I am a dork. I freely admit this. And because I’m a Gen-Xer, I know what life was like before we had smartphones and tablets and even Windows and pretty graphical interfaces when it comes to interacting with a computer. Sure, when I worked at Digital back in the late 1980s and early 1990s we had DECwindows and even Windows/386 (Windows 2.0), but we spent a lot of time at a console prompt.
As a geek I am still very interested in the console prompt. This runs contrary to my status of a somewhat Apple Fanboy and aficionado of Linux desktops.
Sidebar: as much as I try, I don’t find Windows 10 nor Windows 11 that appealing. Yes, I can do plenty of things on Windows and I’m productive at work everyday using the mandated Windows 10 environment on the company issued computer, but it’s not really my cup of tea. To each their own.
Because of my typing or keyboarding abilities (I can currently type around 130 words per minute on a well tuned keyboard), I prefer to move files around in directories or folders by typing commands instead of dropping and dragging with a mouse. I even have a terminal prompt application installed on my iPad and that makes things work quite lovely for me. It’s a comfortable blend of ying and yang. Maybe as a Gen-Xer I should be saying, “I’m a little bit country, I’m a little bit rock ‘n roll”.
I’m typing this blog entry in a text file on my repurposed 2011 Mac mini. Apple has deemed this Mac mini too old to run a modern version of MacOS, so I’m using it as a file server running Debian Linux. I don’t have a GUI (Graphical User Interface) installed on this machine, I just get to the console via one of my computers or by using the small keyboard and monitor I have attached to the computer in my office. The program I’m using to write this entry is called vim, a newer version of vi, which has been around for decades. Just for kicks I also have WordPerfect from the early 1990s installed on this server and I’ll use it once in a while. When I worked at Digital we used a word processor called “WPS-PLUS” or “WPS-8” (depending on the machine I was using at the time) and I created many beautiful documents through a plain-text editor not much more robust than this text editor I’m using right now. It wasn’t WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), but it was enjoyable and it didn’t cause me eye strain.
Embracing my inner geek keeps me sane. And as I get older and slowly tip-toe away from sanity, anything to keep me grounded is always a good thing.