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Are You Jacked Into the Metaverse or Living in Flatland?

I'm a slow learner, but once I understand a tool, I'm unstoppable. I'm exploring the potential of portable systems, and the power of AI, to increase my impact and the impact of those around me. I'm using Jupyter and some proprietary tools that hook to it to demonstrate the potential of the platform and show people what they really need to see.

I'm Doing the Right Things for the Right Reasons - Rekindling My Interest in Technology with the Right Spark

By Michael Levin

Friday, May 12, 2023

So you can be doing all the right things for all the right reasons, and still feel guilty. Your parents did that to you. It’s just one of those social programming things. Your brain was wired-up by people who didn’t know shit themselves and were either doing what they thought was best for you, or had incorrect notions about children.

With each generation, we try to break the cycle in some way. Do better. Do worse. Care about the same things and outshine. Care about other things and devalue the parent’s thing. If the parents are hyper-organized, kid goes the other way because “enforcement” was actually and unwittingly negative enforcement. Violin and chess prodigies give it up all the time. If the interest isn’t of the kid’s choice, it’s an imposition.

Listen. Play the observation game. In your mind you should always be doing a certain game laid out by rebound psychiatrist Carl Jung, which is to first to hear, then be heard. And no, it’s not waiting your turn to talk. It’s hear and then do an iterative back-and-forth with who you’re listening to, trying to rephrase the points they’re trying to make until they confirm for you that they now believe and understand that you’ve heard them.

Honestly, there’s situations that no matter how much you listen-to, keep an open mind towards, suspend your disbelief and mentally to walk a mile in their shoes, they will never believe you’ve heard them. Sure, the shortcoming may still be on your side, but don’t be the one who digs in on any position until you’re running a little virtual copy of the other person’s brain. If you just can’t and empathy eludes you, then go get some help yourself. They’ll be able to tell you if it’s you or you’re just dealing with someone who’s past the pathological point on the scale of whatever dark bundle they’re carrying.

If you haven’t made it by now, you’re never going to make it, was one of the most awful things ever said to me in my life. I mean, there were a few others like the afore-discussed Claw who actually proposed with all the sincerity in the world a “final solution” to the Middle East problem. I mean, I explore a lot of places in my mind, but there’s just certain things you don’t say to a Jew. I was seeking to understand this gentlemen, and I suddenly did.

Sometimes a light goes on in your head and you finally see what was previously in the dark. Everything is actually a lot different than you thought. Simpler, in a way. I mean I’m all for getting to know Jung’s inner-world and the shadow-self dude as the you that you don’t like about yourself, but sometimes their shadows and your shadows recognize each other and… well, let’s just say you don’t want them meeting in dark ally.

Slowly back away. Find a door. Run, Forrest, run! Don’t look back.

When you encounter behavior that’s so extraordinarily out of character from everything you’ve been led to believe so far that it dawns on you precisely that you have been “led” to believe something. When it finally becomes clear, you have to just hope you’re not already in the slaughterhouse.

That’s just life. Predation is such a deep part of evolution, and ambush predation such an effective means of predation, that it’s going to spontaneously reoccur everywhere. It’s easier to cheat. It’s easier to find loopholes. And indeed, the crocodilian life-template is one of the longest-lived big-animal designs. And saber-toothism allowing for big prey to be taken down fast is a spontaneous re-evolving trait in way more than just cats. I’m just hoping the AIs don’t feel the need to be saber-toothed.

So, let’s go gather at the waterhole. I’ll be on a Mac again soon, and with it I will be testing yet 2-more versions of VSCode. There will be VSCode the proprietary full-featured version from Microsoft, and there will be VSCodium, the truly free and open source extraction of the non-proprietary bits. VSCodium is to VSCode what Chromium is to Chrome. Don’t you just love how creative Microsoft is? It gives them the Edge.

I’ll try to get used to it again. I do feel VSCode-envy every time I see Intellisense twinkle. However, I have Copilot in my vim-like NeoVim environment, and that goes a long way to reaffirming the wisdom of my decade-old decision to replatform off of the next Visual Studio IDE-like thing. The fact that the product killing VSCode is called VSCode, I mean am I the only one to see the irony? The fact that it’s free makes up for it? No, the fact that it’s free and from Microsoft makes it a watering hole. Watch out from crocs. They’re not so easy to see in that blue water, because they’re azure. You can dependency on it.

Is that the open mind I need? Am I really seeking to understand Microsoft’s viewpoint in this discussion? Should I be as generous with Microsoft as they are with Netscape? WordPerfect? Borland? I mean, I’m not another software vendor, so I shouldn’t worry, right?

You know what it is? It’s that I’m a slow-learner an like to master the tools of my craft deeply and use them for a long time. I like muscle memory to kick and for my fingers to fly over the keyboard. I like getting into the zone and staying in the zone. I like to minimize the times the very “shape of my body” changes underneath of me, which is exactly what happens when tooling changes against your will.

I probably got into the wrong business in tech, but not really because I’m not alone. It’s just that those who feel like I do are what? Like totally silent, tappity tapping away and not on social media. And when they finally are and you think there’s hope, they turn out to be the crypto bro crown just having taking up NeoVim because there’s a Chad plugin for it that makes them project the image of cool. Ugh, plugins.

Echos of the PC game modding scene and the time of Quake LAN parties. Many will reminisce at that fondly, but I was reading Snow Crash at the time, and all the “Feds” avoided the Metaverse and still lived in “flatland”. I was like yeah, that’s me. You can go jacking into the Metaverse all you want. I’m a flat-land kind of dude, and the spare cycles that’s going to make available in my head will pay back in all kinds of ways for the rest of my life. And it is. Others feel like I do too, or else Copilot wouldn’t be available in NeoVim.

PC modding and LAN parties are cool for college kids, but out in the real-world I find having mastery of the common default, when that common default is good enough, is the best way to go. If you can find the love in the common default, all the better. And no, VSCode is not the common default. It’s the new kid on the block and it’s a house of cards. An editor built on a browser built on a browser engine extracted from a Google project characteristic of a state of hardware and platforms that will change.

There’s a lot of people using VSCode today that are being led to believe something. They’re being led to believe that a certain programming paradigm and a certain user interface style and certain very convoluted and uniquely Microsoft way of doing things is going to last. I mean for those who just relearn their tools, pick up new languages and flow from paradigm to paradigm (and these people do exist), it’s not a big deal. But then there’s me.

I’m a slow learner, slow on the uptake, but once I’ve figured out how the tool works and have its ins and outs and nuances, watch out! I mean sure I’m probably over-inflating my own abilities, but look at my old Levinux script. Over a decade ago and massive utility of a VM that just floats from host machine to host machine, regardless of OS or hardware, and it still works today mostly unmodified. I mean who does that? Unfortunately, it’s old-QEMU-based and its utility as a Noah’s Ark for a development platform “to go” is limited. But the concept stands. It’s still the big trick and the massive unreleased potential out there.

And now that Linux VMs are just like a common thing, and Docker has predisposed everyone to accepting the main basic premise of portable systems, it’s time to show what a portable system can really be. It doesn’t have to be so complicated, restrictive and vendor-oriented as Docker. It can be user, hacker, developer, and even enterprise-oriented. It can forge the way to both freedom from the cloud and a better ability to use the cloud.

Few get it, but that’s what my current round of cutting the catapult ropes is about. Sure it’s “my passion”, but it’s also a key central part of my job. It’s that unclear things that others don’t see, least they’d be having more impact than they currently are. An yes, that’s projection. That’s precisely what I’m doing here. Magic tricks to increase both my impact, and the corresponding impact of those who my work touches.

If I haven’t “made it” by now, well then it’s damn well time I did, and you know what? AI’s helping, and that just makes the story all the more interesting. Cutting catapult ropes and releasing the potential that’s already there, because many disparate but related projects have taken you right to the edge… right to the edge… and now… and now…

A real Snowflake / Snowpack demonstration where I’m actually using Jupyter and the Snowpack package that “gets the point”… rather than the quick one-off SQL query thing I could do through their WebUI, which while it would have hit that checkbox, doesn’t really show the power of the platform.

I will be able to talk deeply. I will be able to make real apps, real automations out of other peoples’ terabytes of data without downloading a single byte onto my machine, all while using my comfortable Jupyter environment. I will be what everyone needs to see instead of what they want to see. It took me more time then I planned, yeah. I’m doing the right things for the right reason. Loss of interest can always be rekindled with the right spark.