a turn-based card game à la dominion, magic the gathering, etc.

each DEBATE begins with a FASCIST who plays one or more ARGUMENT cards. counter their ARGUMENTS with REBUTTAL cards from your hand. if you fail to do so convincingly, your LIBERAL APPROVAL METER will decrease. for each ARGUMENT you successfully counter, the FASCIST will play a new ARGUMENT and your LIBERAL APPROVAL METER will increase slightly. by keeping your LIBERAL APPROVAL METER high you may gain additional REBUTTAL cards after each turn. you can also PUNCH which decreases your LIBERAL APPROVAL METER to zero.

each DEBATE ends only when you PUNCH the FASCIST. ultimately you realise that the DEBATE has no other win state and the LIBERAL APPROVAL METER is meaningless.

if you're still a liberal, you need to at least take the following steps:

  1. accept that white supremacy, white nationalism and fascism exist – not just in the abstract, but that you have certainly met white supremacists, white nationalists and fascists in your day-to-day life. maybe you found them pleasant. maybe some of them are friends and family.

  2. take the time to actually learn their tactics and language so you can actually identify it when you come across it. do not dismiss it as “just a joke”, or “they don't really mean it” or “it's not that black and white”. take accusations of white supremacy seriously even if it's against you, one of your friends, etc. take it seriously and really think about it. try not to get defensive.

  3. accept that white supremacy is not a valid ideology worthy of debate – it needs to be quickly shut down, with as much force as necessary, wherever it appears. “debating” white supremacy only serves to demonstrate to the world that you think it's a valid opinion to hold.

  4. and if you're white like me, accept that white supremacy completely permeates the culture we live in, and as a result, has crept into our own subconscious and given us biases we are not even aware of. racism is not something anyone opts into – it's the default. it's something we as white people have to actively opt out of. we have to double- and triple-check our thoughts and behaviours every single day. we need to listen to people of colour (and especially black people) and think about what they're saying, especially as it pertains to ourselves.

about a year ago, on a similarly unremarkable January morning, I turned on my computer. knowing it would take about five minutes to boot up, I went downstairs to make a coffee. after logging in I spent another five minutes thinking, staring, pouring my coffee, waiting for my computer to become responsive and actually let me check my emails, read an article, play a game, chat to a friend or do practically anything else I would want to do on a daily basis.

this seeming irritation had become completely routine to me, as I think it has for many people. I didn't really see it as something I could change, besides perhaps buying a new computer. after all, it was 9 years old at this point, and the recent mitigations for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities actually had made most people's computers measurably slower, mine included.

that day I read that Windows 7, my operating system, was to reach end-of-life in a year's time. continuing to run it after that point would mean being more vulnerable to malware, and perhaps being blocked from online banking and other things; I could only be complacent about the situation for so long.

I began to consider my options.

I could move to Windows 8- but I'd already experienced it on my laptop and disliked the confusing tablet-style interface, and doing so would only delay the inevitable; Windows 8.1 would reach end-of-life a mere 3 years later.

I could move to Windows 10- in fact, when it was offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 users, I had been in the queue for it until I started hearing that Windows 10 would log your keystrokes and mine your data and send it to Microsoft. panicked, I jumped through the necessary hoops to cancel the upgrade. to this day I'm not entirely sure how bad Windows 10's 'telemetry' is, but the simple fact is that I will never be able to trust it. besides, I've seen how it will serve adverts, surreptitiously install software and lock a computer down for lengthy updates several times a week with absolutely no warning or consent.

I could buy a Mac- pffffhahahahahahahahahaha fuck no

so what's left?

I had some experience with Linux before; in 2005, when Ubuntu was all the rage, I had installed it and quite liked it, but gave up on it due to a lack of music production software and games. in 2016 I had installed Linux Mint on a junky laptop to use as a TV media centre- it played videos, DVDs and YouTube just fine, but what about all my other needs?

I had my doubts, but I also knew that I could just put a Linux distribution on a USB stick and try it out without any commitment. immediately curious again, I did some research but settled on the familiar Linux Mint and wrote it to a spare USB stick. upon booting from USB, I was immediately impressed by how much faster it started up and how much more responsive it was. at this point I remembered I had a spare hard disk in my computer- why not install it there and have it as an option every time I start the computer, even if I stick with Windows most of the time?

as it turned out, I only ever booted back into Windows three or four more times. whatever Windows offered didn't seem worth waiting ten minutes for. I installed Steam and was shocked to find that half of my games were supported- then I was shocked again when I discovered a setting that would allow me to play most of the remaining ones. basically all the software I used on a daily basis was still available. I imported my music library, my documents, my passwords. I set up everything how I wanted and it never felt like the computer was fighting me. it wasn't long before my computer felt like home again.

I don't want to imply that everything has been smooth sailing; the lack of compatibility with my familiar audio production and DJ software is a problem, but I still have Windows 8.1 installed on my laptop for DJing (and nothing else!) and I've been able to make music in Milkytracker and Bitwig, even if it's not what I'm used to. My audio interface works but is not well supported- not all of the inputs are available in my recording software. one or two of my favourite games are not currently playable on Steam. videos on Twitter on Firefox have no audio for some reason. broadly though, the positively vastly outweigh the negatives. it's easy to get used to the new normal and forget that my computer is now faster, more responsive and more stable!

I'm also not naïve enough to suggest that Linux is for everyone- some people may have hardware that's not supported (very new motherboards, odd peripherals, some printers) or require some very specific software that's not supported (some business software, some newer games, the latest and greatest versions of Office and Photoshop, etc.) or simply dislike the experience as a whole. but if the only investment is a USB stick and an open mind, I think it's worth a try. if you're at all interested in moving away from the expensive walled gardens of Office and Adobe, free software alternatives such as LibreOffice and Krita are also available for Windows and Mac- so why not give them a go?

I'm incredibly pleased that my computer feels like new even though it's a decade old. far too often we find excuses to throw gadgets away and it's often unnecessary. I don't want to imply that keeping old hardware running is 100% “green”– an older computer is less energy-efficient for example- but modern computers are being used to run increasingly inefficient software anyway, and the environmental cost of manufacturing new hardware is not trivial either.

I feel there's a class antagonism going on with tech's increasingly short upgrade cycle and the pervasiveness of planned obsolescence. be a first-class citizen and buy a brand new £2500 Macbook Pro every couple of years. be a second-class citizen and buy a brand new £300 Windows laptop every few years when creeping unnecessary Windows updates render your computer too sluggish to deal with. be a third-class citizen and struggle on with an “obsolete” computer, risking threats such as ransomware and identity theft. and let's not forget those who have no internet access and struggle to access necessary services. one of the things we can do to help each other under late capitalism is to fix each other's tech if we're able!

one year ago, a friend joked to me “2019 is the year of the linux desktop”. at the time I didn't know this was a running joke – poking fun at Linux's continued inability to gain market share for over 25 years – but for me it rang true. if that makes me the butt of a joke, that's fine by me- I'm still smiling.

serves 4 prep approx. 10 min cooking approx. 45 min

for the cajun seasoning:

  • smoked paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • white pepper
  • black pepper

for the jambalaya:

  • approx. 1 tbsp of the aforementioned cajun seasoning
  • 1 medium to large casserole dish or cooking pot
  • neutral oil e.g. rapeseed oil
  • 1 or 2 packs of your favourite vegan meat substitute, ideally smoky sausage/bacon etc.
  • 1 onion, 1 pepper and 2-3 stalks of celery, diced finely
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2-6 garlic cloves (depending on your tastes), minced/diced/puréed
  • 1 cheap but flavourful beer
  • 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 pint of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of long grain white rice
  • salt to taste
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced (optional)

to make the seasoning, mix equal quantities of the herbs and spices- or adjust to your liking.

in the pot, fry the “meat” in a bit of oil on a medium-high heat until browned, then remove and set aside.

add the holy trinity (onions, pepper, celery) to the pot and sautée on a medium heat until the onions are translucent. add the tomato purée, garlic and a tablespoon of cajun seasoning. cook for about a minute until fragrant. deglaze the pot with a glug or two of beer, making sure to scrape everything up, and let the beer cook off a bit.

add the rice, stock, and tomatoes, cover, and turn the heat down low. stir every so often and make sure the rice isn't sticking to the pot.

when the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add the “meat”, and more stock or water if needed. cook for about another 10-15 minutes, occasionally stirring and tasting for salt and seasoning, until done.

garnish with thinly sliced spring onion if desired, and serve.

we do not use high tech for the sake of being high tech

if your 10mb web application could be better served as a couple of text files and html forms, you fucked up. if your fancy javascript interactivity breaks screen readers, you fucked up. more complex is not better. more simple is more maintainable.

we do not tolerate distraction and fluff

we serve the content that's expected, plus any relevant asides or navigation, and that's it. no banner ads. no youtube preroll.

we hate advertisements

we do not see advertising as a necessary evil. if you cannot serve your content without advertising, perhaps it's better that you don't. we do not accept advertising as a benign annoyance. advertising exploits our fears and insecurities. advertising lies to us. advertising spies on us.

we are fine with lo-fi

we do not need to see the individual pores on the faces of youtube personalities in glorious 4k HD. we do not need our dance music encoded in full lossless audio compression. we rip youtube and soundcloud if we feel like it. words, thoughts and emotions are what's important.

we do not transcode

no deep fried jpegs. no screenshots of twitter in screenshots of tumblr reposted to facebook. we copy and paste text if it's text content. we give a shit about visually impaired netizens. we add image and audio descriptions if none are present. we share creative works in their original forms. we credit artists.

we pay for shit

if it costs money to provide a product or service to you, and you are getting it for free, you are the product. you are the resource, being mined for data and sold to advertisers. we reject this business model. if someone provides a good service we will pay for it. if someone makes a good piece of software we will buy it. if someone makes a good piece of free software we will donate and spread the word. if our friends can't afford shit, we help them out if we can.

we care about privacy

we are not complacent about the surveillance state we live in. we take measures to reduce the amount of private information that governments and corporations can glean from us. we care about the privacy of our friends and we do not leak their data. when we chat on facebook we pretend the zucc is sitting right next to us, his creepy face perpetually staring, and we adjust our topics of conversation accordingly or talk irl instead.

we own our own culture

we are not content to live in the walled gardens of spotify and netflix. we seek out lesser-known artists. we actually download music and videos. we share them with friends. we remix. we do whatever we want with our files.

we do not store shit 'in the cloud'

fuck gmail. fuck icloud. fuck dropbox. we run our own ftp servers and share them with our friends. we run our own websites and give out email addresses to our friends. we encrypt shit. we make backups at home. we give backups to our friends to keep safe. wherever possible we hold our own data, where it cannot be held hostage by a corporation or censored by a government. we accept that cloud storage is ephemeral and when we do use it, we use it with that understanding.

we do not tolerate planned obsolescence

we do not buy things that cannot be fixed. we fix things that are broken. we help friends fix their shit. we keep shit running. we will not buy an entry-level laptop every 3 years and throw it away because an unnecessary OS update rendered it too bloated to function.

we use native applications

our digital life does not solely revolve around a single browser instance with 20 tabs open. we have an email program for our emails. we have media players for our music and videos. we have text editors, word processors, paint programs, audio editors. our computers run better and use less energy as a result.

we care about our planet

digital bloat is an environmental issue. cloud storage has a CO2 cost. server CPU cycles have a CO2 cost. internet traffic has a CO2 cost. hardware manufacture has a CO2 cost. a single bitcoin transaction burns 5kg of coal. we give a shit about this. we acknowledge that “reduce” is the most important part of “reduce, reuse, recycle”.

we do not care if you think our attitude is outdated or irrelevant

if you're happy that your roomba is relaying all your private conversations to the nsa, fine. you do you.