Had an idea for a thing. At the moment I’m calling it <broken poets>.
Clark was having one of his moments.
"There were roughly three thousand people using public transport that day; thirty-four where riding on the bus in question; eighteen were Caucasian, twelve were Hispanic, two were black, two were Asian; nine were wearing hats: three where dark, six were light; one of the Hispanic women was wearing gloves – it wasn't cold that day; three of the Caucasian women were wearing winter coats – it was not cold that day; and one of the Caucasian men noticed this disparity in dress before the crash that killed thirty-three of them – I should not have questioned them about their seasonally inappropriate attire so close to the end of their mortal lives."
The department store worker asked again, "do you need this gift wrapped, sir?"
"That would be nice. I could give it to someone if I chose to. It's always good to have your options open. You have a very nice choice of attire that is seasonally appropriate."
"Thank you. Just one final ribbon –"
"Tremendous! I can tell you're going to live for a long time. God doesn't take the talented or well-dressed."
I’ve been enamored with free software since Windows Vista decided to disappear what I called my “trial run” Wubi install of Ubuntu. By the end of this “trial” I preferred GNU/Linux so strongly that I had forgotten there was another operating system (OS) installed on the computer.
But then there was a problem. I couldn’t boot into GNU/Linux anymore. Vista was working fine but my preferred OS was missing. I would later discover that my first real issue with GNU/Linux was created by Windows. While this situation did not give me joy at the time, it was extremely fortuitous.
The problem of a “missing” OS prompted my first visit to a support forum. I solved my own issue with helpful guidance from others. A total stranger thanked me or my efforts because they were experiencing the same issue and benefited from the solution I had discovered and shared.
I switched firmly to GNU/Linux that day.
Computing is now an activity I truly enjoy, benefit from greatly, and intend to utilize for the greater good. GNU/Linux is like a rabbit hole of lagniappes; the fringe benefits keep coming. This chain of positives is in addition to the software itself. I now know and care more intensely about computers, technology, sharing, IP law, programming, ethics, teaching, and more.
GNU/Linux changed me. It changed me for the better. There is just one problem: I don’t feel like I’ve changed GNU/Linux. I don’t feel like I’ve given back enough.1
I’ve been working to figure out what I can do to help GNU/Linux. Here are some things I’ve done for a while now:
It is time to open the submission phase for Fedora 21 Supplemental Wallpapers… The deadline until you can submit your artwork is the August 16 2014 at 23:59 UTC.
minor commitment: Create and submit a supplemental wallpaper for Fedora 21.
In some ways I believe that this image-based contribution will be significantly less valuable than the educational, philosophical, and monetary contributions I am currently making. It’s not that I don’t think art is important2, it is more that I don’t believe I will clearly see the impact of the contribution so as to correctly assess its value.
When I talk about the necessity of the four freedoms, specific people go away thinking differently. When I help people install GNU/Linux, I am able to see them begin to redefine their relationship with computing. When I donate to projects, I do so with the knowledge that my financial contribution is supporting those who support users. When I submit a wallpaper, I… just don’t know. I can’t imagine what the impact may be and I may never know.
That’s why I’m making the jump. That uncertainty is, for me, a leap of faith. Let’s see if I end up on the other side.
In truth, I don’t know that any individual could give back enough. ↩
– remained conscious throughout the day
– stretched frequently
– moved often
– nice weather
– carefree time
– directed interest
– minor accomplishments along the way on small projects that add up to major accomplishments
– slowly built buy-in to more easily port success in one area to large-scale improvements in others
– proved efficacy on previous projects of a similar nature
Basement Cleaning Activity1
– Loud children’s music by the brilliant Justin Roberts provided the soundtrack
– Simple objectives for my little helpers (e.g. these in the box; these on the table; these in the garbage)
– The only distractions were game-oriented and fun
– The coffee was strong
– We arose to bright sunshine
– We were up earlier than usual
– There was laughter and smiles
– We put in the work — when it didn’t make sense — in order to capitalize when it did
– We honed our skills on other projects which enabled quick completion on this important one
– We pushed for a better timeline when the argument was strongest
– We worked with the relevant stakeholders
– Great (new!) flavors
– Quite impressively from scratch
– Rambunctious, beautiful, hilarious children
– Good friend
– Weather change: cooler, windy, rainy (brief hail), thunder
It is astounding how simple it can be to cultivate happiness. Each time I encounter another way to increase happiness and improve well-being I am awed by the simplicity of the action required and the largess of the result. Dr. Seligman, a positive psychologist, suggests the following for a better life:
“Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well.”
I’ve done similar reflections before for the purpose of synopsizing the day, reevaluating present exhaustion, mitigating negative thoughts, or simple journaling. Intuitively and experientially I know that this type of reflection is undeniably positive and that it takes a negligible amount of time. So why don’t I use this beneficial exercise consistently?
A minor commitment to myself: set aside 10 minutes to reflect on three things every day starting today.