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From: charlie derr
Subject: inspired
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2023 11:40:40 +0000


i was an active reader for a bit way back (more than 2 1/2 decades ago) upon 
first engaging with the internet back when this was a newsgroup

i attended libreplanet in Boston back in March of this year (and it was not my 
first year doing so); as a result, i subscribed to the libreplanet mailing 
list, where i just noticed a message there (tagged onto the end of a thread 
which people were debating the "on-topic-ness" of) from Jorge P. de Morais Neto 

Thank you so much Jorge for alerting me to the fact that this forum still 

My introduction to technology really happened as a direct result of my 
engagement with gnu stuff (and a lot of it had to do with this newsgroup 
opening my eyes).

i remain a free software zealot to this day, although i also do make a lot of 
compromises (my day job involves dealing with a lot of proprietary 
applications, though i certainly try to push for the use of free options when i 
feel like i can do so without "rocking the boat")

but i'm pretty much all debian all the time myself now

it used to be i would dual boot due to certain things being "necessary" to have 
a windows platform underneath, and while this laptop (owned by my employer) 
would probably still boot into windows, i've not even tried in quite a while 
(almost a year?)

and the two other computers i use regularly (a desktop and a laptop) only boot 

i guess (and this was hammered home by visiting libreplanet2023 and engaging 
there), another level of "compromise" i'm making is not seeking out hardware 
with no proprietary BLOBs anywhere (firmware, necessary drivers, etc..)

but life itself is a compromise

certainly if there are options any of you know about that you recommend, i'd be 
willing to consider those for my next purchase

finally (not in terms of all i want to say on every topic, but in terms of 
"confessing my sins" in terms of the compromises i've made), i was keeping my 
public-facing stuff "totally free and open" for many years via my domain (hosted on a VPS) -- but due to a number of problems 
(mostly with me), i "lost control" of that system, both via comment spam on the 
plone site i'd been using for years, and also as a result of a technical snafu 
where i locked myself out of root access somehow -- so i ended up doing a lot 
of public writing on proprietary platforms (see links in .sig below) until i 
recently spun up a couple of cheap (publicly facing) VMs, which i'm trying to 
be far more careful with

there are so many dreams i have, and a number of them really relate directly to 
freedom of information, and unlocking what societies, cultures and (perhaps 
most of all?) capitalism seem to really want to "seek rent" from

but this email is going to be long enough without me iterating over all my 
personal dreams (there are too many of them for me to succeed at manifesting 
every one of them, but it's my hope that i'll get to pushing forward on some or 
at least one)

i'm happy to take emails off-list if any of you reading might be too shy to 
post publicly as i really do love interacting with others who understand what 
so many don't: that proprietary code/systems really divert us away from the 
more beautiful world our hearts know is possible -- free software may not solve 
all of humanity's problems, but it's definitely a component of getting us 
pointed in a better direction as a species (imnho) - and i feel it really is 
necessary to educate folks on how important this is while simultaneously trying 
to make fewer compromises myself

in terms of specific technologies that interest me (and which i'd love to learn 
more about), there are a bunch

gnupg is something i've been using for a long time, though i've not yet 
generated a key for this particular identity (i should)

i have a strong interest in wiki software, information commons, and platforms 
which enable the spreading of knowledge --  i would really love to contribute 
to building something distributed (and especially to be involved in a 
collaboration as to exactly what to build and how to structure it)

i'm a huge fan of emacs, and am just now beginning to try to understand how to 
use gnus for email

i love org-mode

Joseph Turner from gave an amazing presentation at libreplanet on the 
work he and his colleagues are doing with respect to trying to create a 
deliberation framework. This has inspired me to try to lean into elisp (as 
they're beginning with emacs as their "OS" and/or development stack), which i'm 
slowly making progress with, over the last few weeks (over the decades i've 
made many attempts to learn lisp variants, but not really gotten that far). The 
other technology (which i was not familiar with previously) they are using in 
prototyping stuff is a distributed one: hyperdrive.

i use git daily (and have been for years) but am not a power user (i still 
don't really get how to "appropriately" merge conflicts)

the language i'm most comfortable with is python
  (though i've not written code for a bit now, as my job involves more 
management than i'd prefer, and due to other circumstances, we no longer write 
our own applications for the most part
    (which is what my job used to be, doing a lot of development work))

i'm fairly competent with php

i once wrote a pretty complicated app in ruby

even earlier (now more than 2 decades ago) i was employed as a java developer

i know very little about javascript

html isn't really a full-blown language, but i can muck around w/the basics 

i never learned LaTeX (but always wanted to, sort of like lisp)

maybe it's less important than any of the rest of what i'm sharing with you, 
but i've also enjoyed "creating alternate identities", although i've never 
really made any effort to truly hide my "real name" when posting and/or 
interacting with others on the internet -- i just enjoy having "versions" of 

so yeah, if you might want to try to collaborate on any of the dimensions i 
listed above, by all means, weigh in (either on-list or privately) -- we can 
make the world a better place -- free software components, and the paradigm of 
open-ness can help a lot, and may be crucial to succeeding more quickly

mostly however, my email to the list is a thank you

    for what i was exposed to in 1996 when i found this newsgroup, which i've 
never let go of, and hope to "pass on" to others as best i can,

p.s. the best job i ever had was when a friend hired me over 2 decades ago 
(this was when i was forced to learn java) to try to create software/machines 
capable of cognition and/or with "intelligence", way back long before the 
recent spate of tremendous successes with narrower AI efforts - a number of 
years ago, i tried to re-engage with this, and to some extent i have -- my plan 
is to get to Stockholm Sweden in June for AGI2023 to continue that involvement 
and try to extend my own learning and education about this field, and how we 
might get to a "place" that is better than what so many fear -- yeah, there are 
a lot of dangers with AI, but my strong feeling is that transparency (and of 
course free software being a central part of that) can go a long way towards 
mitigating what we might end up running up against

p.p.s if you have any interest in any of what i shared above (or in my sig 
links) reach out please!

p.p.p.s please share your gnupg public key with to give 
me the motivation
 to generate a new ECC one here and figure out how to integrate with mutt 
(and/or gnus?)...
signal: 1.475.295.0502

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