Technology Isn't Natural

Pre-existing bias.

We all have it to some extent. What is important is what we do with your biases. Can the unhealthy ones be changed? Fixed? Ignored?

Current widespread bias, I argue, is the notion that technology isn't natural. You hear it in the way words sound, the way we perceive concepts.

Think analog. Now think digital.

Analog is warm, old, stable, and simple. Digital is new, cold, complicated, changing, shifting, something else that we have knowingly removed conceptually from the rest of our natural lives.

Technology in the modern world has made us communicate more efficiently than any other before us, and in the process we have made things more conceptual. We deal in concepts as a society, more so in our modern world. Money, once a physical concept, is slowly morphing into a conceptual one. The economy is shifting into a perception-based entity where it was once the flow of physical trade. This blog is entirely conceptual beyond anything my ancestors ever dreamed of.

This is all tied into the concept of modern technology. And we distrust it.

Think about something analog. An old AM radio. Simple construction, reliable parts, probably aging so that it's getting hard to find replacement parts. It sounds muffled when you turn it on, an age that echoes, from beyond a very long distance.

Think about something digital. Your MP3 player. Crystal clear sound quality. Possibly an unreliable piece of equipment - even the best devices have problems sometimes. If it breaks, it's nearly impossible to fix by yourself, unless you designed it (trade secrets and all that - wouldn't want to give up the money maker!). You assume you'll throw it away when it's done being used. The battery will die, or the screen will wear out, or the headphone jack will stop working. Total life expectancy? Less than a few years.

This concept is not hard to spot once you think about it. Books versus ebook readers. Vinyl versus digital audio. Movie projectors versus a flat screen TV. A card game version of Uno versus an Xbox digitalization.

In so many ways, we as a society distrust technology. We distrust the complications, the conceptualization. We cling to the old ways and never let go, allowing these methods to resurge and amplify.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong. It just is.

iBook G3 with Debian

We have a working Apple iBook, 14.1" screen. Debian 6.0 saves the day!

The stats, I think, are: 256 or 384 MB RAM, ATI graphics card, 30GB hard drive, 700 mhz G3 PPC processor

What works:
-xorg, fluxbox, thunar
-Iceweasel, though only a few tabs at a time and even then it takes a bit (installed NoScript, Adblock, Flashblock and Ghostery to help keep memory down)
-keyboard and mouse, usb mice
-CD drive
-Marathon/Aleph One in software rendering mode (runs fairly well actually)
-Ur Quan Masters

What dosn't work:
-wi-fi (which would be WEP if it worked anyway, so who cares)
-changing xorg to a 16 bit color mode to get more video RAM for 3D acceleration

What will burn the hair off of your skin:
-the heat of the night

What will give you a back ache:
-the thing is darn heavy, mister, are you sure you're on the fifteenth floor?

They don't make laptops like they used to. You could kill a man with this thing. I'm not saying you couldn't with any other laptop, but it involves less whacking and a smaller time commitment.

I'm pretty pleased with it though. A friend mostly gave up on the poor lad and now look at 'em. He's as useful as any other laptop, save the sound and wi-fi. But who needs those things anyway.

I was tempted to try and install OSX on there to compare performance. The PPC iBooks were apparently supported up to 10.4. I wonder if a friend has an install disc.

I'm on Tumblr

I'm currently importing my best pictures and quotes from my soup (which is a large cornucopia of things I like) so bear with the initial deluge.

I haven't decided if I'll use it instead of blogspot, so it's a supplement for now.

It's Gone

Two things happened yesterday.

One, I lost my iPod shuffle.

Two, my roommate's mother splashed my Sansa Clip with a water bucket accidentally. She compensated me for the error.

Now this means that I only have one MP3 player, the iPod nano. And I'm okay with that.

You don't realize how little things mean to you until you separate from them. I automatically assumed: I don't have a small MP3 player now, time to shop. But then I shopped and found I didn't really want one in the first place.

I consider this profound because we assume we need something in our lives and it isn't until we really separate ourselves and look at our possessions, levels removed, that we see what matters.


Other notes:

-We went without internet for about ten days at the apartment which was an interesting, and dare I say, pleasant experience. The internet is a vast and powerful entertainment tool, but it's nice to disconnect from that world occasionally. If I was living alone I might have cancelled it entirely just to get some clarity.

What on earth did I do during these dark times? I read. I can safely recommend The Divine Comedy to pretty much everyone. I went for more bike rides, as they became recreational as opposed to fitness orientated. I also played a few video games. I found that among the few games I own, I can pretty much play Metroid Prime for the Gamecube almost exclusively and be perfectly happy, if not happier than buying a new game every month.

That's the sort of self-exploration I'm looking for!

Lowering Levels of Folders

Folders are great because they hide hidden clutter or complexity.

Try sorting your current files so that you only use one level of folders. This requires you to be:

-More specific
-Less eager to make more folders
-Less apt to shove something in a "misc" folder when that misc folder would get cluttered very, very quickly

It's not a steadfast rule and not everything works with it (music collections for example) but it's a fun exercise that helps reorganize and delete the unwanted.