02 March 2007

The Silence of A:\> ...

I came home from my day job to find one of my machines having a "bad day". You know the kind... the hard drive makes clicking noises, the CPU fan wheezes, and the little speaker beeps a magical yet significant number of times on power up. Yeah, one of those bad days.

During the recovery process I found myself dd'ing an old image of a MS-DOS bootup disk I had onto a floppy and rebooting. After a bit of scrolling, up came the "OS":

A:\> _

Normally this machine does a bit of everything; it's got X running, OpenVPN'd into a shared VLAN, DHCP for my home, streaming mp3s to my stereo, my home CVS server, my general development box - the works. Normally the work of millions of developers across the planet keep the machine dizzily busy.. calling IDLE when it's not CPU bound... is it time to power save the monitor..who has keep alive.....who's got the sound card locked anyway..time to garbage collect..adjust time time, the clock drifted...lets POP for mail.. time to update the locate database..better clean up /tmp....better update the package cache too....YooHoo/2u2...etc..etc..

I don't know if you can relate...But, thinking about all of it boggles my mind and makes me want to go to outside and do something tangible.

But just then, for that brief moment, with just the DOS prompt, that machine sat there very still. Very quiet...not doing anything (except flashing the cursor).

It was all very serene.

I'm sure it's great that we live in our quirksmode adjusted, AJAX enabled, ORM persisted, 3D accelerated, UTF16 displayed, XML configured, multi-threaded, AOP cross-cut, project object model assembled, virtualized, garbage collected world; but I can't help, looking at the innocence of that prompt on the monitor and wonder if maybe.. just maybe, there's a better, simpler way to do some of this.

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