So we'll go no more a-hackin
So late into the night
Though the heart be still as geeking,
And the moon be still as bright...
Apologies to Byron
Able I was ere I saw Elba. Anon.It is hard to remember a time before the Man-machine war. Things were bad in the TSR years, and yet again when QEMM laid waste to the minds of men. Strong warriors weep to remember when Mac OS 7 crumbled before TCP/IP, or the Hell that was Hayes. We hoped for peace with OS/2, but got Me instead.
Yet we won those battles. The machines seemed chastened. Windows 2000 was peaceful. Modems died. OS X 10.3 was good. We thought a world of true productivity lay ahead.
We were wrong. The machines were only playing for time. The synchronization front claimed thousands of mortal minds. OS X turned vicious, and XP maniacally senile. The powers of Google gave us new hope, but was Google truly on the side of flesh?
It's not only that the machines are becoming ever more powerfully complex. We of the first generation are growing weary. Many comrades have retired from the front. We can't weave and dodge as in the days before bifocals. Exercise, sleep, work and ... yes ... family -- they take their toll.
Yet I fought on. I was a Gerserker; I threw myself into battle. When others held back I charged Sharepoint heights and fought Outlook hand to hand. Yes, I synced contacts with the iPhone.
I went too far. In my bones I knew the end was near. OS X Tiger lived up to its man-eating namesake. My ancient XP box was dying slowly of chip rot. Office 2007 bit my ankles.
I was weakened when I met IT. Active Directory is a rabid shark on steroids. We fought for weeks. Some days I was netlocked seven times, but I struggled to my keyboard every time. One day I thought I had it beat, but it raged back when I turned my head. Finally we fought tooth, nail and hackery until I pulled the poisoned dagger from the treacherous heart of Outlook 2007.
The battle was won, but the my war was done. Even replacing my mother's cable modem and upgrading her plain Mini to 10.5 had too many bizarre bugs.
My time as a Gerserker is done. I still contend, but no longer do I leap to the battle.
Just as I have sworn by Gordon's Laws of Acquisition, so I do By Darwin Swear upon Gordon's Laws of Aged Geekery ...
- Avoid Microsoft. They are one with the Darkseid.
- Fear authentication, above all fear authentication with synchronized credentials.
- Fear that which is beyond the hand of the Geek, such as networked data that cannot be copied locally. Above all, fear the services of those foreign domains that lack an effective and responsive Help Desk.
- Embrace redundancy.
- Simplify, even at the cost of power.
- Pace technology. Take on new battles only when the supply lines are strong and the forces are rested.
I won't be doing any more Windows installs outside of a VM. I embrace the Virtual Machine and the Sandbox as my allies.
I'm putting off my new SLR purchase, partly because Canon has gone mad, but mostly because those images are too large for old G5. I will need to get a new iMac completely pacified before I take on new camera. The SLR will move into 2010.
I'm going to get the new iPhone -- but not at the same time as the new iMac. They'll have to be spaced.
At work I'll drastically reduce my participation in anything new beyond the absolutely essential.
In the fearsome Cloud I'll be stay closer to Google -- the Demon I ride -- and avoid the complications of distributed authentication and extended identity.
I have returned upon my shield, and the night is now for sleeping ...
Update 6/8/09: Added Virtualization tag (label) to my tech blog.
Update 7/13/09: I missed this Gizmodo cry for gadget reliability when it came out in late 2008. Peace brother.