A Penguinista Fights Ignorance With Overweening Sanctimony (UPDATE)

It’s a story as old as time.  Somebody ignorantly bashes Linux on the basis of ridiculous misconceptions, then the Linux dude responds, and he’s such a complete dick you find yourself wanting to go buy a dozen copies of Microsoft Office just to spite him.

UPDATE: Shocked at the reaction the rant on his (formerly) obscure blog has generated, and having learned a lot actually talking to the teacher in question, the dude issues a sincere and thorough apology and a retraction of all the more clueless things he said.  Kudos to him!  Good man.

The Loss of a Great Rubyist, A Dream, A Note

Yesterday I learned here that one of the great Rubyists I’ve never heard of, Guy Decoux, aka “ts,” had died.

Last night in my dreams that memory mutated, and I dreamed that _whytheluckystiff, creator of Shoes and many other whimsical Ruby projects, had died! I remember thinking sadly about Shoes left unfinished, never to fulfill _why’s dream of helping children learn to hack.

Today in my feed reader I came across _why’s note on the passing of ts, and was relieved to learn that a dream was only a dream.

Tangent: I’m finding myself very resistant to writing on this blog these days, as opposed to just writing to friends, or posting something to myface or spacebook or whatever, or bleating it to the handful of friends who follow my twitter feed, or just emailing it. I don’t know why. Just don’t feel the need to contribute to the Blog Oh Sphere, at all.

Haskellist on Git Code

Linux’s current version control system is git, which was written by Linus himself, and which, like Linux itself, has many enthusiastic fans.

Like Linux, git is considered to be extremely fast and powerful, but also arcane.

Like Linux, git has many tutorials written about it on the internet, telling people that it’s really very easy once you get to know it, and it lets you do wonderfully powerful things by means of very terse command-line incantations, and most of all, it’s very, very, very fast.

Like Linux, git has many detractors who maintain they have enough spare time to deal with slower-performing systems with less terse but more comprehensible interfaces, but not enough spare time to read dozens of tutorials on the internet trying to attain the level of familiarity with the system that permits them to issue those terse commands, and spend the time they just saved on command-typing writing tutorials to bring others into the fold.

A Haskellist who dug into the Git code while trying to reimplement some of it in Haskell as a personal project, had the following to say —

evan_tech — gat, a git clone in haskell: “Git is a jumble of random nearly-commentless code, full of globals and strange state and not at all clear control flows. On the other hand, it’s also much more Unixy than the code I’m used to reading, doing all sorts of tricks like using mmap() instead of read() (because the latter just involves an extra copy, y’know?) and forking. I am simultaneously impressed and terrified of what’s likely going on in my kernel.”

(Via Programming Reddit.)

For the record I don’t have the chops to confirm or deny his impressions.

I Am Become Death, Destroyer of Technology

Two days ago, about 4PM, I was working, with a drink nearby, on my macbook, as I have every day for years without problems, and for some reason I spilled the drink. Not on the mac — near it — but a few drops got on the keyboard and I freaked out. Swabbed every possible key it could have hit out around the edges with a paper towel, blasted it out with all the canned air I could lay my hands on — went to the store, bought more canned air, and blasted away further —

There was no effect on the operation of the computer that I could tell, but I know from personal experience* that if any of that spilled bourbon** made it into the machine and left a visible spot on the interior, my expensive AppleCare will be null and void should anything happen to this machine in the future. And there’s no way of knowing whether it did or not, short of ripping the machine apart, which would also not do good things for my AppleCare. So… I may have done immense damage, or maybe none at all, and there’s no way for me to tell.

I bought a silicone keyboard cover as a defense against something like this happening in the future. Ironically I’d had the keyboard replaced a couple days before (free, under Applecare) for unrelated reasons, and at that time I had considered buying the silicone keyboard cover and decided not to.

So yeah — spilled drink near macbook, total freakout. Two days ago.

Yesterday my phone stopped working. Looking up the error I was seeing on the web, it turned out to be associated with the phone getting wet. I then remembered that I had lay down by one of my kids last night to help them get to sleep, and that kid later that night awoke after the mother of all late night accidents, and my phone had fallen out of its holster into the child’s bed and was present for the deluge, and — yeah. My phone had met its death at the hands of pee.

I went in to Verizon and bought a new phone yesterday. If this had happened a month later I would have qualified for the “new every two” plan and got a nearly free phone, because I had purchased the phone one year and eleven months ago. But no. So, I paid. Got a good phone, it’s really cool, but… it was not anything close to free.

That was yesterday.

I started thinking in terms of avoiding using my macbook when it wasn’t absolutely necessary. I had recently rehabilitated an older work machine, a Gateway laptop, and put Linux on it, and I really enjoyed using it. I thought maybe I’d use the old Gateway most of the time, and protect the mac that way. So I’ve been pimping it out, making Linux work really smooth on it, installing all my favorite software, etcetera.

Tonight just after I’d tried and failed to install some new RAM (don’t know why that failed), I was seated on my bed with the Gateway laptop on my lap, I was reaching over to a bookcase to look for a book, and the laptop slipped to the ground and hit… hard.

I opened it up and the screen was destroyed.

I give up.

I am become Death, the destroyer of technology.

[*no, I hadn’t spilled on the machine before. The time it happened it was one of my kids who did it.]

[** just kidding. Diet Coke.]