Dallin Crump

life

This morning we were greeted with a stunning explosion of orange, pink, and grey in the sky as the sun prepared to rise over Bear River Range.

I might have missed it, if not for my wife and I leaving about a quarter to 8 to go to the Logan Utah Temple. We literally walked out our front door to this marvelous display.

The vivid colors only lasted a few minutes. It reminded me that precious, meaningful moments in life often come unannounced and can be fleeting. We must hold onto them and keep them alive in our minds and hearts. If we do, we can go back in time and live in those moments whenever we want.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 31) #life #Utah

I've been living in northern Utah for nearly 10 years, but I'm a native of Phoenix, Arizona. Despite the gorgeous colors, I have come to dread Fall because it means that months of bitter cold are ahead.

During those months, most of the time my hands and feet are always cold. I guess I have poor circulation or not enough insulation (fat) there. I wear slippers around the house and hoodies with front pockets to warm my hands.

I usually have to use a little space heater for a bit to warm up my home office in the morning. And sometimes again in the afternoon. Being on the north end of the house, it tends to be colder than other areas this time of year. Sometimes, if I just can't seem to warm up my hands or feet, I'll also heat up a rice bag.

My wife, on the other hand, loves the cold and looks forward to this time of year. During the summer she's pretty miserable and feels like she can never get cool enough. So I guess we balance each other out in that way. And I guess it's good that we live in an area with four distinct seasons, so we each have something to look forward to.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 27) #life #Utah

I recently read an excellent article by Shannon Valor: We used to get excited about technology. What happened?

She starts by sharing an experience she had where she was scrolling through her Twitter feed, but soon realizes she is feeling a heaviness in the pit of her stomach and not having a good time. About this she writes:

I recognized the feeling and I knew its name. It was resignation—that feeling of being stuck in a place you don’t want to be but can’t leave. I was struck by the irony that I studied technology my whole life in order to avoid this kind of feeling. Tech used to be my happy place.

The entire article is worth reading. It really resonated with me and got me thinking.

I know Richard M. Stallman (RMS) is a controversial figure. Some things he says I take with a grain of salt or disregard out-of-hand. But when it comes to the state of technology today, a lot of what he says makes sense.

When speaking of the people who avail themselves of the “services” of Facebook, RMS often refers to them as “useds”, not users, because Facebook is using them.

This concept of customers being “useds” applies to any tech company that is monetizing the personal information and behaviors of its customers and/or putting the interests of shareholders ahead of its customers. In other words, the customers of any tech company that is going beyond simply providing a product or service, but actively preying upon and exploiting its own customers for financial gain, can justifiably be referred to as “useds”.

For companies like Google, Facebook (Meta), and Amazon, who have business models built around the surveillance economy, the more information they collect about every possible aspect of everyone on the planet, not just their own customers, the more money they make.

For companies like Apple, who have focused on hardware-software lock-in and high hardware profit margins, the harder they make it for their devices to be customer-repaired, the more difficult they make it for their products to be cross-compatible with other hardware and software outside of their own ecosystem, the more money they make.

Most of the personal tech “innovations” by these companies over the past decade have been focused first and foremost on expanding the reach and scope of surveillance and pulling customers deep into proprietary hardware and software ecosystems to lock them in and maximize opportunities to monetize them. Providing a better experience for the customer for the customer's sake is always secondary to increasing profit and pleasing shareholders.

Take, for example, the removal of the 3.5mm audio jack on smartphones. Whatever the marketing materials may claim, this move was never in the best interest of the users useds. Claims of having no room for it or that it prevents water-proofing are downright false. It was a blatant money grab. Dongles and wireless earbuds/headphones bring in more money than continuing to support a perfectly functional, decades-old universal audio connection standard. And they never, ever mention the fact that when the batteries in wireless earbuds/headphones inevitably fail and when dongles wear out, they end up as yet more harmful and unnecessary e-waste. But who cares about providing flexible options for the customer and reducing e-waste when AirPods are selling like hotcakes and the shareholders are happy, right?

Alas, I rant, yet I continue to use the products and services of these companies. Why? Because they have become so enmeshed with modern society – the way we work, communicate, interact with businesses, etc. – that to forsake and reject these exploitative technologies is to live as a technological hermit, effectively isolating myself from the rest of the world. (Ironically, and tragically, despite all the social media platforms out there, despite all of the opportunities to connect and interact with others in ways only dreamed of 20 years ago, more of us are feeling more socially isolated than ever before. Just type “social media social isolation” into your favorite search engine to read about all kinds of studies that have been done on the topic.)

I'm still trying to find my way through all of this. At times, I feel like going completely in one direction or the other – completely embracing big tech or completely embracing FOSS (free-as-in-freedom and open source software) – but neither extreme is desirable. So I try to find a balance and press forward. I'll have to somehow deal with that heaviness in the pit of my stomach, that feeling of resignation that Shannon Vallor wrote about. Because, like it or not, I'm being taken advantage of by big tech. I'm stuck in a place I don't really want to be, but can't leave. I'm not a tech user, I'm a used.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 26) #tech #life #socialmedia

This image was generated by DALL-E prompt “A painting of a cosmic vending machine in the style of Michelangelo”.

Today I had the opportunity to participate in a good Elders Quorum lesson and discussion about a talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson called Our Relationship With God. The entire talk is worth reading and studying, but a favorite passage of mine reads:

Some misunderstand the promises of God to mean that obedience to Him yields specific outcomes on a fixed schedule. They might think, “If I diligently serve a full-time mission, God will bless me with a happy marriage and children” or “If I refrain from doing schoolwork on the Sabbath, God will bless me with good grades” or “If I pay tithing, God will bless me with that job I’ve been wanting.” If life doesn’t fall out precisely this way or according to an expected timetable, they may feel betrayed by God. But things are not so mechanical in the divine economy. We ought not to think of God’s plan as a cosmic vending machine where we (1) select a desired blessing, (2) insert the required sum of good works, and (3) the order is promptly delivered.

God will indeed honor His covenants and promises to each of us. We need not worry about that. The atoning power of Jesus Christ—who descended below all things and then ascended on high and who possesses all power in heaven and in earth—ensures that God can and will fulfill His promises. It is essential that we honor and obey His laws, but not every blessing predicated on obedience to law is shaped, designed, and timed according to our expectations. We do our best but must leave to Him the management of blessings, both temporal and spiritual.

(Emphasis mine)

I can't really add anything to this or to the rest of Elder Christofferson's talk, other than to say: I know this is true. None of us are exempt from trials and sorrow in this life, even when we're trying to live righteously. We must trust in God and in His purposes and timing.


#100DaysToOffload (No. 25) #Christianity #ChurchofJesusChrist #life

I enjoy writing letters. I also enjoy receiving them. Emails and texts have their place, but they can never take the place of letters, postcards, and greeting cards.

There is something special about receiving tangible correspondence from another person. If it is hand-written, it's even more special. Handwriting is imbued with one's personality and style. Getting a letter from someone means they took the time to sit down and type or write something especially for you. It means that of all the things they could have been thinking and doing, their thoughts and actions in that moment were focused on you. That is no small thing, for the most precious and valuable commodity we have in this mortal phase of our existence is time.

Five years ago, I conducted an experiment wherein I resolved to write a letter by hand to someone every single day for one month. I enjoyed it so much I think I ended up doing it for two or three months. In addition to writing letters to friends, family, and neighbors, a great help in accomplishing my goal was my discovery of The World Needs More Love Letters (moreloveletters.com).

The World Needs More Love Letters (TWNMLL) organizes letter-writing campaigns for people in need of love, hope, and encouragement. Usually, these people have experienced or are in the midst of tremendous adversity and trials in their lives. I've sent several letters to people through TWNMLL. It's so great to see their blog posts about the reactions and experiences of those receiving the letters. It makes a difference for good in their lives.

There are other ways to write letters to people you don't know. Assisted living and retirement homes often accept letters for their residents. Many people who live in such facilities are terribly lonely and a letter from someone – anyone – can do so much good. I've also heard stories about people leaving hopeful, uplifting letters in public places – usually outdoor common areas or public transportation – to be found by others. Though I have not done this, myself, I think it's a fun idea and might try it in the future.

Whether a friend or a stranger, never underestimate the power of a thoughtful letter to bring peace and hope to someone's life at just the right moment.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 22) #life #intentionism #charity

I was recently watching the film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and was struck by this observation:

Galadriel: Why the halfling? Gandalf: I don't know. Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found it is the small things – everyday deeds of ordinary folk – that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.

Imagine how different the world would be if more of us focused on the small things. Everyday deeds, simple acts of kindness and love. Less “do what makes you happy” and more “do what makes your neighbor happy”. Doing so out of genuine concern for others, not doing it for the Gram (for social media content).

Joseph B. Wirthlin once shared the following story:

[A]n elderly man and woman ... had been married for many decades. Because the wife was slowly losing her sight, she could no longer take care of herself the way she had done for so many years. Without being asked, the husband began to paint her fingernails for her.

“He knew that she could see her fingernails when she held them close to her eyes, at just the right angle, and they made her smile. He liked to see her happy, so he kept painting her nails for more than five years before she passed away.”

That is an example of the pure love of Christ. Sometimes the greatest love is not found in the dramatic scenes that poets and writers immortalize. Often, the greatest manifestations of love are the simple acts of kindness and caring we extend to those we meet along the path of life.

How do we keep at bay the gathering darkness we see in our world? Be kind. Serve. Love one another.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 20) #life #Christianity #movies

I have always known the importance of keeping a personal journal or diary. But for four decades of mortal life thus far, my journal keeping has been sparse.

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A principle is “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.”

We all have deeply-held principles by which we live our lives. Some of those principles may be innate – a part of us as long as we can remember. Some principles were taught to us by our parents or families. Other principles we adopt throughout our lives as we learn and grow.

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I enjoy reading biographies, especially of people who have overcome tremendous challenges and done something good and meaningful with their lives.

Most recently, I have read a couple of memoirs by Duane “Dog” Chapman, famously known as Dog the Bounty Hunter.

As I was reading these books, for some reason I kept pondering the idiom:

Can't see the forest for the trees.

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Topics of Focus

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

Other Topics

#100DaysToOffload #accessories #automobiles #books #business #charity #Christianity #Christmas #ChurchOfJesusChrist #climate #COVID19 #DigitalMinimalism #EveryDayCarry #eWaste #family #FOSS (free-as-in-freedom and open source software) #gratitude #haiku #health #hobbies #HomeOffice #humor #intentionism #LessConvenient #life #media #misc #movies #music #nostalgia #planning #poetry #politics #privacy #prophets #retro #smartphones #SocialMedia #travel #TV #unity (not the game engine) #Utah #writing