📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The Bezzle (A Martin Hench Novel), by Cory Doctorow

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I feel like I say this whenever I talk about Doctorow, but I love that his fiction reads like an op-ed. While waiting for this book to come out, I’ve been slowly reading his co-authored book Chokepoint Capitalism, and I feel like The Bezzle is all his (and Rebecca’s) critiques about large and greedy companies wrapped up in a fun, action-driven narrative. Here’s the thing about me: I’m an academic, and I respect facts, reason, and citations.

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Okay, my new favorite fun fact about myself for ice breaking activities is that Wil Wheaton has read my name aloud as part of his recording of a Cory Doctorow audiobook.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: Vice surrenders (24 Feb 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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Dammit, I literally just started following Motherboard again. link to “Pluralistic: Vice surrenders (24 Feb 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: How I got scammed (05 Feb 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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Fascinating post. Grateful for Doctorow’s honesty at his being scammed and interested in the idea that lowering quality of services through AI trains us to accept fraud. link to “Pluralistic: How I got scammed (05 Feb 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Practical Anarchism: A Guide for Daily Life, by Scott Branson

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I defined myself for a long time as a moderate or centrist, and despite my leftward march in recent years, it still feels weird to be aspirationally reading a book on anarchism. As Branson points out early in this book, there are plenty of people who would never identify with the word but agree with anarchist ideas in science fiction, and I guess that’s how I got here. Twice in 2023, I read Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway, and on the second read, I realized that there were some strong anarchist themes in that book.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: American education has all the downsides of standardization, none of the upsides (16 Jan 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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Some interesting thoughts here from Doctorow. Makes me want to put more effort into OER. link to “Pluralistic: American education has all the downsides of standardization, none of the upsides (16 Jan 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: Kelly and Zach Weinersmith’s “A City On Mars” (09 Jan 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, but Doctorow has really sold me on it. link to “Pluralistic: Kelly and Zach Weinersmith’s “A City On Mars” (09 Jan 2024) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Open Infrastructures and the Future of Knowledge Production, part 1 – Platypus'

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Lots of helpful thoughts in this post. Makes me think about the value of Mastodon for the academy—and other spaces that I care about. Also, I love seeing Doctorow and academic thinking come together. link to “Open Infrastructures and the Future of Knowledge Production, part 1 – Platypus”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: An adversarial iMessage client for Android (07 Dec 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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I’m an Apple user, but that never stops me from agreeing with Doctorow’s critiques. link to “Pluralistic: An adversarial iMessage client for Android (07 Dec 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: The real AI fight (27 Nov 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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I haven’t been following this debate, but Doctorow and White’s points resonate with me. link to “Pluralistic: The real AI fight (27 Nov 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Lost Cause, by Cory Doctorow

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I’ve read a LOT of Doctorow in 2023—including Walkaway twice, Red Team Blues twice, and relistening to Little Brother—so I can’t help but place this hopeful solarpunk novel in the context of these others. Even though The Lost Cause touches on some of the same themes as Walkaway, I like the latter book a lot better, though perhaps because it feels less “real” than a book about paramilitary Maga Clubs and impending climate catastrophe.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Red Team Blues, by Cory Doctorow

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I’ve been meaning to reread this since I first listened to the audiobook, which I started as soon as it was released. It’s not my favorite Doctorow, but it’s still him at his best: The book is opinionated, exciting, and full of specific, compelling details. I like it a lot.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: Kickstarting the audiobook of The Lost Cause, my novel of environmental hope (02 Oct 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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I backed this before Kickstarter could even say “Hey, you’ve backed stuff from Doctorow in the past…” link to “Pluralistic: Kickstarting the audiobook of The Lost Cause, my novel of environmental hope (02 Oct 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow”

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: Bill Willingham puts his graphic novel series “Fables” into the public domain (15 Sept 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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Appreciate Doctorow’s detailed (and expert) perspectve here. link to ‘Pluralistic: Bill Willingham puts his graphic novel series “Fables” into the public domain (15 Sept 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'https://pluralistic.net/2023/09/07/govern-yourself-accordingly/'

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Appreciate Doctorow’s thinking here. link to ‘https://pluralistic.net/2023/09/07/govern-yourself-accordingly/’

unfinished thoughts on games and living one's values

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After several years of having it vaguely on my wish list (ever since Cory Doctorow’s post about it on Boing Boing), I finally picked up a copy of Lotus Dimension, a tabletop roleplaying game with an intentional emphasis on resolving problems through non-violence. I’ve been reading a lot on non-violence lately, and even though I still have a lot to learn, I’ve been asking recently whether a commitment to non-violence in real life would be incompatible with enjoying games where violence is one of the key ways to achieve victory.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow

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I just read this earlier this year, but it was too good not to revisit and it’s just as good in epub as it was in audiobook. Love this book.

40 books that have shaped my faith

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A friend of mine recently asked whether I had a list of books “that have been particularly impactful or interesting,” especially in the realm of spirituality and religion—and suggested that if I didn’t already have such a list, I could put one together for one of my next blog posts. It took me a while to actually put the list together, but it’s ended up being a really interesting exercise. Of the forty books that I’ve picked, some have been more influential than others.

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Inspired by a sci-fi book I’m reading, I made an off-handed quip this morning about becoming a disembodied simulation. Kiddo responded that she preferred to have a “huggable, play-withable” daddy.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: The surprising truth about data-driven dictatorships (26 July 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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Interesting stuff from Doctorow. If I can, I want to work it into my data science textbook for next semester. link to ‘Pluralistic: The surprising truth about data-driven dictatorships (26 July 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Cowboy releases cheeky app to keep VanMoof e-bike riders on the road - The Verge'

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We read Cory Doctorow’s “Unauthorized Bread” in my class on computer fundamentals, and I try to share actual examples of how tech companies going bankrupt can create actual problems like in the story. Bookmarking this for next time I teach. link to ‘Cowboy releases cheeky app to keep VanMoof e-bike riders on the road - The Verge’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Let the Platforms Burn: The Opposite of Good Fires is Wildfires | Cory Doctorow's craphound.com'

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Lots to appreciate here. link to ‘Let the Platforms Burn: The Opposite of Good Fires is Wildfires | Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'It Turns Out Elon Is Speedrunning The Enshittification Learning Curve, Not The Content Moderation One | Techdirt'

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I appreciate Masnick’s thinking, and I’m a big Doctorow fan, so it’s always neat to see them come together. link to ‘It Turns Out Elon Is Speedrunning The Enshittification Learning Curve, Not The Content Moderation One | Techdirt’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: The IRS will do your taxes for you (if that’s what you prefer) (17 May 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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I have been furious with Intuit since ProPublica did their great reporting on this, but I’ve continued to use TurboTax because the system is broken. Very excited for this news, and I appreciate Doctorow’s passionnate take. link to ‘Pluralistic: The IRS will do your taxes for you (if that’s what you prefer) (17 May 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow’

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Red Team Blues (A Martin Hench Novel), by Cory Doctorow

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I’m a couple of days late on writing this post: I started listening to the audiobook within hours of Doctorow sending out Kickstarter rewards on Monday and had it finished within a day. I often introduce Doctorow to others by saying that his books sometimes read like op-eds—but that that’s a good thing. I found that to be true in this book. I don’t know that I liked it as much as Walkaway (though I never expected to like that one!

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

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What a wild listen! I started this right after finishing Doctorow’s Little Brother because it’s recommended in the supplementary materials. It’s a bit odd to read in 2023: The idea of cryptocurrency has been tainted with recent news, it spectacularly fails the Bechdel test, and it seems to me to use more casual racial slurs than the chapters in the Pacific Theater might allow for in the name of realism. Yet, it’s intricately plotted, well written, just absurd enough to make it better, and technical without being overwhelming.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Everything Everywhere All At Once

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I put off watching this movie for a while, despite a number of recommendations. I think it’s fitting that I finally watched it so soon after listening to the audiobook of Walkaway, a very weird Cory Doctorow novel about finding hope despite things going very badly. This movie is far, far weirder than Walkaway, and yet it also does a much, much better job of getting that same message across. I feel like it spoke to many of my current anxieties, but in a healing and helpful way.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

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To my own surprise, I’ve been getting into audiobooks recently, and having listened to Doctorow’s “Walkaway,” I decided to revisit his Little Brother series in audio form. Parts of the first book haven’t aged well (including some language that was bad enough to be edited out of the print version I have), and while I enjoy Doctorow’s opinions, they sometimes overwhelm the story here. That said, to quote TVTropes, some anvils are worth dropping, and the messages about privacy, surveillance, and civil liberties are as relevant as ever, I don’t know if I enjoyed the book as much as I did my first time through, but I still like it enough to give it four hearts.

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I know Kirby Heyborne as the star of several Mormon B movies, so I was taken aback when he turned out to be the narrator for the audiobook of Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother.” Weirdest Venn diagram overlap of my interests I’ve seen in a while.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow

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I bounced pretty hard off of Walkaway a year or so ago, but I recently decided to give it another try. I felt like I needed a boost of hopeful thinking, and I’d seen Doctorow post about the book as being hopeful. Did it ever deliver! Walkaway is hopeful on a nearly religious level, and it was exactly what I needed. The book is not naïvely optimistic but rather tenacious in its belief that we can still make this a better workd.

Doctrine & Covenants feat. Doctorow: An unexpected paired text

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As I’ve written elsewhere, I am currently giving Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway another try after bouncing off of it a while ago. Because I bounced off of it so hard the last time, I’m surprised by how much it’s resonating off of me as I give it another go. This past week, I’ve been listening to a lot of Walkaway on top of doing a lot of religious reading: assignments for the Ministry of the Disciple class I’m taking through the Community of Christ Seminary’s Center for Innovation in Ministry and Missino, Gérard Siegwalt’s Reinventing God’s name [La réinvention du nom de Dieu], and various scriptures for today’s liturgical readings.

Cory Doctorow on behaviorism

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After bouncing off of it a year or so ago, I recently decided to restart Cory Doctorow’s novel Walkaway (which led NPR reporter Jason Sheehan to describe Doctorow as “Super-weird in the best possible way”). The audiobook is excellent, and since I started a couple of days ago, it’s displaced my podcast listening and given me another chance to wrestle with Doctorow’s ideas here. There is way too much going on (and I’m not far enough into the book) for me to engage with the underlying message of the novel (or even to be sure of what it is yet), but one passage stood out to me so much this morning that I have to write it down now.

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Chokepoint Capitalism can break you free from big tech and big content - The Verge'

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It’s a long interview, so I didn’t read the whole thing, but what I did read made me want to read this book even more. I have a copy, I just need to open it up. link to ‘Chokepoint Capitalism can break you free from big tech and big content - The Verge’

🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Pluralistic: 07 Oct 2022 “Don’t install spy on a privacy lab,” and other lessons for university provosts – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow'

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There is so much of both horrible and hopeful in this story. The way we’re normalizing surveillance is really worrying, and I’m glad some people are fighting back. link to ‘Pluralistic: 07 Oct 2022 “Don’t install spy on a privacy lab,” and other lessons for university provosts – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow’

Wil Wheaton on general purpose computing

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I am very near the end of Wil Wheaton’s updated/annotated memoir Still Just a Geek, which I bought over the summer on a short family trip. I have lots of thoughts—most of them positive—about the memoir and may write a bit more about it once I finally finish. For now, though, since I wrote last week complaining about companies like Apple and ClassDojo restricting hardware and software to support their bottom line at the expense of users, I was struck by a short passage Wheaton included making a case for general purpose computing:

Apple and artificial restrictions on file syncing

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A week ago today, my MacBook Pro suddenly stopped being able to communicate with its SSD. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but I spent most of my Tuesday afternoon wiping everything from the drive and reinstalling macOS so that I could get back to work. While I haven’t kept a physical backup for a couple of years (I accidentally fried mine when moving back into my campus office in Fall 2020), I have all of my most important documents scattered between three cloud services, so this wasn’t too painful of a process.