Note: began this entry last week. Been exhausted. :-(
Thanksgiving was the day after dinner with my parents, so I was pretty tired. We started to say what we were all thankful for but the conversation sidetracked, and never refocused. With the FLOTUS' suggestion in mind, we spoke about ObamaCare and politics... but I won't get into that here and now. I'm truly thankful for two wonderfully supportive parents and the relationship I have with my family now. Also, although we give each other a hard time, Stephanie does a good job taking care of me and reminding me to eat. I forget about that sometimes when I get involved in a project or, well, sleep.
It hasn't always been easy or fun, but I don't think I could get by without them and their support. Disability really sucks like that. Thank you. And a shoutout and thanks to all of the wonderful internet people — hopefully you know who you are. Your generosity, kindness and encouragement, thoughts and prayers are cherished and appreciated. I hope you have a great, merry Christmas! (...and a happy New Year!)
Now to Mainstream
Sheeple Consumer (yes, very bleak—err, black) Friday thoughts.
I really miss Steve Jobs.
Mostly in an abstract way; it's not like I knew him personally, but insofar as a man (or woman) can be known by their great works and contributions, it pains me greatly that his direction and insight is no longer a constant.
Although Apple might honor and carry his legacy through their refinements and further developments of his breakthrough products, they've lost their prodigal navigator and are thusly adrift. It's impossible for me to know whether or not Steve would've allowed the iPad mini to exist, but I cannot fathom his acceptance of iOS7 on it.
Some people claim to run iOS7 just fine on first-gen minis. Many others, myself clearly included, believe that the tablet is just too slow for it. It's clunky. Glitchy. It crashes and lags.
It's ruined the mini experience for me. The mini was my favorite tablet, one of my favorite things, even with the iPad2-like specs and unimpressive screen. It gave me the iPad experience that I love on a device that I could use all day — the iPad 3 is just too heavy to hold up for hours. With iOS6, the mini was quick and stable.
It allowed me to create.
iOS7 was deliberately designed to be sleek and minimal — two qualities I don't have an issue with — however, it feels like style over substance. Over-engineered, unavoidable. Apple won't let dissatisfied users go back to 6, and even pushed the update install to devices. It seems like a marketing tactic to throw out at keynote speeches. Almost all of our users are on the latest version of iOS, while Android devices are split between...
Compounding my tablet frustrations are blogging woes.
Squarespace 5 has started getting hit with referral-link spam. At first it was maybe a few a week, then a few a day, now maybe a dozen per day. This nuisance isn't easy to take care of on an iPad, and has obscured legitimate comments, emails, questions... I've got to do something about it.
Sorry for the trouble here but I'll be happy to assist you. We will continue to maintain Squarespace 5 for customers. However, updates and apps that are released in the future will be geared toward the Squarespace 6 platform. – Squarespace Customer Care response
So it looks like I'm blogging on an obsolete platform. Simply move to their Squarespace 6? And perhaps in a few years, they'll grow tired of that, release version 7, and cut support/updates for 6.
I get that things progress and change is necessary for business, but because the systems are incompatible and there's no automatic 5 to 6 conversion tool, it's extra stress that I don't want.
So I've been looking into alternatives. I found two articles particularly informative.
- The 15 best blogging and publishing platforms on the Internet today. – The Next Web
- 6 New Blogging Platforms that Debuted in 2013 – AGBeat
I'd like to focus more on long form content and less on blog design; unfortunately, so many "blogging platforms" (CMS) are setup for full-site management and treat the blog as a secondary item and focus.
Perhaps more importantly (at minimum, of equal importance) is sustainability — Internet immortality. Permanent links. Link rot sucks. Importing and exporting content sucks — there's always loss and errors. That makes something like Posthaven — at least at face-value — very attractive. Their promise, for $5/month is a service that will last forever. I blogged at Vox, played with Pownce, tweeted at Jaiku, shared with Posterous — all gone.
I think my only real reservation with Posthaven at the moment is that I don't like the look, and it seems like there's no choice with that. No templates or themes, or CSS or whatever. Just pure, simple blog — take it or leave it. I don't think it's attractive or very usable. On their site, they indicate that custom design is something that they're working on implementing, so I'll have to keep an eye on it. If you use Posthaven, I'd love to know what you think of it, and how it compares to similar blog only services (like Medium, Ghost, Postagon, Roon, etc).
And then there's this: Web Design is 95% Typography – Information Architects — thoughts from the genius Oliver Reichenstein. I've read his thoughts on typography (I love typography and handwriting), and agree with most of it. It's particularly true for this blog, since I tend to post fewer, write longer (instead of many/short). This theme just looks bad with big type. If only I could work on it from my iPad.
I'm not good with code. I know a bit — enough to understand it when I see it, but I can't use code like I use a pencil (or stylus). I can't wield CSS as a design weapon, and that limits what I can customize on my own. If only I had more time, more years of life.
My goal, of I can ever manage it, is to write about the tech, games and design that I love, disability and pain management, and politics (local, national, international). I believe that it's important to our first amendment and culture to express controversial and perhaps unpopular opinions, always remaining truthful and forthright. I don't like political correctness and white lies, and I don't want to live in a world where government tells me what I can buy, where I can go, whether or not I can own a gun, airplane or anything else. I don't want to live in a world where creativity and ingenuity is stifled and suffocated under the burdens of taxes, regulations, penalties, local, state and federal ordinances requiring prior authorization and approval, etc...
...but I really, really don't like all the public insults, flame wars, death threats, obscenities and personal attacks hurled at strangers online and elsewhere in our society today. There's an awful tension and hostility and a lot of hate — so I plan on contributing to debates without attacking others or responding to personal insults. I won't instigate persecution and I will report threats (and hate speech, where applicable), because it isn't right or productive. We do not have the right to never be offended, but we do have protection against battery, libel and slander. I encourage debates where people vigorously defend their positions and say "you're wrong," but I condemn the "you're an idiot and you should die" that seems to occur online with alarming frequency. Liberal or conservative, it doesn't matter who's saying it — this type of attack is wrong, and if I see or hear it in the mainstream media or popular blogs, I'll flag it — because I think character is important and people need to be aware of it.
In my experience, the racism, discrimination and flaming comes from:
- people with an intellectually, factually indefensible position — perhaps thusly, they believe that their only option is to end discussion entirely or redirect it from information and ideology to personal attacks,
people so arrogant and/or narrow-minded that they believe that there's no possible way that they can be wrong; thus they are unwilling to even hear or entertain the opposing argument or view — and often in anger, shut down civilized discourse with disdain, using statements ranging from cynicism and snide remarks to outright vile hostility and threats of violence.
Sometimes it's difficult to contain anger, I understand that. But even if someone is wrong — stubbornly so — it would be far better to simply withdraw from dialogue than resort to conversational (or actual) thuggery.
So in the spirit of American Christmas, those are my stresses, wishes and cold-weather! winter worries. And now that I've shared them,
I can get back to blogging about fun stuff like iPad styluses and the joys of iPhone 5S. PLUS: why I won't ever switch from iOS to Android, and why I simultaneously want Android to always be awesome!