Friday Jul 11, 2008

Nostalgia and a lesson

Recently, I happened to stumble upon my old old home page. This was
created 10 or more years ago. In it, I had a list of software I like.
Finding how the list changed over time was an educating experience.

My original list:
- GNU
- Linux
- Emacs
- Tcl/Tk
- Windowmaker

My current list:
- Emacs
- Windowmaker
- GNU (to a certain extend)

Emacs, no  uncertainties there.  Number one.  Learned more
about it, wrote more for it and converted a few unbelievers.
Switched to Gnus meanwhile and I spend horrendous amounts of
time there.

Windowmaker, tried xfce  and gnome and kde. After a little
while everything else started getting in the way. Got half
way to writing couple of applets. Windowmaker on Solaris
applet menagerie isn't anything to write home about.

GNU, even though not an absolute must, not having some of
the things  would cause  pain in the wrong place. Having
switched to Solaris, and spending the rest of my time in
Windows, means, other than for things like Gimp, I really
don't need most of it.

Linux, not in  the preferred list anymore.  The last happy
experience I had was installing DSL in a no good laptop and
finding the laptop come alive. Nothing against and nothing
for. As I mentioned, spending all my Unix time on Solaris is
a big reason. Still, I don't find anything driving me back
to Linux. Using it at home for example.

Tcl/Tk, absolutely  not in the  list. I can't for my life
think why it was in the list in the first place. I remember
being impressed with expect, but that is no excuse. I use
multixterm regularly but that is about it for Tcl.

Trying to explain the above to myself...

A few months back, me and a colleague were trying to burn a
DVD. He had just got his MacBook. The legendary usability of
Mac was put to test. After a futile 10 minutes with the Mac,
a few seconds with google put us right. It wasn't even worth
the question "How do I ..." after we found how to do it. The
lesson learned was, usability is as much about how much you
use it, as it is about how well it is designed.
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