I like writing stuff on the internet. I don't like writing introductions. #100days
9,999 words

Note 22: Social Media

I'm not clueless about social media. I like a few of the platforms that are out there, but I am aware that you're just hemorrhaging data all the time if you use them. Up to a point, I'll accept that and I'm ok with it. You exchange your personal information for the ability to use the platform. I get it.

For things that I actually post online, I consider that public information in the same way that I would consider it public if I wore a certain shirt or pair of pants and took a walk outside. Everyone would be able to see what I was wearing. I think that's a helpful way to think about social media. It's generally public, and the information I personally release should be that way. That's not a big deal.

And if social media stayed that way, personally, I'd be fine with it. If it only used the information I personally chose to post, that would be great. It's not that simple though. Instead, social media ends up getting a lot of of other data too. I think all of us reach a point where we just get a little creeped out by it.

My latest example came out of switching from Windows to Xubuntu. A project like that will take a lot of googling when you encounter errors, so I was searching for a lot of computer stuff in general. All of a sudden, the explore page on my Instagram was just full of programming memes. Now to the best of my knowledge, I have never looked up anything related to computer programming on Instagram. When I was looking for actual answers to things, I was on Google the whole time. I needed to get results. I didn't need memes about code.

And yet, there I was a few days later with all these programmer memes that weren't there before. Pure coincidence? It's possible, I suppose. The more likely thing is that Instagram was just reading my search history even though I wasn't searching on there. Ah what a world we live in. Some of the most complex technology we have ever invented, and it's being used to serve up dank computer programmer memes. If anything causes a rogue AI, it's going to be something like that.

My thoughts about our dystopic future aside, it's just incredibly creepy and weird to have Instagram doing stuff like that. It doesn't endear me to the platform in the slightest, and it honestly just seems unnecessary. I guess for my part it's a question like this: how much data does the platform need, and how much is too much to use?

Personally, I don't have a great answer to that. I'm ok with a platform storing anything I post publicly. That's what I would count as data that I have willingly and consciously shared. What I don't really need (or want) is a platform serving up new content based on my searches that were done in a completely different app. I think that's where I draw the line.

But there's another question in there about what drawing the line even means. For me, it doesn't mean getting out of social media entirely. At least for the time being anyway. What it does mean is switching up the apps I use so that they are a little more privacy-focused. That may be about the best thing I can do for now.

For better or worse, social media is probably here to stay. I just wish it would be a little less creepy.

Note 21: Disband the Police

There's a question that a lot of us should be asking amid all the protests here in U.S. cities: do we actually need the police?

This is admittedly a step too far for most people, but it's a question that's worth asking at this point, as it has been for quite some time. I can put this question another way that sometimes makes it more palatable for people: if you see an old lady walking down the street, do you rob her?

Let's assume some things. If you're reading a blog like this, chances are you're a bit younger. You're probably in decent enough shape to both commit the crime and to get away with it if the old lady tries to chase you, so do you do it?

Chances are the answer is no, but why not? It probably isn't because you could be caught by the police. It's more likely that it's because you're a basically decent human being. The thought of some kind of retribution probably didn't come into your head at all. Instead, you may have even been shocked at the question. The vast majority of people would be.

Now if you are the kind of person messed up enough to be robbing old ladies, the police force won't prevent you from doing that. If you've made it to that point, then something is already wrong with you, and the law and the police force will not stop you.

This line of questioning should get us back to our original question. If the majority of us are basically decent people, and the small group that isn't won't follow the laws anyway, then the answer is no, we don't need the police. Or at the very least not in their current function as law enforcement.

Basically, if you look at it like that, the police are entirely failing at their job. The law cannot be enforced regardless of what they do. Most people who aren't criminals don't need to have laws enforced. Most people who are criminals don't care about the enforcement anyway.

Let's be clear here: we don't, and have never, needed the police in its current, militarized state. It would be useful to have a group of people able and qualified to investigate when crime happens. It might even be good to occasionally have them doing security.

What we don't need is an armed group of men and women with the education of a 12th grader and the maturity of a walnut going around enforcing anything. I get that it's a step too far for most people, but it's time we gave serious thought to disbanding the police.

Note 20: The Final Frontier

Like a lot of people around here, I caught the live broadcast of the rocket launch on Saturday. It was a nice moment. As an American, I'm glad to see us going back to space. There hasn't been a whole lot of stuff we've discovered from going, but I'll be the first to admit that I find it pretty awesome.

Even the president couldn't make this one all about himself, so that's always a small miracle. I don't have a whole lot of strong opinions on space exploration, but apparently, this is the first time Americans have been to space in about nine years. I'm pretty glad to see that's changing.

There's a pioneering spirit in the U.S. that continues on despite our many and varied problems. Just maybe, that will come back to the surface again. Maybe it'll inspire some people or bring some much-needed unity. Either way, it was cool to see. Cheers to NASA, SpaceX, and the astronauts that went out there.

Note 19: Mixed Message

Let's talk about how to send a message. In order for communication to occur, you need a speaker, a hearer, and a clear message.

The speaker and the hearer need to be on some common ground, and there needs to be no obstructions that prevent the message from getting across.

The message itself needs to only be interpreted in one way. The best way to do this is to make sure you are only sending one message with one meaning. The other way is to make sure your message doesn't have alternative interpretations.

It's possible to do, but it isn't easy. All it takes is a little work. Let's just take an example.

Let's say you want to protest violence in the police force. Are there a lot of people who like violence? No. Are there people who want the police to stop being violent? Yes.

So you have common ground between speaker and hearer.

Is the message clear? If you want to protest violence with more violence, absolutely not. Your message becomes muddled. When you start looting and raiding businesses, you open your message to alternative interpretations.

Did you want to end police violence or did you just want stuff? It's an alternative interpretation that comes out of the muddled message. I am not saying it's the right interpretation, but it's one that's out there.

Then there are the people spray painting hammers and sickles. Was this protest about police violence, or was it about communism? Now we're all confused. Essentially, at that point, you've lost your audience.

I understand that people are angry. They have every right to be. Everyone is angry about it. What happened was horrifying. The police have got to stop this. But if you let anger take over and create chaos, you aren't helping.

All of the protesters out there: you aren't helping. If you want to make sure your message is never heard, by all means, carry on.

If you want to actually make a difference, stop the stupidity. Stop the raiding. Make your message clear.

Note 18: Your Weekend Constitution (3)

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

No real comment on this one. Seems like a good idea to me.

Note 17: Cities are Miserable

I live in a big city. I've never really liked big cities, but they are kind of fun to visit. Living in them, however, is the worst.

I think if there's one thing that we should learn from the pandemic it's that cities are terrible. People live too close together and are in contact far too frequently. Also, air pollution went way down as soon as people had no reason to sit in city traffic. Then there's this part: as soon as you take away things like the restaurants, bars, night life, and cultural buildings, all you are left with is a crappy apartment that's too expensive and oppressive blue-state policies.

In other words, cities only attract people by this thin veneer of having something to do. All it does is distract from the misery of city life. Take that away, and they are terrible places to live. I hope that fact alone makes people a little more aware that cities are a blight.

Beyond that though, I'd like to see us questioning other things that cities get up to. The biggest and dumbest of the political protests that happened in the last few years were all in cities. The cities are often allowed to have tax policies the rest of the state would riot over. There's a huge culture of conformity masquerading as originality.

And that's all just problems with city culture. That's to say nothing of ineffective to corrupt local government, of bad landlords, and unrelenting traffic. In a nutshell, cities are terrible, and I hope people stuck at home during this pandemic start to see that maybe it's time for a move.

For my own part, I'm ready to get out of here.

Note 16: Review Bribe?

You know what's weird about the internet? The shady, scammy side of it.

I recently bought a new pair of headphones on Amazon. For the record, the headphones are great. They have all the capability that I wanted, and they sound good. I have no issue with the product, but this part was super shady.

In the box there was a $10 bribe for a 5 star review. I'm not even kidding, but I definitely wish I was. Packed into the box along with the headphones was a little card with Amazon's logo on it that said something about getting a $10 gift card. I'd probably ignore that kind of thing most of the time, but again, it had Amazon's logo. It made me take a look.

The card had a few steps on it: Step 1 was to scan a QR code. Step 2, write a 5 star review. Step 3 was to screenshot the review and send it to some random gmail account to get $10.

I don't even know where to start with this one. To the best of my knowledge, this is in total violation of Amazon's terms of service, but even more importantly than that, if this is real, it's pretty slimy. You shouldn't just buy product reviews from people. If you want a five star review from people make a five star product. It's about as simple as that.

After doing a little digging into this, I found out that this is apparently a thing that happens quite a bit. The overall purpose is to push a product higher in the search rankings because apparently nobody clicks on page two of Amazon's search results. It's a pretty bad business practice.

In general, you,re probably better off ignoring five and one star reviews on Amazon anyway. Five star reviews usually come from people who don't know what they are talking about, and one star reviews are often flukes and quality control issues. That said, it doesn't change the fact that buying reviews for any star level is pretty lousy.

But of course, there's another question here. Is this even real? I mean, I'm not sure what the QR code went to or what it had to do with the review. And then there was the random gmail account. Here's the thing: I get a lot of stuff from Amazon. I have never once received an email from them using a gmail account. Even the people who manufacture the product probably wouldn't use a gmail account. It's weird and shady all over.

And then there's this line: "for your Amazon account security, do not attach this card picture on your review when you leave a review." Sure thing. Just keep it hush, hush for you. Right.

Real or not, it's a tad disappointing. I mean, that's pretty gross to be buying reviews like that, but also, is my integrity really worth $10? Please.

So all in all, the headphones are fine, but I don't know about the company. If that's real, that's a bit nasty. If it isn't well then who knows what kind of scam they're trying to pull.

Either way, there's no way I'm scanning that QR code.

Note 15: I Made the Change

I don't think I ever put an update out about the end of my struggles with getting rid of Windows. Note 8 on here celebrated my victory too soon. Note 9 was when I realized the Lubuntu operating system I got was irreparably broken.

So here I am at note 15 with an update. At the advice of some kind strangers whose advice I saw on various forums and blogs, I dropped Lubuntu for Xubuntu. Lubuntu was definitely the lighter OS of the two, but it didn't work.

I'd love to say I know why, but honestly I have no clue. I have heard that Lubuntu is light to the point that it actually isn't user-friendly anymore, so being the noob that I am, I'm pretty sure the problem was not the OS. It was me.

Xubuntu works just fine though. My crappy laptop has still been given a new lease on life, with an operating system that actually works given the laptop's limitations.

I would still love to know what idiot thought it would be a good idea to make a laptop with a 65gb hard drive and put Windows on the thing, but I guess the question doesn't really matter now.

That's the update, I suppose. I'm glad it's working. There's still more to learn. Story of my life, I suppose.

Note 14: Two Weeks

I've heard that it takes 14 days to form a habit. I don't know if that's true or not, but this is day 14 of this blog. Writing daily has gotten quite a bit easier, and while I might not call it a habit just yet, spending a little time writing has become a morning expectation for me.

Writing, of course, is a skill just like any other, so the more you do of it, the easier it is. Still, with the 100 days challenge, I kind of started myself off on a marathon without much preparation time. I'd been pretty lazy with my writing, and I just needed the kind of kickstart that this would give me.

Fourteen days seems like a lame number to celebrate, but hey, I'll take my celebrations where I can. Like I said, writing every day has become easier, and even though this is just the start, I'm glad to have made it this far.

Here's to the next 86 days. And probably some more after that.

Note 13: Hyrule is Smaller than I Remember

I got an N64 emulator for my PC, so what did I do first? The only thing any responsible person does after getting an emulator. I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

It's always been a favorite of mine, and it was a game I played a lot back in the day. I mainly wanted to see how it held up. It's not a modern game by any means, but in some ways I'm ok with that. A lot of modern games are too demanding for the setup that I have anyway. I enjoy a game every now and then, but I don't enjoy it to the point where I'm going to drop thousands of dollars on a gaming PC.

As for the game itself, it mostly holds up. For a game that came out over 20 years ago, it's still fun to play, and the story is as good as ever. There are a few cringe-worthy moments of writing along the way that I wouldn't have noticed as a kid, but generally the story works as a classic struggle of hero vs. villain. The mythology, lore, and world-building are all aspects of the game that are as intriguing now as they ever have been, so that part definitely holds up too.

As for the gameplay, it's a bit clunky to play on a keyboard instead of a controller, but overall, it works well through an emulator. Apart from some weird video quality things, I had no real issues.

One things that really holds up well is the open world. It's still pretty fun to wander around and see what's out there. Though I did experience one thing that I found kind of interesting. The world is a lot smaller than I remember. I guess this is the video game equivalent of visiting a childhood playground and realizing that the "huge" slide there is only about six feet tall.

But yeah, the map is super tiny. I don't have much to say other than that, but I think I'll keep blogging through my experience of playing the game again as an adult. It's definitely an interesting look back to something I really enjoyed back in the day.

Note 12: Blade Runner 2049

I finally got around to watching Blade Runner 2049. I know, I know, I missed the hype train from when it came out entirely, but hey, I watch movies on my own schedule.

Blade Runner is many things: it's an action movie, a gritty cop movie, a comment on slavery, a futuristic dystopia that shows what the world would be like if tech bros ran everything (God forbid we let tech bros run everything). Most importantly though, it's a movie that brings up a question that is important now, but will also be more important as we move ever closer to our own futuristic dystopia where the tech bros run everything.

The question is simple enough that it's easy to miss along the way, but the best way to put it is this: is it real? Three words three syllables, and that question drives the entire movie. The reason is that the setting is a dystopia where the differences between natural human and engineered replicant have been entirely erased.

If you watch through the prequels, you know that the reason is that the nexus 6-8 models of replicants (in the movie's terms, essentially the older versions) led a revolt and released an electro-magnetic pulse bomb. This EMP led to a blackout and to the almost wholesale destruction of records relating to replicants. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe the whole movie is a metaphor for why you should back up your hard drive?

Anyway, the blackout erased enough of the records that it would be almost impossible to tell a replicant apart from a regular human. But that isn't the only area where the line between the real and the synthetic is blurred. The other side of the story is that the world's ecosystems have collapsed leading to widespread famine. In the midst of this emerges Niander Wallace, the tech bro I mentioned earlier, whose invention called "Synthetic Farming" leads the world out of starvation and toward glorious new existence. Oh wait, not that second part.

No, instead, the world is basically eating gruel made from ground up bugs. Tasty. But hey, at least they're eating. This leads world leaders to essentially be indebted to Wallace (and his company). And the only thing Wallace asks in return is that they lift the prohibition on creating replicants. This will allow him to create what he calls his angels. Nothing bad could ever come of that, right?

And so the prohibition is lifted and Wallace mass produces the Nexus 9 models of replicants. These include Blade Runner models who work for the police to track down and destroy nexus models that have gone rogue.

That's a whole lot of summary, and we haven't even gotten to the question yet. The thing is, that is all the set-up of the actual movie. The story itself starts with K, a blade runner replicant, who has finally tracked down a combat medic replicant who went AWOL from the military. You kind of need the set-up to understand the rest.

As the story unfolds, there are hints that Wallace doesn't just make replicant humans but animals as well. He isn't just creating people; he is also creating everything else that's needed in the world. In other words, because he saved humanity in its darkest hour, humanity has given Wallace exclusive rights to create a synthetic world.

That synthetic world is where the action of the story unfolds, and it is also why we come back to the question: is it real? And the answer is always the same. When the line between the synthetic and the natural is so blurry, no one knows. The question has less to do with modality and more to do with ontology. It's not asking is this one mode of being or another; instead, it's really asking what it means to be. In world where there's as much synthetic as there is real, that question takes on philosophical importance that goes beyond the question of the truth of a thing's existence.

There's a really funny scene in the movie that captures the essence of the question really well. When K finally finds Rick Deckard, who has apparently kept busy reading books and keeping bees since the 80s, Deckard has a dog with him. During the course of their interaction, K asks if the dog is real. Deckard's response is a sarcastic "I don't know. Why don't you ask him?" It's a very Harrison Ford throw-away kind of line, but it gets to the heart of the matter really quickly. The only way to know if something is real would be to ask questions. But there's a further question built in: does it matter?

Deckard's dog looks like a dog and generally has all the characteristics that we associate with a dog, so why should we care if it's real or not? In other words, if you get all the same companionship and love out of a synthetic dog that you would out of a real one, does that question matter?

Well, personally, I think it does, and this is where I get to why this question matters in our own day as well. We aren't quite in a tech-bro-run dystopia yet, but there are a few ways in which we are headed that direction.

Social media creates bubbles of unreality, misinformation, and faux-outrage that we and our digital friends can inhabit. News media creates little, synthetic echo chambers of people who all think exactly alike. If you watch enough advertising, you start to notice that it's less about informing you of a product you want and more about selling you a way to synthesize identity out of brands.

Meanwhile most of what you do online (if you aren't careful) is tracked, and coded, and stored as data. That is to say that while you exist in real life, your memories, dreams, desires, thoughts, and urges also exist as a series of numbers in some server-prison that you can't access. Is your digital doppelganger you? Is it your representation? Is it your double? Who can tell? At a certain point, the two become indistinct.

And that's to say nothing of the fact that most tech companies are heavily investing in artificial intelligence at the moment. And so we come to a question for our own time: is it real? At the moment, we can still tell. We may not be able to keep it that way forever.

But does the question matter? Well, it depends on your interest in truth as an objective thing. If all that matters is the subjective experience of things, as our post-truth world posits, then the reality doesn't matter one bit as long as you are comfortable in your own beliefs. On the other hand, if external reality is in fact real and exists outside of our personal points of view, then the question is extremely important.

To put it as simply as possible, it's a distinction between your truth and the truth. The distinction matters as long as we are interested in looking at things exactly as they are. Blade Runner 2049 presents us with a world where your truth has completely overwritten the truth, and it is not a good world to live in.

Overall, Blade Runner 2049 has less poetry than the original. You get "less tears in the rain," which I find a little unfortunate. However, you exchange it for some hard philosophical questions on the nature of truth and existence that I think we would do well to consider. And maybe even keep considering in the future.

Note 11: Your Weekend Constitution (2)

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Here's a great example of the confusion that can result in slightly unclear punctuation.

Note 10: Truth, Lies, and Media

It seems like every month or so I have an article come across my newsreader that goes something like this: "I'm a [liberal/progressive/democrat/etc.]. I spent [insert amount of time] reading conservative media, and it was crazy!" The latest of these was this article from The Daily Beast1. While I have no problems with the fact that these articles exist, I take issue with the conclusions pretty much every time.

Just to give you a sense of what I mean, here is one of this author's concluding points from near the end:

there is a big difference between comparing bias to bias when the right relies on baseless assertions and outright lies to deliver their political viewpoint. This isn’t really a battle between biases; it’s one of truth versus lies.

This is where these authors lose me. The people who write these articles always come to the same conclusion: that the difference between right-leaning and left-leaning media is actually a difference between reality and lies.

They go on to conclude that the people who watch right-leaning media are living isolated from reality. Somehow they miss the fact that this is kinda true no matter which "side" of the media echo chamber you inhabit.

There's a lot of bad thinking that goes on here, but the number one issue for me is this: whether you stay in the left-leaning media bubble or the right-leaning media bubble, you are every bit as misled.

And that's what really bothers me. All media has perspective. All media has stance. And yes, all of that means that nobody is representing events accurately. And you're entirely ignorant if you think otherwise. There, I said it. Rhetorical politeness be damned.

But lest this become just another polemic on the internet, let's talk about some reasons why we should doubt all claims about "objective" reporting when it comes to any media outlet.

Number one: audience. Every media outlet has an audience that they write to. They have a core group or demographic that they reach, and that will set the expectations for what they write. The typical Fox News reader will have an expectation of a republican-favoring media outlet. The typical Huffington Post reader will have an expectation for complaints about Trump. The only thing that happens if these expectations are not met is that the media outlet loses readers. The audience expectations themselves are going to skew the reporting because these places are writing to a core group or an in-group.

The point is actually not to challenge your regular readership and make them think. If you do, you run the risk of alienating them and losing that audience to a media outlet that panders to them. I'm not saying that's a good thing, but that's kind of how things go.

Number two: seeing and speaking. We sometimes think the transmission of information goes in a straight line like this:

[event]--->[reporter]--->[audience]

If that were true, perfect objectivity would happen all the time. The reporter would see the event and be able to perfectly report all the facts2. Of course, even every day experience will tell you that's not how it works.

Transmitting information actually looks a lot more like this:

[event]-->[what the reporter notices]-->[what the reporter remembers]-->[what the reporter chooses to emphasize]-->[the linguistic system in the reporter's head that they use to store information]-->[the language produced to transfer that information]-->[what the audience notices in the transmission]-->[the linguistic system in the audience's head for receiving information]

Notice something in here: it's already this complicated, and we haven't even mentioned the myriad ways that worldviews can influence all of this stuff. In simpler terms, our very nature prevents complete objectivity in reporting no matter the topic and no matter the source3.

Number three: money. Let's just be honest about this one. Media outlets are advertising platforms that do news as a hobby. Again, that's not a right/left media thing, that's true of all of them. While there's nothing inherently wrong with that, it absolutely influences what gets reported on, how it's reported, and the writing itself. Blood sold back when they were actually selling papers. These days we would say that blood generates traffic and ad revenue

Number four: partisanship. Not much to say on this one. Owners of media companies have political opinions too. We're fooling ourselves if we think that doesn't matter.

If you really want perspective on just how much of an impact this can have, here's an interesting experiment: choose any given topic that has been important enough to generate news articles4. Then choose two sources on the opposite sides of the political spectrum. Let's just say Fox News and The Huffington Post, since I mentioned those two in an earlier example5. So take those two sources and pay close attention to the writing and even closer attention to the differences between them.

Ostensibly, your two sources are writing about the same thing. I guarantee you they are not writing from the same perspective, and it has a massive impact on how the information is presented. If you just read one article from one source, you could very well come away with very different impressions of an event than someone who read about the same topic from a different source.

And what's truly hilarious is that both writers will claim they were just reporting the facts.

So there are a number of issues with the expectation of objectivity in media, but I think there's a more compelling issue here. We shouldn't be looking to the media for the truth in the first place. And that's true if you talk about media on the right or the left.

Basically, if you live in the conservative media bubble or the liberal media bubble, you are being misled. There is an antidote though. It's this fun thing we call peer reviewed research (and, you know, reading good books). If good, hard, objective looks at reality is really what you're after, then don't waste your time on the news. Read research articles and academic books instead. You just won't find objectivity in the media6.

Oh but that reminds me. The point of these articles isn't to be objective either. The point is to pat yourself on the back and say, "well, I'm sure glad I'm not one of THOSE guys!" Please. The pot calls the kettle black.

Notes:
1A group I actually liked quite a lot at one point, but their editorial standards just tanked after 2016 or so. Just my opinion, of course, but it seemed like they quickly went from writing thoughtful and compelling commentary to just another mindless click generator on the internet. I'm not really sure why.

2And just the facts.

3Of course, there's always a follow-up question. Is it possible to objective? Absolutely! It just takes more care for nuance than you will ever get in journalism. If you want to read further, I would highly suggest Newman and Genevieve Birk's essay "Selection, Slanting, and Charged Language" from their book Understanding and Using Language

4You probably can't do this with covid-19 right now. It's big news, but the topic is too broad to really see the differences. You'd probably have to narrow down.

5There's not really even a need to go extreme here. You don't have to compare things as far apart as Breitbart and Buzzfeed to see how this works.

6No matter which "side" that media is on.

Note 9: Struggles of a Linux Noob

In my last post I thought I had finally gotten my bad laptop up and running with a new operating system. Well, it isn't so much that I don't have a working laptop now, but the trouble is things are sure not going well.

The laptop is not starting properly, and this morning when I was able to get it running, it wouldn't connect to my wi-fi network. Just when I thought I had everything working, this comes up. It's a tad frustrating. Turns out there is still a lot to learn here.

I wasn't trying to make this blog a journal about my struggles as a linux noob, but that seems to be where things are going. I guess that this is the end result of trying to blog every day. Sometimes you have something to say, and sometimes you just write a short post about how annoying it is when things don't work.

I may have broken my laptop, but at least I haven't broken my writing streak, I guess.

Note 8: Freedom

Well, I did it. I wrote about my trouble with ditching Windows last week, and as of right now, I am finally free of that operating system. I now have my own laptop without all the weird crap that I can't delete.

And now I'm here, typing this in Standard Notes on a system that, frankly, just runs so much better than Windows. What I mean by that is that even this crappy, cheap laptop can function beautifully in a way that it wasn't capable of when I started this project.

I was aware of the limitations of this machine, so I went with Lubuntu, which is an operating system that's made to be lighter. Since it requires so much less of a computer, it runs really well on older machines. It also really works well on crap laptops.

I still can't recommend buying a laptop that's so cheap it can't run its own operating system. However, if you plan to get a cheap laptop, I can recommend Lubuntu. It will help that bad laptop run so much better.

Like I mentioned when I wrote about this the last time, I'm not techy enough to really know all of what is going on with an operating system, but I can give you the experience of a user.

When this thing was running Windows 10, everything was slow. It took ages to boot up, and I could hardly run more than one program at a time. On top of that, there was all that software that I didn't like, would never use, but couldn't delete. It just made for a frustrating experience overall.

That's not to say that Lubuntu is perfect. There are still some things I'm working out, but in general, it's freeing to be rid of the weird stuff that Windows has. I've also appreciated the learning experience.

I sometimes get the feeling that people who aren't techy at all would rather have a laptop that just works and they don't have to think about. It's a sort of "it's not broken, so I don't have to worry about it" approach. That's fine for most folks, I suppose, but I like learning about the tools that I'm using on a day-to-day basis.

I've still got a long way to go before I can claim any kind of proficiency, but this project taught me quite a few things that I wasn't aware of before.

I guess this is all to say that I'm glad I was able to get free of Windows 10, and I'm glad my new operating system works as well as it does.