If I ever get a Smartphone…

OK, here’s the deal: I refuse compromise. If I’m going to get a cross between a palmtop computer and a phone, I’m going to insist that it has all the benefits of a really good palmtop and a really good phone, or else I might as well continue to use what I got, which is a low-end but perfectly functional phone and an old, but near-perfect and hierto unsurpassed palmtop (Psion 5mx).

I’ve owned a Psion 5mx since ’99 or so, and I’ve tried a few models in between, but this is the only palmtop I could ever actually use. it has the bare necessities – good clones of Word and Excell, a notetaking app that simply rock the ass off everything everywhere, and a reasonably open SDK and architecture. There’s lots of great freeware etx for the Psion, and I could probably make my own if I needed to. The drawbacks of the Psion are mostly related to its aging standards, rather than its still very great internals. It can only communicate with a PC through an ancient COM-port (or, very shakily, through IR), for instance. No USB or Wifi here. It has one expansion port, only capable of accepting CompactFlash cards. The built-in dictaphone has no OGG or MP3 support.

So, I’ve found myself on the constant lookout for anything that could possibly replace my trusty 5mx. If that gadget also happens to be able to double as a phone and, perhaps, even tripple as a party-mode camera… So much the better.

The problems are many. Most machines are either too large to fit in a pocket, or have too small (or no) keyboard. And no, on-screen keyobard doesn’t count, you Apple-cunts. Psion 5mx has by far the most perfect palmtop keyboard I’ve ever seen. It’s perfect in size, and the hinges and the slide function that makes the machine perfectly balanced when opened up are simply perfect. Also, the 5mx boots in absolutely no time, which is very important, since it enables me to wake up at 3 AM and jot down a dream or an idea that came to me in my sleep without it escaping me, and I can also just take it out during long walks and instantly begin writing stuff. So many palmtops etc fail there. Other problems include short battery life (the 5mx has a classic green LCD screen which draws next to no power from the two AA-batteries included), lack of an SDK (the Iphone once again comes to mind) and a hundred other little nagging things…

But really, if anyone has found a machine with the following specs, please don’t hesitate:

  • 8 hours+ battery life. Active usage, not passive.
  • QWERTY-keybard, preferably with characters å ä and ö, nordic style. The keyboard must be small enough to write on using thumbs only while the unit is held in both hands, but must also be big enough to let each key be usable without extra tools.
  • Word- Excell- and notetaking apps. And, preferably, a solid SDK and a bunch of third-party apps.
  • No DRM.
  • Support for OGG and MP3.
  • Wifi and USB connection. Bluetooth support a plus, but no must.
  • Touchscreen is great for when you want to draw something, especially if there’s a stylus hidden somewhere inside the unit.
  • Fast boot times. I mean seriously fast.
  • If it includes a camera, please let it include at least basic settings like zoom, depths etc. I don’t know half the words in english, but those of you who know anything about photography probably know what I mean.
  • If it includes a phone… Well, I just call and text, no need for any spectacular phone features. It just needs to work.
  • Preferrably some kind of good expansion port. Think external USB drives as well as Sony Memory Sticks. Whatever, as long as it’s usable.
  • I’d like a dictaphone feature that I don’t need to fiddle with. Ideally, just a button somewhere on the outside of the device that I just press and it records. The 5mx has a great one in theory, but lack of mp3 supoort and buttons that are a pain to press (seriously, they hurt) has, together with an absolutely horrible microphone, made this one of the least-used feature of my machine.

Anyways, I don’t seriously expect this dream-machine to exist in the real world. They all have flaws – most have no qwerty-keyboard at all, those that do either have too large or too small or have some other flaw, like short battery life etc etc.

But dreaming is nice… =)

Den såkallade kommunismen

Först en liten disclaimer: jag är verkligen ingen kommunist själv. Jag går inte med på Marx’ historianalys och menar att det är direkt naivt att tro att enbart produktionsförhållanden är vad som formar människan. Jag tror heller inte på våldsamma maktövertaganden, oavsett om dessa sker med hjälp av eller mot en stat (Observera hur många av de som är emot kommunismen för att den förespråkar det våldsamma regeringsskiftet samtidigt gillar att USA gått in i t.ex Irak och tillsatt ny regering. Med våld. Lustigt, va?)

Nå: Först och främst ska vi minnas att kommunismen, såsom den ursprungligen formulerades av herrar Marx och Engels, var en produkt av sin samtid. Det var i ett tidigt skede av en våldsam omvälvning av hela vårt samhälle och vårt sätt att tänka; Industrialiseringen. Socialister av olika slag hade redan funnits några år och grundläggande tankar om social rättvisa och utjämnande av klasskillnader var knappast något herrar Marx och Engels uppfann själva.

Kommunismen, som den definieras av Marx och Engels, utgår från att arbetarklassen, när det nuvarande steget i mänsklighetens historia och det nya tankesättet och sättet att sköta samhället gått till sin spets, kommer att slita sina bojjor och inse att de är förtryckta, och då kasta ner överklassen. Antagligen, anser Marx, kommer detta att behöva ske med våld. Han uppmanade arbetare över hela världen att förbereda sig, att organisera sig, att kräva sin rätt och att förbereda för den kommande revolutionen. Kommunismen var internationell och visste inga nationsgränser. Skulle den genomföras, tyckte Marx, så måste den genomföras överallt. I det kommunistiska samhället, som för övrigt är samhället efter det att det tillfälliga proletariatets diktatur (där arbetarklassen som helhet dikterar hur samhället ska styras och omfördelar resurserna) avskaffats och allt blivit rättvist och bra.

Nå; den som har minsta lilla vett i skallen inser givetvis att det finns problem här. Historiematerialismen, idén om att samhället utvecklas enligt någon förbestämd “trappa”, är givetvis rent nonsens, och att tänka sig att den internationella arbetarklassen liksom automatiskt skulle resa sig och samarbeta på det sättet känns verklighetsfrånvänt. Kommunismen var en produkt av sin samtid, och i dagens era av elektronisk kommunikation etc ter den sig både naiv och föråldrad.

Något man däremot inte kan beskylla den för är att ha blivit omsatt i praktiken. Diverse tänkare på höger, och för all del den svenska såkallade vänsterkanten brukar ofta visa sin totala okunnighet i historia och idéhistoria genom att kalla Soviet, gamla DDR, Kina och Kuba för “kommunistiska” stater. Låt oss därför försöka spalta upp vad Marx’ kommunistiska teori sade, och hur väl dessa länder förhåller sig till denna.

Marx:

  • Internationell (alla gör samtidigt)
  • Spontan (revolutionen kommer automatiskt när det nuvarande samhällssystemet kommit till sin spets)
  • Demokratisk (arbetarklassen som helhet tar makten; inga uttalade ledare)
  • Ickemonetär (Av var och en efter förmåga, åt var och en efter behov; pengar nämns inte)

Kuba/Soviet/Kina:

  • Nationell (våldsam revolution i varje land)
  • Påtvingad (inget av länderna kan påstås ha kommit tillräckligt långt för att det ska vara motiverat att säga att de nått det parlemantariska/kapitalistiska systemets “spets. Sovjet kom i stort sett direkt från ett medeltida samhälle utan att ens mellanlanda i parlemantarismen)
  • Diktatorisk (samtliga länder har starka ledare och makthierarkier)
  • Kapitalistisk (Kina är idag ett av världens mest kapitalistiska länder, och även i Soviet hade man kvar monetära system)

För den uppmärksamme innebär detta att den såkallade kommunism som praktiseras i Kina och på Kuba, och som praktiserades i Sovjet och DDR, har väldigt lite gemensamt med vad Marx och för den delen de flesta tongivande kommunistiska tänkare (utom, givetvis, de som faktiskt använde de kommunistiska slagorden för att själva skaffa personlig makt; Lenin, Stalin, Mao etc) faktiskt tyckt. Att säga att Sovjet eller DDR var kommunistiska är som att säga att någon kan vara vegetarian samtidigt som den äter kött, eller att Robert Mugabe är demokratiskt vald. Robert säger själv att han är demokratisikt vald – men tydligen kan man lite lite på honom, för om man jämför vad demokratiska tänkare sagt med praktiken kring Mugabes “val” så finner man att det inte är demokrati.

Om det inte går som en anka, inte låter som en anka, inte ser ut som en anka och inte äter eller simmar som en anka – då är det nog ingen anka, även om det påstår sig vara en.

Så är det alltså med det “historiska arv” dagens kommunister ständigt måste be om ursäkt för; den i praktiken ogenomförbara och fruktansvärt naiva ideologin har använts som PR-verktyg för diktatorer och härförare. Det kan man inte lasta ideologin för, mer än man kan lasta kristendomen i sig (denna ytterst disparata religion där det enda som finns gemensamt mellan två grupper är att de antagligen har en jesusfigur och oftast fokuserar på någon del av någon variant av bibeln) för förtryck av folkgrupper, korståg eller häxbränningar.

Så återigen: kommunismen är föråldrad och naiv, men den har aldrig genomförts i praktiken. Antagligen för att den inte går att genomföras i praktiken. Ingen har hittills försökt.

They live in the rainforest

OK, so there are forgotten tribes of strange indians in the rainforests, who have had absolutely no contact with other humans in god knows how long. Seems kind of Pulp-novel-ish to me, which is very cool of course, so I guess I’ll write something on the subject.

First of all, I really loathe all the “back to nature” romanticists. You know, the people who claim we were really better off living in primitive huts or caves, spending every waking hour hunting for food. People who think indian religion is any more relevant than modern-day christianity or islam. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones with fake-indian-style posters with wolf motifs, the ones who claim we should go back to more “Natural Ways of Living”. We’ve spend 10.000 years trying to get away from what you call nature, and that’s for good reason. We now live longer and have much more time to spend on finding out new neat stuff about ourselves. We finally have the time to do some serious social and mental evolution, and these people want to go backwards? Fuck them. We, the entire world of mankind, is constantly evolving, changing into something better. Butterflies from ugly larvae.

Anyways, not a big fan of “natural” ways of life, I am. Neither am I especially embracing of the doctrine of conservation of culture. Culture evolves, constantly. Trying to conserve nature in some kind of pristine state is juwst foolish – not too long ago, it was “culture” around these parts to beat your wife and your kids. Great kind of culture, right? Culture is everything, and older forms of culture are, generally, not as good as more recent forms. I can understand documenting culture, for archival purposes (even though we now know that both observer and observed are changed by the process of observation; especially in cultural studies). So? Take a bunch of pictures, learn the language and document it, jot down as much about the culture as you can or feel the need to.

But then, please, don’t let these people live their life the way they are. Give them access to modern medicine and technology. Use the next few generations to ease them into the IT age. Kids learn fast. Give them OLPC’s and watch them be creative with it. These people could be much more than they are, and their culture, like that of those precious fucking north-american indians, is obsoltet. Ready for upgrade. Allowing these people to live on as they do is terrible. It’s like stunting their growth. Civilizations and cultures evolve in contact with other cultures.

The death of an obsolete culture, like the death of a language, is not a thing to mourn. It is a thing to rejoice.

Media Center solutions…

Oh yeah, I’m on a roll here. Time for some more testing. This time, it’s all about the simplicity – and the media. I’ve been tinkering with a HTPC (without HD support or a TV card…) to replace my aging X-Box/XBMC solution. XBMC is the standard I expect other applications to measure up to. It suits me perfectly – regular, old-school directory browsing (no fancy-schmancy indexing), speed, looks neat… I’ve chosen to use Linux (trusty old Ubuntu) as the basis for my HTPC, and so I’ve tried a few of the media center solutions out there. This is less thurough than when I tested autio players, since this is mostly a way for me to remember which I’ve tried and what I didn’t like about them. Currently, the HTPC is a bit sluggish, but rund XBMC for Linux without too much fuss.

Eliza

Inflexible, slow, indexes everything. Neat, simple interface, but lack basic features (like turning on/off subtitles).

My Media System

Inflexible and slow, like all indexing apps. Shows huge subs by default, lacks working configuration dialog. Looks great.

Entertainer

Very good-looking, but uses set directories and indexing. Next.

MythTV

A lot of crap I don’t need, geared towards TV-card users. Too much for me, and I couldn’t get its database backend to work properly.

XBMC Linux

Not as fast as its X-box counterpart. Looks good as always. Works great, too.

…In other words, I’ll probably stick with XBMC.

Audio players in Linux

OK, here’s another round of “Krank tests stuff and says nasty things about them”.

In Windows, I’ve been using Foobar for a few years, and it’s more or less erverything I want from an audio player; an opt-in library function, great flexibility, extensions to do more or less everything… And an incredibly low footprint. And it’s portable, as in I can stick it on an USB stick and take it with me. Well, as some of you may know I switched to Ubuntu a while back, and after an initial experiment with MPD (Music Player Daemon) I began using foobar2000 through Wine. MPD didn’t really work for me; too library-based. Sometimes I got just one single downloaded song and I just don’t feel the need to add it to my library, you know?

Anyways, today I had some spare time and decided to try out some of the more popular Linux alternatives. I limited the scope of this experiment to only include non-winampish software, since I have come to really dislike their interfaces. The foobar/itunes/amarok interface appelas more to me, with playlists being central and part of the main window etc. The players I’ve tested this time around are: BMPx, Exaile, Songbird, Foobar2000 (through wine) and Amarok (late additions: Rhythmbox, Banshee, Quod Libet, Decibel). Foobar2000 was seriously modded using addons etc, and I did my best to look for addons etc for the other players as well. If you think this is unfair, fuck off.

So; let’s begin.

1. Indexing my library.

Being a very manly guy, I am of course sporting a large… audio library. To be exact, I have 14.184 song, totalling 62.4 gb. They’re all on a shared folder on my server. I know this means slower indexing and access, but it’s the same for everyone so the test’s still fair. I used Stopwatch from the Ubuntu repos to measure how much time it took each player from the moment i clicked “OK” in the directory selection box to the moment where the indexing process declared itself finished. There is, I think, enough distinct difference in time between the different players to excuse my inexactness.

  • BMPx: 6:09
  • Exaile: 11:58
  • Songbird: Epic fail
  • Foobar2000: 8:10
  • Amarok: 14:50
  • Rhthmbox: 18:40
  • Banshee: Epic fail
  • Quod Libet: 9:00
  • Decibel: 8:17

BMPx was the fastest, but either it didn’t index IDv2 tags at all or it just ignored secondary and tertiary genres. Since I use a lot of secondary etc genres, this made BMPx a less than perfect choice for me. Songbird failed completely, getting stuck about 1/10 into the indexing. I waited for 10 minutes, but it was just… stuck. I couldn’t even see what file it got stuck on. Less than ideal. Same thing with Banshee, but Banchee got stuck on different files every time. Either way,I’m not impressed. Quod Libet fared better, but gets a heap of minus points for the complete lack of progress intication – I couldnä’t see how far it had gone or what file it was currently indexing, nothing.

2. Opt-in database/library indexing of every song

I’m not really a “library” kind of guy. I’m the kind of person who is very much anal about directory structures and ID3 tags, so flat libraries never really appealed to me; I want direct file control. I got nothing against libraries, I just don’t want to have to use them all the time. And also, like I wrote before, I like being able to listen to a file without necessarily adding it to the library.

  • BMPx: yes
  • Exaile: yes
  • Songbird: no
  • Foobar2000: yes
  • Amarok: yes
  • Rhythmbox: no
  • Banshee: no
  • Quod Libet: In theory…
  • Decibel: yes

I was expecting problems here, but it was only Songbird that seemed to add my selected file to its library. (Late addition: Rhythmbox and Banshee also failed, and Quod Libet seemed to support what I wanted, but I couldn’t get it to work. And if I don’t, then your average joe won’t even fucking bother…) Being kind of unimpressed with Songbird since the last test anyways, I simply sighed, and moved on to:

3. Ability to index by multiple genres

Like I wrote before, I use a lot of multiple genres. For instance, swedish punk songs are marked as “punk” and “svenska” (“svenska” is swedish for “swedish”). That way, in good library browsers, I can choose to listen to all punk or just my swedish punk, and even all music in swedish regardless of genre.

  • BMPx: no
  • Exaile: partial
  • Songbird: partial
  • Foobar2000: yes
  • Amarok: partial
  • Rhythmbox: no
  • Banshee: no
  • Quod Libet: yes
  • Decibel: no

Exaile and Amarok simply merged my multiple genres, so “punk” and “svenska” became a genre known as “punk svenska”. Sure, this allows me to select all swedish punk, but not all punk or just all swedish music. Songbird lets me select multiple genres, but (like BMPx and Rhythmbox) didn’t seem to index secondary genres. I couldn’t get Decibel to show genres at all.


4. System resources.

I am a big fan of resource-friendly software. Not only because I’ve spent a lot of time on low-end systems, but also because I think it’s kind of rude to use more than the resources necessary to accomplish a given task. They’re my resources, and if I want to waste them on useless crap, I get some useless crap programs and run them, in stead. Resource waste should be opt-in, is all I’m saying. The first number is processor usage and the second is RAM, both according to the Gnome System Monitor. I’m using a 3.0ghz hyperthreading CPU and tests were run using a fully indexed library (except, of course, in the case of Songbird) and the same song playing (“Balladen om Olsson” by swedish punk band “23 till”).

  • BMPx: 2-4% 34mb
  • Exaile: 3-6% 154m
  • Songbird: 4-11% 137mb
  • Foobar2000: 4-11 26mb
  • Amarok: 4-7% 52mb
  • Rhythmbox: 2% 37mb
  • Banshee: 1-2% 52mb
  • Quod Libet: 0-2% 67mb
  • Decibel: 1-2% 30mb

Both Exaile and (unsurprisingly) Songbird get big fat epic fails here. 137 mb’s without even a library to blame it on? Crap, is what I call this. Utter crap. BMPx was low but not very surprising given its limited indexing, so the two big winners here are clearly Amarok, which performed admirably and surprisingly good, and foobar2000, which (as usual) worked very, very well. Rhythmbox was a very nice surprise here, although its small footprint might be exmplained by its relatively simplistic id3 tagging.
5. Album art

All my music has folder art. In each album’s folder is a file called “Folder.jpg” which contains a medium-to-high resolution version of the album’s cover. I want this to “simply work”; I want the player to support album art and be able to detect the existing folder art.

  • BMPx: no
  • Exaile: yes
  • Songbird: perhaps; couldn’t make it work
  • Foobar2000: yes (through addon)
  • Amarok: yes
  • Rhythmbox: yes
  • Banshee: no
  • Quod Libet: yes
  • Decibel: no

Yeah, Songbird fucked up here, as well. Big whoop. And, as usual, BMPx was too limited; it could use album art but it did not detect Folder.jpg’s. Same with Banshee.
6. Smart Folders

I’m not much of a “smart folder” person, but I imagine I could be, if they were done right. As in, intuitive and fast. For those who’ve been living under ricks for the past few years: Smart folders, Smart Playlists or Saved Searches or whatever you call them are a way to have a playlist which, for instance, contains all your hard rock – and which automatically adds or removes items when they are added/removed from the library. You can usually specify a number of rules – for instance, songs in swedish that aren’t punk, or hard rock bands not beginning with a “p”.

  • BMPx: no
  • Exaile: yes
  • Songbird: no
  • Foobar2000: partial
  • Amarok: yes
  • Rhythmbox: yes
  • Banshee:yes
  • Quod Libet: no
  • Decibel: no

Songbird fails as usual, but promises to do better in its next version. There’s an extremely non-intuitive foobar2000 addon to accomplish something like smart folders, but it’s far from perfect. Rhythmbox was the absolute best here, its smart folders being easy to set up, intuitive and easily accessed. Banshee was similar, but not nearly as good – Quod Libet only supports a kind of limited”saved searches” feature.

7. Support for transferring files to an mp3 player

Sure, I can transfer stuff to my various mp3 players by simply dragging and dropping using Nautilus or other explorer-like software – but I’d like the possibility to do it through my audio player software as well. If nothing else, because my archive’s directory structure (Artist/year – album/(CDx)/tracknum – trackname.mp3) isn’t really ideal for mp3 player use, where multiple subdirectories are kind of tiresome. I don’t own an Ipod, so I couldn’t test that functionality, but I do have a few regular USB-connected cheap things.

  • BMPx: no
  • Exaile: partial
  • Songbird: partial
  • Foobar2000: yes
  • Amarok: yes
  • Rhythmbox: yes
  • Banshee: no
  • Quod Libet: yes
  • Decibel: no

Exaile had a few plugins, but I couldn’t get them to work very well. Same with Songbird. Amarok has support, as does Foobar2000 (through a plugin) but they’re all but intuitive. Amarok didn’t autodetect my devices, though, which might be because I’m not using KDE. I don’t know. Rhythmbox and Quod Libet excelled here – they found my mp3 player automatically and adding songs to it was a breeze. I am genuinely impressed here, and that’s not happening very often.

Conclusions

So, where does this bring me? Well, of the five I tries, only three made any lasting positive impression. Amarok is very, very close to what I want from an audio player. It only fails the “send to device” and the (to me) very important “multiple genre selection” criterias. The late addition Rhythmbox was very impressive when it came to sending stuff to devices and smart playlists – but also failed the multiple genre crtiteria. I mean, c’mon – is it really that hard? Am I the only one who like using multiple genres? Quod Libet was also amongst the top contenders, but failed short mainly due to difficulties in playing external files and lack of smart folders.

The overall worst one was, beyond all doubt, Songbird. It was so useless I actually found it hard to even see if some of the stuff I was looking for were there. Its indexing seems broken, its interface horrible,… It’s possible this’ll be something usefull in the future, but right now it’s just crap.

My conclusion is simple: I’ll continue using foobar2000. I’ll try a few of these at some point in the future, to see if they’re good enough. A few of them, like Exaile, Quod Libet and Amarok, are kind of close – while others, like Songbird, seem to be just crap. I can’t believe this is the same Songbird I keep getting referred to, this is completely useless…

Anyways, I hope this helped someone.

The blank slate

Been trying out another new hot MMORPG lately. Tabula Rasa, by the same guy who did Ultima Online back in the day. Richard Garriot’s Tabula Rasa. How large does your ego need to be if you insist on putting you’r fucking name in the TITLE of the game. It’s literaly called “Richard Garriot’s Tabula Rasa”, which feels more than a little 90’s to me. It has a nice interface, though nowhere near WoW in flexibility or CoH in sheer goodness. It’s got collect-everythin-quests, which very much appeals to me, since I’m kind of anal. I’m told there’s a story, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. The controls work, even if it’s a bit too FPS for my tastes. It works in Linux, though not as good as in Windows. I place TR firmly amongst the more interresting  MMO’s. I’m contemplating paying for a month, since I get CoX for free for at least one additional month due to me having introduced new players to it.

(I get cocks for free. Heh =)

Oh, and now, when Uru Live’s been cancelled, I find out they didn’t delete my char after all. They just claimed they did. To make me stay. And now it’s too late to go back. I hate everything.

Miljöpartiets “flum” och likriktning

(This blog post concerns swedish politics, and it seemed reasonable to write it in swedish…)

Nu har miljöpartiet slopat kravet på medborgarlön. Man ska rösta om huruvida man ska foprtsätta vilja gå ur EU. Partiet strävar efter att bli mindre “flummiga”. I ledaren “Långt kvar till regeringen, mp” skriver Aftonbladet att “Friskolorna, flyktingmottagandet och familjepolitiken är andra kontroversiella områden” är saker mp måste ta hand om. Vad är det som händer? Likriktningen sprider sig på den högerkant som är svensk politik. Från att ha varit ett någorlunda trovärdigt alternativt parti, likriktar sig nu Miljöpartiet och blir allt mindre egna, allt mer som alla andra.

För vad får man egentligen om man plockar bort det andra kallar “flum”? Man får ännu ett socialmodekratiskt parti, som salig Tage Danielsson en gång uttryckte sig. Kanske med en liten miljöinriktning. Miljöpartiet kunde ha varit så mycket mer än så; många av dess idéer är radikala – som att förbjuda kött vid offentlig representation – men ingalunda korkade. Vi behöver äta mindre kött. Vi behöver använda mindre bensin. Det finns många saker vi behöver, som helt enkelt inte fungerar i det rent kapitalistiska samhället. Det finns redan tillräckligt många partier som är nöjda med tingens ordning, som på sin höjd vill skriva lite på räntan och pilla i administrationen. Moderaterna säger sig vilja “minska utanförskapet”. Minska, observera det – inte utrota. Man vill inte utrota det ekonomiska utanförsskapet. Om alla har arbete faller det kapitalistiska systemet samman – det krävs ett överskott på arbetskraft för att företagen ska kunna hålla lönerna nere. Socialdemokraterna är inte bättre de – det är inte som att arbetslösa eller sjuka haft det sådär jättebra under Kung Perssons styre heller.

Det finns redan tillräckligt många partier som är nöjda med att underordna sig kapitalets och företagens överhöghet. Vi behöver inte ett till

Dagens fundering: Hur kan man både förorda att människor ska “göra rätt för sig” på arbetsmarknaden, samtidight som man anser att arv är en självklarhet, att folk ska kunna “trygga sina barns överlevnad”? Om man tryggar barnens överlevnad, så gör de ju inte rätt för sig…

Stranger in a strange land

Life with Linux, week two…

A week ago, I decided to – finally – begin my move to Linux. Not the first time I try, but this time, it seems like Ubuntu is at least mature enough for me to stay. I still dualboot, since some stuff just won’t play nice (games, mostly). I run Photoshop and InDesign in a VirtualBox shell, which means they only get access to about half of my RAM, but they work and they work well. And as for the rest of my usual gripes, they have all been addressed. Foobar2000 has given way to MPD + gbemol. ID3-TagIT was discarded in favour of EasyTAG, WingIDE (for Python programming) had a Linux version (which, btw, I’m probably going to pay for one of these days. It’s that good) and so did wxFormBuilder, most of what PsiWin could do, I can do using PLPtools – and better. Except for conversion of transfered documents. I can’t seem to get Psiconv to work properly on my files. Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice are, of course, identical. DaemonTools has its counterpart in AcetoneISO2, font managing works just swell with FontMatrix, I read my digital comix with Comix, still use Putty and Mumble, Brasero is a rather competent CD burner and if it isn’t enough, Nero exists on the Linux platform as well. I use a combination of BitlBee and X-chat to do all my IM stuff, distraction-free. The XBMC port for Linux works very well, which is really important for my next project…

So, what are my thoughts? It all works very well. I used to feel awkward in Linux, constricted and disturbed. I used to itch to get back to windows. That’s usually why I end up going back to that monster of an OS with my proverbial tail between my legs. Not this time. Whanever I boot up Windows now, I feel strange. Like I’m wearing the wrong size in clothes or something. It’s very annoying. Luckily, I only boot into Windows to play certain games, like City of Heroes or Tunguska. Linux is no longer a strange land to me, but more like a new apartment. All my old furniture is there, and the whole thing feels more and more like a home. Too bad I couldn’t find a good spot for that gigantic sofa, or I’d be able to move out completely from my old apartment.

It’s good to be home, in any case.

Expect more reports as things progress.

Yay!

Just got my latest project up and running – a 3ghz P4 given to me by my parents. It was in seriously bad condition – incredible amounts of dust and what might be the dumbest cooling solution I’ve ever seen made the beast extremely hesitant to even start, much less run for extended periods of time. The parents had just bought a spanking new Dual Core Something (can you smell the envy?), and unloaded this piece of crap on my doorstep. At my request, of course – I’d been the one to try to fix the problem countless times before, and as their toll-free tech support I guess they felt they owed me something.

I kept the motherboard and processor and the two 256 mb RAM sticks, put it all in my own extremely good-looking and easily cooled chassi. The S-ATA disk also made the cut – but the cooling system was scrapped, and I brought my own graphics card. And thus, from the remnants of my then-current 2.4 ghz 1gb RAM machine and my parents’ discarded 3ghz 512mb RAM scrap-heap, I built myself a Frankenstein’s Monster. I’ve been trying to make it behave. The CPU fan is still too loud (but that might be fixed in the next series of upgrades), and sometimes this strange beast misbehaves – but it seems to be rather stable now, with CPU temps around 47-71 (as opposed to 80-96. Yes, celsius).

I just managed to install three new fans. Two were simple replacements for two that were way too loud (and let me tell you, replacing them was no easy task – this chassi is mostly easy to work with, but this was a monstrous task, fully comparable to doing anything with a Compaq *shudder*), and one was added. The whole thing is still way too loud, but it works – and it’s stable.

For the moment, that is enough.

Next step: Identify sounds, try to limit them at minimum expense.

My Computers – a short history pt.1

Most of my computers over they years have all been slightly old. As in, I can’t remember ever owning somthing that’s actually state of the art… But anyways, as I wait for the hard drive check on my old computer to finish so I can safely transfer the C and D partitions from my old harddrive to my shiny new *ahem* erh, slightly used but still better SATA drive… I thought I’d begin documenting my computer upgrades etc. I’m a nerd, after all – and it’s nice to have something for posterity.

Anyways, let’s get started. This is more or less archaeology, people. Archaeology of my memory. It’s a shaky science,so don’t expect any stable dating or anything.

The first computer I got for my very own self was a Pentium 133. In fact, I got two of those in short succession – Memory fails regarding their previous owners, but I do remember people elsewhere were sporting shiny new 450 pentiums. The 133’s ran Windows ’98 and did so reasonably well, they had enough RAM for me to have a home-LAN with people playing Starcraft. Good times.

I think I remember getting my dad’s old 233 or 350 Pentium when they got something slightly newer and shinier at some point, and getting rid of one of the 133’s. The other is long since lost in time and space. This was in the old, golden days when HUT was my home and a pretty nice place to hang out.

In 2000, I got my first job. October, I think it was. Something like that. It was just for three months, but it was a paycheck… Wait a minute, this has to have been before the HUT days, for I got that job in 2000,when I lived in a kinda-hippie collective… So I guess I had a 233 or 450 or so when I was living at HUT… Anyways, for my new paycheck I got, of course, a computer. A pretty cheap one. Got it pretty cheap. It was a 1ghz P4, and it still serves me good – it’s the server this here page is served from. Vastly upgraded since then of course, with extra RAM and stuff.

Oh, look at that, the disk scan is done. Time to run, but there’ll be more to this…