Technological Fails Continue

Hardware:

The laptop I’m typing this on is over two years old. This is not a lot by some measures, but weird spontaneous glitches are starting to accumulate to the point where they’re getting on my nerves. The internet card still needs an extra reset to start working half the time, and occasionally warrants a full reboot, which costs five minutes. The USB ports are loopy, some windows just show up black when they feel like it, and there’s a steadily climbing whir in the background. I’m kind of anticipating the moment the whole thing just drops dead.

Well, I’m not about to run out of computers to use (there’s a noisy XP desktop that also barely works despite handling all our print jobs, but also one spanking new eight-core CPU laptop, which Dad considered a valuable enough investment (?)) but such a loss is still not something to be dismissed lightly. And the externalized cost is far more important and chilling. Who knows how many kids in the Congo had to mine coltan, or how much conflict has occurred over the crude oil, or what awful conditions those sweatshop-assembly workers are going through? Annie Leonard’s words still resonate with me from when we were first shown the video a year ago. Which is more recent than this laptop, so that doesn’t mean that much. I think a couple months ago I would have absolutely no second thoughts about getting a new one, though. Yup, I’m in a quandary (ha ha vocabulary) on the balance between desensitization and compulsive hoarding of stuff.

I mean, I hoarded the sleeve from my 2011 planner in a drawer somewhere, and it turned out to serve nicely as a pencil box divider. So hoarding is cool, old stuff is useful. But so is a new laptop!

Flashbacks. The Andreas guy from the book report book was examining his own consumption habits and going “I am a complete a()hole”. Les Mis lyrics.
See our children fed! Help us in our shame!
Something for a crust of bread in Holy Jesus’ name!
In the Lord’s holy name! In his name, in his name, in his name (fade)

Hmm, right, back to musical drama for the first time this semester tomorrow along with our terrifically haphazard “play”, and I could even launch into a wild rambling on capitalism and socialism and how cool it is to finally kind of understand what everybody is talking about in those serious Round Table political threads, but… that’s far enough off-topic.

Software:

Another day working on the IMC site. Bugs bugs buuuuugs.

First, for a couple eternities, we agonized over a recursive loop that defied all reason and attempts at diagnosis, which Dad tracked down as reportedly deriving from the difference between WEB-INF and WEB_INF. Then something like three more bugs appeared, each more difficult to explain than the last. Completely amorphous artifacts of compilation and building, placement of initialization hooks that basically boil down to wherever looks faintly reasonable.

Slowly, loose ends kind of resolved themselves and there are beautiful extensionless URLs, but getting all the old files into the new framework is still going to be rather tedious. I’m pretty sure we’ve reinvented the wheel a lot here, with a totally custom server-side dynamic system for displaying the menus (although it’s not really complicated either), but I’m not sure how severe it is. But I still feel more black magic in this system than the last one. I can’t even hand-wave an explanation for putting <% %> here and <%! %> there.

On my own time I was working on refactoring my grid editor thingamajig that, as of now, still lacks a snappy name (some pun on “gridlock”?). The “main class” has upwards of 600 lines, the kind of ridiculously ugly interdependent mass I abhor because (it seems) everything needs references and callbacks to everything else. I have thought and thought, and can’t decouple anything from anything else sensibly.

You know what they say, always code as if the next person to maintain your code will be a psychopathic killer who knows where you live? All through yesterday I’ve been continually thinking of my future self climbing out of a time machine like that. That’s how bad it is.

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