Archive for February 1, 2019


The Arts!: Tech/Arduino Edition!

On my Instagram (@thisblackwitch, just like everywhere else), I have been posting pictures and videos of my tech projects. I think of the things I am making, the current pile is:

– A drum light kit that is sound reactive via switch control

– A heating pad for sleeping while injured (thus, it doesn’t turn off or anything, just keep emitting low heat for injuries)

– An updated kitty feeder, because I am indecisive and made a new design that hopefully doesn’t suck. Or can be broken by said kitty. Now I have to mod my code again.

 

This kitty

 

I don’t have a STEM* degree – nor would I ever want one. I consider myself firmly planted in the Arts, strictly. Some may consider that STEAM but I don’t, especially since STEM makes pretty strong efforts to minimize, if not ouster, the Fine Arts. STEM also makes pretty strong efforts to keep it pretty White and male – I consider practically everything they do diversity-wise as lip service and window dressing until it isn’t. Because it usually is, look at Google and Facebook, for example.

Since I don’t have a degree, that means I kinda taught myself for the most part. Granted, I did work for NIST so I had very good help at the start but the rest I procured myself. I want to say it wasn’t that hard but frankly, it is a little bit and not always for the obvious reasons.

When it comes to STEM, I actively seek out female instructors online to get the grasp of things. I have noticed in my experience, the women were better and more succinct at explaining complex details. Their beginner guides were actually made for beginners. Guys seemed to not know how to break things down or worse, just used the opportunity as an excuse to show off an ego because they’re relatively meh at telling the difference between a 1 and a 0. I have no idea how many times I would see pissing contests on help forums that because “for the lolz”. It kind of defeats the purpose of having those places. There are such things as hard teachers but there is a difference between a tough teacher and a person that just wants to be a douche.

Because of these behaviors, I don’t participate, I just take my info and go like a ghost. I just wanna build stuff, not talk to guys who probably think mass murderer Rodger Elliot had good ideas. I already know how male nerds, especially STEM ones, get. Nah thanks, bro.

However, I have found some sites that are very good at teaching the basics as well as some intermediate stuff. It doesn’t look intimidating, the information is pretty clear and it isn’t a bunch of verbal flexing.

I had mentioned Adafruit in the past but there are other sites that I have found that are pretty decent, mainly about Arduino.

 

Tweaking4All

This website gives pretty good info on getting started with Arduino and coding without sounding pretentious or “I dream of Tony Stark every night”.

There are many tutorials, all written to be easily understood by people who are genuinely new to the subject. The tutorials start from “What is an Arduino and how do you use it” to much more advanced topics.

Random Nerd Tutorials

This site has tons of info as well but for those who have a slightly better grasp at Arduino. Just skim through their blog on their homepage and find what suits you best. You don’t have to sign up for anything.

Programming Electronics 

This site really wants you to sign up for free courses but if you dink around on Google well enough, you can get access without putting in any info. Here’s one on having the Arduino give out an outcome based on what it experiences.

 

 

These sites are pretty decent in my experience, check them out! Next up is Ask Black Witch.

 

*Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine

Snow Trails

Recently, I have noticed an influx of White … readers? I have no idea if they are, but what I do know are the stats my FB fan page gives me and that’s one thing I have notice. And that’s a touch concerning for me.

I do have some longtime readers who aren’t Black. They’ve been pretty nice and supportive. They’re not problems and that is nifty. It’s the recent influx that has me more concerned. I’ve been on the internet long enough to know that good people trickle in, they don’t arrive in droves. However, problematic people come in swarms and when it comes to issues like race, it gets potentially agitating.

Here’s the thing: this blog’s primary audience is Black Pagans. I wouldn’t be surprised if it skewed more female than male but Black Pagans are who this blog is for. The thing about getting White attention is the problems that it brings. For one, there is stronger likelihood of content theft. It’s a pretty prominent problem where Black creatives make something and it gets whitewashed for profitability purposes. (See: Fortnite dances and HuffPost “Black Voices”, those are two glowing examples of something Black centered but Whitewashed as soon as there was money to be made). I’m not at all a fan of the idea that I post something, some White kid sees it, rips it and doesn’t really credit at all. It may sound absurd, especially since I don’t think I pen super ground-breaking material… but it does happen to others and I don’t think of myself so special that it wouldn’t happen to me.

Then there’s the annoying questions because reading is not as fundamental as I thought. I get questions from people thinking I do hexes and curses because they didn’t bother to read that this blog is called “Black Witch” because I’m a Black person. As in, from the African diaspora. And the fact I just about never mention jinxes or hexes doesn’t deter the stupidity that winds up in my inbox. At all. And I have a search bar on the top of the site, it is not a case of “how was I supposed to know?”

Thing is, I have learned from my experience with the White Pagan community is that, in many ways, it pretty much resembles Klannish ideals, just with a lot more sage and dream catchers involved. They still think Paganism should be as White as possible, even if the practices the use aren’t. They still think PoC/minorities in Paganism are better off as tokens and not equals – and tokens that can be put to use, either to deflect accusations of racism or to mine more spiritual practices to crudely hijack. And that’s White folks in Paganism. In general, same thing, just remove the sage and dream catchers.

Annoying race questions or comments, I don’t get them as much as other Black blogs (yay for that) but they still happen. Here’s the thing: this blog isn’t intended for really anyone outside the primary audience. That’s why I don’t waste a whole lot of time explaining slang/aave I use (I’m about to bring up the AAVE I get in a sec), cultural ideals or anything like that because I assume the person reading should already have enough knowledge to know what I am saying or referring to. If they can’t translate it, then it probably isn’t for them.

I don’t get a lot of mushmouth-pretend AAVE (also known as “How White people think Black people – even ones with degrees – talk…because they still go with 1880 vaudeville ideas”) but I have gotten enough to know that it is a pretty quick way to make me get pretty caustic in my responses because while the person saying it may not think so, a neon “Racist” sign is blinking over their head. If you’re not a Black kid from the hood, I expect you not to talk like a terrible mimic of one. I already get enough nonsense in my inbox, I would prefer to not have to deal with someone who sounds like they watched too much Family Guy or as if they were Donald Trump’s liberal nephew or niece, complete with a Bernie Sanders’ shirt.

So far, I haven’t gotten too many problems – outside of the dude who tried to give me a death threat (despite being half the US away from me, blue collar beyond belief and – if his HR took my complaint seriously – jobless). There’s also the smarmy lawyer in California who thought I would post a trash article they penned on their site. It’s supposed to look like it’s a concerning article about social media and mental health, it’s just an ad for the lawyer. But it always makes me cock an eyebrow anytime I get an influx. Because it means annoyances and issues are soon to come, normally in the form of some White “ally” commenting how they personally aren’t racist and should totes get a pat on the head for it. Or some person who confuses me for a genie or their personal druid simply because I have an email address and FB messenger.

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