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1) Personal Life: I have not posted in ages. Part of this is because I was worried that the metaphorical signal would have unintended effects on a nearby metaphorical pacemaker. I no longer think that is the case. This is great news.

2) Apple: I have spent about a decade now using Apple products, and endorsing them to others. My new (awesome) job is all mac-centric in terms of development hardware. Apple played to my values in a big way. And I loved it. More importantly, it worked. And as soon as they gained traction in the market, and started the snowball effect, they began using the power to lock little things down. No problem, I thought. It's Apple. They do this. But I can use open formats, and make choices as I go. (Still True).

Recently though, it's become unacceptable. What made Apple so great was that they never tried to appeal to everyone. They tried to innovate and appeal to people that valued similar things to them. And then they tried to educate the public to help them value it also. I support that approach, even though it can come off as elitist or snobby. It just seems better than aiming to be the lowest common denominator. 

Unfortunately, as soon as they got a taste of victory, they immediately began racing for the bottom. The "App Store" is literally the only way to get software on to their new favorite OS, and they censor it to "protect the kids". They are anti-multitasking. And now they are actively suing people over things like "object oriented interface design". Frankly, for that, they can go fuck themselves.

I will use their hardware until a better alternative is available. The mac from work is free, and is just a pc laptop. Awesome. A ChromeOS tablet is sort of the dream, but for now an iPad will do (as long as I studiously avoid lock-in). I've reformatted my mac mini (and drobo) as linux/ext3 based. Not dual boot. Straight linux. I'm setting up a linux VMWare install on my work mac. I'm weening myself off mac software (including iTunes, somehow). And I use a Palm Pre for my smart phone. I'll keep using macs for now, as the OS is quite nice to work in. But my software and my data are going to be open, free, and easily replicable on linux or windows or haiku or whatever on the day that Apple tries to apply it's current attitude to Mac OS X. 

3) Games: I play in a D&D campaign that is like 9 players and a DM. It's epic. The battles are huge (and take as long as you'd guess). The RP / Skill Challenge stuff is crazy if you visualize /everyone/ there instead of just the active participants. It's like a freakin' platoon storming the castle, instead of a party. I enjoy the game quite a bit, but the sheer size of it makes it harder for it to be free form, and makes the "fun" harder to extract. As such, I'm seriously considering forming a small, easy going, weeknight campaign to DM. I figure 3-4 players, as streamlined a ruleset as possible, and I'll run a NPC so that I can also "play". The problem I'm facing is a) who to invite to play, and b) how to avoid poaching or in any way harming the larger game (which I'd totally keep playing in).

Speaking of games, I'm selling a large chunk of my board game collection. You can see more here: http://garagesale.ryanabrams.net . This is a LJ sneak preview. Pretty soon, the unsold ones will go on BGG Auctions, so if you're interested, check it out.

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Ryan Abrams

June 2011

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