le_bebna_kamni: (Default)
First things first: thanks to help from several generous people, I now have the funds to pay for classes! I can still use a job here and there to help cover semester expenses, but for right now I'm focused on knowledgy-type things. :D

Hardware joys and OS woes... )

And now the lessons learned:

-- I learn about Linux because it is like a best friend that I can't help but want to get to know better.

-- I learn about Mac because it is like the annoying aunt who spit-washes your cheeks even when you're an adult, makes you put on a dress, and asks you why you haven't found a good man yet. I learn just enough to avoid the problem buttons, but I'd like to confine my interactions to the computing equivalent of family holidays and funerals.

-- I learn about Windows because it is like my bitter enemy that I enjoy making kneel down before me and listening to it squeal. Bwahahahaahaha! Unfortunately I can't do away with it yet, as it seems to be a necessary evil in my life.
le_bebna_kamni: (Dalek)
Imagine for a *brief* moment that you're really, really clutzy. Now let's just suppose for a moment that in your clutziness you bumped a tray table so hard that you sent a glass of water toppling over onto your nearby laptop.

Pretend that you let it dry overnight, and the next morning some of the keys on your keyboard don't work. You know you need to get it repaired (and let's just suppose that it's really hard to do it yourself because your laptop is a Mac), but you're not handing your precious laptop over to an untrusted stranger without some serious backup.

But you can't type...heck, you might not even be able to log in, because the particular configuration of non-working keys includes some of your password letters. And worst of all, you're far away from home and don't have your collection of USB keyboards that might work in a pinch.

What do you do? Based on a True Story(TM) )
le_bebna_kamni: (CS)
I'm over at a friend of a friend's house, and I'm trying to tackle getting my wireless configured under Linux because I've finally found a place (and available time) where I have both a wired and a wireless connection in the same location.

But that's not going so well. How many geeks does it take to install a wireless driver? )


Apr. 24th, 2008 05:15 am
le_bebna_kamni: (Sleep)
I have had an awesome morning. I did an absolutely beautiful thing with my computer, and I'm very pleased.
I'll just hide this so I don't scare *everybody* away )
le_bebna_kamni: (Army)
Microsoft cracks me up. I'm reading my textbook on Server 2003, and I just couldn't resist posting this gem:
The Linux environment, often deployed in development or test capacity, offers an affordable route to provide non-mission-critical [my emphasis added] network services.
Yeah, right. ROFLMAO. That's why almost $5.7 billion was spent on Linux servers in 2005**. Linux is UNIX-based, and up until 2005 UNIX has been the top-selling server. Actually, I think the only reason why Microsoft has been pulling ahead of UNIX is because of similar propaganda crap like this.

It certainly isn't because of quality. I started out getting my Microsoft certifications with a slight distaste for Microsoft, but I considered it a necessary and functional evil. Now that I'm actually learning Microsoft in-depth, I'm finding more and more ways that it just seems broken, or just handcuffs my abilities to do exactly what I want to do.

*Microsoft wants me to pay WHAT for reduced functionality???* *Microsoft won't let me do WHAT with my system unless I upgrade or purchase special licenses in addition to the ones I already purchased???* *It crashed because I did what???* Screw that -- I'll just boot off my Linux live CD and fix the problem for free. Strike that, I'll just make a Linux server and not have to worry about it at all.

For the average end user, I still recommend Windows (XP, not Vista), because Linux still has a ways to go before it is completely end-user friendly. But to paraphrase Eric S. Raymond slightly out of context, being a sysadmin running a Microsoft product is like learning to dance ballet in a full-body cast. As an admin, just don't do it! I'm finding that it's just so much easier to do what I want on Linux.

And once again this morning I was reminded of the fact that Linux doesn't have to defragment in order to keep running smoothly. Somehow I think it's Windows that should only be deployed in non-mission-critical environments...


**My own little side note: I noticed that Linux servers were pulling in a hefty $5.7 billion in sales compared to Windows $17.7 billion. I'm very amused, because a huge chunk of the cost associated with Windows servers is purchasing the operating system and per-client licenses, whereas the bulk of Linux server costs is the hardware itself. Microsoft users also have to purchase more expensive hardware to support the same functions as a Linux server, so I'm curious how Linux would fare if *numbers* of servers were compared...
le_bebna_kamni: (knight)
You know, I've always said that SuSE was the Linux equivalent of Windows. At least from my experience, it has always been a really low-maintenance -- automatic updates, easy package management that is more user-friendly than APT (although APT still ranks highest in my list). You can do almost everything without knowing how to administer your own computer. In fact, if you try to become too much of a "power user", SuSE can sometimes be a bit tichy -- just like Windows.

But if you're a SuSE user and still don't think it's a lot like Windows, try reading this article. It seems that SuSE and Microsoft are getting into bed with each other, and Microsoft gets another chance to propagate its evilness.
le_bebna_kamni: (greenmen)
It's late at night, and once again I'm trying to install Linux on my system. And nothing seems to be going right. After turning to the online documentation and searching the help forums, I still can't find anything that fits the problem I'm having. Mailing lists are a bit slow -- and besides, I joined one before, and left after my inbox got too full. And who wants to deal with all the spam for a single question? So my next thought is, why not use an online IRC forum? It sounds like a sensible idea, since they list it as a help link, right?

Wrong. As I have learned time and time again, online help is absolutely pointless. E-mail may be slow and useless, but instant answer gratification over IRC is doubly so. The barrier to any reasonable help? One word: newbie.

That's right, I'm a newb. A smart newb -- I can figure out almost anything if given a first-time walkthrough -- but a newb nonetheless. It has been almost exactly a year since I even first heard of Linux. I've learned a lot in the past year. I've gone through four distributions, five if you count the failed Linux From Scratch system I tried to put together just for fun.

But to be honest, I still know almost nothing about fixing my system when things don't work. I still don't know how to properly use "cat" or "dmsg" commands; I don't know which system logs to check; and I have no clue where most of the files are located. I'm trying to learn, but once you get past the "basics of linux" tutorials, there's not much help...and there's only so much time in a day to track down scatterings of articles. Almost everything I've learned has been from inference, and the linux man pages aren't that helpful if you don't already know what you're looking for.

The forums are a nightmare. If you even drop the word "newb" everyone starts treating you like an idiot. Any suggestions of a more complex solution go out the window as everyone starts sending you to webpages that have "the basics", which I read twelve months ago. But if you don't use the word "newb", everyone assumes you know where everything is.

Standard chat conversation:

ME: I'm on xxxx system using yyyy distribution, and I'm having trouble with _________. I've checked the help forums, but I can't find anything.

PERSON1: Have you tried a series of command-line key configurations that require the Necronomicon to decipher?

ME: Sort of, but I had problems with that when I was working on a different problem. I tried asking another forum, but they weren't any help. I just decided to live with that problem for right now, so I really don't want to go through the same useless conversation again.

PERSON1: No, really, we should address your other problem first. Well what does your obscure.log say?

ME: Well my current problem is more pressing, but I suppose working on the old problem can't hurt. Uhm, where do I find obscure.log?

PERSON2: You have to do an [insert operation here].

ME: Uhm, how do I do that? I don't really get the man pages, and every time I look it up google just turns up pages of technical sites that I don't understand.

PERSON1: You mean you don't know how to do that?

ME: Yes. I only just got introduced to Linux last November. Thus, I'm a newb.

PERSON2: Well you really need to read the "I'm so basic I can't even use Windows" tutorial before you do anything. You can also try "www.newbies'R'us.org".

ME: I've already read those. And that doesn't help me with my current problem. If you'll just tell me where to look for obscure.log and how to do [inserted operation], I can probably figure it out from there.

PERSON1: If you don't know how to do those magickal computer operations, you shouldn't be using this distribution. Try zzzz distribution instead.

ME: I already tried that. But I was having problems with zzzz distribution and someone on zzzz.forum said I should switch to this one. And you still haven't told me anything about my current problem.

(I'm partially exaggerating, but I've had very similar conversations multiple times.)

By this time I'm usually ready to give up. It's just not worth it going through the same shpeel every time, and sometimes it's just faster to reinstall the dang thing, believe it or not.

I really want to stick with linux, I do. I love the fact Linux lets me work with files that Windows won't even let me touch. It's nice to have an operating system that doesn't treat you like a complete idiot. Now if only the help forums would do that too, I'd be all set.


le_bebna_kamni: (Default)

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