Bonum Certa Men Certa

My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part I — 2021 in Review

By Dr. Andy Farnell

Series parts:

  1. YOU ARE HERE ☞ 2021 in Review


Small ducks



Summary: Dr. Andy Farnell shares his experiences from this past year; today we start with a short first part

For those wondering "What's it like to live as a Digital Vegan?", here's a quick review of my 2021, some of the pleasures and pains, wins and losses while taking a principled stand on digital technology.



My not-so-supermarket

2021 began with the minor annoyance of my local supermarket trampling on my privacy. They deployed face recognition in their stores and so convinced me to not shop there. I'd sometimes spend €£10 per week at Co-Op. A few friends joined me in a boycott. The company have not budged despite consumer backlash and concerns over the legality of their actions. Maybe you can help change their minds in 2022. People in the US may soon need a bio-metric shakedown to buy food, so if this isn't on your radar maybe take a closer look at where high-street shopping is headed. Papers please!



It made me think about the value of competition and diversity, and importance of small shops. I am lucky to live where there's a choice of 4 other main supermarkets, and dozens of independent stores. You're more vulnerable if you live in a rural area and your monopoly food-baron decides to go rogue. Supporting small shops, even if they cost much more is a long term investment, so when I can I buy more produce from the local butcher, greengrocer, bakery and hardware store. Commerce is about relationships, not just prices.



"It seems we need to develop a more mature model of public-private boundaries and "incidental harm" when, for example, a visitor is subjected to surveillance by "smart" TV or Siri type voice technology in your home."A friend of mine got locked into a miserable dispute over a shared driveway, and drawn into a technological arms race. Battles over camera doorbells got me thinking about the concepts of space and ownership. A hard dualism between private and public spaces seems to create some poor outcomes. The scourge of CCTV, alarm systems, Amazon Ring doorbells and other components of the Fear Machine is a growing problem.



It may be your shop or house, but your presence in my neighbourhood doesn't come without obligations. And the moment you invite me in, I essentially become a temporary stakeholder. Injurious man-traps protecting your drinks cabinet wouldn't be okay (you'd at least get sued if not subject to criminal prosecution). It seems we need to develop a more mature model of public-private boundaries and "incidental harm" when, for example, a visitor is subjected to surveillance by "smart" TV or Siri type voice technology in your home. Anyway, on the plus side, all of these ideas are feeding into some great chapters for my next book Ethics For Hackers.

Going back to school

I resumed face-to-face teaching in 2021. Earlier in the pandemic I wrote about the value of online teaching. It was a biased analysis, speaking for myself as a teacher without ever really asking my students for their side. Being less experienced they simply didn't know what they were missing until they came back into classes.



Many much-loved colleagues quit this summer. A university campus dominated by students with just a handful of lecturers feels strange - but somehow right, almost the antidote to Ben Ginsberg's "all administrative faculty". I fantasise that students might just figure out how to do their own degree-awarding and initiate an anarchist takeover of academia - the "all student university".



"Many much-loved colleagues quit this summer."The "great resignation" is an unknown factor. Is it really a thing? Are people just getting sick from Covid and too fatigued to bother any more? Or is it just changing age demographics mixed with a less mobile workforce? Or is it, as one colleague put to me, the productive classes "Going Galt" amidst final-stage surveillance capitalism with nothing left to extract? For my part, I'm really loving being back at real work, and the challenge to adapt and overcome (mostly piss-poor leadership) is pleasant.



I think we all just got burned out. But, crucially, technology misuse had a lot to do with that. It's not Covid itself, anti-vaxers, corrupt leadership, or the tide of doom (psychological warfare that's ground us down in this pandemic), it's the "pushers" - those for whom doom-scrolling, dehumanising isolation and forced intermediation is their cash cow.

Recent Techrights' Posts

In Malawi, Windows Down to 10%, GNU/Linux Growing
it's not a small country
[Meme] Featuritis
Newer is not always better
Ireland Last to Report Election Results
Daniel Pocock's involvement in Australian politics goes back to his university days
Never Sleeps, Never Slumbers
We're going to try to improve not just in quantity but also in quality
EPO Has Gotten So Bad That Workers Need to Ask to be Allocated a Desk (at Work)
Wow!!!! An “allocated workplace”!!
 
Nationwide Eventually Did Listen
Miles better than their original nonresponse
The Corruption of Open Source Initiative (OSI), a Front Group of Microsoft and GAFAM, Openwashing Proprietary Things and Even Plagiarism, GPL Violations
Stefano Maffulli (and Microsoft's staff that works with him) basically profits from anti-FOSS
"AI" Tech Bubble
How much "hype quotient" does this whole "hey hi" (AI) thing have left in it?
Links 13/06/2024: Science, Politics, and Gemini
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Gemini Links 12/06/2024: The Rodent Revolution and Adding Twisty Puzzles
Links for the day
Links 12/06/2024: Ukraine War Updates and Many Patents Being Subjected to Squashing Bounties
Links for the day
[Meme] The Purpose of Life is to Find a Desk
dogs have desks
Tux Machines Parties Going Well Do Far
Cross-posted from Tux Machines
In Many Countries, Both Large and Small, Vista 11 is Losing Market Share (Despite New PCs Coming Preloaded With It)
One need not even consider large nations in isolation
By "Going Public" the Raspberry Pi Ensures It'll No Longer Serve the Public
It'll be owned and controlled by whatever people wish to control it
Dave Wreski Also Plays the Bot Game (Chatbot) at LinuxSecurity to Fake 'Articles' About "Linux"
How much longer can they fool search engines (SEO) and readers?
[Meme] Indisputable Success
MICROSOFT buys shares of MICROSOFT
Links 12/06/2024: 'Hey Hi' (AI) Bubble Imploding Already, Danish Media Threatens to Sue OpenAI
Links for the day
Links 11/06/2024: Floods in Germany and Brazil, Political Violence
Links for the day
Gemini Links 12/06/2024: Sketching Plants, OpenBSD Pubnix
Links for the day
"2025 the year of Linux on the Desktop"
Charlie Stross quote
In Bahrain, Historically Low on GNU/Linux Adoption, Things Change for the Better
They have some people who understand Free software
Daniel Pocock Received Twice as Many Votes as Andreas Tille (Debian Project Leader After 2024 Election)
From the media yesterday...
Debian is Built by Hundreds of Volunteers and 524 Irish People Voted for Daniel Pocock
524 in that area went to the polling station to vote Daniel Pocock (Ind)
[Meme] RMS is 'Too Old', Says Company Run by a Person 5 Years His Junior (Ginni Rometty) and 10 Years His Junior (Arvind Krishna)
Never again?
[Meme] Women in Computer Science
Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace etc.
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 11, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Togo: GNU/Linux Growing Fast This Year, Now Measured at 6%
Sending Bill Gates with a suitcase to bribe African officials isn't enough anymore
Free Software Projects Need to Chase Away Men Who Attack Women Rather Than The Women Who Complain
A just society holds people accountable rather than covers up such blunders
Improving the Image of Women in Free Software by Hiring and Promoting the Proficient Ones
Million's shaman background isn't the problem, or even the superstitious ghost-chasing. The problem is that she has absolutely no background in Free software.
They Say Cash is King
People who value their freedom will pay with cash any time they can
'Team Microsoft' Wants to Leverage Our Popularity as a Weapon Against Us
In the past 2 days we published 64 articles and served over a million HTTP/S requests
[Meme] Microsoft Has Enough of Its Own Problems (Layoffs Abundant), It Won't Rescue IBM or Canonical
"It's OK, we're partners"
Know Your Allies, Know Your Enemies
The answer to censorship attempts is more speech, not less speech
Debian is Back to Taking Money From Microsoft, the Company That's Attacking Linux From the Inside
If Debian fails to understand what's wrong with it, that's a problem
Ghana: Windows Down From 97% to Just 15%
The doors are closing on Windows
Links 11/06/2024: Practice of Retaliatory Layoffs at Microsoft
Links for the day
Gemini Links 11/06/2024: GMID 2.0.5 and More
Links for the day
The United States Will Cut Off or Cull Firefox
It is only a matter of time
[Meme] Firefox Is Not an Alternative to Google, Only to Chrome (and It Has Become Proprietary or OSPS Like Chromium)
The illusion of remaining "choice" on the Web
No, the World Wide Web Isn't Open (and Hasn't Been for Years)
It's proprietary all the way now
The War on Free Software Reporters - Part VII - Groupthink, Censorship Demands, and Ultimatums
There's a lot of groupthink in the Free software community
Microsoft Told Us That LLMs Were a Boon for Azure and 'Clown Computing', But the Thousands of Layoffs This Month Prove That It Was a Lie All Along
Azure is collapsing
Why We Post Statistics About the Usage of Operating Systems Worldwide
We're hoping to see GNU/Linux at over 10% (on desktops/laptops) some time in the coming years
Winning Defamation Cases is Incredibly Difficult (for Plaintiffs), Even in the United States and the United Kingdom
SLAPP should always backfire
In Kuwait, Microsoft's Windows Fell From 97% to Just 15%
According to statCounter
GNU/Linux in Philippines Climbs to New Levels
This is an all-time high
Links 11/06/2024: Windows Outcry and Climate News
Links for the day
Tux Machines Was Always a Women-Run Site (the Real Voices of GNU/Linux, Not Political Props in Corporate Events)
Corporate "diversity" is more of a marketing/PR gimmick than real, genuine diversity
Macao: GNU/Linux Desktop/Laptop Operating System Market Share Rising Close to 7%
GNU/Linux Rises to Record High in Macao
FSF is Now 50% Female, Unlike Red Hat (Which Moaned About Lack of "Diversity" at FSF)
Isn't the hypocrisy just astounding?
Since COVID-19 Lockdowns Windows Fell From Almost 50% to Just 10% in Loas
According to statCounter
[Meme] Quantity Says Nothing About Worth, Value, or Quality
People will generally gravitate towards things of quality and reputation
Microsoft's Windows in Gabon: From 20% 'Market Share' Down to Around 10% in a Few Months
Gabon is not a small country
Meanwhile at canonical.com
Canonical knows exactly what Ubuntu users want
[Meme] Microsoft (and the NSA) Will Never Forget
The user trying to permanently disable 'recall'
Windows Falls Below 20% in United Arab Emirates This Month
According to statCounter
"Windows 11's Recall AI, known to take snapshots and recordings of user computers regularly, including key presses, was discovered to store all its information in an unencrypted local folder."
"You can copy the data from another user's "recall" folder as another user."
Fedora Week of Diversity (FWD) 2024 Outsourced to Proprietary Spyware of GAFAM
Need to use proprietary software to participate
IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 10, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, June 10, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] Clown Computing is Better For...
Clown: they said clown computing enhances security
One in a Thousand Voters Chose to Vote Daniel Pocock (as First Preference)
He got about 4 times more votes than what had him win FSFE elections
Daniel Pocock on Good Performance in His EU Election Campaign: Thanking the voters of Midlands-North-West, Ireland
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
The 'IT Industry' is Already in Ruins
The "powers that be" do not want the "hoi polloi" to possess skills and systems
Microsoft's Windows is Sliding Away Into Minority Platform Territories, Even in Rich Countries With Affluent Computer Users
We seem to be striking a nerve at Microsoft every time we say this
Self-Hosting Should be Taught and Embraced, Outsourcing Creates More Problems (or Risks) Than It Solves
One can control one's destiny...