Ramblings of General Geekery

I’m finally going back to playing Delta Green! The poor players are in for a treat with this awesome haunted house adventure… let’s see if I can get one of them to shoot the others! #TTRPG

1Password partnerns with venture capital Accel

This is making me somewhat suspicious and nervous about 1Password’s future:

I’m incredibly proud to announce that we’ve partnered with Accel to help 1Password continue the amazing growth and success we’ve seen over the past 14 years. Accel will be investing USD$200 million for a minority stake in 1Password. Along with the investment – their largest initial investment in their 35-year history – Accel brings the experience and expertise we need to grow further and faster.

First, VC money is never good news in my books. It always comes with oversight, agendas, and other types of strings. The silver lining is that it’s a minority stake in this case, so supposedly the 1Password people might still be in charge.

Second, you have to wonder why 1Password would need help growing. It seems like it’s doing all right. Better than alright, actually. It’s definitely my preferred password manager1, and is routinely in the top 2 best password managers for most people. Why does it need growth? Why can’t it just be a, you know, sustainable business that makes enough money to pay every employee fairly and stay afloat?2

  1. Despite their rather badly handled transition to subscription-based cloud hosting a couple years ago. ↩︎

  2. Because capitalism, yeah, I know. ↩︎

If you see me in a parked car, drumming energetically on the wheel, it’s probably because Goodbye Stranger started playing when I parked and I just can’t turn it off mid-song and walk away.

Zelda, dying forever in the castle: “You’re ready to defeat Ganon! My life is in your hands!"
Hyrule people, under the thumb of Ganon’s creatures: “You’re ready to defeat Ganon! Go save us!”
Me: “Nah, I like running around and cooking mushrooms, lol”

There’s no such thing

I once watched my (teenage) niece playing Magic Tiles 3 on her tablet. It’s a free musical game that’s pretty fun, but it has lots of marketing videos interrupting gameplay all the time. Since one of my kids wanted to play it, I ask her if there’s a purchasable version, or another similar game that I can buy and that wouldn’t have the annoying ads.

She looks at me, slightly confused. “I don’t know about any game that doesn’t have ads. There’s no such thing, I think”.

So yeah, that’s what you’re up against, game developers.

Computer Files Are Going Extinct

Although it’s somewhat ironic that this article was written on Medium, this is a very good rant on obsolescence of files:

I love files. I love renaming them, moving them, sorting them, changing how they’re displayed in a folder, backing them up, uploading them to the internet, restoring them, copying them, and hey, even defragging them. As a metaphor for a way of storing a piece of information, I think they’re great. I like the file as a unit of work. If I need to write an article, it goes in a file. If I need to produce an image, it’s in a file.

I also love files. That’s why I put them in a NAS. And then I have another NAS to backup the first NAS. That’s why my blog is essentially generated from a bunch of files, and why my notes are in a wiki that’s also generated from a bunch of files. Files are easy to edit, store, version, backup, recover. Sure, they don’t scale very well to giant online services, but for personal use, they’re the absolute best in my opinion. Of course, they’re also the worst for companies who want to lock you in and profit from your data under cover of “convenience”.

But Apple doesn’t make it that easy to get to your files. Images are dumped into a big stream, sorted by date. Audio is somewhere in iTunes. Notes are… in a list? Apps are scattered around the desktop. Some of my files are in iCloud. You can email photos to liberate them from the iPhone, and through a convoluted method via iTunes, you can access some files within certain apps. But those files are transitory — cached, and may be deleted without warning. These aren’t like the carefully crafted files and folders on my computer.

This one of the reasons I have a love/hate relationship with my iOS devices. And if you look at the number of apps that support some Dropbox or Box integration or similar, I don’t think I’m the only one. I’m actually not even sure Dropbox would have been as popular if Apple had initially released iOS with friendly support for moving files in and out of the device. Most of the apps I use on a regular basis on my iPad are ones that can interact with the files in my home network, like Plex or GoodReader. I refuse to store stuff on iCloud (except as a form of extra backup), regardless of how many times Apple insists on running advertisements on my phone in the form of notifications you can’t disable1.

Anyway, read the whole article, as it’s making several other interesting points on the subject.

Bottom-line: I also miss files. We eventually got the big companies to sell music as DRM-free files, but it looks like it’s never going to happen for video. Everything is a cloud subscription service, now. Everything is streaming. Everything is a timeline. It’s not just about files going extinct, it’s about the very concept of “ownership” going obsolete.

  1. Apple has been getting worse on that front, lately. ↩︎