isolation (from some time in july)

So the wifi sucks and I want to figure out how to do a thing with filesystems.

Do you remember trying to solve a software problem without the Internet? Like really without the Internet?

We used to do this constantly. Like, constantly. A huge portion of my adolescence was composed entirely of confronting things like which brutally arcane permutation of AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS would allow a game to allocate enough memory to actually start, continue running, and play properly. In a summer like this one 15 or 20 years ago, other people were out learning how to play football, developing social skills, meeting their first girlfriends, having jobs, etc. I was memorizing the AT command set so I could play the shareware versions of first person shooters against the kid down the road.

It’s true that everything was harder then because the tools were limited and the systems agonizingly unstable, but that’s not really the whole story. I mean, some of the software widely used then was delightful in ways that have very rarely been equaled (I think of LIST.COM, the early adventure games, the Mac’s Finder, ResEdit, HyperCard), and the hardware of the day had merits too-little appreciated in the present climate. The problem was that when there was something wrong with the system, the resources you had for solving it amounted to the local folklore of computing, a manual if you were lucky, but mostly just the system itself.

I guess that’s still true. It’s just that the system itself has become the entire web and all the people connected to it. The Computer is the Network. Except when the network sucks and there’s something I’d normally google. Then the Computer is a Terminal Window and a Filesystem Full of Crap I Only Sort of Remember.

p1k3 / 2014 / 12 / 29 / isolation