kind of files can I upload to PeerTube? Can I upload audio too?

PeerTube accepts uploads in lots of different video and audio formats. Here’s a complete list:

.webm, .ogv, .ogg, .mp4, .mkv, .mov, .qt, .mqv, .m4v, .flv, .wmv, .avi, .3gp, .3gpp, 3g2, 3gpp2, .nut, .mts, .m2ts, .mpv, .m2v, .m1v, .mpg, .mpe, .mpeg, .vob, .mxf, .mp3, .wma, .wav, .flac, .aac, .m4a, .ac3

If you upload an audio file, you can optionally add a still image as artwork. if you don’t add artwork, the audio file will play over a black background.

Where can I can find out more?

There’s lots of info on the official PeerTube website ⧉. If you just want to see an example of a working PeerTube server, TILvids.com ⧉ is a pretty good one.

Which apps can I use PeerTube accounts with?

You can use PeerTube servers through web browsers on any platform, and there are also Android apps such as FediLab and TubeLab ⧉.

What about RSS?

You can follow any PeerTube account through RSS if you prefer. Just go to the account’s web page on PeerTube and open the options menu next to the “Subscribe” button. One of the options will be to subscribe via RSS, which will include the account’s feed address.

How do I start my own PeerTube server?

If you want to start your own PeerTube server, the easiest option by far is to use a managed hosting service ⧉ as that requires no technical knowledge. If you are techy though, a trickier but cheaper option is to use YunoHost on a VPS ⧉. The most difficult but most flexible option is to install it manually using the official documentation ⧉.

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Following Mastodon and Fediverse accounts through RSS

Some types of Fediverse servers let you follow their accounts through RSS newsreader apps.

On Mastodon, you can follow any account through RSS by going to the account’s original page and adding .rss to the end of it. For example, the RSS feed for the FediTips account is https://mstdn.social/@feditips.rss ⧉. Note that this only shows public posts, you will not see replies or followers-only posts on the feed.

On PeerTube, you can follow any account or channel through RSS by going to its page and clicking the Subscribe button, there will be an RSS subscription option at the bottom of the menu. You may also see RSS logos next to various features that give you RSS feeds for those features.

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