I spent a good bit of today doing some personal system administration, with this page as evidence.

I never blogged regularly, and probably won't now (though I do have a project I'm going to want to talk about soon), but the state of maintenence of my personal server and the blog on it was quite bad. This server ran CentOS 6.3 twelve hours ago.

Yeah, I should probably clean house more often.

I still feel compelled to maintain my own server, despite... not seeming to be much compelled to maintain my own server. I've kept a small Rackspace Cloud instance here that dates back at least seven years (!!). CentOS was the second OS it ran; it was Fedora before that, and I think it might've been in-place upgraded through a few Fedora releases (which is a particularly bad idea for this infrastructure). It runs an IRC bouncer, and it ran two websites: luftengine.org and americanteeth.org. The former was the web presence for a long-abandoned game engine project (who doesn't have one of those?) It never got too far, but I gave it a website and mailing list early in hopes of attracting contributors. I'm maintaining a web presence for it because I like the name and might want to write an engine again some day, though I'd definitely start over again, and definitely write in Rust this time (last time Rust didn't exist!)

The other site was a blog which I started with the genuine intention of blogging more. That intention wasn't, when viewed closely, the best intention. I planned to share all kinds of opinions, mostly on politics, and proudly branded the blog as a foundry for bespoke contrarian hot takes. I think I also had some idea that my stupid youth days were over, and I needed a place for my new, good opinions. Hoo boy.

It's certainly feels like an era is ending again, and I'd definitely like to express a new set of better opinions here, but these days I'm actually most proud to say I have fewer opinions overall. While my stupid youth may still not be over (I'll be seventy before I feel safe about that one again), I think I've finally kicked "smart kid disease." I don't feel the need to have groundbreaking thoughts on every subject, or even most subjects. If I'm lucky I might get a few out on the subject of software before I'm done.

None of which is to say my ego is truly slain. I still have an overwhelming need to be right. I indulge myself in thinking we all should; epistemic responsibility and all that good stuff. But more and more I believe the path to being right is less about applying my superior intellect and more about shutting my stupid mouth. This seems like the only alternative to either blinding myself to the social origins of most of my opinions or descending into the sanctimonious both-sidesism of internet "rationalism." Vaccines do not cause autism. The research clearly shows this. I have not read the research. I would not understand the research if I read it. I don't know anything about human biochemistry. No, this does not oblige me to be "open-minded." This obliges me to listen to the very smart people who do read the research, and adopt their opinion, without question. It is without question because the sort of questions I would ask would be stupid questions. I am paid to not be an idiot about one subject, and as a hobby I occasionally become slightly less of an idiot on other topics. On biochemistry, I am an idiot. I know this, so I am a useful idiot.

Our present moment comes from a glut of useless idiots.

On this new server, the IRC bouncer hosts exactly two channels. Everything else has moved to Discord or the like these days. The server's other duty is hosting this blog and the Luftengine page, which is now naught but a logo floating in cyberspace. I decomissioned a couple of pet projects, the wreckage of an earlier, even more embarrassing blog, two wikis, and the Postgres instance that held them up. I'm enjoying that sense of control one gets from putting things in order. The server has gone from an embarrassingly public junk drawer and possible botnet node to providing only what I need.

And henceforth, here's to saying only what I need to say.