jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Despite our disenchantment with Microsoft, we still use and rely on OneNote. It's a free cross-platform app, with free online syncing and no ads, and it takes pictures and formatted text and automatically cites stuff that we copy and paste from online.

Anyway, we've collected a lot of quotes about how it's not surprising to find ourself as a hikikomori / part of the underclass, all things considered. And how we still contribute to society despite being devalued economically. And how society's requirements are unreasonable to begin with, especially when it plays favourites so blatantly.

It's actually kind of a source of hope and encouragement to read them. Sort of like 15 years ago, when we were first starting to come to terms with the idea that we're fundamentally "a writer" and couldn't be happy doing the jobs that the people around us were pressuring us to do. Which led to our taking it seriously and getting a lot of practice, and eventually led to us supporting ourself and another person through writing things that were important to us.

They also note that Apple stuff's been getting cheaper, while housing, education, and health care are all priced for the upper class. Which kind of puts things in perspective, and makes us feel better about owning an iPod and wanting a Mac.

I mean. There are billboards here in the States that advertise schools and hospitals. Srsly. Like, a lot of them.

In the past few weeks, a lot of the hurdles to obtaining health care and such here have been worked out. More than that, [personal profile] burning_ground has proven to be a very good friend and supportive Internet Family Member, and [personal profile] aliaspseudonym / [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush is now talking about planning a future with us and visiting late next month.

We've gotten out of the habit of checking on Dreamwidth, and have set our fanfiction aside temporarily. But in other spheres of our life -- Final Fantasy XI, miniatures, and earning spending money on Mechanical Turk -- we've actually been Getting Stuff Done. Like, a lot more than usual, and a lot more regularly than usual. A day where we could do anything but read depressing stuff used to be rare, but now we can count on at least a couple hours of work every day. And save up for things, and have dreams and ambitions, even if they don't resemble most people's.

I feel like accepting our place in the underclass, as someone who's not valued enough by society to even be exploited as a labourer, is actually part of that. Because we've gone from seeing ourself as a failed member of the working class, whose struggles are all her fault, to seeing ourself as someone who's lost a lot of life's lotteries but has people who love and support her.

Knowing that, and having that support, has given us a lot of strength lately. It's not something that we're used to.

We can share some of the quotes that we've found if anyone's interested. Today we just wanted to talk about how we're feeling, lately.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

A scientific study I participated in on Amazon's Mechanical Turk asked me to come up with uses for paper clips. Here is the list I came up with:

  • Improvised weapon, in case you are attacked by swashbuckling insects.

  • Keep underwear made out of paper from sliding down your legs.

  • Lockpick.

  • Modern art sculpture.

  • Comb, if you have especially cooperative hair.

  • Hairpin, if you don't.

  • Coffee stirrer.

  • Palm Pilot / Nintendo DS stylus (use the curved part)

  • Palm Pilot reset switch trigger (use the flat part)

  • Attract the attention of crows

  • Conductor's baton for crickets

  • Pretend to shoot mind control rays to annoy people

  • Poke them with it if they resist your suggestions

  • Material component in casting "Summon Office Supplies"

  • Part of the construction cost of building a paper clip golem

  • Securely attach an olive to your sandwich (just don't use it as a toothpick)

  • Offer unhelpful advice in Microsoft Word

As an added bonus, as far as anyone's aware paper clips are not capable of committing criminal acts, evading prosecution, or destroying the world economy, and would therefore serve as fine replacements for many investment bankers.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Facebook, Twitter, and Google are trying to be public utilities, but without any public oversight. Few, if any, laws currently regulate their abuses of privacy and monopoly privilege, although the European Union is trying to change that.

Part of the problem is technophobia, which is animosity towards people who rely on technology. Technophobes believe that those youngsters ought to pay less attention to "pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, [and] online social networking," and more attention to what really matters: The technophobes and their needs. A lot of voters are technophobes, so stuff Twitter does to screw you over doesn't matter to them.

But another big part of the problem is that we are used to thinking of ourselves as consumers, as individuals, as basically powerless. Solidarity isn't a thing anymore. Instead we have "participation," where you write Amazon.com reviews or mark stuff in Gmail as spam. And everyone takes it for granted that the new breed of robber barons can do whatever they want, and mine resources nobody knew were valuable -- like people's identities and privacy. Which is very convenient for them.

So now we have stuff like this:

Google is now the way people find out anything on the Internet. It is a publicly-traded corporation, which answers to no one but shareholders.

Facebook is now the way people define their relationships and share their lives with each other online. It is a publicly-traded corporation, which answers to no one but shareholders.

Twitter is now the way people chat online. It is a publicly-traded corporation, which answers to no one but shareholders.

And Amazon is now the way everyone buys everything. It is a publicly-traded corporation, which answers to no one but shareholders.

We have laws that keep businesses from abusing their customers and legitimate competitors. Those laws have not kept up with the times. And in many cases, they were inadequate to begin with.

I don't think the long-term solution is going to involve competing with them, or avoiding them, or recommending against them, or any other individualistic "consumer" behaviour. Because as it stands, quitting one of these sites means sacrificing all the value that you put into their system through your and your friends' years of participating, such as all those likes and reviews and Steam games. Value which they extracted from you, and you now have no legal right to, or at least no right to withdraw in a usable form.

Instead, we need to change the rules on them. And it isn't immoral to do so, because the rules are how they got where they are. They profited from publicly-funded research and infrastructure, from publicly-educated employees, and (perhaps in Amazon's case) from social safety net programs designed to keep inadequately compensated warehouse workers alive.

If I knew anyone who was trying to return the power to us, in this country, I'd be voting for them. Unfortunately, I don't.

In the meantime, I'm doing the "consumer" thing and looking for alternatives. DuckDuckGo is an awesome search engine that's like Google before it got Plused, and doesn't track you or anything. And Dreamwidth's Guiding Principles spell out a more responsible social contract, where its founders and employees are part of the community instead of above it. And where the volunteers who work on it own it themselves via Free Software licensing.

It should be a crime for other startups not to have such arrangements.

Because the only way Dreamwidth got founded to begin with is that LiveJournal was based on Free Software and used open standards like RSS. Without the LiveJournal import and cross-posting, Dreamwidth would have been dead in the water.

Just like Diaspora.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

Subscribe

RSS Atom

Tags

Style Credit

Page generated Mar. 26th, 2017 11:09 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios