Forever computer

I lurk on threads and mailing lists about permacomputing, collapseOS, the forever computer and similar things. Lately I've noticed that I am totally and completely underwhelmed by these projects. I used to be excited about them. This isn't meant as a knock at the folks involved in these projects: not their goals, nor what they've achieved (duskOS, for instance, is truly remarkable).

What I find boring, or perhaps disheartening, is the vision of computing that these projects offer. They don't seem to see beyond computing's past or profoundly corporate uses for computation...even while trying to move outside of, or beyond capitalism.

I think this is partially because the folks involved in these efforts tend to be computer-y types, hardware nerds, programming experts -- there aren't, at least in the conversations I've lurked on, storytellers, designers, folks dreaming of how a forever computer could be something wholly new...not just a really sturdy PDA with a keyboard and easily serviceable parts.

I wanna invite something new; is it even possible? What is a new face for computation?

Whereas the past was constrained by economic goals (design a thing to sell) what is a computing device designed to last forever? What is a computing device divorced from an economy? What is a computing device that can be passed down through a family?

There are, of course, constraints, limits, an environment to respect, but is there space to think of and dream up uses beyond an Apple 2? I think these efforts invite an exciting opportunity to enchant computing -- not re-enchant, mind you, I think it's been disenchanted mostly from day 1 -- so we have an opportunity right now to invite enchantment into computing and I'd be sad to see it slip us by.

Hard left here: something else totally missing from the space seems to be any serious conversation on accessibility -- or really just interface and interaction. This is another space where I think we don't have to be constrained by the terminal.

I don't have a big idea, or a cogent clear direction, just this feeling that a lot is being left on the table as we think about these things only in the context of the past. Can a computer sing? Can a computer grow? Are there perceived limits that are released when we think of computing outside of the context of capitalism?

Originally blarffed out on the fediverse.

This sparked a lot of great conversation and also became a blog post.