Monday, December 12, 2011

Learned Something Tonight

I had just downloaded a statement from my bank, and it had the useless extension .asp on it, which I changed to .pdf since the bank said it was a PDF. Wanting a quicker way to verify that it was indeed a PDF than loading it into a document viewer, I pointed emacs at it. Instead of displaying a screen that starts with something like


which is what the file indeed did start with, it complained that it couldn't render the file and asked if I wanted to view text extracted from it. The extracted text didn't include the first line, so I was at square zero. It only took a moment to get around this new emacs "feature," now a default in emacs23 which is the Mint 12/Ubuntu 11.10 default emacs version, but, in the interest of saving time in the future, I decided to disable the feature, docview-mode.

But that's not what this entry is about. While searching for a solution, Duck Duck Go led me to The Universe of Discourse, which is apparently not where I live, and the following description of my life:
Yesterday I upgraded Emacs, and since it was an upgrade, something that had been working for me for fifteen years stopped working, because that's what "upgrade" means.

I've been in this field for over 3 decades, and even though I am fully aware that backward compatibility is often not a consideration, I have not yet internalized the fact that upgrades necessarily lead to broken systems. However, this is consistent with my recent experiences, especially with Ubuntu and Gnome.

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