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)

That's the most commonly rendered version of Google's motto, which most people invoke ironically these days as they point out the latest evil thing Google did. But you can do a lot of evil stuff without ever seeing yourself as evil. And if you're measuring how good you are by how evil someone else is, you get to be one of those people who wants a cookie for not being as terrible as someone else.

I personally feel that if you are alive, then you deserve to be alive, by default and until proven otherwise. I believe that "kindness is goodness;" that you are a good person just for being the kind of person you are, and that if anyone says otherwise or tries to prevent you from being yourself then they are being unkind to you.

I believe that some people are damaged, disabled, marginalized, or ill. I believe they deserve to exist, and to participate fully in society. I think it is the responsibility of abled people to accommodate them. I believe in solidarity with these people, and in giving up privilege or inconveniencing myself in order to keep them from having to do without things that they need or that I take for granted. I believe this is best done not through individual acts, but as a society, so that the responsibility is spread out and so that they do not need to beg.

I believe that some people are dangerous, including (but not limited to) carnivores, narcissists, and white European Americans. I don't believe that being dangerous means that a person is evil or must be destroyed. I believe there are ways to coexist, that do not have to involve harming innocents. But I believe that the burden is on the most dangerous people to find those ways, not on their victims. And I sympathize with those who resist them.

I believe that Chaotic Neutral is the best D&D alignment, because I feel it encompasses (or can encompass) all of the above. I believe you don't have to be "good" to be kind to others and empathize with them. I believe that the concept of "good" is overrated, and is often used to cover for dangerous people's actions, or to condemn those who resist them as "evil."

If "good" exists objectively, it is willing self-sacrifice on behalf of another. I don't feel that it's needed in order to be kind to others, because I feel that most people are naturally kind (or at least not dangerous) so long as their needs are met. But I do feel that kindness -- both in the sense of being yourself, and respecting the rights of others to do the same -- is a prerequisite for the kind of self-sacrifice that is helpful.

Otherwise, you end up seeing self-sacrifice as good in and of itself. You don't trust people who don't give up enough of themselves for "the greater good." And you give your all for other people, who you then expect to do the same for others, until there's no kindness left in the universe because everyone's trying so hard to be "good."

Or at least, to appear good. Which is much easier.

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)
One of the Windows Phone news sites I read has their social media icons lined up so that Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ are in that order.

I agree with the sentiment, whether or not it's intentional.
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)

That's the way Free Software idealists say software development should work. You get everything for free in Linux, including the code. If you don't like how something works, you change it and "submit your patch upstream," thus incorporating it into the whole. That way everyone benefits from everyone's creativity.

The problem is, this disenfranchises everyone who doesn't have both the technical ability to do that, and the social standing to be allowed to do that. Which means the Linux world is, and always has been, just a playground for technically proficient people who meet a particular demographic profile, and who keep making changes that affect everyone without consulting the people affected.

The only way to have your interests represented is to be part of the in-group, which means being a white cismale with unusual technical skills and enough money and free time to work on this stuff without pay. That, or a job that lets you get paid for it.

Read more... )

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)

Microsoft is doing a promotion where you get paid $100 for every Windows Store (or Windows Phone) app you write, for the next couple of months. I don't have nearly as much resistance to the idea as I thought I would. In fact, I'm loving this 30-day app challenge I'm on, and seeing official blogs and developer resources by women. Is this what it's like outside the Free Software world, where more than like 1 percent of people are female-identified?

Anyway, I know a lot of people hate it but I also love Windows 8 so far. It's more elegant than anything else that we've worked with so far, including OS X. Plus, we can write Javascript apps for it, which is good since that's what we know. I don't like said apps being tied to the Windows Store as the only channel of distribution, but I'm almost cheering for Microsoft as the underdog here since there are a lot of reasons I dislike Apple and Google's corporate practices. And MS has come a long way since the antitrust trial.

Plus, being able to play my games inside an inoffensive (to my senses), aesthetically pleasing OS, with elegant developer tools and a significant Free Software component (Firefox) has been ... very nice.

Speaking of Firefox, they're giving out Firefox OS phones to people who say they'll write apps for them. I told Mozilla I basically wrote GNOME's Javascript docs, and want to write a Dreamwidth client. Here's hoping that I get accepted?

Also, issues

Content note for abuse, discussion of incest and rape, trans issues, and internalized transphobia. Please please please do not read this if you are trans and are struggling for self- or outside acceptance.

Read more... )

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.

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)
So if you don't get a reply on Dreamwidth or elsewhere, that might be why! Guess I'll have to keep hitting F5 on my DW inbox.

It's related to the web hosting problem from earlier. Apparently, my web host shut down on short notice, and informed me at an email address which I rarely check and didn't realize they had. I am now trying to transfer domains and get Google Apps set up for fursona.net.

Once I get everything set back up, I'm probably just going to use Dreamwidth for my journal, and create a writing portfolio site using nanoc. It's a Ruby command line tool that a lot of people use for blogging, because it's just plain a lot simpler than WordPress for those of us who are familiar with the terminal.

Just as an example, I wanted to eventually create a button I can press that would convert my stories to a format suitable for posting on DA or FA, but in WordPress I'd have to write a whole plugin for that and somehow fit it into their Jenga tower of code. With nanoc it's apparently really simple to create a new filter and have it just automatically create those versions for copy-and-pasting. I feel like, why did no one tell me that this existed? >_< All those hours I spent doing find-and-replace ...

Anyway. I'll update once things are fixed, I guess. Wish me luck!

Still alive

Jan. 1st, 2013 07:10 pm
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)
For much of 2012, I didn't honestly think I'd survive it. Whether because things were just plain rough in general, or because after being rejected last Christmas everything that reminded me this holiday season would drive me to despair.

But, somehow I made it. I feel like I've learned a lot, and that I'm stronger now. Not because breaking someone's arm makes the arm stronger afterwards, but because broken arms eventually heal, and you can at least learn from the experience. I don't think that I've fully healed yet, but I feel like I've passed the test, so to speak, and have been trying to get back in business.

Speaking of business

I have two commissions outstanding that I need to complete. After that, I would like to take more. Complicating that are the fact that my living space, computer, and website(s) are extremely disorganized after a year of living day to day, and that I need to keep writing articles to pay rent.

My old approach to productivity was to decide far in advance what had to be done today, fall short because of distraction or despair, then kick myself and be even less productive afterwards. This year, or at least for this past week, I've been trying something different.

First, I'm making a log of everything I get done in a day that I consider "productive," with writing work bolded. This way I have records that prove I'm not lazy, even when my depression tells me that I am. Looking at them, it turns out that I do a lot of cooking and cleaning and organizing, as well as projects to help other people and sometimes-difficult necessary social interactions (like calling tech support). Some of these things might be trivial to other people, but they cost me metaphorical spoons, and logging them serves to remind me of that as well.

And second, instead of trying to write two articles a weekday (which was proving too difficult in 2012 even though I'd managed more than that the year previous), I'm writing one article per day, full stop. Even if I have a depressive episode, I feel I can still hopefully maintain that. Furthermore, if I get more than a single article completed I'm spending some or all of the money from that on myself. There are a lot of things I need to get, still. Plus getting nice things improves my morale, as does seeing that I'm capable of doing this much work.

What I (would like to) use

Nearly every part of my setup this year got upgraded. My boyfriend, [personal profile] aliaspseudonym, bought me a new ThinkPad Edge E430, along with a 16 GB Nexus 7. The laptop was custom-built with a Core i5 processor and a solid-state cache drive, which is perfect for installing a minimal (lightning-fast) Linux setup. I wish that it had more hard drive space for Steam games though (more on this later).

Besides that, I got a free smartphone upgrade from my wireless carrier, and a generous friend gifted their 80 GB backwards-compatible PlayStation 3 they were no longer using. I've had a lot of fun in PlayStation Home, which is sort of like Second Life but with less bondage and much better controls. It's done a lot to improve my morale, and help me feel less isolated and give me the chance to interact with others and explore. Plus, the (small, inexpensive, open-box discounted) HDTV that I got for it works extremely well as a second monitor for my laptop.

Probably the most unexpected upgrade was a free game controller for my tablet, thanks to a promotion by Moga. All I (and everyone else who read Android Police) had to do was pay shipping, which was less than the cost of the bundled games. It doesn't work with very many titles, but it's compact and well-designed, and comes with a very nice slipcase that's almost exactly the size of my tablet.

I'd next like to get some of the tablet accessories I put on my holiday wish list, like a Poetic case, Wacom stylus and portable stand. A keyboard is also a must, although I'd need one which can fit in my bag. I really love the idea, though, of having a complete game console and workstation computer inside my handbag at all times. It makes me feel warm and secure, and reminds me of the Palm Pilot setup I used to have (with a folding keyboard) except better. Plus it's more portable than my new laptop, although it's more portable than my old one.

A holly-jolly something or other

Christmas was nonexistent for me this year. There were no decorations indoors (or spoons to put them up with), and I didn't spend it with anyone in person.

What I had was "just like any other Tuesday, except there's presents." From my sister [personal profile] cfmv, from Alias, and from a ton of online game stores which all held massive sales at the same time. And I suddenly had gadgets that I could play them on. >_>

I grabbed both of Square-Enix's Chaos Rings games for less than the price of one. Bioshock 1 and 2 were on sale for $5 altogether. Same with Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel. The first two Mass Effect games were $5-10 each. All these games I'd always wanted to play, and even a few extras that I was pleasantly surprised by. I got pretty much every game on my list this year, including the big ones (Xcom and Guild Wars 2), and a bunch that I didn't put on my list because I couldn't justify the cost. But suddenly -- between the ridiculous sales, a larger-than-expected monthly bonus, Alias' having more hours at his job this month, and another friend helping provide us with Christmas dinner and baking supplies and things -- the cost was no longer an issue.

So many sales. o.o; And two Humble Bundles, and Steam's Big Picture sale of controller-based games. All in one month. Plus the tablet game controller that inexplicably fell in my lap.

It not only helped distract me from the depression, it's probably going to carry me through until next December at this rate. >_>; I'm still planning on getting FFXIV: A Realm Reborn and FFXI: Seekers of Adoulin this year, but I'm waiting on subscribing to either right now. Instead, I've been too busy plowing through KotOR (and going to holiday events in PlayStation Home).

Extremely long digression about technology stuff )

Finally some family stuff

Most of you probably already know how my family dropped me like a rock right before Christmas 2011, when I came out to them as trans. They didn't stop contacting me then, though. Within a few months my dad was congratulating me about winning an award, and asking me what he should call me.

I just about bit his head off. Not because he was being impolite, or doing anything wrong at the time. But because his actions had put me through hell very recently, and cost me an extra $100 a month because of complicated lease-related stuff.

I couldn't ignore what they did to hurt me anymore. I couldn't just let them get away with this, like they had with everything else. Not because I want revenge. Because I don't want to be hurt again. I don't want them to feel they can hurt me at will, can lash out at me with no consequence and no apologies, and act like this is normal and okay.

I tried to reconcile with them, over a period of several months. But this time, "maintaining the status quo" was no longer an option. I'm honestly not sure I care if they "disapprove of my lifestyle" or not. I just didn't want to have to pretend that I didn't have both a boyfriend and a significant other; that I wasn't female; that I wasn't transitioning; and that my family's actions hadn't hurt me. Hadn't made last year hell for me, and put me at much higher risk of all kinds of dangerous things ... according to the research in a pamphlet written for Mormon parents of LGBT kids, which I kept trying to show them.

I don't want to have to be in the closet for them. Not about being trans, and not about being an abuse survivor. Not when I almost died there.

I pressed them for an apology. But what I really wanted was acknowledgment of the fact that what they had done to me was Not Okay, assurance that it would Never Happen Again, and recognition of what I was going through. That it wasn't like what they thought, and that whatever the heck they thought it was like, it was something I needed to do. That I loved and depended on both my significant others, that if I didn't transition I'd die, and that if they didn't want me to die they Must Not push me in a harmful direction.

I was unable to persuade them of any of the above. I am no longer speaking with them, and haven't for several months now. A "family" you can't be yourself around, can't ask for (at least moral) support with your troubles, and can't ever let down your guard around or you'll get hurt, is not family at all. It's less than worthless; it's harmful.

I'm glad to have my new sister, and am looking forward to spending next year with her and [personal profile] rev_yurodivy and my boyfriend and the extremely supportive friends that I've made here on Dreamwidth.

Happy new year, everyone.

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. 25th, 2017 03:29 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios