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Stupid is as stupid does and I've done plenty of stupid

© January 2009 Anthony Lawrence

A few of the comments here and at that LinuxToday post have questioned my competence and made fun of my selling an ebook on Linux and Unix troubleshooting. Here's a typical sample:

I found it highly amusing that at the top of these articles you are trying to sell "ebooks" about "how to solve the tough problems on Linux and Unix systems." A person who doesn't know you (and I don't) might be forgiven for thinking he would be paying for help from a newbie.

I have to smile a little myself. I've said more than a few times that I don't consider myself "expert" on anything, that at best I'm willing to call myself "competent" and I've also frequently noted that I (like most of us) can be bone numbingly stupid every now and then.

Oh, I can point at some bona-fides. For example, I took the Solaris Enterprise Certification exams back when they included a nasty section on kernel internals. It took me two tries to pass that section of the tests, but apparently that was more than most of my peers could manage: right after I passed all the tests Sun dropped that one as a requirement, explaining that too many people were unable to pass it. I felt pretty brilliant then, I'll tell you!

The SCO certs that I took around the same time were a breeze compared to the Sun exams. But SCO is (deservedly) just about belly up now, so who cares?

Besides, I've had so many opportunities since then to show that my brain can misconstrue, befuddle and just stubbornly refuse to comprehend a lot of things that later turned out to be pretty trivial. If I weren't such a thick skinned, arrogant ass that alleged brain of mine could really embarrass me sometimes..

Even before Forrest Gump, it's always been my feeling that stupid is as stupid does, and I've done plenty of it. Haven't we all? I mean everybody else, of course - not YOU.

But that's why I write this stuff. I write it for all the "stupid" people whose brains sometimes refuse to cooperate or are busy concentrating on other things. I write to be helpful, and that's also why I wrote that ebook - and in my opinion, it really will help "solve tough problems on Linux and Unix systems".

So.. so what? I don't know - I just felt that I had to respond and defend myself - sort of, anyway.

I just left a long comment at LT:

> After reading this article and its follow-up, posting a response on the second article which he quickly replied to, I can only come to the conlcusion that this guy is tone deaf. He has no idea how he sounds.

Sure I do: brusque, opinionated..

You misread what I wrote. It's easy for me to blame you for your poor reading skills and equally easy for you to blame me for my writing.

I'm not at all tone deaf. I'm perfectly willing to have an intelligent conversation about all this. If we're going to do that, we need to have back and forth so that we understand each other - to get by your poor reading and my poor writing.

Contrary to your suggestion, I never said that I considered any of these things to be "tough problems". I simply assert that Joe Average could easily be frustrated by them. I simply think that Linux needs to be better if it's going to win the desktop as I want it to.

Do you know that it embarrasses me to use OS X? If you were a regular reader at my site, you would know that. And no, I'm not asking you to become a regular reader: I'm just explaining why I hate it when something I write gets picked up by LT or whatever and a giant flock of people come rushing in, make snap judgments and then leave, never to be seen again.

To you, that's one stupid article at an obscure website you know nothing about and don't want to know anything about. To me and the other authors and readers there, it's a small part of an ongoing conversation about a lot of mostly Unixish stuff.

It's easy enough for you and others to trash me and when taken out of context like this, I can't really blame you. But that's again why I'd prefer a conversation rather than drive-by shootings.

It takes them a looong time to moderate comments.. or at least so it seems to me... so it may not be visible yet.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> Stupid is as stupid does and I've done plenty of stupid


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take control of Apple TV, Second Edition

Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal, Second Edition

El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Preview

Take Control of High Sierra

More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Fri Jan 2 15:54:32 2009: 5046   BrettLegree

Me do stupid stuff? :)

Well, it does say "fail early, fail often" on my blog... so I guess you know the answer!

Fri Jan 2 16:05:46 2009: 5047   TonyLawrence

Well, I already knew you were stupid. Why else would you be reading at this site?

You can almost guarantee that if I left it at that and one of the LT swarm got this far (they won't) they'd go back to LT and write something about me insulting my regular readers, so..

$ banner ":-)"

At the other post, one of 'em said "If you would adopt a more serious tone it might be easier to take you seriously. As it is you come across as whiny and incompetent."

Me? Adopt a more serious tone? I don't think so.. at least not for long. Life is too damn funny for that. I dunno where he got "whiny" from but I sure do object to "incompetent".

Stupid? Sure. Ignorant, opinionated, arrogant, misinformed, careless? OK. But "incompetent"? Man, that just stings..

$ banner ":-)"

again cuz, well, you just never know, right? *Some* people lack a humor gene..

Fri Jan 2 16:12:21 2009: 5048   BrettLegree

LOL guilty as charged!

And I hear you about being serious, what's the fun in that? If I'm not laughing every 30 seconds I know something's wrong...

Mon Jan 5 08:34:13 2009: 5084   DouglasReay

The current approach is: pick a package and it will tell you what dependencies you need to install to get it to work.

It would be nice if the reverse approach was available.

If you could say "here is what I have installed, I want a clip board application rated at least two star for usability, find me the one that is most compatible - ie that will require me to install the fewest additional dependencies"

If packages came with something like Apache Ant xml build files (which many do), and these were kept on a central (or decentralised) searchable site, that would be a good first step.

Mon Jan 5 11:48:05 2009: 5086   TonyLawrence

Good point - I hadn't thought of it that way.


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