:the fyr place:

Python Journey - part 1

For decades, my main computer has been a Mac. Why?

Well, back when I was still in Jamaica, and building my own machines, I seemed to have zero luck with the machines I built. I now know that I probably undersizing the power supply. Back then, it was extremely frustrating to get a machine up and running only to have it die again within weeks. In those days, I was using Windows NT because the home and individual user versions (namely, XP) was severely incapable of supporting the kind of stuff I was doing. Windows NT freed me to tinker ... and tinker I did. In those days, getting a NIC or a graphics card to work with the other meant fussing with IRQs and the BIOS and whatnot. It was a pain in the ASS. It could take me hours to get a new install up and running acceptably and another day or so where I wasn't getting IRQ conflict messages. And when I would finally get it running, the power supply would just blow a fuse. I even caught a whiff of smoke once and the smell of burning electronics. A couple of times, the power supply going out took my hard drive with it as well because ... well ... hard drive have these arms that are poised precariously above the spinning disk and a sudden power failure could (and did) cause the "heads" to "crash" into the disk, rendering it totally useless.

Then a friend mentioned how plug-and-play the new Intel Macs were and I got a chance to play with one and I was sold. I've been using Macs as my main computer since the mid-2000s.

image of an old computer setup - crt monitor on top of a desktop PC, with a corded phone and dot matrix printer beside the clunky keyboard
Oh how I am dating myself here ...

The biggest thing about the Macs that I love is that they are built on top of a BSD like *nix which means I can do both a gui and a command line thing at the same time.

Well, now I have finally grown up a little and I really feel like it's time to ditch the Mac for good. I am far more comfortable on the command line that I have been in decades and most of the stuff I do these days is write some kind of code. And the Mac ... well ... it's a walled garden, as you all well know. Nothing works the way I expect it to - mostly because I have been working with Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS in the last few years. It's really difficult for me to understand how brew works (even thought it may seem REALLY simple) and it angers me that I even have to use brew.

And tonight was kind of the last straw because Mac has python 2 installed by default. (it might be a kind of 3 now ... I am still on Big Sur which is an update three or four times over). Really, what I should do is do a clean install of the Mac and try it all again. But I am a tinkerer and I now want a laptop that will emulate the Mac experience ... at a fraction of the cost.

Things are bad enough that I am eyeing a Chromebook to start off my transition journey.

But ... all this to say that tonight I had to:

brew uninstall python@3.7
brew uninstall python@3.8
brew uninstall python@3.9
brew reinstall python@3.10
curl https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py -o get-pip.py
python3 get-pip.py

... just so I could use the latest version of python without all the headache of figuring out which version was in use at the moment. On top of that, I have to

alias py="/usr/local/opt/python@3.10/bin/python3"

... in my $HOME/.profile to make sure that I am using the correct python version.

It's getting old.