The Road to Digital Nirvana

We have all these Devices. We buy these Devices because we think they’ll make our lives a little better or easier; at the very least, we hope that they won’t make our lives worse. And we expect that at some point, the Devices that we cobble together will just work — they won’t crash, they’ll do what we tell them to do, and they’ll communicate with each other seamlessly.

I’m not sure what Digital Nirvana is, but I’ll know it when I see it.

And although it’s a process of trial-and-error, I think I’m headed in the right direction. For example, not so long ago I had a computer that crashed every two or three days. Now I have a computer that has been running almost continuously for the last year and a half, with only two crashes. This is Progress. Other steps are smaller in scope but still important. DragThing. NetNewsWire. A decent web host. Flexible weblog software. The list goes on and on.

Of course, sometimes I make mistakes. For example, a couple of months ago I bought an old Palm VII for twenty bucks at a local garage sale. The guy was a pretty serious geek, judging from the used books he was selling. We bonded. He threw in two serial cradles, a keyboard, and a classy black leather case. Clapped me on the back. “Go forth, young man.” Well, maybe I added that last part. Anyway, I was stoked. I took my very first PDA home and spent an hour going through all the functions, learning Graffiti, generally having a ball. Then I discovered that the only way to sync the Palm with my desktop would be to get a serial-to-USB converter, and that said converters would cost more than I spent for the PDA in the first place. “Huh,” I said. Since then, the Palm VII has sat in my Big Drawer of Extra Cables and Electronic Detritus, safe and sound in its classy black leather case.

Then there was the time I decided that I was tired of writing journal entries in Moveable Type’s tiny little browser textbox, and it was time to find a more elegant interface. So I downloaded a well-known weblog editing tool for OS X and fired it up. I hadn’t configured my site info yet, but I figured what the hell — let’s see what this bad boy can do! I pressed the Connect button, expecting to see some sort of pop-up (“No default blog available. Please enter your URL, name, and password…”). Instead, the program went into a frenzy of trying to access… nothing, apparently, and froze up. Annoyed, I killed the application process and started over. I entered my blog info like a good little user and tried again. Success! At this point, I was afraid to create a new post, so I pulled up a recent entry instead. To my horror, the entry appeared with the whitespace horribly mangled, along with a number of strange tags after each newline “<Unknown Escape>“. Whoa! I don’t know about you, but I consider conversion of newline characters between Linux and Mac OS X to be a solvable problem. Something I sorta kinda expect my weblog editing software to take care of automatically. Now I was really annoyed, and worried that I might overwrite my old entry with a bunch of invalid crud. So I went to close the window, only to suddenly notice that the standard red “close window” button had been inexplicably disabled. Huh?? Sigh. Command-Q, drag folder to Trash.

My latest project: Entering the Wireless World. I’ll admit, it is a bit ambitious of me to set up a wireless hub. My desktop does fine and dandy while wired, and so really only my laptop would benefit. A wireless network of One is not so impressive. But hey, I like to plan ahead.

One thought on “The Road to Digital Nirvana

  1. As a blogging tool, I swear by Kung-Log, myself. Its configurable list of (X)HTML tags are the best thing for keeping my tags properly matched. It now uses the Webcore engine for previewing (which, in turn, can use an arbitrary (X)HTML template). Very nice.

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