Elon Musk now owns Twitter. I didn’t think it would happen. I don’t think he thought it would happen, but now he’s overpaid for an unprofitable service and has set about ruining it with his weird Victorian mill owner management style.

Meanwhile, Mastodon is thriving, with a few growing pains. I think this is the third wave of mass interest I’ve seen since 2017, and the largest so far. Musk’s actions have successfully pushed enough people over to Mastodon to provide critical mass, and probably hastened Twitter’s demise if it sticks. A lot of people are on Twitter, but I don’t think they all enjoy it. Mastodon has a very different feel. There’s no main character. There are no ads, or promoted tweets, or algorithmic timelines, and the software and protocol are open.

Then again, WhatsApp started as a fork of the open source ejabberd instant messenger server and ended up as a walled garden owned by Zuckerberg. Nothing is certain in this life.

It doesn’t especially matter which server you use unless it’s full of spammers, racists, or other such undesirables (in which case your server will be shunned by others) or has particularly cranky admins (in which case it might ban fairly innocuous but popular servers). I’ve just moved from a huge general-purpose server at mastodon.social to a smaller one focused on music. The main advantage is a more relevant local timeline. I’m now @[email protected].

We’ve given up on getting solar panels for now. We’d applied through Solar Together, a group buying scheme organised through the Mayor of London. Unfortunately, the company that won the contract, Green Energy Together, doesn’t seem to be very competent.

We paid for the survey (£150, the only money we’ve actually spent so far), which was done by a third party. The solar company came back with a contract that didn’t include things we’d asked for (bird protection and a battery) and didn’t seem to take any account of the pipe that exits through the roof. And we had fourteen days to accept it. I really don’t appreciate feeling like I’m being railroaded.

I tried to contact the company to amend the contract, but they’re unreachable. They don’t answer the phone, and their callback service doesn’t call you back. So I went looking to see what experiences others had had and oh boy am I glad I did.

They have a rating of 1.7/5 on Trustpilot – after “a number of fake reviews” were removed. There’s a horror story in the Guardian and an article in the Independent writes of “a nightmare of cancellations, hours spent on the phone, and customer service ranging from supercilious to non-existent.”

Before the company was Green Energy Together, it was Solarplicity Service Limited, and appears to have attracted similar ire.

The company’s application to broker credit was rejected by the Financial Conduct Authority because they didn’t respond with requested information, and the FCA wasn’t convinced that the company would “conduct its business with integrity and in compliance with proper standards”. It doesn’t look great, does it?

So I think we’ll write off the survey cost and, perhaps, find a competent supplier in the future that isn’t through a poorly executed reverse auction group scheme.

The start of November feeling has hit me. I never get used to it, no matter how long I’ve lived. The days get shorter and gloomier and then the clocks go back and suddenly the wan sun sets at half past four in the afternoon. The darkness is oppressive, ominpresent, and inescapable. I feel like I’m being submerged. The SAD light on my windowsill helps a little, but it’s no sunshine.

I went to the climbing wall again on Friday morning. Maybe I can make a habit of this.