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.


The Code Revisited

June 2020

I’ve built this website almost a year ago during the summer days. This year, the summer arrived two months earlier than it is supposed to and this takes me back mentally to those days. Maybe that’s why I’ve been looking into the behind-the-screens mess that is this blog. First lesson learned: letting things lie for long times will make it more difficult to pick things up where you left them. Who would’ve thought?

There are still some things I want to fix and implement on this website, while also keeping it simple and light. I’ll try and explain what and how in this post. Mind you: I’m absolutely no web developer or anything remotely like that.


Review: Humankind

May 2020

Humankind is a best-seller in the Netherlands and Flanders, where it’s called ‘De meeste mensen deugen’ (literally most people are good), written by Rutger Bregman. It’s quite voluminous and claims to justify a radically different image of humanity. It has been hailed as a masterpiece of optimism in the press and quite a few people in my milieu have praised it too. This made me somewhat sceptical about it. Unjustified, so it turned out. I was positively surprised by the book. It’s a flame, a flicker in these dark times that we, a hope that society can be bettered.


Lessons from the corona-crisis

April 2020

The corona crisis that is sweeping the planet has been going on for almost four months; Belgium has been in ‘lockdown’ for around a month. What are some (small) things I have learned and observed by now? A few notes and a dose of optimism…


Review: The Witcher

January 2020

It’s the newest fantasy television series to hit the mainstream, this time produced by Netflix. It doesn’t have the pretense or ambition to be a Game of Thrones style epic and holds up well all on its own.


Review: The Lighthouse

October 2019

The Lighthouse is Robert Eggers' newest film, after the 18th century psychological horror masterpiece movie The VVitch. This film too is a meticulously put together work of art, with a fabulous dual cast of Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson (trivia: this is the first time I saw a movie with Pattinson), bombastic dialogues, great visuals and the best Lovecraftian atmosphere I’ve seen in a long time.