Over the past few months I had a building tension in realizations. This stretching is everywhere. What I want and what I feel is right. What I love and what I need. What I do and what I’d like to. So many contradictions from the past, present, and future represented that it’s depressing.
As some of you know by now, I’m mostly* cut off without choice. This is something that doesn’t bother me much though as I had grown to be quite dispassionate about the current state of affairs, both legislatively – even if I’m not around SOPA is bullshit – and technologically. The realm has stagnated, changes are more often of the ‘OOH SHINY’ variety, than of anything that is something that can be productively leveraged.
In my mind, technology should be about enhancing productivity or boosting efficiency, as such saving life. However, all the big players have stabilized their market, and now they’re just pushing the tendrils further and further with mediocre improvements that increase lock-in. As they go further, they’re shifting their mass as well, and the shift is towards the cloud**. I get it, you want to restrict consumption sources and maximize its flow to your coffers; that’s fine, but be reasonable.
An anecdote, a few weeks ago my mom purchased a tablet for my younger sister and asked me to load some apps onto it for her. This was an excruciating experience and left me with an extremely bad taste in my mouth. The tablet wasn’t up to Google’s standards, so no Market app, that sucked. I figured I could add Amazon’s Appstore and that would be just as fine, and it worked pretty well, until I made a realization. About $20 in I realized that, all the apps were verified to my account and couldn’t be used if the Appstore app wasn’t installed and my user account logged-in. There is absolutely no way that’s going to happen, because I use 1-click, and I could find no option to disable purchases.
I went through the process of setting up another Amazon account, just for the device, and provided it a stipend via gift-code figuring that would be good enough and she could add what she wants herself; it’s not, you have to have a card linked to the account before any purchase could be made. There is no way to add apps using Amazon’s Appstore, that doesn’t require leaving your account there, no way I could find to gift apps, and no offering of a stipend system. This sucks, and is anything from simple. I don’t know if it’s similar with Google Market, or even iTunes, but it’s a really shitty experience.
Another anecdote is the necessity for me to have a physical phone. When I need a phone, often for texting, I will often use Google Voice, which is no longer linked to a physical device that I know of. Yet, I constant get berated by them to add 2-step verification, which I can’t use anyways. Or in my search of hosting, a phone number is required which I guess I can understand for contact purposes, but it doesn’t help me. I’m essentially locked out of paying for something I want, because I don’t have a phone. Fuck you, I want to give you money, and because of my personal decision not to have a phone, you won’t let me. You are an idiot, and this is a pretty shitty experience.
Technology fucking sucks, not really, but these systems sure do.
At the same time, I love it and spend most of my time programming for fun and to automate tasks in my life. It should be used to save time and make better decisions. Those instances are just two of several that make me loathe and wary of technology. In this, I’m held in a state of contradiction.
On to a topic I’ve touched on several times over the past 4-5 months, but couldn’t get out of fear of backlash. Now is probably the best time to get it out where I won’t be drawn into the thrall of an argument. Feel free to skip this next section, as it is a bit political in nature. Bottom of post.
Another area that I’m held in a state of contradiction is life, death, and healthcare. What I would love to see and what I believe is better for the present and future or the nation and the world are at odds. I side with what I feel is right, but it does make me hurt inside.
On the one side, I would love to see everyone become centenarians, cancer not exist, and no one need worry about how they pay for it. The other, I see death as necessary, and possibly already less prevalent than necessary, cancer and other illnesses as agents of this change. I’ve been called heartless by some on where I stand, maybe they’re right, but I doubt it.
“No man really wants to die.” We don’t want to die and we don’t want those we love to die, but it is an eventuality. It will happen, and there are two paths, die fighting (for quantity) or die living (embracing the moments you have). Most people equate quantity with the goal; age is the barometer on life after all.
I have spent years with dying people, they managed to get the time, but I don’t know that it was worth it. I’ve been around them all my life, between my mom’s patients, when I was younger, family friends, my great-grandmother, and currently one of my grandfathers. In most of these cases, death is strung out over years, and it’s painful to just about all involved. In only one case did I see it used as a way to actually live longer, out of about a dozen.
I watched two of my mom’s friends die of Hepatitis and the gradual organ failures that came with it, when I was younger, I didn’t know at the time, just that they were sick. They managed to make the most of what they could, and for the most part embraced the time they had, like few others; they where the exception.
I have also watched people like my grandfather lose everything, except for their life. At that point, it’s not a life, it’s a personalized hell and they get sucked in to it. My grandfather survived prostate cancer, but he lost his life to the treatments and now broods in his resentment of the doctors. It’s such a pitiful thing to watch, sure it’s nice he’s here, but I have more memories of the pain and anger than of the happiness and fun times.
This is why I chose to request a DNR order, and won’t seek further care in any terminal or potentially terminal case. This is my choice, and I shouldn’t be taxed for not fitting in with the model of what I and others want. In just about any need I would have for medical care, it will be cheaper for me to pay out of pocket on a need basis, throughout my life, because of that decision. I don’t need help covering it. This is why I still say that the Healthcare Act is unconstitutional in its request that I have to pay for something I do not need. Of course, I’m on the receiving side, being below the poverty line which isn’t something I oft admit. I still cannot agree with it.
I think that we’ve gotten the whole concept backwards. As it stands now, our system takes money from the young and sends it to make sure our older population has a secure and comfortable life. We should be securing our youth; they are the future after all. Take money from social security and Medicare, and invest it in programs that drive experience and knowledge into our youth and protect that investment. While I’d love to live forever, I think that if you want that that is your burden to bear, not the publics.
This means some people in my life today, wouldn’t be, and that makes me sad. I don’t know what I would do without them. What I’ve said was hard, but its how I feel. This is what the populace embrace, but I don’t know or think that it’s the right choice. In this, I’m held by the contradiction.
I don’t claim to know the solutions to either of these issues. I don’t have them. I don’t even know where I stand, often it’s somewhat murky. We all have our contradictions, I guess, and these are some of mine.
* If or when I really want to end this exile, I can either purchase a new router or run several dozen feet of cable. It’s only been a few hours, but it feels nice. It’s been like an erratic weaning process over the past few weeks of network issues.
** I can point out rather easily that such a thing as ubiquitous computing via the network is a lie. If the device, or capability, isn’t available when you need it, then it is useless. At this point, and for the foreseeable future, availability isn’t a promised thing.