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Proprietary software tends to manipulate. I notice this whenever I am forced to enter that world. The user is controlled to the purposes of the entity behind the program.

This needs to end. We need complete control over our own computing. Otherwise we surrender the right to have any say in our interactions with the digital world.

Unfortunately, many people don't mind being controlled, as long as they are convinced it somehow serves their goals, or they are ignorant of the oppression.

When they are told of the problems, most don't want to believe it, so don't.

Critical thinking and self-discipline are vital to avoid being pushed around by those set out to control you for their own interests.

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There's a problem with a website I'm on. So I think: "I'll just wait. The sysadmin will fix it soon. They know exactly what they are doing. This is just a temporary inconvenience."

Until I remember I'm that sysadmin.

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Many arguments from opposing sides are very thought-provoking once you get past trying to refute it at all costs.

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I never wanted There's Life to be a political or even religious instance. But rather a place where we discuss God, His teachings, and how they apply to our lives. In the end, what else matters?

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We (as humans) often look to affirm various ideas we hold, reasonably justified or not, with nonsensical arguments and bad logic.

When we see something that doesn't look quite right, yet validates our beliefs, we all too often accept it, ignoring reason. We want validation. We want to be understood and to have others share our convictions.

We do this repeatedly, and we gradually become more ignorant about opposing views. We call other people fools and yet our own arguments are just as foolish.

We are never right. We never completely understand our world, our lives, or other people. We are always learning. Don't hinder that.

Never put convictions over sound logic or beliefs over pursuing truth.

Do other Gab instances still federate with each other? Or have they completely broken federation?

The answer turned out to be 9. Congrats to the 33% (3 people) who predicted it accurately.

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Full disclosure, I have about $2.9 worth of Bitcoin. So I'm *totally* invested in it.

Just let me know if Bitcoin suddenly spikes a thousandfold. :P

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There are so many people on the Fediverse both adamantly pro or against cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, and blockchain. It can be entertaining.

How many votes in this poll do you think we can get in 30 minutes?

I'm using Pinafore again. It's much simpler, cleaner, and feels a bit nicer to use than the default Mastodon web interface.

pinafore.social

Boycotting big businesses is not nearly as effective as supporting small and local ones.

Observation of the book 1984 

I'm reading 1984, and realizing how socialist it is, such as in "THE BOOK", where Emmanuel Goldstein talked about how industrialization made a classless society possible, but the ruling class wanted to hold onto their power so they created the dystopian world.

Which makes sense considering what he wrote in his essay "Why I Write":
> The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.

I need some blogs to add to my blogroll (and my personal reading list) at josias.dev/blogroll.

Send me your favorite blogs. Increase discovery of personal websites.

(Gemini capsules also welcome)

I mentioned Mastodon to someone recently, and they replied, "What's next, a social network called 'Sabertooth'?"

Due to how easy this is to do, I am certain this message will go through some NSA algorithm and likely be used to profile me as one of those who oppose their illegal and unethical surveillance programs.

I am curious though: what kind of bots do they have crawling and processing the Fediverse?

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I rushed that last part through. I'll articulate it better in a future post.

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A common objection to this is that there are so many people in the world, why should they be interested in your information? After all, you aren't important enough to justify the resources.

However, this underestimates both the budget and the technical ability of the intelligence agencies.

These agencies have access to whatever money they wish, under the guise of "fighting terrorism". This enables them to spy on many more people than you might think is possible. Their budgets also gives them access to the latest technology, including revolutionary systems that they invent themselves for secret use.

These technologies enable the type of mass surveillance that doesn't need humans. AI can determine whether or not you are a threat, and prioritize surveillance of you as it sees fit. Data about you and your activities is compiled, processed, and used to make a profile about you, a "Permanent Record" of your life.

The point of mass surveillance is just this. It doesn't matter if you are interesting or not. You are being spied on because you could possibly be interesting in the future.

Thus the intelligence agencies will do everything in their power to collect whatever information they can. They will put someone in charge of a program that will do this automatically.

The only way to avoid this is to make it impossible, rather than just impractical, to spy on you. Encryption is one of the best way to do this. You can lock up your communications, preventing anyone from even possibly spying on them (this isn't technically true, because of the nature of our encryption systems, but it will be basically true for at least a few decades).

So use encryption, and make software that makes zero-knowledge encryption easy to use.

</rant>

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The more we rely on black-box machine-learning algorithms to decide how content is distributed, the more we become able to be influenced by those controlling those algorithms, and by those controlling those who control them.

Any machine learning that we use needs to be under our own control, like any other software, and must be completely transparent.

If it is possible for intelligence agencies to spy on something, you can be certain they will. They have the budget and the incentives to do so.

Again, bad speech needs to be addressed with free speech not censored speech. If certain opinions are considered bad, they should not be censored, but rather addressed with conversation and correction with more speech.

However, those who attack others and discuss with bad faith are not welcome. They don't want to know truth, they want to provoke others and spread their own ideologies. Harassment is not okay, and one should not defend their right to harass other under the disguise of "free speech".

What is the gitmo.life instance? I'm getting lots of random follow requests from users over there.

It looks like it's just the brand that did it ("parent" logo whatever that means). But it's still sad.

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The newest Firefox logo has abandoned any remnant of being a Fox hugging the world. I'm sad. I might purposely change the logo for Firefox on my computer to the first one.

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Josias's choices:

There's Life

A family-friendly social network (Mastodon instance) devoted to the new life found in Christ.