Only now, at the end, do I understand.
I’m keeping this blog, regardless of Jimmmmyboy’s instructions to archive it. Archival’s got such finality to it, and I’m not ready to give it up. It shouldn’t be syndicated after Thursday, that’s for sure, but I plan to keep on keepin’ on – both here and within the greater DS106 sphere. I plan to keep up with Jim Groom, Martha Burtis, Tim Owens, Andy Rush, Ben Rimes, Cheryl Colan, Stella Meme (we know who you really are but I’m still not sure if you’re willing to depuppet in public), GNA “Radio Goddess” Garcia, Todd Conaway, Michael Branson Smith and the whole crowd that I’ve come to know and love over these past five weeks.
Okay, this is shaping up to be a DS106 post. I’m okay with that. FOR LIFE.
If you’ve been paying attention, you might have spotted the fact that this blog has also been augmented with some posts from my short-lived Upgrade Your Grey Matter. It almost seems like a waste of time to maintain two blogs (and that Tumblr we never really did anything with) but I think in the back of my mind I was always considering folding one into the other – but it probably would have been the other way around if I hadn’t seen this. I’ve been talking about getting a Chromebook for a while now – and my frustrations with Ubuntu in this class have been mounting, as it simply is not a multimedia-driven OS, not even Ubuntu Studio – and I simply hadn’t really considered a decent alternative to it. Despite my bitching, I really like Linux. The kernel, I mean. The concept of the F/OSS UNIX is awesome, too. But the userland programs built on top of it leave something to be desired – namely, polish. (I could start commending all the stand-up types who have volunteered their time and considerable effort to making them better for Grandma, but this has been beaten into the ground elsewhere.) So I started seriously thinking about defecting to Chrome, because, for Christ’s sake, what are my options? Windows? Nope. Apple? Nope. Google seemed the least of the three evils we face here – but I bitch about that sort of thing in electoral politics and it’s in fact why I don’t vote. (Note: Just because Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil” doesn’t mean Google isn’t evil.)
So I started migrating everything I was doing to Google services: email, blogging, social networking, music, photo sharing, RSS aggregation, ebooks, Android, &c. Meanwhile, I’m advocating decentralization everywhere else – it’s my chief rail against Facebook, in fact, how it centralizes everything and reduces your online experience to a single point of failure – and so there’s this cognitive dissonance there in the back of my mind. “Don’t do it, Alan. They’re using you for your data. The more you give them, the more control they have over you.” Hell, I even stopped digitally signing my emails (I do that to provoke questions – “What’s PGP?” – so I can sell you on the firepower of this fully armed and operational
battle station approach to online privacy. So far no one has asked about it).
Then I saw the Webian shell, and for whatever reason the whole Google love affair thing came crashing down for me. I’ve always aspired to hackerdom, but here I was turning my back on the whole homebrew, DIY, punk-as-fuck attitude that attracted me to the hacker community in the first place. A prefab solution? PLEASE.
See? Not a DS106 post anymore. Not even remotely.
Firefox is the crown jewel of open source. The people that brought you that can bring you a cloud-based operating system, free of corporate control, mature and eminently hackable. This Webian thing – that’s the first step. I want to get in on the ground floor.
If you’ve ever read the Dune series (anybody? no? whatever), you’ll know that Leto II Atreides had a plan, which he called the Golden Path, which was to be so despotic over 3,500 years that the human race would literally explode outward into the universe after his death so that something like him could never happen again – that is, so that humanity could never be under the control of one authority. Consider this that Scattering for me. Let there be Firefox, and Twitter, and WordPress, and Flickr, and Amazon, and Diigo, and Bluehost, and yes, Google, but not for everything, never for everything – nothing for everything. Let there never again be a single authority to dominate what I do, a single point of failure whereat I can be cut off from the world.
So say we all.