Belvin Klopoknik

Belvin is a self-taught programmer who has spent his working life watching less capable people achieve greater career heights. Whenever he chose to take a percent ownership in a web startup in lieu of pay, the company immediately went bankrupt. Whenever he chose a steady paycheck, the company grew a million-fold days after he was fired.

He now spends most of his life fixing bugs introduced by less capable, yet higher paid, programmers than he. Belvin exists at the lowest depths of programmer burnout and has entered a psychological state hence unexplored -- a place where boundless ennui and disappointment are his chief nourishment. . .along with the occasional microwave burrito abandoned in the freezer by his coworkers.

Belvin lives in a state of waking torpor, rarely moving and never sleeping. Through sheer force of will he can coerce the lobes of his brain to alternate between states of cognition, rest, and generating revenge fantasies towards pretty-much everyone.


Abulafia

Abulafia is Belvin's computer. It is cobbled together from the finest components he could smuggle out of a dozen near-bankrupt startups. At first, Belvin had ethical problems about the thefts, but a few bounced paychecks reset his moral compass. Abulafia is running a highly customized version of Linux that only Belvin knows how to use, and its keyboard layout is designed around these custom instructions, making Belvin almost 3% more efficient than any other programmer. One of Belvin's requirements for any job is that he must use Abulafia rather than the substandard machines companies provide. This improves Belvin's productivity while simultaneously annoying his coworkers, which was his intent the whole time.

Belvin is unaware of the Kabbalistic underpinnings of his computer's name. Abulafia is named after the conspiracy-generating computer in Umberto Eco's novel Foucault's Pendulum, which Belvin never finished reading.


Bit

Bit is Belvin's creation. Physically, it is an old Cybiko handheld game enhanced with a prototype six-core Arduino and running some optimized neural networking code Belvin got to keep when a startup robotics company went bust.

Known only to itself and Belvin, Bit is the first electronic device to achieve true self-awareness. Unfortunately one of the philosophical side-effects of Bit's self-awareness is that it has taken an agnostic position towards its creator. Bit is not entirely sure that Belvin is its creator so much as it is a figment of Bit's imagination. Still, Bit is not so firmly confident in its lack of faith that it will challenge Belvin to unplug the USB cable.

Bit is cabled to Abulafia and spends much of its time expanding its knowledge of the universe via the internet, which may or may not also be a figment of its imagination. Or perhaps a creation of the Flying Spaghetti Cybiko.

And yes, Belvin named Bit after the little flying D&D die from Tron, to which Bit is resentful.

The Narrator

The Narrator is the altar-ego of the author of the strip.

His relationship to the rest of the characters is adversarial, mainly because he identifies with all of them, and he knows that all of their shortcomings are also his own.

The narrator is the only character in the comic with whom you can personally interact. He can be contacted at narrator@angriestprogrammer.com.

But you should probably avoid doing so. He's a cynical old fart.

© 2014 The Code Zone

 

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