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Kenneth John Odle 2 weeks ago
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      002/codex-002.tex

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002/codex-002.tex

@ -116,7 +116,7 @@ I'm pushing this to my own git server as I write this. You can find it \href{htt
You can just skip over all the diversions in here if 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, parentheses, and footnotes because that is also how my mind works. It's just one big long stream of consciousness up in here most days.
The buttons are from the Button Optimizer website, which is here: \href{https://buttonoptimizer.com/}{\texttt{https://buttonoptimizer.com/}}. I'm not sure if I like this concept or not. We'll have to see.
The buttons are from the Button Optimizer website, which is here: \href{https://buttonoptimizer.com/}{\texttt{https://buttonoptimizer.com/}}. I'm not sure if I like this concept or not. We'll have to see. (Note from the future: turns out I'm not keen.)
\medskip
@ -126,7 +126,7 @@ The buttons are from the Button Optimizer website, which is here: \href{https://
\noindent \textbf{Credit where credit is due:} A lot of people have come forth (mostly from Reddit) to help me out in various ways. See the preamble to this document in the source code to see them. One aspect of our society is that nobody \textit{has} to help you. It is wonderful when it happens, and I am grateful for their help.
The pictures of a Commodore 64 is courtesy of Bill Bertram. It was published at \href{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Commodore64.png}{\texttt{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Commodo \\ re64.png}} where you can also find the Creative Commons 2.5 license it was licensed under. I did slightly crop the top and bottom to make it fit better. LaTeX didn't care. The picture of a Commodore 128 is courtesy of Evan-Amos, and was published at \href{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Commodore-128.jpg}{\texttt{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File \\ :Commodore-128.jpg}}, where you can find the Creative Commons 3.0 license it was licensed under.
The pictures of a Commodore 64 is courtesy of Bill Bertram. It was published at \href{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Commodore64.png}{\texttt{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Commodore64.pn\\g}} where you can also find the Creative Commons 2.5 license it was licensed under. I did slightly crop the top and bottom to make it fit better. LaTeX didn't care. The picture of a Commodore 128 is courtesy of Evan-Amos, and was published at \href{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Commodore-128.jpg}{\texttt{https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Commodo\\re-128.jpg}}, where you can find the Creative Commons 3.0 license it was licensed under.
\tableofcontents
@ -156,7 +156,7 @@ Time for some math, which looks like this:
\bigskip
If you don't trust my math, check out \href{https://www.matisse.net/bitcalc/}{\texttt{https://www.matisse.net/bit \\ calc/}}, which is where I did this math. It's actually kind of fun, and they get bonus points for including the source code for the perl script behind this sorcery.
If you don't trust my math, check out \href{https://www.matisse.net/bitcalc/}{\texttt{https://www.matisse.net/bit \\ calc/}}, which is where I did this math. It's actually kind of fun, and they get bonus points for including the source code of the perl script behind this sorcery.
Anyway, I'm driving a laptop now that has 8 GB of memory in it. (And I've seriously considered upgrading it to 16 GB). A gigabyte is equal to 1,048,576 kilobytes. The math (and heck, let's use dimensional analysis because it's fun) looks like this:
@ -197,7 +197,7 @@ The following table is filled with much beauty:
1~mebibyte~(Mi) &= 1,024^2~bytes \\
1~gibibyte~(Gi) &= 1,024^3~bytes \\
1~tebibyte~(Ti) &= 1,024^4~bytes \\
1~pebibyte~(Pi) &= 1,024^5~bytes
1~pebibyte~(Pi) &= 1,024^5~bytes \\
\end{align*}
\end{small}
@ -222,7 +222,7 @@ I purchased this computer from the back of a K-Mart, in much the same way the me
\vspace{-12pt}
\end{wrapfigure}
Unfortunately, when you bought a computer in those days you got exactly that in the box: a computer. There was no monitor, there was no disk drive, there was no printer. You just got a computer in a box with a power cord. I had scrimped and saved forever to buy this, and had fortunately also managed to save enough for a monitor, which in those days was a big, heavy cathode-ray tube device (CRT, for short). One of the selling points of the C-64 was that it was portable. You could just pick it up and take it with you. (It seems like all computers in the movies back in the day either took up entire rooms or buildings---think Hal-9000 in \textit{2001: A Space Odyssey}---or were something you could carry in your hand---think the tricorders in \textit{Star Trek}. We've never managed a happy medium.) The monitor, however, was anything \textit{but} portable. It was heavy, it was bulky, and it was fragile. Slam a lid closed on a modern laptop and everything will probably be fine. Knock a CRT off the table and it's toast. If it lands on your foot, you'll probably end up in the emergency room.
Unfortunately, when you bought a computer in those days you got exactly that in the box: a computer. There was no monitor, there was no disk drive, there was no printer. You just got a computer in a box with a power supply. I had scrimped and saved forever to buy this, and had fortunately also managed to save enough for a monitor, which in those days was a big, heavy cathode-ray tube device (CRT, for short). One of the selling points of the C-64 was that it was portable. You could just pick it up and take it with you. (It seems like all computers in the movies back in the day either took up entire rooms or buildings---think Hal-9000 in \textit{2001: A Space Odyssey}---or were something you could carry in your hand---think the tricorders in \textit{Star Trek}. We've never managed a happy medium.) The monitor, however, was anything \textit{but} portable. It was heavy, it was bulky, and it was fragile. Slam a lid closed on a modern laptop and everything will probably be fine. Knock a CRT off the table and it's toast. If it lands on your foot, you'll probably end up in the emergency room.
The second computer I ever owned was a Commodore 128. Whereas its predecessor only had 64 kb of memory, the C-128, as we called it, had a whopping 128 kb of memory—twice the memory for nearly the same price. While the C-64 could only run in the 1 Mhz\footnote{megahertz—a measure of a computer's computing speed} mode, the C-128 could run in 1 Mhz mode or 2 Mhz mode, but such were the demands on its resources that running in 2 Mhz mode meant the screen would go blank—it simply didn't have the power to process that fast and display that processing on the screen at the same time. For comparison, I just pulled up a cheap Lenovo laptop on Best Buy's website that has an Intel i3 processor with 8 GB of memory and a 256 GB solid state drive and is on sale for \$389. It has a clock speed of three \textit{gigahertz}.
@ -234,9 +234,9 @@ The second computer I ever owned was a Commodore 128. Whereas its predecessor on
Unlike the C-64, which was round and bulky, the C-128 was slim and sleek. In fact, one of its selling points was its portability, and I recall seeing a brochure where a college student is walking around campus with one under his arm. What they left out of that illustration, of course, is his friend dragging a little red wagon with a terribly heavy CRT monitor in it, along with an incredibly heavy power source. They were portable in theory, but not in any practical manner. But compared to a mainframe that took up an entire room or building, it was light years ahead of its time. And I \textit{felt} like that, too, like this computer was going to take me places where I would be light years ahead of where I was then.\footnote{It didn't, because you need so much more than just a computer to get ahead. You need resources, you need people who believe in what you're doing and support you, and you need people who can point you in the direction of the next step. If you don't have those things, you're not a visionary with a bright future ahead of him, you're just a nerd with a computer.}
Like I said, the laptop I am using now has 8 GB of memory, which is a lot more than 128 kb of memory. But how much more? It's difficult for most people to visualize numbers, especially when they are orders of magnitude apart, and looking at raw numbers doesn't give our brains much to latch onto. We need to \textit{visualize} these numbers, which is why I used money earlier. But because I like math and most people like food, let's visualize these numbers a different way: through food.\footnote{A\&W once tried to launch a $\nicefrac{1}{3}$ pound burger to compete with McDonald's quarter-pounder, the idea being you get more meat for the same price. But it didn't sell because people thought a third of a burger was less than a fourth of a burger. They could get $4>3$, but they couldn't understand $\nicefrac{1}{4}<\nicefrac{1}{3}$. See \href{https://awrestaurants.com/blog/aw-third-pound-burger-fractions}{\texttt{https://awrestaurants.com/blog/aw-third-pound-burger-fractions}} for the full story.}
Like I said, the laptop I am using now has 8 GB of memory, which is a lot more than 128 kb of memory. But how much more? It's difficult for most people to visualize numbers, especially when they are orders of magnitude apart, and looking at raw numbers doesn't give our brains much to latch onto. We need to \textit{visualize} these numbers, which is why I used money earlier. But because I like math and most people like food, let's visualize these numbers a different way: through food.\footnote{A\&W once tried to launch a $\nicefrac{1}{3}$ pound burger to compete with McDonald's quarter-pounder, the idea being you get more meat for the same price. But it didn't sell because people thought a third of a pound was less than a fourth of a pound. (Again, the metric system for the fucking win.) They could get $4>3$, but they couldn't understand $\nicefrac{1}{4}<\nicefrac{1}{3}$. See \href{https://awrestaurants.com/blog/aw-third-pound-burger-fractions}{\texttt{https://awrestaurants.com/blog/aw-third-pound-burger-fractions}} for the full story.}
Let's assume that those 128 kb of memory is equivalent to one happy childhood meal. Maybe it's your dad cooking out on the weekend, or your Nonna making homemade meatballs, or maybe it's not a childhood meal; it's just you and your significant other sitting on the futon enjoying spaghetti Lady and the Tramp style. Pick whatever meal you love, that you think you could eat every day. That meal is the equivalent of those 128 kb of memory.
Let's assume that those 128 kb of memory are equivalent to one happy childhood meal. Maybe it's your dad cooking out on the weekend, or your Nonna making homemade meatballs, or maybe it's not a childhood meal; it's just you and your significant other sitting on the futon enjoying spaghetti Lady and the Tramp style. Pick whatever meal you love, that you think you could eat every day. That meal is the equivalent of those 128 kb of memory.
We've already established that there are 1,048,576 kilobytes in a single gigabyte. Let's do some more math.
@ -274,9 +274,9 @@ If Oprah were really interested in changing the world, instead of handing out ca
It saddens me that we are now at a price point where technology should be able to transform the lives of millions of people, and free them from the situation they are in now. I know a lot of people say that kids are so much more comfortable with technology now, but this really isn't a great thing. When I was a kid, you used technology to change your life. There wasn't a lot of technology, so it basically boiled down to learning how to use an extremely slow computer to do tasks you'd rather not do, using a VCR to record shows so that you could watch them at a later time, and duplicating cassettes and creating mix-tapes. As I grew into young adulthood and started teaching, I saw kids doing exactly that.\footnote{Of course, these were the kids whose parents had the money to buy a computer and pay for access to the internet, neither of which were cheap in the early 90s.} Mix-tapes were replaced by mix-CDs. You could manipulate technology to improve your life, and when you were done, you shut if off and called it a day.
Now it's the other way around: technology manipulates you and you \textbf{can't} shut it off. Websites (I'm thinking of Amazon here, as they are the best at it, but plenty of other websites do this as well) now \textit{tell} you what you want to buy. You can buy things on subscription so that you don't have to think any more.\footnote{It can be devilishly tricky to actually unsubscribe from some of these things, to the point where it's easier just to absorb the expense (we can always get the kids vaccinated \textit{next} year) and just decide that this is how we live now.} Streaming services control what you watch or listen to. No longer can you just walk into a record store or a video store and get what you actually want. No longer will people experience the serendipity of walking into a store and finding a movie or album that becomes a huge part of their life. (I've discovered some of my favorite books that way. I truly believe certain objects just call to you.\footnote{I know that kind of woo-woo, and I am not into a lot of woo-woo stuff. Maybe it's more just a matter of getting out of the house and walking around with our eyes open.})
Now it's the other way around: technology manipulates you and you \textbf{can't} shut it off. Websites (I'm thinking of Amazon here, as they are the best at it, but plenty of other websites do this as well) now \textit{tell} you what you want to buy. You can buy things on subscription so that you don't have to think any more.\footnote{It can be devilishly tricky to actually unsubscribe from some of these things, to the point where it's easier just to absorb the expense (we can always get the kids vaccinated \textit{next} year) and just decide that this is how we live now.} Streaming services control what you watch or listen to. No longer can you just walk into a record store or a video store and get what you actually want. No longer will people experience the serendipity of walking into a store and finding a movie or album that becomes a huge part of their life. (I've discovered some of my favorite books that way. I truly believe certain objects just call to you.\footnote{I know that's kind of woo-woo, and I am not into a lot of woo-woo stuff. Maybe it's more just a matter of getting out of the house and walking around with our eyes open.})
People have become addicted to their phones in a way I'd never imagined possible. (If you are ahead of me at a red light, and the light turns green, but you don't go because you don't notice that the light is now green because you're looking at your phone, believe me—I \textit{will} let you know that the light is now green and you can proceed through the intersection. Believe me, you will \textit{know}.)
People have become addicted to their phones in a way I'd never imagined possible. (If you are ahead of me at a red light, and the light turns green, but you don't go because you don't notice that the light is now green because you're looking at your phone—I \textit{will} let you know that the light is now green and you can proceed through the intersection. Believe me, you will \textit{know}.)
Advertisements are everywhere, on every app, on every streaming service.\footnote{Include mindfulness meditation apps—see the back cover.} They are constantly telling you that you need this product or this service, and it has become very difficult to screen that out, so much so that even drunk purchasing is now a substantial part of the economy.\footnote{\href{https://www.finder.com/drunk-shopping}{\texttt{https://www.finder.com/drunk-shopping}}, \href{https://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-is-prime-territory-for-drunk-shoppers-2019-03-25}{\texttt{https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ \\ amazon-is-prime-territory-for-drunk-shoppers-2019-03-25}}, \href{https://www.techtimes.com/articles/240241/20190326/drunk-us-adults-spend-48-billion-shopping-online-and-amazon-is-so-happy-about-it.htm}{\texttt{https://www.techtim \\ es.com/articles/240241/20190326/drunk-us-adults-spend-48-billion-shopping-online-and-amazon-is-so-happy-about-it.htm}}.} Before, you had to leave your house to get manipulated into buying something, now you don't even have to leave the house. You can literally shop yourself out of house and home without ever leaving your house or your home.
@ -290,9 +290,7 @@ What was promulgated as a potential servant, ever willing and able to come to ou
\medskip
What strikes me most about some of the videos in the the playlist I've linked above is that the emphasis on using technology is always that it will free up our time to spend time improving ourselves and relaxing. But do any of us really have more spare time as a result of technology today? (I would like to think that as a species we are intelligent enough to do that, but the fact there there is a patch of plastic the size of Texas floating around in the middle of the Pacific Ocean tells me otherwise. "Out of sight, out of mind" is meant to be a warning, not permission to shift blame.)
It's amazing how in many ways, we've far surpassed the technological capacities we imagined earlier, but rather than freeing up our time to improve ourselves (in true \textit{Star Trek} style), we are merely slaves to our own creations. I shudder to think how ``Hotel California'' has become a daily reality for so many of us.
What strikes me most about some of the videos in the the playlist I've linked above is that the emphasis on using technology is always that it will free up our time to spend time improving ourselves and relaxing. It's amazing how in many ways, we've far surpassed the technological capacities we imagined earlier, but rather than freeing up our time to improve ourselves (in true \textit{Star Trek} style), we are merely slaves to our own creations. I shudder to think how ``Hotel California'' has become a daily reality for so many of us. But do any of us really have more spare time as a result of technology today? (I would like to think that as a species we are intelligent enough to do that, but the fact there there is a patch of plastic the size of Texas floating around in the middle of the Pacific Ocean tells me otherwise. "Out of sight, out of mind" is meant to be a warning, not permission to shift blame.)
It needn't be that way, however. If more of us had been able to experience what I experienced in that seventh grade computer class, perhaps our relationship to technology today would be different. Perhaps we would realize that, like the wheel or fire, technology is a tool to help us improve our lives, not to be led around by it. Of course, look at what we've done with both wheels and fire—we are destroying each other and ourselves as well with them. Perhaps we never should have climbed down out of the trees onto the grassy savanna.
@ -491,7 +489,7 @@ And that's it. Just about anything you type often on the command line can be tur
\chapter{What Have I Installed?}
I've mentioned the Unix Principle before: each application should do one thing and do it really well. The advantage to this principle for end users is that you don't need to worry about installing (or even paying for) a huge app that does a million things when you only need it for doing one. The advantage for developers is that you don't \textit{need} to develop an app that does everything, so you can keep a laser-like focus on making an app that works really well. \footnote{Although there will always be those people who get your app for free and then complain that it \textit{doesn't} do everything. Hey bub, Swiss army knives are two aisles over and come with a price tag.}
I've mentioned the Unix Principle before: each application should do one thing and do it really well. The advantage to this principle for end users is that you don't need to worry about installing (or even paying for) a huge app that does a million things when you only need it for doing one. The advantage for developers is that you don't \textit{need} to develop an app that does everything, so you can keep a laser-like focus on making an app that works really well.\footnote{Although there will always be those people who get your app for free and then complain that it \textit{doesn't} do everything. Hey bub, Swiss army knives are two aisles over and come with a price tag.}
The downside is that you are likely to install a lot of apps as a result. This is ordinarily not a problem, unless you are going to migrate to a new machine or are swapping out an HDD for an SSD. This is where I found myself in 2020 when Ubuntu 20.04 came out, and I decided to install a new SSD in my 2013 Asus laptop, replacing the 300 GB HDD it came with. Of course, I could simply clone the old HDD onto my new SSD and then swap them out and upgrade, but for reasons that are long, complicated, and very likely boring, I decided this would be as good a time as any to just start with a clean slate.
@ -572,7 +570,7 @@ If you want something a bit more tabular, you can always run
$ dpkg-query -l | less
\end{verbatim}
You will get a nice, very \textit{wide} table that shows you a list of all installed packages, their version, their architecture (amd64 and whatnot), and a short description. Unfortunately, the output is again huge. Outputting this to a text file again produced 2,971 lines.
You will get a nice, very \textit{wide} table that shows you a list of all installed packages, their version, their architecture (amd64 and whatnot), and a short description. Unfortunately, the output is again huge. Outputting this to a text file produced 2,971 lines.
That short description is pretty handy however when you're rooting around in the \texttt{bin} folder and wondering what things do, actually. If you want to find out what a particular package does, you can again pipe its name to \texttt{grep}:
@ -626,7 +624,7 @@ In fact, I found a page on StackExchange\footnote{\href{https://askubuntu.com/qu
The irony is that the Unix Principle came out in the 1970s, but in the early 1960s the US Navy came out with a different, yet similar, principle called KISS: keep it simple, stupid.
This means that instead of looking backward (i.e., "What did I install a year ago when I was several beers deep?") we should be looking forward (i.e., "What am I about to install, and then possible remove, while I am completely sober and trying to solve a problem that is currently driving me up the wall and so once I've solved it, I will be so happy to have solved it that I will immediately forget what I did to solve it?").
This means that instead of looking backward (i.e., ``What did I install a year ago when I was several beers deep?") we should be looking forward (i.e., ``What am I about to install, and then possibly remove, while I am completely sober and trying to solve a problem that is currently driving me up the wall and so once I've solved it, I will be so happy to have solved it that I will immediately forget what I did to solve it?").
The solution is simple: \textit{write it down}.
@ -638,7 +636,7 @@ When I upgraded this computer, I also bought a new desk for it, and I threw a no
\textit{\footnotesize{Of course I would select a black notebook and a black desk. \\ Let's use \textbf{all} the toner.}}
\end{center}
Sure, you could just keep a list on your computer (text files if you want to keep it simple, or you could <\textit{shudder}> use a spreadsheet as a database. But if your computer fails, then your list fails. Sometimes paper really is the best way to go.
Sure, you could just keep a list on your computer (text files if you want to keep it simple, or you could just \texttt{<shudder>}use a spreadsheet as a database\texttt{</shudder>}. But if your computer fails, then your list fails. Sometimes paper really is the best way to go.
Of course, I've also just purchased a RocketNotebook and have been experimenting with that, and maybe storing my scribbles in the cloud is the way to go. We shall see.
@ -680,35 +678,37 @@ When I first thought about doing the second issue of this zine, I thought it wou
First, who am \textit{I} to decide if something is beginner, intermediate, or advanced level, especially when it comes to computers? I'm not an expert in all things computers, much less all things Linux. The most I can say is that ``Oh, yeah, this is one of the first things I learned how to do'' which \textit{implies} that it's a beginner level. But it might not be. It's just where \textit{I} started. Somebody else might start somewhere else, in a place that I didn't bother to get around to for years, and which I tend to think of as intermediate or advanced level. But to them, it's where they started, and so they'll also think of it as beginner level. LaTeX has been around for a long time, but it always seemed very advanced to me. As it turns out, it's not difficult to learn. (Although like most things, learning a thing and mastering a thing are very different activities.) Things can be difficult if you don't have the proper tools for them, but does that mean they're advanced?
Second, these words are highly contextual. What does ``beginner'' even mean? Someone who's just sat down to a computer for the first time in their life? Or someone who's been working on computers since they were ten years old, but are just now beginning to learn LaTeX? These words are easier to define in other areas, such as sports or music, where you have to learn to skate before you can play hockey, and you have to learn scales and chords before you can play music.\footnote{Although I am not an expert in either of these things, and maybe it is possible to learn hockey and music without learning how to skate or learning scales and chords first. To each his own.} Computers are the great levelers of walls and fences, provided, of course, that you have access to one.
Second, these words are highly contextual. What does ``beginner'' even mean? Someone who's just sat down to a computer for the first time in their life? Or someone who's been working on computers since they were ten years old, but are just now beginning to learn LaTeX? These words are easier to define in other areas, such as sports or music, where you have to learn to skate before you can play hockey, and you have to learn scales and chords before you can play music.\footnote{Although I am not an expert in either of these things, and maybe it is possible to learn hockey and music without learning how to skate or learning scales and chords first. To each their own.} Computers are the great levelers of walls and fences, provided, of course, that you have access to one.
Third, people may self-select out of things. Many years ago, I taught computer classes at my local community education center.\footnote{One of the things I learned is that is a right way and a wrong way to teach people how to use computers. I should write about that sometime.} It was a tremendous amount of fun, both for me and my students, who came from all walks of life.\footnote{A bit of a clichè that, I know. But I can't think of a better phrase.} They were \textit{occassionally} intimidated by certain things, but for the most part, they were eager to learn as much as they could.
The class was extremely inexpensive, but it was rarely ever full, which made me wonder why more people didn't take this class. There are two answers here. First, this was the early 90s and a lot of people didn't even have computers at home, so what would be the point for them? (You don't need a car if you have no place to go.) Second, a lot of people were terribly intimidated by computers, because they thought you had to be really smart to use them. So they self-selected out of something they were perfectly capable of learning because they thought it was too advanced for them.\footnote{People are really afraid of making mistakes and looking stupid, but that's a by-product of our public education industrial complex. You can't learn \textit{anything} without making mistakes. In fact, people who are truly experts about things often point out that they learn as much or more from their mistakes than they do from their successes. But we have turned making mistakes into something to be ashamed of, rather than something which will help us learn and understand things. Fuck that attitude. Go forth and make mistakes. (Just not in the voting booth.)} Let's encourage people to self-select \textit{in}, rather than out, because once they get here they'll have a lot of fun. Let's not be gatekeepers.
Fourth, it implies that there is a hierarchy, which I hate. There are many ways in. Because math is so strongly allied to computer science, we tend to view learning about computers as hierarchical as well.\footnote{I think this is one of the reasons that most people aren't good at math and don't like math. Sure, you need to know \textit{some} algebra to do geometry, but you don't need to be an algebra expert. If you really like geometry, and are encouraged to apply yourself to it, you'll eventually learn all the algebra you need. The same is true of trigonometry and even calculus. You don't need to become an expert in those earlier forms of math; you only have to become good enough at them to move on to the next step. People who write math curricula should take note, but they won't.} But that just isn't the case. I started learning how to write BASIC when I was in sixth grade because that's all that was available to us. But basic BASIC is no different than basic Fortran, or basic Cobol, really. The only difference is that BASIC is fairly limited in scope, which was, sadly, all that was deemed appropriate for kids. It's like giving kids little fake plastic tools when they really want to build something. Put the kids in a sandbox with real tools and turn them loose: let them experiment with them and figure out how they work. But we never do that.\footnote{This is, coincidentally, the same sort of thinking that doesn't like sex education, despite the many studies that have shown, conclusively and repeatedly, that when kids have access to high-quality, non-biased sex education, the rates of teen pregnancy and teen STDs decrease, often dramatically. (It's silly. A little learning can help you know what to do, but it can also help you know what \textit{not} to do. Sure, some people need to burn their hand to learn that the stove is hot, but the vast majority of us can learn just by watching them howl in pain from a burned hand. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Moving pictures are worth a million words.)}
Fourth, it implies that there is a hierarchy, which I hate. There are many ways in. Because math is so strongly allied to computer science, we tend to view learning about computers as hierarchical as well.\footnote{I think this is one of the reasons that most people aren't good at math and don't like math. Sure, you need to know \textit{some} algebra to do geometry, but you don't need to be an algebra expert. If you really like geometry, and are encouraged to apply yourself to it, you'll eventually learn all the algebra you need. The same is true of trigonometry and even calculus. You don't need to become an expert in those earlier forms of math; you only have to become good enough at them to move on to the next step. People who write math curricula should take note, but they won't.} But that just isn't the case. I started learning how to write BASIC when I was in sixth grade because that's all that was available to us. But basic BASIC is no different than basic Fortran, or basic Cobol, really. The only difference is that BASIC is fairly limited in scope, which was, sadly, all that was deemed appropriate for kids. It's like giving kids little fake plastic tools when they really want to build something. Put the kids in a sandbox with real tools and turn them loose: let them experiment with them and figure out how they work. But we never do that.\footnote{This is, coincidentally, the same sort of thinking that doesn't like sex education, despite the many studies that have shown, conclusively and repeatedly, that when kids have access to high-quality, non-biased sex education, the rates of teen pregnancy and teen STDs decrease, often dramatically. (It's silly. A little learning can help you know what to do, but it can also help you know what \textit{not} to do. Sure, some people need to burn their hand to learn that the stove is hot, but the vast majority of us can learn just by watching others howl in pain from a burned hand. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Moving pictures are worth a million words.)}
I don't want to be a gate-keeper. I want to be a gate-opener. In fact, I want to be a crusher of gates. There is no single path. You have to find your own path. Find your mentors, and carve your own trail. This isn't about ego. Knowledge is not pie. There's plenty for everybody.
\chapter{Ubuntu 22.04}
I've been with Ubuntu for a while now, and generally get pretty excited about new releases. This one was no different. Until I installed it, that is.
I've been with Ubuntu for a while now, and generally get pretty excited about new releases. Ubuntu 22.04 was no different. Until I installed it, that is.
Ubuntu 22.04 is without a doubt the buggiest LTS\footnote{Long Term Support} version of Ubuntu I have ever used.
First, they have removed Python2. If you have any applications which depend on Python2, such as PDF Booklet\footnote{Which is what I use to make the physical form of this zine. See \href{https://pdfbooklet.sourceforge.io/wordpress/}{\texttt{https://pdfbooklet.sourceforge.io/wordpress/}} for more information.}, those tools are now unusable. And despite numerous attempts to reinstall Python2 just to make this one app work, I have thus far been unsuccessful.
First, they have removed Python2. If you have any applications which depend on Python2, such as PDF Booklet,\footnote{Which is what I use to make the physical form of this zine. See \href{https://pdfbooklet.sourceforge.io/wordpress/}{\texttt{https://pdfbooklet.sourceforge.io/wordpress/}} for more information.} those tools are now unusable. And despite numerous attempts to reinstall Python2 just to make this one app work, I have thus far been unsuccessful.
Second, there is this weird problem with saving files from \textit{any} browser. You can pick a folder to download to, and from that point on in your session, this is the only folder you can download items to. Sure, you can migrate to a different folder and try to download there, and it looks like you're actually saving your file there, but nothing gets downloaded. You can look at the folder and at your download history and quite plainly see that there is nothing there.\footnote{See \href{https://askubuntu.com/questions/1406265/ubuntu-22-04-firefox-does-not-download-file-to-desktop}{\texttt{https://askubuntu.com/questions/1406265/ubuntu-22-04-firefox-does-not-download-file-to-desktop}} and \href{https://askubuntu.com/questions/1406674/cant-download-files-after-upgrade-to-22-04}{\texttt{https://askubuntu.com/questions/1406674/cant-download-files-after-upgrade-to-22-04}}} As it turns out, if you click on the \textit{filename} in the save dialogue box (and therefore give it focus), then you can change where you download the file to.
This is an odd bug to allow to get through, as for the longest time the question ``What does everyone use Internet Explorer for?'' was answered by ``To download Firefox.'' I guess you can always use Ubuntu to download a version of Linux which is not plagued by such obvious mistakes.
Third, the default video player (Totem) cannot play .mp4 files.\footnote{See \href{https://askubuntu.com/questions/1406254/after-installing-ubuntu-22-04-the-default-video-player-is-unable-to-play-any-vi}{\texttt{https://askubuntu.com/questions/1406254/after-installing-ubuntu-22-04-the-default-video-player-is-unable-to-play-any-vi}}.} Yes, I know that .mp4 is not strictly open source (as some of the codecs are patented) and I also know that you can install these codes with \texttt{\$ sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras}, but if you have a phone, or a video camera, they probably record video as .mp4 files, and it would be nice if you could see view them on your computer.
Third, the default video player (Totem) cannot play .mp4 files.\footnote{See \href{https://askubuntu.com/questions/1406254/after-installing-ubuntu-22-04-the-default-video-player-is-unable-to-play-any-vi}{\texttt{https://askubuntu.com/questions/1406254/after-installing-ubuntu-22-04-the-default-video-player-is-unable-to-play-any-vi}}.} Yes, I know that .mp4 is not strictly open source (as some of the codecs are patented) and I also know that you can install these codecs with \texttt{\$ sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras}, but if you have a phone, or a video camera, they probably record video as .mp4 files, and it would be nice if you could see view them on your computer.
Fourth, the new screen capture tool in the Gnome desktop is an absolute disaster. It requires you to go through a ``screenshot portal'' each and every time you create a screenshot, \textit{regardless} of which screenshot tool you use. It's ridiculous, as I (and many other users) already had a workflow for screenshots, and this is not acceptable in an open-source operating system (which actually makes me wonder how ``open-source'' open-source software actually is). Of course, people are upset, because this is a solution in search of a problem to solve. I have no idea why \textit{anybody} thought this was a good feature to include. And of course, the developers have closed off any discussion of this topic.\footnote{See \href{https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-shell/-/merge_requests/1970}{\texttt{https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-shell/-/merge\_requests/1970}}, \href{https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-shell/-/issues/4895}{\texttt{https \\://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-shell/-/issues/4895}}, and \href{https://github.com/flatpak/xdg-desktop-portal/issues/649}{\texttt{https://github.com/fl \\ atpak/xdg-desktop-portal/issues/649}}.} Listen, if people complain, you should listen to them. If a lot of people complain, and complain vehemently, then it's probably because you fucked up really badly.
I've lived and worked with Ubuntu for several years now. And until 22.04, I've always been extremely happy with each new release and upgraded as soon as it was available. And I've always upgraded without regret. I guess that is now a thing of the past.
In short, Ubuntu 22.04 is an utter embarrassment. How it was ever released without consideration of these issues is beyond my comprehension. I used to recommend Ubuntu to all my friends, and now I don't. I just can't. \textit{I} am embarrassed about these issues. Do yourself a favor and avoid Ubuntu 22.04 until these issues (and no doubt other issues I'm not aware of) are addressed and fixed.
Look, I get that you want to keep to a release schedule. But we had a global health crisis in the middle of that. I would have been okay if you had said ``Yeah, mate, we get you're more concerned about your family's well-being. We are too. So this release is going to be six months/a year/two years/what-the-fuck-ever behind.'' I would have been \textit{so} okay with that.
But I'm not okay with Ubuntu 22.04. It is an utter embarrassment. How it was ever released without consideration of these issues is beyond my comprehension. I used to recommend Ubuntu to all my friends, and now I don't. I just can't. I myself am embarrassed about these issues. Do yourself a favor and avoid Ubuntu 22.04 until these issues (and no doubt other issues I'm not aware of) are addressed and fixed.
\chapter{Coda}

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