Haiku Blogfest Entry

3 September 2010 14 comments

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t consider myself much of a writer or anything like a poet. I do love haiku as a form since it involves an unusual form of wordplay for the English language. Hence, I have decided to enter this blogfest.

Newcomers, I am sorry to disappoint if you were expecting something of literary merit. Mostly you will find ramblings and musings on technical and philosophical topics. If you find them interesting, so much so the better. If not, I apologize and wish you well.

My haiku:

Wittgenstein said that
“Die Welt ist alles, was der
Fall ist.” Yes, but no.

I wrote about 7 haiku in preparation for this blogfest, but chose this one because it was most relevant to the spirit of my blog, even if it is at odds with the spirit of the haiku form.

The quote is the first main proposition of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. It translates most often as “The world is everything that is the case.” The “yes, but no” is a reference to a particular interpretation of the TLP that states that it is but a means to an end and that if one truly understands what the TLP is presenting, it is reduced to non-sense. I’ve heard it referred to as a ladder that is discarded when one reaches the top, because once one has reached the conclusions that Wittgenstein has, one will see the world as more than a mere collection of facts. This is something that put Wittgenstein at odds with certain Vienna Circle members, but that is a story for another time.

Categories: Philosophical

A Hackintosh’d Netbook

22 August 2010 1 comment

I have finally dipped my toes into the world of Hackintoshing.

My victim?  A Lenovo S10e.  It was surprisingly straightforward.  It is quite likely that this is a function of the maturity of the community at this point. The earliest web articles I found for hacking this particular netbook involved upwards of two dozen steps and living with certain things not working correctly.  At this point, the only things that don’t work on mine are wired ethernet and Bluetooth tethering to a cellphone.  I think that’ll do nicely.

The guide that I followed [found here], had a handful of steps and the most time consuming parts were waiting for the Snow Leopard image to copy over and then waiting for it to install on the S10.  Total amount of active, mindful time invested:  about 15 minutes and most of that was trying to figure out why the Airport wouldn’t turn on.  Answer:  it was turned off in the BIOS.  Oops.

In short, I can definitely recommend the S10 as Hackintosh fodder.

Categories: General Interest, Mac, Tech

The Windows 7 Netbook Blues

16 August 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve had a Lenovo X100e since shortly after they were released to market.  It’s got the single core AMD proc, 2GB of RAM, the extended battery and a 250GB HD.  It’s not perfect since the battery life is nothing to brag about and the screen’s viewing angles are total dildos. However, since it’s lighter than my MacBook Pro and ThinkPad T42, got a full-sized keyboard and my favorite notebook feature – a TrackPoint – it’s workable.

My complaint with it is with Windows 7.

Let me preface this by saying that Windows 7 is approaching the Platonic ideal for Windows.  It is far and away my favorite incarnation of Microsoft’s OS since DOS 6.22, but there’s a problem.  Its requirements are too steep.  Even with all the eye candy turned off and most of the ThinkVantage crap disabled, this X100 is not as snappy as I think it could and should be.  As I noted above, this computer isn’t exactly a beast.

So I’m thinking about my Linux options.  Fedora 13 is kinda out of the running.  My initial tests when it first came out were lukewarm since it didn’t want to install properly to dual boot on a test laptop at work since GRUB wouldn’t install correctly for beans..  I may or may not dual boot this X100 but I want the option to be there.

My background is in Redhat/Fedora, so RPM based distros would be preferable, but Lucid Lynx is making Ubuntu look pretty appealing.  Maybe I’ll go in a completely different direction with something like ReactOS or Haiku.

Thoughts or suggestions from the masses?

Categories: Linux, Mac, Tech, Windows

Why DIY?

25 July 2010 Leave a comment

Inspired by helping my wife paint our bathroom and this article.

As I’ve stated previously, I’m a firm believer in DIY ethics. If I have the means and skill to do it myself, I’m going to do it myself. If I don’t have the skills, I’ll get them. Only if I don’t have the means do I consider passing it on to someone else. However, I don’t think that’s all that DIY encompasses.

For me, DIY is about getting the most out of everything. Even in our modern age of disposable everything, not everything need be disposable. Since I work in the technology field, technology is the first place where I took doing it myself seriously. It’s a lot easier to get started in areas where you have skills.

The question then becomes: what are the benefits? Why should you pursue doing things for yourself?

Obviously there’s the cost factor. Most people get into DIY to save money. With a few basic tools and a book or two, you can handle most common home and auto repairs yourself. Likewise, with even fewer tool, a little knowledge, and a positive mental attitude you can handle most computer repairs yourself. There’s no reason you should be paying Geek Squad* $40 to “optimize” your computer or $200 to remove a virus. A quick Google search and a thoughtful post or two in an appropriate online forum and you can probably get everything handled at the cost of a few hours of your time.

More abstractly, there’s the satisfaction from having done something yourself. I’m beginning to think that there are a lot people in the world who don’t get satisfaction from a job well done, given the sorts of slipshod work I see on a daily basis. However, I will go out on a limb here and say that there are few fruits sweeter in life than the fruits of one’s own labor.
*In most cases, I would seriously advise against letting a third-party like Geek Squad touch your computer. There’s a reason that the Consumerist has an entire category devoted to the Geek Squad. If you need to let someone else fix your computer, find a local small business that can’t afford to have too much bad press.

An MID Wishlist

21 May 2010 Leave a comment

Since having played with an iPad, I’ve been thinking about the kind of mobile internet device device that I would buy without hesitation. Here’s what I’d like to see:

Must Have

  • 3/3.5/4G wireless internet
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP
  • GPS
  • A form factor that can actually fit in a pocket. iPhone/Droid-sized plus an inch or so would be great.
  • A standard screen resolution or aspect ratio. The iPhone’s 3:2 aspect makes video transcoding a pain.
  • A touch screen interface
  • An actual web browser. Opera Mobile or Safari are both excellent for this task, in my opinion.
  • 16GB on-board storage and expansion via MicroSD
  • Connectivity to an actual computer via mini or micro USB.
  • A battery life of 8 hours+
  • A user replaceable battery

Would Be Nice

  • A camera, rear facing moderately preferred to front facing, but either would do and both would be gravy.
  • A built-in microphone for voice commands or recording
  • A slide-out keyboard

Basically, I think I’m looking for a smartphone that doesn’t have a phone. There are times when I don’t want to be called, but would still like to have the convenience of all the other things a smartphone can do. Does anyone out there know of a device like that that’s readily available in the US? I’ve been looking online and found several awesome Android devices that are only available in Europe or China.

Categories: General Interest

The Problem of Facebook

16 May 2010 1 comment

I don’t think it can be ignored any longer: Facebook has serious privacy issues and Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t really care. Gizmodo has a list of the “Top Reasons You Should Quit Facebook” and another list of “More Reasons You Should Still Quit Facebook” and all of them are exceedingly valid.

My beef with Facebook is threefold.

Read more…

Categories: Topical

The Perils of Vendor Lock-In

6 May 2010 2 comments

“If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.”
-The Maker’s Bill of Rights

It seems to me that the iPad is a Demonstrably Bad™ product, and probably not for the reasons that you think it is.

The iPad has managed to generate a lot of hype. Deservedly so. It is a device quite unlike anything else that’s been produced to date. A slate tablet with a multi-touch interface and accelerometers. It might even be killing netbook sales at this point. While more evolutionary than revolutionary, it certainly is an interesting piece of technology.

Having played with a store demo model, I found myself impressed with the quality of the screen and the considerable heft that such a seemingly thin device had. It felt pretty solid, but I’d still invest in a case if I were to purchase one because the aluminum back feels awfully slippery and early reports on the web seem to indicate that it’s not quite as robust as the iPhone and iPod touch have proven to be. However, I will be setting aside all criticisms of the device itself. While I have used the device and found it to be well constructed, it was too heavy and awkward for me to use in the manner that I felt made most sense for a device of that nature. I can see its appeal, but it’s definitely not for me.

Read more…

Categories: Topical