Engineered Eloquence

Think Critically, Write Things Down, Repeat

I’m Reading “Orwell knew: we willingly buy the screens that are used against us — Henry Cowles | Aeon Ideas”

October 19, 2018


In a conversation I had recently, I made the comment that there are very few high-pressure sales situations anymore. Technology and the market (or consumers themselves) have decided that those situations are terrible and it is better to order things online and use apps to have interactions with vendors and, more generally, other people. But now consumerism is so easy, so without friction, that the pressure has simply moved from the salesperson to the consumer; we pressure ourselves into having everything we want because it is just a tap, click, or fingerprint away. I always make the comment that any decision is about priority, but so too is every constraint about choice. We all can choose to put our information out there, just as we can choose to keep our own privacy. The problem is that most people are choosing the former.

What’s most striking about the telescreen’s ubiquity is how right and how wrong Orwell was about our technological present. Screens are not just a part of life today: they are our lives. We interact digitally so often and in such depth that it’s hard for many of us to imagine (or remember) what life used to be like. And now, all that interaction is recorded. Snowden was not the first to point out how far smartphones and social media are from what Orwell imagined. He couldn’t have known how eager we’d be to shrink down our telescreens and carry them with us everywhere we go, or how readily we’d sign over the data we produce to companies that fuel our need to connect. We are at once surrounded by telescreens and so far past them that Orwell couldn’t have seen our world coming.

Or could he? Orwell gives us a couple of clues about where telescreens came from, clues that point toward a surprising origin for the totalitarian state that Nineteen Eighty-Four describes. Taking them seriously means looking toward the corporate world rather than to our current governments as the likely source of freedom’s demise. If Orwell was right, consumer choice — indeed, the ideology of choice itself — might be how the erosion of choice really starts.

-Orwell knew: we willingly buy the screens that are used against us — Henry Cowles | Aeon Ideas

I’m Reading “From Clockworks to Computers on Our Wrists — Medium”

October 19, 2018


I really enjoyed this overview of the horological world. There were quite a few pieces of information I was unaware of, especially just how recent most of the history of the watchmaking industry really is.

As fashion and comfort demanded thinner watches, watchmakers all over Europe began to investigate new ways of building slimmer clockworks. The challenges of early watchmaking closely mirror the challenges smartwatch producers face today: how to make technology smaller and more powerful.

-From Clockworks to Computers on Our Wrists — Member Feature Stories — Medium

I’m Reading “Jony Ive on the Apple Watch and Big Tech’s responsibilities - Financial Times”

October 19, 2018


This is the reason why I continue to go back to Apple with my money and trust. The company chooses to take a holistic view of the experience of ownership.

If you genuinely have a concern for humanity, you will be preoccupied with trying to understand the implications, the consequences of creating something that hasn’t existed before. I think it’s part of the culture at Apple to believe that there is a responsibility that doesn’t end when you ship a product.” As he speaks, his face rearranges itself into a troubled frown. It keeps me awake.”

-Jony Ive on the Apple Watch and Big Tech’s responsibilities - Financial Times

I’m Reading About the Apple Watch

October 19, 2018


This is probably the best Apple Watch review I’ve read thus far; everything I wrote yesterday still stands.

No matter how hard Apple tries to steer clear of being related to timepieces, it’s inevitable. Humans have two wrists and are very unlikely to wear a watch on each, so the conscious decision to wear an Apple Watch or a traditional watch is made each day. The two are intertwined and, therefore, competitors.

A Review of the Apple Watch Series 4 — The Sweet Setup

I’m Reading, October 18, 2018 at 07:41PM

October 18, 2018


As a part of my ongoing desire to share what I am reading, I automated posts of this type using Pocket and IFTTT. Below is an excerpt from the article and the URL for you to share in what I am currently reading. Want to discuss? Reach out.

For a while now I have been bouncing back and forth between using Dark Sky and Hello Weather as my tools of choice. Then a few months ago, after seeing some new features (at the time) of CARROT Weather, I decided to give the quirky app a try.

CARROT Weather

I’m Reading, October 18, 2018 at 03:49PM

October 18, 2018


As a part of my ongoing desire to share what I am reading, I automated posts of this type using Instapaper and IFTTT. Below is the description of the article and the URL for you to share in what I am currently reading. Want to discuss? Reach out.

Twenty-one months after she left the White House, Michelle Obama is returning to public life feeling purposeful and invigorated. She launched, within weeks, high-profile social initiatives on voting and girls’ education while preparing for a mega-book tour unlike any book tour, well, ever.

Michelle Obama’s vacation is over. Now she’s claiming her own spotlight.

Watches

October 18, 2018


I couldn’t sleep. It’s never at bedtime that this happens, it’s always in the early morning. Something wakes me, be it child or dream, and my mind reels, starts whittling away at some project or idea that could have waited until morning. Depending on the day, I may take my Apple Watch off to charge it at this point or I may put it on, having taken it off the charger. You see, I wear my Apple Watch to bed to track sleep, using the excellent AutoSleep, and use it as a silent alarm. It’s these types of use cases that don’t seem important to Apple right now and it is one of the things that drew me to wearing fitness trackers in the first place. I moved to the Apple Watch originally for extensibility and for it being a pretty good watch.

The worst part about the technology writers echo chamber is the fact that no matter where you go online, you will find the same set of analyses, block quoted and commentated, as if it is some kind of modern chain letter. (#showingmyage) Of course, I am about to do the same thing, but the thing about this post is the first draft of it was written before Marco Arment’s commentary went out. Because the point of my post is different, though the similarities can’t be denied. Here’s Marco:

These [design principles] all improve legibility by making it as fast and easy as possible to know which hour is being indicated (and minimize the chance of an off-by-one error), first by orienting your eyes to the current rotation with the 12 marker, then by minimizing the distance between the hour hand and the indices it’s between.

Apple Watch’s analog faces all fail to achieve these principles.

I have an Apple Watch Series 0 (First Generation) in Stainless Steel. When I bought it in late 2016, I had no idea how long it would be supported with OS updates. I got my answer during WWDC this year; now is the end of that road. I knew that buying the first generation would ultimately leave me behind, but I was able to get a deal on it and I wanted Stainless Steel. The reason why I mention this is to say this: the announcement of the Series 4 didn’t immediately impress upon me a need to update my watch. Instead, it made me start the process of reassessing what I wanted out of a watch, an apparently annual exercise for me.

Looking back into my archives, I wrote a lot about these things. Consider the following links a walkthrough of my journey in this regard:

Of course, in order to get a handle on what I wanted out of a watch, I needed to assess the things that I liked (and didn’t) about the Apple Watch. I wrote a post about the pros and cons of the Apple Watch after my first year of ownership (link above); that post actually stood up well in my rereading of it. So much so that my conclusion to this post is based largely on the same idea (spoiler alert):

The real sign that I am becoming displeased with the Apple Watch, though, is that I signed up for more information on the Nokia (née Withings) Steel HR this morning; it embodies what I still want, even after all my time with the Apple Watch: a good watch with smart capabilities, what I generally refer to as a smart watch” (notice the space). The reason why the Pebble was a good fit for me initially was due to its always-on nature and lack of nightly charge routine. In other words, it was a good watch. I am not always sure that the Apple Watch is a good watch, though.

Fascinatingly, I return to this line of thinking just after Withings (née Nokia) announced their update to the Steel HR line with the sport model that brings the device more in line with the Apple Watch in terms of features, along with killer battery life.

Back to the exposition: I have written before about my previous love for Pebble. To be frank, there is nothing on the market remotely like what Pebble was doing and while their approach was not without its issues, they were the only competition Apple had in the smartwatch field. Even now, when people discuss smartwatches, there is Apple Watch and there is a bloody battlefield of second place psuedo-contenders.

But when I wrote Smart Watches and Smartwatches (again, link above), l was fascinated by the idea that there was a difference and that each type of device had its place. I divided these devices into the following types: smart wearables (fitness trackers and other single purpose technologies), smart watches, and smartwatches.

I have had devices from a number of companies over the years and none were without their faults. One could also argue that the Apple Watch is the best device in each of the aforementioned device categories while still understanding the fact that there are legitimate problems with it. In fact, the Apple Watch still does not do things that each of my previous devices (now years old) did well out of box (again, smart alarms, sleep tracking, etc.) I purchased apps to fill in the gaps, but on a Series 0, most of those apps were quickly set aside due to how slow the hardware is.

So what device to get next is a valid and current question for me, but what further complicates the question is the assessment that I don’t even know what category my next device should fit into. If all I use my Apple Watch for is fitness tracking and I am OK with that fact, my next device could be fitness tracker. If I want a time piece that always shows me the time no matter how I move my wrist, perhaps a smart watch would be a better choice. Or maybe just a standard watch would be more suitable.

I have qualms with the Apple Watch as it stands today, things that even the Series 4 doesn’t address. Then, take into account Marco’s commentary, mentioned above, and I start to see why some people are former Apple Watch owners and have since moved to standard watches.

Without belaboring the point too much, the Apple Watch is successful because of its broad ranging capabilities and I can’t be sure how much I’ll miss any given piece of it if I were to jump ship. Investments in apps and watch bands create lock-in, while the steady improvements year-over-year and the attention to customer feedback feed loyalty. As I’ve said on an apparently almost annual basis, perhaps next year these questions will be answered for me.

The Relationship Between Sleep and Exercises

October 5, 2018


I’ve been reading recently about the relationship between sleep and overall health; this article seems to have a slightly different take: the relationship between sleep and exercise. Between my Apple Watch (with the desire to close those rings) and my general desire to feel rested in the morning, I feel like I do relatively well with all of the above, but something like the Oura Ring seems to do some really cool things with data collection and health assessments. From Men’s Health:

[Dr. Robert] Graham instead advised that for best results, don’t work out too strenuously right before bed. Ideally, try workouts for 20 minutes or more — whatever it takes for your body to feel hot — at least three hours before you want to sleep. As your body temperature cools, it acts as an additional signal for your body to sleep. Conversely, raising your core temperature immediately before bed will probably increase the time it takes you to fall asleep and may interfere with sleep quality.

RSS

October 5, 2018


Everyone has to stay on top of things somehow; each person just decides what things” they need to stay on top of and how to do it. With my relatively recent decisions (plural for multiple platforms) to forgo social media, News is one such item that I need to stay on top of and I have a clean slate on how to go about doing so.

Of course, clean slate is a misrepresentation. I have a history with technology, having been in the business for over a decade and having been using technology in one form or another since my childhood. And since technology is the way I have chosen to get my news since high school, I started out with more of a return to form; I went back to RSS as a means of keeping up on current events.

Using a sync service, in my case Feedly (because apparently there is only one real option for local RSS reading with iCloud sync and no thanks), I jumped back in with an old OPML file full of tech, food, and coffee blogs. Next, I started looking for a feed reader that syncs with Feedly (they all do) that was not the first-party Feedly client.

Side note: first-party clients are not always bad. Third-party clients, however, need to work to make a reason for their existence. There is a reason why the existence of any third-party Twitter clients scares Twitter; their priorities are different and, for that reason, they are just plain better. Third-party clients are able to focus on making their customer—the consumer—happy with a focus on the features that make for a better app, while first-party clients, especially for free services, focus instead on making their customer—ad agencies—happy with greased wheels between their products and the end-user. 🤢

All in all, I tried a couple different clients out and quickly found Fiery Feeds, an app that mirrors a long time favorite of mine on macOS, Readkit. I see the similarities in a variety of ways not limited to its focus on an intuitive, well-designed interface and its ability to act as a reader for many read-later services as well. Fiery Feeds is well maintained, has both iPad and iPhone apps that just work and has a low-cost subscription-based business model that will allow the developer to continue to work on it hopefully for years to come. (If all of this sounds familiar to you, it should; the best apps in the App Store have basically the same modus operandi, including Drafts, Overcast, etc.)

All this to say, RSS is still an open platform that anyone can build on top of and use, which is definitely something that I have chosen to prioritize in my move away from proprietary technologies, especially in the social media and news aggregation spaces. It works and it will continue to work even if any/all of the above commentary is rendered obsolete in a matter of years.

In a separate commentary, I will need to discuss the current landscape of read-later services and why I am displeased with that as well, but I thought I would try to stay focused on RSS this time around. However, whether I am talking about RSS or read-later services, the following stands: if only someone would figure out how to make an app that looks nice, works just as well as Fiery Feeds in every other way, and syncs via iCloud instead of a third-party service, we’d be golden.

Finding Purpose

October 4, 2018


NOTE: This post originally appeared on nashp.com, as a guest post. Check the original out and Nash’s blog as well; he’s pretty great!

I went through a bit of a slump this summer. With overwhelming amounts of stressful work, family, and personal situations all vying for my attention, I just couldn’t bring myself to write without the proper time and thoughtful consideration I expect from myself when writing for the site. I even took my site down for a time due to how full my brain felt.

When I say slump, I mean I was unable to find motivation to do much of anything. My wife assures me I did not show this feeling outward, but I scaled back a lot of the things I generally considered fun. At home, cooking became a chore, housework became anathema, and I generally didn’t want to do anything that required energy. At work, whether I was working on a coding project, working on a committee, or pursuing professional development, I was unmotivated to do more than the bare minimum.

In my overwhelmed state, I more generally felt a loss of purpose and I only recently came to grips with what I was feeling and how to combat it. As I stated in my post about responsibility, I normally feel passion and desire to help others, especially when I have a voice as a white person in the United States of 2018. Said more bluntly: what right do I have to have a slump at all?

Enter Nash

I honestly have no idea how or when I first heard about nashp.com, but I ended up following him on Twitter, reading his Blog, and subscribing to his email newsletter. One such newsletter caught my attention in August of 2017:

That’s what this change here is. I’m writing you directly. This isn’t automated, and this isn’t for my website. I’m writing straight to you. The goal is to build relationships with the people that are interested. The cool thing is, all you have to do is reply to this message, and a conversation is started. You can simply say hello, or we can discuss a certain topic that I wrote about. Or I can help you with a project that you’re working on. Just let me know.

My response:

I love this. I wish there was enough time in the day to convert all those nascent Twitter follows and likes into something more real. I recently deleted Twitter from my phone because of just that feeling. I was watching more and participating less. I’m now trying to use my Blot-hosted blog as a space to write short but meaningful thoughts and automate my posts to social media to better prioritize real connections where I can. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for trying something different.

This started something: an OMG-has-it-already-been-a-year back and forth that has led to one of the closest online-only relationships I have ever had. Nash and I have the commonalities of a desire to share, a desire to connect, and a desire to serve. He and a few others helped me realize that I was putting too much pressure on myself, even with just the name of my site; his words: Keep it..rebrand it to just your name..and there’s nothing eloquent..it’s just you”. I have had the site name for so long, I can’t just get rid of it, but his point struck me and stands.

I decided my slump had to end and in a big way, so I’ve started to write and share again, but I’ve also started to help others with their own stuff.

Desire to Help

Being the son of a pastor and a lifelong teacher, I was raised in a service mentality. My sister went into social work and community organizing; I went into service-focused technology with particular passion for libraries and higher education. I married a teacher with a passion for minority and underrepresented populations. In other words, we have a desire to help in each of our focus areas and we are service-oriented.

I sometimes wondered if I went into the wrong industry. Due to the digital divide and my passion for access, the technology landscape is at direct odds at times with my sensibilities. But a passion is a passion and every area needs compassionate, empathetic people to steer toward a better future.

Similarly, I never thought of my website as a place where I could reach out to those who needed assistance or better yet where they could find the information in order to reach out to me. So my day job was helping people with technology and my site was separate; it seems silly now to think I would keep my site separated from something I am passionate about. For whatever reason, I was never sure how much detail people wanted in my niche community about what it takes to code my site and sites like it. Nash debunked that theory.

Helping Out With Blot

This site runs on Blot. I tell you this since it is a commonality between my site, Nash’s, and others for whom this story matters. I don’t generally consider myself a programmer, but I understand code just like any other person who spends enough time around it and similar puzzles; as an aside, at some point I will have to stop this line of thinking since a person who programs as often as I do is probably considered a programmer. One way I see myself helping others is in sussing out code problems and giving advice about design and approaches to technology. Long story short, I have helped Nash with a few things and want to help others in the same way.

Short story long, Blot uses the Mustache templating engine to render pages. The nicest thing about it is the simplicity it can provide for those who want a blog that just works, while providing the flexibility that other templating engines have without the excessive learning curves. Blot also has a number of nice touches to complete the simplicity chain, such as folder-based post tagging and automation capabilities that come by way of its use of Dropbox as a file server.

For janea.net, Nash and I set out to provide a dead simple way for the purveyor to post folders of pictures and render them as photoblogs. In addition, we looked at her site as a blank slate. With the information she provided, what could we do to make the site both usable for her ministry, but also useful for those who wanted to stay connected to her. This was the short list for the initial launch: simplistic navigation, automated email newsletters (and dead simple signup process for it), a place for her words, a place for her pictures, and a place for her donation campaigns and handmade merchandise.

For instance, Blot’s tagging system allows Janea to create a folder within her hierarchy called [china]”. By default, Blot has the ability to use a page that points to specific tags, in this case janea.net/tagged/china. Using the templating engine, I was able to make it so that if given the proper combination of tags, the tagged posts” (in this case the photos themselves) are listed. If not given the proper set of tags, the name of the article is listed as one would expect a tagged post to appear.

Since our preference would be that all of this would be invisible to Janea, she now is able to simply name a folder in Dropbox China”; throw a few pictures from her trip to China into the folder; and be presented with a Photoblog of her trip, accessible to the world. Being a tech guy who cares about ease of use (after all I am an Apple guy) and service, coupled with a person like Nash who wants only the best, we say, It can be and should be that simple for creators!”

In a truly holistic approach, Nash and I collaborated to code it, test it, format old items according to the new syntaxes, and write documentation for reference: my own, Nash’s, and Janea’s.

Helping Out More Broadly

I’m dedicated to service in both my personal and professional life; so is Nash. We thought it best to write something up on this little endeavor to discuss our consulting work, both of which are represented by pages on our sites at /help”: here and here. If you have a project, idea, or need, reach out and we’d be glad to help.

On Finally Understanding The Matrix Sequels

October 2, 2018


For fifteen years, I’ve assumed that the Matrix Sequels were irredeemable failures. But looking back on them with fresh eyes reveals a pair of films that are exhilarating, interesting, and sometimes hilarious. In this video I try to make sense of these two movies, and what they have to say about free will and the systems that control society.

Best Quote: There are some movies whose reputations are so seemingly universally agree upon, good or bad, that we stop questioning them. But the great thing about art is that while it stays the same, you don’t, and when you take a look back at something you thought you knew, it feels like waking up to a new reality when all you’ve ever known was the illusion.”

I honestly never thought The Matrix Sequels were bad, but I never thought they were as good as the original. I think I understand better now why there was a visceral reaction from so many about the movies. In any case, now I definitely want to rewatch them.

Motivation

October 1, 2018


I very rarely listen to podcasts anymore.
I was listening to one at the behest of a new friend;
A topic came up that really spoke to me:
Motivation.

Everyone has to find their own motivation.
If you can’t find something to motivate you,
You cannot do the thing being require of you.

Nash spoke to the idea that the hardest part of moving forward:
Getting started after a stopping point.
My blog space(s) can attest to that.

Each time I think about writing,
I think about how long it has been since my last post,
How stale the content might become after a time.
Living documents are like that.

Shouting into the void is tiring,
excessively futile.
But it serves a purpose

For the tinkerer in me,
For the creative in me,
For the socialite in me,
For the nostalgic in me,
For me.

Responsibility

July 13, 2018


In a conversation recently, a new friend told me that they just wanted to create; they no longer want to deal with the vagaries of getting the content they create out into the world. They came to me to help with the vagaries.

I completely agree. I just want to create. Perhaps my definition of create is different yet tangentially related since we both host blogs and at least one of us keeps it up to date (that one” is not me).

I think the case can be made that when you have a channel by which to make a point, you have a responsibility to everyone that might come across said channel to make a point. Not only that, but I feel a strong responsibility to make sure that the things I write have value, that I can look back on them and be both proud and energized to continue.

To say nothing of the political landscape in which we find ourselves, the responsibility I feel in this day and age is heavy. I am a cis white hetero male; I both ought to feel this burden and ought to work to do something about it.

In that vein, no matter what I do, I know that it is not enough. Reading, writing, donating, volunteering, marching, raising my children to understand their role in oppression and their responsibility to combat it, calling out those areas, even in myself, that need work, making everyone feel welcome in the places that I work and live.

I think my radio silence can be summed up in one idea, the one that causes me the most internal struggle of late: by being yet another white male voice on the Internet, whose voices are being discounted or suppressed because I felt mine had to be heard? On the flip side, if I say nothing, is my online ennui not also a form of complicity?

A Commentary on a Video

May 14, 2018


This article can speak for itself (it is short, you should just go read it), as can the video it details. My take-away: heart-wrenching and yet I can’t stop watching it. To be frank, white people shouldn’t stop watching it.

The truth is that this video, and what it suggests about its artist, is very difficult. A lot of black people hate it. Glover forces us to relive public traumas and barely gives us a second to breathe before he forces us to dance.”

-Doreen St. Félix, The Carnage and Chaos of Childish Gambino’s This Is America”, The New Yorker

An Article On Smartphone Addiction

May 9, 2018


I read this article today over on Quartz: At first life without a smartphone was terrifying. Then it was beautiful. I have kept my reading habits in a running list here if you are interested. I really just want a way to keep a log of the things I am reading, but this one caught my attention and I wanted to comment.

I do not feel that I am addicted to my phone and I like hearing other points of view. However, I feel and have felt similarly to the author in terms of the amount of time and attention given to the digital, while ignoring and neglecting the physical around us. For some, this might include people or sounds or vistas, but not matter what you are ignoring, the digital world requires attention that perhaps we should all think twice about giving it.

My thing is audio. I have a love/hate relationship with podcasts, something I am often moderately ostracized for within the tech community.1 I ended up removing my podcasting clients from my phone and I rarely listen to music on my commutes because I realized it was a distraction that was having an affect over time. My point is, we all have our thing that can be (but probably shouldn’t be) too much of a distraction from the things that really matter and, time and time again, humans are told through evidence and emotion that we are meant to work with, communicate with, have fun with other physical humans, not digital distractions.


  1. I have to assume this is because the majority of podcasts are one or more white men talking about technology.

Relief

April 13, 2018


I wasn’t happy with yesterday’s post, but I published anyway. I’m trying to be better about hitting the button because historically I have not done a good job of doing so. In fact, rather often, in the pursuit of the perfect post, I would edit myself right out of posting anything at all.

When I was writing that post about social media, my first thought was not about frequency of posts; I didn’t really think about whether that post would kickstart my writing habit again, but when I pressed the button that day, I felt relief. That sense of relief (at saying goodbye to big social”) and accomplishment (as if publishing caused the last piece of a puzzle to fall into place) was enough to remind me how important (cathartic, perhaps) sharing ones thoughts can be.

Because

April 12, 2018


I’m not a programmer”; it is a common refrain when I try to explain what I do in my technology-based day job. I find it harder and harder to justify the sentiment as over time however due to how much time I spend looking at, changing, and creating code while at work.

Yesterday, I was tinkering with my Github Pages site, which for all intents and purposes works the way I intended it to. But I was bored, so I blew it up, started from scratch. After an hour of playing with new themes and changes I was interested in, I reverted back to the working version with the commit message because”. In my mind, I was thinking because this is easier, because this is working, because this is comfortable”, but in the long run I learn nothing from because”.

And really, that is what all my side projects (and in my mind all my experiences) are about: learning.

Let’s Build Something

April 11, 2018


Most people build things out of a desire to fix a problem they see in the world. I’ll give you a for instance: I manually add books I’m reading and have read within a given year to this page. I don’t read enough books each year for this to be an issue, but recently I realized that the page was an incomplete representation of my reading habits. I read articles all the time and given my move away from social media, there is no easy way to share what I’ve recently read. So, I created this page, which auto-populates recently read articles (with the help of IFTTT and Instapaper), along with the date and time I finished reading them. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it gets the job done. My point is that I worked to build that solution because of a missing feature” of normal life. Others could technically copy or learn from my example in solutions they conceive.

However, I often hamstring myself into thinking solutions are all about being groundbreaking or revolutionary. On the contrary, solutions just need to solve a problem; and those problems don’t even need to be universal.1 I have spent a lot of time creating scripts and automations on iOS that I never use. Some of them were good experience, some of them even solved a problem that is no longer a problem in the constant forward progress of technology. In any case, I shouldn’t stop myself from attempting to create a solution just because it only benefits me or a small subset of other people.

So let’s go build something.


  1. World-renown web comic XKCD does have a counterpoint to creating a solution that takes too much time in its creation though.

That post about social media

April 10, 2018


I haven’t been writing here, but the truth is I haven’t been writing anywhere. After the public launch of micro.blog, I had basically moved to that service for all my online social needs, but in the end I didn’t need a better social network, I needed no social network. I enjoyed the just-like-early-Twitter” banter that took place on micro.blog, but I didn’t need it and the more we study social media, the more it becomes apparent that we shouldn’t need it nor should we force ourselves to be a part of a conversation about which we care little.

That’s unfair. I cared about the conversations, but like any addictive substance, I learned the best way for me to kick the habit was to get rid of my access to it altogether.

So let’s just get this out of the way: the big names in social media are all terrible companies. The worst part about that statement is the fact that I do not have to name them; you all know the companies I am referring to. I have started to systematically delete those accounts. Meanwhile, you shouldn’t care. These decisions are always about highly-personal cost-value propositions. Does this service provide enough value to you to deal with the issues that are apparent in your use of them? If the answer is yes, fine. If the answer is no, don’t keep accounts out of some misplaced loyalty or historic precedents or peer pressure; delete them.

Also, don’t tell anyone. Those people who notice and reach out to you, even if just to ask why, are the people to keep in your now more physical social circle.

I really appreciate the recent resurgence of open web technologies; see RSS, email, anything related to micro.blog, and other protocol-based technologies.

So if you’d like to reach out, feel free.

Minimalistic Catharsis For Parents

March 17, 2018


The Comment to Idea to Execution Workflow

February 26, 2018


You, too!

February 23, 2018


Barbarism

February 22, 2018


And Another Thing… (About Teachers)

February 21, 2018


Where Does The Money Come From

February 21, 2018


  • Where does the money come from to buy firearms for these teachers?
  • Where does the money come from to buy ammunition for these teachers?
  • Where does the money come from to train these teachers?
  • Given most taxpayers won’t give money to cover basic school supplies, what makes you think they’ll be willing to give money for firearms?
  • As the husband of a teacher, I can assure you that teaching is one of the most stressful, thankless, and unfairly compensated jobs in the world. How do we prevent a teacher from losing their cool one day and using their firearm, unprovoked?

-Casey Liss, A Series of Questions… Liss is More

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