196: Command Line Fu

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Command Line Fu
When designing an interface, imagine that your program is all that stands between the user and hot, sweaty, tangled-bedsheets-fingertips-digging-into-the-back sex.
Title text: When designing an interface, imagine that your program is all that stands between the user and hot, sweaty, tangled-bedsheets-fingertips-digging-into-the-back sex.

[edit] Explanation

The Linux command line allows a user to make their computer do nearly anything. The only hitch is that the interface is entirely text-based, and reading through user manuals to find the commands that you need can take a very long time.

In this comic, Cueball recounts how he used a command line hack to solve a problem with his monitors turning off during a movie. However, in the time that he spends trying to solve the issue, the woman that he brought home had already left and his need for a movie to watch was gone.

The title text is the supposed moral to this story; if your user interface takes as long to operate as a command line, you may very well be denying your users the chance to get laid.

[edit] Transcript

[Two men talking.]
Cueball: Last night I was watching videos with this girl and my monitors kept turning off - even though I had disabled power save.
Friend: Odd.
Cueball: However! I wrote a command to jiggle the mouse pointer every couple minutes to keep it from going idle.
Friend: Not the first hack I'd try, but see? Linux has problems, but it gives you the tools to deal with them - and save your date!
Cueball: Actually, I was half an hour into the pointer scripting documentation when she got dressed and left.
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Discussion

Disagree with the "in the time that he spends trying to solve the issue" bit. Problem solved, it was the further time taken to write up the documentation (man pages?) that ruined the day(/night).

Also: "if your user interface takes as long to operate as a command line". Inconsistent with the fact that the explanation starts off by assuming it is a command-line script. Also command-lines can be very quick (when not dealing with anything more complex than the stated problem) as long as you know what you want to do, which the given Cueball obviously did. I find that most window-based analogues take far more studying, for something as simple as the original problem. But YMMV on that one. 178.98.31.27 00:45, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Sounds more like Cueball was still reading the documentation on HOW to script the pointer at the half hour mark. In other words, he was still researching what to do (not solved the problem yet) when she left. We don't know how long it took to actually solve the problem. 67.110.158.162 19:04, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

The actual problem in the strip doesn't require the hack suggested to solve. Instead you can simply use the xset command to disable DPMS and the screensaver: xset -dpms s reset

P.S. I didn't waste time figuring that out because of the strip, I discovered it out of necessity when building a display cluster. --Lokno (talk) 20:04, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
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