By Ev Bogue - December 19th 2014
Today is Friday and...
Friday is now reinstalls day.
I know what you're thinking. GROAN. Not today. But yes, today is reinstalls day. You gotta back up your computer, download a Linux ISO, boot off your USB stick and wipe your computer's harddrive.
It's time to start over from scratch. It's time to try something new. Or at least install Arch Linux and build up from scratch again, so you can get rid of all of those programs you never use anymore. All of the bloat has to go.
Now I don't care how you backup your computer. I don't care what Linux distribution you choose. I don't care if you want to reinstall Windows or Mac OS X. But you must reinstall today, because it's Friday.
Why Friday? Because if something goes wrong, you have the whole weekend to figure it out!
Email me on Monday and let me know how reinstalls day went for you.
Now, I know some of you are going to whine, bitch, and complain about this day. That's only because your computer has never seen the light of a reinstall since the day you bought the damn thing. Your computer is miserable. It's full of crap you never use. If it had a soul, it'd hate you, because you never give it an opportunity to reinvent itself.
That's why you're opting into reinstalls day, because you want your computer to have the best experience, so you can have the best experience, and the only way to have the best experience is to reinstall your computer every weekend until you can do it in five minutes in your sleep.
Once you reinstall your computer, you're welcome to do anything with it. Install a window manager. Get a terminal emulator. You can even install LibreOffice, if you must write into a GUI. Perhaps you'll want a web browser. You may even restore some of that data you had on your previous install to this new one, but only the data you need... right?
Reinstalls day is an opportunity for a blank slate. It's an opportunity to start over. It's an opportunity to make mistakes and learn something about your machine!
I can't think of anything better for your own digital mental health than reinstalls day. Especially if you've never reinstalled your computer before.
I know some of you guys out there are loaded, so you might even consider getting another computer. Then you can alternate reinstall days every other week. You can sit at your desk with two computers in front of you, instead of one! Then you'll feel even more important than you already do. Computers these days are so cheap. Why not have two or three or five of them? I've seen computers that are cheaper than mobile phone! How insane is that. You can get a full-fledged computer, instead of a poopy-thumbing dumb computer, for half the price and no contract. Brilliant. Go out and buy another computer today, while you feel inspired.
Then you can use reinstall day to wipe that horrible Windows 8 OS thing that takes twenty-five minutes to start up off your machine and instead install a slick lean version of Linux that takes three seconds to start because you're using systemd and it fires up all of your processes at the same time!
Or maybe you'll just keep operating your machine the same way you always have. Your desktop will remain full of icons. You'll quickly launch Internet Explorer (oh my cyborg jesus!) and get away from all of those icons on your desktop. Instead you're going to your inbox, which is full of 5000 messages that you've never replied to, or you're not sure if you repied to or not. You're in the cloud! Safely away from your unmanageable computer, and safe in the hands of people who have your best interests in mind, like those un-evil dudes at Google who LOVE-YOU-PLEASE-DONT-USE-YOUR-COMPUTER-USE-US-OR-ELSE.
Or maybe you're looking at a terminal screen right now, browsing my website using w3m. If so, great. It's reinstalls day, reinstall your machine. If you're a pro, I want you to show me how fast you can get w3m installed again and visit my website again.
Because Fridays is reinstall day. That way, if you mess everything up, you have the entire weekend to figure out what you messed up.
Perhaps what you should do first is go load up on a handful of USB sticks. You're going to need them. Get one 4gb one, and see if you can back up all of your most important shit on there instead of a 500TB hard-drive. Storage might be cheap, but navigation is expensive. And get another 4gb one to use to boot Ubuntu, just in case something goes wrong with your more ambitious Arch Linux install. USB sticks are so cheap these days, there's no reason why you can't have five or ten of them swimming in a drawer somewhere. Just don't put them in your fishtank.
Don't forget to back up your Bitcoin private keys, your GnuPG private key, and any other private keys that might be sitting in your .config user folder. You don't want to lose all of that valuable Bitmoney you're hoarding. You also don't want to have to email everyone in your Gitodex and apologize for losing your GPG private key.
Write your wifi-password down on a piece of paper, so you know it when you fire up your new install.
Go out, get a new computer, or at least some usb sticks. Pick up of Reese Peanut Butter Cups on your way back. Sit your ass down. Back up all of that crap on your computer that no one cares about but you. If you don't want to keep your Bitcoins, just send them to me, I'll keep them for you until they are liquid enough to buy beer with. dd your new Linux ISO onto a USB stick and reboot. Don't forget to turn off secure boot if you're using Arch Linux. And then get the process on the road! It's reinstall day. Who needs to go out and party when you have a party in your laptop? Lock yourself in and get something useful done.