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filling the void

Friday, December 08, 2006


I'm a computer scientist. (Ok, so I might be bolstering my self-image here a bit by calling me a scientist, but hey, it's my field at least). I've have different laptops at different times. Some good, some crappy hand-me-downs, but for some reason, I've never felt completely at ease using a laptop. There's always been something wrong. Something slightly inadequate.

I was sitting around in the cafeteria yesterday with a classmate of mine. We were preparing some things for a class, and I noticed that almost everybody in the cafeteria was using laptops.
We were in the Electrical Engineering building, and I remarked to him the fact that there seemed to be more engineers with laptops than computer scientists with laptops. Then he says something incredibly insightful that has never even crossed my mind before. I've always felt that; if everybody else can use a laptop, why can't I? He said that; of course there are more engineers with laptops than computer scientists. Engineers use computers as tools, computer scientists work WITH computers. Thus, such a limited device as a laptop could never be sufficient for a computer scientist. Everything just fell in to place. Of course, this is how it must be. I could probably have a laptop as well, but not instead of my real computer. (Had I had the financial means, of course. Students are poor people, we don't do double computers...)
It's all about levels of abstraction. How far away is the thing you are working on from the thing you are working with.
In the case of a computer scientist, "with" and "on" are often times the same thing.

Life would oftentimes be much simpler if you could just fit all your belongings into a large backpack, so you could just uproot yourself, take your stuff, and leave any time you want to.
This is good for moving, but I think it would make living someplace a little hollow.
Maybe it's just because I've moved around so goddamn much these last years, and that each place I've lived at recently has been a temporary place. I'd like, for once, to move somewhere and say to myself: "I have NO idea when I'm moving out of here, and I like it!".

One can dream, can't one...

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