starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)
Yes, I've opened comments again, but unless you're on my "access list", you'll need to go through a captcha and moderation before your comment will show up. Just an FYI. 
starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)
 So, apparently my parents had a small fire at their place. The 'apartment' workshop within their garage had an incident, and a thing caught fire. Gutted the small internal apartment area, and everything in it, but left the garage intact. It's also a separate structure from the house, so no issues with continuing to move. No one was hurt, either.

Still, this is news that I woke up to, after missing a lot of sleep. My nerves are shot (again), so I think I'll work on getting myself calmed down for now.
starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

This past 4th of July, our dear housing overlords posted notices that people caught shooting fireworks in the neighborhood would be subject to possible eviction. Now, this isn't unreasonable. The place is so packed with houses that one bad firework could burn down the neighborhood.

However, I've seen absolutely no fallout from the fireworks being shot off near the clubhouse, much less the other areas.

To explain: The clubhouse is where the main office for our housing complex. The clubhouse itself was open during this time, meaning that someone from the staff had to be there. That means they had to know what was going on outside.

Something tells me that their threats were nothing but a bluff. They don't want to lose paying customers, so they won't say or do anything.

This makes me even happier that we're leaving this place behind. As Austin has progressed, it has become quite a bit worse to balance the good parts.

Oh, and they were firing off the stuff into the night as well, when people were trying to sleep. There's celebrating, and then there's being just plain rude.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

First of all, this is partially due to my mate Calyo writing a blog post about the subject, but I feel I need to talk about it as well.

Me and my mates, Calyo and Sildrae, are moving near the end of next month. We considered all options, but after so many dead ends and uncertainties, we decided to (temporarily) move in with my parents back in Fort Smith, Arkansas. This is mostly to get us back on our feet, until we can figure out where to go next.

Why move? Three reasons.

Reason 1: Rules at our current place

The place we’re staying at has recently undergone yet another management shift, and with it, new rules governing what we can and cannot do at home. This includes:

  • Can’t have anything but patio furniture visible outside of the home from the street—including BBQ grills, and even the trash bin.
  • Vehicles that are unregistered, inoperable, or have expired registration aren’t allowed in the community. They also require vehicles with oil or gas leaks to be repaired immedately.
  • In regards to the second point, they do not allow car repairs to be done in the driveway, meaning that your only option is to pay someone else to repair, or to have a garage.
  • They inspect “home conditions, broken windows, broken blinds (yes, the fucking blinds), missing window screens, missing house numbers,  and needed painting or repairs”. They expect even renters to take care of this, from what I can tell.
  • They require residents to handle tree and shrub trimming on top of lawn care, and will charge the renter/owner fees if they have to call out someone to handle it. However, you have to get approval to remove a tree or shrub, or to do anything to the exterior of your home.

Now, as a note about the blinds, they require the cheap white blinds, and will not allow you to use anything else, even blackout blinds for those who work at night. Yes, they are that anal about it.

These people have become far worse than a Homeowners Association, and reinforce why most HoAs are unwelcome in the town I grew up in.

Also, I don’t mean to sound racist, ever since the change to a mostly Hispanic staff, I’ve noticed that a lot of non-Hispanic families have left. Most of the African-American and Caucasian families I used to see around the community just haven’t shown up lately, and I’m worried that, like our previous location (Avesta Aguve Falls), there seems to be a bit of bias towards catering to Hispanic families.

Reason 2: Rent Prices

From Calyo’s blog, since she said it best:

It’s basically impossible to find anywhere in Austin with a cost per square foot comparable to where we are living now, in a 53-foot manufactured home that we’re currently renting for just shy of $1000/month. Apartments half the size of this home cost about this much in and around this city.

Even the nearby “rent controlled” apartments have their 2 bed, 2 bath, 950 sq ft apartments at $821/mo USD, a $200 USD deposit, and require that you make $2052.50/mo just to qualify. Their 3 bed, 2 bath, 1100 sq ft apartments cost $946/mo USD, a $300 USD deposit, and require that you make $2369/mo to qualify, and they’re the cheapest place we’ve found near town.

Now the other reason we dropped this place triple-quick is their stringent requirements for being accepted, some of which are arguably illegal since they’re getting tax credits under the Fair Housing Act. Here are just a few choice requirements:

  • First time renters require an additional deposit.
  • You cannot owe an apartment community or landlord more tha $1.00 USD, and cannot have any evitions or judgements against you.
  • Landlord reference indicating that the landlord would not re-let to the applicant due to a lease violation is an automatic denial.
  • All applicants and residents have to undergoe criminal history screening. A felony conviction of any kind will result in an automatic denial.

So yeah…We’re not trusting these people. They also underwent a management shuffle, and became a fully gated community. Also, like Avesta Aguve Falls and this community we’re living in, the apartment complex had almost all Hispanic families. I did not see a single child come off of the school busses who wasn’t Hispanic, and while it might be a rather nice neighborhood, that makes me worried about the management showing bias.

Reason 3: The Tech Boom!

One of the big reasons Austin has started to see an insane climb in its cost of living is due to the tech boom currently hitting the city. With Google and Apple looking to move in, and many data centers, hosting companies, and startups opening shop here, Austin’s CoL is rising like crazy. Rent is beginning to rise, the roads are becoming are more crowded during the day, people in the lower and lower-middle classes are being pushed out for the upper-middle and upper classes, and we’re starting to see more of a San Francisco trend in the city. Austin is losing a lot of what made it a great place to live: keeping it local.

Of course, technology advances, and people want to take advantage of it. That’s just life now. However, I really wish it wasn’t at the cost of everyone else’s happiness.

So, that leaves the question: What am I going to do when we get there?

Well, I still want to work on my writing and art, and perhaps take up craftwork like woodworking. However, to start, I’ll begin doing my writing patreon again on a per-work (max of $X per moth) basis, rather than a per-month basis.

I don’t know what I’ll be doing beyond that, though. I mean, I’ll be helping my family with things, and eventually looking for a new place of our own to rent for a while within the Arkansas River Valley area. I also eventually want to drag Calyo and Sildrae to Hot Springs, AR for a trip to the bath houses and Mid America Museum, and maybe drag Calyo to some of the Fort Smith Symphony concerts. <3

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

Okay, I need to make a vent entry, so ignore this if you want.

FUCK WINDOWS 10! Every time I try to use it, it breaks. Every time it updates, it breaks. Every time I try to turn off updates, it ignores my settings, downloads updates, and BREAKS!

Seriously, Microsoft, who do I have to get FIRED for the forced updates to STOP!? I’ll petition the fucking FTC to have the BOARD OF DIRECTORS fired and put in Guantanimo if I have to, but for fucks sake, get your head out of your collective asses and STOP FORCING UPDATES that have EVEN A CHANCE OF BREAKING THE OS!

My time using the Surface Pro 3 has been pure HELL thanks to Windows 10. I’ve had to refresh this fucking thing after EVERY UPDATE! My productivity on WIndows 10 is lower than it was on MS-DOS! In fact, I had fewer issues with WINDOWS ME than with this hunk of garbage! I had fewer problems running GENTOO on INCOMPATIBLE HARDWARE!

Just… I give up. I may end up selling my Surface Pro just to get an iPad of some sort. Better yet, I should get an Intuos for my desktop and draw with that.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

Just a little while ago, my mate Calyo mentioned about the attack on FA, and that FurryNetwork had taken advantage to make a little push for others to join their site. She didn’t seem too enthusiastic when I mentioned that it rubbed me the wrong way, and brought up the whole competition standpoint. That’s what sparked this blog post to be written.

For those not aware, FurAffinity was hit by vulnerabilities in ImageMagick, a popular open source library for creating tools to manipulate images, and ported to many programming languages. As a result, the attacker reportedly downloaded the source code of the site and distributed it on flash drives at Biggest Little Fur Con, as well as supposedly doing some damage to user content. FurAffinity is considered the biggest furry-oriented art site out there, and one of the biggest targets for such attacks due to drama and such regarding site administration.

I’m not happy that so many people are cheering about this happening—in fact, it actually worries the hell out of me. I’m also not all that amused that so many people are telling everyone to jump ship—just like everyone seems to do to every service when something bad happens. I’m rather jaded about such issues at this point, because I know that any website with scripting and actual programming will have problems. Just like a desktop application, there is no such thing as bug free code.

With that said, I’m not too enthusiastic about sites that take advantage of another site’s problems to push their own. My mate chalks it to being a competitive field, but there’s a difference between being competitive, and rubbing salt in an opponent’s wounds. The later is just dickish behavior, and despite the fact that people are usually called out for such behaviour, no one calls out companies and such for it.

I’m not one to be competitive—something which my dislike for competitive games has shown me multiple times. However, I do know that competition is necessary in certain fields, including art sites. That still doesn’t excuse bad behaviour in my book.

I called SoFurry and Weasyl out for the same actions long ago, alongside companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others. I have no problem doing the same to FurryNetwork, or any others. In fact, a real competitor doesn’t need their competition to suffer to pull ahead. They can draw customers of their own volition, so long as they have what those people want.

FurryNetwork is drawing more users—especially well known artists—much more easily than Weasyl and SoFurry, and it’s because of their features and crew. They don’t need to pounce on FurAffinity’s suffering to prop themselves up…and they didn’t. FurryNetwork handled it tactfully and with courtesy, rather than taking the piss out of FurAffinity like others tend to do.

So, why the big wind-up? Because of how my mate phrased the incident, I was worried FurryNetwork used Weasyl’s tactics from a while back: rubbing FurAffinity’s problems in their face while trying to draw users in. I’ve been actively avoiding Twitter as much as possible (the site is nothing more than pure depression for me, and I can’t give two shits what goes on there these days), so I had to actively look up how FurryNetwork handled the situation before I said anything here.

The people who are handling the issue in a tactless manner are, as always, the users who are angry about FurAffinity’s downtime and handling of the situation (“Of course!”). I have no problem with people trying to encourage users to move away from FurAffinity, but some of the reactions actually make me glad that I no longer put the “furry” tag on myself. I won’t link to any of it, but if you go searching around Twitter, you’ll find it rather easily.

That said, I’m done with this rant.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

I’m not normally one to review shows like MLP, but this episode is one of the very few of any series that’s actually managed to both disappoint me from the fan aspect, and anger the writer in me. I’m not going to talk about the show play-by-play, but I will touch on a few aspects, and there will be spoilers.


Read more... )
starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

Earlier today, I was in the middle of an IRC conversation with a fur. They had apparently been reading through my old stories, and wanted more info about the automorphs in one of those stories. In particular, he wanted information about the more adult aspects, and I had no problem giving him the details.

Suddenly, his boyfriend hijacks the conversation by sending me some rather threatening private messages, saying he doesn’t approve of anyone RPing with his mate without his knowledge. I flat-out told him I wasn’t in an RP mood, and was giving information about something from my universe that he asked me about. He then proceeded to apologize, saying that he worries about his boyfriend being unfaithful. I told him that he needs to talk with his boyfriend, and that his actions could very well tear his relationship apart if he’s found out.

(Note to Calyo: This isn’t someone you know. Pony fur.)

All of this actually reminded of something which happened long ago, before I myself started dating. Passive memory recall is funny that way.

Read more... )
starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

Okay, this is a subject that I've become rather touchy on, so forgive me if I seem a bit annoyed in this one.

Too many websites use terms like "Mature Content", "Adult Content", "Not Safe for Work" (NSFW), and other similar ambiguous words to denote content not meant for minors. If you look at the rules on some of these sites, you'll find that they don't even list an age range, just the subject matter those terms are meant to cover, despite intending everything to have a hard-coded age limits. In all honesty, this ambiguity simply makes me cringe from a user experience standpoint.

Why does it make me cringe? Because not all cultures follow the same rules regarding what's appropriate for "minors", and even fewer have the same age of adulthood. In some cultures, an "adult" can be as young as 13 years old, while in others, they have to wait until the age of 21. And even then, in some cultures, sexual imagery is considered "appropriate" for a mature audience while violence or alcohol can be considered adults only. The list of differences goes on, and on, and on.

Because of this, people from other cultures do get confused when an English site--especially a US site--suddenly reprimands them for marking something sexual as mature. In their culture, minors could be more than welcome to see such imagery, so it's not really clear to them without having to dig through the Terms of Service. In some cases, it's the only place that the admins make such policies clear.

From a UX standpoint, this is facepalm-worthy in my eyes. Clarity is something that should be ingrained in a website's design, not added as an afterthought. If a website intends something to be made for a US-18 audience, they should label it as 18+ or US-18+, and explain what that means. Likewise with content meant for a US-13 audience, which should be labeled as such. With those labels and explanations, there is no ambiguity, and therefore, the rules are clear to everyone.

Seeing a great artist from outside of the US becoming so frustrated by an art site for reprimands over adult content that wasn't adult for their culture made me want to slam the site for "UX idiocy". In all honesty, the site in question is run by devs who couldn't recognize good UX if they were using it themselves--and given their number of MacOS-using devs, this is rather apt.

UX is something that most developers shouldn't be taxed with. It should go to dedicated UX/UI people, who can figure out where the problems lie, and what can be done about them. Unfortunately, that's something that sites are crowdsourcing now, which usually ends up making the problems worse. "Rule of the Majority" is not how UX/UI works, because the majority can create mob mentality. It's always best to go with the "Small Groups of Smart People" approach, because those dedicated to the task can see it from more views than just the majority of the users, helping those who aren't part of that majority.

Sorry-not-sorry for the rant, but I really needed to get that out. Dealing with poor UX makes me frustrated, and seeing others suffer from it makes me pissed.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

I've mentioned that Twitter annoys me. Not just the 140 character limit (which doesn't work well for people like myself), but the fact that I can't easily mute drama without muting or unfollowing entire users has gotten on my nerves.

I know a lot of people complain about Facebook's algorithmic news feed, but being able to mute topics by saying "Don't show this post" is such a useful and amazing feature for keeping away fights and politics that I don't want filling my feed. Not having to watch people complain about a politician in another country is such a nice feeling, as is getting rid of the negativity of daily drama.

Admittedly, the best way to get rid of drama would be to drop Twitter entirely, but with family and friends using it as a primary means of communication, that's rather difficult. I'm just going to avoid using it as much as possible. I have a Facebook account for news and the like.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

This is a portion of the list of games I've decided that I'll never play, for one reason or another.

  • Mainline Pokémon games (I have no interest in competitive games, and that's all Pokémon has become these days).
  • Pokken Tournament (I have no interest in fighting games due to the community)
  • Super Smash Bros DS/WiiU (No interest in the game, as it's almost all hardcore competitive players)
  • Undertale (I've seen the playthroughs, but I'm a completionist, and don't play games if I feel I can't complete them. Plus, the community...)
  • Starcraft & Starcraft II (Blame the community)
  • The Warcraft series (Again, blame the community)
  • Fez (The creator. Enough said.)
  • The Street Fighter series (Too competitive)
  • Marvel Vs Capcom (Too competitive)
  • Mass Effect Andromeda (Don't care anymore)
  • Dragon Age (Because choice means nothing in a game about choices. You're an asshole no matter what)
  • Defense of the Ancients (The community...Just the community)
  • League of Legends (I still like the lore, but the community is still as toxic as DOTA)

Other games include a majority of fighting games, first-person shooters, MOBAs...Competitive games in general tend to go on my "Never Play" list simply because I find the communities become far to toxic and "pro" for me to enjoy them.

This isn't the full list, as I don't think my hand would survive writing that out. However, you can get the gist of my preferences here.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

Spam... Spam pisses me off. It pisses everyone off. And the sites where I see it strike the hardest are those with open APIs. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and others are simply too open for their own good, so to speak.

One of my favourite social networks, Hatena Haiku, had to shut down their US service because of all of the Russian language spam that flooded the community. Almost all of it was phishing attacks in the form of unregulated soccer streams, with a few spear phishing attacks peppered throughout.

I see similar spam comments on YouTube, often imitating the very channel that owns the video they're posting the spam on. Channels like Markiplier and Game Theory will see giveaway spam posted in video comments, using their own names and avatars.

Then there's the Twitter spam. It's on a completely different level, using keyword searches to tag both users and tweets alike for replies and follows. Most of these spam accounts look like real accounts, except that they do nothing but throw out generated content. In most cases, the link in their profile leads to a phishing attack meant to hijack the user's account through OAuth.

The problem is the whole "public API access" issue. I hate to say it, but the only way to severely reduce the spam is to close the unrestricted access to those APIs. Put up more barriers to get tokens that allow for that sort of access. Even a mobile number doesn't seem to be enough.

And yes, it's completely possible for a person—or group of people—to be employed for this purpose. I'm fairly certain that's what happens on YouTube, Yahoo Groups, and many PHPbb forums. That's what moderators are for, though.

And with that, I'm done ranting.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

Okay, this is going to come off as petty to some, but it really irks me when people—especially in the tech media—think that something should change after a certain amount of time. This is even more true for things like operating systems.

I've already given my opinion on the tech media elsewhere. I think that, for the most part, they're idiots with an axe to grind, so they can get views and stir up their personal hornet nests to gather even larger audiences. I also believe they tend to be completely oblivious to anything outside of Silicon Valley and the tech elite, or that they just don't give a shit.

Now, with that out of the way, let me get to the point. I see so many geeks and tech media take the piss out of Apple, Microsoft, Google, and many others, just because they don't do major updates to something as often as they want.

This was especially true with Windows XP and OS X. I've seen complaints that the Luna design (Windows XP) was dated and a Fisher Price™ OS , and that OS X's skeuomorphic design was out of touch with what people wanted. Even Windows Vista and 7 got hate from some people for having the Aero Glass designs.

Yet, the return of Aero Glass was one of the most-requested features for Windows 10, before Microsoft's massive "fuck you" to fans as the UserVoice service was shut down. This was from mostly normal people, who aren't as tech savvy as the people who frequent sites like Windows Central and .

For OS X, the skeuomorphic designs were seen as comforting for non-techies. The look of the faux leather and legal pad background for iOS and OS X's Notes app was a welcome sight, as was the design language of many other apps, such as the popped buttons of the window controls.

The problem is that, in the tech industry, geeks and tech media will always be the loudest when they don't get their way. Many of them have no qualms with stamping out the voices of non-geeks, so long as they see themselves as right on the internet.

Honestly, we need more tools to help non-geeks voice what they like about the applications and programs they're using, especially in a world where geeks would gladly cause a panic about anonymous telemetry just to keep such voices in the dark.

But hey, that's just my opinion on the matter.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

I’m not even going to beat around the bush with this post. Why are people such outright dicks when it comes to what type of computer or phone other people use?

  • I see so many Windows users scoff or laugh at anyone who uses a Mac, with the thought that they’re “underpowered and overpriced”.
  • I see Mac users—far fewer than in the past—attack Windows users in retaliation, and some attack Windows users for being “stupid”.
  • I see Linux users attack anyone who uses “non-free software”, or for not following the free software mentality.
  • I see Android users taunt iPhone users for buying “overpriced” hardware.
  • I see iPhone users taunt Android users for having “malware-riddled” phones.

It’s just insane that these people go so far out of their way to attack others, just to deal with their own inadequacies.

I use a Mac. I’m still a fan of Windows 7 and Windows Vista. I’m still a fan of Gentoo. I use an iPhone, but I also own Android, Windows Phone, and Firefox OS devices. I won’t make fun of someone for making their own choices.

But I’ll never understand why others do it. It just makes no sense to me.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

I'm using my MacBook Air and Mac Mini once again. Microsoft under Satya Nadella is proving to be more untrustworthy than it ever was under Steve Ballmer, with the company going in three different paths at the same time: open-sourcing some things, clamping down on others, and rendering their Windows project a mess. Windows 10 is trying to be an evergreen OS, much like the many web browsers out there.

The problem is that, like many people, I prefer some actual stability with my work environment, and Apple doesn't make drastic changes on OS X nearly as often as Microsoft does with Windows. For the most part, Mac OS 10.11 (El Capitan) looks and acts like Mac OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion), and even 10.4 (Tiger). There are always new features and apps (iCloud,, etc…), but they don't change the entire OS to the point that you would need to train yourself again.

Apple keeps it simple, and that's a plus for someone like me.

Yes, I'm well aware that the hardware is more expensive, but at the same time, is that really a bad thing? If the hardware doesn't break for long periods (5 years or more), then I'm only having to pay for it occasionally. And it's not like I'll have to worry about the SSD in my MacBook, since I can boot from a USB 3 drive and continue like normal.

And of course, people will likely point out the massive failures from Apple (like the current "trash can" Mac Pro), but no good company is without its failures. It's what they do with those failures that determines how good they are.

Microsoft did good things under Ballmer, and often learned from their mistakes. I don't see that happening under Nadella, and I don't really see that happening in the FOSS world.

Plus, for people who take the piss out of me for going Mac instead of Linux, all I can say to that is this: "At least us Gentoo users can get things done, instead of fighting a losing war against piss-poor package managers. 🙃"

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

Social media annoys me these days.

It's not the social justice zealots. It's not the political nature of damn-near everything that the people I follow retweet. It's not even the silicone stupidity of those in the tech industry tweeting about things that they have no knowledge of.

It's the fact that social media feels more like a chore and addiction.

  • I don't have fun with Twitter, and I've completely left Facebook.
  • *diaspora and GNU Social are rather politically charged, and there's rarely anything interesting on them for my tastes.
  • reddit has become the next digg, with people who simply want to cause hell for everyone else. It's not a fun site.
  • GitHub has gone from "location for code" to "let's make coding social!" The problem is that the attitudes of people on the site make me uncomfortable even looking at it these days, and that makes it more of a chore.

The social web just feels like it's too much now. I miss the smaller communities of the forums I used to go to, and of sites like Hatena Haiku! (which is sadly discontinued due to spammers) and FriendFeed (Gone due to being acquired by Facebook). Even Google Buzz! and Yahoo! 360 didn't feel this bad.

Perhaps it's the communities in question, but I believe it's also one other piece that most of the sites share: the forced socialization aspect.

  • Twitter constantly bugs you about following others and seeing tweets you don't necessarily care about.
  • Twitter's "Quote Retweets" can't be turned off, therefore giving people the ability to bombard their followers without having to worry about the "Turn Off Retweets" option that people have had for a while.
  • Facebook constantly has a "People You May Know" area to try that you can't always dismiss.
  • GitHub has effectively turned git commits and issue reporting into a social activity with their profile feeds.
  • reddit is all about "anonymous socialization" with the news.

I don't know for sure, though. Maybe I'm just becoming more introverted. That's always been a possibility…

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

Something I've been thinking about today is why I'm so obsessed with using a laptop instead of a desktop.

More than a few people have pointed out why desktops are better, since parts are easily upgraded and replaced. It's true, too. Desktops are better in that regard…for most people. But not for me.

For me, portability is more important than power. I can easily write—and play some casual games—on my MacBook Air, which is all I really do these days. Even art is trivial on this machine, with a dual core i5 at 1.7 GHz, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and a 128GB SSD.

I don't do much that needs a heavy-duty MacBook Pro right now. Even if I started getting into programming, I could easily use my MBAir to compile apps and such. I have a Mac Mini if absolutely necessary, but that's used mostly as a home theater system (unless I can find my tv).

Even on the Windows side, I use my Samsung failtop as my "work" machine, and my ASUS desktop is always regulated to being a media center. It's still sitting on the floor near the PC right now.

I like being able to take my work machine with me, and write while I'm away from home. I also like being able to work at my desk, on the sofa, on my bed, in the kitchen…When an idea hits me, I want to be able to act on it. I also want to be able to be comfortable while I'm working.

However, I also want a physical keyboard that makes the device lap-able, as some people phrase it. Something like an actual laptop, where the screen is supported on a hinge, and the keyboard itself is stable enough that it doesn't need something hard underneath to keep from breaking it.

My workflow is at its peak when I'm able to be mobile while I work, and have something physical to type with. Perhaps that's why I lust after products like the Astrohaus "FreeWrite" and MacBook Air, as they provide exactly what I feel I need to be an efficient writer.

That may also explain why I'm not fond of tablets, as they don't have physical keyboards that make them lap-able. They're made for independent hardware use in most situation, with no external devices necessary. That just doesn't work for me.

But hey, that's just a theory.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

Every time I turn around, I see someone in the tech industry say that developers "shouldn't even try to handle passwords themselves", and to rely on things like Google SSO, Facebook Connect, and Login with Twitter. Sadly, that's insecure as well. In fact, they're as bad as using nothing but email to authenticate someone.

More below... )

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

I wanted to touch a bit more on the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and my views, but I also want to talk about the Free Software Movement (FSM) in general as well.

I have nothing against Free Software, and use it myself occasionally. I like GNU Emacs, and the older GNOME 2.x desktop environment for Linux (now supported in MATE Desktop). I appreciate what the GNU Project has done, and what many projects that use Free Software Licenses have done for the software ecosystem. Hell, I'm still a huge proponent of Mozilla's software. I have 12+ years of experience with Linux, ranging from my first days with Mandrake, to Slackware, to Fedora, Cent OS, Ubuntu and Kubuntu, and even my favourite, Gentoo.

I have absolutely nothing against Free Software. What I'm against is the FSF and their "all or nothing" mentality.

The FSF's end goal is to have their ideals take over. Anything they deem "Free Software" would be safe, and anything they don't see as "Free Software" would be denied.

That's not "enforcing freedom", unless you're an American patriot who believes that anyone with a differing opinion should be shot. That's getting rid of choice, in order to have a controlled culture under a ideological dictatorship. That goes against freedom, because it removes the freedom of choice.

Their campaigns tend to be rather misleading as well. For example, Windows 7 Sins has seven tabs which highlight "sins" that Windows 7 has committed. Under Education:

Increasingly, computers are expected to be useful tools in our children's education. But today, most children whose education involves computers are being taught to use one company's product: Microsoft's — Microsoft spends large sums of money on lobbyists and marketing to procure the support of educational departments.

Part of this is an outright lie, and part of it is spin. During that time, Mac OS X and Apple were the most prominent in education, not Microsoft. Additionally, many schools were slowly deploying Linux systems thanks to volunteers and sysadmins who have experience with the complexities of the OS, but this is never mentioned.

And down below, under Monopoly behavior:

Nearly every computer purchased has Windows pre-installed -- but not by choice. Microsoft dictates requirements to hardware vendors, who will not offer PCs without Windows installed on them, despite many people asking for them. Even computers available with other operating systems like GNU/Linux pre-installed often had Windows on them first.

Um...what? This wasn't Microsoft dictating anything. That didn't happen until recently with Windows 10 (which I truly despise).

No, the reason machines were pre-installed with Windows was because that's what people wanted! People wanted Windows because it's where the apps they wanted to run could be found. Many games require Windows, and gaming is one of the two biggest markets for computers, right behind business.

During this time, Dell was offering what I tend to refer to as "Dellbuntus" as an option, allowing people who wanted a Linux machine to have Ubuntu pre-installed with compatible hardware. They sold dick all. I bought one myself, and it was a nice experience, but it was just a PC.

The FSF will sling mud just to get their way, and this is one of many examples of that behavior.

As I've said before, I'm all for Free Software. I wouldn't mind seeing Linux and BSD finally become desktop-worthy for the mainstream--especially for those who just want to use their systems for creating things, and not for programming and tech-geek stuff.

However, it's not even close to that point yet, and trying to force it on people will just cause more and more of the mainstream computer users to turn away from Linux as a whole. People need good reasons to switch, not religious-like spiels that tell them what they should and shouldn't support.

What FLOSS projects need are more people in the UX/UI field, giving developers the information needed to make software in the Free Software world more user-friendly. Having to correct problems with a bunch of CLI tools won't win users. Giving them easy fixes will.

Having real UX/UI QA on projects like OpenOffice/LibreOffice would be a nice start. The kerning and UI for the office suites in general are abysmal at best, and down-right insulting at worst. Likewise with the GNOME 3 and KDE 4/5 desktop environments, which need a lot more love to make them user-friendly for the mainstream users.

Above all else, what the FLOSS projects need is to remember that not everyone is a programmer or geek! This is where the FSF falls flat on its face, pushing a mentality that everyone should be like them. Not everyone wants to dive into code. Not everyone can.

I may touch on this subject more in the future, but this has gotten far too long, so I'll leave it for now.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

So, for those not in the know, the Free Software Foundation have launched a "campaign" against the W3C (and I use campaign generously). Basically, to protest DRM, they're encouraging people to go to a W3C office, take a selfie with a sign to stop the inclusion of DRM in HTML, and send it to the W3C as a form of protest, stating that:

We have reliable advice that this will be very influential to the W3C's leadership -- if they know the whole world is watching them, it will be much harder for them to take this huge step backward for the Web.

Umm... What? I'm sorry, but when did this ever stop any of the members of the W3C from passing something that people don't agree with? Modals, anyone?

The point of the W3C standardization process is that it's supposed to be an open dialog, and even stated as much in a blog post. While they don't always take the route that organizations like the FSF prefer, they do listen.

The problem with the Free Software Foundation is that they refuse to accept anything less than what they desire, and will scream loudly like children until they're either shot down completely, or they get their way. They will gladly push their ideals like a religion, and if you don't like it, they gain a "them or us" mentality that turns anyone who disagrees with them into an "enemy".

I know this from experience. I was deep in the Free Software world, and witnessed people getting chastised and bullied for disagreeing with anything that the FSF was about. They will spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), propaganda, and even outright lie if it means getting their way. They'll even disrupt businesses and such if it means having any sort of effect on the industry.

I have--and continue to--compare them to totalitarianism. Their end goal is to have full control, and I've seen how they act. They act like a corrupt government, sometimes even as a cult.

I will gladly back the idea of freedom in software, but I back the freedom to make a choice. I back the thought that, if DRM exists, people should just seek other ways to get what they're seeking. As far as HTML goes, let those who lock their content behind DRM fail naturally, which is how the open web works.

I am a proponent of the Open Web, where it doesn't matter what licence you use, or what your requirements are. And after my experiences, I will never be on the side of the Free Software Foundation. Feel free to back them--that's your prerogative--but don't forget that those who force their ideals on others often turn into demons themselves.

January 2017

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