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)

We're still feeling kind of icky and stuff, partly because our hormones have decided to change up our temperature tolerances >_o

Aaand we flip-flopped between Linux and Windows 8.1 a few times before settling on the latter, and finding ways to block a lot of the annoying commercialism, like Skype ads and "Upgrade to Windows 10!" banners.

But we're feeling better and less stressed now, and while we still have things to sort out we should be able to have a DW site up for the RP (along with the players' finalized character sheets) within a week or so.

We wanted to let everyone know, and also to know that we haven't forgotten to work on our fanfic or anything. Also, we somehow got three Malifaux models assembled, and are eagerly (and somewhat anxiously) awaiting next month's long-rumoured Tau releases.

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)

I guess we're doing okay now ... sorry for the breakdown.

We've got Fedora 22 Design Suite installed, and have been busy setting it up. It's going to take a bit of work, so our projects (like the RP) are gong to be delayed. We also have to ru errands out in the heat for the next couple of days, which won't help.

We'll try to have everything online as soon as possible.

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)

(Which your PC may or may not be installing right now.)

Who is affected

If you primarily used the "normal" Windows desktop, in Windows 7 or 8.1, you will not be affected by this. Microsoft changed up some things for you, but not a whole lot, and if you didn't like the Start screen in Windows 8.1 the Start menu now works more like you're probably used to.

If you mostly used modern fullscreen apps in Windows 8.1, and stayed in its tablet interface on a laptop or desktop PC, you are affected.

What it is doing

Windows 10 forces all non-tablet users into the Windows desktop. There is a way to turn on "Tablet mode," but it will not work if you have an external display connected.

Windows 10 also lacks many of the features associated with 8.1's Modern interface, such as the Charms bar, the task switcher list you could get to by mousing into the upper-left corner, the Immersive Browser of IE 11, and the horizontally-scrolling Start menu. If your app icons were carefully laid out and grouped in Windows 8.1, they will be gone in Windows 10, and replaced with apps that you didn't choose to install but came with the upgrade. Also, on the desktop focus doesn't follow the mouse, so you can't (for instance) scroll in a browser window while chatting in Skype.

Microsoft recently forced everyone who uses Skype on Windows to download its Desktop version, even though the Modern app was working fine, and claimed through error messages and install dialogues that your Skype experience was being improved. Like with banner ads all over the place.

(This link explains how to disable the ads in Skype.)

This is basically what Microsoft is doing to everyone who grew to love and rely on the fullscreen, Modern interface. You can't get it to work on certain systems, it doesn't work nearly the same, and in general everything is more cluttered and intrusive and there are more ads. If this is not to your liking, you may want to consider not upgrading.

Apparently the people who want everyone's computers to work like they did in 1995 won, and we can't have nice things anymore.

Addendum 1

We are downloading Linux.

Addendum 2

We have wasted the last three years, and all the time we spent learning in Visual Studio.

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)

We wrote our "conversion story" on a forum we signed up for recently, and thought it summed things up pretty nicely in case anyone here is interested in what we've used technology-wise (although it leaves out our history of tablets, game consoles, and one beat-up iBook). What, am I the only one with an obsessive interest in how people relate to their technology and what that says about them?

Behind cut! )

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)

I think this happens when a given ideal becomes an end in itself, and not a means to an end. Suddenly people's lives are based around this ideal, instead of the other way around, and anything that threatens this ideal seems to threaten their lives by extension.

I think this applies to evangelicals going after gays, movement atheists going after theists, and free software zealots going after anything and everything in the world that might make computing and coding more accessible to women. The way things are, or were, or should be, is perfect. If you don't exist in that ideal world, then you shouldn't exist at all.

I think this sort of inhumane idealism is worse than simple inhumaneness of convenience, because it actively seeks out people to destroy them, whether by conversion or by making life as something different impossible. And I think that part of the reason it gets so vicious about it is because it's sublimating the energy that should have gone into questioning its own assumptions, and hearing other people's stories.

I know in my case I spent most of my life not just willing to throw myself away for an ideal, but actively trying to do so. I spent years hating myself for not being the perfect Mormon, and struggling with Linux to try to get it to do what I needed it to. And when I found out that my theritype was a carnivore, I felt sick and wanted to cease to exist, because I felt like every day that I lived was a tragedy.

It's taken a lot of work to try to reconstruct my morality based on what's right for people, including myself, because of how much I saw the very idea mocked. It's supposedly weak, selfish, and dishonest to not sacrifice yourself. But the more I see how dishonest and selfish people who want others to cease to exist are, and how hard it is to convince myself that I shouldn't just curl up and die when I'm asked to, I start to question that. I guess.

I think this is why we're so quick to back down, to infosuicide even, and why it takes forever for us to get to the point where we voice our concerns about something that's hurting us. Deep down, we agree with everyone who's said we don't deserve to exist, for every reason. We consider every request made of us to be reasonable, by default, and every request we make to be an unreasonable imposition.

So when someone tells us to get the hell off their Internet, we already agree with them that we shouldn't be there.

It takes a lot of work to construct the illusion that we deserve to exist, and it's easy for that illusion to vanish.

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)

I am trying to say: "These are the words and concepts I've found that best describe us so far. I am sharing them with you so you will know what names and pronouns to use in order to better relate to us, and in case they are useful to you in describing yourself."

I feel like I'm actually saying: "I had a mind-blowing spiritual epiphany, and have since taken a vow to be exactly like a mythological creature / video game protagonist / anime girl. Feel free to critique how well I live up to your expectations of those things!"

(Content note: Most of the rest of this essay describes ablist and xenophobic responses to what I say.)

Read more... )

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.
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)
Content note: This essay will very briefly touch on Mormon religious concepts, as an illustration to a point. This is not just more ranting about stuff that I used to believe.

The concept in question is the idea of "eternal progress." I was taught that this was something which set my old church apart from the Brand X(-tian) churches out there, which all supposedly thought we'd be sitting on clouds in heaven and singing forever and ever. On top of that, we supposedly had "continuing revelation" even in this life, where God's living prophet would tell us new things which were tailored for our day and age.

I really believed all of this. And I believed that "heaven," for that matter, wasn't simply an unquestionably good place that believers were rewarded with. Rather, I believed that there were two kinds of people who didn't go to heaven: The unworthy who knew and regretted their unworthiness, and the unworthy who didn't see heaven as heaven because they'd been twisted around so much they didn't know up from down. They didn't want to go there, and if they could it wouldn't be heaven to them. They simply couldn't appreciate it.

(I may have mixed in some Planescape theology there.)

A couple years after I left my old church, it hit me that this was exactly right. Because back there, they were still teaching the same "Sunday School answers" to every problem, at least the ones they acknowledged existed. And God's living prophet was still telling the same old stories about widows and stuff. Even their new website about "Mormons and Gays" (trigger warning for homophobia) explicitly says "we don't know" why God doesn't want gays to get married. This is what it's come to, now that their old reasons have been disproven. And while the rest of the first world is moving towards marriage equality, they're having a hissy fit over women wearing pants to church.

It's progress, but it's glacially slow and decades behind. And most of their discourse is still the same-old.

Progressive software

Why do I bring all this up? Because I've been realizing how unhealthy it is for me to dwell on that garbage, and trying to find new things to occupy my time with. And while looking at different forums and blogs, I realized I felt more at home on Planet Ubuntu than most more traditional "Free Software" blogs, although Planet GNOME's a close second and I also like Máirín Duffy's blog. And I realized the reason why was the same as with the above: Because in my personal experience, Free Software zealots in the vein of the Free Software Foundation are fundamentalists, who are as anti-progressive as the ones in the church that I left.

So while GNOME is moving design radically forward, they're throwing fits about it. While Máirín's teaching Girl Scouts to use Inkscape, they're making fun of her and staging juvenile protests on Planet Fedora, against the idea of making it easier to use and get involved with. And while the Outreach Program for Women is bringing new writers and contributors into the fold, they're trolling our blogs and insisting we're making stuff up about harassment and other issues that they do not face.

(I realize "they" is amorphous here, so for the sake of discussion it means "the people who do these things." I associate "them" with the FSF because I see it as the least progressive, most fundamentalist arm of the Free Software movement, which I associate in my mind more with their boycotts and insistence on purity than anything -- like the GNU project, or the gcc compiler, or the GPL -- that they may have actually done or created at some point. I'm open to being proven wrong here; I'm aware that people and organizations change, and have been especially impressed with some of Microsoft's recent products. This is just an impression I have, based on who they call their enemy and why.)

I guess what I'm saying is I realized I like the culture in Ubuntu and GNOME, where the emphasis is on moving forward (albeit in different directions for different reasons), and on bringing this stuff that we have to as many people as possible, and even on changing it so as to be more useful and accessible. Whereas in other projects, and communities, and of course churches, I see more of an emphasis on preaching (or appearing to preach) the same fundamentals over and over again, to the point of insulting people it doesn't appeal to or help instead of asking them why.

Progressive gaming?

I realize it's slightly ironic that I'm saying all this when my favourite computer game ever was made about 10 years ago. >_> In FFXI's case, though, I really haven't seen anything better at doing what it does best, for me personally. Most MMOs these days tend to copy World of Warcraft, with its looting and button-mashing and information overload UI. And they don't even do a good job of it.

For me, FFXI isn't a game so much as a world, that I experience in a particular way. It has a minimalist interface that's designed to be played with a game controller. It's immersive, and sort of invites contemplation. Chatting's normally done by text instead of headset. And the pace is extremely different. The only games I know of which come close to how it feels (which I didn't describe very well) are PlayStation Home and FFXIV, both of which I either play or am hoping to play when it comes to the PS3.

I realize now that a lot of the things I lament about missing, that were around in the "good old days" of FFXI, are things that made the game hostile to newbies. I feel good about triumphing over them, but countless others got discouraged and left. I like seeing the game make some progress on this front, and I have high hopes for FFXIV: A Realm Reborn. I want to see this style of game that I like stay young, and bring in new players. I don't want to only be surrounded by people my age, and with my exact preferences. And I don't want all that we talk about to be how things aren't like what they used to be.

In conclusion

I guess there's not really a point to all this. I just figured I ought to write more Dreamwidth essays. Most of the realizations I've been having and progress I've been making, in the last few weeks, I've only been sharing on Skype. I figure I ought to change that, since people seem to like my writing.

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 ~

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