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Jan. 20th, 2014

Google not providing Picasa anymore for Linux

When you try to download Picasa for Linux, you get this message:

Picasa is not currently available for your operating system

and Google forgot to add this message:

Picasa is not currently available for your operating system, and Google is a dick for not providing it, after all the great free work and use we got out of Linux.

There was never a real Linux version by the way, but a wine packaged version, but providing this seems still to be too much work.

And so it is a pain in the butt to try to download it, since Google is trying to patronize me into being an idiot and bein able to download it as a Windows executable.

I hate when a company or software is treating me like your typical tech-clueless moron that needs and wants patronisation, that gets scared and overwhelmed at having a few choices and knowing stuff ;-)

Dec. 9th, 2013

Inability to innovate

I have over the many years become aware that most of the population is totally unable to innovate, cannot create new things or reform / fix existing problems, even if they are apparent and have existed for a long long time.

What these people can do actually is use what I would call synthetic creativity at best: they can take existing things and modify them a little.

If something needs total reform, redesign from scratch, most are unable to do it.

Here a few examples of this:

The DVORAK keyboard system.

99.9% of all keyboard systems are based on some crap system from the 19th century that was designed for typewriters, where often typed keys are far apart to prevent jamming. And also to purposefully slow down typing, so they don’t jam. Now, there is absolutely no justification to use the old system anymore, yet everybody gets taught something obsolete.

Here a good article explaining it in detail:

Yet, I am amazed that most people can’t grasp this. They don’t get it, they don’t understand that things that are inefficient and bad, if never improved will stay that way forever.

They hold on to the status quo.

Is the failure and inability to innovate maybe an expression of mental inflexibility? Is it that they can’t improve things, because they are stuck in the old and their mind has a hard time grasping and adapting to new things?

Now the dvorak system is cool and clever, because all the most frequently typed characters are in the baseline, so meaning that you don’t have to move your fingers to type them. Imagine how much time you save and how much faster and without mistakes you can type with this system.

Another example is the PC keyboard.

I remember back in 1984 when our family got a Commodore 64. This box had these strange keys called F1 F2 F3 and so on.

They were totally useless and it would be years and years before anybody even used them.

BUT, here is the kicker, the idea was clearly to have reprogrammable keys that could be anything. For things that change.

But now, decades later, PC keyboards still use the damn F keys. And for example F1 is help.

Everybody knows that right?

Well, then let me ask you this: WHY IS THERE NO HELP KEY???

Am I the only person that has come across this thought?

It absolutely does not make sense to have a keyboard without a help key. Now somebody new to computers has to learn that F1 is help. It would be much easier to just have a key with that label, would make it intuitive.

What about copy paste insert? Why aren’t there these keys on a standard pc keyboard?

Well, because the design is ancient, it dates back to the jurassic age of computers and was never improved.

This is inefficient, slow and wasteful.

Joypads are another example, they have not changed much since the Nintendo days and grown men and women now game with controllers that are way too small for adult hands.

PC gaming is not much better, the WASD control method might have a cosy and warm glow for many, but it is truly dumb and inefficient. And unintuitive, you see that when you try to show game to somebody that has never gamed on a PC and the person keeps pressing the wrong buttons and shifting her/his hand.

Something else I have noticed is the Musical Notation system, that has not changed in 200 years. It is very hard to read and takes thousands of hours of practice.

Now nobody can tell me that in 200+ years, there is no way you can improve it. I would more than not assume that musicians are not innovators by design, but very traditional.

Sep. 23rd, 2013

Apple! Dumb dumb dumb!!!

Are there any people among you guys that know about security at all? Or are iOS users that clueless or just don't care?

Yes, you got your new fingerprint scanner in the new iPhone. And yes, of course, it has been already hacked days after.

Weren’t you aware that in security, you do not use something as a security token that you leave all around the place as you go?

Yes, your fingerprints are left everywhere. Now imagine that you would mumble your password every once in a while or write it in scribble on little papers and leave them strewn around, so that somebody can just pick them up and log into your cellphone with it. That is the very same thing.

I have a Lenovo Thinkpad T61 that runs Debian Linux, the thing has a fingerprint scanner, but after reading security reviews, I am not using it. It is just too unsecure.
It helps to have a CISSP and actually be trained in security ;-)

Jul. 3rd, 2013

Food industry lying through their teeth

I can't believe how much bullshit is in the world ;-)
There are these food packets, cereals or whatever that say "100% natural". And then I check on the back and yes, as I suspected: high fructose corn syrup or corn starch.
Which is made of.... genetically modified crops. How again is  that 100% natural then???

I don't know what is more shocking, the food industry lying through their teeth of claiming something so totally false or the people believing it.
Just recently here in California, a new proposition did not get through: labeling GMO food as GMO food.
And I found it always strange that there are actually people that helped repeal it. Why wouldn't you want something labeled as correctly as it should be?
And if GMO foods are so safe, why be afraid to label products with it? Could it be that GMO food producers are running a public experiment on everybody and therefore do not want to carry any liability for any ill effects?

I have noticed that here in the US, there seems to be a aweful lot of allergies around, I wonder if that is the result of growing up with food that is as much GMO and processed as nowhere else in the world.

Mar. 4th, 2013

Fix for the jumping scroll wheel problem

If you have a player like that and when you turn the wheel, the cursor jumps all over the list, erratic and strange, here is the fix for it. Worked for me, you just clean the contact pad and you are good to go:

Feb. 22nd, 2013

Kick ass mp3 player with Rockbox

How to buy an old mp3 player and make it into a kick ass current player with Rockbox

You might never have heard of Rockbox, but it is the reason why my totally ancient mp3 player (2008), can still stand up and even beat any modern iPod or mp3 player, in features and well, of course price.

I bought an old (refurbished) Sansa e260 mp3 player back in 2009 for like 45 bucks. It only had 4 GB on board memory and the SD card reader could only read 4 GB cards, the OS that Sansa put on there sucked so bad that my head hurt. I don’t get it, but there is a rule that no hardware company can do and software worth a damn and so the Sansa mp3 OS was a total pain in the butt to use, I watched a girlfriend of mine struggle with it and I did not blame her, it was totally awful. I also wanted to use the mp3 player to record voice memos, but the Sansa could only record in wav, which makes even the most modest recordings gigantinourmously huge.
So what can you do with such a limited old mp3 player? Well, trust the open source world to fix what no commercial company can do.

Enter Rockbox!

I downloaded the open source firmware and installed it and wow, suddenly the mp3 player could be used. It now offered tons and tons of features, the mp3 player now recorded directly in mp3, you could even select the bit rate. Also, when you recorded a memo, it resumed after wards where you left of listening to a piece. And guess how I marveled as I realized that the SD card reader was not limited by any hardware to only read 2 GB cards, nope, it now read a lot more. And currently, I am still using the same player, almost 5 years later, and now with a 32 GB card, that back then you could neither buy, nor afford, if it would have existed.

I wonder if it will read a 64 GB card, but I very much like the way the mp3 player grows with your music collection and with the times. Having a SD card slot is a very powerful thing in absolutely any device, a feature that no Apple product can ever beat. Because as this Sansa player shows, it is not the hardware that gets old and obsolete, but the software and that my friend can be updated. And of course, no need to mention, I still get updates for the player, I can download the newest version of Rockbox and install it.
No need to mention that Sansa stopped producing updates to their firmware right away, it is typical for companies that are focused on profits and not on their customers. They want that you buy the newest version of their hardware. The problem is, that I am not your average customer, I actually get how things work and I know that my Sansa has all the CPU power and hardware specs that it will ever need, as a mp3 player it will be as fit for the task in 2008 as in 2020, playing music is no big deal, once it is working, it works.
And there I love the open source community, helping enable crippled hardware to their full potential.
So when I realized how great Rockbox was on these players, I just bought another 4 of them, for less than somebody probably pays for a new one.

And of course, this is not all Rockbox can do.
It can play music file based (my favorite, you dive into sub dirs) or database based (it builds a database, by tags, very much like any mp3 player) Additionally, it has a equalizer built in, can cross fade from piece to piece (disco mode). As though this was not enough: It also has apps on it, for example a metronome, flashlight, calculator, clock, stopwatch, Puzzle Bobble game, Doom game (the real version actually ;-) and tons of other games that are not really mention worthy and also some demos, like a matrix simulator and a Mandelbrot, all in all not something you will probably use every day, but still, amazing when considering that it is all free.

I wonder when companies will ever change and offer the customer more stuff than he actually expects, surprising him/her like a thing like Rockbox does.

Dec. 12th, 2012

What the hell is Windows doing?

I see it again and again, my Windows 7 is sluggish, the hard disk is
running and running and running, the led flashing like crazy, but
when I call up the task manager, the system is supposed to be idle.


This was one of the reasons 5 years back to start switching over to Linux
on my servers, desktops and laptops: Transparency.

is often obscure and strange in its behavior, it is a OS for people
that don’t care what the computer does, people that are not
suspicious that their computer might actually be spying on them or do
other things that are not in the best interests.

So after all these years, I still ask “What the hell is my Windows
doing right now???”, why is that hard disk running like crazy? How
do I stop it?

On Linux this is easy, just look at the task lists and you will know for
sure, it is very transparent. But in Windows, and the strange way it
is built, the task manager actually does not show you a proper load
average of your system. It shows you the load of the CPU, nothing
more. So if your CPU is not the bottle neck and the system is
struggling with the stone age technology mechanically-driven Hard
disk, which in every modern system just can’t keep up with the rest
of the system (which has gone non-moving parts about two decades
ago), it does not register and so it looks like Windows is lying to

In Linux, the way that load average was designed, much more
professionally, and ready to last a few ages, as they put smart
thought into it, it shows the whole load of the system, no matter
what is happening. If the OS has to wait for certain things, this
drives up the load average.

When my Linux Laptop/Desktop starts running the hard disk crazy, I can
find out exactly why and shut it down if I want to be able to

In Windows, a proprietary (such an ugly word ;-) OS, as nontransparent
as a rock,I can only guess: System updates. For sure I will never
know, as most internal Windows processes have cryptic non descriptive
names like svhost: they often don’t show what they actually do.

And in the final conclusion, there is no point in trying to find out
exactly what a computer and OS is doing when it is running something
proprietary as Windows or Mac OS, it is an exercise in futility. And
that in an age, where more and more companies and interest groups
labor hard to take away more and more freedoms that you used to have,
and turn your computer against you, spy on you and limit the way you
can use it.

Cory Doctorow has a very interesting blog about

where he talks about how the industry of content providers want to murder
the general purpose computer and are bent on taking away as many
rights as possible from customers.

And it is really hilarious I laugh every time I hear or read it, as I do
every time marketing is such a fat lie and so totally untrue:

Ad for movie / DVD / Bluray: the story of two lovers, blablablabla...



And I laugh: nope, you don’t own it, not the least bit. You maybe own
the plastic that the disk is made off, but everything else is really
far away from owning in the sense that we understand it.

Many people found that out also when they wanted to gift or transfer their
iTunes music:

They found that Apple totally dictated what they can or can’t do with
it. Which is, not much. And since iTunes music is encrypted (DRM), if
you go out of the system of Apple, all you got are files of
randomized data garbage.

So you have a right to use them, in some very limited ways, but you
actually own nothing about them.

And in my book, marketing must never lie that grotesquely.

Tags: ,

Nov. 28th, 2012

Bye bye dumb phone, hello Android and smart phone!

I finaaaaaaaally joined the ranks of smart phone owners. I used to own a dumb phone, defined as a phone that you can only use to make calls and write SMS. No way to install any apps. It also did not run one of the standard OS for mobile devices: Android and iOS.

And the reason for this is that I found a phone that I really liked. Well, should I say phone? I would better call it mobile device, since phoning is the the thing I have been doing by far the least with it so far (less than 5% of total usage).

Before this phone, I did not really like anything I saw. The devices were often too expensive and too limited. And I was not looking forward to do a phone contract with the “Cellphone-Mafia”, if you look at the TCO (total cost of ownership) of one of these puppies, with a 2 year contract, it is staggeringly expensive.

With my dumb phone I used to be on MetroPCS and that was HALF as expensive than what I pay now with the current “Don” that I am patronizing... well, against my will.

So which phone am I talking about? I fell in love with the Samsung Galaxy Note from.....

Well, you notice here that I am not mentioning which provider I am using. Yes and that is on purpose: the phone’s brilliance does not depend on the phone network I am using it on. Less informed people seem to think that Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or whatever are building these phones or write the software for it. Let me just tell you: They don't.

This phone is so brilliant thanks to no other than Android (Google, maker of the software) and Samsung (maker of the hardware).

So what is so great about it? Well to name the first thing: The screen!

It is the biggest screen you can get on any smart phone on the market currently, 5.3 inches.

The display is more than double as big than a iPhone 4 and the Apple device looks really like a children's toy next to it.

And I found that the screen makes or breaks a smart phone really, as it is the main interface point between the user and the device. And a big enough screen opens up all kinds of new possibilities. So for example map browsing:

Where am I now, where do I need to go, what is nearby? A thing that you would do on a real road map.

On a small device with a tiny screen you zoom and pan like crazy and have no overview. And likely, you would not even consider it viable as an overview. On the Note’s screen, you can actually see it all.

The 285 dpi screen density does help a lot (Apple would call that retina, I just call it “higher resolution screen”, because it is not something magical just because Apple calls it a fancy “normally referred to as part of the eye anatomy” term). I'm often shocked how people seem to latch on these marketing terms and how they seem to pretend that is signifies something special. Screen resolutions have always been raised, step by step, there is absolutely nothing new to this. I has been very painful though, I have waited for 300 dpi screens for the last 10 years and they have hovered around more like 150 dpi, which is totally ugly to the eye.

The Note is also using the most advanced display technology: OLED .OLED is what I have been waiting for so many years, as I have found LCD and the way it works ugly as hell.

LCD works by having a light source and then filtering out the bits that are not white. This is a pretty stupid technology, as it causes these problems:

- You need a glass plate, the display cannot be bent ever, and stays thicker and heavier than OLED.

- Black is never really black, as black means that the filters are at maximum, theoretically not letting anything through. Black is always a kind of dark grey.

- It is wasting a lot of energy, as you first beam brilliant light, just to neutralize it in the next step. Everywhere where it is filtered, i.e. where it hits black or a dark color, it gets absorbed and creates heat.

- In LCD, no matter what you display on the screen, the energy usage is always the same, be it all white or all black.

- View angle: LCD has a narrow view angle, if you surpass this, the picture is not recognizable anymore.

- LCDs are too dim to be viable in full on sunlight. Remember that scene from 2010 Space Odyssey where Roy Scheider is preparing for his trip to space? There is a scene where he is at the beach, in full sunlight, working on a laptop. And ever since this scene, I dreamed about being able to do that. Well, you can't read a LCD screen when the sun glares on it, sadly enough. You can do that though on a OLED. LED and OLED carry a lot more punch than LCD and go check which technology is used with large scale screens in Las Vegas or on road sides where daylight readability is a must.

LCD used to have a lot more problems, which have all been resolved over the years (like speed and blurring)

Now OLED on the other side, has these advantages:

- Less energy usage, OLEDs are extremely efficient. You only use energy for a pixel that lights up

- More brilliant: OLEDs can be used in plain sunlight. LCDs cannot.

- More vivid colors

- The screen can become super thin (check out some OLED TVs, you won’t believe how thin they are, it makes your LCD TV look like a huge block). An option for OLEDs is that the display can be bent. There are not that many displays around yet, but one of the ideas for the future is to have a pen that you can pull out a large screen that you can unroll. A vision of mine is also that in the future, you would have work spaces that have a display that is rolled up and then be pulled up (the roll being on the table) and then hooked up to some metal rod that stands vertical. So your screen would not be taking up any space, when it is rolled up in the cylinder on the table, but become 19 inch large, when you pull it up. It would only be a foil, really thin and look more like an mobile expandable movie screen that you use for projectors.

OLEDs do also have some drawbacks and one of them is longevity and production cost. Also, OLED displays are still size restricted.

The Samsung device uses a SUPER AMOLED, which is their term for it.

And I love how the screen looks, with almost 300 dpi, it reaches the resolution that we have in print media (the minimum resolution that is) and it is the border where you cannot see individual pixels anymore and curves and circles look really round, not the jagged pixelated mess that is everywhere else on monitors. Using anti aliasing helps a little, but it is a really ugly and messy way to just smear everything.

So having such a huge screen has endless advantages. One of them is that you can actually use a full size keyboard on screen and watch movies in wonderful quality.

Thanks Google for creating Android and MOST OF ALL, basing it on Linux. And it being open source, instead some ugly as hell piece of proprietary poo that is closed and nontransparent.

The Note also comes with another quite unique feature that no other cellphone has: A stylus and a pressure sensitive wacom graphical tablet built into the screen. This enables you to draw with precision far beyond what a normal tablet or touch screen can do. Me being ahead of the curve, I have loathed paper for an eternity, wanting to replace it with digital data.

Having to scan in all paper notes has annoyed me for years and finally, this problem has been layed to rest.

Sep. 6th, 2012

Enjoying Lost, but what's up with the music?

I don't watch a lot of TV and if I do, I do it on Netflix. I can't stand the mind numbing idiotic effect commercials have on my stainless steel brain: they bounce off, but leave a strange aftertaste of "I just tried to manipulate your mind / opinion"

For me the easiest explanation why most Americans are broke, as they often sleep with the TV on, commercials and "buy buy buy buy!!!" messages sinking into their subconscious. I just shake at that thought.

And with Netflix, you can skip over any kind of commercials. So I have been watching Lost. I usually don't go for ordinary stuff, that keeps as much to reality as possible, that does not really create a lot of new ideas or concepts. So I could definitely not follow 24, as it is just too mundane. I like stuff the inspires me, the "what if" feeling is very important, so science fiction and fantasy genres works well, and when I started watching Lost, I wondered what that thing is all about, is it just popular, but not really excellent? (often popular and excellent don't come together)

So why I'm I watching it now, almost 10 years later than it was broadcast? For some strange reason, I cannot follow a series when it is on, I have to wait for it to "ripen", similar to a cheese.

And of course, if you watch it when it is on, you have to watch it when THEY want you to watch it. I love the internet for the interactivity, that I can watch stuff when I want to watch it. To conform my schedule to some TV channels ideas is a strange idea indeed for me. And the non-interactivity of TV will be the undoing of the whole thing: A survey conducted among young adults "if you could only have either TV or internet, which one would you chose", most answered that they would keep internet, the reason being that it is interactive, and TV is not.

Anyway, I found Lost to be quite excellent: the writing is really really good and you can see that they had the complex story planed in big strokes from the very start, a thing that is really hard to do, as it has to all connect together and you cannot just hint on something and then (as many movies or TV series do) not follow up on it (it's a mystery, we will never know)

And I find that pathetic: I would actually like to know what is behind a mystery, I will not put curiosity into something that I know can never be known: The fun thing is to wonder, to wish to know and then find out.

I'm in the middle of season 3 and so far I have been thrilled by the writing, they sometimes do write things that does not make sense at all. Like Locke blowing up the submarine (stupid stupid stupid stupid! Does.... NOT... make....sense) or Kate and Jack having sex in the cage, well, while the door is open and they could escape. Well, what if their captors sneak up to them during sex? Not cool, who wants to be interrupted during sex? And yes, they have to have sex and then wait around for their jailors to come back and lock them up again. Stupid stupid stupid, what did they not just leave and have sex somewhere in the jungle? After being save and escape? Huge hole in the story there.

But besides there it is really amazing and it causes real emotion in me, which is not easy to do, as I usually don't buy phoney stories or acting. I actually really hated Michael for killing Libby and that police woman, hmm, what was her name? And the guy takes his son and bang, sails off, while his friends get captured. And no, you cannot justify killing anybody, not even for your son, that is a nono and the law of the jungle and society (in that case society is the small group of people) would have necessitated that they would have killed him on the charge of high treason to the group, of being a huge dirt bag and lying and killing two of the group.

And I always laugh when the bad guys threaten to kill somebody, like Kate or Sawyer, because they would not: They took great pains to get these people captured, they would not just kill them.

And what is up with the kidnapping of babies or kids? Yes yes, I know that the viewers can identify with that, that everybody is in tears "OMG, they kidnapped Walt". Yeah, but what use are kids? What can you use them for? Nothing. What is the use kidnapping a baby or pregnant woman? None, except that it will make everybody want them back so bad.

Anyway, besides that, Lost is really excellent, I love it really. I'm just a very critical person. Which brings me to one of the things that always makes me laugh:

The sound effects and the music. Hmm, which music? Exactly!

There is no music to speak of. Every time I see the credits of "music by" I keep wondering: Huh? That must have been a nice job, getting payed for doing nothing. Lost would be so much better if it had proper atmospheric or, for the matter, ANY music. As it is, the music sounds more like sound effects. As an aspiring musician, I see these things very clearly.

There is the dude with the single string instrument, pluck.... pluck.... that instrument that wants to say "isn't this really really strange??? everything is so strange!"

Then the violins that cause tension and suspense. And well, then there is the sliding door.

The thing that sounds like somebody sliding a huge door (or of a van) and then it finally clonking into a lock.

Another quirk is that there is no sex so far on the island, which is hardly realistic at all. I think people would be doing it like the rabbits ;-) and another strange thing is that people seem to be scared of others being naked. There is this strange behavior where people avert their eyes and seem to get offended by seeing somebody naked. Strange! Is this a typical example for the collective sexual immaturity of the American public? One of these important points is of course is of course the misguided belief that being naked = sex, that you cannot be naked without having to initiate sex ;-) People that have this funny equation in their heads should head over to Europe and live there for a bit, while indulging in some naked bathing, which is no big deal or anything special in the "old world", it has absolutely nothing to do with sex and whole families indulge in it.

When I see these things on TV, I sometimes wonder if they seriously mean this? Are people that naive or uneducated to think nakedness is strange or abnormal? I get the feeling sometimes that in the United States, the strong religion permeating many areas of public life and the traditions, based on Victorian prudeness are a step back from what Europe has in terms of open mindedness towards the beautiful thing that is sex.

Anyway, back to Lost: The lack of music makes it seem unemotional and cold, omitting a big channel of emotional expressiveness. It is similar to the new Battlestar Galactica that has no music to speak of, but just endless drumming. It is interesting, because the old Battlestar Galactica shone through the music and even though the special effects and hair styles look so totally outdated now, the orchestral score still kicks ass.

Besides that, the writing on Lost is first grade and I really like the show. It does great story telling and deserves the reputation it has. And that is high praise from a person as critical towards TV as I am. I wish all TV was that good.

Tags: ,

Mar. 28th, 2012

I do hate the VI editor

Yes, dislike is a word that is not strong enough.

There is not a piece of software on the planet that has been more pain to use to me than the fabled VI editor. Fabled, because at this point it is as fabled as a shining knights armor sitting in some museum. Fabled as in ancient, incredibly old fashioned and not to be used anymore. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to stop people from using VI. If you love it and spent your 40 hours of training how to use it, go knock yourself out. I know, you will be faster in text editing than anybody else. You will be happy on any old Unix (that is so old or dated, it starts to smell ;-)

But please please please don’t think that other people should be indoctrinated or convinced to use VI.

I myself have chucked Linux into the corner in 2001 when confronted with this P.O.S. software. And of course, some not so bright person in a forum could not relate to being in the 21st century and other people that do not want to do serious and time consuming training to use something as trivial as an text editor. He recommended me to use VI to edit a text file in Linux, at which point I was astonished, flabbergasted and then well, angry at the idiocy of VI, where you even need to read a manual to be able to exit the damn thing.

Imagine going to a building and entering and then walking around and suddenly getting lost. The doors are all unmarked, nobody helps you and then you realize that you are in some strange building that was built before labels and directories or even maps were invented. And you should have (of course!, *dripping sarcasm*) studied the manual for that building before entering. Now you are trapped and all you hear from other people is RTFM!

Strange? I think so.

In my book, ANY application, no matter what it does must at the very least show you the way out, so that you can use that in case you decide that you do not want to use it. And every software does it, just VI does not.

And how do you get out of VI?

Well, first you exit edit mode with ESC (yep, you’re actually not always in edit mode, so you even have to know how to make your keystrokes register when you type text ;-)

then you use the combination :q! for quit and really do it.

:wq! is for writing the file first. Guess how much time you save just having to type these few commands (*dripping sarcasm*) and well, guess how long it will take you to memorize them properly ;-)?

So in my case I had to terminate the editor from outside, I sent it a sigterm or sigkill, which is the worst defeat that can happen: I had to actually “call security” (in an OS sense) and remove the damn thing (akin to a contractor that refuses to leave after a job is done, citing that you do not know the magic password that he requires).

Now why am I so angry at VI? Well, because there are tons and tons of better editors out there. Take emacs for example. No, I am not somebody that loves emacs. I am not part of that flame war. Why do I prefer emacs to VI? Well, it got this crazy new invention (I think that was invented in 1984) called MENUS *dripping sarcasm once again*, where you can actually know what options there are, intuitively. without reading some blasted manual beforehand. Exiting that program is so easy, saving is easy, loading is easy and there is even a built in help.

Nano as an editor is also OK, as you see what you can do below in a line and well, it also talks with you, telling you high tech shit like “do you want to save this? If not, you will lose it”

I estimate that VI is responsible for more people chucking Linux into the corner after wanting to try it than any other thing. I remember using Windows and realizing that DOS was over, gone, bye bye, that the future was GUIs. When using Linux the first time, I wondered if the thing was not outdated. All that focus on the CLI seemed a little weird. It seemed to me that there were some geeks that were just having a private party, loving the little world they had created for themselves, requiring in depth skills for doing trivial things that other non trained people seemed to do with a few clicks on Windows. But in their world, people had to conform to their rule: “RTFM! Intuition does not work, nope you cannot just use that and figure it out as you go!” they seemed to say. And when meeting VI, I have had it. That thing was ugly as hell and old as well, before the beginning of time.

Only later I recognized how great the CLI is in Linux and that it can do things that you just can’t do on Windows, because DOS is really over: it is a cheap, copy-cat P.O.S. copy of Bash or any Linux shell.

BUT: I had to get around VI. Every time I used it again, it drove me nuts. And then I had to do my RedHat Certified Engineer certification. And when asking if I could use any editor to edit conf files, the teacher (a former Unix pro) said “sure, you can use anything you like, but you will find that only VI is installed all the time on all systems”

So he told me in no uncertain terms “yes, use any editor you like, BUT NOT IN MY DAMN CLASS YOU WON’T!”

The “vi is installed everywhere, others are not” excuse has been used now for 30 years and it is getting old. On systems with gigabytes of ram, terabytes of hard disk space a CLI text editor, even something as large as emacs is tiny and the problems a tool causes and man hours it wastes by not being available is much worse then the few megabytes it “wastes” by being ready and installed.

This insistence and the old fashioned (dinosaur-like) thinking is very prevalent on Unix systems and “Unix experts”, even nowadays. And it is the main cause for Unix to be supplanted by Linux for decades now. When you compare for example top (ancient) and htop (new and improved) you can see this difference very much: top has not changed for decades, while htop has a lot of great new ideas and does whatever top ever did: use of colors, using bars instead of numbers, use of cursor keys to navigate around.

Oh, and on a side note: I have to always laugh at that, but did you know that some VI version don’t even support cursor keys? It is shocking, but true. And I chuckle, thinking back at probably somewhere in the 70’ies when cursor keys were the total new thing, high tech and had a WOW! factor to them, and only the fancy-shmancy keyboards had them.

So if you want to use VI, please do. But please don’t instigate that newbies do and don’t pretend it is all easy. It is not.

And did I learn how to use VI then? Well, faced with a teacher that basically told me in no uncertain terms that he would make me fail the test if I did not play by his terms and rules, I learned the basic VI commands. But then stopped and fought it. And still don’t know how to use vi properly and well, am proud of that and all the time I saved.

Nano and emacs are always installed in seconds, especially since all modern Linuxes support directly installing from internet with one command.

I love efficiency and making things more efficient. And the command line has some things that no GUI can best. The power to script everything or automate everything.

But sometimes I am wary and take a hard long look at things: and if some schmo can do things faster in a GUI, that take me longer in the command line, then I am doing something wrong, am I to use the CLI in the first place!

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