As a long time user and admirer of Apple’s products, I find myself in a new situation: I am not only unenthusiastic about the anticipated virtual reality headset – I’m against the whole idea. The headset sure seems like a step in the wrong direction for a company that recently has been so focused on health. In what way does a VR headset contribute to health? Mental, physical, social, whatever?

Steve Jobs was famous for using the analogy of the bicycle. Like a bicycle, a computer can enhance the natural power of a human. It’s like a bicycle for the mind. I’ve used my iPhone to help me find my destination. I’ve used my Apple Watch to help me train for athletic competitions. Bicycles.

Maybe I have poor imagination, but I can’t see a VR headset enhancing my natural power. Only tricking it. Sure, I can attend a more visceral virtual meeting. Maybe the attendees will even have legs. But it’s still a virtual meeting. Something that feels more real isn’t actually more real or healthy.

In that way, a VR headset feels more like a treadmill. You can move a lot, but never go anywhere.

It’s a treadmill for the mind.

If you use an iOS device and you’ve upgraded to iOS 12, do yourself a favor and add this Shortcut, “Ten Minutes of Peace”. You’ll need to download Apple’s Shortcuts app if you haven’t already.

All it does is turn on your Do Not Disturb setting for ten minutes and then turn it back off again. But during that time – no buzzing, dinging, vibrating: bliss.

Add it to Siri and get yourself ten minutes of peace just by asking.

Is Facebook evil? Everything bad about Facebook is bad for the same reason — Quartz

Without question, Facebook enables brutal and immoral hatemongers. I can hear Facebook arguing that they cannot possibly take a stand on moral issues without becoming censors and losing objectivity. Facebook cannot make those decisions without messing up a lot of the time. I agree. Its scale is just too massive.

That’s just the thing: Facebook can’t admit it, but it’s possible that the most moral thing is for Facebook not to exist.

I love my iPhone’s Do Not Disturb feature which mutes the parade of bells and vibrations that come from it. I use it at night so I’m not woken up to the ding of some robot account which liked one of my Instagram photos from four years ago.

I’ve always wanted to use it for temporary moments throughout my day when I don’t want to be disturbed, but after forgetting to turn it off and missing important messages on several occasions, I stopped trusting it for this purpose. It’s just too easy to miss the little moon icon up there reminding me.

But with iOS 11, Apple introduced a related feature: Do Not Disturb While Driving. It holds back on notifications like its older cousin of a feature, but it also won’t let you interact with the phone while it’s on. You have to press an additional button asserting “I’m Not Driving.” My phone automatically turns this on when I’m in the car, which is annoying in the short term, but better for me overall.

But I’ve actually started to manually turn on the feature – you can put it in Control Center – for those temporary moments of peace. And because of the way the feature is designed, it won’t let me use my phone until I turn it off. This way I can’t forget it’s on so long as I try to use my phone.

Which is too often.

That Sandberg and (presumably) Zuckerberg resisted investigating and disclosing everything they could about how the Russians took advantage of them says everything you need to know about them.

The power that Facebook stewards is almost unimaginable, yet goes unchecked by regulation. I realize this is new territory for humanity, but leaving our fastest growing source of power in the hands of just a couple tech moguls is profoundly short sited.

This podcast about the internet and society really resonated with me, in particular, how each of the hosts described a time of great optimism for what the web could be, and how it’s all become pretty complicated and, um, disappointing in 2018.

So I thought about it and came up with my great (naive?) period of hope for the web. It was about 2006. I had stumbled upon a couple internet communities that were flourishing…

One was the show with zefrank, a quirky video blog that used a bunch of short, creative, and confessional segments by its creator. But notably it also encouraged, facilitated, and shared back contributions from the people who followed it. People were asked to (and did) submit little pieces of songs or sounds or pictures that Ze would put together in creative ways. The people who became the show’s community helped produce these cathartic pieces of group art. In today’s world — where groups of guys who’ve forgotten whether they are ironically or earnestly neo-nazis organize to abuse others on the internet — remembering old episodes of the show feels like remembering the internet’s Garden of Eden.

The other community was Radio Open Source, a public radio show and podcast hosted by Christopher Lydon (a name associated with the very beginnings of podcasting.) The setup of the show and the wide range of topics it covered fostered this incredible conversation on its website. Listeners shared insight from all kinds of perspectives that enhanced the context of each show and steered the direction of the next one.

Open Source has been through several incarnations through the years, and still exists, although I don’t think the community still does in the same way.

Here’s how I post blog posts to www.netfull.org and microblog posts to www.netfull.org/microblog as well as Micro.blog

My blog, this blog, which is trying to tie together the various threads I’m interested in, is now hosted on Github Pages. It’s a static site built by Jekyll which means that Github builds it automatically every time I update the files.

The nice thing about building the site this way is it’s always under version control so there’s always a trail of bread crumbs back to any previous version of the site. I can revert back in time to fix the mistakes I regularly make while coding it. Also, the source is public so you can see the mistakes yourself.

I’ve been intrigued by Manton Reese’s Micro.blog project as an independent way to publish little thoughts and to have a little dialogue back and forth. Like the way I once thought Twitter should work, but without all the baggage. Twitter’s annoying attempts at monetization are understandable; Twitter’s enabling of White Supremacy, misogyny, and genocidal nuclear threats are unconscionable.

I really recommend you give it a try. I also recommend you pay a few dollars a month and get Micro.blog’s hosted service unless you really want to sink some hours into a painful, substandard, DIY system like mine.

For now ‘microblog’ posts, which you can think of like Tweets, don’t show up in the main JSON/RSS feed or on the homepage. Instead, they live on the Microblog part of my site. To get that set up, I relied heavily on excellent posts by Tim Smith, Ross Kimes, and Kirby Turner. You make fewer mistakes when you stand on the shoulders of others.

Update: I’m now putting my microblog posts into the same stream as my blog posts. This required some pretty major changes to the structure of the site since my plugin options are limited on Github Pages. You can now subscribe to just the full (titled) posts, just the microblog posts, or both (the default feed.)

Clay Shirkey banned laptops in class even though he is a proponent of technology. But distraction is like secondhand smoke: it hurts us and the group. Our basic urges follow distraction down rabbit holes before we even have time to stop it. He now seems himself working together with students against these tendencies by banning devices.

Attention is precious in our faith. The church should also work together, when appropriate, to limit distraction without demonizing technology.