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A little unscheduled vacation time today. After the power outage the other night and the trip hauling Daniel and some other kids up to camp and ... and ... well, it was just time to take some time off and 'do nothing' with Shelley and Brad. sleep some and clean the kitchen table (computer parts <g>) and do some shopping and head out to dinner.

Back tomorrow...


...sidetracked working on a couple of machines simultaneously (an IBM Thinkpad on it's way to becoming a Linux box and an XP box that had an unfortunate encounter with some soda).

Yes, yes, I know...


It seems only fitting that after I spent the evening blowing away the Fedora Core 5 installation on the Thinkpad and putting Ubuntu on it I'd take a moment to post this from that machine...

Yeah, a sweet deal so far...


Ummm.... Yeah, geeking out a little bit with the machines here...

I suppose content would be a nice idea...


So here's the story on the IBM Thinkpad and Fedora Core 5, Ubuntu, how I ended up with the machine and where things stand... Briefly, I was totally outfoxed by the teen. Yep, after not letting him onto my network until "after the school year is over" (due to some security issues: "a teen with a laptop and a wireless NIC") and the problems he had pirating a signal from elsewhere and the abysmally slow response from his Thinkpad's 16mb of video memory for game playing and the "small keyboard" and the "It takes forever to shut down" whenever Shelley 'requested' the machine as a hostage for acceptable behavior... Well, I let him talk me into a trade: the Thinkpad for a hardwired connection to the gaming machine we built up for him last year. Ummm hmmm... I get the peace of mind of removing that XP HDD from the Thinkpad (with who knows what of several years of access at school on it) and he gets a fast, solid link to the Net for gaming and such. Yep, fleeced like a rube at the carny...

That said, I'm out on the patio listening to music with Brad and posting from said Thinkpad (with a serious memory boost and a new, speedier HDD) while the erstwhile salesman is gaming in his room under a much finer grain of access control (subject to connectivity regulated by the distaff side) than that of a wireless link in a neighborhood with multiple access points shouting "Linksys!!!" to the world.

I wonder if he'll ever read Tom Sawyer?


Oh. Sure, the 'geek stuff'... Yes, that last post was a bit tangential and encoded, but I'm not into giving out secret decoder rings. ...and yes, Shelley will likely have X-10 control over one particular hub for times I'm not at home. Caveat emptor...

...but how the heck did I end up on Ubuntu on this box?!?!? Well... It started out as an easy enough turnover: I removed the old 5400rpm HDD and gave it a WD 7200rpm (at half the amperage rating) and replaced the memory chips. FC5 went on smoothly enough and worked well except for the wireless portion of the show. I plugged the machine into a hub and updated the install, but the sticking point was looking to be the wireless. I mean, what's the point of a tethered laptop, -eh?

I could get an older Wavelan card to work, but that was only under 802.11b, and the distro didn't even see the built-in card. ...and I wanted 'g' for the range (and maybe speed between machines eventually). I tried madwifi.

...and that worked. Kinda'. Sorta'. Now the OS recognized the built-in card and most of the other cards I had to work with, but in the process I 'lost' the wireless configurability: madwifi sets the devices as standard ethernet NICs; things like ESSID and such aren't such a slam dunk. ...and after spending several hours as 'root' setting and unsetting I figured I'd hosed things enough to maybe think about starting over...

Enter Ubuntu... I'd downloaded 6.06 "just 'cause" when it came out; I figured, "What the heck" and fired it up. Hmmm... It seems the single CD loads as a live install. Okay, let's play then. ...and it 'knew' about both the built in NIC and the D-Link card I had plugged in. ...and linked up nicely to one of my access points (don't ask).

Okay, that was good enough for me! I told the live install to do the real thing and it 'just worked'. It took a reboot or two (WT??? This is Linux!), but it kept working. ...and I've spent the last several nights playing with the new toys. ...and downloading the tools I like. ...and well, just geeking out a bit.

Now to get serious about what else to do with this boxen...


An interesting day... A little bit of "regrouping", the first "nearly 200" photo day in a while, some cleaning, some resting...

More of which (the resting part) I'm due for now...

The Conjuror
Click image for larger version

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Technology and the Future"

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