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Hmmm... The next time the Net takes a dump, I'm going to try this place. A friend from the Weblog circuit passed it my way as we were discussing some Very Important Things last night.

Yeah, I know about traceroutes and such, but sometimes I just like to pull something up where I can get a quick and dirty look. Tell you what: if anyone has any goodies like that, send them my way and I'll add them into my Weather and Stuff page. After all, it's Net weather that we need to look at from time to time. I get real interested as my connectivity ebbs and flows; there's something about the backbone I link to that makes it sensitive to DDoS attacks and such.

...then again, it could be the sunspots. One of my students came in Saturday with tales of red and white glows in the skies. I mentioned we saw a lot of that during the sixties<g>... When I checked during lunch, it turns out there was quite a light show over the weekend. ...and down to latitudes usually not associated with aurora phenomena. Oh, and there's another one coming (give it time to load).

So remember to wear your tin foil hats Tuesday<g>...


Lots of interesting things yesterday... Matt's back and has his Conestoga proposal laid out. Oh, and Dave, he mentions in passing a program I believe you use? Something code-named RRTII? Last I heard you were using a Win2k server to host your home version. You may be interested to know it's been ported to Linux...

Oh, yeah: things. I received this link on Internet weather from an East Coast reader. There's a wealth of information there, but I'm going to browse it from the work site as my dialup is just too slow for all the geegaws...

...and a big Welcome to Greg Lincoln to the Daynotes ranks; he's a penguinista with an attitude who should fit right in...

There's more, but just look at the time<g>...


First the news: For those of you looking for Shelley's site and somehow wandered in here, the UserLand server that hosts her site is currently undergoing spring cleaning. Short version: Her site is down; my random thoughts site is down and the Weblogs portal is down. For those of you who are addicted to my daytime drivel, I've stuck a Blog up on this host. We'll see which direction things go with that over time.

Matt and I were talking the other night about reading texts on screen vs printed matter. Matt's very comfortable with reading either from his screen or from a book. Me, I'm much more comfortable curling up with printed matter when it's going to be a long read.

I think for me it gets down to sitting in one position staring at another position for long periods of time. Is suspect my Nintendoed children will be as comfortable as Matt is at a screen, but I'm not in a rush to spend my day in a chair followed by my evening in a similar chair, followed by my 'relaxing' breaks in the same environment.

Nope, I try to take regular breaks at work; at home I'm even more of an ergonomic nut: I rotate from the main workstations to the kitchen table (yes, wireless, Brian) to the couch to the back yard. While it's not ideal, it does help force a change to my posture.

But what about reading? ...and reading versus referencing? I prefer my reading in a comfortable chair or couch (another reason DVD hasn't made an appearance yet); referencing, on the other hand, can certainly be on-screen as it tends to be more for short information bytes.

What brought all this together was when Brian joined in the conversation and referred to Grokking the Gimp (Carey Bunks, published by New Riders) to answer a question. He referred to the online version which I was not aware of. I'd read the book in overview last summer, but it's not real handy when I'm working at the kitchen table. So having the online resource is way cool.

...but wait, it gets better: the online book is available as a tarball!

Presto pocus (you haven't heard that one from one of us for a time<g>): the book is now resident on my server. ...instant reference wherever I am and whatever machine I'm on. Very way cool.

Like the guru said yesterday:
...I'm going to have to learn a new paradigm; a new way of doing and/or thinking about things. Which is both frustrating and liberating.
At $99US for 20gigs of 7200rpm HDD ($119/30gig-Office Depot week of April 1, 2001) without having to do anything more than walk to the local office supply store, I'll be liberating myself as much as I can (I already keep the NIV and JFB commentaries online). But, I still think if I want to read much more than page or so of anything, I'll grab the dead-tree version.

...partially as I don't have a good chair<g>!


I usually don't get much mail, but yesterday brought a couple my way. Reader Rick Hellewell reported in that the link I gave Monday for Internet Weather is no longer valid. It seems as Andover.net realigned their business posture. Ah well... Thanks, Rick!

...and Dave checks in on reading:

It's a generational thing. We (Matt and I) can pretty much do either; I prefer printed slightly. I'm in the majority. Younger than Matt and I, and screen's no problem whatsoever. Some may even prefer it, thanks to find/replace and other niceties.

I was noticing at my old high school, there are nearly as many computers in the library now as there are books. The old reference section with several encyclopedias and dictionaries is totally gone. Makes me wonder how many kids today can use a card catalog, can use the Reader's Guide, etc. Frightening in a way. ("How do I research anything prior to 1994?")

David L. Farquhar
Author, Optimizing Windows for Games, Graphics and Multimedia (O'Reilly)
Mail: dfarq@NOSPAMswbell.net (remove NOSPAM to reply)
Web: http://theSiliconUnderground.editthispage.com
Good points there; we're trying to balance computer information sources with printed matter where the boys are concerned. One current advantage of a printed dictionary for spelling homework is Daniel's relative freedom to work on the living room floor. On the other hand, Bradley already wants a laptop...

By the way, Dave's site is one of the casualties of the Great Userland Server Shutdown. The staff over there finished up the Weblogs server yesterday evening around 2030 and they've since started work on the EditThisPage server. Maybe, maybe, maybe...

Al Hedstrom is also caught in that lockup, so bear with us as they get things sorted out. In the meantime, I'm having a grand time playing in my new sandbox; if I get the time this weekend (rain is now forecast), I'll write up the tools I'm using. Right now there's a small program sleeping in my task bar; when I want to post, I call it. After I fill in the template, all the ftp work is handled automatically. Better than Blogger from my viewpoint...

Oh, and if you need a laugh, drop by John Doucette's place and check out Technology for Country Folk; it puts a whole new spin on our daily tech vocabulary.

I just wish the character was wearing a toque...


Speaking of email... I received a nice note from Carey Bunks, the author of Grokking the GIMP, the book I mentioned on Wednesday. It was just a ''Glad you liked the book'' note, but it gives me a chance to plug his once book again. If you are going to be doing any image or graphics work in Linux, this is a great book for newbies. ...and maybe others: that was Brian who referred to it the other evening. And if it works for Brian...

...longish evening yesterday trying to make some decisions for the alternate site. ...and playing with the newly updated HTML suite from CoffeeCup. I've been sold on NoteTab for quite a while, but the last round of updates the caffeine freaks put together is really sweet. The intergration is up and some of the 'close but no cigar' issues have been addressed rather nicely. Their product may be the driving force for the location change on the alternate site.

...and they've ported to Linux!


I usually write the evening before. Last night Shelley suggested we stay up and watch a movie she'd purchased. ...and as I don't get that much time off with Shelley all that often, I took a pass on starting to configure Samba on the SuSe install and joined her on the couch for some popcorn. I'd never pay to see the movie in a theater, but the company was sure nice. ...and the two of the cats ended up joining us for the duration.

So, no post, no updates (I wanted to try that Samba goodie Tom mentioned the other day), and a late start this morning. If I get un-tracked from goofing off, I'll post on the alternate site. As it stands, I'm going to put some logs in the fireplace and enjoy the rainy day. If the living room gets too warm from the fire, I'll open a window.

In other words, it's going to be a seriously relaxing day...


Oh. Yeah... Hmmm. Well, it is still Sunday. ...on this side of the pond.

I've been busy with the Linux box. I'd decided since I likely wasn't going to be using the laptop this weekend, I'd try moving the wireless NIC setup from the testbed/firewall box over to the workstation. That way I could play with firewall configurations without taking down the laptop's link to the world. ...and I could see how well various Linux installs worked against the hardware setup in good ol' Tux^2...

So instead of having SuSE try and recognize the new ISA PCMCIA card, I figured what the heck and went for a Bilbrey Mandrake (with an added degree of difficulty of 2.5). That was darned interesting! I had so much fun, I tried it again. ...and again. ...and again, learning something new each time.

Like under expert install, the installer would recognize and test out my Logitech TrackMan Marble+ as an Intellimouse with a working scroller! Wowser, I'd stay with Mandrake over SuSE just for that feature.

Let's see???

Oh yes, you can actually tell DiskDrake to give you 3gig as ''/'' and still have the installer tell you there's not enough room to put all the packages you selected.

I'd selected a lot...

...and lots of other fun stuff into the wee hours of the morning. ...and again this afternoon with SuSE. I learned a little bit more each time. ...but I think it's time to stop with the toying around and get the workstation up and ready for next week.

I'll see you then...

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