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Education Life Technology

Between Two Worlds

I have been spending too much time thinking about digital platforms again. It breaks down into two choices at the moment:

  • Continue working in Apple’s ecosystem for much of my personal and professional life
  • Work to move as much as possible to open source and free software alternatives which may include self-hosting a number of items

I have been able to work with a new ThinkPad T495 over the past months and there is a lot that I like about the machine. While it may be a little larger for a daily-carry device, it is quick, has some paths for upgrading, and is rugged enough to serve day-to-day. If I were going to continue trying to move more and more of my work to open source alternatives, I would probably look at a ThinkPad Carbon X1 as my personal device as the slightly smaller footprint coupled with being around 27% lighter would make a difference.

However, what is holding me back isn’t the device nor is it even the operating system (with openSUSE Tumbleweed continuing to receive updates and serve quite ably) … it is the available software in the community along with the seamlessness of mobile workflows.

This is felt most acutely when it comes to task/todo managers, at least for me. I have been suing OmniFocus for the past 5+ years on macOS, iOS, and iPadOS and it has served me very well. There are a lot of fiddly buttons and options to play around with, but I have fallen into a pretty simple way of handling recurring and then one-off items along with keeping track of different projects or contexts.

However, I have yet to find an equivalent application or option that will work between a Linux distro and any mobile operating system. Of course this is complicated by my want for a competent desktop application. I have looked at Todo.txt a little bit but the need for additional plugins to add recurring tasks and other features included with OmniFocus and the lack of a competent mobile app turns me off from that.

That is just the tip of the iceberg and so I am caught, in a sense, in the Apple ecosystem for the time being as I work to consider what options I may have in the future.

Digital ecosystems are complicated.

Categories
Life Technology

Small Isn’t Bad

Being smaller is not always a bad thing, or at least it doesn’t need to be. Too often I believe that we think that the massive size of something (service, company, etc.) is somehow intrinsically good instead of a tradeoff or a net negative.

This has come to the forefront recently as Twitter continues to devolve into various stages of anger and disillusionment, Google continues to drop the ball as it relates to some of their products (Hangouts Chat continues to disappoint), Facebook continues to act as an Internet overlord, and Apple has broken the $1 trillion market cap for the first time. These are all massive, large, huge, monstrous organizations.

Within the maelstrom small groups of people have been breaking off in various ways and finding new homes in smaller corners of the Internet and technology sphere. Some have moved back to their own blogs. Others have migrated to paid services like Micro.blog. Still others have started breaking off from the large social network services into smaller communities hosted on Slack or onto Mastodon instances.

I’m not going to get into what Mastodon is, but I have found a temporary respite over at Fosstodon and I am enjoying the smaller (just over 1000) community and the new people I am bumping into. I don’t know what the future will hold, but trying something new out has at least broken me of some of my worst habits when it comes to Twitter.

This brings me to the title of this post and how small isn’t bad. A good portion of my “growing up” on the Internet focused on participating on writing forums focused on Star Trek. While I thought the community was large, it was tiny in comparison to the Twitters and Facebooks of the world. However, I was able to meet and talk with a more diverse group of people when we were all gathered around the subject of Star Trek than I ever have on Twitter.

I was also able to have considerably better relationships with those people, in whatever way and extent that can happen over the Internet. I even met a few face-to-face after years of talking only on those forums!

These smaller communities might be just what the Internet needs today. Allow people to break off into smaller groups, enable individuals within those groups to also converse with individuals from other groups and see what forms from there. Mastodon enables that, even though it is not perfect, and I am excited to see what that federated concept might be able to do in the future.

Maybe, just maybe, it can help us all to break things down into smaller chunks so that we can work within our limitations.

Categories
Technology

Plasma, Ceph, Git Update in Tumbleweed

Plasma, Ceph, Git Update in Tumbleweed by Douglas DeMaio

Tumbleweed continues to just keep rolling with the updates and Leap 42.3 is being prepped for release as well. openSUSE, as a community, continues to really surprise me with what they are doing and Leap 15 (they are going to match the SUSE Linux Enterprise scheme now) is shaping up to be even better.