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Be the change you want to see

October 13, 2013

World wide web is such a great medium. Its impact is gaining momentum every single day and I couldn't be more happy about it. I'm convinced it will replace all other mediums and it is a global brain of sorts. Transparency is probably why I like it the most and I'm under impression that most of the society is not aware how important role transparency plays in our lives.

Open source is closely related to transparency. I know exactly what I'm using and therefore I can alter it to fit my needs. If I'm interested, I have the opportunity to learn about all of the details because the details are just hanging around and waiting for my set of eyes.

I'm writing all of this on an open source operating system, using the open source editor to enter this markdown, which will be outputted into the web-friendly format by a little help of the open source blog engine, which will in fact get hosted on the open source repo provided to me for free.

Isn't that amazing?

What are you talking about, I don't even

I mean, there are a lot of projects online involving really clever people who are building stuff that's changing the world. They are not only helping people to get stuff done, but also sharing their knowledge with everyone who is interested.

Take StackOverflow, for example. It has been an immense stack of knowledge bits, carefully partitioned into Q/A pairs, waiting to help others with the same problems. I'm infinitely thankful for such a great service and it doesn't ask for anything in return, other than my optional beans of wisdom. Not only do I feel like a hero when my little beans help someone on the other part of the globe with their problem, but I also get rewarded for it. I get certain reputation points. It amazes me how great concept this is.

Discourse is the new cool thing I would like to get involved in. Let's admit it, the most of the forums today are still stuck in the 90's. They all look and feel the same, so I'm excited to see Discourse setting the future of forums. I've only known about it since I started to learn JavaScript MVC framework, called EmberJS. Discourse, being an open source project has been a great aid for me in the world of Ember, because I can refer to its source code when things get messy. Being able to see how Robin Ward, known as Evil Trout, solves Ember problems has taught me a lot. He also posts some great learning stuff on his blog, so if you're also learning Ember, make sure to check it out.

TravisCI is another example of a vibrant open source project. I haven't managed to find time to check its Ember source, but I'm sure I could also learn a lot of interesting stuff.

The other side

I don't know about you, but I'm aware of plenty of sites which are exactly the opposite of the aforementioned ones. They're usually utility sites, aimed to help a certain group of people. More often, than not, they are related to some political institution or they represent a government agency of some sort.

The most obvious example of shitty websites is the public transportation sites, at least in my experience. I don't know what's the experience in other cities or countries, but in Croatia it's unbearable. People are, kind of, used to the shitty websites when they need some sort of public service on the web. They are n aware that things can be improved a lot, but seeing same pages over and over again for a long period of time has had the effect of minimizing the problem.

How you can help

If you have any programming experience for the web, you might want to give it a shot and try to build something better. It will not only help others and reward you in eternal glory, but it will also make your life a lot easier!

Why not help your fellow citizens, if you have the knowledge?

Imagine learning new interesting language or framework while helping other people at the same time! Building interesting new stuff and solving problems you've never experienced before makes you a better programmer.

When you don't create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. Your tastes only narrow & exclude people. So create.

Why The Lucky Stiff

Instead of ranting about the poor user experience, why not revolutionize it?

To wrap it up, don't expect the world to change by itself. Be that change!

@shime_sh Hrvoje Šimić
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