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Editing 2021.08.29.16:48

tags/Issue-001
Kenneth John Odle 1 year ago
parent
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Chapter 3.
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\BOOKMARK [0][-]{chapter.1}{The Early Salad Days}{}% 1
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\BOOKMARK [1][-]{section.2.1}{Control\203and an Opportunity}{chapter.2}% 4
\BOOKMARK [1][-]{section.2.2}{The Unix Philosophy}{chapter.2}% 5
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\documentclass[twoside,letterpaper]{report}
\documentclass[twoside]{report}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amsfonts}
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% Do we want to include URLs?
\usepackage{hyperref}
% Use tab stops when we need to (especially in footnotes)
\usepackage{tabto}
% Define 18 tab stops (at 1/4" intervals)
\NumTabs{18}
\author{Kenneth John Odle}
\title{{\Huge the codex}\\{\footnotesize Life with Linux — A Zine\\Typeset in \LaTeX}}
\date{2021\\ August}
@ -65,11 +70,11 @@ FYI, this is made in \LaTeX using the report document class. It then gets export
I'm pushing this to my own git server as I write this. You can find it \href{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex}{here}: \texttt{https://git.kjodle.net/kjodle/the-codex}. New issues will be pushed after they are complete.
The image on the front cover is courtesy JericoDelayah from the WikiMedia Commons. The image is \href{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:4_RETAT_04_Linus_Torvalds.jpg}{over here}: \verb|https://commons.wikimedia.org/wik| \verb|i/File:4_RETAT_04_Linus_Torvalds.jpg|. You can also find a link to the Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 license there, as well.
The image on the front cover is courtesy JericoDelayah from the WikiMedia Commons. The image is \href{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:4_RETAT_04_Linus_Torvalds.jpg}{over here}: \verb|https://commons.wikimedia.o| \verb|rg/wiki/File:4_RETAT_04_Linus_Torvalds.jpg|. You can also find a link to the Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 license there, as well.
The image on the back cover is one that I highly agree with. We built it, it's ours, and we shouldn't be charged for using it.
You can just skip over all the diversions in you want. It's just how my mind works. (And yes, there will be politics in this. \textit{You have been warned.}
You can just skip over all the diversions in you want. It's just how my mind works. (And yes, there will be politics in this. \textit{You have been warned.}) Also, I use a lot of em-dashes and parentheses because that is also how my mind works. It's just one big long stream of consciousness up in here most days.
\chapter{The Early Salad Days}
Boring, early life stuff when my world smelled like sweat and disinfectant and warm bologna. Feel free to skip this. I wish I could.
@ -85,7 +90,7 @@ I mean, \textit{sure} you can get your kid that Casio, which has all the same fe
\textbf{Oh my, a diversion already.}
\begin{multicols}{2}
(A little off track here, but this begs two questions: 1) Why is it always a TI calculator that's required, and 2) Are we teaching kids to learn math or to learn how to operate a calculator? The answer to the first question is that Texas Instruments and the Major Textbook Publishers\texttrademark \, have colluded to produce expensive books that need to be replaced every two to three years [thereby costing the school district money] and that require expensive calculator [thereby costing you as a parent money]. It's a racket, but that's capitalism for you. The answer to the second question is that we are teaching kids how to use calculators. Teaching them how to do actual math would require thought on both the parts of the teachers and the parts of the students, not to mention on the parts of parents and especially administrators, who would also be required to grow a spine. Again, education in the United States has become a racket, but that's capitalism for you.)
(A little off track here, but this begs two questions: 1) Why is it always a TI calculator that's required, and 2) Are we teaching kids to learn math or to learn how to operate a calculator? The answer to the first question is that Texas Instruments and the Major Textbook Publishers\texttrademark \, have colluded to produce expensive books that need to be replaced every two to three years [thereby costing the school district money] and that require expensive calculators\footnote{A few years ago, I bought a scientific calculator at the \textbf{dollar store} and tested it against my very expensive TI-92. It was just as accurate as the more expensive calculator, and cheaper by two orders of magnitude. Did I mention that this is a racket?} [thereby costing you as a parent money]. It's a racket, but that's capitalism for you. The answer to the second question is that we are teaching kids how to use calculators. Teaching them how to do actual math would require thought on both the parts of the teachers and the parts of the students, not to mention on the parts of parents and especially administrators, who would also be required to grow a spine—and learn how to use it. Again, education in the United States has become a racket, but that's capitalism for you.)
\end{multicols}
\hrulefill
@ -96,14 +101,14 @@ I have noticed that even little kids are required to bring little kid calculator
Ironically, the earliest calculators I can remember seeing (not getting my hands on, because they didn't belong to me) were Texas Instruments. I don't remember a lot about them, but an uncle had given a pair to two of my cousins. They took a \textit{ton} of batteries, had red LEDs for outputs (meaning they glowed in the dark—you could use them in the dark if you memorized the keypad), and they were designed for students because they had a go-back-through-all-your-steps-function-to-see-where-you-done-screwed-up-boy function, which would be a useful feature on modern calculators to learn math, but again, we're not interested in kids actually learning how to think and do something as radical as math.
The other early calculator I remember was a Casio calculator and it was on a watch. A kid I knew for a short time had one, and even let me wear it for a while. (I wish I could remember his name, because this was a tremendous kindness on his part.) I swore that when I grew up, I would own one of these watches.
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\includegraphics[scale=0.15]{casio}
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The other early calculator I remember was a Casio calculator and it was on a watch. A kid I knew for a short time had one, and even let me wear it for a while. (I wish I could remember his name, because this was a tremendous kindness on his part.) I swore that when I grew up, I would own one of these watches.
Well, I grew up and I didn't buy one of them, even though they are still available. I could just never justify spending the money on what is—let's face it, just a bit of full-frontal nerdity—when there were bills to pay. Nope, just could never bring myself to do it.
It's just me now, and my expenses are numerous but small, and a couple of years ago my local all-in-one-store had all their watches on sale for 40\% off, including the name brand watches. I checked—it was in stock. At \$25 bucks it was a lot, but on sale it was only \$15. I could do this! So I picked it up and looked at it lovingly, thinking about all the good times we would have together as we went forth and explored the world one simple calculation at a time.
@ -114,13 +119,21 @@ Back on the shelf it went.
At this point, my only hope is that maybe my eyes will get so bad that I'll need bifocals all day, every day. When that happens, will this watch be on sale for so little money ever again? I highly doubt it.
\section{Speaking of Watches, Timex Used to make Home Computers}
My earliest memory of a computer in somebody's home is of being in an aunt's apartment, and she had a Timex Sinclair hooked up to her television.
I don't remember much about it, actually.\footnote{This aunt bought things not because she found them useful, but because other people didn't have them and she wanted to always have a status symbol to point to. I don't remember her actually doing anything \textit{useful} with this computer.} I do remember that I was not allowed to touch it.
This is where memory gets wonky, because I remember seeing this when I was about ten years old. But according to Wikipedia, the Timex Sinclair was released in 1982, when I would have been 14 years old. So it's entirely possible that my memory is losing track of \textit{when} things happened, or it's possible that this aunt had some other home computer that for whatever reason my brain thinks is a Timex Sinclair. Who knows? I certainly don't, and I'll probably never find out for sure.
\chapter{What's to Like About Linux}
I could go on and on here, but I'll try to keep it short. I can always come back to this.
\section{Control…and an Opportunity}
What I like—not love (that's about aesthetics for me)—is that I'm in control.
What I like—not love (love is about aesthetics for me when it comes to computers)—is that I'm in control.
Partly, that's the nature of open-source computing. If you want to know how something works, you can look at the source code. If you don't understand the source code, you can research how the source code works. You can ask questions. (Thank you, StackExchange!) You can do some more research and then learn how to ask \textit{better} questions. There is always something to learn, and once you've learned everything there is to learn about a particular piece of software \footnote{Which is never really true. What I really mean is that when you've learned everything \textit{you} want to know about it.} you can fork it and start contributing to the project yourself.
@ -134,7 +147,7 @@ But what I really, really like about Linux?
The command line.
I'll probably write about this some more later, but my experience with computers goes back way before Macintosh made the mouse popular (and necessary). You turned on the computer, and there was just this dark screen with a blinking cursor. If you wanted to make the thing do something, you had to \textit{know} something. With a GUI, you can guess. You can guess a lot, actually, and just poke around all you want because most GUIs come with an undo feature.
I'll probably write about this some more later, but my experience with computers goes back way before Macintosh made the mouse popular (and alas, necessary). You turned on the computer, and there was just this dark screen with a blinking cursor. If you wanted to make the thing do something, you had to \textit{know} something. With a GUI, you can guess. You can guess a lot, actually, and just poke around all you want because most GUIs come with an undo feature.
There is no ``undo'' on the command line.
@ -144,7 +157,19 @@ Why? Because the command line is like real life. There is no undo button in real
\section{The Unix Philosophy}
The Unix Philosophy was originated by Ken Thompson (one of the creators of Unix, upon which Linux is based) and basically says that each program should do one thing and do it well. (There is more to it than this; if you are interested, you can always google it.\footnote{Searching for something on the internet is \textit{always} an option these days, and so many people seem to be unable to do just that. Question: ``Where can I find \textit{X}?'' Answer: The same place I would find it: At the other end of a google search.}
The Unix Philosophy was originated by Ken Thompson (one of the creators of Unix, upon which Linux is based) and basically says that each program should do one thing and do it well. (There is more to it than this; if you are interested, you can always google it.\footnote{Searching for something on the internet is \textit{always} an option these days, and so many people seem to be unable to do just that. Honestly, this is the kind of stuff that gets my underwear in a twist. \\ \tabto{1.9em}Question: ``Where can I find \textit{X}?'' Answer: The same place I would find it: At the other end of a google search. \\ \tabto{1.9em}Better question: ``Which is the \textbf{best} source for \textit{X}? Ah, \textit{now} we have the basis for a discussion.}
This runs counter to physical life, where everything has to be a Swiss army watch. Watch any ad for a new kitchen gadget and this device does \textit{everything} except walk the dog and take out the trash. If it \textit{actually} did all those things and did them well, I would be happy to own one and more than happy to pay a couple of hundred dollars for it.
Unfortunately, it seems that it's impossible to build a device that will do a large number of things really, really well. I like to cook and so my parents inevitably give me a cooking-related gift every Christmas and every birthday. One year, I received a mandoline-type device—if you've spent any time watching the Home Shopping Network\footnote{Which is now called ``HSN''. Apparently, we are two busy to pronounce those two extra syllables. Modern life may be difficult, but I don't think the energy I save from not pronouncing those two syllables are going to give me enough energy to overcome it.} I'm sure you've seen them. It's basically a plastic tray with different cutting inserts, a handle to hang on to the food item, and a box that snaps on to the bottom to hold whatever you are slicing.
I absolutely \textit{love} this thing for slicing potatoes, and since I spend each autumn and winter making scalloped potatoes or au gratin potatoes, it sees a lot of use during those months when the days are short. It does a fantastic job slicing potatoes into a uniform thickness and does it far more quickly than I can do it with a knife.
It also includes inserts to make waffle slices (if you rotate the potato 90 degrees on each pass, you're supposed to be able to make waffle fries), inserts for dicing onions, and so forth. But here's the thing: as great as it is at slicing potatoes (and also carrots, which have the same general hardness as potatoes), it does a terrible job at slicing those things. Basically, the thin and the thick slicing inserts work well for potatoes and carrots, and all the other inserts don't work at all for them, and any other vegetable just doesn't get cut or gets crushed because you have to hold onto it so hard.
I don't know how much my parents spent on this thing, but if it's anything north of \$20, that's a lot of money for something I can already do fairly easily (and actually enjoy doing) with a sharp knife. Don't get me wrong—I love the thing (even though it's a bit of a pain to clean), but if we had spent at least as much time and money engineering the thing as we did marketing it, we might have concluded that it would probably be better to just encourage people to buy decent knives and then teach them how to sharpen them and use them properly.
(Also, I'm not picking on the Home Shopping Network\footnote{Okay, ``HSN''.} because everybody does this. Monty Python, all those years ago, even had a skit about this, which you can find if you google ``simpsons individual stringettes''. Of course Monty Python was making fun of this tendency and 50 years later we just accept it as a part of life.
\chapter{Coda}

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