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Saturday, August 13, 2022
Secretly, you wish you could've done what I did
Posted: 3:39:00 AM 0 comments
I mean, I'm not reading anyone's mind or anything like that. But judging from a lot of people's comments about That Bird Hell Site, you'd think that people would be dying to get away from it.

It's not that easy.



There's a reason it's called social media. It's social. It's your connection with a list of other users that you presumably have curated over a span of months or years. For some of those connections, it's your only connection to them. It also costs a lot of energy to make connections like these to begin with. So, it makes sense that people wouldn't want to start over elsewhere. In fact, I recall reading a couple people fearing that they were being abandoned by people who decided that enough was enough at Twitter.

A very fair conclusion to make, but not one that is without its flaws. Social media is a double edged sword. Sites like Twitter are designed to get you to engage the site as frequently as possible. How? Twitter has critical mass. Everyone you know is probably on Twitter or at least tried it, so you get comfortable with it because most of the people you know are there. They want you to stay on their site and browse around, so they try to learn about you and your friends through your posts, and then throw them all in an algorithm to try to make a few cents off an ad you might click on. Sure, Twitter has other ways to monetize, but the general rule is if a product is free, you - or more specifically your data - are the product.

To some people, this is just the absolute worst. However, I decided that I was generally okay with this as long as the product was useful and the people behind it weren't completely evil. Symbiotic relationships aren't necessarily bad relationships, after all.

When I "left" Facebook - "left" is in quotes because I still log in to and even use the account from time to time, much like I did during my Twitter down time - I made a conscious decision that I wasn't going to support what Facebook had become. When I first joined, it was fun to keep up with everyone. When I left, keeping up with everyone meant suffering through arguments, bad political takes, and opinions about things you didn't want to know. I saw the worst of people I cared for many times, and interactions on the site straight up ruined several relationships between friends. It was too much. The product ceased being useful, and I quit.

Earlier this year, I "left" Twitter - again "left" is in quotes because I still logged in, read everyone's posts every day, and even sometimes replied - I again made a conscious decision that I wasn't going to support what Twitter was about to become. My leaving was 100% about Elon Musk's planned purchase and privatization of Twitter. Why would something like this prompt me to leave?

Simple. The guy is an asshole.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no angel myself. I mean, just read this blog in its early years, or dig up some of my older posts on Trax in Space. However, someone with the money and influence that this man has who is consistently stooping to this level of dehumanization is downright dangerous. Sure, there are other billionaires out there with less than reputable personalities, but no one comes close to touching Musk right now. So if the top man at Twitter is going to be this kind of person - and this is not to mention anything about the recent political views he has taken - it will cease to maintain my loyalty.



Joining and using Mastodon regularly is simply me hedging my bets. Don't get me wrong, it's not perfect. Far from it, in fact. The main thing it's missing is critical mass - the people and organizations you know are very likely not on Mastodon. The other problem is it's hard to actually do any discovery on the site, although this might be good for some people whose main complaint about Twitter is that discovery leads to some bad mental health situations (ie: doomscrolling). However, consider this discovery is what draws a lot of people to Twitter, and is a contributing factor to its critical mass. A third problem is that its sharding is poorly done. You can only belong to one server, even if you have more than one interest, and it's not trivial to move servers if you decide you want to do so. I feel like with this being its cornerstone feature, it should've been more thought out and useful. But the good things are that it is actively moderated, it's easy to follow the posts of people you follow (even on other servers), there's no algorithm on your timeline to deal with, and you get 500 characters instead of 280.

I returned to Twitter once it was clear that the acquisition was not yet a done deal. No need to abandon ship if it's not sinking. Besides, I'm doing my part trying to keep it afloat. But like I said, there's social in social media, and that's the main draw. Remeber, that feeling of abandonment that people get by reading about people like me leaving is by design. I feel for people who are hooked like this, but it's not going to stop me from at least trying to do the responsible thing.

I'm hoping that if the worst happens and the deal is closed that I'll be able to formally pack up and leave for good without coming back, but if there's one thing I've learned from the last couple months?

It's not that easy.

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What have I done since roncli.com v2?
Posted: 2:13:00 AM 0 comments
Nothing.

That's it. That's the blog post.



OK, so that's not entirely true. Actually, a lot has happened since the end of 2021. Allow me to recap.

  • I needed a break from hardcore coding. I was going hard for about a year, and needed some time to do something else for a while. I still did some coding, but it wasn't for the big picture projects.
  • Return to work sprung back up. I now travel to the city two days a week for my job. I was not ready for the level of fatigue this would bring on those days.
  • I moved. My wife and I bought a house, and I now live in Pittsburg, California, pretty close to a BART station. It's gorgeous here, we have awesome views of the delta and surrounding hills. The house, however, is cursed.
  • My ability to keep up with everything waned for a while. Having to worry about house searching during the week and actually going to look at houses on the weekend while juggling about a half dozen other responsibilities. For those keeping track, I temporarily gave up maintaining olmod, running the Observatory, and streaming regularly.

While things with the new house have been pretty hectic - see aforementioned comment about the house being cursed - life has been pretty damn good otherwise. I still feel my top goal in terms of coding is to get off of the Windows VM, so I'm going to start picking things up again to move into that direction. But first thing's first.

I've been doing a lot of modernization of some older projects, and have been forcing myself to catch up on super old issues. I want to get the issues list for my personal projects down to zero (excepting FusionBot, read on for more on that) before moving the Overload game tracker to a Docker project. After that, the next real big task is going to be combining the OTL and the Azure server manager into one project, and then moving it to a Docker project. The last big project is giving The Observatory its own website and reinstituting the bot so I don't have to directly deal with Borjarnon making a mockery of the event. (I still love you, Borj.)

After that? I don't think I can commit to anything after that other than shutting down the Windows VM once and for all. I have a lot of ideas as to what I want to do next, but getting to that point is going to take dedication... the same level of dedication I gave last year to my coding projects. It's not unreasonable for me to finish all these things within a year, but I also know how easy it is to burn out, so I'm taking it carefully and giving myself time to do other things that I enjoy. I believe that taking things one step at a time while leaving room for other things will help prevent the burnout I experienced at the release of roncli.com.

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