De-Facebooking My Life

So, this weekend I spent a great deal of time reducing my Facebook account to a basically featureless webpage with my name on it. I would have deleted it completely, but I’ve been informed that this would have been exceedingly suspicious. I think it’s ridiculous that we’ve allowed a private enterprise like Facebook to dictate so much of our day-to-day lives. I don’t think social media is bad, per se, but the monopoly Facebook is trying to exercise upon the internet is ridiculous and worrysome. Facebook is a surveillance engine – there’s no real argument against this. This is problematic regardless of the alignment of those in charge of said engine.

The omnipresence of Facebook throughout many different kinds of services (including smart fridges and their ilk) is particularly troublesome.

My personal issues with Facebook are largely separate from the ethical issues of supporting such an enterprise and the privacy issues of being part of a surveillance engine like Facebook. I’ve never really been happy with Facebook. As I went through my old posts to delete them (50 at a time, since Facebook doesn’t have a mass delete option) I saw many posts throughout the years declaring my intention of deleting my Facebook this very night.

Of course, this never happened, and my Facebook account is still technically active. But one of my resolutions for 2019 was to remove from my life things that generally make me unhappy. Facebook facilitates a type of communication that really does make me unhappy. I would so much rather someone call me, text me, or sit down to IM with me for a while. Services like Facebook encourage us to be connected 24/7, and yet paradoxically never connected at all. There’s no way to know if someone is really online or available to chat, and conversations will dissipate with no warning.

I’m no longer using Facebook in any sort of active capacity. If people want to stay in touch with me, I’m available, but they’ll have to put a little more effort into it than the sort of passive half-contact offered by Facebook.

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Weekend Update

Happy Monday, everyone!

I had a pretty decent weekend for what it was. There was a record sale here in town where every album was $1, so my roommate and I went and came home with fourteen new albums. I played a lot of old video games and slept in. That’s what weekends are for.

How was your weekend?

Society is Fucking Imploding

I just want society to function again. Everybody is so far up their own asses that nothing really gets done anymore. It feels like most people today are part of the two major internet circlejerks. Any given person is either a literal nazi – which, make no mistake, is the greatest evil – or they’re arguing about whether “stupid” is an ableist slur and refuse to associate with anyone who doesn’t conform to their ideas about veganism as a feminist issue. It’s extremely disheartening. If you’re not a nazi, you are for the most part limited to spaces in which people will make ridiculous claims about how heterosexuality is inherently rape or how you can’t possibly believe women are people if you’re not vegan. It’s absolutely fucking ridiculous. We should be able to inhabit bigot-free spaces without having to endure this kind of stupidity.

Let’s say, for example, that you choose to avoid either of these communities and refuse to take a stance on social justice issues. This is a really terrible way to be, but I hope you like constant terrible Facebook memes about how “any woman who pays her own bills doesn’t want your sorry ass texting her!!!” (because obviously men are bill-paying machines and if you don’t have money you’re worthless) and other ridiculousness. (see: toxic monogamy, jealousy culture)

Being someone who isn’t ridiculous is hard in 2019.

Elon Musk really sucks.

Why do people still worship Elon Musk as if he’s actually accomplished anything? He’s just a professional rich guy who owns things. He hasn’t invented anything himself either. Literally all of his “accomplishments” belong to other people. We know he’s a liar now too and he’s prone to temper tantrums where he fires people at random. Nobody should be supporting this asshole anymore.

By the way, here’s a better version of that portrait. u/rustyraccoon fixed the hair, I fixed the flag and his chin.

Why I Use GNU/Linux and So Should You

I grew up surrounded by computers. My biological father was a software engineer and our little trailer house was absolutely full of computers. There was a desktop in my parents’ bedroom, a family computer in the living room, two workstations in the kitchen/dining room, a desktop in my father’s office, a server in there too, and my father’s laptop was never far away from him. For my whole childhood all of these machines ran DOS or Windows. I learned how to use computers on these systems and for a long time Windows was synonymous with computing in my mind. However, there have been lots of troubling trends among tech firms, including Microsoft, that have convinced me to give up Windows forever.

I, like many of you, kept Windows around as a gaming platform (and felt awful about it) for years. I attempted a massive switch to Linux several years ago and had to reinstall Windows for gaming and internet telephony purposes. However, with the recent advent of Steam Play and Proton, the overwhelming majority of games possible to run on Windows can be made to run on Linux (this has always technically been true, but it required a lot more work than it does now). This means there is no longer any legitimate excuse to continue to run Windows for most users. I’ll make a small exception for now for people who work in graphic design and are expected to use Adobe products for work (though this may change in the near future and much of this software can also be made to run on Linux) but for the majority of all users there is no longer a good excuse. Ethically we can’t be supporting firms like Microsoft, Apple, Google, or Amazon anymore. Any good future will be written for libre, community-run software. Use as much libre software as you can.

I hope you all are enjoying the holidays!

-Skaal

Game Review #1: Xeodrifter

I’m trying out something new today – periodically I’ll write reviews of games I’ve recently completed. Today’s game is Xeodrifter, a charming little metroidvania available on various e-stores. I played it on Steam.

Xeodrifter is an interesting little game.  And by “little” I mean “extremely short.” There’s not much to Xeodrifter at all, actually – I beat it in less than ten hours.  There were a few secrets I failed to locate, but I’ve never been a completionist and I doubt they would have added much content to the game anyway. I did however have a lot of fun with Xeodrifter. It was a fun little game. The graphics are composed of charming pixel art – some of the best pixel art I’ve seen in a retro-style indie game in a while, actually.  I enjoyed how the pixels were all the same size and at no point did the game treat sprites like cutouts to be rotated, scaled, etc whenever needed. It looked and felt like a real retro game. The music was similarly great – I found myself jamming out to the soundtrack almost constantly. Xeodrifter‘s gameplay is smooth and a ton of fun, as well. Jumping and running all felt like they should and I had no control issues during my playthrough. The settings and backgrounds were absolutely beautiful as well. I really felt like I was exploring alien worlds in a retro-pixel universe.

The alien worlds of Xeodrifter are immersive and well designed.

Let’s talk about the cons, however. My principal complaint about Xeodrifter is the lack of enemy variation. There’s only a small handful of regular enemies that occur and there is only one boss. That’s right – every boss in the game is a variant of the same enemy. That’s not to say the boss fights are boring or aren’t fun, but they’re all the same enemy with a color swap and a few new moves. Overall, however, I recommend Xeodrifter.

Every boss in the game is a variant of the same enemy.

Verdict: 3/5 – Good

Belated RIP for Reuben Kee.

I forgot to post on the actual anniversary of this, but we lost someone very special to the internet gaming and video game music community eleven years ago.  Reuben Kee was beloved on OCRemix and in the MUGEN community until he passed away in a tragic boating accident in 2007.  I still can’t believe it’s been eleven years already.  Here’s one of my favorite pieces of his.  I know he only arranged this, but it takes a talented composer to arrange something like this that takes the original piece to a completely new level.