2020-09-18 Programming

I just had an interesting conversation with @alpine_thistle and @polyphonic regarding the Raspberry Pi and how it wasn’t as useful as some people claimed it would be. If somebody tells you, “you can do anything with it” – then that simply isn’t true. It’s hard to do anything with it. Sure, you can use it as a small computer. But if you want to do a project, you’ll soon find out that you need a plethora of skills and tools.

To be honest, I used my Raspberrry Pi as a small computer for a bit – as a mail server – and as soon as I knew that I wanted to discontinue the mail server I had no idea what to do with the thing. Something about pins and motors and a mechanical tentacle that can grab stuff was an idea I had. I did not know where to start. It seemed like such a huge problem. In the end, I gave it away. The recipient hasn’t done much with it, either, I think.

I guess that’s why I’m a programmer still: when things get physical, I just don’t have the skill. I blame it on one or two miserable model plane experiences as a kid. Nobody helped me out, it was just taking forever and looking bad, so I decided all of this stuff was not for me. And then when you’re no longer ten, it’s hard to change… that’s been my experience, in any case.

Sometimes I fear it’s the projects-within-projects aspect mentioned above: when programming leaves the computer, the gap is so damn wide that programmers like me never attempt it and non-programmers wonder why the programmed stuff never meets their real world expectations. I think that’s why the Raspberry Pi got popular: at last, here was something where at least a very small number of people could affect the real world! It’s just that for most people, the promise remains unfulfilled.

We also talked about maker culture. What I find annoying is the reinvention of hobbies as ‘making’, with conferences to attend, magazines to buy, a new target audience for ads… the invention of a new market, basically. And all the people knitting, cooking, baking, wood working, gardening are scratching their heads… Are we bread makers, now? Clothes makers? I guess not because where as we have the spirit, the independence, the culture, the tools, the traditions, we simply don’t belong into the target audience for the ads. Which is fine! I don’t want to go to a maker fair, and I won’t be buying a 3D printer anytime soon.

Perhaps I’m simply envious because I think I don’t have the time to expand my life into yet another direction.

I guess I’m with @Sandra when she says:

My life needs focus. So I’ve decided to focus on everything except physical. That’s why I’m an artist writer musician DM programmer designer teacher philosopher psychonaut prophet poet aesthete semiotician. Because I decided to set a humble and limited goal instead of trying to do everything, such as soldering and 3d printing and such.

It made me laugh. 😁


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