Brighthand or darkhand? Passion or Addiction? A personal confession

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by leifh, Jul 12, 2003.

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  1. Gerard

    Gerard Mobile Deity

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    I frequently (though not ever formally) assess the role of the Pocket PC and related devices in a similar way, as I do my food choices (as much organic as I can afford, and never any meats), clothing (haven't bought new clothing in many years, except for underwear and socks, as used clothing shops are bountifully supplied with well-made clothes), travel (never have I been a driver; bike and Xootr do quite well, and a bus is always available if it's rainy or inconvenient otherwise to go on two wheels), and whatever else I consume/use. A conscious and conscientious existence is important to me. I'd like not to be any more guilty of destruction in this world than absolutely necessary.

    The Pocket PC is the smallest practical computing device. As such, printed circuitboard production comes at a small fraction of the environmental costs of producing a full-scale PC. I was saddened when I found that I could not effectively use my original Casio E-115 as a standalone computer, back in the summer of 2000. I tried to make use of my brother's work notebook, setting up Activestink and using it to install software. He was very gracious in allowing me to learn to use a PC on his work computer (largely because he used it more for travel, having 6 desktop PCs to use at his lab), and helped out the odd time when I messed things up hopelessly. Within a couple of months it had become painfully obvious that this was inadequate, so I purchased a notebook myself. Lots less plastic and other junk wasted in the making and shipping, and I bought one which I thought would last a while. It's turned out to be a cranky beast, but it works, running Win98SE. It feeds the PPC captured media, the odd batch of songs, and ever couple of weeks it unpacks an installer package which the PPC cannot get into. Basically, it sits idle most of the time, a part-time accessory for the PPC. So far, even with wonderful resources like CabInstl and Xacrett and Resco Explorer for ZIP archiving and nPOP and all the other great software for PPC-independence, the damned PC is still a necessity, making using a PPC a false economic and ecological choice. Still, getting there, and fairly quickly.

    The many good uses for a PPC (or Palm, or whatever) are obvious to any user to some degree, and not really possible to list in any one place. Our needs differ so much, though there is of course a lot of overlap. For me, using a CF camera means that I don't own a standalone digital camera, saving that much more in wasted production and resources. Using an external mic attached to the iPAQ means I don't use a minidisc recorder (any more, having passed my old one along to my partner who uses it constantly). With a Stowaway and various text editors (GigaPad, Textmaker, Pocket Word, bSquare Notepad...) and a Socket CF modem I am quite thoroughly enabled for all manner of word processing and communications. Microsoft Portrait allows for VoIP communications, though few are yet using it, so I've not often applied this yet. It'd be nice to save on long distance costs... And now that I've a MemPlug dual CF sleeve it's possible, despite their claims to the contrary, to use the HP camera in Portrait with a CF modem. Takes two or three tries, but works. I don't really game a lot, maybe an hour a month or less these days. I had my little honeymoon with Doom and suchlike, impressed with the exotic and disturbing world of adrenaline to be found in such a small screen, especially with headphones on. But that got old. I've never liked solitaire, not with paper cards and even less on a screen. Can't quite fathom how anyone (my girlfriend included) can play endless hours of 'spider' solitaire. Boring. If I play chess or scrabble, I want the real thing, on a board, with soft wooden pieces visiting which goes along with real-world games. It's getting absurd, the title list of PPC games. I wonder how long before 'ultimate' frisbee will be offered for the PPC. Seems software developers want us all to become pear-shaped, and to die at 38 of heart failure.

    Small impacts. I guess that's one of my cardinal goals, trying to keep the 'footprint' of my living small. The PPC sort of fits that, and will do so more as developers improve versatility and the devices themselves allow greater connectivity both for communications and recording data. I see a notebook PC as being ridiculously cumbersome, and would like never again to purchase a large electronic device of any sort. I have a hand-me-down 15" TV, made in about 1985. My VCR is a reconditioned one from Mexico, and has behaved well for over 3 years. Oddly, some people perceive me as being state-of-the-tech, and yet my 3835 is now considered two generations out of date around these forums. Pushing what one has to the limits - I think that's what makes a real difference. I see far too many people here purchasing new devices when their older ones work just fine, then most of what they rave about is how well an emulator works or how easily their home networking was set up. Wireless networking? Why? For most people, this kind of technology is not necessary, more a minor convenience which allows for more shiny new toys to be consumed. For some it's important, I acknowlege this of course. But it's a sort of parallel to the way most people drive; 1 per car, along major roads where public transit would be far more efficient if properly used. Cars crowd out buses and trains, not physically, but in terms of lust. Giant screens, giant speakers, cars capable of more than twice the speed limit, people eating 22 ounce steaks when 4 ounces per day is generally considered to be a healthy maximum, the average kid drinking 2 bottles of pop every day.... the list of cultural excesses could go on for the length of any novel.

    Does this jumble help? Sorry, I'm feeling a bit pressured to get some work done on a double bass, which is coming together, but still needs a lot of attention before it can play again. How about some others add thoughts about the 'ecology' of PPC use?
  2. ppdes

    ppdes Newbie

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    I'm not done reading the thread, but I hate what I'm reading so I'll post my comments so far. ^^

    >>*We don't watch TV, only videos --more control over choices, less choices to overwhelm.

    I agree with santori1's first "get on with it" comment. How can you be overwhelmed by the choices on a TV? You can't, period. Much like your comments on PDAs this is just another stupid idea you've picked up and decided to evangelize without actually thinking about it.

    You claim to support more "relational" entertainment. TV is much more relational than videos. Talking during a video can be jarring or annoying to other people, especially if they are really into it. With TV, however, comments are practically expected at commercial breaks and shows are somewhat designed to drag in surfers so each part is less key. Deciding what to watch is often very relational as well. I've watched Survivor many times because the rest of the family likes it, just as my son will sit through some History channel shows with me and make commentary and ask questions.

    Similarly I've met and worked with many people I'd never had met without my interest in my PDA and computer. It happens to be a Embedix/Linux PDA and I participate in open source projects, but the same thing happens to a lesser extent with other technologies. This forum for example. Back when I started getting into computers most of the other college students were hanging around at parties. Frankly the people I would have met there would most likely be useless idiots compared to those I've met in the IT field.

    Technology is a great enabler and tool. If you don't need to be good at spelling anymore to write coherently that is a good thing. If you aren't forced to only talk to people next to you and can instead communicate with countless others online that is a good thing. Man's existence before technology was sad, dreary, and limited. My sister hasn't yet learned to look up things on the internet (her church tells her it's full of "bad things") and it is so sad how that limits both her actions and mental explorations. If you want to use your PDA, then use it. That's who you are.

    >>internet porn, hate-literature, etc.

    This comment really bugs me too. I rather like porn being online and easily accessible since I like that kind of thing. Does it really harm *you* that *I* don't need to pay as much and deal with the inconvenience of stores and mail order? Economically the business has probably helped advance the internet technologies you're using now. Similarly I think it's terrible that you advocate against the free dissemination of information and opinions. What good does hiding hate literature do? Let them speak and speak for yourself, the issues should be addressed and not hidden.

    Anti-technology and anti-free guys must be Europeans, eh?
  3. Gerard

    Gerard Mobile Deity

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    Wrote a bunch of things, but couldn't bring myself to post them. Some people depress me so thoroughly. Oh well, talk to the hand.
  4. Double-Trinity

    Double-Trinity Mobile Deity

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    This was simply an example given to support the point that there is good and bad in anytihng, including tehcnology, and that on a site like this the negative *might* not be addressed.

    The internet is pretty much unregulatable, that can be good and bad:

    Good -- 15 years ago, the time it took to get a software patch might have been months of contacting people, going to universities, etc. Now, 1 minute on google. Basic research time for looking up quick tidbits has been reducted to minutes instead of hours, without leaving ones home. (I know for me this has enabled a far greater degree of procrastination than ever possible before :D). The Internet is also great for free speech becaue barring prevention of internet access altogether (France's law of requring french-language websites is a mild example of this), people can post whatever they want on a website, and can use that as a medium to exchange information totlaly freely.

    Bad -- well, it is possible for the secret exchange of secret data, and like anything in the world, it can be abused. How about terrorist communicaiton? with the internet sending coded message is undetectable, and wouldn't even be known without the testimony of captured people that were involved. Apparently, Al Qaeda used to take a bit of text, encrypt it, split the data into tiny chunks, and distribute it in between pixels inside pornographic photos. Next, on the other end, a special program would be used to do the entire thing in reverse.

    Psychological addictions and bad-habits can also occur with anytinhg, as well. In the end though it is all about self-control.
  5. leifh

    leifh Mobile Consultant

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    Gerard, after reading your post(s) I am encouraged. Its nice to know that there are others out there wanting and struggling to make responsible decisions and changes in their life, even when these changes go against their own nature or cultural trends. These issues are complex --it would be so much easier to just "tech is all bad, hide away" or "tech is all good, do what you want."

    Its funny how similar we are in other ways as well: used clothes, trying to most often buy organic and local <but we do eat meat, usually as natural as possible>, I have a Bajaj scooter <is that what you meant by xootr?>, but don't live in an area with a bus and so a car is frequently necessary in bad weather, etc. I rarely game for I end up finding games disappoint my expectation <though some are still looking/sounding attractive>, and I have never quite understood the solitaire urge either --my wife plays the real card game frequently).

    Anyway, I'm also encouraged that in the midst of these choices, you continue to use a PDA in a mature way. So, perhaps I can and will grow into it...or, perhaps it will turn out that I can't or don't want to have that mesmerizing screen around, ready to distract me at my convenience. Time will tell.

    I'm sorry you are so hating this dialogue. Without getting into a huge tangent on free speech, I guess I'll simply say that one person's freedom is another person's bondage (or loss of freedom). i.e. DT's example of terrorists sending info, or with your example of porn --one could say that women are less free to not be objectified and children are less free from the appetites of sexual predators, or people are less free to resist (being a click away) filling the void in them with these usually unhealthy fantasies that often wreck havoc on other relationships, etc. etc. Freedom doesn't exist by an absence of morality or other limits, but by a community using loving wisdom to agree on appropriate boundaries and limits.

    I just found this little prose-memoir-thingy I wrote, looking back at moments since childhood in which technology blessed or cursed or confused my life, hopefully some of you will find this interesting (and not just long!) :)

    (The formatting was lost in the paste...oh well)

    Curious Gift:

    "The world is wrapped in a ribbon of wires
    What gift some giver brings?

    Echo of my first memory:
    The sound of a glass door shattered by my angry, hurting father,
    Separated from his wife and children

    Other early memories:

    A brief period of awkward, emotionally confusing
    Tuesday-night talks with my dad
    On a telephone.

    My step-dad and I
    Gathered around the cold-glow
    Of an early 1980-smething Apple computer screen.

    The oddly pleasant smell of cellophane wrap
    A second wrapping to tear off of a new computer game,
    A magical new world for me to explore!

    Imaginal worlds opened up and I entered in
    The protagonist. The potential hero.
    Unlike a book, my choices influence the outcome.
    Unlike life (apparently), here I have an important role to play
    And the plot is
    a little
    And my experience
    a lot

    1984, I?m a teen.
    I?m standing at the stop of the stairs yelling,
    Exploding with ?You?you ****head!? downward at my step-dad
    before bursting away from the house in a fit of tears:
    (I had organized our computer area
    The hardware, the software, the books, the furniture
    I was pleased, ?my step father would be pleased, right?)
    Instead, ?What the hell did you do with the??the something??!?

    1985 or 6 or 7, post step-dad divorce
    I sit alone, huddled in front of a screen
    I have dialed into a BBS ?a pre-website ?Bulletin Board System?
    With virgin excitement I choose option ?(7) Chat?
    Slowly, unbelievably
    There is someone, somehow, on my computer
    Letters appearing, replacing a flashing cursor

    1991 or 2, (still basically pre-internet)
    College dorm door locked.
    I am the ?Spiritual Ministry Coordinator? for my floor.
    With far-from virgin anticipation and an unhappy mix of emotions
    Excitement, lust, guilt, frustration, anger, denial
    I choose option ?(3) download file?
    And stare, captivated, before the screen
    Like an excruciatingly slow strip-tease, pixel by pixel
    Some sort of pornographic picture gradually emerges
    I feel release.
    I feel enslaved.


    I have been married around a year
    I have the latest, fastest, commercially-available computer
    A ?GATEWAY? (to other worlds, I hope)
    The Internet is
    Well endowed.
    I can do ANYTHING!?

    I am a warrior in an experimental on-line world called ?Meridian 59?
    A medium that only a tiny percentage of the world even knows exists,
    Those who do know, which may still be thousands,
    join me from all over the real world
    I?m seeing if any of them wants to mess around-
    go on a quest, explore this world
    kill some monsters, get some treasures-
    Not much response
    Its getting boring
    Maybe I?ll just wander around on the net?

    ?and now I?m wondering how I?m going to tell my wife
    what I?ve done,
    while achieving minimal hurt on both sides.

    These patterns, shifting shape here and there,
    continue for a few years
    Bored, and
    Increasingly concerned

    Questions pile up over the years like cars in an LA traffic jam:

    Where is this Superhighway headed?

    Can these technologies be used without my abusing and being abused in return
    hours (months!) slipping by,
    usually ending with being dragged through slime
    feeling increasingly disconnected from real life

    I am looking for the portal
    I am trying to find the mirror that shows me
    myself in the midst of a wonderful story
    I am racing forward towards a silver screen in a dark room,
    and so often,
    I am bumping my head against illusions?

    Shatter my illusions Father.
  6. Tritan

    Tritan Mobile Deity

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    Thank you!! Somebody sees it .This site is for PPC and RELATED topics. Not about how I can get a warm and fuzzy from reading your book!:p
  7. Tritan

    Tritan Mobile Deity

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    You do need some help!!! :eek:
  8. Gerard

    Gerard Mobile Deity

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    triton; if you have such a strong feeling against the 'warm and fuzzy' contributed by another member here, I'm puzzled as to why you find it necessary to quote so very completely the text which bugs you. It wastes forum disc space, it wastes mine and everyone else's time downloading the ever-elongated thread with repetitions, and your following comments are a mere 5 words. Insulting, thoughtless words at that! Please, strive a little, try to add some value here. If you've nothing useful to say, look elsewhere to abuse people.

    I was asked about the Xootr. It's a trademark, and they've a website; just add a .com to the name. But they don't make them any more it seems. Mine's 3 years old and I just built a better front brake for it. Been through a few sets of bearings, and the wheels are getting rather worn down. The deck creaks a lot. But it's roomy enough for 2, and I've many times picked up my niece from school on it and my kid from the schoolbus. Do most shopping on it too, and go on most every errand. Gas-less transit of a very durable sort. I hope some other company comes up with something like it, for the inevitable day when this one is just worn out. Or maybe I'll make my own...
  9. imported_fil

    imported_fil Mobile Deity

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    Tritan, leave them alone.

    Leifh was searching for someone to understand and share his struggles with, and he found Gerard.

    I have my thoughts on where they've taken this thread and it's fine. Not me, but it?s fine none-the-less.

    Don't be a complete coward and start belittling them after they've both completely left themselves exposed like this. Stop reading the thread if it bothers you so much.

    I?m sure eventually Leifh will resign to take these thoughts off-line, where it ultimately belongs and where it is the root cause of this entire thread?his lack of personal courage/free will/addiction to live his life without the technology, to have the technology disrupt/consume his life, and to damage his personal relationships.

    Leifh, you found one kindred spirit in Gerard. Be blessed you found him in such a public place.
  10. santori1

    santori1 Mobile Deity

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    I believe that porn is hurtful to women, and to the ways men interact with women. There are a great deal of websites that give clear evidence to this. Maybe visiting here might clear some things up for you ppdes. I don't expect you to see things my way, but a truly intelligent debater investigates both sides of the argument:D

    Hate speech is also harmful. I am not saying that anyone that does engage in that activity needs to be silenced. I am just saying that it can be harmful to weak minded unsupervised children. Luckily, if I choose not to hear it, or view it, I can tune out;)

    ppdes, I am sorry you feel affronted by my comments. And to anyone else that feels that way, it was not my intention.

    Also, European? I think not. Born American baby! Proudly served my country during the first Gulf War!!!

    Goodnight, and Elvis has left the building!
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