The best joy in life comes from the carrying of heavy burdens for the people you love.

Microsoft keeps trying and failing to break out of the Windows NT-shaped castle they built around themselves.

The key to writing engaging music is cross-pollenating influence from a wide variety of sources to create novel sounds, a heavy dose of tried and true song structure, and gingerly smattering of weirdness - enough to hopefully surprise and delight, but not enough to alienate.

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Been spending the last few nights toying with Evolution as my mail/PIM client, hooked up to Exchange, comparing with Outlook.

Honestly, it's good. Damned good. It's big and ugly just like Outlook and it is so close to doing everything I need it to do, it has a very different character to it to other apps from the GNOME desktop. It's the only alternative desktop mail client with even remotely good Exchange support. I'd probably even be able to switch across completely if I didn't have to worry about changing my work flow to suit Evolution at home, and have to worry about it breaking something in Outlook on my work machine.

Gradually, I am getting a little deeper into the Linux ecosystem, as I start to make the effort in finding good alternatives to the software I use on Windows and getting them configured and content migrated. But I'm not finding it easy.

Some stuff I am experiencing that FOSS advocates often forget:

Switching to free software is not free, far from it. You often have to throw your previous investments in paid software/hardware away. Some of my specialist hardware doesn't work with full functionality. It costs you significant amounts of time as you do research, get into a new workflow and tackle your problems one by one. It's quite frequent that you'll need to use paid services to add extra functionality to the free software you use.

Switching to Linux has associated time, monetary and opportunity costs, all towards the end goal of hoping only to match your previous amount of productivity, not exceeding it.

You need to have a good reason for doing it. Much of the time, the best free software out there still isn't making a better value proposition than its established proprietary alternatives. I'm also conscious that the main reason I'm interested is privacy and maybe just a bit of casual contrarianism. For most people, that's not good enough. If your goal is just to get work done and you don't care who makes what or how it's licenced, Linux on the desktop still isn't competitive.

This is from my band's first album in 2015. I wrote the music on it about eight years ago now and I can finally hear it the way other people hear it.

It was absolutely not apparent to me at the time just how oppressively dark it was, even though others were commenting about it. I just thought I wanted to write dark music then, but listening to it now unnerves me. It strikes me now as not just dark, but indicative of my mental state at the time. My head was in a very unhealthy place then and everyone seemed to know it but me.

While some are very obviously less harmful to your wellbeing than others, at the end of the day, can any social media network have a net positive effect on your life?

If I actually were the sum total of all the things I've been called on the internet, I suppose that would make me a 'far-rightleft communist-anarcho-facist gaystraight cistranny-nazi-jewfaggot anti-anti-sjw snowflake'

The best songwriting advice I heard was in an AMA with Devin Townsend, when someone asked him where he found the required inspiration to write, and his response was more-or-less that inspiration barely came into it. He'd just write any old piece of shit, listen to it over and over, and then, "work on it until it nothing about it bothers me anymore".

That's seriously powerful advice on how you improve just about anything in your life. If you want to be the best person you can be, look at yourself from every angle, take stock of what you see, and work on it until nothing about it bothers you anymore.

I've come around to Sam Harris' argument that free will is an illusion, but also still hold to my own long-held belief that it doesn't really matter either way. Generally people are still understanding of others who grow up through bad experiences and proceed to make bad choices, whether they believe those choices were an illusion or not.

Just finished reading Douglas Murray's book The Madness of Crowds.

I suspect that people whom are already keeping up with popular discourse and share its point of view wouldn't get much from it, since it's not going to say much that they don't already know about.

People whom could gain quite a lot from it will probably dismiss it as hateful garbage.

A certain subset of smug contrarians will dismiss it as not being edgy enough.

Generally, I found it to be an enjoyable read. It made me mad at times. It's a pretty concise summation of the ongoing derangement of western culture that gives plenty of examples from the last decade, but I would've appreciated more time devoted to exploring solutions.

Its closing points that we basically need to recognise what's going on and the consequences, be nice to each other and try to remove politics from discourse where possible is all stuff I agree with, but far easier said than done, and the book didn't offer much in the way of practical methods on this for individuals.

Did you know that Microsoft Word has functions to auto-generate paragraphs of lorem ipsum and random nonsense out of Word's documentation pages?

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Andrew Torba: endlessly blathers about creating an alternative economy for a purist Christian nation using half-assed stacks that he doesn't understand.

Terry Davis: writes a public domain operating system to talk to God, basically does wild stuff that baffles computer scientists.
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Do you remember the days when it didn't matter if your phone was kicking around in the same pocket as your keys?

I've said this several times before, but I still find myself reflecting on it: I am so very glad that I gave up video games.

When I reflect on how much time I used to spend playing games in earlier years (probably 8 - 15 hours/day as a teen, 5 - 10 hours/day in my twenties), I seriously regret not just the hours wasted but the devastating effects that it had on my mental, physical and developmental health, and the countless opportunities wasted.

I know there's plenty of studies that show some positive effects on the brain from playing video games regularly, but seriously, it's like saying that getting wiped out every second day can enhance your tolerance for alcohol. It took me far too long to realise that I had a problem but I'm grateful that at least, I eventually did, and gradually replaced them with other things that made my life better and not worse.

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