Let me explain…

No, there is too much. Let me sum up what’s been happening in the past 1081 days of March since the pandemic started back in 2020. Meme image from Princess Bride, featuring Indigo Montoya saying: "Let me explain... no there is too much."

The pandemic brought it’s own special challenges here, since we have complicating health factors that meant we essentially stopped going out for several months until we better understood the issues our situation presented. Luckily, we all could do work and school remotely for a while, so it was a far easier time here than for many folks.

Besides all the obvious things – seeing friends, going shopping, eating out, and just plain socializing – the other rotten thing about the pandemic was missing all my friends in the open source world. My two must-attend conferences were both cancelled in person: ApacheCon and Monktoberfest. Since I have a 20+ year career in open source technology, many of my friends are scattered around the world, and I only get to see them at conferences, which I’ve really missed, travel hassles and all.

Twitter and other social media sites have been a kind of lifeline, both for keeping up with the FOSS world and just with friends. That makes it all the more devastating to see the current $44B trajectory of turning that flawed-but-great tweetstream into the world’s most expensive billboard for a cheezy techbro. It’s currently a testament to the skills of Twitter’s past engineering staff (mostly fired or laid off now) at their skill to build a robust enough system to survive this long after a… ‘hostile’ management takeover.

My Pandemic Projects

At various times during the past two years I’ve turned to doing volunteer work or building websites to get by. I’ve also gone through a handful of wicked awesome games (and a couple of new game consoles) along the way.

  • Mutual Aid When times get tough, does your neighborhood have neighbors who help each other out? So many places in our modern (US East Coast suburban, which I admit is very first world problems) neighborhood didn’t really have that. So I worked on local social media and built Mutual Aid Arlington to try to connect people.
  • I ran for political office! Yes, it’s true, I ran for local town government during the pandemic – really bad timing for campaigning, I can tell you! In New England we have something called “Town Meeting” which is truly local democracy. To help people understand how hyper-local politics worked, I created Menotomy Matters.
  • I did NOT run for ASF Board. After getting elected again right in March 2020, I decided in 2021 (and 2022) to not run for the board again. Time with family and friends suddenly became so much more important – plus we had plenty of great new candidates for the board. It was a welcome time off, even as I continued to serve as the Vice Chair (since technically, the Vice Chair doesn’t need to be a director!)
  • I bought more domain names. It’s an occupational hazard, especially for anyone in tech who also has ADHD. Start with https://tldrfoss.com/
  • I got diagnosed with ADHD. Much to no-one’s surprise, I got an official diagnosis of ADHD, which explains a lot of my past history. If only this had happened… oh, 30 years ago, what might have I ended up becoming?
  • My remaining ancestor died. Mom deserves a separate post, but she was my last living ancestor. There was yet more paperwork.
  • We played video games. I mean, who didn’t? Along with a new Playstation, I played The Last Of Us (remaster, and 2), Horizon Zero Dawn, and Horizon Forbidden West. Each of them was an awesome experience, highly recommended.
  • I missed two years of conferences. Many of us did, as most conferences were cancelled. For those of us with open source friends, this was doubly hard, since that’s the only time we all gather together.

How Is This About Open Source?

It’s about community, which is the most important part of any open source project. Code is easy. People are hard. Especially groups of people from scattered backgrounds. Optimize your work for the people you interact with.

For those interested in more Shane, I use my real name on various social networks, find me out there!

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Briefly, Shane is: a father and husband, a friend, a geek, a Member and director of the ASF, a baker, an ex-Loti, a BMW driver, a punny guy, a gamer, and lifelong resident within the 495 belt. Oh, and we have cats.

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