Saturday, March 07, 2009

iCode

(Sorry for your trouble but (I like it, I like the links. To remind us there is something ... below us. I like that) in plain text that's merely more parenthetical.)

And I'm an artistic coder
  with sensitive moments when
    scripts surge on the slide to ssh.

No.

It was more like one of Homer's "disastertunities" - first thought that popped into my head when I saw nothing was "About time I tried a Mac".

I saw nothing because the PC's screen had just gone dead.
And the PC's a laptop, so the PC is dead.

Luckily, once it was officially dead,
it came straight back as a zombie. Not back as a headless zombie mind, because (for still unfathomable reasons) it could still feed out to the TV. Not to any other screen, and not via Linux. Only to the TV, and only from Windows.

So I spent a few weeks on The Dark Side™ of the boot,
  and I finally found a use for the TV.

Can't complain - the devil got the best tunes, and Windows has the best music software, so I got a few mash-ups out of it.

Back on the job there were a few hurdles to clear before the MacBook and the greedy claws could fulfill their foretold fête:
  • I can support it myself (the IT dept refused to even open the box when it arrived !)
  • it doesn't cost any more (although I had to drop from 15" to 13" screen to accommodate the extra hardware warranty they wanted)
  • I need one because, eh,
  • because, ...
  • because I need to view the company website with Safari !
  • and it's the only platform we can't virtualise. Well, not legally.
(fête, "Up against your will, through the thick and thin")

Hurdles were cleared, egos assuaged, and balances sheeted (or whatever it is they do), and the apple landed, on my desk (top), unopened. I opened it, smiled once or twice, and was quickly at a shell prompt with vim and ssh. I spent the day working.

Now it is a month later and it is the end of a productive week as the new dawn fades as we wend our weary ass way unto the time of the thinking and the drinking and the reflecting and the fond rememberemberinging and the cheese biscuits and the blogging and the barfing and the exaggerated claims on behalf of your client and no crumbs on the apple please.

11. Never publish when pissed

I smiled when opening it because they provide a cleaning cloth. When I lift the cloth the next box is labelled "designed by apple in cupertino". (Actually they claimed "in california", but it was in cupertino that I met the batmobile. Not The Batmobile mind you, just the one from the 60s TV series. It was hot. Round about Cupertino the grass is all brown. There's miles and miles of brown, all down 101. Except for the sprinklered strawberries, which are wow-red. (But I'm mumbling again't I)?)

I will smile when closing it because tomorrow when it opens again I can resume editing this page in Safari on Mac, and a single key will allow me to preview it in Firefox on Linux, and the same key again will take me to IE7 on XP, and back to here again. I'll smile because it just worked.

My old, and trusted, friend Gordon has a lot to do with it just working. It is indubitably easier to do two new virtual machines with 2 cores, 2GHz, 2Gb and 200Gb, than it was with the 2000 model. But it was also easier to find out how to do.

I do know the theory: my "desktop" at work has 8 different OSs installed, as chroots and virtuals. And I know the practice so well I wrote the intranet wiki page: the first of those guest OSs took a fortnight to set up, but we could get a student to do it now.

But I didn't know you shouldn't need a procedure, that you should just download a program that enables you to do what you want. (It's like the second, and especially third, mouse keys - from my recent stay on The Dark Side™ I'm sensitive to how much I depend on Unix's mouse copy and paste - where just a swipe gets the copy and paste is on every middle click.

If you (young Padawannabe) find yourself on The Dark Side™, you will expect to right-click and you could hope to find "paste" somewhere on the (ever changing) menu and you might pray that it will just take text but You Will Despair of ever guessing What We Intend. On The Dark Side™ you will quickly learn that We Are Inscrutable, and you are not We. you are kusers.

Mere misspelled lusers.

Seriously though, the whole fucking paradigm is so goddamnably error-prone. Especially when I suddenly remember it was supposed to be "copy".

Whoa, back up a moment, I started middle clicking when U2 were still a Boy, and I'm moving to a platform with only one mouse button ?

Consequences, Schmonsequences. As long as I'm rich) And it should work the way you already expected it would.

That's the one that, combined with a cocktail of pharmaceutical enhancements, keeps UI designers gibbering at night:
  • it should work the way the luser expects it to
    • oops
    • sorry
    • correctamundo: UI designers
    • gotcha
    • Thanks
  • it should work the way the user expects it to
, when you don't know what the user's context is. (And context is the only true foundation of meaning, as we all know)

The other Steve seems to have a fairly good grasp of my context. Seems to have made some good guesses as to where I'm coming from. And the forgotten punchline of the parenthetical mouse story above was that after a few days (I did try one button) I plugged in my Logitech mouse to the Macbook and it just worked. Middle click does the same paste as on KDE or Gnome. Mmmmm...

Bill does not even deign to notice ext2 partitions on "his" disks, but the other Steve has middle-click waiting ready for any passing Unix heads, even though (I assume) his core users have only one button and don't know it exists.

As a hacker, occasional cracker, itinerant knacker, ex-packer, dedicated slacker, gratuitous slasher, and new macker, I just feel more invited to the party on The Bright Side.

Didn't know they were checking IDs at the door.

This post was aided and abetted by Echo & The Bunnymen. Duh.

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