So, Linux

Mar. 21st, 2011 10:26 pm
So, for about a month now, I've been running Ubuntu Linux 10.whatever on my laptop. Partly because Vista, after coming with it and being used for a couple years, was doing really random bizarre things like not recognizing USB things unless they were plugged in when the computer was turned on.

So, how has it been working? Pretty good, really. I haven't had anything to complain about. Mostly, I'm running internet stuff, and that's supported as well or better on Linux as it is in Windows. Gaming other than flash games is harder, but I got out of the habit of a good bit of gaming through the simple expedient of being broke and busy and not having the time or money. Other than gaming, for internet stuff and writing and such, Linux is doing just fine for me. The desktop's laid out well enough, and it has a search for programs, which was one of the things I'd gotten to actually like about Vista. Made me feel like I was using command line again almost.

I realize this isn't a very in-depth review, but somewhere along the way, I stopped being so interested and entertained by figuring out all the little tweaks to make computers run right, and just want them to work like I need them to. Ubuntu's been doing that pretty well for me, and so I'm happy. I do have Windows 7 (legal, even!) installed on a partition, but I've rarely felt the need to use it.
Okay, so. I am absolutely done with Vista on this thing, when the computer runs a high quality downloaded version of a video slower than streaming the same video from Youtube, I'm done.

So, since I have access to (legal, even!) copies of WinXP and Windows 7, I'm thinking I'll put both on here. And also plan on putting on some kind of Linux, so that leads to my techie question. What's the best program or system to set up a computer to dual (or more!) boot?

Suggestions on good varieties of Linux that support HP laptop stuff are welcome too.
Okay, my laptop has 3 gig of memory. Unfortunately, it also came with Vista. And while it's been slow anyway, I'm sick and tired of the endless boot and shutdown times, and the fact it seems to keep deciding to eat up all the memory and lock up Explorer even so I have to manually turn the damn thing off. Seriously, I had far less problems with my old Windows 98 computer.

Anybody know some good advice for tweaking Vista to suck less? I've tried google, which brings up lots of results, but lots are cosmetic changes, or haven't seen to have an effect. I've already scanned for viruses, I've got a spyware scanner. I guess defrag's the next step, but it takes so damn long, especially on huge modern hard drives.

And yes, "upgrade to Linux" is one solution, and I probably will dual-boot this beast eventually, but not yet.


Jun. 25th, 2009 08:25 pm
Okay, so this one program I'm using for this research project?

It's written in FORTRAN.

Can anybody recommend a good program to go through a lot of music files, identify the duplicates, and remove them? I installed iTunes, and it asked if I wanted it to consolidate my music library, which meant it made copies of all my other songs into the iTunes directory. More organized mostly, yes, but now they take up twice the space. And twice a lot is a lot!
If you're looking at buying a new USB thumb drive, make sure it doesn't have the "U3 launchpad" on it. If it does, the thumb drive's been preformatted with a second partition, which has been made read-only. That partition contains the "U3 Launchpad" program, which autoruns every time you put the thumbdrive in. Every single time. And it installs files from that on your computer, which it claims to remove when you take the thumbdrive out. And you can't disable it, since the partition is read-only. It's slow, annoying, eats six megs of the thumb drive, and it's on no matter what. Plus it doesn't do anything the Portable Apps launcher doesn't do better, and less annoyingly. They finally made a U3 uninstaller, but to uninstall it, it has to reformat the whole drive and wipe everything you have on it. So if you're unlucky enough to get one with this piece of crap, use the uninstaller before you put anything on it. It's really not worth it at all, and annoying as hell. Another example of Stupid Lame Design.


Aug. 31st, 2007 12:52 am
Man, why'd it take me so long to decide to get into engineering? Man.

Okay, two questions though. First, what Firefox addons/plugins do people use and have found handy? Is there one that works to post to LJ? I just installed PortableFirefox on a new thumb drive and want to make my life easier.

Also, does anybody have a suggestion for a good free (as in speech, not just as in beer) C++ compiler/linker/etc? Yeah, I could go download a free version of Microsoft's from their site, but dude, seriously. Especially hopefully one that's installable to a thumbdrive?
Okay, tech support time. For some reason, when I try and start up Mozilla Thunderbird now, it just locks up, it sort of half-loads, but all the outside edges are all speckley and it doesn't respond. I tried downloading the newest version, which still does it, and it worked fine several days ago, I don't know of anything that should have changed with it.


Jan. 12th, 2007 12:18 am
Why is it taking me days to try and figure out how to import my old offline contact list into ICQ/Gaim. Cripes.

Also, why is it that OSes and IM clients both are things where I have to take them and turn off tons of useless crap when I first install/update them. Cripes. No WONDER the new version of Trillian runs so slow. And it still won't properly update my contact list yet either. Sheesh.

I blame Bill Gates for making it the default that computers don't work well, so now people figure computers are unrelliable.
Okay, so I'd like to try switching over to GAIM, since it's open-source and all, but there's no functionality for importing contact lists. Which isn't a problem for things like AIM that have contact lists stored on the server, but I have a huge ICQ contact list built up over a decade. Most of it's gone dead as people moved on and changed and things, but I'd still like to have it there. And it's stored on my computer, not the servers, so GAIM won't automagically download it. Anybody have any suggestions?

That and I still need to feel my way through the quirks of GAIM's interface, and figure out how to make it do what I want. But that's part of using any new program.


Jan. 4th, 2007 12:06 pm
Something, I don't know what, in some LJ posts is crashing Mozilla. Old Mozilla, which I still use for LJ and a couple other things, just out of habit. Maybe it's just time to switch over to using Firefox for it, but I wish I knew what was causing the crashes.
I bought a pair of video games today, the first I've bought in months, at least. And I only got these because they were $10 each at Target. I got Longest Journey and Starship Tycoon. And... That's all there really is to say there, I guess.

Though I've noticed my life is almost completely about entertainment, either for me or selling other people crappy CDs to entertain them, which really isn't very much point to a life at all, I think.
So, I've been playing FF7 off and on a bit. And in thinking on it, I've come to approve of the limited upgrade stuff for people, there's really no reason I should have to worry about micromanaging armor and weapons and all that crap. Sometimes, detail gets in the way. "Hey, better sword!" works fine.

But there's a fundamental problem with it and most other console RPGs, from a dramatic and gameplay standpoint. To get all the characters and nifty stuff, you have to spend far too much time wandering around and beating up the local wildlife for money. That's not epic. That's not heroic. I'm wandering around fighting weird plant things that spit fire, or robotic motorcycles that drive themselves. Over and over.

Obviously, combat is one of the main elements of the game, and much of the fun. But it's fun when it's a challenge, or to show off spiffy new skills. Fighting purple birds for the fourteenth time is old. At least for me. It's another reason for me to stay away from MMORPGs, because most of those involve hunting and slaying the local wildlife and taking their money, so you can get to the meat of the game, leveling up and getting the nifty new toys.

The random combats only act to draw out the game. Afterwards, what do you remember? The storyline and the boss fights, not beating up rats. The random fights are just filler. And it'd be nice to have an RPG experience without all the filler.
I can't help but wonder if, all else aside, the reason computers were invented and took off in the "West" first is the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets are a lot easier to have a computer display than Arabic or Chinese or Japanese or similar languages.
Well, it's not an outage that kept me offline. It's the spectacular incompetence of Verizon, which I had only heard about before. Yes, I'd love to be able to switch to another company, but there isn't one. There's no competition in DSL, the only ones who can offer it are the local phone companies. They're supposed to let other companies use their lines, but they consistently engaged in illegal manipulative practices to wreck the other companies' connection speed, repair time, setup time, and so on, until they were all driven out of business. Isn't it great when part of our basic infrastructure's owned by amoral profit-hungry companies?

Anyway, other electronics have been pissing me off, like Viewtiful Joe, because for some reason, the programmers were on something and decided that one of the bosses should have an attack that you can't block, is almost impossible to dodge, and deals between one and five levels of health to you. Also, he has like ten times your health to start with. No, see, guys, that's not fun. At all. Spending two hours trying to replay the same boss fight over and over is not enjoyable. At least they don't make me slog through the whole rest of the level again before the fight, so that's one good point.

So many basic functions of my computer rely on the net, it's hard to find things to do. At least on the computer, I doubt it'd hurt me at all to be offline, go outside or something. Or write, or something. Such as this. But right now, I'm just frustrated over the stupid game. And Verizion. And I can't even get online to find hints for the game, either.

(Edit: I did finally beat him, but guys, seriously, attacks you can't see to dodge, can't block, and can deal stupid amounts of damage? No fun.)

Technorati Tags: Mindscribbles, Me, Computers, The Internets, Gaming
My computer is crippled again. We've had DSL for barely a week, and it went down. Verizion had some kind of outage nearby, that hit us, but it's supposed to be fixed now. Yet the modem sits there, the DSL light glowing forlornly, waiting for its companion Internet light to come on.

And yet, I haven't noticed as much. Partly it's the timing, since I was gone Friday to play Magic, then started a new Vampire campaign which went late, and so I wouldn't have been on anyway. Then Saturday I came home, napped, and went to work. And work today, too. My schedule is strange and confusing. But also, I've been reading David Brin's second Uplift series, and I have a new video game, Viewtiful Joe, that I'm not yet bored with, though I'm growing frustrated somewhat. And then I got home from work today and knocked out this and so far two other LJ entries, because I was in an introspective (or I guess it could be put, angsty) mood. There's several more lurking about in my brain, more than one of which could probably be boiled down to "I'm lonely." So I don't know how many of them I'll write, especially since I don't know when I'll actually get to post these. That depends on Verizion, whose tech support and reliability aren't legendary.

Technorati Tags: Mindscribbles, Me, The Internets, Computers
"People who illegally share music files online are also big spenders on legal music downloads, research suggests."

Now, I remember, back when Napster was around, so like seven years ago, repeated studies say the EXACT SAME THING. Only then it was "downloaders buy more CDs." At the same time as the record industry was raking in record profits. This is not news. The media companies don't like people sharing music not because it costs them money, but because they lose control that way. Control is their goal, control over the way you use music/movies/whatever, ideally, they'd like to get paid every time somebody listens to a song or watches a movie or TV or whatever. Which is bullshit. It's got nothing to do with "protecting the artists", 'cause the record companies are busy hurting the artists as much as they can get away with. This is why they want to cripple computers, CDs, and everything else, and limit how you can use them.

Tags: Links, News, Music, Everyday Evil, Computers
I'd think having one of your best defended colonies have all of its defenses destroyed before they could fire a shot would be the kind of thing to put somebody in a negotiating mood, especially when the people who just did it (me) don't invade or anything, and are offering peace if you'll quit being such idiots.

Stupid Sakkra.
My computer is crippled. I have no internet access. Yesterday, the family computer, the one all the internet traffic goes through, died. I think the power supply gave up the ghost, since it shut off, then wouldn't turn back on. Windows, ever vigilant, has ensured that the user experience hasn't changed at all, by crashing Editpad twice while I was typing this, and crashing totally a third time. Because of where the phone lines are and everything, I would need a 50' cable or so to hook mine up directly. Lacking that, I have to wait until we can replace the power supply and anything else that burned out. This is another reason we need to get DSL, so things go through the router. That and it's muchly better.

But until then, my computer is crippled. I can't surf the web, get email, chat, or look at fora. Which is most of what I use the net for (and one of the reasons I don't need to upgrade my computer, my needs are relatively simple). I can't rip music off my CDs, well, I can, but they'd have no track information, and entering all the information is far too tedious for me to do it. My antivirus programs can't update, but without net access, they're a lot less relevant. And I can't post to or read LJ, but I'm still writing this, to post backdated when I get access back. As I intend to do with a few other things.

But the genius of important things that fundamentally change stuff is how invisible they become. Like the internet. Or running water. Or electricity, refrigeration, and so on. They utterly change how we live, but they do it invisibly, and fade into the background. That's how real changes work, they become parts of your life, not drawing attention to themselves. And you don't notice them until they're gone. Like the internet. I've become so used to having things like CDDB (well, FreeDB, CDDB turned evil), google, wikipedia, imdb, etc at my fingertips, that not having them feels strange. Like my computer's crippled.

But then again, I've spent a good portion of my life on the internet. We got net access first like seven years ago, which is almost a third of my life. A lot of the pivotal moments of my life involve the net (which is probably sad in some ways, but). I've grown up with the net available, and taken it for granted. It's integrated into my life, and probably only going to get moreso as time goes on, with things getting more mobile, and wireless. Where's my cortical cybermodem and mirrorshades with my own AI assistant built in? Because I so want that.

Technorati Tags: Me, Journal, The Internets, Computers



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