Rules for computing happiness

This, and several other recent and forthcoming blog posts, have been lying in the drafts folder of my blog writing software (MarsEdit) for a while (some for more than 4 years…). I am currently going through the drafts one by one, deleting most of them, but also posting a few. Here is one I started writing back in 2009:

Alex Payne has published a list of rules for computing happiness. I don’t agree with all of them, but many of them resonate with my own thoughts. Here is a condensed list, based on the things I find most important:

  • Use as little software as possible.
  • Use software that does one thing well, do not use software that does many things poorly.
  • Do not use software that must sync over the internet to function.
  • Use a plain text editor that you know well.  Not a word processor, a plain text editor.
  • Do not use software that’s unmaintained.
  • Pay for software that’s worth paying for, but only after evaluating it for no less than two weeks.
  • Keep as much as possible in plain text. Not Word or Pages documents, plain text.
  • For tasks that plain text doesn’t fit, store documents in an open standard file format if possible.

Particularly the last ones, about using plain text files rather than a bunch of proprietary formats, is something I have been more concerned about recently.

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.