speedbump

speedbump

Welcome to my 'Author Page'—or as I like to call it, 'Homepage Lite.'

It's the same brew of digital musings, just labeled differently for the sake of formality. Pull up a chair, stay awhile. Here you'll find the same pieces of brain matter scattered around, only now with the added illusion of this being somehow more 'authoritative.'

Each Maschinenmensch is bundled with 1 year of software updates and unlimited technical support

It feels like my future has been gutted. My skills are no longer valuable, and there is little to offer in terms of "human creativity" which AI has not yet supplanted.

Microchips enclosed in humanoid bodies can walk, talk, and pack boxes now. And just like a real human, anything the robot can't do will be quickly remediated with on-the-job training. Not for you, but for the robot. That's all it takes for the 'perfect' workforce: teach one robot a skill and the entire silicon workforce knows it now too.

Fantastic! Who the fuck can compete with that?!

Retro Repository Regalia: I found an old backup!

It was not uncommon for teen-aged me to muse about what it'd be like to run a very large, very successful software company. For my family, this was easily attributed to me carving out a future identity. At that age I was pumping out a lot of low-rate, low-effort applications in HyperCard. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was convinced I would figure it out along the way.

By my 30's, only a tiny subset of the software I had written was ever released to the public, but I did manage to hit a few milestones: My software has been reviewed and discussed in 2 books, several magazines and software CDs, online repositories, and shared among users in forums across a wide range of topics.

Despite that much reach, I was never really sure if I would have measured up to the bar set by my younger self. "Times the revelator," as Gillian Welch sang.

Some of these pieces still work on contemporary machines, quirks and all. I'll share serial numbers if I find one, feel free to crack 'em if you want. Until then, enjoy some free software from a bygone era.

Aiming, Shooting, Missing: My Kind of Photography

Ah, behold my personal 'Insta-What-The-Hell.' Let's not get lost in names; the point is, societal absurdities haven't stopped me from wielding a camera as expeditiously as blue rattles end up in children's mouths. Why blue? Well aren't you perceptive! Because that was the color of the first rattle within reach, which coincidentally is now the predominate color of my wardrobe.

Snapped these gems between '16 and '19. They resonate. Dive in.

The Price of Doing Nothing

We've seen these echos of history before. A seemingly endless cycle of ignoring the difficult reality of our ancestry. "hampstering" endlessly without meaningful progress towards a common goal. How many times must we repeat the same mistakes before we accept the severe cost of our collective failure?

If there is no solution, the alternative is too terrible for words.

The alternative is civil war, and what must be realized by everybody on all sides is that nobody gains from this.

On one side, what use is one man, one vote if you're not there to exercise it, and on the other side, what is the use of maintaining a situation of privilege and power over a desert?

The price of no solution is total destruction.

John Hume, "Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland," Episode 1 - "It Wasn’t Like a Movie Anymore." WGBH Video

Paying the Price for Privacy: A Consumer's Choice

Discounts, loyalty programs, and apps are not merely conveniences; they're sophisticated tools designed to lock you into a brand's ecosystem. In today's retail world, companies aim not just for your wallet but for a significant slice of your identity and behavior.

In fact, the pressure to comply with these data-gathering tactics often hits you at the most vulnerable moment: checkout. This is no accident. Just as the impulse buy items like candy, magazines, and small toys are strategically placed near the register, questions about loyalty programs, zip codes, and app installations are timed to capitalize on your desire for a quick, hassle-free transaction. It's behavioral psychology at work—customers are more likely to say 'yes' just to expedite the process, not fully considering the implications of their consent. And like those impulse buys, the decision to 'opt-in' may seem small at the moment but can have far-reaching consequences for your privacy and personal data.

Initial Thoughts on Finding a Better HTPC Solution

I appreciate Google's transparency in their November 2020 Terms of Service update:

YouTube’s right to monetize. We’re gradually starting to serve ads on a limited set of brand-safe videos on channels not in the YouTube Partner Program or not under a monetizing agreement. There won’t be revenue share from these ads, but Creators can still apply for the YouTube Partner Program once they reach the eligibility criteria, which remain unchanged.

Ads are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, but I've found a workaround. Since the DMCA takedown against youtube-dl was dropped by GitHub, I'm putting more effort into a Plex library for my YouTube subscriptions. And just for clarity, I do support my YouTube subscriptions through Patreon, and I purchase all my Plex content legally.

Cliff Jumping: Investigating Homeownership and Renting in Nevada

"If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?" I'm so often reminded of this cliche when vetting the never-ending pile of cultural "best practices" people center their lives upon. After just two years of living in Nevada I am thoroughly convinced that homeownership is still the default answer when most decide between renting or buying, despite recent setbacks.

Houses have sprung up around me faster than I could have ever imagined. Parking lots are constantly littered with fliers from realtors and investors. Television commercials and internet ads are dominated by mortgage lenders. Yet to this day, when I tell my neighbors that I choose to live in an apartment instead of buying a home, I'm nearly always met with the same rebuff: you're throwing my money away.

Chasing Illusions: My Day as a Roadie for Failure

Approaching the end of Spring, 2015, I received an announcement from the 90's "space rock" band Failure. Though Failure struggled to achieve commercial success prior to their breakup in 1997, the advent of digital music distribution saw a noticeable increase in the band's popularity. Failure reunited in 2014, one year before the announcement of their fourth studio album, The Heart is a Monster.

Several venues across the U.S. were offering unique concert perks like VIP sound checks, signed merchandise, and 'Roadie for a Day' experience packages. The allure of joining the road crew and stepping into a rock 'n roll fantasy world, where my childhood dreams converged with reality, was irresistible. But, as with many fantasies, reality was fraught with zeal and poor judgment.