While growing up I would pledge loyalty to what we now refer to as brands. In high school you would be hard pressed to not see me carry a Star Trek book in one hand, Pepsi cola in the other, while talking about Microsoft without a care in the world. I pledged my allegiance to these things, and I stood by the decisions that lead up to my devotion to the logos. As time went on and experience turned to pseudo-wisdom, I came to realise that I was not really loyal to the brands, but to the people leading those brands. Gene Roddenberry, Bill Gates, and some other guy I can’t remember … which probably explains why I don’t drink Pepsi anymore. I like Phil Libin, so I use Evernote. I like Tim Cook, so I have Apple stuff. I am very interested in Satya Nadella, which is why I’m actually excited to see what Microsoft is doing now. But everyone else …
For as long as I can remember people have told me to slow down, as I tend to run ahead of the crowd while everyone else takes their time and enjoys the scenery along the way. Over the last few years I believe that I have certainly slowed down with age and learned to move at a pace akin to everyone else. Yet, on further introspection, I may have been fooling myself. Slowing down is not something I can do for very long unless given a good reason to do so.
In the ultra-rural sections of Southern Ontario I have some relatives who have tried to live (mostly) off the grid for as long as I’ve been alive. Throughout my childhood they had the bare minimum of modern conveniences, employing electricity and a seldom-used telephone that looked as though it predated Canada. These elementary-school educated individuals had it in their mind that “The Man” was monitoring everyone in the country and that our sense of freedom was little more than an illusion perpetrated by a coordinated effort of the media and public education to keep people in line. From a young age I figured myself intelligent enough to know better. How could a government that seemed incapable of getting anything done outside of an election year conceal such a huge affront to civic liberties? The last time I saw these relatives I was maybe 12 years old. I hadn’t yet found a purpose for computers in my life and expected to enter into a creative career involving architecture, animation, and story-telling. But to this day, I remember their warnings about how Big Brother was always watching, so we had to be careful.
For the better part of four years I’ve been working on my own blogging tool to give me as much freedom and flexibility to write, yet I so very rarely publish to this website anymore. My time is being consumed by the very platform that I created to foster writing. With a major new version weeks away from being released to the world — as an alpha, I will admit — I’m finding myself paying more and more attention to the little tiny details that most people will undoubtedly never notice. I pay attention to colour variation on the website despite being colour blind. I pay attention to the pixel spacing on phones, tablets, and desktops despite the fact that browsers on all of these platforms are mature enough to allow for some alignment errors without looking awful. Rather than getting something functional in the hands of the people, I am forever looking at the tiny things.
With tens of thousands of podcasts currently available for people to listen to, Keitaroh Kobayashi and I thought it would be a good idea to add one more. Ours is called Spacebar and talks about the universe we live in. Although we are trying to make the show accessible to people of all stripes, we can occasionally go off on a geek-rant on various topics.