Some Linux loving this weekend [linux]

I have a confession. Despite my love affair with ywriter, I do miss me some linux simplicity. Not to mention protection against common viri.

Continue reading “Some Linux loving this weekend [linux]”

My Local Library, Providing Shoddy Hardware Recommendations

I remember when the public library was about disceminating information so the end user could make a decision. Even when we launched our online presence (yes, I worked at this particular library through both of its initial iterations on the web), what we aimed to do was provide tools to people. The idea of articles came up, but more as a means of condenscing information (About.com was popular back then for this very reason). So it was with some chagrign that I read through  Netbooks for N00bs on LibraryPoint.org. (thanks @crrlnews on twitter for pointing this article out).

True, there are some valid points in this article, but the overall tone was highly negative of the entire netbook enterprise. It seemed like the author missed the first point of a netbook – it isn’t a notebook, or a laptop, or a PC. Its a netbook. The meme is that it is supposed to provide a small, portable computing device for email, web surfing (and all that that entails these days) – if you can get more out of it than that (like, say, writing the first 50K of your dream novel like I have on my commute), all the better, but it isn’t supposed to be a replacement for having a full fledged desktop/laptop.

There also seems to be a bit of a scare tactic involved in this article, aiming right at the reader’s wallet. Completely ignoring the tradeoffs between solid state and hard disk (speed versus space), there is an assertion that if you need the space, be ready to pay. Yet a quick browse through our friend NewEgg.com shows that solid state and hard drive systems fall in the same price brackets. If money really is an object in this, then yes, your choices are limited – but where in life is that not the case?

And then there’s the touting of Vista repeatedly, and the derision of using something as alien as linux. OK, I’ve seen the linux that ships on netbooks – getting to a terminal takes effort. The paired down distro that is shipped on these things is intended for the average user, and it shows – simple icons, decently comprehensive choice of applications, and an aim towards compatibility with the user’s expectations.

Which takes me back to my original point – when did public libraries start directing readers and providing bias worded articles instead of just laying out the facts?

Overhaul

It’s that time of the year again. The kiddies are out for the summer starting this Wednesday, our lives are spinning around us – its time for ye olde overhaul.

None of this has been taken lightly, but Kim and I are in the process of reorganizing how we live our lives. Some of these changes are specific to ourselves, and some as a family, but the goal here is to live our lives closer to their fullest (not quite at their fullest, because to be frank, we’re just starting out, but you have to start somewhere). So for those curious about the microcosm of another household, here goes:

  • Writing. Yeah, I know, this is cheating, its something I began in earnest months ago, but its still part of the whole overhaul of the self.
  • Gym. Mentioned this weekend, our family has joined the gym. Its something my doctor has been urging for a while, but it took Kim driving me out there last Friday to force my hand into making it a reality. In a weird way, this has benefits outside of general health for both of us. For starters, it gives Kim a chance to set the kids aside and get some time to herself, and gives the kids a chance to play with other kids (something our neighbourhood really lacks in).
  • Cable. Chiefly, the fact that we have made the decision once and for all to drop down to basic cable. As a family, we aren’t addicted, but as individuals, we each have our vices. The kids in particular see TV as a viable option to too many things, and Kim and I agreed that we ourselves don’t need it. With our renewed subscription to Netflix – and the fact the xbox can play Netflix streams – we’re pretty satisfied that we won’t be missing too much. Yes, there were some show sacrifices involved for both of us, but the net gain outweighs this. We tried this last summer and it won’t all right until I caved at the start of the Fall season. No such buckling this year anticipated – I have enough keeping me busy with writing.
  • LUGing it. Yes, that’s right, after years as a Gentoo dev, then a few years in quiet obscurity where I rarely touched a linux desktop consistently, I’ve let my friend Dan talk me into going to the FredLUG. It was enough fun I’ll be heading back 🙂

Is this it? Will there be more to come? Count on it. We’re stepping into new territory for us here, and while others may have comet his way before, we’re finding our way. We’ll make mistakes, take back some of the changes, make new ones. Is the economy to blame for some of this? Nope. Ironically, it isn’t about making do with less (adding the gym membership kind of negated the savings of dropping cable) – its more about making better choices with what we’re going to do.

What’s next? I’ve no idea, but I look forward to finding out!