Although I still have two days left to work until I am officially on summer holidays (yes, June 30th this year…) I’ve already started on my summer project: learning to work with Linux through the command line and working on my Python skills.
When I was a kid, my dad and I used to constantly be tinkering under the hoods of cars. I don’t imagine I was a lot of help when I was little, but I could still hand him stuff and I managed to learn a few things along the way. By the time I was in high school and my old Honda Civic needed a new motor put in it, him and I did it ourselves. The same is true for my house. When I first bought a house I wasn’t much a carpenter or a handyman, but as the years have gone by, I’ve learned to do pretty much anything I need to do around my place from building walls to shingling roofs. This might be part of what you learn living in a small town where a tradesperson is sometimes hard to come by. If you want something done, you often need to learn to do it yourself. This same philosophy is part of the reason why I’ve decided to spend a portion of my summer staring at command line and IDE screens; I want to see what we are losing as far as our basic technical knowledge goes.
I’m a lucky enough man to have an awesome wife. So awesome in fact that she bought me a Raspberry Pi 2 for my birthday. For a $35 cost on her part, I get endless hours of playing in the basement. But I quickly discovered something; this little machine would probably serve as the main computer for 90% of people 90% of the time. There is no doubt that there are times when we need more horsepower. But if you use your computer for general surfing, posting on social media and working with your digital photos, for $35, you can have a perfectly serviceable machine.
Combine this with the fact that I’m beginning to shop for a new laptop. As much as I don’t want to, my MacBook Pro is starting to show it’s age. I’m hoping to hold off for a while yet, but I’m starting to look around. For probably 15 years, all that I’ve owned are Macs. I went with them at the time beacuse they just worked. The hardware was beautiful and the software was flawless. But this isn’t true anymore. The software seems to become more glitchy with each update and Apple wants sign in permissions around every corner. What attracted me to Macs in the first place doesn’t hold water anymore.
Macs are beautiful machines, but one reason I turned away from Windows to Apple in the first place is that Windows machines seemed to be opaque. I never knew what was wrong with the damn things. When something went wrong, it seemed almost impossible to fix. When I switched to a Mac, the largest benefit was that they never seemed to break down, they never needed fixing. But these days, they do. And these machines seem to be held together with as much fairy dust and band aids as Windows machines ever were.
So my summer project is to learn about operating systems and command lines and more about programming. I want to know more about the machine that I spend hours with than it knows about me.