Tech resistance

For some time, I have been contemplating getting myself a Chromebook to serve as my personal, private computer for writing, reading and research. A Chromebook, I thought, would suit me nicely, because they offer a light-weight user experience, unencumbered by the time-consuming updates that regularly beset Windows computers. For writing, I would either use the very minimal Chrome plugin, Caret, or the Android version of Microsoft Word. All I need is a good keyboard, a silent fanless chassis and a reasonable screen. To this end, any Asus Chromebook would easily fit the bill.

But observing US protectionism at its worst over the past few days, as US tech companies respond to the presidential decree to block trade with Chinese technology companies, I find myself contemplating a return to an independent Linux distribution. Over the weekend, Google has ceased its relationship with Chinese tech giant, Huawei, which is bad news for users of its excellent smartphones (budget Honor phones included). It’s likely that Microsoft will have to follow-suit where the company’s laptops are concerned, to avoid state sanctions.

All of a sudden, our over-reliance on US software providers seems perilous. All it takes is for an erratic president to announce an embargo on trade with a foreign technology company, and consumers all over the world are effected. Today it is a Chinese company that earlier in the year was seen to be rapidly challenging the dominance of a US technology company. Tomorrow it could just as easily be a Taiwanese, Japanese or South Korean company. Overnight, they can kill off every upcoming device that was just on the brink of coming to market.

So perhaps the way to go is not to embrace a US software house to power my personal computer. For my use case, I could make do with some technological home-brew. It’s not that I imagine that Britain will find itself directly subject to US protectionism of this kind any time soon. It’s more the principle of resisting monopolies that dictate to the end user the choices they make.

Betrayal

Ah yes, thank you, we know 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU, compared to 16 million who voted to remain. Sorry that you feel betrayed.

We also know that 45.8 million people were eligible to vote in 2016, so we have no idea what the other 12.4 million who didn’t vote think. Nor what the 1.4 million 18 year olds who were too young to vote last time think. Perhaps we’re about to find out.

What we do know is that the 20 million youngsters under the age of 18 will bear the brunt of the decision of the 17.4 million. What the future has in store, we do not know. Perhaps it will be good for them, perhaps it will be bad. Only time will tell.

Will 46.6 million people ultimately feel betrayed by leave means leave, or will we all have arrived at the promised land, sipping milk and honey, rejoicing in our freedom and sovereignty, having won our hard-fought independence from our colonial masters is Brussels?

Who knows. Time will surely tell.

 

From this day forth

I wish I had lived my life righteously. I wish I had resisted the calls of my soul, instead of succumbing to them. Day and night, my mistakes haunt me. If I could turn back time, I tell myself, I would do it all differently, though of course I know that is not true.

The only consolation is that I’m not dead yet. So from this day forth, I tell myself, I will try to live a better life. I will try to make amends, and try even harder to reform myself. A promise I have made so many times in the past, only to fail. So, yes, no doubt I will be weeping the same laments in another month, year and decade. But for now: from this day forth…

Hungering for God

“…we must not fool ourselves about the emptiness of our impoverished state in contrast to what is possible. We must fast not only from food and drink but from the spiritual junk food that are the assurances that we are on the right path, doing the right practices, associating with the right shaykhs and shaykhas, and working to learn all the necessary religious sciences and forms of knowledge.”

Alan Godlas, Hungering for God and Allowing One’s Heart to be Fed by God, 6 May 2019