We are a collective of people, machines and related entities. A concept. You do not join it, others see you loosely as part of it, associated with it, a conduit for it.
- Real life/Red pill
A computer that you need for your average daily use is nowhere near as powerful as the one you are being sold. And nowhere near as expensive.
Software that you use actually, and features that you actually use require far less power than that. Despite all the reassurances, it is not hustle free, we know that by now. You are not paying for quality, nor for a reasonable level of support.
It is not hard to build/setup/create more suited tools. They work. They are much cheaper. They do not depend on whims or profit focused strategies of invisible giants. They are no less supported. They are cool.
There is more that can be done – we are in a situation where software is written with hardly any concern for quality and almost none for efficiency. This is barely even taught in academia now. The industry relies on marketing to sell machines ever more powerful to run software never optimised.
We are overwhelmed by noisy grey boxes or sleek flat slabs. Nothing necessarily wrong with them, except that there is nothing else. Beauty is far richer than this. Functional design is far more varied than this.
There are no engineering reasons why a desktop cannot be housed in a jar, a cigarette box, a sculpture, a ball …
Both creativity and functionality are stunted by prescribed description of objects of desire.
The only reason for it is ease of mass production and sales on mass scale. These are manufacturers’ concerns, wrapped up pretty by skilful marketing.
- Rough design
Sleek thin lines are ok, but they are now overwhelming and they are exclusive. Nothing else is desired and only very few can produce them. We agreed to an incredibly narrow definition of what is beautiful.
- Making and solidarity
It is good to make your own tools. It is great to make them for someone, or ask someone to help or make them for you.
How stupid one extreme of this is obvious – what is the point of a society if you are to grow and make everything yourself.
The other side of this is a norm, but – what is a point of an individual if they are decadent drones this far removed from the process of creating goods?
Of course not everyone needs to be able to build a computer or grow a potato, but many actually are. There are no mysteries in there, all the knowledge is there and it is far simpler than it is made to look.
It is not hard to make a computer for a friend. An mp3 player for someone you met online who asked about one, talk about what it will look like. Fail. Try again. Fail better. Make a game platform for a refugee. A kodi box to watch any movie you can think of. Ask how to make an internet radio for an old guy or a lover who likes music. Equip a school in Africa. Draw a crazy packaging for a phone, look for someone to make a working one with you. Why are we not doing this all the time?
NB Richard Feynman famously had a partnership with an artist whom he thought physics while being thought how to paint. I’d love to build computers with someone who would teach me to grow a potato or read music.
Knowledge is a common good, so is experience. We need to share them more – not because it’s nice, warm and fuzzy. Because it is essential.
There are few things you cannot learn online already. The world is vast, there are few ideas (if any) that will not appeal to someone else. We can make partnerships more easily than ever, exchange experiences, build up new knowledge, new awareness – be it about cats funny faces, understanding of each other’s politics, unusual thoughts, usb hubs that actually work with pi zero or shapes that solve a problem and look nice.
The marketing of giants that makes us want to waste and sacrifice for no good reason whatsoever works because most don’t even know it exists, not to mention what can be done or what we actually need. This is their purpose, their raison d entre.
Ours is to talk amongst ourselves, exchange what we know and what we tried, learn and push them and boundaries we let them set. Keep them humble because between us we know better.