Through the Hacking Glass

It had been a long night of caffeine abuse on a Sun workstation, and another can of coke was empty... I pointed the mouse at an available shell window, and typed "cat > /dev/null" ... After pushing the can through the screen and into the window, I typed ^D. It was gone.

At this point, I realized that the glass had never been quite so permeable before. Wondering how the desktop would feel, I stuck my hand through the glass to find out.

The root grey background felt rough and bumpy, like screen you use to keep bugs out when you have windows open.

I inserted my fingers into a shell window and wiggled them around in the Unix. I noticed the warm, steady throbbing of the Unix virtual machine. I could feel a huge heap of Unix utilities, each with a unique bouquet of switches and knobs and frobs that makes it hard to pick up.

Most comforting of all was my nice, soft, fur lined Emacs. It fit like a glove. It's a glove that lets my hands do to files what superman's hands do to lumps to coal.

Next, I ran my fingers over the rough, jagged lines of the graphs in the system performance monitor window, pricking my finger on the sudden peak in CPU time brought about by my intrusion into this micro-world.

The unexpected pain caused a sudden context switch, and I abruptly found myself slumped in a chair, in front of a keyboard, with my face pressed up against a screen of solid glass. Wiping the nose prints off of the screen, I wondered if I had dozed off or something. According to the perfmon window, though, that was the most CPU intensive dream I'd ever had.