When Life Reflects Art

by debianjoe


Due to horrible icy weather conditions these past few days, I’ve been either at work…or stuck in the house.  While this would be a great time to have been working on my installer (anyone else seen an entire HDD corrupted due to a dirty bit on hard shut-down from btrfs?), I’ve been trying to convince my wife that our home needs less “stuff.”

This all started a few days ago when one of the guys I work with was joking about a girl from another department bringing her laptop over for him to work on.  From what I gather from his rant was that she was using MS-Windows and had added a few “bonus” toolbars to her web-browser.  He was laughing about how much space they were taking up, and that it was similar to looking though a slit to actually try to read anything.  I responded with my own rant about how most developers were trying to steal my vertical screen space without any additional toolbars, which due to the fact that laptop monitors keep getting shorter and wider, makes no sense.

Of course, he then responded by asking what I use.  So, I pointed out that since his main work system was openSUSE, that he could replace the monstrosity that is KDE with something like cwm or dwm, and use BBQRoaster (I am biased) or suckless’s “Surf” browser to get that screen real-estate back while browsing.  Which led to some jokes about me being OCD, which I denied by mentioning that it isn’t obsessive to be frugal with useless decorations.

This is a long way to get around to the discussion I later had with my wife regarding Newsbeuter being my preferred method of getting RSS feeds, and that I really like simple and direct methods for getting whatever the task may be completed.  As we started talking about how less distractions make the world easier to navigate, somehow it ended up with me totally rearranging my house and starting to dispose of things that don’t get regular use.  I’m totally okay with this, as I really only have a very limited amount of input as to what furniture we have, where it goes, etc.  The house is her domain, and my big, blue chair and desk are really the only things that I insist she leaves to me.  She sold some of the things that we weren’t using, and is giving away much of the rest of it.

One of the things that I have noticed is that the house looks much larger with less things taking up the corners and being in the way.  Cleaning is easier.  I don’t have to actually open my eyes before I get my first cup of coffee to navigate from the bedroom to the kitchen.  I love it so far.

This is how I like everything to work.  If I don’t need it, then generally, I don’t want it.  I’m not a good consumer, because I tend to be happy if something does what I want for it to do.  I don’t need it because it’s the “newest” as long as it is capable of doing what I desire, and often this leads me to products that I am madly in love with because of the quality that they perform the job with.  I still have yet to find a laptop that I prefer to my old IBM Thinkpad.

So for a quick summary of how I compute, here’s the layout for the systems that I regularly use:  For LinuxBBQ RSI, Arch, and killx…I use emacs, w3m, vi, tmux, and primarily emacs plug-ins and bash/zsh scripts for everything that I do on them.  On RSI, I use fbterm because pretty pictures and text are enjoyable.  On vanilla Sid, I use cwm coupled with a dynamic tiler that I hacked together, because I can switch back and forth between stacking and tiling, and do both well.  I’m still running dwm on BBQ-Elektra, but I don’t use it very often anymore.  These setups range greatly in how they look, but the basic premise is always the same.  They do what I want from them without doing much else.

Simplifying the environment that you exist in can range from not having to deal with gtk3, or stubbing your toes on a decorative end table.  Either way, it makes life better.  Simplify.