Offline First

Welcome to 2018 where everyone is online, all the time. The more I think about this, the worse I think it is for us in general. For the past few months, I’ve largely bailed on social networks. More recently I’ve been avoiding news as well.

On my phone I’ve removed a many applications, and while I’ve left a few games for when hanging out in the bathroom taking a 💩, I try to avoid my phone for things other than phone calls and text (eg. no social media and limited web browsing).

I took a quick peek at twitter over the weekend and immediately saw this tweet from @jjj which made me think of a new old approach to life in the 21st century.

In web development we try to take an approach called mobile first. This is where the content is loaded as minimal as possible and designed considering mobile first, rather than designed with the kitchen sink (everything) for desktop then scaling it back for mobile. The reverse approach tends to be slow and bulky on mobile where you may have an old device or limited bandwidth. It’s not ideal.

This week starts an experiment I’m calling “Offline First.” For years I’ve worked off one or two laptops, work and/or personal, they’ve always been on, they usually travel with me (sometimes even when going to visit family). I get up in the morning, move the mouse to wake the screen, then lose time checking email and surfing the web. 30 minutes later I realize I’m late for something and I’m  ignoring my family.

In avoiding my phone I’ve found this thing called the “real world” (scary, I know) and it’s amazing. I’ve felt better about life, spending time with kids and family, and most important of all, NGAF about what is happening in the world at large.

Back to Offline First and @jjj’s tweet. This week, I’m going to take a new approach to work. When I’m done work at the end of the day, I will be powering down my laptop. No longer will it be there, at the ready for me to unlock and start writing emails or surfing the web. It then becomes a conscious decision on whether or not I want to turn it on then sit and wait until I can use it, or defer until the morning. In most cases, hopefully the answer is “no, this can wait until the morning” and I write myself a note. While certainly there may be cases where I actually need to address something that involves more than an email reply on my phone, hopefully those are the exception rather than the rule.

In the morning, I’ll get up and have coffee or breakfast, then do whatever I want to do with this newfound time-slot before I sit down and consciously start work. Once ready I’ll start my day, work on accomplishing what I need to, and then turn it off again at the end of the day. It will be similar to going in and working in an actual office with a desktop computer then leaving for the night.

While work may never be done, it does need to be paused from time to time so that we spend some time enjoying life in the real world.

I’ll keep you posted on how my experiment goes and hopefully it’s something that yields good results, becoming a permanent fixture of my life rather than a one week experiment.

What I Miss About Twitter

Yesterday my calendar notified me that today (April, 27) is my 9 year Twitter anniversary, though I didn’t tweet until just over 3 months later.

It’s also just past the 2 month mark of giving up Twitter. I figured it’d be a good time to follow up on things I miss and don’t miss.

Things I miss

Things I don’t miss

  • Political discourse (or what it’s become recently)
  • Cursing Police

There are some other close friends and acquaintances that I miss, but most of them I interact with offline, in various slack groups,  or at work.

Overall, aside from the obvious holes (some more important than others), I think it’s gone well and haven’t really found a good reason to go back. At least not one that outweighs the cons. Still trying to get into the habit of blogging more regularly. We’ll see how that goes.

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

So reading through the local paper this morning and I came across a “Fact Check” article from the Associated Press covering Trump’s address last night. Avoiding politics, facts are facts… however, opinions aren’t facts.

As I skimmed through the text a word immediately caught my eye. A word, if you remember back to grammar class, is a key tell for opinion, not fact.

UNEMPLOYMENT

TRUMP: “Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.”

THE FACTS: That’s true, but for the vast majority of them, it’s because they choose to be.

That 94 million figure includes everyone aged 16 and older who doesn’t have a job and isn’t looking for one. So it includes retirees, parents who are staying home to raise children, and high school and college students who are studying rather than working.

They are unlikely to work regardless of the state of the economy. With the huge baby-boomer generation reaching retirement age and many of them retiring, the population of those out of the labor force is increasing and will continue to do so, most economists forecast.

It’s true that some of those out of the workforce are of working age and have given up looking for work. But that number is probably a small fraction of the 94 million Trump cited.

[Source] Is Obamacare ‘collapsing’? How much does immigration cost? Fact-checking Trump’s speech

That last sentence– “probably” where the writer interjects opinions into what should be an article free of opinions. That never should have passed editorial. Sadly the media does this constantly and it’s a real head scratcher as to why nobody trusts them. Stay objective and on point. Facts only, please.

Rights

I have rights, you have rights. My rights don’t negate your rights and your rights don’t negate my rights. It really is that simple.

Often times I see someone say things like “I have a right to breathe clean air” in regards to a smoker whose smoke is blowing into their house. In turn what happens is the offended person complains to the local municipality, or the Home Owners Association (HOA) if they’re in a neighborhood. Regulations end up getting passed, and then the person who smokes can no longer smoke outside their house.

But why does one person’s rights outweigh the other person’s? They don’t. But we’ve started down a slippery slope of who has more rights. And often times this ends up in court litigation. Sadly this is the wrong approach. But in an over-litigious society… I guess that’s what happens.

Why can’t we all just be respectful? Chances are the person wasn’t doing it intentionally. They didn’t know you had a problem. Why not have a conversation with them and see if you can come to some sort of amicable resolution? I understand this isn’t always possible, but it’s where we should start.

Attacking one person’s rights in favor of your own rights may sound like a good idea at first, because after all, it puts you in a higher position. At some point though, someone will come after your rights because they feel their rights are more important. And how will you feel when you suddenly lose your rights?

The key building blocks to a good society is getting along with neighbors, not being passive aggressive or litigating things in court as a first response. If we each tried harder to get along with those around us rather than fighting over little things, we’d be a lot better off than we are right now.

Guilt and Control

Guilt, much like fear, is a controlling factor. Guilt and fear should motivate you instead of control you.

Remember, freedom is the power to choose right over wrong. By allowing an outside force to control your decisions, you are giving up your freedom to choose. Once you give up your freedom to choose you are no longer a free person.

Positive not negative. Right not wrong. Freedom not control.

Remember that.

(Note: I’m referring to the feeling of guilt, not the act of being guilty.)