December 6th, 2022 Infrastructure for Hippies By Jeffrey M. Barber

Are you sick of all this cloud bullshit? Do you hope blockchain drowns in crypto-bro tears? Are you hoping that K8s just dies in a massive data-center fire? Are you tired of technology fads coming and going? Are you weary of the corporate hell-scape? Well, so am I.

I’m cranky old man that aspires to be a dirty hippie. Sadly, I got addicted to these infernal machines.

The modern world does one thing very effectively: shred relationships. We are social creatures, and yet we do our damndest to cut connections. You gather in K12, and then shred towards college. From college, you shred to the workplace. From workplace to workplace, people job hop like crazy unable to sustain effective relationships. This is not normal.

When I worked at Facebook, it was no surprise to me that it worked very well at keeping peoples attention. While critics may point their crooked fingers at manipulation and other dark forces, the deep truth, at core, is that people are lonely. The people are not all right, and I don’t blame them. It’s not their fault.

There is a surprisingly one weird trick for not being lonely: interact with people. For myself, I need a prompt as I’m kind of an awkward person, and this is why I’m excited about board games. The feeling during and after playing a board game is great. I believe in online board games as a great way to stay in touch with people at a deeper level.

Use voice chat to communicate via discord plus a game is a good way to spend an evening. So, how does this relate to “infrastructure for hippies”. Well, the bare-bone infrastructure is a pack of playing cards and someone with a bunch of knowledge (or a book).

Unfortunately, the physicality of the playing cards does not translate well to the multitude of digital interfaces. The key problem of digitization is that it requires expensive wizards to transmute the material into ethereal.

The connectivity between people is a ludicrous challenge within itself, and this is how I started on Adama. This put me on the path of dealing with all this cloud shit. This cloud shit… sucks.

Before you defend this shit, keep in mind that I helped build this shit. I worked on Amazon S3, and I built a server-less streaming cloud platform within Facebook. I got drunk off of the kool-aid, and the hangover sucks…

There is a better way.

An older way.

It’s called “run shit on your own hardware”, and this is the hippie way. While it is true that I’m hypocritically offering Adama as yet another cloud SaaS offering, my cloud offering is 100% open source. I have not even hooked any kind of billing up yet! Now, you could run Adama in your own cloud, your house, or even an RV in the middle of nowhere. That’s pretty cool.

The magic is that I’m building a new way to build digital products which connect people together and with data. The revolution isn’t a weekend affair, but a slow march. Maybe, it is my death march, but it’s a fun one.

The infrastructure is one big component, and I’m working now on the user experience component right now. We humans are not robots meant to ingest and produce JSON, so we muck around with pretty images using our meat fingers. Thus, I’m building a new runtime for board games to help transcribe the material games into ethereal experiences.

The cynical person may ask what does my runtime offer over Unity or Unreal because all joy has been sucked from their life. I’m building yet another thing, and my competition isn’t some game engine bullshit. My competition is a pack of cards and pieces of cardboard.

This runtime is also a web-centric runtime because the web browser may be the most hippie technology alive. Sadly, Chrome has taken over the web and there are way too many things built into the platform today, so I’m keeping my usage of the web lean and tight. If push comes to shove, then I’ll build a new browser that is lean and tight; the web is our digital frontier and must be preserved at all costs.

I believe the heart of being a hippy is keeping things simple. For a multitude of reasons, this digital tech bullshit has become a requirement for life. I hope I can simplify the infrastructure to a large degree, and I’m optimistic about making games.

However, I need help, and that is becoming clear to me. As I prepare to ship a game next year, I’m thinking about getting help. But not just any help, I need digital nomads that believe life could be better.

I’m looking for someone that will go “fuck yeah, I’ll turn my RV into a wifi hotspot for board games”.

I need people that believe computers are tools for us rather than tools of mega-corporations to dominate our attention. Our attention is best spent with each other over a good board game… that’s online… powered by Adama.