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I am through yet another major computer reinstall. Yet again i am uninstalling and reinstalling everything, from the IM to the OS itself. If you put into account that i have a veritable love for tinkering and usually have at least two OSs on and lots of unused programs, you’ll see that this is a lot of trouble.

And what i’m realizing now is that most of it is just bit-scrubbing. Granted, there is a lot of simply erasing stuff (like transfering the por… er… mp3 collection to convenient DVD storage), but the real pain is making things that already are there on your HD more streamlined.

And it seems normal, but in six months you’ll be “streamlining” again exactly the same things that you already did now and countless times before. The same untenable questions (which size should i make my partitions? the linux part should come before or after the win part? And should i have a partition for program installation so that windows stays quiet all alone by itself — since it is always happier this way? and so on) same questions presenting themselves all over again. And you are doing almost the same thing, with just that little subtle difference in the balance of it.

What comes?

I’ve came up with the idea that it is bit-scrubbing. Like exercise for the sequences of 0s and 1s that reside deep within the HD. Sounds strange but i guess it is what it is.

Obviously i do it more than average-Joe-guy, for i am geek to an extreme, and stuff. But keep in mind that bits can scrub themselves.

For example, most linux filesystems have reasonably effective procedures to de-fragment themselves on the go, during normal usage. On the same vein, XP’s prefetching mechanism usually makes things smoother in day-to-day usage.

Granted, some hate the preefetch for the enhanced boot time. All-too-commonly programs meant to be smart are only programs that you can’t bring to do what you want them to. As the wvdial man page says: “Intelligent” programs are frustrating when they don’t work right. But let me strengthen this by saying that a bad-behaving intelligent program is ten times as much of a problem as an “dumb” program causing trouble.

What is the limit between a convenient auto-scrubbing and the too-smart-equals-dumb effect?

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