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It's been a rough few days, really. But I'm here and kicking. I've been dealing with my dark humors with a lot of reading.
I powered through a few books over the weekend, including Sherry Turkle's Reclaiming Conversation. Reclaiming Conversation *sounds* like it should be the most OK Boomer book imaginable but this is the researcher who used to work with Papert & al. at the Epistemology and Learning Research Lab back in the day. She's not anti-technology. So instead it's a book whose big picture is
Having permanently connected internet devices is causing multi-tasking that's inherently unhealthy for how we relate to each other
Big tech companies want to encourage this anti-social behavior because it increases reliance on them and the more we're on these devices the more tasty saleable data they can gather
The main solution is that we deliberately, thoughtfully, reconsider how and when we allow forms of tech into our day to day lives
There's a lot more to it but if you want the elevator pitch that's it right there.
Similarly I've been reading Nervous States and We, Robots which all have a very similar energy in terms of "tech companies and capitalists are screwing everything up right now". That Kobo Clara HD I got with leftover gift cards has been a life-saver lately.
Because the pandemic just hecked every bit of work I had going for me I'm starting to take all the workshop materials for middle & high school aged CS & computational humanities classes, revise them, and put them up online so people can use them during these horrible times. I'm also trying to fund-raise on patreon to help support my income since things are kinda rough but we'll see if that works. Tough times abound for everyone else too, y'know?
I finished revisions of one my educational zines. This one on the interactive fiction system Twine. I've used earlier versions of this booklet for workshops in the past and it's been great.
My next is on using an rpi0 as a home computer, including all the command line skills needed as well as fun asides for watching streams and playing video games. It's a big long mish-mash of topics but it should be pretty fun, covering all sorts of neat linux skills, introducing a couple of programming languages, and even showing how you can make a simple algomusic engine and synth work even on an rpi0!
This one is next because I s h o u l d be able to do project where we give a dozen or so rpi kits to kids out in east county. The county already set aside and the money and agreed to do this but it didn't happen back in March like it was supposed to because covid. In principle, they're still willing to distribute these as kits but we'll see if that's actually what happens. Everything feels up in the air.
Someone in the gemini community reached out to me after my post about how hard of a time I've been having. I just wanted to say that I've been really happy with how people treat each other in this little corner of the small internet. It's nice.
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