Normally I don’t do think pieces, but this bug got caught in my head and I wanted to share it. It’s a view for diversity representation that I think could resonate to many nerdy white dudes.

I’ve been thinking of the complaints of the diversity of actors in recent reboots/sequels to traditional films which have some people’s undies in a twist. When you’re a white dude, especially a young one, you don’t even think about how all media reflects your experiences, so seeing lady ghost-busters or Furiosa in Mad Max can shake things up.

My formative years were spent in one of the whitest states in the nation, but I think I have a good metaphor to show why wider representation is important. I remember being into obscure and nerdy things in high school and how wonderful it was to find my tribe, people who were into Doctor Who and who liked the B-52s or Devo and who introduced me to punk rock. Even so, I think I was the only person I knew who liked Rush until I went to college. Having people who appreciate and don’t make fun of the things you like is important.

Now given how important it is to find peers who are into the same things and who celebrate them with you, imagine if you were queer or trans, a person of color, or even a girl who wanted to play in the boys sci-fi sandbox. Think of how lonely that would be and why seeing someone who looks like you in the things you enjoy would be very empowering.

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Make Art   June 19th, 2015

It’s been awhile since I’ve written or posted anything here. I should really change that…

Make art, create, don’t just think about it, do it.

Don’t worry if it’s not good or if anyone will like it. Remember that both Death Bed and The Room were films that got made and shown in real theaters.

Granted the latter was a self-funded vanity project, but that doesn’t change the fact that making something is the key, even if it’s only ever seen or enjoyed by a select audience.

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Thoughts on Apple and Steve Jobs   October 9th, 2011

Reading the eulogies on the passing of Steve Jobs prompted me to comment on my thoughts on Apple and my relationship with their products over the years.

When I was in college, my impression of Macs were that they were toy computers. It was certainly true that in the early 90s, the price differential between Macs and PCs meant that you could get a lot more computing power for your buck on a Windows machine.

Back then I felt that people should be smart enough to use a computer and not have it dumbed down. Macs were used by hippies, or “illiterate bikers” as I quipped to my machead friend Steve after watching one of their commercials back in the dorm at RPI. The whole “Think Different” ad campaign struck me as arrogant, yet I ignored my own engineering-biased hubris.

It’s funny that as I dabbled in writing and video editing and then digital photography, that I didn’t appreciate Macs earlier. I remember being seriously underwhelmed by the desktop video solutions of the late 90s; I’m curious how it would’ve been on Apple products back then, if I could’ve afforded the hardware.

I was first exposed the “Apple Virus” as one independent Macintosh store salesmen called it when I purchased an iPod Gen 4 back in 2004. I smiled at the notion then. The virus was slow to infect, but it got me in the end. I bought an iPhone 3G in February of 2009 and they slowly had me hooked.

I replaced my aging Dell laptop last December with a Macbook Air and the speed and lack of weight were well worth the money. I grew to like and was impressed by the Mac OS as well. This June a hard-drive crash pushed me to finally get the iMac I’d been pondering for months, and I haven’t looked back.

Back in the 90s the power of the machines mattered for the number crunching work I was doing, but in time processors got powerful and cheaper. It’s amazing what we have for computers today and now what matters is the user interface and quality of the software tools.

Steve Jobs understood what took me years to figure out and appreciate, that technology as tools should be simple to use, not as dumbing down, but empowering users to do more with it. After getting tired of crappy software, underwhelming consumer products and complicated tool chains, Apple products stand out, along with Garmin auto GPS units and the TiVo, as shining examples of products that just work.

Thanks for pushing for quality, Steve.


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