Like a lot of nerds in advance of me, I used a goodly portion of my everyday living hunting for the best computing technique. I preferred a single tool that would let me generate prose or courses, that could lookup every electronic mail, tweet, or doc in a several keystrokes, and that would do the job throughout all my equipment. I yearned to summit the mythic Mt. Augment, to obtain the enlightenment of a effectively orchestrated particular computer. Exactly where the software program market provided notifications, minimal clicks and dings, messages jumping up and down on my display screen like a doggy begging for a deal with, I wanted quiet textuality. In search of it, I tweaked. I configured.
The objective of configuration is to make a point perform with some other thing—to make the to-do list perform with the email consumer, say, or the calendar function with the other calendar. It is an interdisciplinary research. Configuration can be as complicated as programming or as easy as checking a box. Anyone talks about it, but it is not taken that critically, due to the fact there’s not a lot earnings in it. And unfortunately, configuration is indistinguishable from procrastination. A tiny is high-quality but as well considerably is embarrassing.
I used almost a few a long time configuring my textual content editor, amassing 20 or so dotfiles that would make one particular acronym or nonsense phrase concordant with a different. (For me: i3wm + emacs + org-manner + notmuch + tmux, bound with each other with ssh + git + Syncthing + Tailscale.) I’d begin down a route, but then there’d be some blocker—some bug I didn’t understand, some web site of problems I did not have time to deal with—and I would give up.
A large challenge I had was exactly where to place my things. I attempted distinct databases, folder buildings, private internet sites, cloud drives, and desktop research resources. The key, lastly, was to change nearly almost everything in my lifestyle into emails. All my calendar entries, essay drafts, tweets—I wrote applications that turned them into gigs and gigs of e-mails. Emails are horrible, messy, swollen, decrepit types of info, but they are comprehended by almost everything all over the place. You can lard them with attachments. You can tag them. You can incorporate any amount of money of metadata to them and synchronize them with servers. They suck, but they perform. No greater praise.
It took years to get all these email messages into place, tag them, filter them just so. Very little by minor I could see additional of the condition of my individual data. And as I did this, software program obtained much better and computer systems got more rapidly. Not only that, other people commenced sharing their config documents on GitHub.
Then, 1 chilly day—January 31, 2022—something weird occurred. I was at household, creating a very little glue function to make my email messages searchable from anywhere inside of my text editor. I evaluated that very small method and ran it. It labored. Someplace in my brain, I felt a distinct click on. I was accomplished. No for a longer time configuring, but configured. The world experienced conspired to give me what I preferred. I stood up from the personal computer, suffused with a type of European-classical-composer degree of emotion, and went for a wander. Was this pleasure? Freedom? Or would I discover myself back again tomorrow, with a full new established of prerequisites?