interaction

Where is the Tech-Media Spring now?

Anyone remember the Arab Spring? You know where the various peoples of generally Arab North Africa had their erstwhile pro-democracy uprisings taken over by western media as the soon to be salad days of when all government bowed to Silicon Valley's subsuming cloak of power. Anyone remember that bit? The silence from the the manicured campuses of Northern California on the subject is deafening. Sure, people did take things into their hands and people did vote with their tapping fingers, but also with ballots, bricks and bullets to get what the majority of the people there wanted - which was either political Islam or another dictator. Not very Silicon Valley friendly, techno-libertarian or cyber-utopian is it? Oh those pesky ideas from 1392 years ago that a 1/5 of the entire world's population seem to follow. But I’m sure there’s a startup and an app for the intractable shitstorm going down right now. Nothing a couple fusball tables and a Kickstarter couldn’t sort out I’m sure.

Syria and Iraq now are chock full of tweeting, posts, and snaps - but of calls for jihad, snuff beheading and grooming of 15 year old kids to move to a warzone for a death cult. Talk about ‘game changing’. If the Valley wants to claim credit for tech-enabled hypercapitalism masquerading as something akin to the civil rights movement, then it should claim credit for the ensuing aftermath of roughly 30 million people being pulled out of the frying pan and plopped into the fire.

I'm leaving you Adobe

Let me tell you about warp. That's right, warp. This amazing ability that Illustrator has where you can make a vector shape and then make a deformable mesh on top of it that you can tweak around and well, warp a bit. Sounds epic doesn't it? What an amazing feature they've come up with. For some sad, strange reason I had an obsession with the concept of not being able to do this, even though every time I've used the tool it was difficult and ended up looking like absolute shit anyhow. This is what it boils down to, Adobe throwing everything under the sun at you and wedging in heaps of loss aversion through the door and down your throat. I don't know how I will make this sort of psychedelic amazingness anymore, but it doesn't really matter

So I'm trying to leave you and it ain't going to be easy. Adobe, you've weaved your tentacles into my life in ways and formats that will be incredibly hard to shake. But I look forward to the challenge and to breaking free till one day I can make it without drowning in your bloat and effluence every time I have to make some sort of image or put some words on a picture.

But you've made it so hard to leave you. You've ingrained yourself everywhere in my life and in my consciousness. You've gone through my phone and who I've called and told me how to hold a fork. You've been with me through bad and good. We've cried together, lasted up all night with a half empty bottle of whiskey, tears and all the memories that go with that one Strokes album. You were there. You're now a verb because you are everywhere.

Part of breaking away is opening your eyes. I haven't opened InDesign in over a year. I haven't done any photo type thing to an actual image in over a year and even when I do, I only use some basic stuff. What you have to realise is that you don't really need all the bells and whistles and you don’t need one company dictating what the creative output of the planet is.

The Amish are way tougher than you

I like the Amish. Most people from Ohio, such as myself do as well. So I like to think I have more than a passing familiarity with them. You would see them around being driven in their white, chauffeured vans, or you go to Amish country for a day trip (as if a different country which it sort of is) or they do some work on your house, like they did for my parents. The thing I like about them is their attitude towards society and the effects that the world has on them through technology. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t Luddites necessarily. They just sat down, deliberated and decided in some collective manner, to be in charge of technology and not the other way around. They decided to put themselves in charge by saying that whichever technology, be it electricity or anything else, would put them on the national and/or state grids and make them dependent on the outside world. This they didn’t want so they decided that they wouldn’t use it. They did the exact opposite of what we do, which is charge headfirst and bleary eyed into the dream of more better stuff without ever thinking through the implications.

When our first kid was born my wife and I made a decision. We would not put her on the internet. We would not post photos of her and we wouldn’t allow other people to either. I even went so far as to have my sister take down a photo she had posted on Facebook so other people could see her. We decided for once in our slightly sad, technologically addled lives, to attempt to take control of how we were living inside of other people’s machines and networks. So should you.This is one of my favourite things to see in Ohio, buggy parking and "English" (this is what they call us by the way) big box stores in the sticks. The Amish have learned to live among us on their own damn terms. Rock and roll.