Category: Rants

Eh?

me: I finally found my comfort zone in this hierarchy of levels of complexity in which you can use a computer.
Mine’s just below the “application level”, at the level of the tools used to create applications.

Sameer: kya? :-}

me: Basically, there are a whole lot of “levels” at which you can use a PC.
Some of them complex enough to sound nightmarish to anyone- these are the “lowest” levels, sending system calls yourself, etc.

Sameer: well isn’t it relative

me: Most casual users use the highest level,
(GUIs with nice text boxes, etc.)

Sameer: for eg. I can send sys calls and interact with the kernel but on the other hand I can’t sometimes understand how basic applications work :P

me: Well, yes, knowledge of one level does not imply knowledge of all of them.
Refer http://rightshift.info/?p=129
(I mean, knowledge of all the higher levels)

Sameer: hadd header!

me: Yeah, my friend (and co-blogger at RightShift) is a GIMP freak.
Anyway, my point is that different users prefer to work at different levels.
Some want control and precision,
some just want things to work.
(These sets of people are not mutually exclusive, ob)

Sameer: yup, point taken :)

me: Anyway, getting to the remark I made-
I’ve finally found my comfort zone.
(It’s a zone I didn’t know existed when I was using only Windows)
This zone is the level that provides basic tools for application development; several steps above system calls to kernel networking modules (in the case of Jabber), and two steps below this integrated messaging system in Gmail.

Sameer: hadd hadd

me: That is, the zone where I can create Jabber connections using Python/Perl modules and exert considerable control over how I send messages.
Combined with Bash awesomeness (sed, grep, perl, tr and other text processing tools),

Sameer: yes and the geekiest level will be that of physical layer

me: I can engage in all kinds of crazy-awesomeness.

Sameer: u just flip bits to get your work done

me: Haha

Sameer: http://xkcd.com/378/

me: It would; but I don’t want that kind of control or headache.
I haven’t clicked the link,
and I can already guess that this is the XKCD comic with M-x butterfly.
:)

Sameer: hehe, yes… :D

me: M-x butterfly is a classic.
I think someone wrote a mock version of it into Emacs 23.
Anyway-
god, I keep getting distracted.

Sameer: hehe
yes, the best comic strip ever

me: I’m now comfortable in this zone,
and liking the control/automation tradeoff.
But then this Jabber thing comes along… and refuses to work!

Sameer: hehe

me: It’s like being kicked out of a plush leather sofa.
Due to an overabundance of tinkering time,

Sameer: shit, I can relate to that

me: I’ve gotten to the point where I consider most web browsers (save elinks) over-designed,

Sameer: (being kicked from sofa)

me: and most chat clients needlessly bloated.
Basically, I view “software” with a critical eye now that I can (in principle) build my own with a high level language.
And then this Jabber thingy pains me for seven hours and I’m forced to use Firefox.
This is like the ultimate cosmic insult.
And that’s what I wanted to say all along.

Sameer: hadd :P

me: I should make this a blog post.

Sameer: damn, think of how much fun we could have had, if only you had chosen Berkeley :P

me: Fun in our spare time- but would we have had any spare time to begin with?

Sameer: yeah definitely :P

me: You know what, I’m just going to upload this conversation from where I started the levels-of-PC-use rant to the blog.
And I will use… a CLI based blog client to publish the post!

Sameer: hadd :)

me: Can I leave in your name?

Sameer: with my hadd’s :D

Sameer: sure, make me famous :P

me: You’re kidding me.
My blog gets two visitors an year.

Sameer: ah, then allow me to put it as status message :)

me: OK, but think- how many people will have a clue of what’s going on?
The problem with me blogging is that I choose awfully esoteric topics.
And not on purpose!

Sameer: ya…that is the problem with technical writing :(
you have only a given set of audiences

me: We had the exact same problem in the Astronomy club.

Sameer: and only 5-6 people on my gtalk list who will actually read them

me: Hah! I have only 5-6 people on my gtalk list, period.

Sameer: I knew it was coming

me: Ooh, more fun.
I pasted in the chat log with the timestamps.

Sameer: so?

me: This means I now get to use… regular expressions!

Sameer: hehehe
u need help!
hehe
okay, now I need some sleep

me: s/^[0-9:]+//

Sameer: hmphh

me: Goodnight!

*

A chat log, because this kind of special rubbish requires a better resting place than an obscure email account. (The collocutor, Sameer, is like an online punching bag for this kind of outburst.)