Successfully introduced my younger brother and his girlfriend to ttrpg by completely winging an Alien RPG session.

The president of Ireland giving a speech with his dog leaning up against him for pets, as you do. It's hard not to like this man, partly because he loves his dogs so much. Being a decent lefty sort also helps, but you can honestly tell from his dogs that he's a good person.

Now that the Doomsday Clock is at 100 seconds to midnight, the 1984 hit Iron Maiden song 2 Minutes to Midnight is now about remembering better times.

My Twitch stream exported to Youtube. Alien is a really good RPG system, at least for short adventures. I'm very eager to see how it handles longer campaigns.

Session 1 of Alien: The RPG!
My net connection died twice, so the stream is in 3 parts, but I think it went pretty smoothly for a first time, and with everyone new to Tabletop Simulator:

There are *thousands* of culture in the fedi. No one is going to be perfect on every issue. But being perfect isn't the point. Learning from each other is.

And yeah, that process is sloppy and messy, but growth is a tough process. It's just the nature of becoming a better person.

For many folks on the fedi, there is simply a refusal to learn and acknowledge the humanity of another person.

And that's just whiteness. That's the core of the problem on the fedi and most social networks.

Hunting for Alien RPG players continues. Soon. Soooooon.
<laughs in xenomorph>

So I was recently asked why I prefer to use free and open source software over more conventional and popular proprietary software and services.

A few years ago I was an avid Google user. I was deeply embedded in the Google ecosystem and used their products everywhere. I used Gmail for email, Google Calendar and Contacts for PIM, YouTube for entertainment, Google Newsstand for news, Android for mobile, and Chrome as my web browser.

I would upload all of my family photos to Google Photos and all of my personal documents to Google Drive (which were all in Google Docs format). I used Google Domains to register my domain names for websites where I would keep track of my users using Google Analytics and monetize them using Google AdSense.

I used Google Hangouts (one of Google’s previous messaging plays) to communicate with friends and family and Google Wallet (with debit card) to buy things online and in-store.

My home is covered with Google Homes (1 in my office, 1 in my bedroom, 1 in the main living area) which I would use to play music on my Google Play Music subscription and podcasts from Google Podcasts.

I have easily invested thousands of dollars into my Google account to buy movies, TV shows, apps, and Google hardware devices. This was truly the Google life.

Then one day, I received an email from Google that changed everything.

“Your account has been suspended”

Just the thing you want to wake up to in the morning. An email from Google saying that your account has been suspended due to a perceived Terms of Use violation. No prior warning. No appeals process. No number to call. Trying to sign in to your Google account yields an error and all of your connected devices are signed out. All of your Google data, your photos, emails, contacts, calendars, purchased movies and TV shows. All gone.

I nearly had a heart attack, until I saw that the Google account that had been suspended was in fact not my main personal Google account, but a throwaway Gmail account that I created years prior for a project. I hadn’t touched the other account since creation and forgot it existed. Apparently my personal Gmail was listed as the recovery address for the throwaway account and that’s why I received the termination email.

Although I was able to breathe a sigh of relief this time, the email was wake up call. I was forced to critically reevaluate my dependence on a single company for all the tech products and services in my life.

I found myself to be a frog in a heating pot of water and I made the decision that I was going to jump out.

Leaving Google

Today there are plenty of lists on the internet providing alternatives to Google services such as this and this. Although the “DeGoogle” movement was still in its infancy when I was making the move.

The first Google service I decided to drop was Gmail, the heart of my online identity. I migrated to Fastmail with my own domain in case I needed to move again (hint: glad I did, now I self host my email). Fastmail also provided calendar and contacts solutions so that took care of leaving Google Calendar and Contacts.

Here are some other alternatives that I moved to:

Migrating away from Google was not a fast or easy process. It took years to get where I am now and there are still several Google services that I depend on: YouTube and Google Home.

Eventually, my Google Home’s will grow old and become unsupported at which point hopefully the Mycroft devices have matured and become available for purchase. YouTube may never be replaced (although I do hope for projects like PeerTube to succeed) but I find the compromise of using only one or two Google services to be acceptable.

At this point losing my Google account due to a mistake in their machine learning would largely be inconsequential and my focus has shifted to leaving Amazon which I use for most of my shopping and cloud services.

The reason that I moved to mostly FOSS applications is that it seems to be the only software ecosystem where everything works seamlessly together and I don’t have to cede control to any single company. Alternatively I could have simply split my service usage up evenly across Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple but I don’t feel that they would have worked as nicely together.

Overall I’m very happy with the open source ecosystem. I use Ubuntu with KDE on all of my computers and Android (no GApps) on my mobile phone. I’ve ordered the PinePhone “Brave Heart” and hope to one day be able to use it or one of its successors as a daily driver with Ubuntu Touch or Plasma Mobile.

I don’t want to give the impression that I exclusively use open source software either, I do use a number of proprietary apps including: Sublime Text, Typora, and Cloudron.

Which direction does your icon face?

Please boost for highest possible demographic :)

*spice girls voice*
if you wanna be my lover you gotta death to america

punk hot bernie sanders 

Very disappointing to see Richard Morgan go full TERF on the birdsite. Imagine writing something like Altered Carbon and then throwing a strop when someone suggests trans women are women smdh

just heard the phrase "tip of the yikesburg" and I'm planning to incorporate it into at least three conversations a day

Quite impressed by the work done on overhauling mining too. You can scan planetary rings to find mineral-rich areas instead of just going to Extraction Site A. Fancy new scanners can turn your view into a heat map highlighting the asteroids with the best yield. And I gotta say, it's actually engaging to set seismic charges around a rock's faults and blast it apart to get at the deep core minerals.

Now if I look at the sector of the galaxy I'm in, I can have a good idea of where to go to find neutron stars, or odd planetary plant life, or crystalline structures created by long extinct bacteria, floating through a nebula. exploration has been very much incentivised and I am here for it.

Other changes include a guide to playing the game, which was long overdue, and the addition of sectors to the galaxy map. Each sector appears to have a list of interesting or rare points of interest with vague locations, to encourage exploration. That's way better than "here's 400 billion stars with no pointers, bye"

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