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If you think technology should not be controlled by large companies alone, but should be used to empower its users, do read my Document Freedom Day post on my technology blog:

Today being Document Freedom Day, I’m taking stock of how unencumbered my digital lifestyle is — both on the consumption as well as on the production side. I’ll try and explore alternatives for each category. But before that, one must first explore why proprietary and patent-encumbered formats are bad,

Update: see also fellow UUpdates-syndicated Scott Wells’ post on the subject

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Starting this Lent, I’m committing myself [stickK] to start attending Old Catholic mass. Now, you might wonder what this “Old Catholic” is about; it’s a long story, so let’s talk about anti-charities first.

I first heard about it from Scott Aaronsson, made an experimental short-term commitment to exercise regularly, and proceeded to forget about the site afterwards. Until Radiolab’s episode on cutting deals with yourself, which discusses drastic measures people take to force themselves to stop smoking, finish a long-overdue book, etc. Then started a frantic effort to jog my memory to find the commitment site I used before — I could have saved the trouble by just checking the comment thread for that podcast, but where’s the fun in that? — which has the side-effect of rediscovering Scott’s blog, since I used to read it before “The Great Google Reader / Feedly Unification”, and it mysteriously disappeared during the transition. A friend of mine is getting interested in quantum computation, and Scott being a quantum complexity theorist, it’s a timely rediscovery.

Unlike the featured Radiolab personalities, who cut deals with themselves, with stickK you basically have an escrow — nominate who gets your money if you fail (a charity you like, a charity you dislike — i.e. anti-charity, a friend, etc.), how many instalments, and how much money is at stake at each. You can nominate a referee (but can’t change it without appealing to the site admins), presumably when you’re still full of optimism at the beginning and thus won’t think twice about nominate someone who won’t be swayed to cover for you; if either you or the nominee reported failure, or if you failed to report, the money for that particular instalment gets sent. Like Scott, I thank Dubya for so far being successfully committed!

… and now, on to the Old Catholics

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