Saturday, September 22, 2007

switch 100% to Linux at home?

This is always a tempting thought to me; especially as home Linux distros keep increasing in usability & convenience.

Per one of my earlier posts, I'm less & less locked in to any one software suite - more and more of the things I do with my computer at home are browser based...Firefox & Opera run well on any of the major OS' out there.

Some things I like on OS X that I can't get (exactly) on Linux:

- Garageband
- Itunes
- Ableton Live (but I can get this for Windows)
- iPhoto

Options on Linux that should cover me for those things above:

- Hydrogen, Rosetta, (indeed, there ARE audio creation software options for Linux)
- Amarok (in many ways better than iTunes)
- use WINE to get some version of Ableton Live working
- Picasa or digiKam on KDE (in some ways better than iPhoto)

Things on Windows that I like & can't do anywhere else:

- Sync with my pocket PC (on OSX you can get "the missing sync", but that's ~$40 in additional software costs). Doesn't seem to be a good Linux option for this yet.
- Games - My PC is the main source of my video gaming entertainment; I like strategy games like Civ IV, RTS' like Rise of Nations, and action games like Quake IV. While it's possible to have some Windows games work in Linux (usually major releases from id Software, among others), that's kind of the exception, not the rule.

That's about it, however.

My iBook G4 is still quite healthy and working well for all I need it to do. I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon.

After having had such a strong impression made on me from using the mac so much, (hassle-free, responsive, no viruses, only need to reboot once every 2 weeks or so, etc), I was totally inclined to consider upgrading to a Macbook Pro (or equivalent) whenever time for upgrades drew near.

However, I'm now reconsidering that. It might be cheaper (and arguably, just as effective) to get a well-spec'd Linux-friendly laptop, and dual-boot (with Linux as the default, of course), keeping a small-ish windows partition open for gaming.

No rush to really figure this out, as my mac is working totally fine. But, as much as I like OS X, I'm still a little unsure if it's really worth the premium in hardware cost.

On the other hand, if virtualization technology improves further, then in the near-future (if not now, with a healthy-spec'd computer) it should be possible to run several instances of different OS' within one OS, so the whole issue of needing to dual boot to get the best apps across different platforms could be'd have to worry about ensuring you have Linux-friendly hardware, but that would be about it.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

quiet, quiet friday

The wife is away on a trip back to Korea, and it was a long day of pouring over excel sheets with rules & targets that seemed to be ever shifting.

I don't know what I really should be doing, but blogging about it seems like a good idea.

At some point it might have seemed strange to me that my choice way of spending free time is by using my computer to look at things on the internet when it seems that so much of my daily work is using the computer to look at spreadsheets, emails, and things on the internet.

But here I am.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Things I like or am re-appreciating, lately

1. Quake IV...action-packed game that still runs well & looks fantastic on my noisy old (by gamer's standards, anyway) PC.

2. Firefox...runs well on Linux, OS X, & Windows - reliable for fun & work; extensions are useful!

3. ScribeFire extension for Firefox - I can do all my blogging in here without even needing to visit the blog page.

4. JalepeƱo peppers - they make so many dishes taste that much better

5. Web-based apps...between syncing my bookmarks, calendar, email, read rss feeds, to do lists, project managment, documents, passwords (yeah, the security on that is still a lot questionable), blogs, & photos - the bulk of stuff that I'm mostly doing on a computer is now all through a web browser. I like that, and the fact that everything is so light-weight your hardware has little impact on it.

(well, I do most writing & spreadsheet stuff on office software...gaming & music software are unique non-web related apps).

So the browser is the OS? I used to think that was crazy talk but I'm nearly living it...

6. Libraries...although I mentioned it before, it bears saying books & information is a wonderful service.

7. Civ IV - a very well designed game that is addictive & deep; yet simple.

8. Gomez - wonderful band from the UK that produced 3 solid albums in the late 90's and early 00's. Their 4th wasn't as good. They made a 5th one that I haven't listened to very much yet...probably still not as good as their first 3 but seem to be improving.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Wanted to relax after a VERY long day - I was up at 3 am to take the wife to the airport.

So, after getting back from a long day at work, I put in a frozen pizza and turned on this movie - I had picked up a copy while I was still in Asia.

While the subtitles were not correct, a quick google search proved to be very useful. Unfortunately, they only worked for about the first 30 minutes of the film; I followed along with a text file that was open side by side with the main movie window...the broken english subtitles on the disc helped me keep my place.

Anyway - the film itself was beautifully animated, and the story was trippy, broad, yet suspenseful and engaging. The pieces with elaborately detailed collages of different people's obscure dreams (nightmares?) all coming together are really wonderful eye candy. Anyway - I feel it is worth a look if you have time or inclination to obtain (read: download) it. Apparently it had a very limited US theatrical release between Nov. 2006 and the end of May 2007 across different regions. A real US dvd should be available at some point, but I've no idea when - have not seen mention of it yet.

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updates to picasaweb albums...

New pictures for your enjoyment:

(apparently there is a "benefit" when macbooks run hot)...

(Fun with fire trucks, other random pictures from the weekend previous)

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on my own for a little while

The wife is headed to Korea for ~ 1 month. Guess I may have more time to myself for a little bit; I could try & do something productive with this...

And/or, I could also go out more & get to know more of Seattle.

We'll see how this plays out; but I do intend on getting some writing done, amongst other things.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

bowling night!!!

My company has sponsored a group of us to play in a bowling league in the neighborhood. Tonight was the first night, with 3 games played. I bowled a 150, 186, then 118.

One would think that I'd improve as the evening went on; I hope that I can stay a bit more consistent (in a good way) as I get used to playing more...this will be a 12-week activity; this could well be the most regular/steady bowling that I've had in my life. Hopefully some good/improvement will come of it.

It was fun thusfar!

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Final Fantasy III is torturing me!

Trying to make a final push and wrap up my game of Final Fantasy III, which has been dragging out ever since I got a Nintendo DS back in's been a really, really fun game to play, but getting to and beating the final boss is an exercise in patience and frustration.

I've come way too close now to just give it up; on the other hand - it's at the point where pushing on just feels like work, and not like a fun game or escape...

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Virtual Machine on my home PC

Looks like I might get to do a Solaris (the operating-system) related project at work. As such, I'm going through the process of installing it as a virtual system on top of my Linux system via VMware.

I'm impressed with how well Virtual Machine works - it's a really cool idea.

I had read about it on the web and how it would be "the next big thing", and that does seem to be believeable; especially as multi-processor CPU's become standard.

I haven't actually tried running this OS on its own yet; I'm a little doubtful how well it will ultimately work on its own within home CPU is just a 1.8 gig AMD Sempron - that's a single-core budget CPU, and while it still totally is doing fine for the most of the tasks I throw at it, perhaps it will be a bit much for any sort of decent day-to day operations...suddenly it feels like I have a reason to upgrade...

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A scanner, darkly - dystopian movie weekend!

Just finished up viewing the film adaptation of "A Scanner, Darkly". Interesting and depressing. The visual style in the film was pretty unique, however. I'm still thinking about that one; haven't really made my mind up on it yet. Like many other Linklater movies, it was very dialog driven, and there wasn't really a distinct action-filled climax (though, with careful editing I'm sure someone could rig something up)...

Last night, we watched the movie "Ultraviolet", featuring Mila Joviovich (from the Resident Evil movies, among others) that much of the "futuristic city-scape scenes" were at least based on footage that was done in Shanghai. The story was sorta forgettable, and the action scenes were pretty much "inspired" by the Matrix and John Woo movies and Blade and many, many other films I've seen before.

Anyway, it wasn't a total waste of time.

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site maintainence & no more .mac...

Well, my .mac membership expired a few months ago and I haven't missed it...certainly not worth another $80 for everything that I can already do for free (and more transparently) via google & yahoo's free services.

So I won't miss it.

Too bad that Apple can't get their shit together as far as .mac goes...but they seem to be focusing on making their ipods attractive (and are doing a good job with that), so good on them.

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