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Me!
Verily

I built this.

Moving πŸ”—

Well, my parents just sold their house. That means my childhood home is no longer going to be in the family. I'm not sure that strikes me as sad, or good, or just indifferent. I suppose it should have some sort of influence on me, but I'm finding it difficult to react one way or the other.

I mean, I know I'm happy for them. It's a big change for them, and now that they're retiring, they want to spend more time with my son, which means moving down here. All of that is good, in many ways. I'm sure it'll be a change for myself and Erin's family, but it'll work out. So, why the "meh" feeling?

I guess I've just been so disconnected from my parents, from Maine, that I don't really consider myself part of that place anymore. It's been so long, that I'm rounding the corner on having been here longer than I have lived there. That's not to say I don't miss some things, but those things are largely gone, or have changed, or I have changed. I just don't feel connected to it anymore.

Maybe I'll feel something when visiting it for the last time. Maybe I'm just broken... who knows?

Ms. Marvel πŸ”—

Yes, I know I'm a day late. I watched Obi-won yesterday, and had a busy evening. Of course, a busy day meant I couldn't pay as much attention to it as I'd have liked. Today, I got to watch Ms. Marvel uninterrupted.

What a treat it was!

I had read most of the early comics of hers when they came out, so some of the differences were a little suspect, but given that the only mention of the Terragen Mists was in a different reality... we'll let it slide.

Imani is absolutely great in her role, and her family dynamics feel fluid and awkwardly real. While I'm not a child of immigrant parents, I felt like there was enough of the teenage expereince that trancedned the sort of 'foreigner family' trope that gets played up often in western media. Teenagers know how it feels to be denied something they feel is critical to their being and their social lives. Teenagers know how cringey and embarassing their parents can be trying to 'fit in'. It doesn't matter where you're from.

I am psyched to see more. Absolutely psyched.

I Thought I Wanted... πŸ”—

Note: I'll be getting those photos sorted soon enough. They're uploaded, but I just can't be bothered with the markup right now...

I, recently, was assigned a brand-new Macbook Pro at work. We're getting a bunch of new-hires in that will be using them, so we need to ensure they'll work with our enviornment. While that's not really a concern of mine, I understood that this came from higher up on the food chain, and did what I needed to do.

One thing I like to pride myself on is being versitile. I can use lots of different operating environments and still be mostly productive. While I have a some Windows-centric things for my position, the rest is mostly just email and phone calls.

For a lot of my life, I was an Apple user. I had a big 'ole Grey iMac G3 and a Powerbook G4 as well as varying newer models. I've also been a long time iPhone user, which makes being a Mac user an easy decision, especially as the two platforms have grown closer. I've also been a frequent Linux user and a professional Windows support jockey. Finding middle ground between all of these platforms hasn't been easy, and usually takes a heaping amount of compromise.

Recently, though I can't find the blog post it was in, I expressed interest in going "all in" with Apple. I already use their phones, their music and movies, I may as well settle in for a well integrated (at the cost of being more flexible) experience and let my fortunes be what it may.

However. I spent a decent amount of time poking around in the newer versions of macOS, only to be disapointed at how stripped down it has become. Sure, I could rely on Homebrew to paper over some of that, but it feels like I'm either no longer the target demographic, or I'm fooling myself into believing that I'm something that I'm not. Recently, I feel like it could be either of those things.

Reading that Apple is stripping out all scripting languages like Python, Perl, Ruby and more is disheartening, but it doesn't really affect me. As I've said before: I'm not a programmer. I do, however, feel like just knowing this strips some of the luster away. Sure, their hardware feels great, and the performance is impressive, but to what end? I'm just a regular power user, now. I write some HTML and CSS, tinker with some configuration, and read comics and the news. Isn't it time I get real and choose a platform that emphasises those experiences?

I wish it were as simple as that. Having a Linux machine tells me that freedom is liberating, if exhausting. Windows tells me that a consistent, long-term experience is a value in-of-its-own. Mac tells me that for better or worse, we're all going to be shoehorned into choices that we may not on the surface like, but fit ourselves better.

Computers really are something awful.

Alaska Photos πŸ”—

Paid vs. Free πŸ”—

One of the ongoing debates in my head, and I imagine with most people, is do I use the "free" product, or is it worth paying for a more "premium" product? Often, this comes down to what you need out of it, and what you're willing to "put up with" as far as frustration and limitations are. For some, thriftiness is king and the use of nominally free products is more important than removing frustration and roadblocks. To others, having a frustration-free, or much easier/enjoyable experience is much more important than low cost. I would imagine that, like me, many fall somewhere in-between.

For instance: I would never pay for a text-editor. With the dearth of absolutely incredible tooling out there, for free, and my relative needs, there isn't really any onus to buying something like that. However, I will absolutely pay for things or access to stuff like manga, music, movies, TV shows and others in lieu of simply pirating them from the many sources online. Same thing goes with email: I would rather pay for good email service rather than rely on "free" services, as my email is private communication and free services tend to infringe on that as part of the non-monetary cost.

Search is an interesting subject. Like news, we've been conditioned to see search as something that has infinite value, and therefore should be free. From Altavista, Yahoo and Dogpile to Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo, we're continually told that search indexing is both free and invaluable. It's not until you actually look at the problem of search that you realize just how massively complicated and expensive it is to run. It's, therefore, small wonder that advertising and sponsored content is all the rage with search engines.

I write all this because it seems like there isn't much to do about it. Others are musing about it, and some solutions have been created, but it doesn't seem like there is any solid path forward. Do I need to pay for every service I want to use? That seems counter-productive or at the very least exclusionary to less well off users. It also brings up the idea of what is part of the critical infrastructure of the Internet. DNS, HTTP, SSL Certificates, routing... all behind the scenes services, all paid for by someone, usually a provider of some kind. However, what would it be like to pay for all of those things ala carte? Would they bundle? What kind of fragmented access would that provide? Should we add search to that stack? I know that search isn't a protocol, but it seems like the web is prohibitively large enough to need it. While I understand the problem is complex enough, that making it free without some kind of compensation is kind of a big ask, even for large companies with the capital to fund it. It still seems like a fundamental part of how we use the web.

Search seems to be moving into an interesting place. Despite the size and complexity of it, there is strong headway in making it more digestible and easier to index through many open-source projects. While not on the scale of their for-profit fore-bearers, they will seemingly make some kind of waves in the world of search. I could reasonably foresee a future where such indexes are distributed and each user has a small indexer that scrapes what is visited and distributes it to an aggregator. Though, that's also fraught with problems.

I don't know if I like where this is all going. We've had this duopoly for ages now, and it seems like there is no quantitative relief in sight if you want a robust search engine that respects your privacy, gives you good results, and is accountable to you. Given how much any average search engine knows about your personality through your searches, it probably knows as much as your phone does, and that's a lot.

Oops! πŸ”—

I just noticed that I was encoding images as .avic instead of .avif for that new format. Yeah, that doesn't work πŸ˜…

After a bit of fussing and judicious use of convert and the excellent fdfind, things should be right, now. They seem to load for me on Firefox, anyway.

I'm looking in to converting images to JPEG-XL, now that it's a standard. Though Debian Stable doesn't have an imagemagick new enough to encode to it, so I'll be waiting on that.

I Wish All Conflicts Could Be Solved Like This πŸ”—

I wish all conflicts could be solved like this.
I wish all conflicts could be solved like this. Credit: Viz/ONE/Yusuke Murata

I'm Back πŸ”—

I'm back.

My ears are still stuffed up and I still feel the motion of the cruise ship. I had a post I had written while out there, but it was more about Emacs than the vacation, so I binned it.

Turns out, a bunch of shit happened while I was out and I don't really want to think about it. I'm going to do what I can to work off this jet lag, ear poppin' and phantom motion.

Tipping Point πŸ”—

Managing this site at the pace that I am updating it is taking a bit of a toll on me. While I enjoy the viceral feel of hand crafting HTML and CSS, I am getting tired of managing the entire tree myself. This is felt particularly hard when I add pages. Granted, I don't foresee myself adding many more pages… but it does take cognitive effort to manage.

I've been kicking around using Hugo, again, to manage the site. It's powerful and neat and entirely too much for what I need. Or maybe it's just enough. No idea. It's all experimental. I don't like the templating situation, it's entirely overcomplicated. The shortcode situation is also one that requires thought. While I can see it being useful, I'm not sure I want to dig into it, yet.

Fortunately, there's no cure for burn out better than going on vacation! So, that's what I'm doing. I don't think I'll post from it, but I'm obviously too vain to promise anything of the sort.

"Ogres Have Layers; Stylesheets Have Layers, Too" πŸ”—

While pounding out some HTML and other crap content for this site, I stumbled upon some new features coming to CSS. Specifically: Layers.

A CSS layer is like an extra precidence trick to allow you to apply sets of CSS with increasing or decreasing orders of specificity. The upshot is that you can now include your CSS resets, base typography, colors, utilities and then your customizations. As the browser works its way down the list, older/earlier rules get overwritten with newer ones until the layering has ended.

This has a lot of potential with CSS frameworks, but it also has helpful organizational use for people like me. Allowing me to have a basic style ruleset, then layer customizations on top of it, without having to break out the !important's to override tricky selectors. That way, code-wise, everything stays pristine. The browser is the mixologist.

Too bad it's too new to use. If you're using less than version ~100 of your respective browser, you'd be out of luck and (likely) get wacky results. Hopefully things get sorted out soon.

Print & Play for Travel πŸ”—

So, I'm going on a little trip with my family. It's going to be a long airline ride, and probably more driving on top of that. So, in order to help with duration, and to help cut down on the screen time, I've started looking, again, into print and play games.

I've done this once before, during the pandemic (well, it's still the pandemic, but 2 years on already…). I printed Supermarche , Four Against Darkness (bought), Bargan Basement Bathyspheres (of Beachside Bay) , and Utopia Engine . Many of these I just sent to Kinkos/FedEx/Whatever to get printed on nice stock or lamenated for multiple plays. This time, I've chosen a few new ones.

I was really tempted to print Gloomholdin' , but I tend not to be in the mood to play something complex in a confined space. I'd rather spread out and enjoy a complex experience. Travel also makes complex things frustrating. I don't think anyone is going to want to be any more frustrated than they will be. To that end, I've sent ~$17 worth of printing on nice cardstock to FedEx:

Both have simple rules and simple materials. Mini Rouge can be co-op, and both are small enough to comfortably sit inside a backpack or pastic bag. Of course, I'll be taking dice, some meeple and a tray, too.

Update: I found a great video on how to make good print-and-play cards:

Excellent Laminating!

VSCode vs. Emacs πŸ”—

My love afair is a triangle
My love afair is a triangle

I love Emacs. I really do. I use for lots of things. However, I absolutely love using VSCode for web stuff, and Python. It feels like there is a more comfortable setup configured for these languages than in Emacs. I imagine I could make Emacs work better, but at what time cost to me?

Update: Thinking about this, Emacs feels like an all-or-nothing affair. When you use Emacs, you're practically encouraged to use it for everything. I mean, why leave if you can access all or most of your tools from within Emacs? Need to kill a process? M-x proced. Need to read some email? M-x mail (or one of the many variants). Need a terminal? M-x eshell. Even things like organization, calendaring, note taking and chat can all be done inside Emacs. It becomes an integral part of your life, except when you can't use it. Which means while on the go you're stuck without your second brain. One of the biggest reasons I kind of stopped using it was due to this. Even as I type these words into Emacs, I know that it doesn't quite fit for me. Which is sad, because I like it so much.

Link: The Expert vs the Impostor

Woof, Impostor Syndrome. Story of my life.

I spent nearly ten years working on websites and doing "coding" (for whatever values of that you're willing to accept for writing PHP). This was a position I inherited because I had tinkered with it as a kid and had an affinity for it. I was far from being a professional.

I often have to remind myself that I am not:

  • A developer
  • An artist or creative type
  • A systems engineer

I have an expertise in doing desktop support. That's pretty much it. Everything else is just me learning enough to be, as Kev puts: "dangerous". I sometimes think that everyone behaves this way, and no one is a expert. However, that is clearly not the case. People may not know every aspect of a thing they have expertise in. However, for all intents and purposes, they're an 'expert'. I just wish I knew where the line was.

πŸ”— Permalink to this post.

Another Day, Another Positive πŸ”—

Turns out I'm still positive. However, my sinuses are empty enough that I can taste and smell again. So, it's still a mixed bag.

I just hope all this clears up soon, I'd like to actually go somewhere.

It's been a whole day, now, without smell or taste. At first it was a novel thing. I was intreguied by the odd "numbness" of food. It's not that what I was eating didn't have texture, it's just that the food lacked anything particularly defining about it. The biggest surprise wasn't anything I was prepared for.

Being full on what feels like nothing. Eating my fill in bulk food, without regard for flavor, has a weird almost painful feeling, without any of the satisfaction.

I'm not going to lie. It's depressing. Smell is less important to me, but flavor. Wow, it's going to be hard to overcome.

Me!
Nathan DeGruchy,

πŸ”— Permalink to this post.

Today, I woke up not being able to smell or taste anything. COVID is having one more laugh at my expense.

Me!
Nathan DeGruchy,

πŸ”— Permalink to this post.

Working From Home While Sick is Sometimes Nice πŸ”—

This whole Twitter acquisition thing has me thinking about the "microblogging" movement of Twitter and platforms like it (read: Mastodon, etc).

It feels like microblogging platforms allow people (including myself) to say a little about a lot of stuff. In the end, I'm not sure if that's as useful or novel as people make it out to be.

I'm not sure that I need to make a comment about every little thing I've read or did or thought. While I know that it can be very funny or topical, looking back, I'm not sure that it was really as useful as I made it out to be.

Me!
Nathan DeGruchy,

πŸ”— Permalink to this post.

Can't Sleep πŸ”—

I can't seem to sleep lately. I, at least for now, am attributing it to a combination of the medicine I'm getting from my doctors to treat COVID symptoms and naps. I am beginning to think that daytime naps are the bigger contributor to my inability to fall asleep at night. I tend to take naps in the afternoon after work.

I should probably cut back on those. However, they do help with my energy levels. Perhaps moving them into earlier afternoon, like during lunch time, would be more productive.

I dunno, but I'm just done with COVID right now. Between the snotting and coughing all the time. I know I'm lucky due to being previously vaccinated, but this still sucks in it's own special way.

COVID 19 πŸ”—

Well, it finally happened. I got COVID. I feel like crap, but I also feel like I'm doing better than most. I had not only my vaccine, but I had two boosters.

The thing I fear most, now, is that I'm going to loose my sense of smell/taste. I know it's not a foregone conclusion, it is possible. Time will tell, I guess.

Meow, Meow, Meow! πŸ”—

😸😸😸

Looks like "Lightyear" is going to be a pretty funny movie. Sardonic robot cat? Sign me up.

Discomfort πŸ”—

I've been one to throw myself into awkward computing situations. Frequently, I install new updates and explore features that are barely tested. In short: I don't shy away from "new". Even if it's a big change. I spent more than a year booting from a floppy to load BeOS when even Firefox was barely working on it. I've toyed around with different Linux window managers, including ones like DWM which require you to know some C to configure it, compiling it after each change. Hell, I used Emacs and Notmuch mail with POP3 in 2021 on Exchange because I thought it'd be neat.

I don't know why, then, that Windows 11 rubs me so wrong.

It's not like the interface has changed so dramatically that I can't work anymore. I feel like it's a death from a thousand small cuts. From menu items appearing cramped and odd looking. To the total revamp of the Settings application and how nothing works right. 11 should have been Microsoft's time to absolutely blow people away with the runaway success of 10. My first login experience was multiple messages about some Teams DLLs not being correct for my platform. Again, I shouldn't be bothered by any of this, but I am.

My Windows 11 welcome
My Windows 11 welcome

I'm also really bothered because I feel like the Windows 10 install on my old potato computer is as good as it can get. Upgrading to 11 on a newer laptop feels like it would be a wash, both in productivity and in functionality. I mean, I plan on upgrading at some point. I just don't know when. This makes me strongly reconsider Linux, though I'm not in love with that idea, either.

Article Feed: Now Up πŸ”—

There is now an ATOM feed available for this site. It's not comprehensive, but it's a start and it's hand made.

Why are open-source, self-hosted solutions so… boring? I want to host something that I can really use, not some enterprise wannabe app.

Me!
Nathan DeGruchy,

πŸ”— Permalink to this post.

Link: Better Blocker Forgotten

What an absolute tool. I don't even know why I bother with anything Aral has to say. He's such a blowhard, spinning up projects that he has no intention of finishing, or even supporting when he's bored of it. I guess this is a "shame on me" moment.

Not 3 years ago, Aral was talking about how their iOS ad-blocking app "Better Blocker" was doing middlingly well, but gave them a decent chunk of change a year (more than some make doing actual jobs). Now, because Apple didn't fight doing searches for child pornography on people's photos, they've taken it down.

Mind you, Better Blocker was a paid appliction. One that required only maintenance to stay in line with the app store rules and to throw up block list updates on some external server. Not exactly rocket science. When they took down their app, they didn't even bother to tell paid users. It just stops updating. The app page is unavailable and there is nothing but a blog post on his personal site about it. Wonderful.

What a pretentious douchebag. If you want to steer clear of non-profits doing more harm than good, then stay away from the so-called "Small Technology Foundation". Nothing good comes from either of these two grifters using the guise of non-profit to live a privleged life..

πŸ”— Permalink to this post.

Link: My Time to Fly

You might have heard this little ditty while on hold. I think it's an amazing work and I wish I could actually…you know, purchase it.

πŸ”— Permalink to this post.

"All the things you said. Running through my head…" πŸ”—

Sometimes I find it hard to write about anything here. Not because I don't have something to say. If my posting history on Fosstodon was any indication, I had a hard time shutting up. I just have a hard time coming up with things to talk about at length.

For instance, I've been playing Downfall, a Slay the Spire mod which lets you play as the bosses. I've been picking back up Marvel Champions now that the spider-verse expansion is out. I've also been hand-wringing, trying to decide if I want to get a new laptop or not spend that kind of money on, essentially, a gaming platform that does other utility things. I've also been massively busy with school and work because it's getting toward the end of semester, and the board of directors meetings are going on.

I'm awfully tired. I'm pretty tired of this dumb diet my trainer has me on, and I'm also tired of feeling like every day is the same set of tasks, with little to differentiate between them. I take all this with a grain of salt, though, because I'm going to Alaska soon-ish.

I kind of see why there is a growing trend of people doing "monthly summary" posts to fill in those odd gaps of all the things that aren't important enough to warrant a full post. I guess that's something to consider.

USS Orleck πŸ”—

Jacksonville's Naval Museum has a big exhibit coming to downtown.

Omakase πŸ”—

Once upon a time, I watched a movie/documentary called "Jiro Dreams of Sushi", a delightful film about this master sushi chef that has a small, but extremely exclusive sushi resturant in the bottom of a Tokyo office building. Jiro, the titular character, is a man driven by the desire to perfect his sushi and delight his patrons. Spoilers: He does so.

Jiro's sushi is served in the style of omakase, translated as "I'll leave it up to you [the chef]". You don't order food like you would at a traditional resturant. You come in, sit down and are fed what the chef has in mind for the night. Sometimes this is pre-set for a particular season, sometimes it changes on the chef's whim or availability of ingredients. Regardless, it's a very facinating experience.

That all being said, my wife recently discovered that there is an omakase-style resturant in town that is just sort of getting started. It's got a small, ten-person seating for the omakase event and she got us seats for our anniversary. What a delight it was. I've never had sushi like this, nor have I had any sushi that compares.

The interior is very intmate. While they're expanding to take up the reminants of the resturant that they moved into, they're starting with this and a small outdoor seating area. Very cozy.

The food is prix fixe, meaning you pay first and you get what you get. Kind of risky, but if you like sushi, having a master chef take you through 17 different courses of deliciousness is hard to pass up.

Seventeen courses. That seems like a lot, thinking about it. However, you're eating your meal roughly one bite at a time, so it doesn't feel overwhelming. You also get the "show" of seeing sushi chefs do what they do best. Hyper-sharp knife skills, picky about fish choices and attention to the smallest details. It's art.

It was an absolutely unforgettable experience. I'm so happy my wife decied to take me!

"…Hovering[sic], in Much the Same Way That Bricks Don't" πŸ”—

It feels weird to say it, but hover events (mouse style) are becoming old fashioned selectors on the web. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of users using mouse and keyboard on the web. It's just that there are probably many more on their phones or tablets, browsing your site. These users don't have any standard method of triggering these events.

Just eariler today, I was working on some CSS on my site, when I noticed that the hover events don't work well with touch screens. I understand why, but the workarounds… don't spark joy. One I found, a is just a sort of open-ended loaded the touchstart event and things ✨ magically ✨ worked.

I'm pretty sure that we're not far off from a future where hover events are a legacy thing that gets added to tick a box. I hope I'm wrong, maybe screens will get a near-touch hover event. Who knows...

For anyone looking to be pendantic, like me, you can wrap your :hover psuedo-selectors in a @media screen and (hover: hover) to gate the effects behind a feature lookup. Note: this appears to be hit-or miss as mobile browsers will sometimes fire hover events on hover-esque touches. So, YMMV.

10ft Paywall, 3ft Ladder πŸ”—

Managing Markdown with a Myriad of Mediocre Mislabeled Misfits πŸ”—

I don't care much for OneNote as a note-taking tool. It works alright, but it's slow and often feels sloppy and disorganized. I much prefer plain text. It's universal and note prone to corruption like the former. So, then why is it so hard to have everywhere?

Bear

What a beautiful app. Too bad it's probably the worst. Not only do you pay $1.49/mo. for sync on it's own systems, but you don't even get web access for non-Apple platforms. No choice of sync to preferred services.

Emacs

Ah, yes, my favorite editor. Not really something that you would call a "markdown" editor, specifically. However, it does edit Markdown, and it can save to any location the device has access to, including OneDrive or iCloud. There is just one problem: No iOS. Not surprising, really, but it makes it a shitty cross-platform tool for taking notes.

Byline

Another iOS, Markdown-focused editor. Saves to a number of locations, just not OneDrive, not even through the files app. While you can access already created notes on it, you can't start them there.

iOS Notes

It saves notes in Exchange Online (or iCloud) and syncs with Outlook and kind of OneNote, but not really. Also, very limited if you're not using iCloud as the back-end.

OneNote

Has decent enough applications for Windows, macOS and iOS (and Android), syncs with OneDrive and has connections to notes in Exchange Online. Has lots of features and whatnot. It's just slow, clunky and unintuitive and messy and... bleh.

Conclusion

Is OneNote really the only answer? 😞

Photos πŸ”—

All Apologies πŸ”—

What else could I write?
I don't have the right
What else should I be?
All apologies

Nirvana - "All Apologies"

I don't feel much like myself today.

PHP Traps πŸ”—

There are a lot of ways to automate things. PHP has, historically, been very good at making HTML templated things like blogs. Even as it has expanded in purpose with command-line utility, it still does and amazing job at sticking content in HTML and sending that to a browser.

So seductive is this ability to make content appear in HTML that even stupidly trivial things, like this page, whisper their almost silent promises of making it so much easier to write and publish on it. Thankfully, this has already been done to death by a dearth of links to abandoned PHP projects smeared across the gleaming black and white surface of GitHub's project listings pages.

Would I like to make this whole process easier? Of course I would. That's not the point, though.

I could implement a PHP page to iterate through a directory of Markdown files and render them unto this page. I could have a PHP powered image pipeline to crop, slice, dice and thumbnailize images included on the page. I'm fairly sure I could even create those things myself.

I don't like that, though. It feels cheap. It feels … sterile and formless. I don't want that because I'm tired of managing that. The workflows, the process, making sure things go right. Setting up infrastructure on my laptop to make sure that the code I'm pushing doesn't break on the server.

Feh!

I have a preview function in VSCode, and even if I didn't, the dwindling number of browsers out there would be more than sufficient for the task.

I'm not above a certain level of irony and dissonance. I know that VSCode is basically a hyper-fancy webpage for writing code. I know that most applications I use are just webpages guissied up and mangled beyond their original intents. But this is my site, and I get to make the rules.

DST Sucks πŸ”—

Daylight Savings Time is awful. You either get an hour of false extra sleep, or you struggle for like two weeks while your body adjusts to the 'new normal'.

Not only does it increase risk of heart attack, increase risk of stroke, increases your risk of being injured while working, and increases the risk of car accidents. It also increases the amount of sleep depravation that teenagers experience.

Why do we, then, continue the practice when at least half the country dislikes it so much that they're trying to abolish it?

Ms. Marvel πŸ”—

Looks like we're finally getting Ms. Marvel! While the (origin) story is decidedly different thant the comics, without having covered the whole Terragen Mists thing, this is as good as origin as any.

Can't wait for June 8th

Obi-Wan Kenobi πŸ”—

It's happening!

AHHHHHHHHHH!!

The Fear of Missing Out πŸ”—

Fear of missing out
Graham Roumieu for BuzzFeed News
F.O.M.O. or "The Fear of Missing Out"
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is the feeling of apprehension that one is either not in the know or missing out on information, events, experiences, or life decisions that could make one's life better. FOMO is also associated with a fear of regret, which may lead to concerns that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, a memorable event, or a profitable investment.

I have a problem with Social Media. It stems from my underlying depression. With social media, I can create a persona that is similar to me, but is designed to be a much more symapathetic overview. To what end? More interaction.

The more replies, likes, boosts and other buttons, the more my head gets a tiny little dopamine kick. String those along for enough time and it becomes habit. The problem with this, though, is that while dopamine is all well and good. It doesn't keep you coming back. That's where FOMO comes into play.

"A challenge is that the part of our brain that reinforces behaviors is stimulated by novelty; social media scrolling always promises something new with the next scroll."

Dr. Michael Jaffee, director of the Neurology Sleep Clinic at the University of Florida

Forget drugs! Scrolling Reddit, Twitter or Mastodon allows you to get that "just one more" satisfaction. Infinitely. That makes it not only hard to quit, full stop, but also hard to just put down.

For me, it wasn't something I could handle responsibly. I tried, like the author, to do things like:

While app developers want to keep you engaged for as long as possible, most of them do offer tools to limit screen use. So I did what I don't think (anecdotally) many people do β€” I set up time limits on my social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to help manage my screen use before bed with the hopes of getting more sleep.

Sometimes it worked and I would surrender my phone to my bedside table, irritated but also appreciative of the sweet relief of darkness on my eyes. But other times I would plug in the passcode, ignoring the tinge of regret that pinched my stomach and knowledge that my future self would be angry β€” and tired β€” in the morning.

Katie Camero, BuzzFeed News Reporter

Only to ignore the rules I had set for myself and just plow on, unhindered. It was really surreal the first few times, and pretty much automatic by the time I had my blow up. For me, the problem wasn't lack of sleep. It was the crumbling relationships I had ignored for too long. Worse than being tired or cranky, I had to deal with real human issues around my additction. I still do.

I feel it still. The need to post pithy little comments. Engage in conversation and insider's humor. Every time, though, I need to understand that it's not that important. Especially it's not important enough to interrupt family time, or other important events, where I should be present.

To that end, I am seeking professional help for my addiction. I know I need help, and now I'm going to get it. Maybe one day I'll be in control enough to re-engage with social media, but my suspicion is that I am going to have to treat this like Alcoholism and just abstain.

Anti-social Media πŸ”—

I've been using social media a lot. My drug of choice is the federated system known as Mastodon. It's an ad-free, user supported system of services that have no one central point of control or failure. This means you can chat with all kinds of people on all kinds of wacky subjects.

That's kind of the problem.

I've been using it as a substitute for my own life. I've used it in ways that have hurt others, but mostly I've used it for the minimal dopamine kick that you get when someone does … whatever, respond, like … etc. Small kicks frequently enough over time make you feel good, in control and liked. Regardless of the actual state of things.

Destroying my life for a dopamine kick isn't exactly sustainable. Hence, my abstinence.

To help fill that void, I've decided that I want to journal more. I got a book and a pen and I've been writing. I also have this blog to help me with that. Despite my misgivings around WordPress, I've tabled them until I can get my head and life straightened out.

I'm going to take this opportunity to take a good hard look at myself and what I get out of the tools and systems I use. I want to be enriched by things, not dragged into small highs that I seek more and more of to the detriment of everything else.

So, if you're looking for me. I'm here, just not there.

GNUPG Sucks πŸ”—

GNUPG, the so-called "GNU Privacy Guard" and only realistically suriving member of the PGP band from back-in-the-day. Sucks. It does. Don't @ me, I don't care about your opinion.

It sucks because everything about it is old, hard-to-use and made by people who still think that terminals are what everyone should be using. Packages distributed for desktops that are actually used (read: Windows and Mac) are out of date or have seperate certificate trust chains that cause problems looking up key server information. Honestly, it's just a mess.

Fortunately, public key encryption has come a long way. Services like Matrix implement security almost entirely transparently. We need more stuff like this to make real encryption and certification/signing a real thing that is available to the masses.

Right now? I'm tired of waiting. Fuck GnuPG.

All Good Things… πŸ”—

I used to like WordPress. Back when it was just a naicent blogging platform with spaghetti code PHP and an friendly interface.

However, it's turned into a monster. A monster that wants to be everything to everyone without actually fixing anything. This feels dangerous, as it doesn't feel like anything substantial is being done to help ensure that the codebase is more organized or easier to interface with. Instead they add features, like Gutenberg, and press the "advantages" of "Full Site Editing". Throwing the theme world on it's head, pushing more and more features into JavaScript instead of using the proper tooling already installed on the server. They push more WooCommerce plugins and online store updates to monitize and drive "engagement" and "click throughs" and "sales".

I want the old WordPress back. The one that was designed to be a blogging platform. It filled a niche that was needed, and left the more generic Content Management to the heavy-hitters like Joomla and Drupal. You can see the fragments of the fevered development in where they put things in the database. Tables once only intending to hold one type of content now layer lots of different options and configurations in a haphazard manner. Things like theme customizations appearing in the post content tables along side block customizations. Term tables house post content information. It's chaos.

So, for now, I'm back to hand-editing this content, in a text editor and uploading it to my server and serving it statically. No content management system like Hugo, no PHP or Laravel or Node.js. Just me, an editor and a bit of time. I'm sure a time will come where I migrate to (or back to) something. Right now, I'm just enjoying the feeling.

Press X to Doubt πŸ”—

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Press X to Doubt.

Content Management, Who Needs It? πŸ”—

I mean, I do, if I want to manage more than a handful of articles. Maybe that'll push me to use Hugo or whatever. So far, I think I'll stay hand-editing this … whatever this is. Running train of thought? Experiment in retro-blogging?

πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Hello πŸ”—

Don't mind me. I'm just working on my website while the world falls apart and I'm stuck on a conference call with Microsoft.

Content Warning: Russia/Ukraine Conflict Images
Content Warning: Russia/Ukraine Conflict Video
Video of the car crush incident. The man survived.