Rune Hansén Steinnes
The comfy chair

The comfy chair

A long journey

You won't find this blog post very interesting I'm afraid. It's a rant. Outlining my journey starting with the Texas Instruments Ti4/A home computer..

Rune Hansén Steinnes's photo
Rune Hansén Steinnes
·Dec 29, 2021·

5 min read

So, my interest in computers was awoken back in '84..85 ish. For my own(!) money I bought a Texas Instruments Ti4/A home computer. It did not come with Extended Basic as I could not afford that. For all intents and purposes it was basically a brick that could beep and do very basic animations, very slowly, with a keyboard. The kids that had C64's were laughing at me. So I got rid of it before I learned to use it properly.

Whilst having wet dreams about the Macintosh.. and this being the age of Samanta Fox..yeah. Anyways, the next piece of equipment was an Oric1.. it was better. 16 bit, 64kb memory, a horrible keyboard BUT there were games abundant for it. And I could program it because I didn't have to buy Extended basic to make it work. I even bought a used Oric1 to OricAtmos conversion kit which gave it a proper keyboard. It was a bit sticky but since this predates the common use of the internet the stickyness was probably due to lemonade or soda.

In school we touched upon the BBC B micro, later in pre-uni we had workstations with CP/M. None of this was very interesting. Except for one incident where my very, very old maths teacher (yes, he knew maths - naturally he was in charge of the computers) unplugged the server from the mains to make room for the printer. Safe to say - there were no printing that day.

When I entered the Armed forces we were subjected to rack mounted Nuclear safe 9inch yellow monochrome 8086 machines running DOS. There were other machines around running early versions of windows as well. They were cool, but hardly a Macintosh.

In late '91 I had earned enough money to buy a Macintosh SE30. So I did. I sold it early '92 and bought a Classic II instead. It was half the price and missing exactly one dedicated numeric processor unit compared to the SE. I didn't worry to much about that. Now, the age of the macs started. I owned a LC475, a Quadra700, a Performa 6300, Powerbook G3, Macbook 13 (plastic) .. and so on and so forth. I have problems distinguishing between the machines I bough privately and machines provided by my employers. I did quite a bit of programming on the mac. Primarily C, RealBasic and Applescript.. for..reasons.

Rewinding to '95. I assembled a PC sourced from discarded parts (except for the graphics card) and installed Red Hat 2.2 (if memory serves). I burned two graphic cards with mode lines, and yes - they were returned as faulty and I received a replacement card.

I must admit that when NeXTStep became OSX I thought my dreams had been answered. For several years Darwin was kinda nice. Quirky, but nice.

And with this, we are arriving at the core of this post. I freaking hate can not come to terms with Macs these days (hate is such a strong word... and markdown markup does not work here but html tags do? ..hmmm). It took many years before I actively started to dislike them, but for me, the last 3-4 releases has been progressively worse, to the extent that BigSur for all intents and purposes is unusable - for me, and me only. The rest of the world may be OK with it. I'm not. My choice. Stop!

So Linux. Desktop linux is a pain in the butt. I will freely admit that. And I love it, not the butt pain per se, but the desktop, and linux. I recently switched from Linux Mint 18.x to Manjaro 21.x. There are four years between those distros and by Odins sweaty teats it shows. Mind you, I'm sure I would have been equally impressed with the latest version of Mint, but I just felt for trying something new and ended up on an Arch distro (for years I was in the Red Hat camp. I event did some beta testing for Yellow Dog PPC linux back in the day.. and when choosing I almost landed on Fedora - I'm sure I would have been happy with that as well).

So here I am on Manjaro, KDE edition. The only thing I'm missing is iPhone integration, but no one does that. Yes, ifuse exists and I use it. And yes. I'm on iPhone. For me it's the lesser of two evils. I'd really like to use something else.. like a linux phone, but reality has a tendency to kick in.

Let's rant about Android. What's wrong with it? With Android in particular.. these days.. nothing. Nothing is wrong with Android, isolated. What about Androids infrastructure then? It's toxic on the verge of down right dangerous and google runs away from that responsibility as fast as they - can it seems. Why is Apple so much better? Apple does not pretend to be an open source company. Neither do they pretend to be a democracy. It's Apples way or the high way. Can you fault them for it? Why, yes. Yes you can. But they are a privately owned company and can basically do what every they want (within limits). As it stands now this results in a safer - way more safer appliance compared to the competition. The benefits for the consumer are too numerous to list. Read up on it. The downsides are almost too numerous to list also, but again. For me it's the lesser of two evils. You might not see it that way, and that's fine.

The other thing that plagues Android, which by no means is Androids fault, is sustainability. None of the major phone makers guarantees updates after two years. Apple provides updates for seven generations of phones (on average). Which approach is better for.. well, everything .. You tell me.

The natural argument is what good does this do me if I can't repair my broken iPhone?? Yeah.. we can only hope that the EU kicks Apples butt a bit more. It seems they (Apple) has backed away from the screen repair issue. So, there's hope.

A long and pointless post. /r/rants would have been a better fit. It is what it is.

 
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