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Hello and welcome to my journal! Here I write about my own ideas and promote others' ideas. I mostly talk about computing, philosophy, spirituality, privacy, and society but this journal is not limited to those topics.

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Why I Left ITS

Date: 2020-07-02

Read time: 7 minutes

Summary: This is the story of how I learned about free software, wrestled with my conscience and ultimately quit my job as a labs and classrooms technician at SIUe because I couldn't justify supporting the proprietary software anymore.

Free Will is Incoherent - Part 1

Date: 2020-06-19

Read time: 10 minutes

Summary: I present a formal, objective knock down argument against free will refuting the common arguments for it and show how lack of free will is actually liberating, not nihilistic.


Date: 2020-06-14

Read time: 15 minutes

Summary: What doublethink means in the context of this post is to feel a certain way about how you feel. It means to have an opinion of your own thoughts. It normally goes by the name metacognition. As novice practitioners of meditation quickly realize, you can "go meta" infinitely about your own thinking to the point that your mind becomes twisted into a complicated knot. In this post I talk about common ways the mind-knot is tied.

SIUe e-ID Creation and Maintenance Problems

Date: 2020-06-10

Read time: 8 minutes

Summary: Somehow SIUe can't create a decent looking webpage for managing your own university account. It should undergo a complete redesign, but that probably won't happen for a while since it isn't losing the university money.

SIUe Cyberstalking Feature

Date: 2020-06-06

Read time: 1 minute

Summary: Every SIUe student, faculty and staff member's full name, year, address and phone number has been available through the university search engine for years. It could facilitate stalking and it's a huge data privacy concern. It should at least be behind a login portal and remove phone numbers and addresses.

Exposing Zoom

Date: 2020-05-23

Read time: 20 minutes

Summary: Since COVID-19 spread everywhere, the world now relies on Zoom to provide video communication for job meetings, university classrooms, courtrooms, government meetings, mental health services and personal interactions. It is based in China, a surveillance state country with little government/corporate separation currently committing cultural genocide against Uyghurs. Zoom itself has an awful security and privacy track record and contains known malicious features. What could possibly go wrong?

The Self

Date: 2020-05-02

Read time: 11 minutes

Summary: There is no isolated, unchanging self that answers to the name of "I". The feeling that there is this self, this center to the flow of experience, is only an illusion. Experience has no center. The self is the unbearable burden that we're all better off without.

Rejecting Visual Studio

Date: 2020-04-30

Read time: 10 minutes

Summary: This is my free software story. This semester I took Intro to Artificial Intelligence at SIUe. Artificial Intelligence is a senior level course. I'll call the professor, "Professor X" to preserve anonymity.

The Victim Mentality Versus Individual Responsibility

Date: 2020-04-10

Read time: 13 minutes

Summary: This is a compare and contrast of two seemingly opposing ideas. What I hope to show is that actually they are just two ways of talking about the same thing. I hope to find some common ground between left and right ideology. One is often referred to as "the victim mentality" and the other is what I call "individual responsiblity fetishism".

Inception - Rejecting Discord, Draw.io, and Visual Studio

Date: 2020-03-30

Read time: 10 minutes

Summary: This is my free software story. In the spring of 2018, I took software engineering at SIUe. Software engineering is a junior level CS course. In my view, it serves as preparation for the more demanding two semester development effort that is the senior project. I'll call the professor, "Professor X" to preserve anonymity.

Rejecting Discord and Google Colab

Date: 2020-03-30

Read time: 5 minutes

Summary: This is my free software story. This semester I took Deep Learning at SIUe. Deep learning is a senior level CS elective course. I'll call the professor, "Professor X" to preserve anonymity.

The Tipping Point - Rejecting Windows, Zoom, Lockdown Browser, and the Lockdown Monitor

Date: 2020-03-30

Read time: 8 minutes

Summary: This is my free software story. This semester I took networking at SIUe. Networking is a senior level CS course. I'll call the professor, "Professor X" to preserve anonymity.

Unless otherwise noted, the writing found in this journal is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

© 2019-2021 Nicholas Johnson