Hi Dad! (yep, we've got another holiday for parents coming up.) Everybody wave a big "Hi!" to him, since it's all his fault that I'm into computers so much
Hello folks and welcome once more to the marvelous world of The Answer Gang. I'm sorry if things seem a mite slim this month -- I had a little fun with the email monster (and we're pubbing half a day earlier than usual). It seems if your mail server is down for long enough on a really busy mailing list (gosh I wonder what list that would be!) you fall off. Eventually I clued in and re-subscribed, but meanwhile I've got a few goodies from the past few months.
After all we really do answer a lot more people than get published nowadays.
So, what lessons can you, gentle readers, learn from my trevails this month? Let's start taking inventory:
- Do have a regular backup plan, and do occasionally check that it works. I do, it does, and when that 10 year old itty bitty hard disk kinda mostly gave up the ghost, I knew I still had something to work with.
Although I admit that I'm glad it wasn't so bad that I had to reload from scratch. New installs can take a few hours if you're picky about your system settings.
- I've learned to use mutt's "save hooks" even more than last month. This is a very good thing. It means that a lot of my mail can be refiled perfectly with only two keystrokes each, or less if I do bulk tagging on boring threads.
- I'm also now a big fan of l (for limit) ~L (either originated or rec'd by) and one of my favorite list sites. e.g. ssc or debian. I don't have to type the whole thing. Yum!
Of course I mentioned Baycon last month but for me it was only last weekend. If you'll be in the Silicon Valley next year around Memorial Day next year, get your membership now while it's still cheap -- this year was the 20th anniversary and we had a real blast. Between my Star Trek crew (hey, we're the 24th century's user group, we can beam a few folks down to a convention) and the local Linuxdojo group we did just fine. It seems my friend Tim is part of a big effort to stop software piracy... by the rather completist tactic of moving away from software that thinks it can be stolen at all. If you want to know more about that, check out http://stay-legal.org and see what you can do for it too. So he had a good chance to play with some desktop layouts he had in mind.
- I'm pleased to say that Hancom Office works so well hardly anybody noticed that it might have been different than other word processors they were already used to. Speaks RTF without even a hiccup, too.
- floppies are still a bit of a pain though. Thank goodness for mtools.
But he's got me started on a good track. I've often said, but hardly made any chance to implement, that people simply don't care so much about whether all these apps think they match, as whether they just work when launched. It's a trickier puzzle to solve for the lesser machines, and since my own stock in trade is people tuning up older systems (which can only go so far before you may as well buy a new one) and laptops (which don't allow luxuries like swapping out video for a card that behaves itself) -- Tim and I can put our heads together on a reasonable layout for these beasties.
I'm pleased to say that my "new" workstation works very nicely now. I've got sound - so I use at jobs to poke me that I have to do something. (Imagine quiet bedoop noises at the wee hours, "talking computers" midday. My current favorite noise? "We're Starfleet officers. Weird is part of the job.")
I'm so happy, my color printer works! I'm still working on having both printers available to the household at the same time. (Yes I'm slow. The color printer is still working just as well as last month, so at least I haven't broken it yet.) I've given up on the idea of them living at the same computer; old betel deals with the laser quite happily and I suppose my new one can be taught to serve the color printer. But I'll be a bit annoyed if nobody else in the house can remote-print into it. It really shouldn't be so tough, one would think. Except that the rest of the household still speaks lpd and the color beastie is happy on CUPS
I've got my Wacom Graphire USB tablet and boy am I a happy camper with that! Although it's wierd...
- It actually behaves better as a "generic PS/2 mouse" attached to /dev/input/mice than it does when I try to use options more specific to Wacom tablets. Go figure. Too bad the pen only has one button. The mouse pointer is a wheelmouse, but I haven't tested whether it behaves. It does 3 buttons so I'm happy enough to work day-to-day.
Of course I immediately set up my color tricks for consoles, and I compose the TAG column from under a dedicated user, just as I have other users for other projects, and a few chroot kits for development.
In the next couple of weeks I look forward to visiting the USENIX Annual Technical conference (http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix02) and hanging out with a bunch of my sysadmin colleagues. By then maybe I'll have more of my own tweaked LNX-BBC variant finished. Maybe I'll even have it finished enough to hand some out rather than merely show off, but I'm not holding my breath. It seems like every time I start a new small project like that my regular client work increases. Which I can hardly complain about, given the current economy
And my internet-lounge-on-wheels continues apace. Later in the year (around Labor Day) I'll be in charge of that again, but this time for a much bigger gathering, the World Science Fiction Convention. (http://www.conjose.org) If you're a fan and planning to attend, I can still use volunteers on my crew. Use the link for me at the bottom of this page instead of bugging the Gang, if you're interested.
With that, I've babbled quite enough, I think. On to the threads!