failing like never before


Ow My Head

I have a lovely article in the process of being written right now. Unfortunately, I'm too tired to finish it up now so I'm putting it off until tomorrow morning or afternoon.

A few things of note that have happened to me lately:

  • I hit my head three times while helping my uncle move on Saturday; once on the garage door while walking down the moving truck's ramp, once on a low-hanging ceiling light, and once on a very expensive Buddhist table thingum. So yes, my head hurts very much and sadly enough I'm still not exhibiting any sort of psychic powers, stupid kiddy pulp-fiction books.
  • I booted my desktop into Windows XP, the first time in several months.
  • Something else thats really cool, that I will mention tomorrow!
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The Linux Choice Part Deux

OK, so you've read my article entitled The Linux Choice (or perhaps you haven't), and you're slightly confused by what exactly I meant. I thought, at the time of writing it, that I was being quite clear and succinct but obviously I was not.

(Yeah, so it wasn't very good, but really, did it sound like I was advocating a Microsoft-style development strategy for Linux? I mean, it wasn't that badly worded, was it?)

Just to be clear, I really like Linux and the choices that it offers. My intentions when writing the original Linux Choice, were to emphasize the reasons why so many people chose Linux, thus the title "The Linux Choice." Many people that have had only superficial experiences with Linux (that is to say, have "dipped their toes into the vast ocean that is Linux") tend to be dislike the confusingly huge numbers of choices that they have to make. They want easy, they want something that "just works" (of course Windows never works perfectly). But most Linux users love being able to make their own choices; something that Windows or Apple will probably never allow them to do.

Linux users got fed up with having Microsoft and Apple make all the wrong choices, so they took matters into their own hands. Some people like huddling in the shadows of towering corporations, finding solace in being babied. Others just don't give a crap. And yet many people complain and complain about how bad Windows is but never do anything about it. They never decide to "make their own choices," whereas Linux users (and other open source OS users) do.


Good Business

I went to a Japanese Buffet a few nights ago. The place was located in the richer side of town, and was quite upscale. I could tell it was posh because their bathrooms were clean and they kept the place dimly lit (I don't understand why expensive places are always darkly lit, surely they can manage to pay the electricity bills.).

As we were walking in, I noticed that one of the waitresses was speaking to a customer in Cantonese. I thought it a bit strange at first, considering it was a Japanese restaurant, but realized that it was not unheard of for Japanese people to speak Cantonese. But later on I overheard the two sushi chefs joking to each other in Cantonese. One might assume that the staff were simply multilingual and familiar with many different tongues, but the ease with which the chefs spoke Cantonese and the fact that they spoke it for conversing rather then Japanese or English, would seem to imply that Cantonese and not Japanese was their native tongue. Also, I have never met a Japanese man with the surname "Hong," because "Hong" is a distinctly Chinese name (although to be fair, he could have been of Chinese descent but grew up in Japan).


The Linux Choice

Newcomers to Linux are often baffled by the wealth and diversity of choices offered to them when they begin installing Linux for the very first time.

It begins when they first select a Linux distribution, or what some people call a "flavor" (I personally find "flavor" to be an irritating term). Debian, Slackware, Ubuntu, Suse, Fedora, Gentoo, PCLinux... The list of Linux distributions is nearly endless, how is a person to chose whats best for themselves? But choosing a distribution is only the beginning, what about the bootloader? Lilo or GRUB? And as for the filesystems, should I use Ext3 or ReiserFS (or perhaps even JFS or XFS), and how should I partition my hard drives and mount them? Should I use KDE or Gnome, or perhaps one of the less renowned desktop environments, like Enlightenment (version 16 or 17?), Fluxbox, Icewm, or XFCE? BASH, or KSH? AppArmor or SELinux?

So many choices! When I install Windows, all I have to do is stick the CD in and click "next" a few times. No wonder Linux possesses such a minute market share! It appears that the lack of unity within the Linux community is the reason that Linux still remains unpopular; open source programmers spend their time coding slightly different programs to accomplish the same task, each one believing that their way is the best. But wouldn't it be better, more efficient, to eliminate all these unnecessary, redundant projects and consolidate the efforts of the Linux community into generating a single program for each task, thus creating a single, standard Linux distribution? Wouldn't it be better, in short, to make Linux more like Windows or Mac?


The Laptop Search

Its about time that I finally got a laptop. I'll be starting my second year of college this fall, and it'll be nice to be able to have a laptop to take to class and the library. For the past few years, I've had the same desktop, a Pentium 4 3Ghz, with 1gig of RAM and an ATI Radeon x800 xl, and it has been quite good to me. I'll be sorry to part with it.

I think its best, when shopping for a computer (or indeed, shopping for most things) to specify what one wants, or does not want out of it.

  • So firstly, I want it to able to run Linux well. I've no qualms against diving into configuration files and getting dirty, but I still want a Linux friendly machine.
  • Pretty much every laptop these days comes with Vista installed. I hate Vista, but fortunately I have an official ISO image of Windows XP Pro 64-bit, so I want a laptop that will play nicely with Windows XP. (Were it up to me, I would never use Windows, but I need certain programs for school, like Visual Studio, DreamWeaver (Yuck! I can write my own code, thank you very much.), and CAD stuff.)
  • I'm not a gamer, so an integrated graphics card would be fine. I would actually prefer to have an Intel integrated graphics because I know Intel tends to be pretty open with their graphics cards. Nvidia would be fine, but not as preferable as Intel, and ATI/AMD is definitely out of the question.

Daily Log – 13 July 2008

Yeah, so I know I pretty much killed my idea of a "daily log" a few weeks ago (I was far too lazy, and anyways it really wasn't that interesting; ate, read, ran, slept, how exciting!). But regardless (Woot! I didn't say "irregardless"), heres another daily log, sorta.

  • Went to church.
  • Went to Circuit City. They had these folders on sale for $0.01 (US dollars) each, with a limit of twenty per customer. So my mom had my dad and I buy twenty each, with the end result that our house now has sixty brightly colored folders that will probably never be used. But at least we got a discount, eh?!
  • Also while at Circuit City, I took the opportunity of looking at their surprisingly wide range of laptops. I've been thinking about getting a laptop for a while now, and I've been doing some research online. Most of the laptops were pretty mainstream-ish; a typical 14.1 inch widescreen monitor, a few gigs of ram, a 120 gig hard drive, Vista, and a middle of the road CPU. I was surprised to discover that some (perhaps all) of the laptops were connected to the internet, through Circuit City's wireless network! Which is really a bit strange. I was tempted to install a Bittorrent client and download some popular music to see if the RIAA would come after Circuit City. But I'm not that mean of a person.
  • I also came across an HP desktop, with a touchscreen monitor. It was fun to play with, but I doubt I would ever want one.
  • Watched Lord of War later after I got home, with my dad. It was actually quite good and somewhat interesting.

Yeah! Daily Log! WOOT!

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Openbox Windows Manager

This is just a quick little summary of my recent experiences with Openbox.

Up until now, the only Windows Managers and Desktop Environments for Linux that I've used, were KDE, Gnome, Fluxbox, Enlightenment (16 and 17) and XFCE. Today, while wandering some forums, I came across a really nice screenshot of Openbox. I haven't heard much about Openbox, up until now, so I decided to download it and give it a shot. I was happy to find that Openbox is in the Debian repositories, so I didn't have to go out and fetch it myself and build it from source, as I had to do with Enlightenment 17.

Openbox can be used as a drop-in replacement for Metacity or KWin in Gnome or KDE (I think you can even use Openbox with XFCE), respectively, but it can also be used as a stand-alone Desktop Environment. I decided to use Openbox as its own Desktop Environment seeing as the only other Desktop Environment that I have is E17, and I'm pretty sure Openbox and Enlightenment don't mix together.

The first thing that I noticed when I started X, was that Openbox is amazingly minimalistic; all I got on startup, was a grey screen with my mouse icon in the center. I'd upload a screenshot but theres no point, since theres absolutely nothing exciting to see. I thought at first, that something had surely gone wrong, but no, Openbox really is meant to start with just a plain gray screen.

The benefits of Openbox are immediately obvious: extremely low system requirements, especially when compared to heavyweights like Gnome or KDE. However, you lose the cohesiveness you get with KDE or Gnome; common applications like a text editor, file manager, dock, or menu bar are not included and must be added manually. Openbox also does not support compositing, and lacks any kind of flashy graphical effects altogether. But, if you like having a streamlined Desktop Environment with everything configured just as you like, then perhaps Openbox is for you. Although I'm quite a fan of Enlightenment, Openbox is quite appealing to me, for some reason it just seems spiffy. Also, unlike E17, Openbox is stable (although E17 is already quite stable enough for my day-day-to-day uses).

If I'm feeling up to it, I may mess around a little more with Openbox and post some more details.


Server Uptime

I'm currently hosting my site with railsplayground, who provide a fairly decent hosting plan for just 5 US dollars per month. Up until the this year, server uptime with railsplayground seemed to quite good. But this year, especially in the past month or so, uptime has been pretty flaky. Today, the server my site is hosted on was down for well over twelve hours, and my site just can back online an hour ago. Hopefully, this is just some weird funky thing going on with my server and this won't be a problem again. I really do like railsplayground and I don't look foward to having to seek out another hosting service and move all my crap over, but if problems continue I may very well have to.