378: Real Programmers
Title text: Real programmers set the universal constants at the start such that the universe evolves to contain the disk with the data they want.
This comic satirises the mythical Real Programmer. To quote Wikipedia, "the term Real Programmer is computer programmers' folklore to describe the archetypical "hardcore" programmer who eschews the modern languages and tools of the day in favour of more direct and efficient solutions". Gnu nano is a text editor - a program often used to edit the source code of other programs. Emacs, Vim and ed are all progressively more "hard core" editors. cat is a Unix program that concatenates and lists files. Things get steadily more ridiculous from here. Using a magnetised needle to flip bits on a hard drive requires nanometer-precision and binary mastery. The final character suggests the utterly surreal idea of using butterflies. Emacs is known for having a large number of add-ons to perform all sorts of functions beyond simple text editing. These commands are usually referred to by the key sequence required to activate them, such as "C-x M-c"(Control-x Meta/Esc/Alt-c, though this exact key sequence is a bit different from most Emacs commands and could be a joke or typo). The macro referenced is a pun on the play/movie titled "M. Butterfly". Later versions of Emacs actually added a "M-x butterfly" command as an Easter-egg youtube demo, screenr demo.
To cap this the title text suggests manipulating the universal constants to get the required data onto the disk.
- [A man sits at a computer, programming. Another man behind him looks over his shoulder.]
- Man: nano? REAL programmers use Emacs.
- [A dark haired woman appears behind him.]
- Woman: Hey. REAL programmers use Vim.
- [Another man appears behind her.]
- Man: Well, REAL programmers use ed.
- [Another man appears behind him.]
- Man: No, REAL programmers use cat.
- [A woman with a bun appears behind him.]
- Woman: REAL programmers use a magnetized needle and a steady hand.
- [A man enters, facing them all.]
- Man: Excuse me, but REAL programmers use butterflies.
- [Holding out a butterfly in front of the computer.]
- Man: They open their hands and let the delicate wings flap once.
- Man: The disturbances ripple outward, changing the flow of the Eddy currents in the upper atmosphere.
- [Diagrams of flowing currents.]
- These cause momentary pockets of higher-pressure air to form, ...
- Man: Which act as lenses that deflect incoming cosmic rays, focusing them to strike the drive platter and flip the desired bit.
- Emacs User: Nice. 'Course, there's an Emacs command to do that.
- Cat User: Oh yeah! Good ol' C-x M-c M-butterfly...
- [Butterfly man slaps forehead.]
- Butterfly man: Dammit, Emacs.