Well, it’s a start.

I’m planning to write mostly about playing and working with computers: how I make ’em work, and what I do when they don’t.  As you’ll see if you look at he “About” page, I’m not a programmer, I don’t work in Information Technology, and I really have no business putting my opinions and experience out here.  But some of my friends and coworkers come to me for computer help, and I’ve developed some unorthodox ways of getting stuff to work.  There are, no doubt, easier, more elegant, less “kludgy” ways of doing much of the stuff I do; I hope to learn from the comments (if there ever are any).

I should let youse-all know about the computers I use:

The main box (built from parts to run Ubuntu, but has also run Linux Mint, Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux):

  • ASROCK AliveNF6G-VSTA NVIDIA GEForce 6100 motherboard. Sound, network, & video were all included;
  • AMD Athlon64 Brisbane 2.1GHZ Dual-Core processor (but I only run 32-bit due to not wanting to mess around with Flash, and a problem with private records in Pilot-Link);
  • Corsair XMS2 2GB memory (2 of 1GB DIMM)
  • Two hard drives: 130 GB with separate partitions for / and /home, and 250 GB backup drive;
  • As I write this, it’s running Ubuntu Karmic.
  • Case? Who cares about the case? It’s got front-USB and front-sound-jacks, and it’s black. I got a 500-watt power supply. It was on sale when I got it, and I don’t think I’ve seen it for sale anywhere since.
  • I inherited a 17′ CRT monitor when a friend of mine, who used to work in the IT unit at Columbia University, pulled it off a hand truck when it was on its way to a recycler. It still works… and I’ve decided I don’t need the desk space that much (it does take up a lotta room).

Acer Aspire AA-150, with 140GB HD and 1GB memory. It dual-boots either Windows XP (came with) or Ubuntu Netbook Remix [Karmic];

HP Laptop DV6000 with Vista. Never again will I buy a laptop from HP; I had trouble with the power cord jack while it was in-warranty, and then the wi-fi card stopped working after the warranty ended; replacing the card didn’t help. I subsequently found that there was an overheating problem with this laptop, about which HP knew and kept silent; the wifi problem is a motherboard problem. This laptop mostly gathers dust, but I occasionally use it at work (about which, more at some other time).

Der FrankenComputer, a box built from the cast-off disjecta membra of other computers: a motherboard/chip from here, memory from there, a couple of hard drives from somewhere else. Originally, the motherboard/chip ran Windows 98. I’ve used Xubuntu and Linux Mint with Fluxbox window manager, but it’s running Puppy Linux now. I gotta sing the praises of Puppy Linux somewhere-or-other; it’s really made this old beast a useful machine again. Puppy Linux came with .mp3 & flash codecs from the virtual gate. The box runs video only barely, but it streams music, plays CD’s, surfs the web (it’s in the garage, so I sometimes use it to look up repair instructions), and, after a bit of tweaking, runs Java.

I also use a Palm Z22. The forty-two-or-so of us worldwide who still use Palm devices mourn their passing; a handheld with instant-on, that does not require a monthly service fee or access to too-elusive networks, is apparently an idea whose time has already passed. I’m an anachronism, a dinosaur, with a processor in my hand.


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