tombh profile image Thomas Buckley-Houston ・2 min read

Perhaps you're like me and spend most of your waking life with your computer. So when things change in your computer world they can be a big thing.

About a year ago, my screen broke in the Himalayas. Because I'm nomadic and have a relatively rare laptop (Dell XPS 13 QHD+) I've had to use a surrogate screen, either my phone (I wrote a detailed geeky post about that at the time) or more recently a dirt cheap laptop to act as a SSH/VNC client.

Then in the last 6 months I've had a job that I increasingly became frustrated with. I could write a whole post about it, but I think the issues are just all too common to stir much motivation for exploring it through prose. All I will say for now is that I believe the human existential condition is a fundamental quantity requiring balancing in the algebra of computer science.

Last week I was in Singapore. I replaced my screen and quit my job.

Suddenly my thoughts are flooded with new ideas. I'd learn a whole new environment in the limitations of SSH and VNC. I now only use a terminal (Alacritty), Tmux and a browser (Firefox nightly), albeit wrapped up in the i3 WM, but it could be any WM really. But now using this setup through a crisp and colourful 4k screen is glorius. That environment precipitated the need to hack Neovim and in turn Tmux and ZSH to support conventional key mappings such as CTRL+C/V copy/pasting. I've in fact refactored the Neovim keymappings into an entire plugin that almost entirely negates the need for NORMAL mode. I hope to do the refactoring for Tmux and ZSH as well soon.

As for ending my job, I'm now inspired again to complete my book (about meditation, though I'm starting to form ideas for a software book too), continue the computationally intensive task of calculating the largest viewshed in the world and improving my project to fully render Firefox over TTY.

And I can do all these things on my new beautiful screen. Happy days indeed :)

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Thomas Buckley-Houston


I reluctantly got into programming, my first love is meditation and my degree is in Religious Studies. But things lke open source, Linux, Ruby and digital nomading certainly make it all worth it.


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Awesome, dude. New steps in life have always been a big breath of fresh air for me. And there's little that comes close to that. Well, maybe staring at a computer screen. ;)

Also, I think people on dev.to would love your blog post about your screen breaking.