After an Debian upgrade went horribly wrong and choked my laptop, I used a command-line only version to restore the operating system. This led to a weekend of learning just how much "normal" computer usage I could get from a command-line only system. I quickly discovered that short of spreadsheets and high-end word processing, I could do just about everything I normally did on a day-to-day basis from the command line. In the end I did reinstall a graphical desktop because I needed to be able to use LibreOffice. But those couple of days inspired me to try putting an entire command-line only system on a USB drive for further experimentation. Here are the results:
This is a collection of blog posts I wrote on how to be a digital renaissance man (or woman), which includes topics such as how to keep a commonplace book, why you should write poetry and learn a foreign language, and how to make an erasable writing tablet.
Several years back, I got interested in the concept of "thrift" in the Victorian sense. I read Samuel Smiles' book on the power of saving money, "Thrift" and did some further research, which led to a 17th-century pamphlet by the writer Henry Peacham called "The Worth of a Penny or a Caution to Keep Money." In it, Peacham describes ways of losing money, saving money, making money, gives the history of the word "penny," and even lists what a penny would buy in the 1640s. I went to the Library of Congress and managed to get a photocopy of the pamphlet, which I transcribed. I had a vague notion of doing something with it "someday." And there it sat on my hard drive until 2016, when I posted it online.One of the interesting things about Peacham's pamphlet is the use of the phrase, "penny wise, pound foolish." "The Worth of a Penny" remained popular well into the 18th century, making it quite possible that a young printer with an interest in thrift by the name of Benjamin Franklin read Peacham's work. Speaking of the poems he used in the 1747 Poor Richard's Almanac, Franklin said "I need not tell thee that many of them are not of my own making." Could the same be true of Franklin's now-famous maxim, which also appeared in that 1747 almanac?
© 2020 Andrew Gudgel