Title: Daily Driver

Published: 2020-05-13 13:04

Author: Rev. Fr. Robert Bower

Tag: terminal

layout: blog


I wanted to write about the computer I use in my office day to day. It is Dell Optiplex 780 with a Core 2 Duo processor, 8 GB of ram, and a 1 TB hard drive. I bought the computer used from Dell after it came off lease. The computer was originally put into service in June of 2010. The only changes I have done to the computer is replacing the 160 GB hard drive with a 1 TB drive and upgrading the memory to 8 GB.

I use this machine every day. It is my daily driver. I have no real plans to replace it unless I find a deal I can't pass up. The machine works great and is very responsive.

How can I get by with a computer this old? My daily workflow is terminal based. Mutt for mail, khal for calendar, todoman for tasks, khard for contacts, newsboat for RSS, mpv for video, mpd for music, and vim for editing.

Do I use terminal based programs because they save an old computer from the trash heap. The answer is no. I find that terminal programs can increase my productivity. I am faster in Vim than in LibreOffice, I am faster on the command line than many graphical file utilities. It is quicker to have Newsboat download my daily reading, viewing, and listening than surf the net with a graphical browser.

Does this mean I do not use graphical programs? No, the web is a graphical place so yes I use a graphical browser when I am surfing looking for something, I use LibreOffice when I am doing a complicated spreadsheet, and I use GNUcash for my bookkeeping. I am saying terminal programs when appropriate can increase the speed at which you can work.

Is there more of a learning curve? Sometimes, but not always. Graphical programs have a steep learning curve if we actually learn the program. Graphical programs do have one sweet spot. If you don't really know anything about the program and just want to do the absolute rudimentary things in the program you can do that out of the box. The problem is often we a content with that and never go beyond that. To actually to be proficient in a program that takes study whether it be terminal based or graphically based.

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