I’ve got the proof from Dan, the one I’ll be submitting to the Nerd Merit Badges tomorrow. I am thrilled with his work, this is exactly what I had in mind when I contacted him. Clean, simple and very consistent with the rest of the design around the podcast and web site.
I can also now explain how the limited edition badges will differ.
The background evokes the cover art that Jared designed for me a while back. I love the subdued colors and the simplicity of the cover art. I think Dan has distilled and captured the very essence of it.
Merit badges are not supposed to use text except where some character has a broader symbolic meaning. Here, the typical *nix command line prompt stands in nicely for the text in the cover art version. It beckons, the space of possibilities unimaginably infinite from running a simple grep to firing up an editor and hacking away at some massive project in C.
For the limited edition badges, my first thought was to substitute the “$” in the prompt with a hash, “#”. The hash is typically the sole indicator that your shell has full root privileges. As neat as that idea was, it just isn’t practical with the limits of how the badges are produced.
A friend suggested an alternative that will work.
Why not take advantage of the expectant prompt, give it that instantly recognizable command that promotes your shell from ordinary user to root? The limited edition badges won’t look exactly like this mock up but close.
Before anyone calls me on not advocating for more secure, responsible computing with the use of the more modern, “sudo”, keep in mind that the finished badges are 1.5 inches in diameter. I’d love to be able to use “sudo” if for no other reason than the recognition that would come thanks to xkcd. If the characters were any smaller, they’d be unrecognizable. This is also the smallest font my wife’s machine can embroider.
Think of it this way if it bothers you. Have you ever shelled into an embedded Linux system? Very few of them have sudo due to space concerns. Think of your badge as an embedded device–it doesn’t even have ethernet after all. So the risk is mitigated by the limited capabilities of the device in question.
One other note on the finished badges, an outcome of the need to customize some of them. Unlike the Nerd Merit Badges you can order from their site for your usual geeky accomplishments, these will have to be produced without the velcro back. All fifty of the badges have to be identical, I cannot subdivide the order for any reason. My wife’s embroidery machine cannot handle the tough plastic backing of the velcro, so I am ordering them without. We considered removing the velcro from the ten limited edition badges but it is triple stitched. We’d ruin the badges trying to get the velcro off. I can attach velcro to the badges for anyone who wants on a case by case basis.
I’ll post another update after I’ve submitted the design and heard back. The graphic might have to change a bit depending on the constraints of the embroidering machinery used to produce the badges. Hopefully that next update will include an ETA when I’ll have the initial badges in hand, ready for customization on the limited edition ones and shipping on the rest.