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This is the first "blog" of any kind I've ever had, so it's probably not the greatest...

Just a little snippet about me:

I'd like to consider myself relatively tech-savvy; obviously I use Linux (Arch to be precise; K.I.S.S. FTW), and I enjoy learning new things about computers in general (both software and hardware-related).

This blog is mostly just for whenever I feel like telling the world about my experiences with computers/Linux (or just life in general), or just posting for the hell of it.
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Am I kidding myself?

Posted 09-13-2010 at 04:34 PM by MrCode
Updated 12-28-2010 at 09:31 PM by MrCode
Tags linux

No, this is not another existential rant.

Okay, we got that across.

Basically the scenario is this: I don't do a whole lot of programming anymore (in fact, the last time I wrote a C program, useful or not, was probably a good few months ago), I'm somewhat of a gamer (Neverball, LTris, various old games in DOSBox), and I like all the pretty bling on my GPU-composited desktop (i.e. I like my Compiz ). why am I using Linux? Am I kidding myself? Am I deliberately shutting myself off from other software options for fear of wanting something "new and shiny" at the expense of it being proprietary? Hell, there is quite a bit of "freeware" software out there that isn't FOSS, I probably just haven't seen a whole lot of it yet.

I don't contribute to any FOSS projects...yet; I'm mainly hesitant because of my (as of yet) poor-and-possibly-worsening programming skills and my existential angst...yes it's that bad. Seriously, I just can't find any real motivation to write something useful because either a) I go into delusions of grandeur, wherein it's this big, awesome, well-designed program that I think I'm going to write in a matter of days, maybe weeks, or b) I start drawing philosophical analogies ("how is the code I'm writing (or going to write) any different from the 'code' that makes up the human mind?", or other such bull$#!t).

Do I really deserve to be a Linux geek if I don't give back to the community? Oh yeah, I give the occasional support here on LQ, but that's about it. I really do feel like a pathetic leech mooching off of the FOSS community.

Is this feeling warranted? Should I shape up, get in gear, and actually start creating something, no matter how useless it may be, or how existentially anxious it may make me? Maybe I should try writing the world's first truly sentient AI...yeah, that might do the trick for my existential problem (seeing as how I'd fail miserably ), or maybe I should try contributing to the Linux kernel (good luck with that ); that might make me feel a little less guilty...
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  1. Old Comment
    My one comment is to keep your brain working, that is supposed to keep us from becoming senile.
    Posted 09-13-2010 at 05:14 PM by Larry Webb Larry Webb is offline
  2. Old Comment
    My one comment is to keep your brain working,
    I'm trying...

    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <stdlib.h>
    #include <unistd.h>
    char* actionNames[5] = {"show love to others",
                            "be loved by others",
                            "show hatred towards others",
                            "be hated by others",
                            "become very angry at times"};
    char* historicalEvents[5] = {"National Boredom Day.",
                                 "some stupid, unheard of, obscure holiday.",
                                 "the same day that some great scientific discovery was made."
                                 "the same day that somebody died a long time ago.",
                                 "the same day that some war started over something stupid."};
    char* scienceFacts[5] = {"What goes up, must come down.",
                             "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction",
                             "God does not play dice."
                             "Humans have about as much \"free will\" as the workings of a wristwatch."
                             "Nature cannot be fooled.  In order to be commanded, it must be obeyed."};
    char* randomAnecdotes[5] = {"I once knew a guy who survived a bullet to the head...he wasn't very smart, though.",
                                "Once I wrote a program that printed messages depending on what subject you gave it.",
                                "There was this one time I actually managed to lick my own elbow.",
                                "I've been told that there's a rumor going around that it's said that some people believe that...",
                                "I've been to Hell and's not a bad place, actually."};
    int main(int argc,char** argv)
        if(argc >= 3)
            if(strcmp(argv[1],"with") == 0)
                if(strcmp(argv[2],"psychology") == 0)
                    printf("%s has a tendency to ",getlogin());
                    printf("%s\n",actionNames[random() % 5]);
                else if(strcmp(argv[2],"history") == 0)
                    printf("Today is %s\n",historicalEvents[rand() % 5]);
                else if(strcmp(argv[2],"science") == 0)
                    printf("%s\n",scienceFacts[random() % 5]);
                else if(strcmp(argv[2],"anecdotes") == 0)
                    printf("%s\n",randomAnecdotes[random() % 5]);
                printf("I'm sorry, I need you to try again...\n");
                return 1;
            printf("What?  I can't hear what you're trying to say!\n");
            return 1;
        return 0;
    ./bore-me with science segfaults.
    ./bore-me with <anything else> always returns the same damn thing (random() is the pseudorandom number generator, is it not? Is it my [mis]use of the modulus operator?).

    The extra #includes (i.e. the ones other than unistd.h) are there to make gcc shut up about "implicit declaration of function <insert function here>", but even then it still complains about strcmp().

    Yeah...I still suck at C. At this rate, there's no way I'd be able to do anything useful for a FOSS project.

    I used to be a whole lot better (hell, I was working with a game engine API at one point!), but after this whole thing started, I just stopped writing code entirely.
    Posted 09-13-2010 at 08:06 PM by MrCode MrCode is offline
  3. Old Comment
    I know that feeling too. I'm still stuck trying to learn the absolute basics of C++ using a long series of youtube videos.
    That's the first one of the series I'm using... It starts out really basic, but it works it's way up pretty quickly. What's worse, I haven't even delved my way into working with any API's other than the basic command line instructions. To top it all of, XCode (the de facto IDE + Compiler for Mac OS) confuses me beyond comprehension. (It has so many different sub-applications and is so intricate that it's difficult to just 'begin'.)

    The thing is, by just using FOSS you are contributing to the community. You are committing your market share statistics an saying to the world exactly what you use. Your increasing it's popularity, your testing your hardware and making sure the OS performs, you may need help, and by having your question(s) answered your putting relevant info for others to see on the 'net.

    And then you take it a step further by answering other's questions. By that you are again committing an answer that may help someone else to the ultimate, most researched, and most accessible resource in the technological world, the internet. Then, because that person had their question answered and had a positive experience, they too will continue to use FOSS and master it. And then they will do the same thing you are. And then that will be passed on, and passed on, and passed on again, numerous times. And you perpetuated it all.

    You've done more than you think.
    Posted 09-19-2010 at 07:49 PM by lupusarcanus lupusarcanus is offline
  4. Old Comment

    Thanks for the words of encouragement.

    I guess you're right about the whole "perpetuation of useful information" part; that, I hadn't thought about when I wrote this, but it's a good point.

    I think part of the reason I did so poorly on the program I wrote above was because I wrote it when I was in a nasty mood (I was in my old "the universe is meaningless" rut again ), and it's hard to think clearly when you're so emotionally put down...

    What I probably need to do (before I really delve into any serious programming) is try to accept that the old "free will vs. determinism" debate probably isn't going to be resolved anytime soon (), and just pick a side and move on with my life.

    I'm still stuck trying to learn the absolute basics of C++ using a long series of youtube videos.
    That's the first one of the series I'm using... It starts out really basic, but it works it's way up pretty quickly. What's worse, I haven't even delved my way into working with any API's other than the basic command line instructions. To top it all of, XCode (the de facto IDE + Compiler for Mac OS) confuses me beyond comprehension.
    For learning resources, I've found to be a good one...YMMV, though. There's a tutorial there (no video, just text+images) if you're interested; it's how I got to grips with C++.

    [life_story]Interestingly I learned C++ first, then learned how to translate C++-only statements to C functions (e.g. new[] is malloc(), delete[] is free(), etc., and there's no OOP ).[/life_story]
    Posted 09-19-2010 at 08:37 PM by MrCode MrCode is offline


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