This is my online memory. I can never remember how to back up a MySQL database, or add a user to sudoers, so I write it down here. And because I’m never satisfied that I have done things the best way possible, all of these articles are works in progress. I leave comments to myself throughout the text, marked TODO, to remind myself what needs further investigation or how to try things differently next time.
Originally I kept notes like these on scraps of paper. Finding myself quoting them in answer to questions on Usenet, they migrated to a growing mass of text files on my computer. Inspired by the good examples of others, I finally started posting them online: better accessibility for me, and perhaps a useful tip or two for you.
This is a work in progress. I do not have, and surely never will have, the last word on anything. Please help me to help others by leaving a comment if you have any suggestion, amplification, or correction to what you find here.
But what’s up with that silly name for your blog?
As a wide-eyed college freshman in 1980, the first computer I had actually used that was more powerful than a TRS-80 was the Electrical Engineering Department’s PDP 11/45. Oh, the power! But the best part of it wasn’t that it was evil genius powerful (for its day), or that it ran Unix, or that the department had a license for the source code, or that the students’ terminal room was open 24/7, or even the fun we all had writing scripts to crash it. The very best thing about the department’s PDP was Adventure, the only computer game that has ever really interested this non-gamer. “You are in a maze of twisty little passages” is a memorable line from the game, and one I use as a sort of shibboleth to identify other crusty old skool types like myself.
I lost track of my university diploma long ago (is it in my mom’s attic? my brother’s garage?), but I still know where my old Colossal Cave map is.