Musings

No answers, only opinions

I was twelve years old. Seventh grade.

Something happened.

Maybe the teacher's phone rang. Maybe the principal knocked on the door.

Whatever it was, the teacher turned on the television.

Parental Guidance Advised. Teachers can substitute for parental figures.

Whatever was happening was summarized.

Broken down so even us, children, could understand.

In the following days and weeks, we were taught how to process and grow.

We wrote poems. We read books.

We learned how not to be afraid. We learned how to stand together.

All these years later, it's a damn shame to watch everyone fall apart.

And deliberated. It has been years since I've brought my Bible anywhere.

It used to just be me, a bag, and that book.

I spent a summer sleeping in an Eno (parachute material hammock) in Puerto Rico.

I feel like I'm packing pretty lean for tomorrow. Figured hell, might as well.

Never know when I might run into someone just as curious as I am. Like, as curious about Christianity as I am about Islam.

I can just picture a serious discussion slowly unraveling into a casual,

“What the fuck has been going on with the people who worship our God dude?!”

My importantly though, I'll be bringing my copy of Exploding the Phone (ISBN 978-0-8021-2061-8).

Also, my Banana Phone since Egypt has the proper cell bands for it. And the right charger. I bought that last December. Had no international trips planned, but super pumped to use it for real for real, if only for a week.

Also also, everything I've packed is what I'd be cool living with, should I just like, not come back.

I'm about to head to Egypt in a couple days.

Didn't really tell my mom until last week. Mentioned it to my dad when I performed his wedding ceremony last month. Didn't tell friends until today after discovering they were in Switzerland and then finding out they're now in Botswana.

I told my best friend though right when it happened. When I realized I was going. When I had to come to terms with my desire to escape the bubble I'm in with the fear of traveling during the pandemic that is still very much not over.

That was before Delta. But I have something most people don't have.

I maintain the internal web application that Netflix uses to make logistical decisions globally surrounding COVID-19. I checked. The virus is way less prevalent where we're going in Egypt than it is anywhere in America.

There's always risk, so make informed decisions.

If you are not vaccinated and you have access to the shot, please, please take it.

Anyway. I wanted to share something my best friend wrote. My journey into detoxing from the internet and regaining a semblance of my mental health began with side-stepping mainstream technology.

Her words in this post convey the desires I share about the journey I've been on this past year or so without needing to come from my mouth.

Truly, more humane technology exists. You do not need to be subjected to digital human rights violations or EULAs, for the laywers in the room.

It has been years since I scoured my bible. Years since I've talked with anyone in depth about religion besides my mother or my cousin (happy birthday buddy).

Figured I'd learned enough. Read enough. Had to figure out what it meant. How it applied to now.

I'd memorized so much. Clung to bits that seemed important. Having it written on my heart.

I search for versus occasionally. Sword drills. Am I remembering that right? Or fact checking, without confrontation. I'm not trying to either preach or be discipled. Some y'all quote the Holy Bible, but don't realize you're spewing some extracanonical deliberations.

That is to say: serious misinformation. That's blasphemy, if it is in the name of religion. Not pointing any fingers, but keep your eyes peeled. I know there are some versus about pruning branches.

Moments ago, I wrote:

i am ephemeral with the knowledge that my mind might change tomorrow and whatever i posted yesterday on the internet is archived eternally but may or may not be a reflection of who i am today.

It reminded me of something, so I went searching, “he who knows


“He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool; shun him.

He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a student; Teach him.

He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep; Wake him.

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is Wise; Follow him.”

― Arabian Proverb


It wasn't what I was looking for, but it was what I needed. I found what was on my heart, but not on my mind. I read this and I feel it captures the journey I'm on. What do I mean?

Well, on August 3rd, I wrote:

after over a year on the fediverse, i think i've figured out what this is and where we are.

this is where people are either indepedent artists exploring their digital identities freely without compromise or

the platform of the commons for people that were banned or scorned by other platforms for whatever reason.

it's possible to be both, but i don't think it is possible to be neither. it's possible to spectrum on either axis.

in this year, i've found myself to be more drawn to the artists and and repelled by the soldiers. i've exhibited traits from every different angle. i know i was angry and bitter for a while. like. i was never not spiteful on the internet until like super recently.

i'm getting better every day.

if you post things you enjoy on the internet, thank you.

if you post things you hate, get help.

For me, I needed to ditch my savior complex. I cannot help anyone that refuses to help themselves. It is literally not my job to prevent QAnon even though I thought it was.

As an example, it's been a little over a year since I've been clean of my addiction.

What I've discovered coming down from my high of internet outrage is: you reap what you sow.

A simple equation: bad vibes out, bad vibes in.

What was killing me on social media was the conflict. I realized I'd been roped into a culture war that began long before I was born. Then I asked myself,

Is this really necessary? My participation in this 'holy war'. Is it necessary?

I didn't care.

I will say my final words and bow out from this flame war.

“CSS is a programming language.”

Before all this. At the beginning. We panicked.

Personally, I bought an entire months worth of canned goods. For when the supply chains broke. They never did. Yet. News broke that Toyota is cutting 40% of production for lack of chips. Joining the rest. Even their best algorithms couldn't beat the virus.

Everyone else? No idea. Depends on who you ask, I guess. Everyone reacted different. Shut down to anyone that was different. Million different ways; everyone divided. I tried yelling, but to be honest I still don't know either.

Now though. It's just the sit and wait. Another wave on a sine curve.

Anyways though, I'm gonna be done being straight and emo and just get on with being queer again now. #TypeScriptIsForFascists

2020 was rough. 2021 is better but not great.

Instead of doing my usual these trying times, I instead chose to intentionally channel my energy into something more productive. I mean, I still did my usual on this blog, but this was my only outlet. And if I come off a little extreme at times, just remember: we're only getting started.

Anyways. My friends and I started a company on the side around a year ago. We disolved a few months ago. From our weekly meetings, my professional experiences, and my passions, I determined we needed a simpler and more future proof way of building client-side web applications.

My primary motivation was to build something that is compatible with Solid— the future of secure personal online data. The big idea being: One should be able to control their own online data and the applications that interact with them. Tim Berners-Lee calls these applications Beneficient— a contrast to applications that seem friendly, but engage in nefarious dealings.

Regardless of whether Solid actually is the future, I was looking for something that solved more problems. I explored many of today's offerings and was left unsatisfied. I learned a lot along the way. Ultimately, I want something:

So I built it. I call it Tag.

There's one dependency in the source code, a small library by one of my coworkers. If this dependency is unsatisfactory for any reason, it can be omitted with a two line change.

While I'd consider the status currently as Alpha, I've used it to build a relatively complex application at work already. Now that I'm happy with this foundation, I can finally get around to writing beneficient applications for Solid.

Look. I wrote several posts over the past year or so about the dark side of technology. Really exposed my inner fears and I've totally reformed my personal habits and technological dependencies along the way.

This is why:

https://edwardsnowden.substack.com/p/ns-oh-god-how-is-this-legal

“What do you mean that's why? That essay literally just came out today.”

Well, when it comes to computers, things are pretty black and white. Either on or off. Possible or impossible.

Sure, I didn't (and don't) know all the specifics of how utterly pwned we all are by our pockets. But I knew it was possible. I write software for a living.

Personally, I'm decreasing my digital footprint very intentionally for the safety and security of my friends and family. I'm moderately successful.

We're going to start entering the territory of moderately successful people and their loved ones getting abducted and held for ransom. I'm just trying to have that not be me.

I don't need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you. Good luck.

Standing on the edge of the abyss outside of Mel's Diner. I closed my eyes as I felt the city rush around me.

I took a pause and resonated into an alternate reality.

The cars? No more. The streets? Now fields. The buildings? The same shape, but no longer lifeless empty buildings after dusk. Instead, a different light shines from every window.

The moans snap me back into place. Someone is trying to get my attention to help. Something about just having surgery. I can't help. I think about all the tents I saw earlier.

I think about the person charging their phone through a street light. I thought it was neat how the city provided outlets in the lamp posts. I stared a bit as I walked past. There wasn't an outlet. Just a couple loose wires with the two prongs from the charger attached at their exposures. Hotwires. I'm impressed.

I think of all open floors, open kitchens, and open outlets: high above and all around. Could they help?

Of course not. They're not zoned for helping. Their hands are tied.

My friends are back. I couldn't wait inside with them. I needed some fresh air. I don't know if I got any, but I was glad to see my friends.

Prepping for a party today. Chili is cooking, V is making deviled eggs. We always squabble about the eggs. She likes mayo, I like miracle whip. She likes dill relish, I like a dash of sweet pickle juice.

I can't say mine are better anymore. It's a subjective debate. All I can do is try a bite and say: “I can't give you any advice, you're targeting a different flavor profile and I support you, but you're on your own here.”

Last year I talked about some heavier stuff thinking about our nation's history. Don't need to do that anymore because we've got all of our shit together down here now.

Unlike our neighboring Canada, we didn't have any sort of formalilzed system for killing indigenous children with the social endorsement from the church. Right? Right?? As far as I know, we only had pray-the-gay-away camps. /sarcasm (but also like, Christian Gays make the best lovers so thanks for the band of brothers, Jerry Falwell)

Anyway Canada, be more like us next time. Not blood thirsty, money hungry, and power insatiable.

We've got some things we can learn from you too, but let's just start with “genocide bad” and go from there. Now that you mention it, we can probably do a little bit better down here too.

I'll keep advocating for not oppressing others if you can agree to the same. I mean, I'm gonna do it anyways, but we all need to do our part so don't be a dick.

Thanks Canadians.

Cheers, Americans

In my previous essay, I pointed at Microsoft as the source of my nightmares.

I said, “While my essays have been full of fear, I believe that fear is not unfounded.” And I read a thing that contains fragments of that fear. I see both good and bad, but left to my own devices, I'd only see bad and become filled with fear.

I think that's because I know it is not just Microsoft. And I know it is not just law enforcement. And this claims Microsoft turned over records of journalists, members of Congress, and staffers for political purposes by a court order.

Looking back at my essays, a common thread is casual hate. I'm terrified of what modern day technical and political abilities are capable of when they are powered by such a subtle hate.

Sorry if I scared you, I was just scared too.

Turns out, I've been afraid of a social problem that I thought was in need of a technical solution. We the people just stick together, we'll come out alright in the end.

To be clear though, by stick together, I mean we really to end this mass surveillance thing. And like, the hate that justified it in the first place.

And the fear that caused that hate and by logical conclusion the signing of the PATRIOT Act by Bush. And the cancellation of Patriot Act by Netflix. #FreeHasan

Joking aside though, I've yet to hear even a single argument in favor of cataloging every thing about every person so that they can be stop and frisked virtually without knowing their rights have been violated by anybody that isn't a bug-eyed salamander in Silicon Valley.

Article mirrored in full below. Original Source Mirror

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