Are You Done Insulting Me?

Are you Done - Part 2

The next day, I approached Taylor in one of the breaks, carrying a printout of this “How to Become a Hacker” essay. I was quite vexed, and wanted to consult him about it.

“Taylor,” I said without saying hello, “what the hell does this Eric Raymond character want from me?”.

“What did you find wrong with what he wrote?”

“Let’s see: role playing games - you know I hate them.”

“You don’t need to like RPGs to be a hacker.”

“Or Science Fiction. I prefer humorous writings and Realism.”

“It won’t make you any less of a computer geek.”

“Here’s another thing:”, I said as I went over the document, “‘Zen or Martial Arts’. You know the mere thought of hurting someone else freaks me out and that I hit like a girl.”.

“Hit like a girl?”, Taylor said, “Tell you what - here’s my open hand. Hit it as hard as you can with your fist? Let’s check your claim.”

“Really,” I said looking at his open hand?

“Yeah sure. I’m ready.”

I backed up my right hand, and hit his fist as hard as I could. Taylor cried “ow”, and rubbed his left hand with his right. Then he said while still in pain, “You forgot that we go to the gym twice a week.”

“Oh, right… weight-training… among else. Are you alright?”

“I’ll be OK.”, he said as he released his left hand. “But I don’t think you hit like a girl. Keep that in mind in case you get into a chick fight one day.”

“Heh”, I smiled, “So I’m a bit strong. So what? I still don’t want to learn Martial Arts.” I said. “And what kind of language is ‘Python’ . Who would name a language after a snake.”

“Well, as far as I know Erisa, she’ll probably teach you Perl instead.”

“But Raymond says…”

“ESR (that’s how we refer to Eric S. Raymond), is a nice guy, but he has several faults. One of them is being a Pythoneer who bashes Perl quite irrationally. Erisa has learned Perl as her first language out of the so-called ‘scripting languages’, and she still prefers it to Python. She also told me that someone once told her that he’d rather teach people Perl first, because it’s a language they can express themselves in.”

“Well, I also recall Pascal from my days,”, I said, “so I guess I’ll be alright.”

“Jenn, ” he told me as he held my hands, “I’m sure you will.”.

Are you Done - Part 2

Erisa dropped by my house on Saturday. My brother answered the door, and was shocked, and a bit scared of the way she looked. After consulting me, I told him it was alright, and let her into my room.

Erisa brought the CDs of the Linux distribution (they were burned), and said I could keep them. “Before we start, let me start Windows and check for configuration and stuff,” she said.

“Wow!” she said later, “65 Gigs free out of 80? You obviously don’t make too much use of this machine. Well, that’ll give us enough space for installing Linux.”

“OK,” she said, “now you sit at the computer and go through the installation, read the instructions and let me know what you think. I’ll let you know what you should do next.”

“OK,” I said, as we switched places.

Well, except for the part about re-partitioning which confused me a bit, everything was reasonably understood. Then Erisa instructed me to reboot the computer.

When it started, it displayed a nice graphical menu which said if I would like to start Linux or Windows. I chose Linux naturally. Then a large number of messages appeared (Erisa said even she didn’t fully knew what they meant), and then I got the so-called “login” prompt, that asked me for a username.

“OK, ” said Erisa, “we took note of your username and password, and of your root password. The root user can do anything, so it is considered a bad idea to use it all the time. When I started using Linux like you, I worked as root all the time, but you shouldn’t duplicate my mistakes.”

“Heh heh”, I giggled. “OK, I’ll just enter ‘jennray’ here, and ‘schrodinger6590’ here. OK?”

“Yes.”

After that, this thing called KDE loaded (“KDE is the number one desktop for chicks”), displaying a nice boot screen. And afterwards, I saw the work screen.

“Wow!” I said, “this is beautiful.”. And indeed it was: the icons were smooth and attractive, the windows had very nice decorations, it just invited people to play with it. I figured out the menu with the star was equivalent to Windows’ “Start” thingy, and started browsing the menus and starting applications.

“Hold it right there, girlfriend!” Erisa barfed at me, “You ain’t paying me to play with Linux on my time. Now let me show you some things…”

She showed me how to access the two control centres (one for the desktop, and one for the entire system). How to browse and manage files using the file manager (it had a cute Home icon), and explained about the kate text editor and why text editors in general are useful in UNIX. (“Linux belongs to a large family of operating systems, past and present, called UNIXes, which share a lot in common. So if you hear the term ‘UNIX’, don’t freak out.”)

She ended up with searching Google and the Web for some good resources for learning HTML. She bookmarked all of them in the web browser, and then said:

“Now, your homework for the next week is to prepare a homepage for yourself, after you’ve read everything I bookmarked for you. (Possibly, along with reading it). Because you’re such an uninteresting girl, you’ll probably want to fill it with things you like, useless links, and raves about the Power Puff Girls. But I won’t judge you. Just make sure it has a lot of content in it.”

“Are you done insulting me?” I answered.

“For now,” and she grinned, “see you next weekend.”

“Bye, I said!” and I paid her for her time.

She sure seemed to know her stuff, but had a strange way of conveying it to me.