The side-effects of being tech-savvy

As someone who is primarily recognised as the “tech guy” by his classmates, teachers and friends, you would think that I have some level of competency at actually maintaining a computer or phone such that they are always at least at a functional state. This is a complete and utter lie. What most people don’t realise is whatever knowledge we ’technical’ people have, we achieved it by a series of trying and testing. I can’t talk for others here, but my success to failure ratio in such experiments is alarmingly low. But not only are such fails a learning opportunity, they are what make my tinkering and technical endeavours fun.

But they come with their own issues. Case in point: a few days ago I flashed a custom Android ROM on my phone (Realme C2, the ROM was BlissRom 12 GSI) in an attempt to remove Google junk I did not want on my phone. Instead I went with MicroG and a few other FOSS apps. However today I needed Google Meet as there was some work going on in the room where my PC is, which is what I use for online classes. I managed to get it installed through Aurora Store, but it simply wouldn’t run. My guess is that MicroG doesn’t emulate some API or something which Google Play Services does. But I can’t go and tell my teacher I couldn’t join the class because of incomplete Play Services implementation by MicroG GSF, can I? I’d have to resort to the ever-present “technical glitch”, the savior of both the techno-savvy and the lazy.

[Update from 2023: The phone’s touchscreen got completely warped a few weeks after this article’s publishing as the custom ROM didn’t handle power supply well and some component overheated.]

Similarly, it seems there is some flag which needs to be enabled while compiling Chromium (the browser I used for school work) to enable screen presenting in Google Meet. Debian turns it off in their builds. Even though it was Computer Science class, I highly doubt the teacher would have considered this a valid excuse.

Nor do I have high hopes for my reasons for my camera not working (my camera’s output format isn’t supported, or sometimes, the v4l2loopback-dkms kernel module isn’t loaded), mic not audible (PulseAusio sucks), screen not presentable (Wayland used to suck, but it doesn’t anymore, but Debian doesn’t have the latest version due to the feature freeze), unable to open OOXML (docx/pptx/xlsx) files (they are closed, proprietary, obfuscated “standards” which keep changing, are developed by an evil company, and were standardized even though there was already a standard for the same purpose because the company gave bribes.)

This brings me to the concluding statement, which sounds like an actual famous quote if you remove technology in both occurences.

“Curiosity in technology does not go hand in hand with efficiency in technology.”

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