Users should be computer-friendly, instead of computers being user-friendly!

Maggie's Farm

Date/Time Permalink: 09/01/09 02:24:06 pm
Category: General

As they say in Starcraft, "Upgrade complete!" I have finished (mostly!) the site re-design and overhaul. The only exception is a few straggler pages like the ones I posted Flash games on, but those are getting collated into the new 'Playground' section anyway. Also the portfolio is remaining as-is for now - it's intended to be different from the rest of the site anyway. There will be small tweaks for a few tiny issues, but generally this set-up works across platforms, conforms to standards better, and won't draw nearly as much flaming from the 4chan set.

The last style was a hipster joke, my way of thumbing my nose at all things technology in one stroke. That was fun, but this style looks much more professional. That reflects the fact that online freelancing has become a full-fledged career for me, rather than just a profitable side hobby.

But I mentioned - way back here - that with this new look comes a new attitude that I have. And what is that new attitude? Why, it's Maggie's Farm!

Maggie's Farm is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1965. The Wikipedia page in that link is dead-on when it says: "Maggie's Farm is best read as Dylan's declaration of independence from the protest folk movement." I've found a lot of parallels with Dylan's lyrics and my own situation. You can read more about it and play the song at SongFacts.

If I may quote a lyric or two:

"Well, I wake up in the morning,
Fold my hands and pray for rain.
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin' me insane.
It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor.
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more."

The folk/ protest movement of the 1960s was very much like the Free Software movement. It was very political, very militant, filled with fiery, passionate people who were out to smash the established order, declare a revolution, and lead the mob with pitchforks aloft and torches ablaze.

What did they accomplish? Doodly squat.

And I, like Dylan, have a head full of ideas - and if I don't start paying more attention to turning them into real things, they're going to drive me insane too.

"Well, I try my best
To be just like I am,
But everybody wants you
To be just like them."

Does it sound familiar, Linux community? I don't have to point out how, do I?

It's politics, politics, politics, in both the folk-music scene of the 1960s and the Linux scene of the 2000s. And I've preached, and I've fought, and I've campaigned, and I've lectured, and I've taught, and I've stuck Tux-shaped crosses into lawns and set them ablaze in the night right alongside the most militant of you.

And what have I accomplished? Doodly squat.

Really, that's not my fault. The fault is upon this environment, this deadening, cloying atmosphere of Dark Ages America, where reading is a sin, science is an abomination, learning is a sacrilege, and progress is taboo. Not all of America is living in the Dark Age, but enough of it is to drag everybody else down with it. It was that way during the original European Dark Age, too.

And that goes double for the technology blogs of the web. 90% of everything I read about tech these days is the most ignorant drivel I could possibly imagine. There is simply no room for science in between the snake oil, freak shows, magic tricks, Tarot card readings, and exorcisms. No matter how loud I scream, my voice is lost in the typhoon of drizzly bullshit.

Now I can be all glum and gloomy about this... or I can simply accept the world I live in and move along. The only difference this makes is in how happy I am.

Do I want to see an enlightened world, where people embrace learning and the exploration of technology, where people have open minds and are enthusiastic about change, where people shun magic and pursue science? Well, that's too bad. No Dark Age lasts forever, but it's certainly going to last longer than I'll be alive.

And, so, the hell with the politics of the English-speaking Linux community. I have other ideas, other exciting work to do. From now on, I'll be doing it. That's the new purpose of this site. Those new interests that I talked about in this post are way more productive, and way more fun for everybody else to look at anyway.

sword in stone

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