The Arcology Garden

Towards Convergence and a Respectful Future


Over the last decade, my ethical and aesthetic feelings have solidified to a place where I can begin to think about how I got there and where I can go with it, as well as their limitations and shortcomings. For as long as I have been interested in technology, I've held a set of ideas core to how I choose to interact with the digital and physical worlds, and the people in them. In a series of blog posts, I will be looking at that history, and in to the future of a personal computing ethos which values understanding the tools and their complexity which underlie everything, rather than trying to obscure or "solve" said complexity. These choices have over the last five years matured in to two pieces of software, the Arcology and the Complete Computing Environment.

The Complete Computing Environment is my personal GNU Emacs distribution, designed to share the knowledge of the systems which I have gained, and to allow me to hone it sharp. It consists of the set of plugins, configurations, and custom integrations which enable me to do nearly all of my productive and idle work in an operating system which is designed to fit my hand like a glove. Keyboard-driven, light text on dark background, a tiling window manager, or something close.

The Arcology started as a self-sufficient social site, indie web to the core, with the ability to take any "fact" and action on it, a semi-public web log. Share a story, check in to a venue or event, reply to a social media post, like a photo, all from the comfort of my Emacs-based environment. The first iteration of the Arcology is a custom static site generator built using Emacs Org Mode, where any Org Mode heading could be sent to the web, and syndicated to Facebook and Twitter, replies collected and rendered alongside the entries using open protocols and formats. That's this web-site.

I've started to hit the edges of what these software stacks are capable of. As part of exploring where to take it, I've been revisiting how I got here, and the set of principles and experiences which guided this and can guide it going forward. I present a narrative below for a series of essays and mixed thoughts:

Phase 1: Introductions

An Adolescence Spent in Movement

INPROGRESS Free Software as a Community of Mutual Aide

INPROGRESS The Change of Scenery and Kickass Systems

INPROGRESS Phase 2: Convergence Is Commuting Without a Backpack

Phase 3: rrix.uses.this

Phase 4: Where Can We Go?

INPROGRESS A Modern User Agent

INPROGRESS Personal Software Can Be Shitty

INPROGRESS Personal Software Can Express Ethics

INPROGRESS Software with Limit-less Horizons

First Impression of the Purism Librem5

Phase 5: Visions of a Future

A series of user stories, placing myself and hypothetical future users in to awkward situations and seeing how the tools can build a better future.

The International Trip

NEXT Far Future Change Deployment

WAITING Together-ness