Smarter

There must be something in the chemical they use to deodorize urinals that makes you smarter, because every time I have a hard programming problem and take a break to take a pee, I come up with the answer.

Some good clean fun bashing OSes

Check out these two funny posts: The Mac is a harsh mistress … and Linux is your psychotic ex.

For the record, my computing environment is as follows: Windows XP on a laptop with SSH and PPTP (depending…) over 802.11 to get connected to work. The VNC viewer gets me in touch with a bunch of xterms on a FreeBSD server where I do my real work on real computers (at Tellme, that’s Solaris on Intel). I use Mozilla Firefox almost exclusively. I often go a week or so between using Internet Explorer for some bogus website that requires it. I have Microsoft Office installed on the laptop. I abhor Word, but I really like Excel. I use it to work on clues for the Game, to visualize data while debugging systems, and even to draw rack diagrams! I also love PowerPoint… but I use it as a poor-man’s desktop publishing system, rarely for giving talks. I prefer impromptu talks with whiteboards to prepared talks.

That environment is somewhat, uh, idiosyncratic for a Unix hacker. The reason I have things setup this way is that it lets each component excel at its job. For instance, xterms are the preferred way to talk to Unix hosts. But X servers on Windows are expensive. VNC solves that problem and helps with another one: laptops often lose network connectivity and/or change IP addresses. So all your windows go away, and you lose context. VNC protects me from that problem. Another example is Excel: I use it to help me visualize data because Microsoft has invested millions of dollars in making the UI fluid. I almost always pre-process the data with Unix-based tools like awk and perl… again, the right tool for the job.

And Windows? It is the right tool for the job… really! It does APM right, so I get suspend and hibernate, as well as power conservation. It does sound right. The best tools for displaying video run best on Windows. I get access to iTunes, a tool for browing and playing music that I’d dreamed of for years before Apple made it.

The theme is “right tool for the right job”. And no religion. Well, except for this little issue I have with Python…