Collected opinions on personal choices.

Branded Clothing

Marketing is everywhere, and we unthinkingly go along with it. T-shirts, stickers, beer coozies, phone cases, tote bags, hats. We’re constantly presented with free products that allow us to feel like we’re part of the in group, that associate us with a cool brand. But when you wear a t-shirt that proudly proclaims a marketing message you are unintentionally being subverted. Your new t-shirt masks your own identity, promotes consumerism, and provides the wealthy with free ad space on your body. And to top it off, you may have even paid your own money for the privilege.

Instead, you should choose clothing that does not have any marketing materials at all.

Almost all product companies are bad choices to advertise for. They use and dump toxic chemicals, treat their workers poorly, encourage unsustainable habits of the consumer (you!), and have the sole goal of profit maximization. To top it off, these companies manipulate you into feeling bad about yourself and your life with the goal to get you to buy more. Why would anybody want to be the face of all that negativity?

The only time I ever wear branded clothing is when I’m employed by the promoted company. In that case I’m being paid to wear the brand, and I’ve already vetted that the brand is a net good. And even then, I only wear the brand when I’m at a trade show or the like.

I never wear branded clothing for free, but I could see the case for some organizations like non-profits and social interest groups. Before promoting the brand you should ask yourself if the brand help you and it’s customers ascend further up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Would you consider volunteering for the brand? If the answer to both these questions is yes then it’s at least reasonable to wear the brand.

Cell Phones

A cell phone, or more specifically cell phone service, is the best way to ruin your personal time. It allows you to get distracted anywhere, at any time, for almost no benefit. I do have a cell phone, but I don’t have any service for it. Whenever I’m not connected to WiFi I am impossible to reach. I’ve been cell service free since 2015, and have no regrets. Anything that you need can be downloaded before time (maps, music, books). I suppose if I have a kid then I’ll probably be forced into getting service, but until then I’m happily free.

QWERTY and Dvorak Layouts

Software engineers spend most of their life in front of their computer, and the primary mode of input is the keyboard. Yet most software engineers continue to use the QWERTY keyboard layout.

This is foolish. QWERTY was explicitly designed to be terrible for typing, and the fact that it’s so widely adopted is a historical artifact. Every typist could choose to adopt a new and better layout. But most don’t.

I switched to programmer Dvorak in 2011, and have never looked back. I no longer have any hand pain regardless of the length of my programming session. I can type at least as fast (probably faster). And I can still type perfectly fine in QWERTY when I’m using someone else’s computer.

Social Media

Social media is a great way to ruin your life. Your life is never as good as what is posted by others, and you’ll spend your whole day dropping deep into a comparison black hole. Besides that, it’s a very good way to let yourself be manipulated into fake news.

I don’t use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or anything else. If I need to connect I’ll direct message someone via text or email. Or, even better, physically hang out.