Text and Hubris |

The Trouble with Research on Modern Tech

A lot of my research focuses on internet technology and how it shapes our conversations and our world. This would, by all accounts, appear to be a rich time for such a research focus. The trouble with this sort of in-situ research, however, is that is always feels a bit dodgy. There is no way for me to truly determine the longer term practicality or even accuracy of my research especially when things are changing so fast.
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Twitter, Platform Doom, and the Irrelevancy of the Meta

I love the Internet. I mean I really love this place. I love it because deep down it is just an interconnected network of computers. There is no single application that drives this place. There is no platform or architecture that is required. Ultimately, you can make this what you want. I keep coming back to John Gage, a researcher with Sun Microsystems in the 80s and 90s who coined the phrase, “The Network is the Computer”. It’s a quote that feels almost quaint now, but it still echoes a fundamental truth about the Internet. This whole network we’re in is just a computer of sorts. It is a computer made up of other computers all connected and communicating. Twitter is just one of a billion applications running on this computer. It uses a bit more resources and draws a bit more energy, but it is just an application. You can turn it off and there are a thousand other places to go.
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O’Reilly terminates licensing agreement for ACM members

A couple days ago, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) sent an email to its members informing them that the O’Reilly publishing platform was ending their longstanding licensing agreement. This agreement allowed ACM members to access online O’Reilly content. Since an ACM yearly membership is roughly 1/5 the price of an annual O’Reilly subscription, you can see why the ACM membership was so valuable, and why it was in O’Reilly’s best interest to cancel.
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Online Communities and Streaming Tabletop Roleplaying

I am an avid Twitch viewer which, considering I am nowhere near the demographic of the average Twitch viewer may seem a bit odd. It is even stranger when I admit that I don’t really watch video game streams. I have tried, but I get bored really easily. Instead, I watch a few coding and tech channels and a metric ton of roleplay and world-building channels.

I have been a storyteller all my life and tabletop roleplay has always been a critical outlet for cooperate world-building for me. I didn’t think I would enjoy watching others do that without me, but it is fun watching people engage with a world, create characters, expand and grow and find something magical. So, I watch and I cheer whenever I can.

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Thank goodness for proper safety practices, vaccinces, and masking.

I just got my results back from my COVID test after the conference. Happily, they were negative. After some fun ( ) at the ear, nose, and throat doctor last year, nasal swabs are a bit of problem for me so I opted for the spit PCR test. I didn’t realize how much time it would take to generate enough fluid for a valid sample especially without being able to eat or drink before the test. It was a trick, I tell you! It is done, though, and all is well.

Any large gathering, these days, carries an inherent risk. I have been exceedingly particular about what I attend just for that reason. I only attended this conference because cases had been steadily low and there were valid health protocols in place to keep us safe. In this case, the conference required masking and vaccination, and everyone did a really good job of being as safe as they could.

I don’t think I am ready to start rushing out to attend every event, and I tend to stick to my pre-existing bubble of people whenever possible. After all, the best risk is no risk. That said, I am glad to see that proper practices can help reduce that risk when it is present.

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