In Reflection of 2020

Happy New Year! Like many people, I couldn’t wait to kiss 2020 goodbye. I wanted to review three shifting topics in this blog (and my life) that made an impression.

Thinking of Privacy

Privacy, as I view it today, shifted dramatically. Check this post from early February of last year. At the time, I wrote “…but that doesn’t mean I can manage my life without Google. Not yet, not anytime soon, and I think that even if I had the choice, I won’t really want to.” How things have changed!

The idea of privacy as owning my data had its first buds in that early post. Snowden’s Permanent Record changed the urgency I felt about keeping away from “big brother” companies, and as time passed I shed away my initial reluctance to experiment. The result is my more recent posts, which you can check under the privacy tag in this blog.

Immersing myself in Photography

COVID and my research into Privacy changed how I think of my photography hobby. I don’t take photos of animals or flowers as much as I used to. I find that I prefer structure and tree branches. I stopped posting photos on Instagram as COVID got worse around New York.

My current photos, if to borrow a phrase from someone describing them, are “discomforting.” The photos reflect how I feel, how we all do with the burden of 2020. While this sounds somewhat sad, I think it’s a good thing as it allows me to explore GIMP and other photo techniques.

Zettelkasten: No Thanks

In January last year I wrote down a couple of conclusions from a big project at work. The main takeaway was that I didn’t use org-mode as I usually do and counted on our in-work tools, which ended in a complete failure. It was a good reminder. Two and a half years in, my org-mode system is stable and reliable, with very few changes introduced after careful consideration.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I rejected Zettelkasten and org-roam, which is based on it. I find that other org-mode veterans whose blog I follow have the same opinion. Zettelkasten is the new cool kid in town, and many folks finding it useful. For me, it’s just another example of unnecessary duplication of features that are already built into Emacs or can be implemented somehow.

Of course, this is a matter of opinion and a rather strong one. This is fine, because I need to have this strong opinion going in order of not getting tempted and fall into disarray like I did earlier. An important measure of a system is measured in its ability to maintain consistency.


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