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[2020-08-19 Wed 08:23]

I haven’t put proper love and attention into building up my computer as a tool for myself. I was thinking about it this way: as I go through the day using my physical body, I am often taking small breaks to stretch or otherwise keep it in good shape. I don’t do the same with my computer: I sit down to it and do what I need to do. Occasionally, when the tools I use to do my tasks get too fragile, I make time to fix things up, but it’s always on the verge of too little, too late.

So, I’d like to integrate improving my computer experience into my computer use the way I’ve integrated stretching into my garden work.

This thought has happened concurrent with - and probably a bit influenced by - the parlour-talk I’ve been hearing from associates about Mozilla’s recent announcement, that they have stopped employing a quarter of their workforce and are pivoting toward greater profitability. This has caused lots of hackerfolk, especially of the FOSSbro flavor, to reconsider their relationships with Mozilla, open-source, and also web browsers.

There have been folk on the periphary complaining about the transition of the web to a hodge-podge of client- and server-side virtual machines since… well, I first heard about it in context of criticizing CGI, which is so old I probably need to explain the acronym: common gateway interface, which is a way some web servers serve(d) dynamic content to clients, before things like PHP became common.

I don’t think the problem is virtual machines as such, but ones that are basically magic boxes. I was thinking my work with computers as similar to my work with beadwork: with computers I string together bits of data, representing my own concepts, with beadwork I string together, well, beads.

To bead, I use a set of tools, set up in a way that makes it easy for me to access to various parts of the tools and the beads and so on: a beading workstation. (In practice, this workstation is pretty fluid: it’s a mint tin of needles, thread, and wax, and another tin containing the beads I’m working with for whatever project. (The rest of my beading stuff, that I’m not actively working on, is in bags, in bags, in bags.)

I think this works pretty well as an analogy for my computer use: I have a set of tools that I use, a set of data I’m currently working with, and then directories and subdirectories upon subdirectories of data I’m not actively working on.

One thing the analogy doesn’t cover is that unlike beading, the work I do with data often involves making plans for the future: either within the scope of the data (say if I had a planting calendar), or making plans about the data management system itself.

In the long-term, my plan is to use my MUD to handle pretty much all my computing: the MUD engine runs and provides the “virtual machine”, or workshop, or beading tin, with my commands into the MUD being the stitches that work with various beads: things with qualities, in the context of the MUD. (One issue: I don’t know how well this’ll allow for me to actually program the MUD itself.)

In the short-term, I’m using Emacs and Org-mode to write the MUD code… and everything else. I’ve been trying, at the same time, to make it easy to export the work to my website, as a means of maintaining a sense of online community, with Ox-Hugo and Hugo.

Eesh! A lot.