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The All-Seeing -i-

January 7, 2011 Leave a comment

First of all, I’m excited that Charles Tirrell of Masonic Renaissance has found the time and inclination to get back into blogging. Charles was my counterpart District Grand Lecturer in the New Haven part of the state, then moved on to be an Associate Grand Marshall, and I now see that in April he will be the District Deputy in that area. I extend my heartfelt congratulations, and I know that he’ll do an excellent job.

I like Charles; he’s young and progressive minded, and he’s the kind of person I have in mind whenever I hear the (sadly clichéed) expression “The future of Masonry.” Charles has consistently pushed for our Grand Lodge to adopt new technologies in order to reach — and be relevant to — the newer members of our fraternity. He’s bright, and well-spoken, and modest about his achievements.

And he prefers Apple computer products.

Apparently, I have so little going on in my own life right now that I have taken to ribbing friends about their choice of technology, much in the way many people poke fun at one’s favorite sports team, choice of automobile, or taste in literature. This ribbing is further driven by the fact that for the last year, my office and home networks have been plagued by more computer problems than I’ve ever seen; obviously I’m envious of anyone who is actually happy with their computer, and confess to some distrust at anyone who doesn’t have some anger, annoyance, or irritation with their gadgets.

To his credit, Charles has refused to take the troll bait; although for that matter, I don’t particularly think about Apple products except when I hear from him or a few other similarly inclined friends.

Until yesterday, that is.

Some of you may remember that last year I wrote a post that made light of the similarities between Freemasonry and the GNU/Linux community. I should have remembered that satire is based in reality.

Yesterday, while reading Lifehacker, I ran across a couple of articles about how Apple is introducing a new way to get software, entitled respectively, Why the Mac App Store Sucks, and Why You Might Really Like the Mac App Store In The Long Run. And suddenly, the pictures jumped out at me. Why?

Here’s the logo for the Mac App Store:

There's something oddly familiar about this design...

Umm… does this look familiar to you?

For reference, here’s a couple of random images from a Google image search.

A Past Master’s symbol from some areas of the world.

An older, lesser known version

I mean, of all the possible combinations that the graphic artists could come up with, they riff on the Square and Compasses?

Coincidence? I think not.

Although I’ve long explored the twisted logic of the conspiracy theorists, I don’t have any background with regard to the twisted logic of Apple users. I believe, however, that this bears looking into.

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Cable Tow / Support Line

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

You know how you’re just derping along, reading a book, watching a movie, or driving down the street, when suddenly you notice something that makes you wonder if there’s any underlying meaning behind it?

Conspiracy theorists have a lot to worry about, what with Lady Gaga using the pop media to send Illuminati signals, and with 33 miners being brought from darkness to light, and all that. Now they have to worry about the link between Freemasons and GNU/Linux.

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Toon Credit: http://xkcd.com
A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

being brought to li…

December 16, 2009 1 comment

I’d heard about it over the years but never gave it much thought. Unlike some people who had friends or relatives already into it, I got into it after picking up a little bit here and there, and finally developing enough interest to really look into it.

There were a ton of books on it, and I picked up a few at the library, then perused bookstores for more current information. Eventually I turned to the internet, where I found a wealth of information. My problem then became more one of how to figure out which websites were going to be useful.

After many long hours at various websites – both pro and con – I began to get a better idea. My next step was to haunt the web forums and bulletin boards where I could see discussions, and ask questions. I had a lot of questions, but I discovered that sometimes it was difficult to get answers; at least, answers that satisfied my curiousity. It didn’t dawn on me until later that this was probably because I was still looking in from the outside; some questions can only be answered from experience.

But I did discover some things. There’s an entire culture built around it, and it seems that almost everybody else who was in it had a different idea of what it was, or what it should be. I continued to study, though, and eventually decided to get into it myself. I hadn’t planned any huge commitment, at least, not at first. But I finally figured that I simply wasn’t going to understand it any better until I gave it a shot.

The online communities were a big help, although I did discover that just like any other interest group, there were some “old timers” who had been into it from “back in the old days” and always maintained some attitude about how things were better, and how much harder they had to work, and how the new guys have it is easy, and how they had to walk to school in their bare feet in a blizzard, etc., etc. I guess their underlying message was “we were here first, and that makes us better than you.” I saw how this put off some others, but I persevered.

Interestingly, I discovered that there were many schisms and splits over the years, and even though they seem to share the same general philosophy, the various groups seem to snipe at each other, and spare no words in describing how their version is better. Even though it was obvious which group was bigger and more wide-spread, I still fail to see why there is so much animosity.

But once I made my decision, I discovered that there were many, many more people online who were only too happy to help, to give me some ideas and pointers, and to take the time to direct me toward even more information. And the neat thing is that I continue to ask questions, because once I think I’ve figured out one area, I realize how much more of it there is to understand. I have no idea how some people can take in all there is to it.

And here’s the weird thing: once I decided to get into it, I began to notice more instances of it in my daily life. Being more attuned, I discovered people who were into it, and I saw signs and expressions all over the place. I had no idea that it was so widely known, and it has turned into a game for me, seeing how many signs I can spot in unexpected areas.

I also noticed that there are peculiar signs and tokens, not to mention a huge syntax – a vocabulary that is used by those who are into it. The words are either unfamiliar, or familiar, but made strange because of the context. Figuring that out became another fun game, but worthwhile, too, as it helped me to figure out how things are put together. And of course, there are purists who insist that the usages have to be exactly a certain way, or it’s not right.

And as I use the various tools that I’ve learned about, I become more aware of the philosophy behind them, and how all of these things fit together to help me be more productive in my craft.

Yes, it took a while, but I’m into it, now. I’ve even made a point of being more open about it, both at home and at work. People ask me questions, and I try to answer them without sounding too pushy. A few of them are thinking about getting into it, themselves.

Yes, I’m very happy that I finally got into it. In fact, now I wonder what took me so long to finally get around to using Linux.

What’s that?

Linux. It’s an Open Source operating system for PCs. I installed Linux on my home PC and now I’m running it at work, too.

Yes, this is about my computer.

Why, what did you think I was writing about?

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