Thoughts on Accessibility and Inclusivity in Technology

The Ansible community, for example, has started work to rename its “master” branch to “main” branch and phase out use of “whitelist” and “blacklist” in favor of “allowlist” and “denylist.”

Making open source more inclusive by eradicating problematic language

I read the whole blog, it’s laudable to make technology more inclusive. They do mention that while making these changes they are prioritizing not breaking things for existing customers. That’s great, but I have some thoughts.

I was told that in China people wear white to funerals and the ladies wear blue to weddings. The meaning of colors changes with the culture. Whitelist and blacklist are terms that might not be explicit enough despite the long history they have. For some people the idea of a ‘blacklist’ might be as intuitive as having a ‘bluelist’. And some people are color blind, using color to communicate breaks down for these people. Explicit terms are useful, removing color references from the documentation is a good move.

But master and slave? Do their exist other words capable of describing this sort of relationship? Leader and follower? Source and subscriber? Not really. The words ‘master’ and ‘slave’ are very useful terms to describe a specific sort of relationship, and I’m going to get in trouble for this, but neither slavery nor mastery is not racist.

People of all colors have been slaves. Vikings enslaved other white northerners. In the Roman era, anyone could sell themself as a slave to pay off a debt (preferable to death). I visited a slave port in Senegal and their I learned that it wasn’t white people who pillaged the black and made them slaves, it was black people enslaving black people and then selling them to the Europeans. I’ve read literature indicating that white people were too scared to wear the garments of the African natives, let alone head inland and conquer. I’ve been to the roman outposts in Africa, they didn’t make it far inland. Black Africans were the first to own black African slaves.

And slavery is still happening today. The open borders in Europe make it very easy to trap young girls into prostitution and move them throughout the continent, making it very hard for them to get help. I’m pretty sure an outworking of the open border between Mexico and the US is facilitating the same sort of phenomena.

What I am trying to say is that as offensive as the terms ‘master’ and ‘slave’ may be (I’m glad that people find the term ‘slave’ offensive), we can’t lose them. One, they describe a real sort of relationship, two, that is useful in technology and, three, if we do, we give up on the 40 million slaves that exist today.


I am back lifting

I am back lifting. I love it.

Previously, I would do two one and a quarter hour afternoon sessions every week. With the baby (when he and mommy are awake, I need to be available) and summer (our home based gym gets a lot of hot afternoon sun in the summer) I needed to find a new rhythm to make this a reality.

So now I get up at the coolest point of the day, 0630 and do a half hour of lifting: Squats and deadlifts or chin-ups one day. Bench press and strict press the next. Repeat. I try to get four sessions in per week.

It’s been going good. I’ve been able to add 20kg to my squats in the last two weeks.

But I want to tie this into the concept of sabbath from yesterday.

I don’t exercise, I train. I’ll go on a walk with my family or a friend because I enjoy the company, not because I need the exercise. A fundamental part of training with weights is recovery. Exercise won’t make you stronger, recovering from exercise makes you stronger.

Recovery encompasses a lot of things, but a minuscule part of major importance is just how long I wait between work sets. When I squat I do five different warmup weights before doing three sets of five repetitions of the maximum weight I can lift. Resting for three minutes instead of four between sets is often the reason I couldn’t finish my work out.

It’s hard to justify not resting that extra minute. Yet I try to. The minutes compound, I don’t rest just once in the workout, it’s six or seven times. Yet not taking the time to recover properly means repeating the whole workout again next time.

Rest is work. Rest is progress.


Cabra’s Guide to Inner Peace

You thought that being a Christian meant having inner peace. It’s one of the fruit of the spirit, right? Love, Joy, Peace… I mean, I don’t want to talk about my anxiety because doing so would mean I don’t have the fruit of The Spirit and if I don’t have the fruit of The Spirit am I really even a Christian?

Fortunately, we have plenty of examples of Jesus’ disciples, despite having seen Jesus raise the dead and feed the multitudes, act in anxious and fearful ways. We all lack the confidence to face the circumstances from time to time.

I don’t promise that the things I am going to share will help you gain inner peace. But, I have some inner peace in my life and there are exactly three things that I am zealous about to maintain it.

The first:

Don’t Should Yourself

I can’t remember if I heard this first from a psychologist, a TED Talk, or a book, none-the-less, it was true enough to resonate and pithy enough to remember. That said, it’s been hard to act on. If I shan’t should, what shall I?

Presenting: A matrix to help you to say no better.

I’ve found that all the “shoulds” in my life I can reasonably be fit into four boxes:

1. I HAVE to

This needs no explanation. I have to eat food at regular intervals. I have to pay my taxes. I have to shower, yes, I have to. Try rephrasing that ‘should’ that pops into your head as ‘I have to’, if it fits, do it, if not try this next box.

2. I WANT to

Spending time in your ‘I want to’ box is how you bank up energy for the things in your ‘I have to’ box.

Maybe you have to call your mom, I want to. I also want to lift weights, play with my kids, and connect with my neighbours. I even want to talk with others about what’s going on in my life, including my relationship with God.

I try to spend as much time as I can on the things in this box, and I don’t feel guilty about it. I believe that all of God’s plan for my life fits in either the ‘I have to’ box: I have to do what God has commanded me. Or the ‘I want to’ box, because that is who God made me. I am intrigued and excited about certain things and not others because of who God made me. And at the end of days I trust God to judge me based on who he made me to be.

3. I CAN

You probably have a lot of ‘shoulds’ in your life that haven’t found a place yet and most of them won’t go here. But we can try.

What does it mean for something to fit in the ‘I can’ box? For me the criteria is simple; it won’t take away from me having the energy and enthusiasm I need to take on my ‘I have to’ and my ‘I want to’ boxes, and that is it.

4. I WON’T

And here is my secret and I might get in trouble for this, but for me, going to church on a Sunday morning doesn’t always fit into the ‘I have to’, the ‘I want to’ box, or even the ‘I can’ box. And in this matrix there is only one option left. “I won’t”.

So some Sundays I don’t. And I don’t feel guilty about it.

The Bible tells me that I have to sanctify the sabbath. It tells me to gather with other Christians. While a church service is an effective way to tick both those boxes, it’s not the only one.

In my experience, a fundamental skill for inner peace, and health in general, is; saying no, to good things, with confidence.

This is how I do it.


Peter Scazzero asserts in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality that the Jews haven’t kept the Sabbath, but rather the Sabbath has kept the Jews.

Jesus said: The Sabbath was established for people, and not people for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

The fourth commandment, before prohibitions on murdering, lying, coveting, or adultering is the following: Remember the day of the Sabbath, to consecrate it. Six days you will work, and you will do all your work. (Exodus 20:8–9, LEB)

Your sabbath rest is not God commanding you to get behind on things. It is a fundamental spiritual exercise where you commit to trusting God as your provider and ‘pilot’. It’s a day where you say “Ok God, today your driving the bus, I’m going to take a nap in the passenger seat so I am ready for what you need me to do tomorrow”.

In our house we don’t do anything but the bare minimum of the “I have to’s” and as many “I want to’s” as we feel up to on our shabbat. We don’t fold laundry, we don’t mop, we don’t get ahead on something for work, we don’t do maintenance on the house or vehicles, we don’t shop, not even online. Lately, I’ve been pretending that the internet doesn’t exist, how refreshing that has been.

Some people are doctors, or policeman or gas station clerks and they can’t have a sabbath on the same day as I do, maybe they can’t have it the same day every week. God will bless them with an answer as to how they consecrate the sabbath if they seek His guidance.

When we first decided to take this seriously we got a box, and every Saturday night we would put physical objects or notes indicating what we were going to rest from, Peter Scazzero’s idea. Now it has become so internalized that we haven’t needed that ceremony to follow through on sabbath.

But I challenge you to take the concept of Sabbath as seriously as you take murder. Seriously. See what it does for you.

Know your story

Lastly, know your story. Get to know it so well that it might almost seem boring. I promise that the most surprising thing about your story is just how few surprises there are if you’re really paying attention.

When I got married, I knew, without a doubt that I did not want fighting over finances to be the straw that breaks the camels back. In my mind we were already starting with enough set against success that I didn’t want to make a novice mistake in this area: Finances are very important, but they’re also not that hard.

I signed up for a software called You Need a Budget, and I really connected with their onboarding emails. A part of the strategy they explained was that ‘there are no surprises’: Christmas comes on December 25th every year, the tax man will come knocking and there is no car that doesn’t need new tires every once in a while.

A coworker once told me that he wasn’t surprised when fallen people acted in a fallen way. There are no surprises. Your story is full of sinners, don’t be surprised when they sin.

The most important sinner in your story is you. The protagonist.

Do you know yourself? You can. Are you willing to know and own your faults?

I’ve spent a lot of my life overestimating what I am capable of and feeling shame when I don’t follow through. I’ve lacked in gentleness and hurt people close to me. I had a father who lacked in gentleness and hurt me. I’ve spent a lot of my life ignoring who I was and trying and avoid the worst parts of me. But that doesn’t work.

In 2012 a conference speaker said something that I will never forget “you can only be loved to the extent that you are known”. For God to love what’s broken about you, you have to let Him into what’s broken about you. To let God into your broken places you have to know what they are. You must suffer the dark night of the soul if you hope to finally see the dawn breaking on the horizon.

Your story also has an author. Your stories author has left you not with the full work, but with a fairly lengthy and spoiler ridden trailer for your story. He knows how your story ends, He has shared it with you, and it’s a good ending.

People will be evil, governments will get bigger and more controlling, people will hate Christians, earthquakes will increase, Damascus will be destroyed, Russia, Iran and Turkey will conspire, a second temple will built, the last great war will commence, and then:

Jesus will emerge victorious, the government of the whole world will be on his shoulders, the dead sea will team with life, and you will get to experience not a day less than a 1000 years of this.

I know how my story starts, I’ve got a good grip on what is going to happen in the middle and I know how it ends. This gives me the peace I need to face the impossible day after day.

To know your story there are few disciplines you can pursue

  • Journaling, I recommend that your reflect on and express to yourself your hurts, frustrations, and angers, especially those that happened when you were a child. Some of you may have hurts deeper than you can face on your own, you should find a guide in the form of a counselor or psychologist. Seeking a guide to improve your health should be no more embarrassing than an athlete seeking out a coach to help them take their game to the next level. Everyone of us can be better than we are, the smartest of us will seek help to get there.
  • Read your Bible. I recommend that you read it aloud to yourself. This maximally engages your body in the activity.
  • Memorize Scripture. I use flash cards. Maybe start with just two verses and try to find a time of day, regularly where you review a card. Once you’ve got the first two down add a new one. Keep reviewing. Keep adding. Before you know it your stack will be impressive. Don’t try and review the whole stack every day, it’s unnecessary.
  • Read commentaries and exposition, especially of prophecy. You lack the context of when prophecy was written and you can’t translate the names of places mentioned in the Bible to their current names. God put those spoilers in the Bible for you to know what they mean. They are for your benefit.

Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true. —Joshua 21:45


Implicit in all of this that your peace has nothing to do with your circumstance. It’s a heart issue, and while it’s possible to connect logically and rationally with what I have said, your heart will need some time to accept and internalize this message. Weeks, months, maybe years. I can’t tell you how long it took me, but it wasn’t quick. Which is why you need to practice not shoulding yourself, shabbat, and knowing your story


Thoughts on Veganism

First though, I found my pocket knife again. It was hiding behind my daughters bed. Probably fell out when trying to get her down for a nap one day. It seems to find what’s lost I constantly need to give up on thinking it’s mine…

Anyway, veganism is supposedly a philosophy to do the least amount of animal harm. Aren’t people animals? At a bare minimum? I’ve heard that research indicates (this post is more opinion than research) that in poverty stricken children in Africa, adding milk to their diet increases sociability and adding meat to the diet increases leadership ability. Other research indicates that vegan children are typically 5cm shorter than non-vegan counter parts. There is nutrition that humans need from animal foods that you don’t get from plants, not just B12, but iron, carnitine, creatine, choline and others.

Secondly, what about our pets? Our cats and dogs? They eat meat. I’ve seen it stated that 25% of meat produced goes to pet food. Are we going to raise animals for our pets and deny ourselves that nutrition?

Anyway, I sometimes don’t know what to be against. There is a lot of plant food that tastes really good. But veganism is a bad idea, and so to avoid support of the vegan agenda, I add lard to as many foods as I can and seek out leather and fur products whenever I can see a need.

Circle of life people. Animal husbandry is a key factor in what brought the human race to where we are now.


What’s Going On With Me At Work

My backup server stopped working after a scheduled power outage. I thought we had reached a six sigma situation. Part of my job is to consider how likely things are to happen to determine just how prepared I need to be, the more prepared you need to be, the more money your infrastructure costs.

I had designed our backups to be able to withstand 3 failed hard drives in a span of a week, but now I was seeing abnormalities in 4 hard drives before the server stopped responding. I spent a week trying to revive the 80tb+ of backup data that had accumulated. I was only able to recover 20tb and spent the next week re-generating the rest. For me it was a nail-biter, I don’t like having redundancy that low. 

A month later I realized that the real problem was that the UPS battery was degraded and that the server was entering directly into safety-frozen mode to prevent data-loss should the battery fail which is why the server seemed dead. Facepalm. I was solving the wrong problem.

I am ordering some new UPS’ to replace our current ageing ones.


I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

I’ve been wanting to blog for a while, but having a four-year-old and a four-month-old in the house hasn’t been conducive to the endeavours I wish to embark in.

I’m writing this post because I think some of you might sympathize, and some of you might better understand people like me as a result. I also have another post I want to write that needs this one for a little bit of context.

The other day I was talking with my work appointed psychologist, a person I like and respect, and they asked me if I would be ok with my health as it stands going forward and never improving beyond where I am at. I know myself well enough to know that the answer is ‘heck no!’. I can’t be satisfied with things the way the are. EVER. If my health was the best it ever had been I would still be interested and active in trying to improve it.

But the reality is that it’s not just my health, it’s everything. Heck, it’s because of this nature of mine; a perpetual, insatiable desire to find out how things could be better that got me to Spain in the first place. I could never tell my dad at the time but I was interested in farming before I came to Spain. Working at the John Deere dealership and having numerous relatives and friends in farming I could see an attractive lifestyle in farming. And I promise I am still going to get around to it, I believe in farming as a career choice now more than ever.

None-the-less, as a result of the conversation with my psychologist I wanted to sit down and think about what are the things that I am completely satisfied with: What are the things I have no desire to change in my life right now. I think it’s going to be a short list, but that is what this post is about.

  • My wife. I spent a lot of time researching and exploring options for this category. It was time well spent
  • My masa pancakes recipe, it is perfect
  • My belt. It was a gift from my wife, it’s not special except that it’s real leather, tough and classy enough for just about any ocassion
  • My watch. Another gift from my wife. It’s a Seiko 5 Sports Automatic with a black nylon wrist band, again, tough and classy enough for just about any ocassion
  • My flashlights. One is a little Biolite with USB charging, the other is a super bright Bitfenix
  • My pocket knife, a Leatherman Free T2

And I think that is about it. Everything else in my life I am sure can be improved.

But I lost my pocket knife yesterday, and while I wasn’t interested in improving it, now I have the dilemma of whether to just replace it, or look to the K2 for an improved handle while keeping weight low, the P4 to get a few more tools that really would be handy, or the K4 to get everything I really want at the expense of increased weight, bulk, and price. I am too good at losing things live in my pocket to be excited about spending more money.

In the words of the Rolling Stones, I can’t get no satisfaction.

(But I promise, Carol, wife, I have no thoughts of changing you out for something different)


Caribbean and Back

This picture my wife took. I love it. Sarah and I are feeding the minnows.

We went to visit my dad’s cabin in Belize and got to spend time at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun with family. It was an excellent vacation. I’m too private to want to share faces with the whole internet. If you want a more photos you’ll need to get on my newsletter.

In honour of my dad I finally got the drone he gave me flying again.
All of us on the dock.
My wife took this one. Goodbye caribbean, it was good while it lasted. I wish I had sampled just a little more local coconut rum.

Welcome Jacobo!

Born at 19:42 weighing 3600g and measuring 52cm.

Carol broke water just after 7am, we decided not to take Sarah to school and I am glad we didn’t. Carol finished preparations and had a good long shower. I did a few pre-birth things and took care of Sarah. Everyone knew it would be a hard, long day and that this was a time to eat a good breakfast and take things as easy as possible.

The first midwife showed up around 11:30, shortly after the birth photographer showed up and by noon the second midwife showed up.

The pool was filled and for the next few hours Carol laboured in the water. But by 4pm it was clear that not much progress was being made. Carol, the midwife, gave a stern talk. ‘There is a lack of progress, and that is a reason to move to the hospital’, Carol, my wife, was devastated to hear this.

But there was a second part: ‘The baby is in a good position and there is plenty of room for the baby to come out, we just need to push more effectively’. So Carol was forbidden from the pool and exiled to walk and try using the toilet and the sofa.

Quickly the mood changed.

I saw the midwives getting excited in a way they weren’t previously.

Sarah was restless and while the photographer was doing a good job of keeping Sarah distracted (she had been asking since 12pm why it was taking so long), that wasn’t his job. She hadn’t eaten a meal since breakfast or left the house yet that day.

I called a friend who got Sarah’s music teacher to come by with her boys and take Sarah for a walk to the park. It was good to get her out of the house for a while.

Carol was clearly in pain, but at 6pm the midwives started placing bets as to the minute in which the baby would be born (they were both wrong), this inspired optimism for me. Though Carol says she was dreaming of a c-section at this point.

Sarah got back from the park just in time to see her brother be born!

I was handed Jacobo while the midwives were giving Carol some stitches. Carol lost a lot of blood and spent the night on the same sofa she gave birth on. She fainted when she tried to sit up an hour after birth.

We never ate a meal that day, we all slept by the fire in the living room. Slept is a loose term, I got up when I had business, when Sarah needed attention, when Carol needed help, and when Jacobo needed help. Sarah cried until literally the last second before she was snoring that she didn’t want to sleep.

All told, the home birth experience, attended by professionals, was as good as I could have hoped for. An advantage to the hospital is that the postpartum cleanup is someone else’s job.


Being Loved Doesn’t Always Feel Nice

I have a lot of respect for Russel Brand and Jordan Peterson. I watched the following interview a few weeks back and I just have to say that Russel’s take that we should just indulge Ellen/Elliot Page in her transition demonstrates an incredibly naive concept of love.

I don’t always feel great when my wife points out my faults, but she does because she loves me enough to want something better for me. My daughter doesn’t always like the discipline that I render her, but she knows it’s because I love her.

Being loved doesn’t always feel nice.


Alternative Sourced Video Games

I bought the PC version of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time from the Battle.Net store. I later bought a Steam Deck. I long wanted to play Crash on my Steam Deck, but I couldn’t get it to run past it’s DRM check.

Even more, this games always online DRM, which offers no cloud features; none, zero, zilch, no cloud saves, no online competition, nothing and yet if my session from the internet for more than a few seconds, I am unceremoniously disconnected from the game.

The game was launched on Steam last week and should work on my Steam Deck, even offline. But I already paid for it! And, Steam is basically a game monopoly, I like to support multiple stores.

So after much tinkering I fired up my Tor Browser to peruse alternative installation media sources and quickly found an altered, DRM-free version. It was quick and easy to install on my Steam Deck (the only real troubleshooting is that the audio had defaulted to Russian, which I was able to easily correct).

I’m not a thief who steals things I haven’t pay for, but I have no qualms about procuring DRM-free versions of things that I have paid for. Which makes me frustrated, why is my experience as a paying customer worse than the experience I have as a ‘pirate’?