Older blog entries for dria (starting at number 140)

27 Oct 2000 (updated 27 Oct 2000 at 23:38 UTC) »
graydon: the key issues here are: a) most people do not want to take responsibility for their actions, and b) most people in this part of the world were raised in a society where selfishness is considered to be a highest virtue, and thus cannot put aside their own petty concerns long enough to see the larger picture.

And thus, we are so dead it's not funny.

Editorial comment: replaced "survival trait" with "highest virtue" as was my original impulse, curbed by fears of Selfishness is a Virtue Randians jumping on my head.

27 Oct 2000 (updated 27 Oct 2000 at 03:40 UTC) »
graydon: Ah. Yes. Well. Same goes for about a billion other things.

I happen to agree with you, I just wasn't sure what exactly you meant. Personally I can think of several thousand ways that the world could be made a better place simply by people not doing something. And I strongly agree that most people need to slow down, give their heads a shake, and take a good long look around. Not just "people", but People. All of us. Collectively.

We've made an awful mess of things. What's scarier, however, is that almost no one seems to give a shit. Even on a personal level people are becoming increasingly fucked up by the sheer pace of things. Everyone with their cellphones and PDAs and laptops and pagers and microscopic attention spans and some seriously screwed drive to Do More Faster Now! And for what? I mean, really, for what? What's really being accomplished here?

Scratch that. What positive things are being accomplished? How many of our personal lives made better and more fulfilling by working 12-16 hours/day, 6-7 days/week? How is life improved by the continual acquisition of more and better electronics and communications gear? Do this many people really need cellphones? Do people really need multi-thousand-dollar home entertainment systems? Do people really need all the console gaming systems? Do people really need another new car? Do people really need to buy this many goddamned shoes?

I'm as guilty of this as anyone, although less so since I started paying attention to it. I haven't had a TV since I moved to Montreal, thus no VCR or DVD player. I don't have a PDA anymore. I have no car, and no desire to get one. I'm going to drop one of my phones (either cell or landline, haven't decided which yet). I don't wear a watch anymore. I don't check my email obsessively anymore. I unsubscribed from 9/10ths of the mailing lists I used to be on. I don't work all the time anymore. I've been reading more, writing more, walking more. Paying attention more. I've been making a fairly deliberate attempt to slow down, and I'm a much happier person for it.

This all began when I came to the realization that I had no real reason for pushing myself to Do More Faster Now. That I was caught in the classic trap of consumerism, believing that I could somehow make my life happier and more fulfilling by Buying More Stuff. It never worked. Not for years. I'd buy more stuff, play with it for a while (like a kid on Christmas morning), and nothing would change and I'd just have another "thing" to put in the box with all the other unused "things", and I'd still be generally discontent with life and, worse, I'd usually be further in debt.

"Well that's stupid", thought I. So, I've started cutting out the deadwood, cutting out the extraneous activities from my life and allowing myself to, as you (graydon) said, sit still. I'm not even halfway there yet, and things are already significantly better than they were before. Less stress. Less insomnia. Fewer headaches. And those are only some of the purely personal benefits. If everyone would do the same and just Consume Less, even by 20%, things would get better. We would still be consuming too much by a long long long shot, but it would be better. Maybe one small 10-20% reversal in consumer spending habits would be the pebble that begins a landslide.

So, yeah. I could go on, but, um, I won't.

graydon: how does running a website contribute to the destruction of the planet? Everything else you listed makes perfect sense to me but (maybe I'm just being defensive as one of those people who tends to keep building new dorky websites) the "don't operate so many websites" thing made me pause.

I don't get it.

Put up an initial alpha version of the new Linuxchix.org site for testing. It's incomplete. There are borked bits, there are a few bugs, there are a few missing features. On the other hand, there is a lot of stuff there (the core of it at very least) including:

  • user accounts
  • personal profile pages
  • chapter info pages
  • news submission system
  • personal weblogs
Yeah. Anyhow, if you would like to go break my site, you can check it out over at http://www.osdi.org (temporary location for alpha testing, of course). Send feedback/bug reports to me (deb at dria dot org), etc etc.

If you'll note the timestamp on this entry, you'll see that I'm up waay past my bedtime. Why? Because I got in a serious zone and spent the last 8 hours hacking on the new Linuxchix.org site. It's not up yet, but I think it might go into early alpha testing tomorrow night.

Craziness. I am very very sleepy now, but I'm also in that weird brain-state which means I probably won't be able to sleep for hours. Gah. We'll see. God knows I have to stop working on stuff now, 'cuz I'd just start breaking things at this point. I can barely type my passwords right now.

Whee. I think the new site is going to go over pretty well. Assuming it works. We'll find out soon enough, I suppose.

Hack hack hack. Lots of of PHP work done recently, all working (in a roundabout way) towards a new Linuxchix.org site (among other things). Hack hack hack.

In a fit of pure inspiration, I did up some giant graphics in GIMP and now I'm pleased to announce the (unofficial) opening of the Linuxchix.org Collectible Mug Store. Get 'em while they're hot! Collect the whole set! Added bonus: help me pay for bandwidth on the new server! Woot! Yes, I make a bit of profit from each sale, but I figure it's better than banner ads :>

Having a coloc'd box is not cheap. Linuxchix isn't on the new machine just yet (massive PHP issues), but the OSWG migrated over a few months ago. Actually, the new Linuxchix site isn't just blocking on PHP...there's also the fact that I haven't actually finished it yet. But soon!

For those of you who haven't discovered it yet, you should check out Cafe Press. It's really quite neato.

Played lots more BG2, and am about to do so again. More details on that over here.

Hoorah!

Yesterday I was playing a lot of Baldur's Gate II when I realized that my druid was starting to complain about my party's reputation which was apparently too high for his liking.

Want to know more!!?? Go check out my weblog.

This weekend: continued working on the new Linuxchix site a bit. Started planning for a new project. Went to a party and met lots of new fun people. Played way way way too much Baldur's Gate II (for the curious, details are over here). Didn't get half as much sleep as I really should have, but all in all had a very fun weekend.

Successfully managed to resist the siren's call that is Baldur's Gate II for the evening. Got lots of work done as a result, including finally getting started on the PHP4/MySQL reimplementation of the linuxchix.org site. So far:

  • front page 'weblog-like' posting facility: complete
  • new account creation system: complete
  • user auth system: 3/4 done
  • site templates: complete

Only about 40 more things on the TODO list there, and it should be ready. Here's to hoping life continues to be this productive.

As always, my non-tech weblog is over here.

Oh dear. Started playing Baldur's Gate II last night. It's...extraordinarily fun. RPGs are becoming increasingly refined as the years go on (remember the old text adventures? You are standing in an open field, west of a white house.). All of this is working towards the ultimate culmination of almost two decades' worth of RPGing for me...Never Winter Nights.

Out of curiousity, I'd like to hear some opinions regarding Icewind Dale. Have you played it? Have you played BG2 yet? How do they compare? Should I bother picking up a copy of IWD, or should I just let it go? Let me know what you think.

I'm going to start keeping a running diary of my BG2 experiences (no spoilers, don't worry) over at my site as part of my regular weblog. Why? Well...I don't have a whole lot of spare time these days, and what little of it exists will likely be spent in front of the game machine, fulfilling my long-time RPG addiction. In other words: I don't have much of a life as it is, and since I'll be spending a lot of it playing that game, it's likely all I'm going to have to talk about for a while :)

In other news: there's not a whole lot of other news. If there is, I've already talked about it elsewhere.

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