Saturday, April 28, 2007

Nothing In Particular

Another one of those days where I have no clue what to write about, but I have to write about something. It's been too many days since my last entry.

I still have Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft on my laptop. After reading the forums, I'm in no hurry to upgrade. When Edgy came out, people had lots of problems. I installed Edgy with no problems, but I'd waited for almost 3 months to do so. I might do that again. Within three months, the updates will take care of many of the problems. Then again, with my luck there will be no problems at all. I can stand next to a computer that someone tells me is 'broken', and it suddenly starts to work. I hope that happens when I get in business. My workdays will be easy. I'll just let my super powers take care of everything.

I have a closet of 15 computers. They all probably would work if they had power supplies. That seems to be the most common problem in computers that break. Not malware, not crashed hard drives, but power supplies. My ability to fix computers just by looking at them doesn't work on bad power supplies. When a power supply goes bad, the user figures the whole thing is broken. If I had 15 power supplies, I could give out 15 computers right now. Well, only 3 of them would would have hard drives. The rest would have to boot from a LiveCD. But, they'd work.

Many of the computers I get come with no hard drives. The user either takes it, or they request to have it removed and given back to them. Even explaining how Boot and Nuke works doesn't satisfy them. They don't want their personal information out there. What they don't get is; They probably put it in the garbage everyday. ID thieves steal your garbage for your ID far more often than from your computer. I could use those hard drives.

Power Supplies, hard drives, and wifi cards. Those are what I need most for my Unofficial Central Florida Free Geek organization. Right now, and organization of two; me and Nancy. What does Nancy do? She rides with me to pick up the donations. And, lets me store them around the house.

I'm hoping to get a donation of laptops soon. I'm itching to do a red paint job like K.Mandla did. The one he did sold well on eBay. I'd probably sell a few on eBay to cover my own expenses. I hope to make my Free Geek organization official someday, but till then I do what I have to, to make ends meet.

We went to Home Depot's Home Expo center tonight. The wannabe elitist in me said, "cool stuff". The socialist in me said, "Overconsumer paradise". It was a equal debate tonight. I'm sure my socialist side will guilt my elitist side into submission soon enough.

Thanks for reading my blog. Especially posts like this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A New Tool

The little IBM iSeries 1400 laptop has taught me some important Linux lessons:
Now, if you don't understand what those are, no biggy. Until today, I'd heard those terms, but didn't understand them myself. Today, I actually got to apply them. I had to apply them.

Windows 2000 didn't work out well at all. Turns out, it's simply too much for the little tyke. The hard drive maxed out before all the updates were done. With anti-virus, anti-spyware, and a firewall, there wasn't room for anything else. I never realized just how bloated Windows 2000 really was. I knew Windows 98 wasn't the answer either. That was how this computer got in trouble in the first place. I knew there was an answer somewhere.

Damn Small Linux would work, but not the the intended user. To be honest, I didn't really take to DSL anyway. Then I remembered Puppy Linux.

Puppy Linux is a very lean, very tight distribution. It's programs are small and functional. This distro was designed to be fast, and work on older equipment. Equipment much older than Xubuntu can work on. Puppy usually runs off the CD, and it was designed for that. To make it work well, Puppy runs in root. That makes it run better on the CD, but can be a wee bit risky on the hard drive. If you have anything someone wants, running as root makes it easier for them to get access to your system. When your running off a CD, a hacker can't make any changes, so they can't really do anything. But, on this old system, I'm fairly certain a hacker isn't going to bother.

Puppy Linux had done some interesting things to make running the system off a CD work well. After you've got the system booted, you can set up a USB jumpdrive to save your setting changes (desktop, background, colors) save programs and files, and keep everything there. You never really have to touch the hard drive. But, if you want, Puppy can set up a wee, little part of your hard drive to save settings, programs and files. You can make it pretty small, or up to 1.2 gig. If you have a 4 gig jumpdrive you've got more than enough space. Technically, the computer you use would not really need a hard drive.

I'd already BAN'd the system (Boot and Nuke), and Puppy Linux booted up from the CD just fine. Better than just fine; it was actually pretty fast. When I figure out how to run the installer, it wouldn't install. Turns out boot and nuke did a really good job; got rid of the MBR, and any partition. I figured out how to put on a MBR, and use gparted to create a Linux-swap partition, and an ext3 primary partion. Ran the installer again, and it loaded clean. I did a little desktop tweaking to make it somewhat familar for the client:
Now, I'm adding somemore programs. To make it interesting, the Puppy Linux people gave them a file extension of .pup. Cute. And effective. So now, the little laptop runs fine. I think it may have actually run faster from the CD. I'd have kept it like that, and let the hard drive simply be a storage place, but I'm not sure the intended user would get how that worked. The only problem: no sound. Evidently the developers had trouble with that part. I've read some fixes on their message boards, and I may try a few of those.

So, I now have a new tool in my tool chest: Puppy Linux.

If it was my computer, I'd take it apart, paint it Cyan Red like K.Mandla did.

One more computer given a little more life.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I hit my first Linux wall. A client wanted me to fix his older model laptop. I mean, really older model: IBM ThinkPad iSeries 1400: Pentium 300 MHz, 32 meg ram, 4 gig hard drive. It came with Windows ME installed. It had no virus, spyware, or malware protection of any type on it. None. As you can guess, it was loaded up with malware. Broadcasting it, in fact. It may have had all the really big malware problems on it. All at once.

I was able to find a 128 meg memory chip that would work in it. The poor little pink mac won't really miss it. If I need another chip, I'm sure another will come along soon enough. So, now the computer had 160 meg of memory.

I Boot and Nuked the hard drive. I didn't want to risk any malware on that computer spreading around. Then, I installed Xubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn. I used the alternate install CD. I was hoping that the older Linksys 802.11b pc card was supported, but it wasn't. If it had been, I think we'd be in business. I had to uninstall Xubuntu, reformat the hard drive, and install Windows 2000. I have Windows 98SE, and even Windows ME, but both aren't really worth using.

The main issue is this: this user isn't particularly tech savvy. He use to Windows, and might not use the computer if it booted to something different. Even putting Windows 2000 is a risk. This point makes me realize the challenge in my Central Florida Free Geek efforts; users with a little experience might be reluctant to change. Even if its free.

I could probably use the computer. I'd put DSL (Damn Small Linux) on it, and use that. But DSL isn't for the light hearted casual user. It will run on almost anything, but requires a good bit more knowledge of the system to use it. Ubuntu doesn't require that. But, Ubuntu, and even Xubuntu, is just too much for this system. I could probably get Xubuntu to work. I'd just have to find a different wireless pc card. But, the user for this system might not be willing to bother working with it so much to get it working.

In this instance, Microsoft still has the upper hand. Mostly because of their 95% stranglehold on the market. People like the familiar. That's why there are so many franchise stores. People like to know their Big Mac, Whopper, or Taco will taste the same in San Francisco as it did in Orlando, or New York, Or Los Angles. People like the familiar, and for the less tech savvy, Windows is familiar.

At the very least, I'm glad I was able to fix and update the computer. While my preference is Linux, I realize that might not work for other. My job is not to preach open source, force my ideology on someone else, or sneak something on someone. My job is to get their equipment to work the way they want it to work. That simple.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Forced Patience

People have told me I have the patience of dripping water on a rock. For most things, that's true. I can't have a great time watching a spider build a web. HyperFocus, I believe is what the shrinks call it. But, I still have a problem with impulsiveness. When life gets confusing, frustrating, or generally bad, in the past I'd try to quell the tension by purchasing something. Preferably, something techy. I new hardware device, a piece of software, or a techy type project.

Being mostly broke keeps that under control. While free and open source software do keep my mind and efforts occupied, sometimes other circumstance force me to be more patient.

Earlier this week, I was able to set up Vista. It works quite well, actually. Even the annoying little pop-up "Cancel or Allow" - like the Mac commercial- wasn't too bad. But, I finally ran into a few things I couldn't do with it. Burn ISO CD's for one. Getting admin privledges to do that is interesting. I'm sure I'll learn it soon enough. Suffice to say, you can't just go burning things willy-nilly. I suspect that has more to do with Digital Rights Management than security. I also wasn't able to install a Sam's Academy Course program on it. Evidently, it only works on Windows XP and Windows 2000. I also had a few videos it wouldn't let me watch. No, not porn. Educational videos.

Give Vista about two more years. More software, more hardware, and technology that we don't have today will work on it. But, it will always have that DRM problem. For right now, I still prefer Ubuntu over Windows or Mac. I don't like my Operating System tell me what I can do or not do.

Ubuntu has it's share of problems, too. Growing pains. The lastest version -Feisty Fawn 7.04 came out on Thursday. The reviews are excellent. People love it. At least, the ones who are able to get it on their system. Seems that the same installation problems Edgy went through initially are happening again. I'm not sure how many, but quite a few people in the forums are having problems. I do read about people with no troubles at all.

When I upgraded to Edgy, I did it about three months after it had come out. By then, most of the bugs were fixed, and any updates I did went to the absolute latest programs.

I have finals next week, and can't afford to mess anything up on this laptop till they are over. That, and I can't take the mental time to focus on customizing an installation either. So, even if I wanted to upgrade right now, I'm having to do the forced patience thing. Evidently, it's paid off. I might wait another few weeks, and see what other issues Ubuntu Feisty Fawn has. I might even let this computer ride out the 18 month cycle.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Infected, Corroded

Yep. That's right. I installed Vista. Instead of deleting anything off my current disk (and getting rid of my Windows XP/Ubuntu 6.06LTS dual boot), I simply put in the extra hard drive, and installed it. I'll put the other back in later, especially when I need to do my finals this week.

Because most of the computers at Valencia don't have DVDrom drives, we had to burn Vista to 5 CD's. Not a big deal. Took me about 45 minutes. I've learned my lesson about burning Operating Systems to CD: Burn slow, as slow as possible. Some people in my classes had trouble with Vista installation. I didn't I bet they burned fast.

Vista took a long time to install, but not as long as Windows XP -and XP is only on one disc. Once all 5 CD's were loaded in, it when through a setup of about 20 minutes. All in all, it took me 45 minutes to install, not including the Boot and Nuke time on the hard drive. It reminded me of installing and setting up Fedora Core 5. Ubuntu takes about 15-20 minutes. One thing I did like about the Vista installation: I didn't need to install any drivers. In Windows XP, you have to install this-and-that driver to get everything work. Vista, like most Linux distributions, recognized all my hardware.

Once it booted to the desktop, it went through a few updates. I'm glad to see that happens automatically. Many people don't know to do it on XP, and most installations aren't setup for automatic updates after installation. On Ubuntu, the updates are prompted, but not automatic. After installation, they can be set to be automatic. On both Ubuntu and Vista, the updates take longer than the actual installation - almost an hour. When Ubuntu has a fresh release, the updates aren't as long. But, try installing Ubuntu 6.06.1LTS right now. Lots of updates. Vista will have the same, soon enough.

After the updates, a little popup reminded me that I didn't have an anti-virus installed. At first, I wasn't going to bother, since Steve Balmer said he didn't run an anti-virus on his. But, he might be running 64bit Vista, which doesn't really need (or even have) an anti-virus. I went to grisoft, and downloaded their AVG Free Edition. Vista comes with Windows Defender already installed, so I didn't need to bother with an anti-spyware (we'll just see about that, won't we).

At this point, I felt icky. Probably like Luke Skywalker felt when we came close to the cave on Dagobah. I had to have an Open Source fix. I downloaded and installed Mostly, I wanted to make sure it ran on Vista:
I was greatly relieved to see that it did. I rarely use Microsoft Office anymore, since I have Portable on a USB Flashdrive. But, I'm going to need to know how to use Office 2007, and I got it free, so:
MS Word 2007 looks and works very different. They have that ribbon thingy, instead of the normal menus. I hear it takes some getting use to, but those who do like it better. If it works, I'm sure will implement something similar. That, or they'll come up with something better on their own. I hope the latter happens.

Now, if you had to pay for all this, so far the costs would be (prices from CompUSA website):
  • Vista for Business: $399.99
  • MS Office 2007 Professional: $499.99
  • Just for those two items, you're paying $899.98
  • If you live in Florida, with tax that comes to: $962.98
  • You have to give $63 to the Bush administration, just for the pleasure of buying MS Vista for Business and Office 2007 Professional
Okay, so not all of that $63 goes to George Bush's Skull and Bones administration, but it sounds much more dramatic to make that claim. Much of that money actually goes to local government.

So, let's compare:
  • Ubuntu 6.06.1 LTS (Business Version, you could call it): $Free
  • 2.2 (One version, same for business or home): $Free
  • Scribus (Alternative for MS Pubisher): $Free
  • Taxes: NONE!
Does anyone see a trend here?? If anything, the besides the major incentive of using Ubuntu being free, not having to pay taxes on it is a big plus. And I'm not all encouraged to give any money to my local government either; Winter Park or Orange County. Both are over-developers and urban sprawlers.

After all that, I wanted to know what would happen if I got rid of all the Vista eye-candy:
They got rid of the XP Fisher-Price look. Going back to plain-jane made the system run much faster. Maybe I'm destined to be a sysadmin.

After all my efforts, and what little time I spent learning it, Vista actually worked pretty well. Would I recommend it? No. Mostly because of the deep-core DRM issues. If you buy a computer with Vista installed, use it and use it up. But, I still recommend Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE Linux over Windows or OS X. The only time I'd say use anything different is if you're a content creator -use OS X instead. Open Source content creation programs just aren't as good yet. They will be. Hopefully very soon.

Monday, April 16, 2007


The video in the previous post explains why I'm going into technology. Thanks to Karl Fisch for putting together a presentation. If you read the history of it, he put it together for a school facilty presentation, then posted it on his blog. That was in August 2006. Since then, it's been view over 2.3 million times. Think about that, folks. That's why the networks are scared. Karl has more presentations on his blog. Check it out.

Sudo apt-get update
Sudo apt-get upgrade

That's the command line version of upgrading your software in Ubuntu. You don't need to use the command line to upgrade and update, but it's a bit faster.

Ubuntu 7.04 (2007, April) Feisty Fawn will be out on Thursday. I'll eventually upgrade to it, but I'm going to wait till after this semester is over. I have everything working just right on my laptop, and don't want to risk it till then. I've heard some disasters happen in the beta versions, but those were beta. This will also give me a chance to watch the forums for possible problems with the final release. I'll probably wait a few weeks to upgrade, but I'll eventually give in.

Speaking of upgrades, I burned the Vista for Business CD's today. Students get if free through school. I need to learn it, so it was time to burn it. My problem is; I have a 200 gig hard drive in the computer. That's probably 160 more gigs than I'll ever use with Vista. I'll need to transfer everything I have off, but a smaller drive in, and load Vista on that. Vista is loaded with Digital Rights Management technology, and I just don't want to reward Microsoft for caving in to bad laws. They stood up when the broke the laws, but laid down and went submissive when then should have stood up. I like to download podcasts, audiobooks, and some music. Instead of stealing, I try to use free content. Jamendo, Podiobooks and are sites I use for that. Windows Vista would slap DRM on content that doesn't want or need it there. Forget that. 40 gigs are probably all I need, if that.

If only updating Windows was as easy as sudo update windows, sudo upgrade windows.

sudo apt-get install brain

Shift Happens!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dr. H. Garrett Dotson

I met Gary in my first writing class. He'd mostly finished his book, "Governor of Peter Creek", and participate in the writing class for any rewriting that might need to be done. I got to see Gary off and on over a few years, especially during the actual publishing of his book. I got to go to his first book signing, and bought a signed copy. The Five Florida Writers would see Gary at various book and author events.

Gary was the type that didn't talk much about himself. He didn't need to; his reputation preceded him, pretty much every where he went. Other talked about him. "Do you know where Gary's been lately?" "He was in India last month, or was it Guyana," When I saw Gary at the book signing, he'd been to Syria. Yes, That Syria. Gary did volunteer work with Remote Area Medical. He did free surgery work in those areas, and in the States too. Anytime I talked with Gary, he'd always want to hear about me, and what I'd been doing lately. Only if you asked, would he talk about himself. He loved to talk about anything that involved adventure. Most of the times I saw him, he looked dressed for adventure. I have no idea of his professional accomplishments -though I'm sure they are many- he didn't seem to care to hear or talk about that. To me, Gary loved to talk about what impassioned a person; our writing, my affair with technology, stuff like that. I don't recall ever hearing him ask someone, "What do you do?". In so many words, his questions were more like, "What do you love? What could you not live without doing?".

As you can probably tell by the past tense of my descriptions of Gary, he passed away. Monday April 9, 2007.

If I could say I had a role model, it would be my Grandfather; Elmer Thompson. As I got to know Gary Dotson, he was another role model. I even began wearing adventure clothing, somewhat like his. Gary's website seems to be down right now, but here's a link to his book:

It's a murder mystery, a true story. A good read. Hopefully, Gary's website will be back up, and people will get to see more about him.

Later Gary!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

ChaCha Update

ChaCha Search Search

I've been a bit lax in my ChaCha endeavors. ChaCha is suppose to come out with a version of the guide application for Mac and Linux pretty soon. I'd been using it on Ubuntu, with a few bugs, but since they did a guide application update, it doesn't load up in Linux. Ties too much into Internet Explorer. Since the version of IE6 I use runs in WINE, the guide app doesn't link to it.

I'm willing to be that eventually ChaCha will be a good search engine. Right now, I think there are too many guides you think they can do good searching, but don't know enough about some of their subjects. I take only subjects that I actually know something about.

I could see some business actually using ChaCha as their method of customer support. I've suggested on the Florida Ubuntu forums a way to do just that. Even better, if all the Ubuntu support on ChaCha was through me, I'd be doing pretty well. But, that would be a while from now.

Anyway, give ChaCha a try. If you click on one of the links I provided in this text, and use it for a search, I'll actually get credit. Go ahead....whatcha got to lose?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Random Thoughts

For my friends and family: This is a non techy post.

The presentations for my classes are next week, then the finals after that. In one class, we have a group presentation. Problem is, half of the group dropped the class. As of now, our group consists of two people. And, guess who volunteered to do a good bit of the work? No a big problem though; it's on Ubuntu for business.

I think I have a stye in my left eye. I never knew these things affected your whole body! With all the homework, projects, and tests I have to do, it really takes it's toll on me. For such a little bitty irritant, it distracts your attention from pretty much anything you're doing, and seems to fatigue everything. Almost feels like mono.

So Don Imus and the Rutgers Womens Basketball team got some free advertising this week. They must have taken courses at the Madonna school of advertising. That, Rosie O'Donnell is on vacation. Under normal circumstances, I'd say what he did was wrong, but I don't think so this time. For one reason: I think the whole thing was preplanned. Consider this; how many of you even knew who Don Imus was before this, or knew anything about Rutgers Basketball. There's only one group that should be upset about all this: The University of Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball! They won the NCAA national championship game, and they are 7 time National Champions! If I were them, I'd be making a stink that Rutgers is getting all this air time. The lady vols are the only ones that have the right to be calling the Rutgers girls hos'. Lou Dobbs is way more of a racist than Don Imus.

Speaking of Lou Dobbs, I can't stand that racists, Hispanic hating SOB! And he really needs to brush his teeth. "Increase border security!" "Put up a wall!". I don't know. Maybe he's right. Those ideas worked great for East Germany, and the Soviet Union. China too, back when it really was more communist. Now, it's a capitalist police state; the worst of both worlds. They'll find out soon enough.

What Dobbs doesn't get is that no matter how much security you have, no matter how good your walls are, people will come in. The only way to keep people out of USA is to make it less attractive to come in. They'll risk imprisonment; it's better than what they have now. The only way to keep illegal immigrants out is; make USA worse than where they come from. But, all the in deep debtors and overconsumers are on the way to doing just that.

I don't like calling them illegal immigrants. For most of them, the only thing they've done illegal was coming over the border. Once they're here they abide by the laws of the land better than we do. They don't want to get caught and forced to go back. Yes, I know some criminals that come across the border. This is where I agree with Bush (did I actually say that??). I gotta say, he's right on this one. Either that, or tear down Lady Liberty.

This also brings up another point: By the year 2050, the USA will be a majority Spanish speaking country. You can do all the legislating you want, but you can't change lingual dynamics. The evolution and travel of language happens on it's own, just like nature. You don't have to like it, but you will eventually have to deal with it.

Asmeagen beos: Wit negedon gecwedan gelice beos nu.

What? You don't understand that? Come speak English, don't you? Of course, some Welsh, Galic, or Irish speakers may be able to get some of it. It's Old English! We don't speak that way anymore. So, when you're told you don't speak proper English, you can reply:

Eow necunnan gecwedan Englisc!

Language changes, people! Take it from a writer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Who'd a thunk? Big Blue, of all the big companies, gets it!

I've read about IBM's open source efforts and cooperation in Wikinomics, but someone at IBM is more on top of the situation than I thought. Good for them.

I highly suggest anyone in business get this book:


Mark Shuttleworth pointed this site out:

Why Linux is Better

Monday, April 09, 2007

Open Source vs Closed Source

The terms just don't really tell the whole truth of the matter. Open Source is a made up term. According to Eric S. Raymond, in the documentary Revolution OS, the free software enthusiasts realized the term 'free' didn't sound good to business. Anything free must be of less quality.

The original use of free software was that is was free, as in freedom. The code for software was available to anyone to use, modify, and contribute. Some of the free software was indeed free as in free beer, but some of it was still part of commercial interests.

Proprietary software, or closed source software is not available to anyone. Unless the company decides that you can even view the software, no eyes other than the developers ever set up the I's and O's. No one else really knows what's in the coding.

From what I hear, the biggest reason for closed source software in these days has nothing to do with financial interests, intellectual property, or digital millennium copyrights. It has more to do with sloppy code writing. Yes folks. That right. The geeks don't want you to see how messy they actually are. The CEO's, CFO's, COO's, and COOKS of these companies have no clue what the difference between in I and an O is. They look for the bottom line. (By the way; think of an I as the light switch is on, and an O as the light switch is off).

I trust Open Source software more for two reasons:
  1. More eyes are on it. The more eyes, the more holes and bugs can be fixed, patched, and sealed. Hackers know this, and realize that Open Source is more likely to get fixed quicker than they can actually make use of Zero Day Exploits.
  2. Open Source software can't go out of business. I really liked Microsoft Money. I thought it was an excellent product. I used it every day, and when I did, my finances were better. The problem is that MS Money has never made a dime for the company. It's a loss leader, if you can even call it that. Quicken, on the other hand, has made Intuit money. But, like all the other companies these days, Quicken can get bought, acquired, and discarded. As long as the code is out there, open source will still exist.
That being said, I have nothing against proprietary, commercial software. Like I said, I like MS Money. I haven't used GNUcash enough yet to really compare, but I miss it. I have Adobe Acrobat reader on my Ubuntu Laptop. That's not free as in speech. Nor is VMware, or Microsoft Internet Explorer. That's right; I have MS IE on this machine. I need it for school. When I don't need it, it will be deleted. Those products are free as in beer, but not free as in freedom.

Commercial software has a place. But, there's always a risk it will go bye-bye.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Updated Xubuntu on Both iMacs

I now have Xubuntu 6.10 on both iMac G3, 333 MHz machines. It actually runs really well, especially on the aqua machine, like the one in the picture. That one has 256 meg of memory, I think. Xubuntu is actually much faster on those iMacs than on some of the 500 MHz Celeron machines I've put it on. But then, most Apple people probably already had that figured out.

I tried to get a different wireless USB dongle working on them; a generic CompUSA one, with the Ralink 2573 chipset. Evidently, that even though that chipset is suppose to be open, it brings much misery to those who use it. I tried to get it working, but I don't think the PowerPC CPU's like it. I could be wrong.

I did find something out tonight though; I'm beginning to actually get and understand The Command Line. I imagine there comes a time in every IT guy, hacker, computer enthusiast, or Penguinista's life when they are working in the command line, and it occurs to them they can anticipate the instruction. I got there tonight. Usually, I just find a site with the instructions I need and copy/paste them into the terminal. Lately, I've been typing the instructions in by hand. Just like using a typing tutor, after awhile you begin to get it. You begin to understand what you are doing, where you're making things go, and how you're getting things to work. When you type them in the terminal, over and over again, you eventually get it.

So, to my Linux friends, don't copy and paste command line stuff in the terminal. Enter it by hand. And soon, you to can enter the world of the 1337. If you're already 1337, you already know that. If you don't know what 1337 is, well, you probably haven't even read this far. If you've bothered to read this far, you probably on your way.

Right now, I'm listening to free Jazz music over It's a site kindof like Jamendo. Check them out, if you're interested in free music. Legally. If you're not into music, checkout Podiobooks. You don't have to steal music or audiobooks. There's really good stuff out there, completely free. If you're not into any of those, go take another hit on the meth pipe, and find another blog.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Strawberry iMac G3 NOT DEAD

The previous reporting of the iMac's death false. It's still alive and kicking. The Strawberry one (pink), I mean. Yes; I know the iMac in the picture isn't pink. It's just a better picture than any one I have.

Something knawed at me about the little thing. Then I added it up
  1. When inserted, a CD would show up on the screen in Xubuntu 6.06.1. The CD drive couldn't be dead.
  2. I was trying to upgrade using the CD method.
  3. I discovered my laptop works fine with ripping CD's (not that I ever actually do that), but not so well when burning them. Was the same with Windows too.
  4. I'd burned the Xubuntu 7.04 beta CD alternate install CD for PowerPC on my laptop.
When I'd figured out that last part, I though, "Wait! It's still alive!" I cranked it up, but the screen wouldn't come on. After some surfing, I found that the X11 xorg configuration wasn't set right. I was able to get the computer to a command line, edit the configuration, and reboot.

Xubuntu 6.10 booted right up. The little machine actually had installed 6.10. Invictus!

If you're a higher end Geek you might ask yourself, "Why does this guy even care if an out-of-date, 333 MHz iMac will still work?" Maybe it's the challenge. Maybe it's the Free Geek ideal. Maybe it's just a cute computer.

Part of it has to do with the design. Like a laptop, when you press on the power button of this machine the whole machine comes on. With other computers, you have to turn on the monitor then the desktop switch. Not a big deal, unless you're completely new to computers.

Another of Mrs. Wayman's struggles with the computer is keeping track of which part is on and off. To her defense, it is difficult to tell, and my vision is good. Mostly good at least. It occurred to me that the single power switch on the iMac would be much easier for her.

I think that overall design is why the iMac is so popular with many people. If your product makes people feel stupid, people aren't going to use it. If your product is design to be easy to use, people will think you're a God. Hence; The Cult of Mac and the worship of Steve Jobs. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. A little.

The only issue I have with the iMac now is the wireless issue. The iMac doesn't work well with most wireless cards. I haven't been successful with any of the ones I have. It works fine hardwired. Internet boots right up. But it can be a snob with wireless.

But, I'll figure it out. Invictus, remember.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Woodstream Writers

Many of you know I like to write. I post some of my fiction on another blog; DannyTLand. Dannyland was already taken, so I had to add the 'T'.

Jamie Morris teaches writing workshops. I've had a few other local workshops, attended many writing groups, all of which helped. But, Jamie's groups have always been the best for my creative juices. I get in there and for at least two hours the rest of the world doesn't exist. Just us writers, and the characters we create. Not everyone does fiction. Some write poetry. Some essays, some do stream-of-consciousness. I'm fiction bent. I have to get the stories in my head down on digital paper or I'll go insane. Hmm...might make for a good story.

Woodstream Writers' workshops use the Amherst Writers & Artists guidelines. Jamie handles the format with a firm, but kind hand. I've been in some workshops where the facilitator isn't able to avoid letting someone dominate the group. Jamie doesn't let that happen. She kindly keeps everyone on track.

The really cool thing is that Jamie's teaching doesn't only help people with writing. I've watched new writers grow in her classes. Their newfound confidence in writing transfers to other areas in their life. I've observed this effect with exercise; as someone gains confidence in their physical appearance, and functional ability, that confidence bleeds to other areas of their life. Same with writing. Especially with writing. Writing makes you feel smart.

If you are interested in any form of writing, even blogging, I suggest taking a class like Jamie's. Use this link to find a AWA facilitated group near you. At the very least, you'll meet some really interesting people. I met Nancy in a writing class!

I'll try to post a few things I get from the class in my DannyTland blog.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Xubuntu again

I put Xubuntu back on the old Compaq. This time I put 7.04 beta on. Installed easily, and it actually seemed faster that Fluxbuntu. I'm not sure why.

Xubuntu is faster on this 400 MHz Pentium II machine than the 500 MHz Celeron machine. It may be because the Compaq has 128 meg more memory (384 meg) than the eMachine. If that's the case, it goes to show how much a difference more memory can make. A slower processor with more memory will seem faster than a faster processor with less memory.

Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn is coming out in a few weeks. I've not been happy with the wireless issues in general, and from what I'm reading on the reviews of the beta versions, I'm not the only one. I'm much less concerned about Ubuntu having eye candy desktops than I am with easy wireless connectivity. I think most Ubuntu users would agree. The eye candy isn't much good if you can't borrow your neighbors wireless signal.

I know that many thing will improve with Linux, Ubuntu in particular, this year. The wireless issues especially. I'm more concerned about the available applications. If Linux is going to become mainstream, the applications must be available for it, or the alternative applications must be as good (like or better (like GAIM). The changes coming up in education will require superior content authoring and delivery. So far, OS X holds the top position for that.

Sun Doggin

I just snapped this pic this morning. Ginny does this every morning, while we eat breakfast