Why I didn’t vote

I guess you may not be surprised to find someone with a blog titled “apathy online” didn’t vote. But my non-vote had nothing to do with apathy or laziness. Voting in this country is a huge mess of nonsense at this point, but here is what it really is, in no particular order. These reasons stem from me considering myself a Christian, and desiring to live according to Christ’s teachings, namely, “… Love one another …” I’ll add verse references later perhaps. I’ve been extremely busy not being lazy, but I’m sure you are intelligent enough to find what I’m alluding to. Even Jesus didn’t use Bible verses. 😉

  • I am not just voting for me. I would never be voting for someone to be ‘my president,’ I would be voting for someone to be your president too. It’s a moot point if you are participating by voting also — participating in the game means you agree to the rules and outcome. What about the people who don’t participate or can’t participate for whatever reason?
    Should I be participating in a schoolyard game that enforces it’s rules on those who don’t play? Isn’t that what bullies do? Does that demonstrate love?
  • My vote makes me responsible in a way for what I vote for. It would be an endorsement for the actions of a particular candidate. I am saying, “I want this.” When I voted in 2004, I voted for Bush. I was saying “I want George Bush as my President.” And back then I did. And I got what I wanted: a horrible person was given power to do horrible things in my name. In 2008, I decided I would vote my ideals, and voted for Chuck Baldwin (who was even endorsed by Ron Paul). I wanted Chuck Baldwin. And Chuck Baldwin turned out to be fascist leaning.
    In light of the previous point, should I really be trying to force my neighbor to be under Bush? Under Baldwin? Under Obama? Under Romney? If I am opposed to the ideas of a candidate, should I be endorsing that candidate?
  • The American system is not the best thing ever, oorah. The American system is based on violence. The government tells the people what to do, and enforces those dictates with threats of violence. Practically speaking, that’s just how it works. It’s just dressed up to look civilized and nice.
    Worse still, many people, thinking this is okay, try to use that violence for their own means, using the state, and voting to command things over their peers. This isn’t just an Obama thing. This isn’t just a GOP thing. We have a culture where it’s perfectly acceptable to use violence to get our way, and we rationalize it by abstracting the instruments of violence away. We vote to raise taxes, vote to ban ‘drugs,’ give away land, etc. And in the end, all these things we legislate on our neighbors and fellow Americans is backed by threats of violence, usually via arrest. Is this something I should contribute to? Did Christ say I should participate in violently forcing my neighbor to do anything? Should I be endorsing a system of neighborly oppression by my participation?
  • Christs kingdom is not of this world. Jesus wasn’t partisan. He did not root for the Romney of the Roman Empire. He didn’t cheer the Obama either. And when the people ‘voted’ to make Him ruler, He didn’t want any part of it.
  • God didn’t want insertCandidateName to be president. There is a horrible presumption in modern Christianity that God want’s X candidate to be elected, therefore Christians must rise up and vote for God’s chosen person. A person that shares God’s values and is a ‘Christian.’ Usually this person argues for killing in Christ’s name, stealing in Christ’s name and oppressing in Christ’s name.
    And the church says that it is God’s candidate? Isn’t this blasphemy/taking Christ’s name in vain? Didn’t anyone learn anything from the history of the crusades, manifest destiny and other horrible actions that were labeled “of God?”

I’m sure there are valid reasons for voting, however, the above is why I did not and will not vote. These are not excuses for “laziness.” Instead of participating in voting to change the world, I’ve decided to work outside of that: real work, and not just donating to causes I like. There really is an entire world outside of the political landscape that gets neglected. Your neighborhood, your family and friends are all in your sphere of influence. You can be a friend. You can help others instead of demanding that others help. You can use your time and money towards causes as you see fit without forcing others to join you.

The only people that get ‘it’ are Apple and Amazon

Apple’s strategy seems to be investing in a few features that matter, and blowing it out of the park when they are released. They focus on ways to improve user experience and For example: Retina displays. Manufacturers kept trying to improve screen size and resolution, and then Apple trumped it all when they introduced the Retina display. Now you can’t really compete w/o offering as good a ppi on your LCD’s. And you also can’t practically compete by offering a higher one (looking at you RIM), because you can’t reasonably tell the difference. You are reduced to hoping your customers are idiots if you do this.

Combine this with very good UI/UX (mostly UX, and it could be better, but it seems no one wants to go there) and you have the current situation of an almost unbeatable device with everyone else fighting for second place. Who cares if Android can do “everything and anything,” if I am slowed down by its UI, or it works inconsistently. An android phone/tablet’s only markets are: budget purchases, people who don’t have an iPhone, and people that don’t mind dealing with Android just to have a specific feature they actually need, or just to not have an iPhone. Is Android taking market share? Perhaps, but I suspect only related to those three sections.

Apple’s recent switch to selling yesterday’s hardware at a lower cost isn’t helping the competition much either. They release a new plate of devices at intervals while killing the previous models. That means there are no new, cheaper devices on the market for that company. Apple will sell you a new yesterday iPhone, at a cheaper price, and support it.

Amazon recently has ‘gotten it’ as far as customer experience goes. They provide excellent services that tie-in to their Kindles, support the older hardware, with the bonus of doing it cheaply. Since Amazon sells services, they can afford to subsidize the hardware with the intention of adding additional subscribers. They also sell a specific user experience: convenient and pleasant reading (and more recently, additional Amazon services).

What do competitors offer against these two other than catching up? Almost nothing. They add features, but only as growing lists in hopes that people will buy the device that has the largest one. Perhaps this is the reason every eReader is a Kindle for some people. And every tablet is an iPad. And every smartphone is an iPhone.

Get a job, get another job

Saw this map on Facebook:

Really highlights how insane the cost of living is. But the solution is not as simple as increase minimum wage or getting another job. In many of these areas, price wages are also depressed. So, purchase using minimum wage as a measurement for this does at least make some sense. And the stats are depressing. A dad cannot ever hope to see his child during waking hours in some of these states. And in some of these states you may not even be physically able to work enough hours to pay rent. But people comfortable with their nice paying jobs will never understand this.

No good deed goes unpunished: Cease and Desists from Christian Boer

A few months back, I decided to try to create an open-source and free font for dyslexic readers (OpenDyslexic). Back when it was in its infancy, I got an email from Christian Boer. My first thought was, “Oh cool! It’s Christian Boer! That’s freaking awesome!!!!”

But, it wasn’t an awesome email. It was a cease and desist. Legal threats are not awesome. And making threats of violence against others to prevent competition is not very nice. It’s really just preventing others from filling a gap in the market. And, if his work is really high quality work, he shouldn’t have to resort to threatening me to succeed. He would succeed without them. I don’t like seeing legal threats happen to others, and I really, really did not like it happening to me. His demands were also unreasonable. He wanted me to pull my typeface off websites I didn’t control.

Why did I continue working on it? The great positive feedback from people who liked my work. And I’m sure my work is why he’s now added an italic version to Dyslexie (see, I did have a positive impact on his life).

Funny thing is, back at this stage, much of the font was still Bitstream-Vera-Sans, and his proof of my “infringement” included a Bitstream character (see PDF he attached: image dyslexie regular open dyslexic).

In anycase, while I did recommend the purchase of dyslexie to others at one point, I stopped after these emails. If you do wish to purchase a font, I instead recommend Gill-Dyslexic, which is also a very nice typeface, and has a monospace version for all you terminal junkies and coders :). Also, his price is very reasonable (Gill Dyslexic is $20 ea., which is quite possibly MORE than reasonable. It’s a bargain as far as typefaces are concerned. Dyslexie is a few hundred Euros with the license forcing the user to be a snitch — at least for the least restrictive license). He also never once threatened me for making something similar. He did at one point say that there is a reason a typeface has a price, and it’s true. He is able to put a lot more work into his typeface, and it does show. I’m still working on mine after a year, and can only afford to work on it during whatever free time I can afford to schedule, which isn’t much. I have, at any given point, 3 jobs I’m working on.

Anyway, here are the emails:

From: Christian Boer
Date: Jan 16, 2012 9:29 AM
Subject: studiostudio / typeface dyslexie regular copyright
To: [email protected]

Hello Abelardo Gonzalez,

I have noticed that the font: open-dyslextic
found on the location:
presents an infringement on my copyrights of the font: Dyslexie regular
registered in 2008
The font ‘Dyslexia regular’ and ‘Dyslexia bold’ are protected by
copyright and belong to my intellectual property rights.
It is clear to me that you have looked at Dyslexie regular to made the
font open-dyslextic

I have made a overview and attach to this mail of open-dyslextic and
Dyslexie regular for you to see that it clearly presents an infringement
on the copyright of Dyslexie regular.

I hope this notice is sufficient to remove the font immediately and
stop any other infringement at once. I expect a response within 48 hours


My response:

I received your request to remove the content. Because US copyright
law specifically excludes typefaces, therefore this is not infringing,
and I respectfully decline to comply with your request to remove the

-Abelardo Gonzalez

And his final response: I just stopped replying after this point:

Hello Abelardo Gonzalez,

The software associated with the font in the USA already protected.
It is not clear why you as Spanish designer relies on U.S. law.
Because you have copy it in Spain and offers the copied work in Spain and other countries where the copyright law is applied, so your are in infringement.
So with the above arguments I ask you again to remove the font in 24 hours from now otherwise i need to turn to a lawyer.
Do not get me wrong if you want to do something to help people with dyslexia, its no problem, but if you copy work/design directly
it is wrong and you know that. I think your are cleaver enough to think of an own idea and design to do that.

Both emails he sent to me ended with his super-huge signature:

Met vriendelijke groet,
Yours sincerely,

Christian Boer

Prinses Margrietlaan 330
3708WH Zeist
The Netherlands

T: +31 (0)30 -87 92 396
M: +31 (0)6 – 23 23 46 60

skype: studiostudio.nl

Kvk: 30244054
Btw: NL 126441686B01

Het lettertype ‘Dyslexie regular’ en ‘Dyslexie bold’ zijn beschermd
wereldwijde copyrights en intellectuele rechten. Het reproduceren en/of
distribueren van niet geautoriseerde kopieën is een overtreding van het
internationale copyright en is ten strengste verboden zonder
toestemming van de copyright eigenaar Christian Theo Boer, eigenaar
van studiostudio (Kvk: 30244054; btw: NL 126441686B01).

The font ‘Dyslexia regular’ and ‘Dyslexia bold’ are protected by
copyright and intellectual property rights. The reproduction and /
or distribute unauthorized copies is a violation of the international
copyright and is strictly prohibited without written permission from
the copyright owner Christian Theo Boer, owner of studio studio
(Commerce: 30244054, VAT: NL126441686B01).

De informatie in dit e-mailbericht en eventuele bijlagen is
en is alleen bestemd voor de beoogde ontvanger(s). Indien u dit bericht
ten onrechte heeft ontvangen, wordt u verzocht de verzender daarvan
in kennis te stellen en het bericht te vernietigen. Het is niet
de hierin opgenomen informatie op welke wijze dan ook te gebruiken
of openbaar te maken.

The information contained in this e-mail, including possible
is confidential and is solely for the use of the intended recipient(s).
Should you have received this e-mail unintentionally you are then
to inform the sender and to destroy the message. It is prohibited to
or disclose the information this message contains in whatsoever way.

Societal Requirements on Daddies

Life is already difficult. But when you become a dad, there’s things you have to do, and things society expects you to do. And the unfortunate thing is, when society expects something from you, there are consequences for not living up to those expectations. Luckily I have a good wife, and that makes things easier.

As a dad, there are things I want to do. I want to spend time with my family. I also want to make sure I provide for them. When times are tough, this means I need to work extra hard make sure my family has what they need. Unfortunately, this also means I spend less time with them while I try to make sure they can eat. I feel like my kid has only 1 parent sometimes: his mom. In any case, here is what I hear, as a dad from others, on a regular basis on how I should run my life. These people (many without children), know exactly what I should be doing. It’s great to be surrounded by know-it-alls:

  • Get a job lazy! I have a job. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this.
  • Get a second job! I have a second job you dolt.
  • Get a better job! Do you think I sit on my hands all day?
  • Put your kid in daycare and let your wife get a job! Great, BOTH our paychecks can go towards daycare, and instead of having just 1 defacto parent, my kid can have a whopping 0.
  • Use government assistance to pay for daycare! In case you haven’t noticed, I have a strong moral objection to using violent monopolies. Sure, I’ve paid into it, but I’d rather minimize my involvement with such entities for moral and non-of-your-business type reasons.
  • You need to be there for your kid! Work less hours and spend more time with him! My idea of spending time with my kid isn’t holding him while he starves. Longer workdays until I find something better. drinks coffee
  • You should pray about it! Every morning. Any more suggestions to do things I’m already doing?
  • I’ll pray for you That’s great. You wouldn’t happen to know anyone hiring, would you?
  • You should ditch your cell phone/stop buying computer stuff/get a cheaper cell phone plan/something else here. Seriously? My cellphone plan with unlimited data is cheaper than most voice-only plans. Most of my equipment was cheap/free, and to top it off, it’s all necessary for the work I do, and am getting into. It pays for itself and then some.

Some people just don’t understand how difficult it is to do everything I need to do with multiple jobs that don’t pay well, a kid in need of frequent surgeries, out of state, all out of pocket (to be fair, the doctor would have been doing it for free and I would need to pay for everything else. This would be fine except the hospital staff is full of people who can’t keep anything straight, and insisted on us paying for everything upfront with the possibility of a refund). I fill my schedule with work to pay for this, medical bills, food, rent, etc.

Put very simply, it feels like drowning. It feels like I’ve been shoved off a boat with concrete boots, and I can’t get a decent job locally (True, I should have moved somewhere with an actual city.) And it’s great that people like to give us money; the fundraiser for the previous trip to Maryland was an incredible success. But it’d be even better if I just had a job.

Or more clients. The positive side to all of this is that “expensive phone” and “expensive computer (that I didn’t buy)” have really helped in getting jobs outside of the 9-5 world. And the work from just two days usually equals my weekly take-home pay. The downside is that I just can’t find enough of these… yet. I also probably should start charging for my iPhone apps at some point.