Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ENOTSERIOUS 28 05 2006

So.... what happened after Oslo???!!!

Don't tell me you dropped your laptop!

I'm "planning" a much more modest driving trip into the midwest in about a week and I'm agonizing over which technology to take:

There is the "new" laptop that I'm using now and use most of the time, a two year old Powerbook running OS X (10.4 the last version I'll ever run I expect).

There is the several year older iBook running Linux, that in many ways is faster, and more flexible, I mean really, I can live without the bleedin' Aqua interface, and the lightweight Icewm has a theme that puts the red, yellow and green balls on the left side of every window so I don't get confused, and not only that, but they do what they are supposed to do... like close the application when you click the red one or use the ENTIRE screen when you click the green one.

And then there is the even older Compaq, also running Linux. Basically, all I use around the house are laptops. I have FOUR other computers (very old stuff that I mostly paid $99 each for) that I haven't turned on in many months, but the laptops are faster, quieter, cooler, et-cetera-er. I should really clean off the hard drives and give/throw the old desktop systems away.

Now the Compaq is bulky, huge, heavy, and creaks a lot when you pick it up. I'm always afraid when I move it from one place to another its going to fall apart. In fact pieces HAVE started falling off of it, but so far, nothing important (I don't think). It's running Debian unstable (fitting?), which is the other reason it is a bit risky for a trip, not to mention it has battery life of like 45 seconds. So it wouldn't be useful in the car without using an inverter thing. I have a wireless card for it and have used it in hotels before, some of which only have wireless connections (I'd always use a wired connection if available, as the hotel networks are insecure enough that there is a slight safety margin if you are plugging into a switch rather than a router, the wireless ones are sometimes totally wide open (even to non-guests in the parking lot!)

No problems with the "New " Powerboook, except they don't make them any more and I don't want to mess this one up if I can help it. It "just works" as they say and it is already set up for my camera, Palm Pilot, etc.

So I'm leaning toward the iBook. Wireless is broken on that. It worked once, but Apple repair broke wireless in the process of repairing everything else. Since I had once written the thing off as a lemon (pun) that it works so well now seems rather nifty somehow. I've got a Netgear wireless print server that will allow the iBook to talk to a wireless network, using a Cat5 cable, and that is probably what I'll do, but then that pretty much eliminates the possibility of popping into a Starbucks to read my mail. I'm not sure they have Starbucks where I'm going anyway, so, probably a non-issue. Furthermore, since I had already written it off once (the iBook that is) if I drop it into a canyon and it shatters into a million pieces, I won't shed too many tears. All data on it has been copied from somewhere else, so there is no need for frantic backing-up before the trip. I just have to make sure that any pictures I load onto it exist in at least one other place (either uploaded or copied too an external drive) until I get back.

I really don't make a good traveller. A shortcoming I've learned to live with.

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