Category Archives: Tech

I Just Did More Culling of My On-Line Life

This time, I deleted my superbetter account. Superbetter is perfectly fine, if what you need are people to cheer you on (and you have active allies) and ways to see what to do for issues, because you have no idea.

My allies were great — while it lasted. I wish some of them would get ahold of me! But, it had stopped being useful some time ago. I hadn’t logged in since 4/2019, to give you some idea of how uninvolved I was.

There was another, dailychallenge.com, it was useful for a while too.

The problem with both of them was that after you’d done it for a while, it was static. Superbetter only got to level 25, then you repeated yourself. There was nothing else to do after that except more of the same — the same way. Daily challenge gave you “stamps” and again, it was doing x or y or z small task to get you into the habit and moving in a particular direction.

Both were interesting for a while, but for those of us who persisted, who kept doing it, there was no payoff, except whatever behaviors we’d acquired or modified. That’s not meaningless, but if you’re counting on a game or site to motivate you to do something and keep doing it, to have that motivation just fizzle out was discouraging. You’d ACHIEVE A GOAL (or many) and then:

nada? Or, rinse, lather, repeat, endlessly!

It was sort of an anti-motivation.

I’ve been on other websites which fell short in much the same way, despite having vital community and active members: 43things.com and popclogs.com were the main ones.

No one has figured out the making money/activity/keeping people engaged piece of motivational/self-help/build community sites, yet. The $ folk want to make it make $$$ in more traditional ways I think. The end users want community, to feel safe, to learn something, and be motivated. Frequently the money people want to do things like link posts to facebook which make the users whose words they’re selling feel violated. Selling branded “stuff” doesn’t work. Selling “badges” doesn’t work.

What I don’t understand is why they don’t sell the “super users” a super user version of the site? I didn’t pay for any of those sites. I would have, to be able to post things privately. To form communities which weren’t part of the “anyone can find it” space. I would have paid to be given access to a more intense, involved, higher echelon version of the site.

But more of the same? No.

And, apparently, I’m not alone!

Philosophy of Stuff: Keep, Cull, Replace?

For a long, long time I’ve been removing excess from here and elsewhere in my life. Fine.

This morning I read/heard these things:

  • A discussion about the realities associated with prepping. What are you prepping for? How much reliance on the grid/info structure do you include? How much food, etc. do you plan to raise? To store?
  • Do you have the skills and knowledge to do those things?
  • The only way to successfully survive, SHTF or not, is to plan on having less, being able to do less, buy less, be less healthy, over time. There’s planning and there’s reality. We all get older. We all eat the food. Buildings degrade. Income becomes less with retirement. Inflation happens.
  • What happens after SHTF?
  • An article on NPR about robots planting/harvesting/packaging “organic” food.

And I thought, again. I’m probably doing this wrong, or, more accurately, I’m not doing it right often enough.

I have ideas I try and use:

  1. “Plan for the worst. The best will take care of itself.”* The problem here is to do it reasonably. Saving food is fine, but you need to also use it. You need to know how to cook those dried hotdogs so you will eat them, before you need to. How much does that can hold? Will I actually eat it? How long will it keep?
  2. “Keep the best, pitch the rest.”* I  use this when culling books or other things where I have duplicates. But I also use it as a guiding principal when I don’t. If the function is duplicated, if its purpose is a needless “convenience.” A crepe pan, for example. If you know how to make crepes, a crepe pan is unneeded, a regular skillet works. I don’t have a sifter, for this reason, or buy brown sugar. A sieve works fine to sift flour and I make up brown sugar as needed. That said? I only do those things probably 6x a year or less. If I made cookies for resale or in bulk, regularly, I’d probably have a sifter and perhaps an electric one!
  3. Do I use it? Expect to use it? Have I used it in the past? It’s a wonderful framistat. I’ve never used it. Will I? Not likely — out it goes!
  4. With fewer, better things, you’ll have time to do something other than stuff maintenance. This is the main reason I’m moving towards minimalism. Has nothing to do with embracing Marie Kondo or Henry David Thoreau.
  5. Use lower-tech, lower-cost alternatives, when practical. Open the blinds first, rather than turning on the light — if all I want is a little more light in the room. Need to see much better so I don’t run into something? So I can work on a project? Turn on the light. With big backlit screens, I’ve found I don’t need a “reading” light to use a computer these days. Previously, that wasn’t true. Older flickering monitors were really hard on the eyes in a dark room!
  6. Only replace it when the replacement is guaranteed to be better. Of course, this is hard to know! But what I do is replace older, worn items with copies of the same thing, in better shape. My childhood home had 2 strainers, made to be used together. I loved them as a kid. When my dad died, it became mine. I use it all the time. The smaller sieve had been rusting through and degrading for a while. I finally found another copy, on Ebay last year and bought it. The old one got taken to the dump, immediately. I don’t know if someone grabbed it or not.

I’m really offended by the idea of a robot planting, maintaining, harvesting and packaging my food. Not sure why!


*(c) Judith K. Dial, 2005, unpublished manuscript.