Dallin Crump


Spoilers ahead!

I'm currently obsessed with the Star Wars TV series Andor. Writing, directing, acting, cinematography, music, story – all brilliant. It resonates with me on many levels. I'm watching the first season for the second time and paying close attention. In Episode 7, Announcement, a conversation between Andor and Maarva got me thinking.

Andor is trying to convince Maarva to leave Ferrix with him.

Maarva: I'm staying.

Cassian: But it's... it's not safe.

Maarva: I know all that.

Cassian: I can't be here. You said it yourself, “It's all come undone.” There's an Imperial barracks on Rix Road.

Maarva: Good luck to them.

Cassian: You wanna live under that?

Maarva: It's happening everywhere.

Cassian: Well, we'll find a place they haven't ruined yet.

Maarva: I'm already there. That place is in my head. They can build as many barracks as they like, they'll never find me.

Cassian: What's left to keep you here?

Maarva: The Rebellion.

Cassian: What?

Maarva: Ferrix has been hiding long enough.

Cassian: So now you're taking on the Empire?

Maarva: Laugh if you want to.

Cassian: Who's laughing? This is madness.

Maarva: No, it's not. It's overdue, and probably doomed, and I'm too old, and I don't care anymore. For 13 years, every time I walk down Rix Road, I turn off before I get to the square. I take the long way around so I don't have to think about Clem hanging there. Then yesterday, I heard about this attack at Aldhani. Have you heard about this?

Cassian: What about it?

Maarva: Well, Bee played me the news. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Cassian: Yeah, yeah, the garrison at Aldhani.

Maarva: I heard that, I put on my best coat, and I walked across the square with a smile on my face. If there are heroes brave enough to take on a whole Imperial garrison, I'm brave enough to stick it out here. I... I don't expect you to understand.

Cassian: Aldhani was just a robbery.

Maarva: People are standing up.

Cassian: Yeah, and getting killed for it.

Maarva: But there's work that will need doing.

Cassian: Yeah? What is that?

Maarva: Whatever it takes. I've been lying around waiting to die long enough.

Cassian: You can't beat them, Maarva.

Maarva: Not if I run away.

In the context of the show, the stakes are much higher than they are in my current reality. But the principle Maarva is trying to teach Cassian rings true for many different circumstances.

Social media has been on my mind a lot lately (and the past several years). I think of how it is being used to exploit and manipulate people. To spread misinformation and hate. Being a peacemaker by nature and one who avoids conflict and toxicity, I have almost completely stopped using the popular social media platforms for anything but a few Facebook groups and the occasional faith-related post.

And now we have a wealthy, power-hungry man (Elon Musk) who has swooped in to purchase Twitter, revoke much of their content moderation standards, including their COVID misinformation policy, and reinstate most accounts that were previously banned for violating those old moderation standards. I haven't used Twitter regularly in years, but the latest news reports claim there has been a notable increase in hate speech and misinformation on the platform.

I have been using Mastodon for the past few years and have witnessed the dramatic surge in people leaving Twitter for the Fediverse over the past couple months. And until very recently, I wondered why anyone who disagrees with what Elon Musk is doing would possibly want to stay on Twitter at this point.

But after watching this episode of Andor again, I think I get it. Even amidst the wave of fascist, racist, hateful, and other toxic content on Twitter, good people I know are staying. They continue to post thoughtful, positive, fun, uplifting content. They continue to post what they believe in the face of all of it. The chance of making a difference for good seems pretty slim right now if good people stay. But there is no chance if they leave.

And what is the result of running away? What is the result of ceding the public square (and for better or worse, Twitter is still an influential space in the public square) to hate and misinformation? And how long can we keep running until there's nowhere else to run?

Maybe instead of running away from Twitter, good, decent people who have had enough of this nonsense should be running towards it.


#100DaysToOffload (No. 71) #TV #tech #SocialMedia

Warning: Andor spoilers ahead!

My favorite TV show of 2022 – and probably my favorite TV show ever – is the Star Wars series Andor. I have been watching its debut season again and loving it even more the second time around. In Episode 5: The Axe Forgets we learn a little more about the beloved character Nemik – a young Rebel idealist who is in it all for the cause – so much so that he creates a Manifesto which is referenced prominently later in the season.

In Ep. 5 we get a taste of Nemik's brilliance in a little exchange he has with Andor:

Nemik tinkers with old navigational device.

Andor: That's an old one.

Nemik: Old and true. And sturdy. One of the best navigational tools ever built. Can't be jammed or intercepted. Something breaks, you can fix it yourself.

Andor: Hard to learn.

Nemik: Yes, but once you've mastered it, you're free. We've grown reliant on Imperial tech, and we've made ourselves vulnerable. There's a growing list of things we've known and forgotten, things they've pushed us to forget. Things like freedom.

This got me thinking: what is the equivalent of “Imperial tech” in our world? And then my mind flashed back to a line from Episode 3:

Luthen: Rule number one, never carry anything you don't control.

If you don't have 100% complete control the computer technology you use – software, hardware, firmware, everything – it's “Imperial tech”. And these days, you have to be very intentional – and give up some conveniences – to completely avoid using Imperial tech.

My iPhone? Textbook definition of Imperial tech. I can't install whatever software I want on it, and I'm completely dependent on Apple for updates and support. Apple (or whoever has the power to influence Apple) have it within their power to render my iPhone completely useless, or worse, use it for nefarious purposes without my knowledge.

My laptop and desktop? They're not Apple products and can run the software of my choosing, but they still have some proprietary (not free-as-in-freedom and open source) firmware. Also, I'm currently running Microsoft Windows 10 on the desktop, which is definitely Imperial tech. My laptop is running Linux (Pop!_OS). Overall they're both still much better than my iPhone, but still technically Imperial tech.

And what about the other computer-related tech in my house? Roku? Amazon Fire TV? Google WiFi mesh routers? Brother laser printer? My car's infotainment system? All Imperial tech.

Just like the protagonists in Andor, we can't completely avoid using Imperial tech. It has become too pervasive and integrated into too many aspects of our lives.

So what can we do? A big step in the right direction is just becoming aware that we're using Imperial tech and how it has made us vulnerable. We can be more intentional about how we use it. And we can seek out and use non-Imperial alternatives whenever possible. Sometimes that means using older tech.

Like Andor said, non-Imperial tech can be hard to learn. It can be less convenient. But like Nemik said, it's usually sturdier, easier to repair, and once you've mastered it, you're free.


#100DaysToOffload (No. 70) #tech #TV #FOSS

My new Andor sticker arrived and it looks great on my laptop!

It's been a long time since I have been really excited about new TV shows, and this year there have been three that I have thoroughly enjoyed:

  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Captain Pike may very well be my favorite Star Trek captain now)
  • Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (a solid 8 out of 10 for this non-die-hard LOTR fan)
  • Andor (my favorite of the three and my favorite Star Wars production ever)

I'll write another post about Andor once the series is through, but suffice it to say, I have enjoyed every moment of it and couldn't resist getting the sticker when I saw it.

There is still room for more stickers! I better get looking.


#100DaysToOffload (No. 53) #tech #hobbies #TV

I accidentally left a Pluto TV stream running overnight (the Judge Judy channel, don't judge me). I don't know what my data cap is with Comcast Xfinity, but I'm probably at risk of hitting it this month. So now seems like a good time to try an experiment. For the remainder of November, I am not going to stream any video or audio for personal use.

With one exception: I am a huge fan of the Star Wars TV series Andor (you need to watch it whether or not you are a Star Wars fan), and I will be streaming that when new episodes are available on Wednesdays. Unfortunately there is no other way to watch it right now and I am too invested in it.

Aside from that single exception, I will be relying on physical media or digital files already on my computer, as well as old-fashioned over-the-air broadcast TV and radio.

Perhaps I will get a little extra reading and music practice in, as well. I just started Book 4 of the Wheel of Time series. And while my clarinet will be in the shop for a few weeks, I have my penny whistles, recorder, and Native American flute!

Can I survive without YouTube and Apple Music??!?

(Yes. Of course.)


#100DaysToOffload (No. 46) #music #TV #movies #tech

I tend to go through phases where I get obsessed with certain things, getting really into them and wanting to learn all I can about them. For my latest obsession of the past couple weeks, I blame Pluto TV.

Pluto TV is a free online video streaming service that works like traditional over-the-air TV in that it has channels and each channel is just a continuous broadcast of content with commercial breaks. You just “tune in” to a Pluto TV channel and watch whatever is on at the time.

When my favorite Star Trek series (TNG, DS9, and VOY) disappeared from Amazon Prime and Hulu, my brother told me there was a Star Trek channel on Pluto TV. I started checking out their other channels and bookmarking a few.

Then I found their Dog the Bounty Hunter channel. I remembered watching and enjoying that show back in the day. So I watched a few episodes and I was hooked (again). It's entertaining. But I also find it uplifting.


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#faith – thoughts related to my religion #tech – self explanatory

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