A few weeks back I was having some trouble with my work computer's windows install. (And, oh hey, I've been at this job over a year now. I think they like me. :)) As luck would have it, I also had a machine in my "custody" that was no longer needed.
I swiped the harddrive from it, stuck it in my machine, and installed Linux Mint 12 KDE on it. Now, it had been a while since I've used Linux as a primary machine (about 6 years now, actually), so some things are...different.
I'm not sure what I think about KDE 4/Plasma. The cashew thing is a little annoying, but maybe I just don't understand how to use it (which is to say, I don't). Also, current support for ati + dual-head is terrible. Xinerama (which i understand is deprecated) won't play nice with desktop effects modules (xcomposite & xdamage...or randr), but I can't get both displays recognized as one unified desktop without using it (even though I think that's theoretically possible). I mess with it at lunch occasionally (edit: figured this out - requires downloading ati driver w/ catalyst control from ati, running aticonfig --initial -f, disabling xrandr in xorg.conf (can be done with aticonfig), restarting and running amdcccle to use catalyst to set up monitor configuration). Since I seem to be pointing out the "bad" things first, I also haven't been able to get Likewise Open to let my PC join the AD domain. I keep getting an "OU format is invalid" error. What's weird is that the connection attempt actually does add the machine to AD in the correct OU - it just won't establish/use the connection. I also wish there was a mail client that would play nicer with Exchange 2007 (actually, I wish we weren't *using* SBS & Exchange, but hey).
On the upside, however, I've discovered a few cool things linux now (or things that are easier). Support for RDP is good. Samba sharing is less of a headache. USB plug-&-play support is more reliable (at least with external storage, etc). I've also discovered Sun's Virtual Box is pretty awesome for virtualization. One of my biggest grievances with The Gimp has always been the fact that it doesn't have photoshop-like layer manipulation & effects... ...but I've now found this plugin which mostly solves that problem (and, in some ways, is better than the photoshop equivalent). There's even an open source xen manager.
Despite some minor issues and limitations (as mentioned), I really like being on linux again. It's nice to be able to have more direct control over what my machine is doing. Multiple desktops are extremely useful. The ability to easily find a program to do almost anything for free is awesome. And, even on our sbs network, there's nothing I could do on my windows machine I cannot do on this linux platform (some things are harder, some things are actually easier).
Computer problems and troubleshooting *used* to be a normal, nearly every-day event in my life.
Then I got a Mac, and everything was great...
...for about 2.5 years.
Thing is, i've now gotten *used* to not having computer problems, and so when they inevitably surface, I get very severely irked.
Seems lately poor Hikaru (my iMac) has picked up "a slight flutter". Namely, it's has been displaying some video artifacts and occasionally causing the window server to freeze. Yesterday I wiped it and reinstalled, hoping it was a software problem - but I saw evidence of the video artifacts almost immediately, and strangely with greater frequency than before. After a little research, i'm starting to think this problem is heat-related. I blew some canned air into her neglected vents and installed a fan-regulator to bump the minimum speed of the internal fans for greater circulation.
Since the reinstall, however, i've had other problems. Some problems with permissions and indexing (which i'm *hoping* i've gotten straightened out) and a curious domino process-zombiing which seems to cause all attempted actions to hang - even shutting down.
I'm still trying to sort some stuff out, but I'll be watching her pretty closely for the next few weeks. She's still under warranty till August and I just may end up using that Apple Care plan I bought...
I have a new toy.
The laptop my boss gave me to use has been sadly outdated and a bit flaky for quite some time (occasionally, the keyboard will stop reporting certain keys - namely, the enter key. inconvenient, that). I don't use a lappy for work terribly often, but there are occasions that I really do need one. There are other occasions when i'd just really *like* one.
Knowing this, for something that resembled a cross between a business-expense equipment upgrade and a christmas bonus, they let me pick out a replacement for the aging dell lappy.
So now I have a new Macbook (Awesomeness!!), and Sheri got to inherit Moro, the old laptop - which, despite its faults, is still kicking and will be cool for her. Like she said 'old lappy is better than *no* lappy'.
I've added some code to the site to play with the isight camera on this thing too - you may occasionally see a 'penguin-cam' beneath the sushi-cam. Not that you *want* to, but just because I can.
In keeping with my tradition of naming gadgets after anime characters, Kotoko is named after a minor character from Chobits
I got this new spiffy gadget on saturday when we went out to dinner with Kedrick & Addie. They're a lot of fun - it's too bad we only get to see them once a year. We do have a standing invitation to come stay with them for a weekend or something if we get a chance. They talked about having us come up sometime to hang out. Maybe go to the cincinnati zoo or something. :-)
I gave them a framed 8x10 print of one of my pictures as a christmas present, and they really seemed to think it was really neat - which was great. *I* was really proud of it, but wasn't sure what other people might think. In related news, i'm going to be compiling a 2008 Portfolio gallery of what i'd consider my 'best work' around the end of the year.
Ok, i know my wireless router sucks, but come on.
I'm currently sitting in my living room on the lappy (because i didn't want to sit at my desk). From here I have access to two wireless networks: mine and one i presume to be a neighbor's.
It should be noted that the nearest neighbor's house is about 30ft away from ours, and the lady that lives there is in her 70's. I wouldn't figure on her being the most likely neighbor to have a wireless network. The next closest house is currently vacant and for sale. Our other neighbors are probably 70ft away or more... ...and yet here, in *my* living room, the strongest wifi signal is *not* the one coming from 20ft away in my office...
Maybe I should add a new wireless router to my christmas list...
Ok, so I was up well past stupid o'clock last night, but I think i've got Hikaru's upgrades & imports complete. Aside from some minor glitches, it was mostly painless and I'm quite happy with the results.
It's been a while since there's been a blog.
I'm currentlly sitting upstairs at our church in the youth room on the couch. They finally got a DSL connection here, and I have the wireless key.
It's kind of odd to be hanging out here, writing a blog and seeing my office over in the sushi-cam. Odd in a cool way, though. Heh.
Now, if only I had a macbook, this would be even sweeter.
Not much has been going on lately, actually (hence, the bloglessness). Work's been pretty busy/hectic. We've been pretty impressed with Andy's work though. We just have a lot of big development projects coming in. Some I'm excited about; some not so much.
My parents came by a few weekends ago on their way down to Myrtle Beach. They met us over at Ginger's place and played Apples to Apples with us for a while. Then we went back to the Igloo and talked for a bit. Saturday morning, dad replaced the dash in my jeep (the speedometer was broken). Yeah, he's in here for all of 12 hours, and he manages to fix something. He's cool like that.
I've been working quite a bit on my d20 campaign setting for Liimar. It's been a pretty fun, yet challeneging experience, because there's so many mechanics i've decided to play with. I've changed my mind about how I want most of the stuff to work about 16 times. I can't wait to get enough of it done so that I can try some more on my guinea p- ...er...i mean "players"... ...so that I can change how it works a dozen or so more times.
Got to meet another, local gamer the other night. Name's Nick. He seems pretty cool - he's already made the quote list even. We'll have to put something together to play sometime soon.
1. Texas Roadhouse's menu is funny. It's rather unimaginative slogan is "if it doesn't say Texas, it's not Texas Roadhouse". (duh). On the back of the same menu, it says "Texas Roadhouse was started in Clarksville Indiana..." Irony? What irony?
2) Last night, llama was fully prepared to sacrifice the world to eat his bread.
3) Milligan's pool is pretty nice. Too bad i never swam there when i was a student.
4) I now have a glowing blue keyboard to go with my glowing red trackball and my glowing green tower.
I'm sure there were some other things i was going to put up here. If i think of any i'll add them. If any of you think of any, feel free to add them as well.
|Monday February 6, 2006 at 11:57am||music, friends, little kids, football, gaming, computers||Comments (0) »|
It was a pretty good weekend - if a little short.
Saturday we had a good game. Fun times & mayhem.
Yesterday (Sunday) our praise band led worship. So far all direct comments to us - and we've had quite a few - have been exceptionally positive, though there are a couple people we suspect weren't too thrilled (like the one who tried to cancel church due to the weather). Still, it was cool, and we all know there's just no pleasing some people.
Yesterday afternoon, Sheri & I were invited over to our minister's house for the afternoon. They were having the youth and a bunch of people over that evening anyway, and it's always cold in the church after everyone leaves. So we hung out, played with their kids and talked with them.
I actually found out that Joel, our minister, used to play a little d&d back in the 80's, when everyone thought it was satanic (hehe). He said he never really got too into it (he said the math was his real problem. thac0 and all.), but he had some friends who really liked to play so he joined in. He said he was always the guy who got killed first - and that he always had trouble figuring out whether he was dead.
Later that evening, a bunch of people, including but not limited to the youth group, came over to their house to watch some football game (hehe). Joel was asking everyone who they wanted to win. I told him i voted for the Seahawks because they had the cooler name. I was not the only one to use such pointless forumlas to determine preference either.
I didn't pay much attention to the game anyway as me, Sam and a couple others were playing Dread Pirate - and we actually finished a game. I'd played the game several times before, but we'd never finished one. Despite my bad luck at the beginning, I actually ended up winning. Not only that, but I successfully took the Dread Pirate flag from the current holder (with the help of +5 (!) from cards i had) and managed to hold it until the end of the game, through at least 4 attacks. Truly, it was my finest hour on the high seas. okimdone.
After that, we returned here to the Rabbit Hole where i fixed the first hardware problem i've had with this computer : a loud, strange noise it was making, which turned out to be the video card's fan that had become incredibly dusty (despide the fact that it sits in the case upside down) and was making a crap load of noise.
Ok, something seriously strange happened to lain last night.
I had come out to get some juice at about 4am this morning, because it sounded good. I had gone to bed rather early so i decided to see if anyone had posted here or sent me an im or something. (curiously, i was less tired at 4am than i was at 8:40 when i got up this morning)
Well, that's when it started. I went to turn on monitor 2 of 3, and it went 'Clack clack clack' as the power button flashed. I unplugged it. The green light on the front stayed on. This freaked me out, until i unplugged it from the machine itself and it went off. Each time i returned power to the monitor thereafter, it went 'tick tick tick' in a fashion much too remenicent of a time bomb to suit me. Diagnosis: monitor fall down go boom.
Curiously, in my place, losing a monitor isn't a big deal. Knowing there were two more in the closet, i went back to bed.
This morning, i got up and replaced the monitor. Apparently my monitors death caused my video card to freak out. I have decided that it just doesn't deal with loss well, and without another monitor to comfort it, it was a real mess. I logged out to restart X. More gibberish. I turned off the computer and turned it back on. I got a bios beep code. I didn't know exactly what it was for, but i guessed it had something to do with the video card. I tried restarting the machine again. Still beep code. I took off the side panel and jiggled the video card. No beep code.
No, this time it told my my secondary master IDE drive (my cd burner) was ATAPI incompatible. Bull. I restarted it, thinking it was fluke. Still incompatible. I learned a long time ago not to put the side panel back on a machine after 'fixing' something until the darn thing actually works again, and i was glad i had remembered that lesson now. (not that taking the thumb screws out is a big deal) I disconnected and reconnected the IDE cable from the motherboard. Restarted.
Everything is apparently fine now.
so, every time i boot this machine into windows, it feels the need to punish me by ensuring that at least one major configuration issue mysteriously appears when i try to come back to the goodness of linux. It's kind of like it's saying 'fine, you wanna use that crappy os, you can stay there'. This time, none (count them: none) of my three monitors would initialize when X started. The primary display had a simple 'out of range: 19' error message (which made no sense to me) and the keyboard wouldn't let me at any of the other vt's.
on the upside, as bad as that sounds, it only took me 20 minutes to fix it - which has got to be some sort of record.
woo-hoo! Lain, my new computer, is finally up, running and fully-functional. Only took me about 5 days. sheesh. oh well, it works beautifully now.
i have, sadly, been neglecting this site since poor penpen died. I think it was a period of mourning - to abstain from my usual penguin-posting in order to reflect on the life of an old friend.
we had a pretty good game last week, though i think i put poor william to sleep at least twice.
in other news, i think my parents are coming to visit this weekend! i'm looking forward to this. haven't seen them for a good while.
other things are pretty much the same.
well. shortly after 2:30 this afternoon, PenPen, my faithful computer, called it quits. it seems his motherboard failed him. We can only hope his passing was painless and that he will rest in peace.
i'm currently conspiring on how i might acquire a new machine, since i kinda need it for work... ...and for my sanity. until then, i'm stuck with chii - which is ok, but somewhat less than ideal.
well, penpen's mostly back up in running. as i type, i'm just waiting for the last of my mp3's to be copied back over to this machine. looks like the rebuild operation was a success.
in other news, i spent the better part of the day with Brian West (one of my coworkers)(he's colorblind - can you tell? ;)) going through a bunch of computer-generated php in an effort to salvage it for a migration. this, combined with the fact that i didn't eat anything till about 5pm, gave me a pretty major headache.
on an unrelated note, i've heard that Pink Floyd's 'The Dark Side of the Moon' follows the beginning of the Wizard of Oz in some sort of uncanny fashion. thus far i've noticed no such correlation between 'Comfortably Numb' and Return of the Jedi.