Samir’s Selection 03/18/2015 (p.m.)

  • tags: GNU Linux technology software OS opensource platform neutrality privacy dataprotection control Microsoft Apple Google Facebook Android choice competition freedom freeexpression trade casestudy internet productivity RichardStallman CoryDoctorow screencasti

    • Appreciate technology, I urged, for what it is — a tool — and use what works best.
    • I’ve moved to these alternative platforms because I’ve changed my mind about the politics of technology. I now believe it’s essential to embed my instincts and values, to a greater and greater extent, in the technology I use.
    • Control is moving back to the center, where powerful companies and governments are creating choke points. They are using those choke points to destroy our privacy, limit our freedom of expression, and lock down culture and commerce. Too often, we give them our permission—trading liberty for convenience—but a lot of this is being done without our knowledge, much less permission.
    • I’m still a long way from achieving true tech liberty. Maybe it’s impossible, or close to it, in the near and medium terms. But this is a journey—a continuing journey—worth taking. And if enough of us embark on it, we can make a difference.
    • If we believe in liberty, we have to realize that we take risks to be more free. If we believe in competition, we sometimes have to intervene as a society to ensure that it’s fair.
    • One way we try to ensure fair competition is enforcement of laws designed to promote it, notably antitrust rules that seek to prevent dominant companies from abusing their dominance. A classic example emerged in the 1990s: Microsoft, a company that had outsmarted and/or outsleazed IBM and everyone else in its rise to pure dominance in the operating system and office “productivity” software markets.
    • Microsoft’s software wasn’t the best in many cases, but it was more than good enough — and the company’s business tactics ranged from brilliant to ugly, often both at the same time. The Clinton administration, weak-kneed earlier in the decade, finally realized it needed to prevent Microsoft from unfairly leveraging its Windows/Office dominance to rule the next generation of computing and communications, and the late-1990s antitrust suit helped give innovators such as Google a chance to emerge.
    • Yet now when I attend tech events, I’m one of the few people not using a Mac or an iPad. What happened?

      Three things: the expanding power of Apple and a new generation of tech giants; a reassertion of my own social-justice geekery; and solid alternatives.

    • But then the underdog revolutionized mobile computing and became the winner—one day we all realized it was one of the planet’s most powerful, profitable and valuable companies. Apple became the kind of company I prefer not to support: control-freakish to a fault with customers, software developers and the press; and, I came to believe, even dangerous to the future of open networks and user-controlled technology.
    • Google and Facebook, among others, were emerging as powers of a different kind: centralized entities that use surveillance as a business model, stripping away our privacy in return for the great convenience they provide.
    • He said it was important to do what he believed in—and, by the way, it worked fine.
    • Google’s power and influence worry me, too, even though I still trust it more than many other tech companies. Google’s own Android is excellent, but the company has made surveillance utterly integral to the use of its software.
    • Cyanogenmod
    • I’m still using some Microsoft and Google software—making me at least a partial hypocrite.
    • Our economic system is adapting to community-based solutions, slowly but surely. But let’s face it: we collectively seem to prefer convenience to control, at least for the moment. I’m convinced more and more people are learning about the drawbacks of the bargain we’ve made, wittingly or not, and someday we may collectively call it Faustian.
  • 1. Finding pockets of beauty wherever you are2. If you can’t climb a mountain, climb a hill.3. Sleeping on a hill won’t change your life, but it can be a tiny step toward making the changes.4. [Just] being outside…

    tags: microadventure adventure travel outdoors weekend family fun creativity enthusiasm selfimprovement exploration

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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