• 0 Posts
Joined 11 months ago
Cake day: July 14th, 2023

  • It’s usually a place where you’re not bombarding your brain with stimulation all the time, so your brain tries to use the downtime to work with all the information you’ve been putting into it.

    This is actually a big part of learning anything, called diffused learning. Think of how you suddenly get something after a period of rest or not doing anything, some time after you’ve initially focused on a thing for some time - your brain has actually been using the downtime to structure the data and make better sense of it.

    This is also why a lot of people that know how a human brain works suggest mediation and walks, especially without listening to music or podcasts, as well as spending little to no time reading, watching or stimulating your brain in any other way before bed. It needs that time, it’s crucial for development. Journaling helps here, too, because it’s both reflection and somewhat of a downtime.

    Doing chores and not listening to anything counts, too.

    But it’s all easier said than done in this age of constant hunt for one’s attention so they spend more time on your app, giving you more data to sell and more metrics to make the line go up (gotta keep the investors and stakeholders happy, can’t afford to not show constant growth).

  • There are a lot of things illegal in Ukraine that are weird. One is dual citizenship;

    Ukraine is, unfortunately, hardly a special case in that regard.

    Looking at the most “powerful” passports around the world, you’ll see that most of them tend to follow the same restriction, although some more exceptions, whether perfectly legal or just people being more laid-back.

    I have no idea since when the same restriction is in place for the Ukrainian passport, but it would make sense to me if they imposed it after deciding to join the EU. Maybe without it, there would be a greater number of people potentially reaping the benefits of holding a member passport without having to contribute much?

    I’m just grasping straws here, really.

  • It’s probably a very late response, but I’ll still leave it if you want it.

    I honestly don’t know what typical quality of live is or was ever has been. From my very own experience of someone who’s making damn good money - not crazy good money, but damn good - I can tell you that life has gotten much more expensive. My lifestyle is something I think many people would consider enviable, because my expenses mostly come down to food and rent, with a lot of disposable income that, to my shame, is getting disposed all right.

    Being a bit of a dreamer, I often imagine purchasing some stuff like real estate or a car because I’ve switched my lifestyle, or just pretend to be preparing to replace some things in my life. During these times, I look at the prices, and since that had already happened before time and time again, I can tell that the prices for everything have increased dramatically.

    The prices, though, are one thing: what’s more is the fact that the salaries haven’t increased for most people, of course, and the ruble itself has plummeted down, devaluing everyone’s salaries basically. The people who get paid in dollars or euros directly or simply receive equivalent sums in rubles are much better off on paper, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that the economy isn’t doing well for the people; I don’t really think it’s doing well for the military either, to be honest.

    Now, there’s no empty shelves or any kind of shortages that you would notice in your regular life, but I’m saying this because I’m not in the market for anything that’s now gone for decades, I believe. For example, various medications are either unaffordable now or are completely absent, with some substitutes taking their place; unfortunately, I don’t know nearly enough as to tell you more here.

    Another thing that’s definitely taken a hit is choice: there’s simply much less stuff to choose from now all across the market. That being said, there are some alternatives that have attempted to take the places of the goods that had left the market, but that cannot be said about every niche - and even more importantly, often you can’t say the substitutes have the same quality as their predecessors, on multiple levels ranging from sheer product quality to support and service.

    The weird conclusion is that it’s kinda difficult to say that the country is on the brink of collapse, but you definitely can’t say that the sanctions haven’t done any damage to the economy and the quality of life here. The consequences, in my opinion, have been far from intended nonetheless, mostly because there are some aspects of dealing with Putin in particular and Russia as a whole that the people establishing and trying to enforce these sanctions simply couldn’t have anticipated; to be fair, many people within Russia or deeply associating themselves with Russia couldn’t have anticipated those aspects to play, for the lack of a better word, well in this situation.

    Things are very complicated and difficult to forecast when it comes to such a scale, I believe.

  • Not to mention Valve’s effort with Proton, allowing non-Windows gamers enjoy what they pay for on multiple platforms with great ease; their efforts have been massive for gaming on Linux, and without it, I wouldn’t have paid for a lot of games, earning their developers a whole lot of absolutely nothing.

    Also the community hub, the workshop, the review system, the cloud saving, the functional wishlist, the gifting system, the shopping cart, the anti-cheat (you’re better of with it than without it), the discovery queue, the sales dedicated to specific types of games that actually help people discover games and drive the revenue up for the developers, the (I think) complete transaction history, the refunds system, the friends and the chat and profiles - and probably many more things that I’m either not aware of or couldn’t list off the tip of my tongue, combined with internal works that, again, do help the devs in the end.

    Steam is much more than a place where one pays for a game to then simply download and play it. It’s much greater and more functional than that. None of the developers have to put their games on Steam - nobody forces Epic Games Store or GOG to be this subpar in comparison. Same way nobody forces gamers to use Steam. People use Steam because they love it - or because there’s no good-enough alternative, but that’s hardly Valve’s fault.

    Steam charging 30% is not just worth it, but also surprising, given what putting your game on Steam gets you as the developer, and what it gets us, the players.

  • You can always dual-boot, i.e. have both Windows and Linux… or multiple Linux installations, if you please.

    Start with Linux Mint for greater stability and familiarity. Soon enough you’ll learn that distributions are basically fancy pre-packaged collections and configurations of mostly the same applications (they’re also called packaged), which should make choosing your distribution a bit easier. There are differences, of course, but you’ll need a deeper knowledge and more of a nuanced list of requirements before it starts to matter much, so don’t stress about comparing them and choosing “the best” for you - you’ll always be able to switch the entire distribution or reconfigure your own to fit your specific needs surprisingly easily.

  • Great questions, thank you. I’ll try my best to stick to the point and provide answers that don’t span paragraphs. I’ve already been accused of my very typical Russian tendency to write out lengthy sentences here.

    What is your experience when talking to other people about your opinion? Do you think twice talking about that topic?

    I think much more than twice before I indicate my position towards Putin, his government, or the war whenever I’m not talking to people I know I can trust. As important as it feels to “spread the word”, it’s just not safe to be display disloyalty towards the regime: some may tell the police about you (sometimes deliberately exaggerating to cause you more trouble), some may try and fight you, which sometimes ends really bad, and at the same time, sometimes it’s just a very regular, easy conversation where you just share your opinions and go about your business, no harm done.

    Sometimes, judging by what the people you’re conversing with say and how they say it, you can tell whether they’re capable of even thinking of doing anything nasty if you disagree and to what degree. It’s still best to not risk it and steer away from that kind of talk with strangers or people you’re not sure about yet.

    How many people you know have a opinion like yours?

    Like MINE? Probably just me alone, but I’m saying this because the topic itself already encompasses a lot of issues, like the international law, Crimea, decolonization, imperialistic complexes and ideas, patriotism, guilt, various traumas, and many other things. There’s no way two people agree on everything - I’ve met people who are just as anti-war and anti-Putin and pro-west like me, very liberal or left-leaning and all, but can’t even begin to imagine Russia having to pay reparations after the war; there’s more: I personally know a person that wants all of it to end, like no Putin, no war type of attitude, but they seem to have something personal against Ukrainians, as if they actually hate them. It’s very nuanced and complicated.

    That being said, if we boil down my opinion to something as practical as “Out with Putin” and “No more war”, then every single person I know would fall into that category: including the people from older generations, the ones that were most affected by the propaganda. Some of them are bitter about it, like they don’t want the war to end with anything less than a total Russian military victory, a complete defeat and conquer of the entire Ukraine; some are much closer to me, thinking that the Russian army should just pack up and leave to the borders that were internationally established in 1991, so Crimea goes back to Ukraine as well…

    So, in general, the people who want the war to go on are an actual minority. Everybody is tired of it, but each in their own way. I don’t think anyone has been affected in a positive way, not after 2 full years of this: even pragmatically, we’ve all lost too much in both short- and long-term as a country, and even some of the “luckier” people who maybe got higher wages on their industrial facility because the demand has increased go to the same supermarkets and drug stores as I do, they go to the same hospitals, use the same infrastructure and all that, and they’ve surely suffered the consequences as much as anyone else, and even their (most likely temporary) material gains could never make up for, say, ruined international relationships, maybe ruined personal relationships, maybe dead relatives, and many other things.

    Having said all that, I will also tell you this as a bonus: it’s getting harder to disagree. Even the pro-war bloggers (the so called z-bloggers) are now getting the stick treatment for getting out of line; they used to think that they’re the in-crowd and they have the free pass on reporting the real state of affairs, i.e. openly talking about problems, losses, incompetence, etc., but one thing a dictator can’t have you do is steer away from the official line, as that hurts the narratives the propaganda is going for. The irony knows no bounds.

    P.S. Still got lengthy and all, my apologies.

  • I still live in Russia and want to offer a bit of an optimistic perspective.

    First of all, Putin and the officials siding with him one war or another have been fearmongering a war with Europe, the USA, or even the entire NATO for years already. Granted, they did the same with Ukraine prior to the invasion, but I doubt there’s any decision-makers left in Russia that genuinely belive they can swing at NATO and expect anything else but a swift and painful defeat: the amount of resources dedicated to the current attempts to do anything in Ukraine would make it even harder to launch a new offensive, let alone defend anything.

    Arguably, fighting Ukraine, Russia is still fighting mostly Ukraine, albeit with significant aid from its allies or at least Russia’s opponents; as reluctant as the EU, the USA, or NATO (or some of their counterparts) may seem to ditch the political ratings for either coughing up more resources or even restructuring to produce them, one tendency of our species remains strong: we do act when it’s about us, when it’s seemingly too late. Ukraine, for now at least, probably doesn’t feel like an integral part of Europe or NATO, maybe some even still believe the country to be that similar to Russia, which, combined, explains the rather cautious approach in terms of providing more lethal aid.

    If Russia attacks, say, Moldova or Lithuania or Estonia or Latvia or Poland or Finland or anything else (other than Belarus, perhaps), nobody is ever going to think of it as of some kind of conflict between neighbors that somehow seems more complicated than it actually is (partly because both neighbors are slavs and tend to have somewhat nuanced, rather than obvious differences, I guess), and on top of that, any doubts like whether it’s possible to wear the Russian army down by dripfeeding supplies to the ones that fight it, or whether Putin can be appeased, or whether Putin will calm down after “reclaiming actually historically Russian land”, or anything like that - all of that is going out the window and people start acting, fast, with the combined might much greater than Russia is managing to muster now through elusive contraband military imports and making use of decades-old equipment and economical manipulations.

    And in a conflict like that, who’s going to side with Russia, against the much bigger dog of NATO? Anyone who joins on the Russia’s side gets at the very least sanctioned to smithereens in the event of an actual war, and neither China nor India can have that; some of the dictatorships from the middle east may try, but I doubt they’d want to give NATO a proper excuse.

    Putin is a gopnik and understands only the language of clubs and stones - the powers that Putin chose to call his enemies not only have bigger and meaner clubs and stones, but have more of them, and have the means to get even more. He might have attempted something had he actually conquered and held Ukraine, but not after this kind of reality check; he’s back to being the strong wife-beating alcoholic that sits tight when a real threat looks his way.

  • I’m self-taught as well, and I’d say look through the current job market and offerings, but don’t worry all that much - teaching yourself IT usually nets you a considerable amount of transferable skills that you build upon if things don’t work out in one field; you also learn to learn and get much more comfortable with switching branches.

    The less volatile your branch is, the less likely it is to turn out to be a fad that you’ll have to drop several years down the line at best. Crypto and blockchain, for example, were probably often recommended when the thing was on the rise, but that’s nowhere near as popular and safe now; I believe the current AI hype to follow the same fate. Basically, look at the news and trends and be careful with whatever big and stupid corporations push for, praise, or massively invest in: that’s usually nothing but good marketing successfully baiting the suits.

    Web develoment is probably going to stay simultaneously volatile and relevant for decades more, so that’s a good option. Embedded development shouldn’t be going anywhere either, although that’s more low-level and intimidating, but it can be fun and stable and pay relatively well. I hate the smartphones industry and can’t really say much about Android or iOS development, but I doubt it’s doomed or anything.

    So far, it seems like not following whatever Elon Musk or other billionaires tell you is the future is a good bet.

  • As a Russian who’s been thinking about what could’ve been done about Putin’s many moves towards authoritarianism, I say this: I don’t know. I dint think anyone knows either.

    indsight is 20/20, so good luck trying to convince people to act now, before the far and distant future is here; it’s probably part of our nature to not be that much concerned with the long-term, as it’s the short- to mid-term that keeps us alive, i.e. fed, sheltered, hopefully healthy etc.

    At this point, it feels like history is indeed very cyclical, at least society is, and now anyone left of outright fascism seems to be in minority, with many others either failing or refusing to recognise what’s likely coming. I don’t think it’s new, either - I’m sure people of our ages had things to compare their situation to during the Nazis’ rise to power and subsequent events, just like we look back to their times and wonder how in the world could we possibly let that happen.

    It’s probably best to vote and to protest and to be politically active and all that, before the right-wing or some other authoritarian group manages to manipulate its way into your government, local or higher, and start doing all it can to make you not even think of voting or protesting or being politically active. The caveat is you just don’t have any guarantees that any of that is going to work.

    What’s even more important to remember is the fact that we cannot come up with some universal solution that’s going to always work the best way possible in every political and economical and social circumstance. This is what makes recording history and experience so important - it will allow us and those that will be after us to analyse the multitudes of factors and tendencies that lead to things and hopefully figure out reliable and effective and predictable mechanisms for society to function and prosper in mutual respect, egalitarianism, support, etc.

    My last take is probably a little controversial: I think we shouldn’t ostracise people we see as fascist or right-wing or authoritarian, etc., but rather be welcoming and supporting, giving them respect, community and opportunity to speak and be listened to with kindness and understanding; many turn to violent and inhumane ideologies because, well, they don’t value themselves, feel threatened, humiliated, afraid, or something along these lines. It doesn’t have to be true, because it’s about how people feel, and we must work with how people feel and influence that on emotional level so they feel like they being in a group that’s based on being “anti-woke” or just “anti-” something - that’s a dead end; they should feel like they belong to groups that envision future and prosperity, where people know they can be trusted and can trust, where they can respect and be respected. You may not like it, but you have to understand that the human psyche can be very flexible and eventually turn a person you could easily turn into a human-loving ally into a bloodthirsty fascist just because they couldn’t find their place anywhere else, so instead they’re easily picked up by a group that manipulates confused and lost people into a sense of community and belonging.

    Fascism has to be the unappealing option for them, and that requires a mind healthy from trauma and loneliness, the lack of that feeling like you’ve been played and robbed of something you own - like some great historical period the mouthpieces promise to get you back into if you yell at teenage girls for wearing bright-colored hair and rainbow pins.

  • You’re welcome and пожалуйста. I consider my English skills one of (if not the) most important assets of mine and try to use it to offer some perspective from within the anti-war/Putin population; I can’t say I’ve seen many other Russians doing the same in places I visit, so I try to be the voice when I can.

    Sometime ago I considered making a blog for that kind of thing or something, but ultimately fell out of it as I doubt I’d keep it well enough to gain proper traction; and it’s much more work than writing comments and talking to people on a more personal level, which may divert a huge chunk of my attention, too, resulting in a clouded perspective.

  • It is, partly. Nadezhdin has been part of the Russian politics for decades, authored and co-authored many laws and took part in many initiatives; him running for president is basically him exercising his passive right to be elected, but as he himself said, he’s been thinking about running for president since Summer 2023.

    He’s been invited to the Russian propaganda TV shows numerous times as a liberal scapegoat of sorts - they’d just try to portray him and people like him (anti-war or anti-Putin or both, basically people who want freedom and peace for their own country and for everyone else), often failing, as there never was any clever way to make him shut up; the man knows many of Putin’s cronies because he’s been in politics for that long, and he’s very smart with what he’s saying because he knows what kind of narrative gets you assassinated or jailed.

    From everything I’ve heard from him, Nadezhdin just wanted to act in the most influential way he saw for himself and for others, coincidentally being the safest one, too. He had hesitated at first, but quickly joined the race to get the signatures after Duntsova got turned down, and he really believes in change and progress and a brighter, non-violent future for Russia. It’s a good thing, too, because as we’ve seen times and times again, resorting to violence to deal with one regime in hopes of building a new, better system for each and for all is a sure way to attract and amass even more people who should never bear anywhere near any sort of power, and do so precisely in and around power, ultimately leading to greater terror.

    To me, Nadezhdin seems like a pragmatic man who can believe, which is important, and he readily pursued the chance to become a candidate for the elections because of it, but also because he did speak, extensively, with the current Russian opposition (the ones that haven’t been murdered or jailed, at least) and cooperated with them (one would be more accurate to say that it was vise versa, actually, so props to them putting weight on the attempts and spreading the word, as well as assisting him during the process) under some shared understanding that, in times of great despair and misery and seemingly inescapable reign of darker, evil, greedy, murderous forces, when calling for peace and life is a crime, when people have been carefully manipulated into disunity and feeling small - it’s in these times that it’s important to do something to make people realize that they’re not alone, they’re not few, but that they’re many, that there’s something they can try and do to show the regime that they do not agree with it, nor do they want it.

    Apart from this pursuit, very important and uplifting and very much needed by the Russian populace evident by the last several weeks, there is also an important factor of actually putting pressure on the regime - despite what many may believe, the current regime doesn’t completely ignore everything; very few regimes do or can, actually, but the Putin’s regime especially so, as we’ve seen time and time again through various displays and in various forms. Of course, it is far from perfect, but it’s not insignificant or minuscule for many reasons: it makes the regime move under pressure and uncertainty, which leads to rushed decisions, which leads to mistakes, which leads to opportunities… which is ultimately good for everyone, as without Putin and his regime, there is no war, for he’s the sole “benefactor”, if there’s anything of benefit left for him in this stupid mistake.

    Last but not least, when the regime sees that some “irrelevant and small” candidate manages to gather an absurdly large and arbitrary number of signatures (try and find another country where you need to get 100,000 perfectly prepared signatures along with names and addresses and passport numbers before you can run for president), with lines of people popping all over the country despite what felt like its coldest days of the year (for larger parts, at least), then you know that there’s still a significant chunk of people that won’t be happy with, say, another broad mobilization or martial laws or anything like that - for every person who managed to go and leave their signature (along with some sensitive personal data), there’s who knows how many more people who felt too scared or simply couldn’t leave their signatures because there weren’t any collectors or posts near them (some had to travel 100+ km, some don’t have the opportunity, as Russia’s very, very big), and there’s even more people who probably could’ve signed if they had known about the whole thing if Nadezhdin had access to TV and radio to spread the word, as it should be during election such as these (in more democratic country). Nobody can say for certain what’s going to come out of these last several weeks, but Putin and his lapdogs surely have enough to consider now - and a lot of stress that, again, will ultimately help in turning things for the better.