Building a new pc

March 2021

I was originally planning on doing the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian express this winter, but due to the ongoing pandemic that plan fell through. To console myself I decided to redirect the money planned for this into a new pc build. This will be the first time actually building one myself from scratch.


Books of 2020 (fiction)

December 2020

2020 was a good year, at least in terms of books read. And I don’t think that the global pandemic had that much to do with it. I’ve read over 50 books, which is probably a record (it is at least since 2016 when I started to keep a list of the books I read). But I haven’t written many reviews. In this blogpost I’ll revisit the fiction works I’ve read, chronologically, and write a line or two about it.


Books of 2020 (non-fiction)

December 2020

2020 was a good year, at least in terms of books read. And I don’t think that the global pandemic had that much to do with it. I’ve read over 50 books, which is probably a record (it is at least since 2016 when I started to keep a list of the books I read). But I haven’t written many reviews. In this blogpost I’ll go over the non-fiction works that I’ve read, chronologically, and write some of my thoughts about them.


Donations

October 2020

The coming year I want to give a monthly donation1 to projects, creators2 and organizations that I think are worthwhile, changing the recipient every month. I do this because supporting multiple projects continuously is difficult. The costs quickly adds up so that it’s difficult to give support to the wide range of the deserving.

And since I’m a dork who’s enamoured with the French Revolution, I’m using the French Republican calendar for this. This has the added benefit that it starts in September, thus the end of the month coincides more or less with the beginning of this experiment.


Leaving Facebook (part 2)

September 2020

Knowing the problems of corporate social media, and Facebook in particular, is one thing, but the practical process of leaving it is a whole other topic in itself. That’s what I’l try to expand upon here. Or in other words: what’s the actual plan? I’ll make a guess at the costs and benefits of leaving Facebook and I’ll look into some constructive steps I (and others too of course!) can take to transition to a post-Facebook lifestyle.


Leaving Facebook (part 1)

September 2020

Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly uneasy with Facebook and social media in general. I’ve had an account for over a decade now (since 2008) and it has become such an integrated presence in my life that it’s difficult for me to imagine it otherwise. But year after year, new revelations become public, new scandals get out, another terrible event get exacerbated, more misinformation spreads,… My insight into the technological, psychological and polticial functioning of social media on us as individuals and society has grown. And the negative conclusion is inescapable: it’s not good.

I know that I should quit - I’ve known that for some years now. I’ve made quite some changes to my online behaviour already. I cut out a whole bunch of Google owned apps, got rid of WhatsApp and switched to Signal, removed the Facebook app and Facebook Messenger from my phone. But in the end, I still have and use Facebook on daily basis. There are friends I keep in contact with, events to keep track of, updates about things I like (literally, in the case of Facebook). The idea to leave it all behind gives me nothing short of anxiety: I’ll lose so much.

Therefore I have resolved to pledge to quit Facebook by the end of this annus horribilis.


Startpage

September 2020

A little side project I’m working on is building a simple, cohesive start page to use as starting point for the internet, with a built-in news-feed. One of the reasons is that I still want to break free from the corporate algorithms deciding what I see online and thus influence how and what I’ll discover and visit.

It’s not that big of an idea and there’s a small scene online of people designing these, inspiring me to do the same. It will involve mainly some webdesign in HTML and CSS, which I understand a little by now, and probably some JavaScript, which I don’t know at all.


Beyond privilege self-awareness

August 2020

There is a presupposition that, as a white cishet male (all the words!) trying to acknowledge his privileges, I must be utterly miserable and emasculated by the experience. Full of self-hate and constantly apolizing; digging myself deeper, groveling before the relevant opressed demographic. Castigating myself and my ‘fellow people’ before the altar of the false god of political correctness.1 This is simply not true in my experience, which I’ll try to explain here.


In Praise of Morrowind

July 2020

There’s one game I find myself getting back to every few years, over and over again, and that’s The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. It’s also a popular topic of discussion, inspiration and reminiscence among friends of mine - a shared experience to touch upon every now and then, each having their own favorite parts of it. It definitly has achieve a sort of cult-status, but what exactly makes it such an enduring classic? And is it really better than its sequels? This is what I’d like to explore in this blogpost.

Cliffracers eradicated in my most recent playthrough: 201

Saint-Jiub deliver us: cliffracers, the scourge of Vvardenfell

Saint-Jiub deliver us: cliffracers, the scourge of Vvardenfell


Digital Alternatives

July 2020

This blogpost is a list about my search for digital alternatives that are more open, more respectful and more private than the ones I and a lot of other people have been using until now, often for free. It’s an attempt to claim back ownership of my virtual self.

Why did I do this? These last few years I’ve started to shift away from trusting the big data corporations such as Google and Facebook. I’m suspicious about the free services these companies offer us. Not only are they invasive of our privacy, they also profit of the enormous amount of data that we generate for them. This way these companies have a huge impact on our consumption, on our ideas, on our relations, on our society and democracy. They are also not held accountable for anything and sooner or later the repercussions will catch up with us - if they haven’t already.