on the turn

I thought about doing a big write up on all of this. Dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s — making sure I included all the details and attempt to be partly impartial. But it’s too much work. I also thought about not mentioning it at all. But I can’t let it pass completely unmentioned.

That is – my experience with the “Emperor Linux” company. They sell laptops with Linux preinstalled and supposedly with everything functioning. In short and in hindsight I think it was a mistake buying from them. I should’ve just got the laptop straight and installed Linux myself if that’s what I wanted to do.
Perhaps it was that I chose a Sony; japanese companies aren’t known for their liberal flow of info to do with their hardware, thus drivers are hard for open-source people to write. Maybe it was my choice of distro to be installed; Suse 9.3.
But mostly I think it was Emperor Linux’s half-baked kernel and xorg.conf file. Many things didn’t work — even the scroll-wheel on the Logitec mouse didn’t work. My digital camera wasn’t recognised, (when it had been with previous Suse versions on another computer I once had) the USB key-ring wasn’t recognised. The sound didn’t work. The hibernate button didn’t really seem to work either.
All those kinds of things are (when functional) what you’re paying the extra for.

So I wiped all E.L’s crud and installed Mandrake (mandriva) LE 2005. The mouse, sound etc worked straight up. But I still haven’t decided if I’ll continue using Linux.

Being stuck with Windows XP this last 7 months has been partly a pain in the arse, partly breezy. The old dextop I was borrowing for a good six months was XP – but in Hangul, so I didn’t know what was going on. But pretty much everything you plug into windows works – just like that. All media content on the net is viewable/listenable.
And now on the Vaio – in English, it’s quite stable and usable. I don’t seem to have a bug up my bum about bill gates anymore. Most of the open-source projects that are genuinely successful are also available for windows. Such as: the Gimp, Firefox, OpenOffice, JEdit, (as a text editor) Apache and Abiword. I haven’t given it a proper try yet but there’s even Blackbox/fluxbox (alternative window managers) able to run over the top of the regular Windows environment.

Hibernate does work under Windows, as you’d expect it to, and there’s other stuff too like the repair/restore tool; handy if you’re forever fucking shit up like me. It will take the computer back in time to e.g. this morning, last week or even all the way back to the factory install if you want.

The laptop itself is a Sony Vaio s-series, vgn-s380P. The screen’s fantastic bright – and one of the first things that drew me to it when I was it in the stores. As for the rest of it, it works.
A couple of things I’ve come to appreciate about the old clamshell iBook with OS X are that – the trackpad mouse really was designed to be used. It was comfortable enough to use all the time, in contrast, the Sony’s mouse buttons seem little more than ornimental. Also OS X comes out of sleep when the lid is opened. Windows takes about ten seconds.

do you feel like darth vader?

I had something of a technoligically magic moment last night when, to a friend I said,
“..but maybe I’m a good monster … like Cookie monster”
“who’s that?”
“or Grover”
[a blank look]
“Elmo?”
Still nothing so I grabbed the old clammy iBook, flopped back down on the couch, fliped up the lid and straight away typed muppets into the search and got pictures of them. Not a single wire on the whole damn thing! (I got a wireless thingy-ma-bob the other week.)

I also had good fortune to witness a wonderful little event – that of a local girl knife n’ forking a piece of pizza with the most awkward hand-holds ever unimaginable. Together with the pensive facial expressions it was almost performance art.

Via Das Register, I think I want this for christmas.

And lastly, here’s a picture of a statue.

a tolophone is not real

The paraplegic who had recently lost the use of one of his arms was sprawled across the dirty lino, again. He would try for the peanut butter or a tea-towel, over-balance in optimism and slowly but certainly unravel on the floor beside the fucking wheelchair.
He would sometimes spend hours there. Plenty enough time to think that’s for sure Billy boy. Despite this he was happy. He could hold whole worlds in his head right down to the minor details like dints in a car’s side or the style of a particular figment’s glasses frames.

With his head almost flat on its side resting on the floor, the linoleum’s surface formed a horizon whose ends he knew reassuringly well. The walls, the door jams. The glass sliding door to outside. The view of outside was invaribly sunny, popcorn explosion clouds floating over blue. A light breeze showing in the trees.

“Who’s is that cat?” one of the orbiting carers asked. They wuld come by a few times a day. What cat? -he replied, he’d never seen a cat around.
“Some neighbour must have a cat.”

Then one day he woke from a short snooze on the floor, opened his eyes and saw the cat sitting outside, by the glass door. It was looking at him. It excited him; they’d never let him have a pet his whole life.

Eventhough it was a whole week until he caught sight of the cat again, he thought about it often. He tried to incorporate it into his daydream world’s, but it didn’t work. The cat was much too big.

It would perch there with its tail wrapped around its front paws just so, still as stone, staring at him with those brilliant blue eyes. Using his one good arm he would drag himself through the dust toward the door. Then, when within arm’s reach of the door the cat would flit away.

This did not perturb him. He thought it was all part of the game, that eventually the cat would get used to him, letting him a little closer each time. Sometimes it did, but he never got anywhere near touching it. He desperately wanted to run his hand across that fur. But a few inches are an infinity and he soon grew discontent, not only with the cat situation but with every other area of his life. There was no peace, even in the deep recesses of his mind.
Even when the cat wasn’t there, it was.
He would eventually fall asleep in his bed but often wake lying next to the door.

Two weeks later he lay, staring at the ceiling through the blurryness of tears — crying about the uselessness of everything. He turned his head side-on to cough without it hurting and saw the cat, somehow inside now.
He turned the other way and kept crying.