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master of all I rent

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This is getting ridiculous. From Friday evening to Monday morning, I will have spent the whole weekend in my pyjamas, just doing various things. Reading, playing Flight Simulator 2002, reinstalling Linux on my old Thinkpad 560. I have the apartment to myself now that the others have moved out, so it’s peaceful and conducive to aimless pottering around. If I go out I just spend money, and I need to do less of that.

I have the place to myself because the landlord isn’t going to move anyone else in, because he expects to finally get planning permission to redevelop the complex in the near future. When that happens I will be expected to move out, but I don’t expect that to be before next spring. He’s surely not going to start building work in winter, and I don’t think he will get the permission so soon in any case. This is a “listed” building of local historical interest, completed in 1778. It was the residence of some of the the British Lieutenant-Governors and Lord Chancellors of Ireland. The room I’m sitting in right now was the scene of many formal occasions, and was also a makeshift mortuary after major shipwrecks on the nearby coast in 1807. The local authority’s development plan includes the line “prevent inappropriate development of <this building>” as one of its top-line priorities, so you can bet that I’m not going to move until I’m formally given notice.

I downloaded Mandrake Linux 9 on Friday, the newest version of IMHO the most balanced Linux distribution out there. By “balanced” I mean that it is user-friendly on the surface, but still quite a hard-core server OS underneath. Unlike previous occasions I’ve tried to use Linux on my old ThunkPad 560, I had little trouble getting X-Windows to work correctly. The “TGUI9660” driver (from any Linux distribution) for this laptop has never worked correctly, but this time the VESA driver could be selected and came up as expected.

I decided that I don’t need full Gnome or KDE functionality here, so I tried out the simpler “Window Managers” and settled on one called BlackBox. This is very minimalist – the toolbar is a tiny strip at the bottom (by default) of the screen. The same with text editors, and I settled on NEdit, which has the kind of word processing features I need, such as proper word wrapping facilities that don’t break when you edit a paragraph. MTools gives me access to DOS floppies for backup purposes. So, I have a decent Linux writing system on the ThunkPad, but with one small drawback: it takes five minutes to boot up. That’s not the fault of X-Windows either, it’s mostly the standard start-up sequence, which I’ll have to work on slimming down further than it already is.

Added a whole bunch of Terry Pratchett and Kinky Friedman quotations to the spreadsheet. After some cleaning up and duplicate removal, the current count is 8348.

If it’d been a wedding I’d probably have tried to stop it. But it wasn’t a wedding. It was a funeral. The only funeral you’ve got a right to try to stop is your own, and that’s a full-time job.
— Kinky Friedman, Frequent Flyer

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to:

  1. mate with,
  2. eat,
  3. run away from, and
  4. rocks.
  5. — Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

Playing with electronics is really bad for your sense of humour.
— Geddy Lee


Written by brian t

September 29, 2002 at 10:14 pm

Posted in culture, life, linux, technology

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