About Mike Levin & His Bag of Tricks

I’m 51 years old but still feel pretty much like I did when I was 15. Everything always seems so new and interesting. I was so sorry I missed the rise of tech via Unix in my backyard. But I came in through the side-entrance, The Amiga Computer from Commodore. There were enough similarities so that my story to you today gets interesting.

Maybe Far Away, or Maybe at 1200 Wilson Dr, West Chester, PA 19380

I loved the Amiga, worked for Commodore, blah, blah now I Linux, Python, vim & git now today because the Amiga, I don’t know exactly how, but maybe a similar “tool vibe” is being evoked. It’s good ‘nuff. It’s love-worthy. I’m beginning to think more and more that bringing that particular line-up to the masses with the who, what, why, where where and how was my bally-wick.

Once an SEO, Always a Data Engineer

To that end, I’ve adjusted my career to validate this concept. I’ve really gone from SEO to a sort of Data Engineer, both ad hoc requests to regular scheduled events, usually to pull data somewhere and produce a report for someone to be delivered (or made interactive) somehow. That’s the field. Every company needs it desperately. Generic tech resource jockeys equally comfortable with Jupyter Notebooks or service.py files… that’s my promise.

Linux, Python, vim & git Are The Key To Your Puzzle

It may not sound like much to you with that description. But trust me, this boring *nix-plus-python, vim & git stuff is the key to just about any kingdom, unlocking and making useful a company’s data so that decision-makers can make better decisions. It’s not quite WebDev, but I would argue better-than. It’s the tricky, normally inaccessible to the non-technically-inclined, which should be no one in my opinion, as this stuff should be viewed as just plain literacy. It may not be the best tech invented, but it abides by the 80/20-rule sufficiently that even an old Amiga-freak can find it love-worthy.

It Never Gets Old… But You Do.

Don’t waste your time re-learning things that take large investments of muscle-memory, such as menu locations and keyboard shortcuts, if whatever you’re using is just going away soon, anyway. Seek out new methods and ways of organizing your work so instead of relearning all the time, you’re only always just getting better. This is my message. Getting that word out and helping it lead into other topics of interest to which this may open the door, is my Ikigai. I’m finally getting around to switching form “explore” to “exploit” at 51 years old. I’m just getting started here online.

Walk The Walk If You Want To Talk The Talk

I will continue doing my day-job because it is a validation of everything I’m talking about and is better than YouTube’ing as a career. I am not at the whims of the Google Algorithms. The best tool for SEO (my field) is Python. The best way to today develop Python scripts for SEO is JupyterLab-Desktop. The best way to take the next phase of growth is the ability to clean up, parameterize and automate such scripts. Gain this ability and prosper. Ignore my words at your own peril.

Magic Tricks Lead To Linux Tricks

All that aside, my big claim to fame these days is the old removable finger (mistaken as the removable thumb trick because people don’t listen) hand magic trick that somehow went viral on YouTube. I used to be on the top of SEO results for “python advantages”, “tiny linux”, “mike levin” and a whole host of other things that were easier back then. Things change and things get competitive. You have to have a lot of irons in the fire as an SEO for one to always pay off and you stay relevant. My magic trick still drives traffic more than any of my other irons, so I use that as the mouth of the acquisition funnel. Magic-seekers are a good target audience for my *nix message. It even sounds magical.

Sharing What I Learn Because That’s The Best Way To Learn

I’m learning new tricks every day and am making my Ikigai to teach whoever might be interested. You need not resonate like me, but I do need to continue reaching out to those like me who do. If I’m for you, then you’re for me.

Life’s a game and everything is tricks

I mean to share every last of these tricks with you. That’s not to say “cheating at life”, but instead actually focusing on only very best tricks like the vim text editor—which actually takes years of practice to master; but small payoffs can be quick nonetheless. In such a way I propose replacing certain of your dopamine-inducing addictions such as video gaming with stuff that will feed that very same hunger but endlessly serve you well for life. I’m gonna give you mad hacking skillz like you see in the movies, yo.

Gain The Ability To Earn More Than Your Parents (In Months)

I short, I propose giving 12 to 15 year-olds a better for-life earning capacity than college graduates or even your parents. It’s all tricks. It’s all legal. It’s all fun. And best of all, we’re going to start with genuine magic tricks as I introduce you to my favorite friend. Her name is Miss Direction, and she’s taught me a lot.

Linux Is The Brilliant “Unix Way” Brought To The Masses

Linux is a computer operating system based on one of the greatest inventions of all humankind, called Unix, invented in 1970. Unix is generally attributed to be an invention of the amazingly still alive and doing productive work Ken Thompson, but really it was the synthesis of lots of great work. Linux is a re-implementation of Unix that became popular with the dawn of the Web because Linux was cheaper and easier. And today Microsoft makes Linux dirt-simple to get running on a Windows 11 machine, and only just a little harder on a Windows 10 machine. There’s no excuse to not get ahead on this.

Python’s The New “Pee In The Pool of Tech” (In & Not Coming Out)

Python is the “scripting” language that has become the “pee in the pool” of tech. It’s in and it’s never coming out. Everything that came before Python had some show-stopping fatal flaw such as the original tech-pool pee called PERL. PERL was weird and failed to grow with the Web even though it shipped with every Unix and Linux for complex scripting tasks. It’s been predominantly replaced by Python which is less weird and did grow with the Web. Such conventional “default tool” replacements don’t happen often or easily among Linux distros. This makes Python even much bigger than JavaScript though few will admit it. Python is also a delight to use.

You’ve Got VIM, Kid.

vim is a text editor that plays like a video game. Most of the dopamine fix you need to replace from your gaming addictions will come from vim. It’s the thing you often see hackers using in the movies. That shit is real and you can get those skills. This won’t happen right away, but we can get you started first with JupyterLab Desktop. Avoid VSCode at this time or your brain will become so micro-soft that you will not know you are being led to slaughter—or at least to a good fleecing. It’s hard to explain vim except that it is so different from anything else you know you’ll have to approach it with the same open mindset as open as you would a text-based adventure game. There’s only one thing more powerful, and that’s eMacs but we’ll get to that later.

git: Put All Your Eggs In One Basket Then Copy That Basket All Over The Place

Finally, git is kind of like just one more Linux command, but a really really important one. It gives you unlimited undo on all your text files plus a way to get them securely to another place in case your machine crashes, and lastly a way to collaborate with other people editing the same files. It’s called a distributed version control system (DVCS) and was written by the same person as who wrote Linux mostly to help write Linux. But now it’s all if ours, and we have to toughen ourselves up and just use it. It’s actually quite simple for simple things like unlimited undo. It has a reputation for being complicated because it’s a bit strange and doing difficult things is in fact a bit difficult. But we’ll worry about that later.

I Will Reach You And I Will Teach You.

This is my first trick. I will show you a few real magic tricks you can do every day. You will put it down as easy and guffaw it, but you will not be able to do it properly. No matter how little you make of my skills and play up your ability to reproduce it merely because you know how it’s done, you will not be able to do so and you will embarrass yourself in front of your family and friends when you try. This will dishearten you and make you say the grapes 🍇 were sour anyway and you didn’t really want to learn the trick anyway. Go ahead. Get it out of your system. You will remember I said this will happen and you will come back.