I've written a few times about how I love technology, and how technology, which is supposed to make our lives easier and less stressful, often does exactly the opposite.
Today, I almost wrote about how much I hate technology, but I couldn't do it; it's not technology's fault that I'm a fucking idiot.
I'm not a Windows guy, for all the reasons people who aren't Windows users cite, but rather than waste everyone's time with another variation on the same old rant, I'll just say that I don't like the way Windows works, and I don't trust Microsoft.
For a long time, I've been a Mac guy, which usually means my computers look great, run smoothly and reliably, and I can't play any really good games. In fact, my Powerbook G4, which desperately needs to be upgraded, has been my primary computer for almost two years.
Both of these operating systems have their attendant risks for fucking idiots: a fucking idiot Windows user can find himself unwittingly part of a botnet, (which is pretty much the least of the fucking idiot Windows user's problems) while fucking idiot Mac users could wake up one day to find themselves just like the "I'm a Mac" douche on those hilarious commercials that make Windows a lot more likable than it deserves to be.
Earlier this morning, I was a rare kind of fucking idiot: the fucking Linux idiot.
Now, there's one kind of fucking Linux idiot who I am not, and who I really loathe: the guy who has turned his passion for the operating system into a crusade, and as a result screams with evangelical furor at anyone who has the great misfortune of being anywhere near him when someone mentions that an Xbox 360 is kind of cool, or jokes about how they had to restart their machine thanks to the blue screen of death. (A note to those guys: you're not doing us any favors, you know. The average user -- hell, even fairly competent users like me -- don't care that we're free to recompile the Ham radio stuff out of our kernels. What we do care about is how reliable our operating system is, and how easy it is to use. It's taken Linux -- oh, I'm sorry, GNU/Linux -- years to get there, and now that it's finally arrived, maybe you could lay off the shrieking for a bit, and just calmly hand out a live cd instead, mmkay?)
Look, I love Linux. I love and believe in the philosophy of free as in speech, and you just can't beat free as in beer. I love the wide variety of desktop environments and software suites I can choose from, and I love the inherent security that comes with an intelligently-configured Linux system. However, this morning, I ran into one of Linux's greatest and most dangerous strengths: it will do whatever you tell it to do, even if you tell it to do something incredibly stupid, like change the permissions on your home directory in such a way as to make the directory unreadable.
Ah, sudo, why hast thou forsaken me?
Yeah, this happened on the morning when I was about to get to work on this week's GiR about media players for Linux. I run Ubuntu Linux, which is based on Debian, and is about as close to idiot-proof as you can get in Linux. In fact, this is the distro that's so easy to install, configure, and run, I keep some Ubuntu live CDs in my car, and usually have at least one in my backpack when I go to a convention, just in case someone is interested in giving Linux a try.
I'll spare you the details, but I managed to essentially lock my keys in my car with the windows up while it was pouring rain and the car was running. Short of breaking a window (reinstalling) I didn't know what I could do, so I had a temper tantrum -- until I recalled how my entire experience with Ubuntu began: it's on a CD, which can also be used to correct 10d10t errors like this one.
I shutdown, booted from the CD, mounted /dev/hda2 to /home and repaired all the permissions on /home/wil. The whole thing took less than ten minutes, and now my machine is happily humming away again.
Okay. Back to work.
UPDATE: Yeah, it should be ID 10 T instead of the title I have up there. I'm leaving it, though, as a bright shining monument to what an idiot I can be.