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Jonas Voss

Jonas Voss

Consuming Instagram differently

5 min read

I've been looking for a different way of consuming Instagram. Facebook has introduced more and more features in their neverending quest to wrestle users from Snapchat and onto Instagram, and I don't care for those. I like Instagram, the photo sharing part, not so much the TV and Stories part. The other reason is that whole privacy thing, of course. Turns out big social media players weren't quite the stewards of our personal data we were hoping for, and spending less time on actual social media websites seems like a good thing.

Except for some musicians and photographers, I don't follow brands on Instagram. I mainly follow people I know. Family, friends, and tags. Being a camera and photo enthusiast, I enjoy looking at photos taken with a variety of cameras and film, and a lot of people use Instagram to show their analogue makings.

For a while I used an app called Hermit on Android. Hermit is a wrapper that turns mobile web versions of websites into apps. It has ad blocking, and a bunch of other nice features. Using Hermit helped me get rid of ads on Instagram, and their algorithm somehow works differently on there as well. I liked the ordering better, it seemed to be more chronological. Only downside: I had to consume it on my phone. It was good, but not great.

Granary.io and Atom to the rescue

Thankfully, people much smarter than me are creating tools for consuming silo'ed social media in different ways. One such tool is Granary.

To be able to get the feed of your friends, and not the feed of your own damn self, you need to find your sessionid cookie value from Instagram. Do the following:

Edit: There's actually a much easier way to do the below, by using https://instagram-atom.appspot.com/ - thanks to Ryan for pointing it out.

  • Open the Chrome Browser
  • go to instagram.com and login with your account
  • after logging in, open the developer console of your browser, and reload the page
  • find the "Application" tab and click it
  • in the left hand panel there's a "Cookies" item, click the chevron to the left of it to expand it
  • click on the line that says https://www.instagram.com
  • in the list of cookies like csrftoken, ig_cb, mid, and rur, there should also be a cookie called "sessionid"
  • copy the value of sessionid

Next, open Granary.io, and click on the Instagram logo. Granary will load up this url, and then you have to fill out some fields. You need to fill in your Instagram username, select @friends from the dropdown, select "atom" as your format, and paste the cookied ID you gathered above, into the last field where it says sessionid cookie (for @friends) and hit the GET button.

When Granary has done its thing, you'll end up with a link below the form. With the cookie value removed, mine looks like this:

https://granary.io/instagram/l3traset/@friends/@app/?format=atom&cookie=

This link holds your liberated Instagram photo feed. I plugged mine into my Feed Reader and into Aaron Parecki's Aperture and now I can read my Instagram feed on my phone using Indigenous, and on my desktop, all with no ads and no stories. Glorious!

Is anything lost?

Besides losing the ads and stories, you also lose the ability to favourite a post on Instagram, and to add comments to a post. However, I don't necessarily see this as a loss. If I want to Like a post, I can just do it on my own personal feed, and it ends up looking like this. Sure, if it's a post from a friend of mine, they won't know from their post, that I liked it. But you know how you can fix that? Write them an email. If your feed reader lets you email a post, you can email your friend saying you liked their picture.

Not being able to comment might be the biggest loss, but if you can live with that, then I think you should do it, go forth and liberate your Instagram feed.

This will definitely be the way I will consume Instagram until we've all moved over to Pixelfed.

P.S. I'm not sure how long the sessionid cookie lives for, so you might have to reconstruct the link in Granary once in a while, but that should be about it. Also, don't share that sessionid with anyone. I'm pretty sure it can be used to log into Instagram as you.

Jonas Voss

Jonas Voss

Yes: Looking forward to the first HWC London meetup of the year.

Jonas Voss

Festive indieweb and selfhosting

3 min read

Holiday is on, and apart from relaxing with the family, I aim to look into a bunch of stuff before I'm back at the factory in January.

My Indieweb life is coming on well, thanks to Known, and the community in London. I attended my first couple of Homebrew Website Club meetups in town in 2018, and although my contributions to the community so far is non-existant, I'm very glad to have met a handful of people to talk indieweb stuff with in person, on a regular basis. I've also logged onto the Indieweb slack/IRC channel where I'm a regular lurker.

One thing I'd like to do is, to import all the posts from my homegrown CMS into Known, so they get equipped with all the indieweb goodness which is part and parcel of Known. I've had comments turned off on my own CMS for years, because I gave up dealing with the deluge of spam coming in through the comments form. I'd like to have comments back. Known has an import feature which will let me import Wordpress RSS-feeds (which my old blog produces), so it should be possible. I did try a few weeks ago and wasn't successful, but I gather with a bit of tinkering I can make it work.

On the selfhosting front I'm very happy with my current inventory (bookmark service from Shaarli, Tiny Tiny RSS for reading feeds, dokuWiki for documenting/notes), but I also want to host more stuff. In particular, I'd like to try to run my own instance of Mattermost. With my current hosting provider, that option is a bit limited. As long as whatever service I want to selfhost has very standard requirements, such as PHP and MySQL, to run, then I'm fine. But I find that more and more of the things I would like to try to selfhost, requires a bit more, such as artisan, go, docker, and a bunch of other things that I either a) never heard of before or b), have heard of before, but have no clue about.

I will sign up for a month of VPS with one of the providers in the field, and try out a few things. It might be overkill, but then at least I'll know I'm in way over my head, and I can return to my shared hosting, and whatever that allows me to install.

Happy holidays (:

Jonas Voss

Been looking for a good bookmark tool for a while, and came across https://github.com/shaarli/Shaarli. Excellent little tool. Imported my bookmarks from del.icio.us and raindrop.io without a hitch. One more piece of my puzzle falls into place.

Jonas Voss

Totally agree about the community feel. I used to spend a lot of time on Usenet in the late 90s, early 00s, and to me the movement reminds me of the kind of connections I made there. Lose relations, tightly coupled to an idea or a theme. I used to participate in a Danish usenet group for Macintosh/Apple heads. It was great, met a lot of people IRL, some I still have occasional contact with today.

Jonas Voss

Jonas Voss

IndieWebify.Me

Β - a guide to getting you on the IndieWeb!

Jonas Voss

← An IndieWeb Webring πŸ•ΈπŸ’ β†’