New Skill Acquired


I finally understand a couple ubiquitous things in nerd culture, computer nerd culture in particular; their sharing and discussion of dotfiles and bash scripts has become a topic of great interest to me. Granted, my experience has been with a modified linux environment running on an Android app, but it still relies exclusively on operating via a command line. There are ways to run a x11 GUI, but everything starts and ends at the CLI.

The topic of cultivating, sharing, and storing for reuse of dotfiles had no weight of importance for me until semi-recently. I first started actively using and relying on Linux as my one and only OS in the winter of 2018. My boyfriend at the time was like me, a tweaker conspiracy nut, and had a serious “privacy in the digital age” fascination bordering on obsession. By this time, my PC had gone down, and Windows 10 on my laptop was only frustrating me. Jay helped me wipe my harddive and install Mint Linux on it. I used it lightly, meaning I didn’t delve too deeply into customizing or exploring options for it, and just stuck to the GUI and programs that came with one. Later on, for various reasons, I wanted to have a running Linux distro on my phone and tried various methods I came across online to get a working distro as a boot option for my old ZTE. Rooting didn’t work for me. In fact, I seemingly bricked my phone and created a panic like I’ve never given myself before. Once the phone was back to working order (bootloader locked), I came across an article detailing the virtues of running Termux as a linux environment inside Android. The only “downside” was it was command line driven.

I’ve always been nerdy and geeky, but my main interests have always been SciFi books and movies and music. I dabble in coding, have built my own PC multiple times, and know more about computers than the average monkey, but I would never claim to be fully knowledgeable in computer science and related fields. But I am geeky enough to know how to research (thanks B.A. in History!) things and I enjoy solving new puzzles and systems. So the command line presented a new problem to attack and solve. Termux came with bash as the default shell and minimal instructions on how to proceed from there. I dabbled in bash for a minute until my searches turned me onto ZSH. ZSH has some nice handy features, but they’re not enabled from the get-go and require some configuration and modification of it’s RC files. This in turn led me to searching through github and google for other people’s configurations and use of these files.

Then, the ultimate tragedy struck. I had to switch phones and couldn’t access my old dotfiles that were on my phone due to a cracked screen. I had to start over from square one. The importance of version control and backing up of my dotfiles finally struck home. Thankfully, I sorta remembered the sources I used prior to this, and got most of the functionality I was used to up and running.It also gave me the chance to stop using the OMZ framework and start using a little more DIY approach to managing my ZSH shell and the functions I use on the regular. I’ve learned and use the order that ZSH loads it’s files and have, to the best of my ability, kept things separate and where they need to be.

The other area of growth has been in shell scripts. One of the processes I found myself doing over and over again was copying the url to a file or site that I wished to download/mirror and going into Termux and pasting it into a line using wget. One day, I noticed that Termux was on the menu of apps that could be shared to and out of curiosity I passed the URL of a raw file from github to it. A popup came stating that I needed a script with the path ~/bin/termux-url-opener in order to deal with info passed to Termux. Thus began my researching of building shell scripts and dealing with variables passed to the script. My first script is highly personalized to my needs and uses case switching to determine the url being passed to it. Once the url is determined, various means of downloading are implemented. If the url is youtube, youtube-dl is used. If the url is github, wget is used. The script is clunky and very amateur, but it serves its purpose and has lit the fire of “what else can i script” in my brain. I have a list growing of various processes and functions that I would like to automate.

I am becoming more of a Computer Nerd every single day. I like this growth.