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  • DcnJosephSuaiden 3:22 pm on October 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    I was going to post something meaningful somewhere on social media, but then I realized I have a blog.

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 2:38 pm on October 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Carnet, Oh Carnet 

    So I’ve become a big fan of Carnet, an app for both Android and Linux that syncs notes, to-do lists and other stuff across devices. Basically it uses a NextCloud instance for cloud storage. I must say that it does work, even if some of the features are a bit confusing at first (pinned posts are considered the latest posts, so “Latest” on the mobile apps will make other notes seem to disappear.)

    As someone who has struggled with mindmaps versus notepads and the problem of sync, I feel really accomplished today.

    And if you ask “why don’t you just use Google Keep Notes, it’s stock on Android” you probably haven’t read much of this blog.

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 6:32 pm on January 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Streamlining Remains Inconvenient. I’m Officially Old People. Patriarch Kirill is Afraid of “the Internet.” 

    So two weeks into trying to move off Facebook and Twitter has been going rockily, to say the least. Still posting on FB and Twitter (under the guise of “moving people off FB and Twitter”) so that’s not quite going well. Still, it’s kind of nice to not have to worry about being zucked or anything. Just download my backup files every week and soldier on. Outside the debate and a couple of scattered pages, I’ve got Let Us Attend working ok again.

    So a couple of the girls kept quoting songs from an app called Tik Tok, which is kind of like a new version of Vine, I guess, and as much as it keeps notifying me of all the allegedly cool stuff going on, I don’t find myself drawn to it. Much more satisfying signing into News360 with my email and gettting customized news without Google’s help. So I took Tik Tok off and will use News360 more. I guess that means I’m pretty old now, since I can’t waste precious space on this old tablet for ridiculous apps (another sign you’re old or a Linux addict or both: treating your old tech like it’s very valuable.)

    For anyone wanting to get your news Google free and sick of Drudge’s political focus (I can only look at Drudge once or twice a day without it feeling like it’s just BAD everywhere), I’ll edit this with a link for the News360 app to get the news ad-free (the ads aren’t a big deal IMO but hey, if you can get it ad-free, why not.) I had to put in like 40 categories to get the news I want but now it works great. UPDATE: No link anymore, it;’s gone, still a great app though.

    Patriarch Kirill is talking about Antichrist taking over our devices, and his concern is that Antichrist can take over the world wide web as a single entity, which means he really doesn’t actually get how the world wide web works. It’s like Trump talking about “closing the Internet”. What Patr. Kirill (and I am being charitable here) may be talking about are singular organizations like Facebook taking over the Internet, which is a valid concern, But it all reminded me of that scene in The IT Crowd where Jen tells a group of non-tech saavy stockholders that she has “brought in the internet” to show them, and ridiculousness ensues.

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 4:43 pm on January 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Strange. Insta-posting functionality missing. 

    More to learn on this I guess.

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 6:35 am on December 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    music 

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 4:06 am on December 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    everything in life is planning now.

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 7:00 pm on December 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    This particular theme is handy, because it allows me to post things live like on a social… while not being on a social
    tenor

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 4:02 am on December 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Hello again, world! 

    It took me a bit, but I resolved to get out of Big Social as much as humanly possible. Insofar as I escaped Google, the Facebook network has proven a tad more difficult from which to extricate myself– family members are on it, friends put me in groups, I create groups, more people are on them and so on. Facebook does a fantastic job of basically dragging you into its community, whether you want to be there or not. But here’s what Imma do: I want to see if I can give you a few logical reasons to break free of Facebook as well as some interesting history that might change the way you see life when you log in.

    1. Facebook literally makes its money off your existence. Yes, you read that correctly. Your memes and shared kitty videos are worthless to Facebook. What they want are the things you don’t really notice or care about. They want to know more than what you are buying. They want to know where you are. They want to know who your family are. They want to know all about social and demographic factors. But why? There’s a funny reason for that. See, the more they know about what you would consider your passive life, the more they can control about your active life. And it’s not as simple as subtly switching you to Wesson from the leading brand. We’re talking about political manipulation, social manipulation, giving a network the power to fool you into thinking that your loved ones are doing something so that you do it, which is then weaponized to sell your loved ones on the idea because you are. In short, Facebook doesn’t make money advertising to you. It makes money controlling you.

    2. Facebook makes its money literally by being a poor repackaging of the internet for consumers. A fun fact is that GeoCities (for those who remember it) was a massive group of thousands of individual websites that collapsed through poor Yahoo! policy. The failure led users to bail on GeoCities, while many analysts realized that Yahoo! could have had a genuine and obvious competitor to the young social network. Everything you could get on Facebook before Facebook, you could do with a website, from making quick posts to putting up memes that would make it to your friends’ feeds or emails, creating and maintaining groups and even doing messaging (more on that shortly.) In short, by signing up to Facebook, users traded away the autonomy of their own message for a conformed and sterilized version of the Internet under the control of Facebook, Inc. And now, we’re almost a generation into the real internet being subsumed into the property of a few social media companies– the largest being Facebook and Google. But there’s still a choice, so I’m retaining that option!

    3. Deplatforming is real. One of the biggest differences between having your own online presence and having someone else own your online presence is accountability. For the most part, on blogging platforms, unless you are a full-on Nazi chances are that you will not be bothered, and even if you are, you can usually easily make a copy of your data for migration if you’re that much of a headache to a webserver. But on social, it’s not the case. Because of “swarming” (where likeminded boneheads will work in unison to get someone removed from the social media platform, often without cause) innocent people can literally have years of their online presence eradicated. (I guess I was lucky an online troll literally caused my deplatforming in 2000; it made me keenly aware of how easily companies will throw users under the bus.) People I know, gentle souls who I couldn’t imagine stomping on a cockroach, booted off Facebook for getting on a swarm’s bad side. And this isn’t a “left” or “right” wing thing. Tick off the wrong snowflakes and your days are numbered. Get on a Social Network’s bad side and your online presence can be wiped off the map.

    4. Facebook causes depression. Studies now show that depression and social media use, particularly Facebook, are linked. Isn’t that the most ironic part? You go on social media thinking that you are doing it to “stay in touch” and it leads to greater feelings of isolation and alienation than if you had skipped it altogether!

    5. You don’t need Messenger or Whatsapp, which are literally being used for reason #1, when there are better options. One of the funniest things about Google’s — and now Facebook’s– Messenger app was that it was based on a public messaging system known as XMPP. There are hundreds of XMPP servers all over the world and literally dozens of messaging apps based on XMPP for all operating systems and phone types. Anyone can start a XMPP account (or even host their own server for privacy.) The messaging works exactly the same way. All Facebook did was change the protocol and make it private to force you to use it “because everyone else is on”. Think it through. They made virtually public technology that millions were already using (even AOL chat, if I recall correctly, was XMPP-based at one point) into a private technology that users were then convinced they needed from Facebook. Remember Matthew Lesko, the guy who sold books about millions in free government money? Guess where he got that information? Yep– public resources. He made millions off stuff that was available for free. Facebook is doing that right now with XMPP tech that they literally added video chat to (there’s lots of ways to video chat, I know you’re smarter than that.)

    So for those reasons, I’m not only leaving Facebook regularly (I won’t be feeding them my data anymore, but will use my groups to feed back into my websites) but I invite you to do the same. Start a blog here on WordPress. Go to NeoCities and bring back your old fashioned website. Reach out to me on Messenger and I’ll give you my XMPP handle so you can chat with me when you need to (I have a great messenger on my phone– also, my phone has a phone number too for even better voice chat). Goodbye, cruel Facebook… and hello again, world!

     
    • DcnJosephSuaiden 7:59 am on December 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Diaconissa asks: “Meh, haven’t you said this before?”

      Yes… but I needed the tools.

  • DcnJosephSuaiden 10:20 pm on November 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    JUST in time for the Nativity Fast: A Review of JUST Egg  

    Is JUST Egg the solution to the Dairy-Free Blues? (Surprise Ending: No.)

    Orthodox Christian fasting seasons in the developed West are often a time for people to release their inner foodie and start searching for meat-free, dairy-free options for foods to make up for the loss of the usual proteins used for sustenance. Throughout my Orthodox life here in the future, I’ve seen important substitutes run the gamut from becoming part of our daily life (such as JUST Mayo, which is now a standard in our house) to striking us as completely useless (vegan fake fish sticks? Who eats a substitute for a substitute for something better?)

    But anyone watching alternative foods knows that over the past few years, the great game changer in our food history, the heavily-hyped Holy Grail of fasting culinary achievements, was the advertisement by then-Hampton Creek of future achievable, vegan liquid eggs. That would be the ultimate in fasting shortcuts: french toast for the fast. Breakfast burritos for the fast. Breakfast sandwiches. Fried rice. You get the idea.

    download (28)

    This pic is accurate.

    And then we waited. We read through every irate vegan comment on Facebook about how slow it was going, we watched Hampton Creek-cum-JUST Incorporated CEO Josh Tetrick getting hugs from celebrities trying out his magical fake eggs, we read ingredient lists, we studied the chemical structure of mung beans in the hope of making JUST Egg before it hit the shelves. And yet, all we saw was advertising. And it was upsetting.

    It was this year, sick of waiting, that I decided to increase my risk of gynecomastia and just start lightly frying thin-sliced firm tofu with some nutritional yeast on it with a side of Field Roast brand sausage (it’s available at Walmart. Get it, as well as the the Chao fake cheese. They’re there because they’re good.) But the dream of fake scrambled eggs with my vegan chorizo lived on, in advertisements of magical vegan eggs that came “from plants, not chickens” (JUST Inc.’s ad people are hardcore.)

    So it took long enough (over three years in development hell is longer than any food product I’ve ever experienced) but JUST Egg made its way to Wegmans stores as of two weeks ago. During a late night jaunt in search of diet tonic water flavored sparkling water I decided to see if JUST Egg was finally available here. The ad copy said I should be able to find it right by the liquid egg section. I knew better.

    JUST Egg was– to no surprise whatsoever– in the vegetarian refrigerated section. Of course, I didn’t have my hands on the promotional “free bottle” coupon I had downloaded, so my first confrontation with it involved a price tag.

    $7.99.

    I’m not much of an eater for social justice. If I can, I buy vegetables at the farmer’s market. If I can, I will buy locally farmed and well-treated chickens. I don’t buy the cage-free eggs at the Walmart. I buy my eggs at Dollar Tree. So I understood that the price was less than double that of a dozen organic, cage-free, happily laid eggs. But in terms of the eggs I actually pay for, this was a bottle of eight synthetic eggs for the price of what I normall pay for eight dozen eggs. That’s $1 a fake egg.

    download (29)

    Also accurate.

    But the fast! I thought to myself. I mean, it’s an egg you can eat on Wednesdays and Fridays and on the fast days! That makes it worth it, right? Clearly I had not learned from my Quorn obsession (read the labels: egg washed) and my desire to eat a Field Roast “roast” that was literally the size of my fist (only $8.99!) The bottle looked like a colloidal suspension of “egg white” (light yellow) and “yolk” (darker yellow). I told myself this was for purposes of authenticity. I bought my sparkling water, the JUST Egg, and just before closing at midnight, walked out with the wife and small boy to return home.

     

     

    I waited, just until the morning. I just couldn’t bring myself to see my money just vanish like that, just after midnight. I just needed at least a little time to stare at this just expensive bottle. And I can just eat a lot of eggs, so just opening it would be the beginning of the just end.

    This early day I realized that I didn’t have a Field Roast vegetarian sausage. I had no Chao fake cheese. I didn’t have a tortilla. It was me and the fake eggs. This was an undesired moment of truth. There was no way it was going to be a part of anything except a roll of bread to stuff it into. There would be no me pontificating to Orthodox hipsters that “it worked so well in a vegan quiche.” In short, if this thing didn’t taste like egg… I was going to know it. Right now. I was going to taste if my money and years of waiting was sadly wasted.

    The label warnings scared me. “Consume within four days of opening.” “Use before January 2019.” “Made in Canada.” I knew opening this thing meant there was no going back. “Shake well.” I shook it with force, but noticed solids sliding down. Perhaps I didn’t shake it enough. There was no peel tab on the rubberized aluminum seal. I opened it with a paring knife. I sniffed. It didn’t smell bad, but it didn’t smell great, either. I wasn’t sure what I was smelling, so I had no red flags not to eat it.

    Having sprayed the pan with oil, I began to pour the strange liquid (and it’s a liquid, not like a plasma like substance; it looks kind of like generic brand orange juice with pulp pouring out) and began to stir.

    Now at this point I should mention I am not great at making eggs and I do not have a non-stick pan. I usually have leftover egg that sticks to the pan while I scoop out my egg to put in my dish. A much darker feeling took over this time, as little bits of the “egg” that stuck to the pan looked in my mind like little pennies that were about to be swallowed by the sink.  A dime’s worth of egg is stuck in that pan, I thought to myself. Maybe a quarter.

    47082573_352797882153026_1409577505991426048_n

    Also… accurate.

    The liquid coagulated, and something scramble-ish was now happening. I was starting to feel like I was cooking an egg, but I felt like the thing was designed to “feel” like I was cooking an egg more than like the actual thing cooking was a scrambled egg– it appeared to be a more faint yellow than an egg. (Later– after eating– I realized that earlier versions mentioned nutritional yeast, which is bright yellow and which I use regularly to make scrambled tofu look and taste more egg-like. This one didn’t. YUGE mistake, JUST, Inc.)

     

    Still, by the end, we had bright fluffy egg-ish something that could well have come from an anemic chicken. Good enough, stuff it into bread. There’s even a little left over! (Note later: I used half the bottle.) Just to give JUST Egg a fighting chance, I added a bunch of black pepper as I would a regular egg in such a lonely circumstance.

    A sign of the cross on the bowl and we were off. I took the egg sandwich and its little bitsy-non-bread-captured friends in the bowl to the wife and small boy in the next room. Not realizing I had not bitten the egg sandwich, I had inadvertently sacrificed them first. The wife’s “it’s alright” spoke volumes, but she followed up with comments to the effect that the texture was right while it wasn’t really exactly an egg flavor (and that the price point was too high, reminding me of the pan in the kitchen) while the boy, being a pre-teen and into precision, responded “soup broth, maybe some spinach, and a little bit of egg.”

    At this point I bit in and realized he was right in how chicken soup broth and a scrambled egg have similar flavor profiles. Between the two, the JUST Egg was a bit closer to the broth flavor-wise than the scrambled egg, and did indeed have a bit of an earthy feel which I couldn’t place (I wonder if some NUTRITIONAL YEAST could have fixed that, JUST Inc.) It was not bad, it had enough of a scrambled egg profile that it was an edible, plain (not the company’s fault but mine) egg sandwich that was strangely not actually egg. The uncanny valley feeling brought on by the weak egg color was disconcerting but forgotten by the third bite or so. I had in fact made a plain, weak-sauce egg sandwich, and I ate a plain, weak-sauce egg sandwich. On a Wednesday without breaking the fast. I can’t even complain. Except for my lost ten cents staring at me in the pan even now.

    Ultimately, at this price point I am not sure who this is marketed to outside well-to-do, desperate egg fans with vegan spouses and well-to-do, carnivorous Orthodox Christians desperate to have eggs during a fast.  Maybe the JUST, Inc. folks just took too long and inadvertently caused protein-starved folks like me (I don’t really eat French toast, but maybe the boy will) to look for alternatives which are ultimately cheaper.  One of the fun things about eggs is that if you are still hungry, you can always make another egg; they are a fairly cheap source of protein. The price tag makes this feel different: the egg turns into an event. And I’m not sure I want to feel that way about a scrambled egg yet.

    If this product got down to even $5.99 ($.75 an “egg”, though $4.99 would be ideal) at current market rates I could see buying this during a fast. Or if the ready-made pseudo-egg patties they sell to restaurants were made for the consumer market (less wastage) then maybe. And I get this thing just came out so it is being sold at its highest price point and demand will magically do its thing (I’ll pay current prices for JUST Mayo because it’s marginally better than Hellman’s, way better than the store brands and not at a crazy price.) Till then, I can buy four blocks of gynecomastia-inducing tofu and sprinkle some yellow stuff on it for the mouthfeel and it will last me two weeks worth of protein breakfasts for the same price.

     

    On the plus side, I still have a coupon for a free bottle of JUST Egg. Maybe it will taste better when it’s free.

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 11:01 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Building the Digital Island, Qualified Support for Andrew Yang, Who Still Cares About Soccer, and Self-Definition 

    cowssitingThe Digital Island

    I’ve been quietly building a digital island for a couple of years now (where socials and search have only limited access to my person and I’ve been able to control it, and I’m taking the next step by slowly burning the public access ports. In short, you’ll be able to find me on my terms, not on the Internet conglomerates telling you where I am supposed to be while profiting off of it.

    I’ve talked about getting Google out of your life in the past, and now I am moving on to slowly weaning yourself and your loved ones off Facebook (Twitter is next).  One of the big problems that people notice is that they don’t realize how much these two companies control your life: with Google you might stop searching with it, but then your email is connected to it. Your YouTube account is connected to it.

    It’s unfortunately the same with Facebook for things like WhatsApp and Instagram. Think you’re off Facebook because you use non-Facebook apps? Surprise! They’ve just found a new way to own you. So this is part of why in developing a digital island where my life (and as much as they choose, those with me) is under my control. This might sound terrifying, but in reality searching with DuckDuckGo now is 90-95% as good as searching with Google (even local weather appears thanks to anonymized weather reporting) and it’s my default everywhere. Two years ago friends and family said “you can’t escape Google” and now it’s barely there in my life. It’s not only possible, it’s honestly the smartest thing you can do as Google intends to own even more of your life.

    Finally, if none of that scares you for some reason, perhaps deplatforming might.

    That said, the new channel on YouTube is going to have to be Google-proofed, and I have a plan for that.

    Yang Strengths vs. Yang Weaknesses

    This leads my to my recent Yang-mania so allow me a moment to explain why I support Andrew Yang for President and what would (trust me, it’s a real easy fall) make me drop support for him immediately.

    Yang’s rhetoric is basically quite simple: technology companies have made a lot of money off of building their very profitable robots (think search engines, not Skynet’s T-800) and so taxing them and giving that money back to the end users in the form of a universal basic income check (in other words, giving back all that money we gave them through EULA’s over the past two decades) seems completely fair as more and more industries get disrupted, thus offsetting the relative destruction in industrial and employment sectors. In this, I think Yang is completely on the money and has a winning message that could actually compete with President Trump (who I still support, by the way) in 2020.

    And here is how I predict the Democrats will screw it up. One thing that is not clear on Yang’s website is how specifically we deal with the tech offset except for a VAT tax. But what is not clear is who the VAT applies to– because he doesn’t label who he’s going to tax except “companies who benefit from technological change.” Is it aimed at the throats of Facebook, Google, and other tech giants with massive valuations earned off monetizing identities?

    If the tax is aimed at the social giants and other tech oligarchs, Yang can pretty much overcome every obstacle thrown his way: he has an instant demon he can exorcise at every campaign rally, one that is not even Trump-friendly (meaning crossover appeal) and ultimately achieve his goals. But if it’s not, and it’s basically a VAT on industry (read: what Bernie and Ocasio and all the Democrats basically love doing whenever they are in power) then it’s not going to garner any support, including mine. Tax Uber for destroying the cab industry? I can see it. Tax McDonald’s because bad minimum wage policies are forcing them to automate? If that’s the plan it will doom his campaign unless he resorts to outright lying, which might not work well against Trump.

    Since outside of UBI and marijuana, Yang is basically a run-of-the-mill Dem candidate on most issues, if he gets what makes himself different wrong to sound more palatable to “everyone else” (read: the losing party) he’ll basically succumb to it. His choice is to go all in and question the role of technology in our lives while holding the oligarchs of the new technocracy responsible. If he doesn’t do that, why run to begin with?

    Remember When I Was A Soccer Deacon?

    Yeah, don’t talk much about soccer these days. With the NASL basically reduced to a litigant in court, it’s pretty depressing. My focus is on Cosmos stuff when they are playing, which basically means following international Cosmos clubs until 2019.

    Ports of a Digital Island

    At this point, outside of Groups, I plan to use Facebook and Twitter as a dumping ground to links to the main sections of my digital island. I’ve created a Minds account, which I plan to use soon in the hopes of moving active topics of discussion off Facebook, as well as an Unfollo account. I’ve had a Gab account since almost when it started, but it’s not too active. So far I am stuck using Facebook messenger for private discussions, but I am looking for easy ways to migrate off it (so far, not looking great).

    For the rest, there’s always… email.

     
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