paritybit.ca

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commit d795bc0a5ee71897cd9d0363db6c4a128f6e99d3
parent b86e0f88f856919df0322c048abe8e984aae25d2
Author: Jake Bauer <jbauer@paritybit.ca>
Date:   Thu,  7 May 2020 00:56:11 -0400

Publish new blog post

Diffstat:
Mpages/blog.md | 1+
Apages/blog/the-joys-of-old-tech.md | 99+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mpages/home.md | 4++--
Mpublic/feeds/sitewide-feed.xml | 99+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Apublic/img/floppy-thumb.jpg | 0
Apublic/img/floppy.jpg | 0
Mpublic/sitemap.xml | 1+
7 files changed, 202 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

diff --git a/pages/blog.md b/pages/blog.md @@ -20,6 +20,7 @@ href="https://social.paritybit.ca/@jbauer">Mastodon</a>. ### 2020 <ul> + <li>2020-05-07 <a href="blog/the-joys-of-old-tech">The Joys of Old Tech</a></li> <li>2020-05-05 <a href="blog/refining-my-neomutt-config">Refining My NeoMutt Configuration</a></li> <li>2020-05-04 <a href="blog/clone-wars-finale">Star Wars: The Clone Wars Finale</a></li> <li>2020-05-03 <a href="blog/the-diefenbunker-museum">The Diefenbunker Museum</a></li> diff --git a/pages/blog/the-joys-of-old-tech.md b/pages/blog/the-joys-of-old-tech.md @@ -0,0 +1,99 @@ +## The Joys of Old Tech + +[//]: # "META_TEXT" + +[//]: # "main.min.css" + +[//]: # + +<div class="byline"> +<b>Written By:</b> Jake Bauer | + <b>Posted:</b> 2020-05-07 | + <b>Last Updated:</b> 2020-05-07 +</div> + +<figure> + <a href="/img/floppy.jpg"><img src="/img/floppy-thumb.jpg" alt="A 3.5 inch + floppy disk, lying against a rock on a table. Text on the disk reads: + Grand&Toy IBM Formatted 2HD."/></a> +</figure> + +There's something magical about using old technology. Be it an old, grinding +hard disk, a floppy disk with a maximum capacity of 1.44MB, or a CRT monitor +with a maximum resolution of 1024x768. Unrivalled in their simplicity, +unchallenged in their whirs and clunks, there is an unmistakable allure of the +tech of days gone by. Just listen to [these sounds of an IBM PC +AT](https://invidio.us/watch?v=eSNqzTwHiuU), hard at work. + +Of course, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. Much of the tech from past +decades was actually confusing and difficult to use at times. Remember having to +manually set IRQs? What about needing to manually configure X, and having your +CRT emit some of its magic smoke in the process? Or, how about needing to +terminate your SCSI bus, lest you have weird errors? + +Nevertheless, the satisfying clunk of the power switch on the back of your +computer, the whine of your monitor turning on, and the sound of your floppy +drive initializing as you sit down, ready to get stuck in for the night +programming whatever latest hack you were working on, come together to create an +inexplicable feeling sorely missed in the age of instant boot-up times and +quiet, solid state storage. Perhaps it's just childhood nostalgia. + +Technology, in recent years, has become faster, easier to use, prettier, and +more affordable. These advancements, however, came at the cost of simplicity, +understanding the machine and protocols which one uses, and a deeper connection +and feeling of control over one's system. Given the way that technology has +evolved in the past 30 years, it's definitely easy to see why some would long +for "the good old days". + +I think the majority of people who work with computers can agree that, on the +whole, the advancements have been good for society. People have quicker and +easier access to information, it's easier to expose the wrong and celebrate the +right in society, and it has enabled whole new disciplines of science. The +problem is that this has come at the cost of the internet being controlled by +mega-corporations, protocols and specifications becoming bloated and hard to +understand, and many people becoming locked into ecosystems controlled by +whoever sold them their hardware or software; not to mention the myriad ways +technology is being used to oppress. + +The specifications defining everything one would need to know and understand for +developing a web browser [is 114 million +words](https://drewdevault.com/2020/03/18/Reckless-limitless-scope.html) and the +specifications for modern technologies such as +[UEFI](https://uefi.org/sites/default/files/resources/UEFI_Spec_2_8_A_Feb14.pdf) +are orders of magnitude larger and more complex than those for a simple BIOS, +designed for basic hardware control and booting. Making new software for these +systems is incredibly difficult if not impossible and it usually requires either +months, if not years, of work and a dedicated team of engineers and millions of +dollars. + +Gone are the days that one could open up the 300 page manual which came in the +box with their microcomputer, turn to the page about making shapes appear on a +screen with BASIC, and program a productivity application in a single weekend. +Gone also, are the days of being able to fit a homework assignment on a floppy +disk, let alone an entire operating system. + +Despite all this doom and gloom, there is a small subset of programmers and +scientists creating software like the [Plan9 operating +system](http://9front.org/) or [SourceHut](https://sourcehut.org/) designed to +bring simplicity and understandability back to the way we use our computers. +Many people still use such programs as the [Lynx web +browser](https://invisible-island.net/lynx/) and such protocols as +[IRC](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Relay_Chat) and <a +href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher_(protocol)">Gopher</a> simply because +of how comfortable, calming, and simple they are compared to the alternatives. +In fact, Gopher has actually seen a <a +href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher_(protocol)#Server_census">increase in +usage</a> over the past few years. + +There is so much value in the simple, the plain, and the understandable that has +been lost in the rush to make systems more capable, larger, faster, and smarter. +Despite its own set of drawbacks, old technology is such a joy to use because it +has been kept unspoiled by the complexities of modern computing. One can only +hope that the industry as a whole will realize the harm that complicated systems +inevitably bring and return to making software and hardware which is capable +still, yet simple and understandable. + +_This is my twelfth post for the +[#100DaysToOffload](https://social.paritybit.ca/tags/100DaysToOffload) +challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at +[https://100daystooffload.com](https://100daystooffload.com)._ diff --git a/pages/home.md b/pages/home.md @@ -17,6 +17,8 @@ rel="me" href="https://social.paritybit.ca/@jbauer">on Mastodon</a>. src="/img/feed-icon.png" width="15" height="15" alt="Click for RSS Feed"/> </a> </div> +2020-05-07 <a class="feed-item" href="blog/the-joys-of-old-tech">The Joys of Old Tech</a> + 2020-05-05 <a class="feed-item" href="blog/refining-my-neomutt-config">Refining My NeoMutt Configuration</a> 2020-05-04 <a class="feed-item" href="blog/clone-wars-finale">Star Wars: The Clone Wars Finale</a> @@ -35,8 +37,6 @@ rel="me" href="https://social.paritybit.ca/@jbauer">on Mastodon</a>. 2020-04-27 <a class="feed-item" href="blog/tweaking-some-css">Tweaking Some CSS</a> -2020-04-26 <a class="feed-item" href="blog/how-much-ram-is-enough">I Ran Out of RAM... Again</a> - ### What is a Parity Bit? It is a bit (in the 1's and 0's sense) used in checking for errors in digital diff --git a/public/feeds/sitewide-feed.xml b/public/feeds/sitewide-feed.xml @@ -7,6 +7,105 @@ <description>The feed that covers all notable additions, updates, announcements, and other changes for the entire paritybit.ca website.</description> <item> + <title>The Joys of Old Tech</title> + <link>https://www.paritybit.ca/blog/the-joys-of-old-tech</link> + <guid>https://www.paritybit.ca/blog/the-joys-of-old-tech</guid> + <pubDate>Thu, 07 May 2020 00:46:24 -0400</pubDate> +<description><![CDATA[<h2>The Joys of Old Tech</h2> + +<div class="byline"> +<b>Written By:</b> Jake Bauer | + <b>Posted:</b> 2020-05-07 | + <b>Last Updated:</b> 2020-05-07 +</div> + +<p><figure> + <a href="/img/floppy.jpg"><img src="/img/floppy-thumb.jpg" alt="A 3.5 inch + floppy disk, lying against a rock on a table. Text on the disk reads: + Grand&amp;Toy IBM Formatted 2HD."/></a> +</figure></p> + +<p>There's something magical about using old technology. Be it an old, grinding +hard disk, a floppy disk with a maximum capacity of 1.44MB, or a CRT monitor +with a maximum resolution of 1024x768. Unrivalled in their simplicity, +unchallenged in their whirs and clunks, there is an unmistakable allure of the +tech of days gone by. Just listen to <a href="https://invidio.us/watch?v=eSNqzTwHiuU">these sounds of an IBM PC +AT</a>, hard at work.</p> + +<p>Of course, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. Much of the tech from past +decades was actually confusing and difficult to use at times. Remember having to +manually set IRQs? What about needing to manually configure X, and having your +CRT emit some of its magic smoke in the process? Or, how about needing to +terminate your SCSI bus, lest you have weird errors?</p> + +<p>Nevertheless, the satisfying clunk of the power switch on the back of your +computer, the whine of your monitor turning on, and the sound of your floppy +drive initializing as you sit down, ready to get stuck in for the night +programming whatever latest hack you were working on, come together to create an +inexplicable feeling sorely missed in the age of instant boot-up times and +quiet, solid state storage. Perhaps it's just childhood nostalgia.</p> + +<p>Technology, in recent years, has become faster, easier to use, prettier, and +more affordable. These advancements, however, came at the cost of simplicity, +understanding the machine and protocols which one uses, and a deeper connection +and feeling of control over one's system. Given the way that technology has +evolved in the past 30 years, it's definitely easy to see why some would long +for "the good old days".</p> + +<p>I think the majority of people who work with computers can agree that, on the +whole, the advancements have been good for society. People have quicker and +easier access to information, it's easier to expose the wrong and celebrate the +right in society, and it has enabled whole new disciplines of science. The +problem is that this has come at the cost of the internet being controlled by +mega-corporations, protocols and specifications becoming bloated and hard to +understand, and many people becoming locked into ecosystems controlled by +whoever sold them their hardware or software; not to mention the myriad ways +technology is being used to oppress.</p> + +<p>The specifications defining everything one would need to know and understand for +developing a web browser <a href="https://drewdevault.com/2020/03/18/Reckless-limitless-scope.html">is 114 million +words</a> and the +specifications for modern technologies such as +<a href="https://uefi.org/sites/default/files/resources/UEFI_Spec_2_8_A_Feb14.pdf">UEFI</a> +are orders of magnitude larger and more complex than those for a simple BIOS, +designed for basic hardware control and booting. Making new software for these +systems is incredibly difficult if not impossible and it usually requires either +months, if not years, of work and a dedicated team of engineers and millions of +dollars.</p> + +<p>Gone are the days that one could open up the 300 page manual which came in the +box with their microcomputer, turn to the page about making shapes appear on a +screen with BASIC, and program a productivity application in a single weekend. +Gone also, are the days of being able to fit a homework assignment on a floppy +disk, let alone an entire operating system.</p> + +<p>Despite all this doom and gloom, there is a small subset of programmers and +scientists creating software like the <a href="http://9front.org/">Plan9 operating +system</a> or <a href="https://sourcehut.org/">SourceHut</a> designed to +bring simplicity and understandability back to the way we use our computers. +Many people still use such programs as the <a href="https://invisible-island.net/lynx/">Lynx web +browser</a> and such protocols as +<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Relay_Chat">IRC</a> and <a +href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher_(protocol)">Gopher</a> simply because +of how comfortable, calming, and simple they are compared to the alternatives. +In fact, Gopher has actually seen a <a +href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher_(protocol)#Server_census">increase in +usage</a> over the past few years.</p> + +<p>There is so much value in the simple, the plain, and the understandable that has +been lost in the rush to make systems more capable, larger, faster, and smarter. +Despite its own set of drawbacks, old technology is such a joy to use because it +has been kept unspoiled by the complexities of modern computing. One can only +hope that the industry as a whole will realize the harm that complicated systems +inevitably bring and return to making software and hardware which is capable +still, yet simple and understandable.</p> + +<p><em>This is my twelfth post for the +<a href="https://social.paritybit.ca/tags/100DaysToOffload">#100DaysToOffload</a> +challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at +<a href="https://100daystooffload.com">https://100daystooffload.com</a>.</em></p>]]></description> +</item> +<item> <title>Refining My Neomutt Configuration</title> <link>https://www.paritybit.ca/blog/refining-my-neomutt-config</link> <guid>https://www.paritybit.ca/blog/refining-my-neomutt-config</guid> diff --git a/public/img/floppy-thumb.jpg b/public/img/floppy-thumb.jpg Binary files differ. diff --git a/public/img/floppy.jpg b/public/img/floppy.jpg Binary files differ. diff --git a/public/sitemap.xml b/public/sitemap.xml @@ -3,6 +3,7 @@ <url><loc>https://www.paritybit.ca</loc></url> <url><loc>https://www.paritybit.ca/home</loc></url> <url><loc>https://www.paritybit.ca/blog</loc></url> + <url><loc>https://www.paritybit.ca/blog/the-joys-of-old-tech</loc></url> <url><loc>https://www.paritybit.ca/blog/refining-my-neomutt-config</loc></url> <url><loc>https://www.paritybit.ca/blog/clone-wars-finale</loc></url> <url><loc>https://www.paritybit.ca/blog/the-diefenbunker-museum</loc></url>