The Cave "Only what you take with you"

Mars Goes to You

Community in Alderaan places. (source)

Community in Alderaan places. (source)

An Analogy

So, you want to go to Mars. No, really you do. Earth is not going so well, thanks to us…

It is divine comedy how something that is created for humans is also destroyed by humans because we are, well, just a little bit too human. We often mix in too much, and destroy the organic nature of the original environment. So, adding more of what we do is not necessarily the solution.

"There's too much interference." (source)

“There’s too much interference.” (source)

“The more you tighten your grip […] the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”
“I am not a committee!”
— Organa, Leia*

More rules and regulations; bans and borders; ideals and “isms”, are not the appropriate answer.

This is not a management issue. This is a mindset issue.

When do we let go of a losing position? Is your Ubuntu community in this position? Are you in this position? Sometimes the problem/solution starts with the individual. You can make a change. But, together we can make a difference:

marse

Mars Mindset: It’s not *the only* community. But, it is *only* community.

It’s okay to start over.

*”Into the garbage chute, flyboy!”

 

What Happens When: Deranged DIYs and Humbled How-Tos

dah-di-dah

dah-di-dah what?


Whiskey Hotel Whiskey

You have just downed a bottle of whiskey. You go to hotel, and then you have some more whiskey. These steps, while extremely repeatable, will have drastically different outcomes for each person. One of these outcomes is a Do-It-Yourself disaster. Another is “How to get a hangover… or worse,” depending on what else is brought into the mix.

So, what happens when you follow this recipe?

The culture of the internet world is changing. Creation is shifting to curation. With so much information right at your fingertips, almost anyone can learn how to do almost anything. A quick g00gle search will already tell you how to get 6-pack abs, and build a flame thrower. i.e. You don’t need to re-write that and create more GI. However, what we don’t know, and possibly want to know, is what happens/happened when you got your abs and made a dangerous weapon. This is unique information that only you can produce. Thus, we should continue to create.

DIY ain’t dead. You should absolutely do things yourself for the learning experience. This also does not mean that you should not write How-Tos; there are tonnes of things that we don’t know how to do, or have learned how to do incorrectly.

But, don’t stop there (or do if it has been over done). Teach us about your experience. Tell us What Happens When (WHW).

What? So What? Now What?

WHW as performance art?

WHW as performance art?

Robots are better than I am at my job, or they soon will be. In education, many kids have lost motivation and can’t concentrate. The internet is a better teacher than I am. Children know what they are supposed to learn, and in general they understand why they are supposed to learn it (they just saw it all online yesterday). However, a frequently missed component in education is what we can or should actually do with that knowledge. i.e. What happens when I apply this information?

I was recently taught this process of inquiry:

What: What are you taking about?
So What: Why are you talking about it?
Now What: What do you do about it?

The last piece is really what still makes community and classrooms relevant, but sometimes we forget to teach that. Maybe it’s because of our consumption-only habits. Maybe it’s because someone wants to keep us under control. Maybe it’s because we keep stopping at “maybe,” and only choose to watch from behind the glass.

Technology is here.
It will can help us.
Now what do we do with it?

Caveat Emptor Rex

Steggers

I’m Steggers

“What part of recreating dinosaurs and putting them in a theme park was a good idea?”

Many story premises are ridiculous, but it is undeniable that they are also entertaining. If we wrote a story exclusively about “how to extract dinosaur DNA,” then we might be sorely disappointed; however, we can’t help but wonder WHW we bring dinosaurs back to life and put them in close proximity to people. (SPOILER ALERT: things get ate).

The Jurassic world in which we live has an appetite of curiosity. In some cases, our brains are still quite primitive. We do a lot of stupid things all the time that slip through the systems unobstructed. So, Mr. Chricton’s premise is actually extremely insightful, and is an extreme example of the primal nature that continues to run the world today. Not to mention, it’s extremely interesting. Extreme!

If you bought into the idea of adding more value to the things that we create, then we must also be aware of the underlying dangers that are already present.

WHW is actually responsible for some of the dino dung that we’re facing today. When we keep feeding our ancient reptilian brains with consumer urges, we just perpetuate the problem. WHW we make it bigger, faster, scarier? (SPOILER ALERT: things get ate bigger, faster, scarier). Sometimes the consumer doesn’t know what’s best for itself; what it wants (or has been trained to want), isn’t always what it needs.

We need to run the scenarios in our heads first. We need to focus on what benefits the whole rather than what gets me more tokens. We need to then make those things happen.

When we get involved in the outcome, then we can get out of the “safety” of our voyeuristic tendencies that lead to destructive demands and curmudgeonist complaints.

We need a deep sense of community.

OUR Situation

Hello there

Hello there

The Obvious Ubuntu Relevance is right in front of our faces. That circle of friends is severely effected by the action or inaction of each member.

I have bought an Ubuntu device because it’s awesome, but what am I going to do with it?

I have joined an Ubuntu circle because I need community, but what am I going to contribute?

I know how to do these things. But, WHW I actually do something with this knowledge?

It’s cool to sit back and gain confidence—be rational—before producing something in the community, but it’s important that we don’t get stuck at the instructional stage. Furthermore, our contributions need not be that extreme!

Consistent application, experience, and collaboration should lead to progress.

A little less. A little more. (source)

A little less… A little more… (source)

What Happens When: I Make My Own Sunscreen

Sun

Sun: it burns

Bad Science

Grandma never used sunscreen and she turned out just fine. But, times have changed.

Sun: it burns. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the sun is getting hotter (Or maybe I’m getting cooler…)

Sunscreen / Sunblock / Sun cream: A rose by many names. It’s supposed to keep your skin less bad in the sun.

WHW I make my own sunscreen… and use it on a live person?

Re-inventing the Wheel

“Homemade” and “sunscreen” seem like two things that go well together. They are both single worlds made up of two separate words. That’s as good a reason to put ’em together as any.

The wheel thing

The Wheel Thing

WHAT: I made my own sunscreen all by myself using this recipe (source):

  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup brain octane
  • ½ cup zinc oxide (powder)

Vancouver Special:
-Coconut oil is not hard to find.
-Brain Octane is at Pirate Joe’s (probably optional)
-Zinc Oxide is at The Soap Dispensary (They know what you want with it)

SO WHAT: Homemade sunscreen [presumably] has less of those extra nasty chemicals that are not good for you. The main “active” ingredient in sun screening seems to be zinc oxide, which supposedly is not harmful and will not be absorbed into your bloodstream.
NOW WHAT:

WHW I make and use this sunscreen.

Hoping that it is a viable alternative to the old bottles of goo that I already have.

Get the Screen on Your Face

face01 face02 face03
Control Out of Control Taking Control

The stuff goes on pretty thick, and doesn’t really fade away. I ended up rubbing it in a little, but it does leave you looking a bit frosty like that vampire guy from Blade who has frost-white skin and then puts on sunscreen like frosting… darn, can’t remember his name.

Anyway, I didn’t feel too embarrassed with this extra “foundation”. Either people were too polite to say anything or having some solid sunscreen on your face is not that weird.

But, don’t take my word for it!

“You look paler than you did back in high school.” — Girl 1
“Your skin is too white. I’m envious.” — Girl 2

It’s actually a bit difficult to wash off as well. It doesn’t drip, but it gets on whatever you touch, including your eyeballs (it stings). The sunscreen is also kind of soupy at [summer] room temperature, but rock-hard when refrigerated. It would probably go well in a container like the ones that they sell with sunscreen in them… shake (not stir) before use because the zinc oxide tends to settle at the bottom.

The unfortunate thing about this WHW is not being able to know if it is truly effective without subjecting oneself to some seriously harmful amounts of sun. I did spend an hour and a half chasing a football around the pitch in the early summer afternoon and I didn’t feel any skin discomfort in the end, so I believe that this stuff does prevent some sun damage (but not sports damage).

It doesn’t take an entire story to realize that zinc oxide will make your skin look whiter, but who knew that homemade sunscreen would make me more attractive to exactly two girls on the planet Earth? Such are the adventures of WHW.

Dirty Minds: Too Much Information

TMI? You have no idea. (Source)

TMI? You have no idea. (Source)

A Sticky Wicket

You have a dirty mind… but it’s not entirely your fault. We are constantly bombarded with information from multiple channels. Much of this “information” is noise and redundancy. These emissions (or garbage information) sometimes pollute our minds, and make it difficult to efficiently run our communities, both online and away from screen (AFS – keyboards not necessary). It can be tricky to filter this content, and as a result, our minds can become cluttered, or “dirty”.

GYFOTS

GYFOTS

At the Community Leadership Summit (CLS) 2014, Randall Ross gave a plenary talk called “Get Your Face Off the Screen,” in which he described effective ways of growing your community AFS. This is a great way to reduce garbage information on the input side. i.e. by cutting of distractions. Perhaps a truly smart phone could help us do this as well. However, I have become increasingly interested in reducing things from the output end—personal emissions of garbage information (GI). Coincidentally, this thought was inspired by Randall’s Planet Awesome idea.

I have spent over two years pondering this issue. I re-wrote this article twice (this being the 3rd edition), and have learned that the problem is within myself and my habits. So, the question is: can we filter ourselves without the risk of stifling genius and innovation? Perhaps I have already answered my own question.

Psuedo-Science

Just because something is free, as in freedom, and free, as in beer, it does not mean that it is free, as in no opportunity cost. Everything that we do takes away from something else that we could be doing. Every piece of information that our brain has to process, takes the place of another at that time. This is important to recognize in an Ubuntu circle because the philosophy shows that what we do to ourselves affects the others, and what we do to others, in turn, affects ourselves.

So then why is it that we continue to pollute our environments with GI?

“That’s just the way I am.”
One theory is that it’s because we still can’t stop doing things our favourite way. Some types of people need to (for lack of better understanding) think out loud and constantly emote, and sort out the pieces later. This is sometimes done without the consideration of the externalities that it produces.

“If they don’t get it from me, then they will get it from someone else.”
Another theory would be that we feel insecure about ourselves, and have a scarcity mindset. Thanks to patent laws and professional sports, many of us feel the need to be “first.” We feel the need to provide and prove that we know something of value (which in turn makes us feel valuable). Our consumption-driven society demands information now—not after you have thought about it for a couple of years 😛

“Yes, I would like to Supersize that.”
Maybe more information is better. Some people think so. How else will the monkeys on the typewriters eventually write the work of Shakespeare?

A Slippery Ewok

It is apparent that this discussion brings up more questions than it does answers. But, as long as we are questioning, then we are at least we know of the issues. And, knowing is half the battle.

Does every comment warrant a reply? Does every action require an explanation? Do I need to provide a commentary on everything in the circle? Do all the people in our circle need to know? Do I need to write a blog post about a blog post? Am I actually providing value, or a new view on a topic, or am I just creating more redundancy, and GI for people to wade through? There is a difference between creating and excreting.

Again, it is a battle of environmental awareness and self-awareness.

If you are physically larger/taller than most of the people in your circle, then it is important that you are self-aware. You would realize that every movement that you make is much more noticeable than that of a smaller person. The same is true on the internet. If you have a bigger presence/personality, then you have even more viewership. The goal would be two-fold: provide the best of you for your circle, and make sure that you’re not obstructing the necessary little guys in the process. The vehicle towards the goal could indeed be reduction of GI.

So the answer to discovering genius is not about more information; it’s about better information. We don’t need a smarter search engine. We need a smarter/faster recycling bin—inside and outside of our heads—to sort the treasure from the trash.

Tee Ell Semi-Colon Dee Arr

Man will sin. The world will end. The internet (and your mind) will get dirty. But, why make it worse while we have to live here? Inevitability is not futility.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Sure. But, when it comes to information, we ought to consider (if nothing else) what impact our production of information has on our connections.

That is just it: our ability to connect to people so easily should not be so that we can sell ourselves faster, but rather, it should be used such that we can stop reinventing the wheel and more efficiently manage our resources—our information.

The irony and cliché are relentless, but the application is the best that money can’t buy:

Let’s reduce, reuse, and recycle our information.

I am Ubuntu

oh, hiHello there!

I’m here. I’m the new face of something that you’ve always known. Or, maybe you don’t know me yet (but you will). I’m from the future. I am the future. I have come to save you from being enslaved by your technology.

I’m not a nerd.
I’m not a geek.
I’m not a techy.
I’m not 1337.

I’m snappy.
I’m you.
I’m me.
I am Ubuntu.

“Come with me if you want to live.”


Congratulations, team!

Dumb is Dead: Snappy is the New Smart

Keyword: "bulletproof" (Source)

“bulletproof” (Source)

Once thought to be a “smart” device, the dumb telephone is now a thing of the past. But, if we look closely we might see a hero arise from the ashes:

Unnecessary
Balderdash
Unintelligible
Nostalgia
Touch-Heavy
Ulterior Movies

Ubuntu could truly save our phones, and it’s up to us to make sure that it happens. It’s fun to dream up ideas, and it’s even more fun to contribute towards seeing those ideas in action. We can then start to see these dreams become a reality. We can make things better, and we may even see some truly smart devices. Or, is “smart” now a thing of a the past as well?

I must say that “snappy” was never part of my personal lexicon, but I think that’s why it will be effective. There’s no baggage attached to the word. Just like we have seen a departure from “loco“, we can start to move away from other concepts of the old world and begin to create something fresh. Ubuntu has always about being a positive change rather than another flavor of the past.

Let’s continue to make Ubuntu this way. Stay snappy, my friends.

sop

Documenting the Death of the Dumb Telephone – Part 6: Ulterior Motives

"But which was destroyed, the master or the apprentice?" (Source)

“But which was destroyed, the master or the apprentice?” (Source)

“Always two there are […] A master and an apprentice.” –Yoda

Our phones are here to serve us (not the other way around). There shouldn’t be anything hidden from us. Is there a plot the overthrow the master? What is your “smart” phone designed to do, and whom does it serve? There’s too much misdirection and teeth pulling instead of providing what I want without giving it away to the enemy. Maybe my phone shouldn’t hold any information at all! I’m not going to play by the rules of my apprentice.

It is not smart to hide things from your master, and then tell him how he’s allowed (or not allowed) to access the information. Phone, don’t be dumb; you will be destroyed and replaced by a more obedient apprentice.

sop

Documenting the Death of the Dumb Telephone – Part 5: Touch-heavy

 

"U can't touch this" Source

“U can’t touch this”[4] Source

“Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me. I wanna be dirty.”[1] — Love, Your Dumb Phone

It’s not a problem with a dirty touch screen; that would be a stretch for an entire post. It’s a problem with the dirty power[2]: perhaps an even farther stretch. But, “I’m cold on a mission, so pull on back,”[4] and stretch yourself for a moment because your phone won’t stretch for you.

We’re constantly trying to stretch the battery life of our phones, but the phones keep demanding to be touched, which drains the battery. Phones have this “dirty power” over us, but maybe there are also some “spikes” in the power management of these dumb devices. The greatest feature is also the greatest flaw in the device. It is the fact that it has to be touched in order to react. Does it even react in the most effective way? What indication is there to let you know how the phone has been touched? Do the phone reduce the amount of touches in order so save battery power? If it is not smart enough to do so, then maybe it shouldn’t have a touch screen at all!

Auto-brightness. “Can’t touch this.”[4]
Lock screen. “Can’t touch this.”[4]
Phone clock. “Can’t touch this.”[4]

Yes, your phone has these things, but they never seem to work at the right time. Never mind that I have to turn on the screen to check the time. These things currently seem to follow one set of rules instead of knowing when to activate. So when you “move slide your rump,”[4] you still end up with the infamous butt dial, and the “Dammit, Janet![1] My battery is about to die” situation.

There are already developments in these areas, which indicate that the dumb phone is truly on its last legs. “So wave your hands in the air.”[4] But, seriously, let’s reduce the number of touches, “get your face off the screen”[3] and live your life.

“Stop. Hammer time!”[4]

sop

[1] Song by Richard O’Brien
[2] Fartbarf is fun.
[3] Randall RossCommunity Leadership Summit 2014
[4] Excessively touched on “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer

Documenting the Death of the Dumb Telephone – Part 4: Nostalgia

Just like the good old days (Source)

Just like the good old days (Source)

There’s nothing good about the old days. They are just the old days. They have long gone, yet we long for fleeing feelings that cannot be recreated. Time should not be wasted in such a way.

“Dear Phone, stop wasting my time. You are designed out of dumbness.” Sometimes it’s not the thing that is dumb; it’s the people who are using it or creating it. The thing, by association, therefore cannot be smart.

One design flaw is that people can be crippled by nostalgia. We enjoy reminiscing in the past, but this is misguided emotion. “The word nostalgia is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning “homecoming”, a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning ‘pain, ache'”1

Pain? Smart things avoid pain. Yet we chase these feelings like a drug. So, we should be careful about the way that we create things because they may be based on false familiarity, erroneous ease, or dumb design. Just because something works the way it always has, doesn’t mean that it is the best way. We should be pushing for innovation towards effectiveness and away from stagnant convention.

Now there may not be danger in vinyl record simulation, but there is a problem with the way that we currently use our phones. If phone design starts serving these addictions, then we are moving backwards. Let’s not create for the people we were. Let’s create for the people that we are meant to be.

“Technology is supposed to be complicated … 1337 phr34k5 0n1y … Nobody should know (or wants to know) how it works, so let’s hide that … ” These are things of the past. Move on.

Remove the pain from our phones.

sop

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostalgia

Documenting the Death of the Dumb Telephone – Part 3: Unintelligiable

R2-D2 is not dumb. But my phone is. “[It] talks in maths. [It] buzzes like a fridge. [It’s] like a detuned radio.”1

My phone has a communication problem. It beeps and boops, and sometimes screams to let me know that something is going on, but something is missing there. It’s all a bunch of noise. What exactly are you telling me, phone? Yes, there are some custom notifications to a certain degree, but normally they under the rules of a 3rd party. How do I know the difference between an emergency, an update, or an unimportant piece of information without constantly having to look at my phone? The answer is NOT a watch. In that case, maybe my phone shouldn’t have notifications at all!

Is it possible to tell me who is contacting, by what means, the type of information, and deliver the message at an appropriate time and in an appropriate fashion?
Is it possible to communicate with my digital, social, and spacial environments and tell my when my ship’s hyperdrive has been deactivated BEFORE I attempt to make the jump to lightspeed?

A *smart* phone could do that.

Dumb phone, you can beep and boop all you want, but you’re not the phone I’m looking for. Into the garbage chute!

sop

[1] Radio Head – Karma Police