i dont care that youre expert– i only care that youre a prick

ive been using computers since the mid-1980s. one of the best computer technicians in the region once told me: “theres always someone better.” hes a true expert– hes also a nice person.

look, everyone has off days, everyone gets frustrated, im not out to make a “safe space” for the internet. but theres more douchebags than experts out there, and everyone thinks theyre an expert. too many people never apologise for their behaviour.

what i do these days is, when i get tired of dealing with know-it-alls that dont listen and dont understand the question, being a jerk and telling you to learn x, i just say “to heck with x” (which ive probably used for a decade or more) im just going to work on something a little easier to learn.

whether its really easier or not is a matter of opinion (and personal research) but the thing is: i dont care if youre an expert. the fact that youre acting like a douche is the thing im paying the most attention to.

and honestly, your expertise is doing me zero good right now– because i use tools to better myself and make my life easier, not to sit at your f***ing feet.

so to be honest, take it and shove it. im done with so many of you “experts.” if more than a quarter of a century of learning and loving computers isnt enough time to gain your respect, just how much do you really think its even worth to me? also im not feeling great, and your general douchebaggery is particularly unwelcome today.

for everyone else: please dont judge all geeks based on these w***ers. everybodys (including non-geeks are) like this some days. but only some people make a career of it.

try to be a nice person, as much as you are able. its so simple, even experts can do it.

also if you hate gnu/linux because of this, i dont blame you. the situation just gets worse and worse, with less and less qualified people (no i mean less qualified, not fewer people, also wth now youre doing it too) putting out their shingle as an expert and treating people like garbage. its a nice operating system, dont judge it based on its fans.

someone mentioned september 1993 today, but if they had read the summary of what led up to it, constant pedantry and overpolicing was an underrated factor. im sure that will hold up to anthropological/historical scrutiny if compared to the fall of old great nations in general. somewhat related: you couldnt pay me to go back to debian or ubuntu after what happened a few years ago.





alex 1.6: replace ls with dc

source: https://ptpb.pw/5snr


from alex:

  • find | dc 80
  • find /home/user | dc
  • find c:\ | dc 115


from the shell:

  • echo “find | dc 80” | ./alex16.py
  • echo “find /home/user | dc” | alex16.py
  • echo “find c:\ | dc 115” | python alex16.py


dc displays the file contents of multiple paths, in multicolumn format (width determined by optional number. default is 80.)




alex 1.5: noreps, other enhancements

source: https://ptpb.pw/PhJm


1.5 has –noreps, which outputs each line piped in a single time; output does not have to be sorted.

–fields no longer creates a trailing space per line; it still produces one space between fields.

and it is now possible (in both gnu/linux and windows) to echo a script to the shell without having it loaded already, offering the best features of your shell and alex together:

echo "dir | rainbow -f" | alex15.py




alex 1.4: new features (since 1.1); rainbow, ascii

source: https://ptpb.pw/Z3xA


since 1.1, alex now has:

  • –rainbow …show text in colours by groups of lines
  • –rainbow -f …show text in colours by field
  • –rainbow -p …show text in colours by exact column position of each field
  • –rainbow -l …show text in colours by indent level
  • –ascii …show text as ascii codes
  • –ascii -h …show text as ascii codes in hex
  • –isoplus query …works like grep (also in windows)


find /mnt/le | grep gif | fsortplus


find /mnt/le | grep gif | fsortplus | rainbow -f




fig 4.5: fewer compound statements in translator and output

source: https://ptpb.pw/hF6y

version history: https://ptpb.pw/WZLU

for decades now, when coding– ive stayed on the same line and only hit enter when it seemed logical to me.

turns out, most people prefer to avoid compound statements:

this_is_a() ; compound_statement()


and they hate this at least as much:

if condition: put_statement_here()


ive removed most of those from fig 4.4 to create fig 4.5, and ive even removed most of those from the translated output. the output from fig looks dramatically different, probably to the relative happiness of most coders. hypothetically, anyway.




alex 1.1: lots of new features

source: https://ptpb.pw/lD1r

still doesnt have separate per-platform handling of $, which may lead to extra quotes in windows– but with 1.1 alex is coming along:


list files and change backslash to slash:

find | replace \ /


list files, limit to bottom 50 and redirect to variable t; iterate through t and echo:

find | bots 50 | var t ; forin c t ; echo $c ; next


get input and display one character per line:

echo type in your name: ; setinput px ; forin t px ; echo $t ; next


show help:



random coloured points:

while ; setrandint px 2 20 ; setrandint py 2 15 ; setrandint pc 1 15 ; pset $px $py $pc ; next


coloured lines:

forin rep 20 ; setrandint px 2 20 ; setrandint py 2 15 ; setrandint pc 1 15 ; line 40 10 $px $py $pc ; next


nested loops:

forin co 5 ; forin ro 5 ; setadd col co ro ; colour 0 $col ; setadd pco co 10 ; setadd pro ro 10 ; locate $pro $pco ; echo _ ; next ; next


list files containing .h, show date field and size, sha256, date and time, only lines containing 2017- …number each line

find | isoname .h | fsortplus | fields 3 _ | isoname 2017- | cat -n


quit the shell:






science is a journey, not a destination

being right > being right


ive encountered a lot of indoctrinated people in my life. some of the indoctrination was good, some of it was probably fair and reasonable. i especially love when indoctrination is based on science– because then instead of arguing with indoctrination, youre arguing with science! and science is the most right thing there is, so you must be wrong. ok, you never win by using sarcasm on the internet.

i do actually think a little indoctrination is good, but that “little” is actually rather tiny– a little more than the way trace elements are vital to your health. though i wont join any crusades against religion in general. people would just find some other idea to put too much faith in, like the way economists do.

im definitely not trashing science. science is probably the only thing that knows just how often people are wrong, because it changes. i always thought pluto was a planet, and i still think it sort of is. but science has to ask “whats a planet?” and then ask “does pluto count?” i am really not at all fond of what science has to say about pluto. that said, i am glad that science cares more about how it asks and answers the question than what the answer is. science is a very special kind of integrity. its not always right, but man, its always trying its best. thats pretty cool.

as it happens, im not a science-only, science fundamentalist. i dont confuse non-science with science; when people talk about mysticism, imagination, speculation, synchronicity– science intends to make other plans. that doesnt mean that i dont like the efforts of some scientists to play with questions the mainstream wont touch– but the process is vital. the integrity of both the question and the commitment to asking with care– of the best possible measurement and evaluation– of doing all thats possible to avoid prejudice– simply wonderful stuff.

im happy with these other things we do with ideas. the imagination is absolutely marvelous in the way it can make leaps and hypotheses, i also think feelings are valuable. we have all these different things for weighing the world. science isnt the only one– but i sure wouldnt want to live in a world without it.

i do think of science as an ideal, just not an exclusive one. i do think it is vital, just not the only thing thats vital. but my absolute favourite thing about science is that it doesnt settle for an answer, ever. whatever you think the answer is– science doesnt care, it just keeps asking and checking, to keep itself honest. imagine if the world was like that, too– if “what if we are mistaken?” was the foremost question on everyones mind. granted, some people have no confidence at all, and im not wishing that on the world. i dont want everyone second-guessing everything 100% of the time, that would get very messy.

so its good to “settle” on an answer for the moment, even if sometimes we have to question all we know. not all at once, at least. but enough to have integrity– enough to make the answers mean something. people want to be right, but the real commitment is to checking if we really are, or if we simply thought so.

i also think that level of honesty is personal. no process is fully immune to personal bias, any more than there is a living human that is impervious to illness. anyone can say they have the most integrity of anyone on earth– the more confident they are, the higher the eyebrow can raise. of course, one person, somewhere, really is the #1 in integrity. statistically speaking, that person is out there, somewhere. i seriously wonder what theyre like.

the funny thing is, science almost goes against our personal nature– we assume, we presume, we guess and estimate and settle on very unreasonable things. but science doesnt happen without us, either. i mean, we have watched animals conduct experiments in nature. they clearly try things out, you can watch them reason– watch the kitten pawing at its reflection then walk behind the mirror to find the kitten on the other side. we have every good reason to think it is reasoning when it does that.

but insomuch as science is an action performed by people, processes we discover and we apply, that we go to the trouble to make part of what we do– its our personal commitment to it that makes the difference. the integrity that exists in science is ultimately integrity that comes from people. it wouldnt happen (with us at least) any other way. science is application; it doesnt happen on its own– and if science can “benefit” in any way at all, then it is a mutualistic relationship.