As alluded to in previous posts, I am primarily using Linux now as my OS of choice. Actually, that is not quite fair, as it is not really completely by choice. I do have a hard drive with Windows 2000 on it (and Baldur’s Gate II) that used to be in a borrowed computer, but when I put it into this one, it choked on the network card. The result is that I have a desktop (without BG II) that I am using for my daily use, and it happens to be Linux. I am enjoying the new environment, as I try to figure out how to do all the things I am used to doing in a new way (or at least evaluate if I am going to continue doing them if it really is this hard to figure out). My main tools are all the ones that I used under windows and OS X, so everything is fine there, but the file sharing part is a bit of a problem. I will save that for later. I started off using SimplyMEPIS, and I liked it. Soon, though, I grew bored and decided to see if I could install something new while leaving /home in place. I knew that it should be possible, I just was not sure that -I- could do it. I did not have a whole lot stored there, so I went ahead and installed Ubuntu on top. I found both easy to use, but the default window managers (KDE for SimplyMEPIS and Gnome for Ubuntu) were a bit bulky for my hardware and I installed XFCE on both. XFCE runs nicely, and I can get just about any package I need via the apt-get command. Sounds nice, but the only drawback was that under MEPIS my 15″ monitor would only do a max of 800×600. I can tolerate those large icons, but when it comes to remotely managing servers via VNC or RDP, it is insane. I found myself scrolling back and forth constantly, just to see what was in the log files. A recently acquired friend named Jeff told me that the local power company had a warehouse that is open to the public on Wednesdays, and they have 17″ monitors for $25. That was a good price for me, and so off I went. I picked up a nice black Dell monitor, and it does a nice 1024×768 although I am still working on a higher refresh rate. They also have Dell desktops that are around 900 MHz with 256 RAM, for $125. Not too shabby for a few extras around the house to do things like stream music and that sort of thing. Maybe after I get a job….
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school is in full swing, and we are through the normal hell that is school I.T. during the first month or so. Our workload is getting down to a level that is only considered ‘behind’ and not ‘snowed in’. Now we can fit in some projects, and the one we are working on now is implementing wireless to certain points off-campus. No more detail than that at this point. It is very interesting to find that wireless is rather inexpensive, if you are willing to do things yourself, like make the antenna.
In the cooking arena, we have not been doing too much. During a visit from sister A and her fiance in mid-August, I made my chili, which I have not made for over a year I think. Although I knew that she had been vegan, I was not sure what the latest was. Reports said that she was a regular omnivore these days, and I thought beef would be OK. She ate (and enjoyed I think) my chunky beef chili, but it was the first time she had beef in a long, long time. Later she was not feeling well, and I was a little worried. Seems that it turned out to be amoeba, so that is a relief. Not that I am glad that it was amoeba (which is a very awful thing to get), but I am glad that my cooking did not cause any suffering. I am sure you understand.
Speaking of cooking… I ran across cookingforengineers.com which sports a very nice format for recipes. I am a minimalist, and this appeals to my desire to do less to get the same results. Bethany also likes this, as she is an organizer supreme. This means that she can fit more recipes into her little black book, and can get rid of all those useless pronouns and adjectives that recipes usually contain.
I enjoy languages, and wish that I knew more of them. One of my few disappointments with our time here in the Philippines is the inability to learn more Tagalog. I grew up learning Spanish (favorite phrase: “El carne de burro no es transperiente”), took Spanish in high school and then took it again in college while I took French. I did pick up some Cebuano while living in Mindanao, and that has helped me pick up some Tagalog.
But I never thought about creating my own language. This interests me because whenever I think about the bits and pieces of the languages that I do know I am struck by how interesting each is. Spanish seems very clean and systematic, while Tagalog is messy and complicated. Cebuano, although a more rural language, seems simpler and closer to Spanish than to Tagalog. Tagalog seems to me to be a mess of prefixes, infixes and suffixes that may rearrange the letters of the original word. Can someone single-handedly create a believable language? I find it fascinating. Can a made-up language be useful outside of literature (presumably sci-fi/fantasy)?
Well, I am trying a new blog system. This one (wordpress) is hosted on our own server and can be posted to via the same tools that we were using for blogger. The key thing is that I have control over it, and can access the system in several ways. I do like the new Blogger.com interface, and think that it is a great step, especially in speed. But I like the idea that I am not dependant on their system, and I can use most of the same tools that I use now.
This has been an interesting week as we fight off the hordes of Novarg Marauders clambering at our gates. 170+ have been slaughtered, and we are prepared for those yet to come. We have had to enact marshal law and close down some public services. The citizens are not too happy but seem understanding. We are also bolstering internal security across the board, just to provide for the slim chance that our defenses are bypassed. We hear that the onslaught will not last much longer, but we are prepared to hold out. How are others faring under the bombardment? Let’s hear your tales of war, heroism and woe.
I have been trying out Mozilla again lately. I tried it a while back, but it was still too much like Netscape, and I was not thrilled with Netscape at the time. Since then I have used Firebird, the Mozilla standalone browser code fork (funny term), and have enjoyed the experience for the most part. I love the tabbed browsing, and I like all the extensions that are available. In particular I like NewsMonster, a news aggregator that is embedded in the browser. Next step is to try MozBlog, an extension that adds blog capabilities to the browser. That will allow me to use my browser interface, even if I am offline (I hope). This particular entry is being written and posted through MozBlog. I like this browser so far, so maybe this will be a lasting relationship. Just a note: Mozilla is available for most platforms so this qualifies as another OS X blog app, although I use it at work on Windows 2000.
Notable MozBlog feature: Drag and Drop images. Set up the FTP server settings and you can just drag images from a web page or elsewhere into your blog. Nice. It should be noted that insterting an image from a web page in this fashion also inserts all the attributes of the image, including link and source. This means that you can drag a link to Mozilla into your post, but the ‘src’ attribute will be pointing to the original location of the image, not to a file on your server. In the same way, if the image was a link on the page, it will become a link in your post, with the same destination as the original.
This post is from another Java blogger.com client called thinblog. It is a very small and very simple app that does only the basics. I can see how it can be useful to have because it is a very small application and is cross platform. It does not have any features other than that. You can post to your blog, but any formatting must be done using HTML. It looks like it has future support for titles and links, but from what I can see, there is not much else.
Addendum to Blog stuff: This is being written and posted via Chronicle Lite, a java based blog client that has many features. I am still testing it, but so far it is looking good. It seems to meet most of my requirements and includes some features besides. The main thing that is lacking is the ability to easily upload images, and include them in posts. You can drag an image into your post from a web page and it will create the tags, but you still have to upload the image to your site. It also uses the same tag as was used in the original page, so many attributes may still need to be changed. Still waiting….
Bloggin’ with Jaguar
This entry is for Brother Nate, and any other new bloggers who are looking for some good OS X blogging tools. I have acquired the use of an iMac for a while and I am trying to do everything that I am used to doing on a PC on this Mac. So I have looked for all my favorite programs to see which ones have been ported to OS X, preferably using Carbon. On the way I took a detour and looked for blogging apps. Here I will list what I have found. The first thing I found was only a script, but it allowed me to write my blog anywhere, in any program and then copy it and choose BlogScript from my scripts menu. This was OK, but I really prefer to use a client that would allow me to add tags easily and would help me out by storing multiple blog accounts so that B could also use it with minimal effort. Next app I looked at was Archipelago, but I was never able to get beyond the setup for some reason. It required me to know more than newbie info about blogger.com (ie. APIs and RPC settings), and did not allow me to store multiple accounts easily. This is not what deterred me, it was the fact that it never connected with blogger.com. Next stop: Weblog Poster. This is the first app that I actually published from, and it is usable. It is adequate, but still lacks features. Then came BlogApp which almost won me over, but I sighed when I found that I could not edit previous posts (feature is there, but details are being worked out with blogger API, and therefore it gives an error), and it is shareware ($6). The interface itself is very simple and includes a way to upload images via FTP so that they can be posted within your blog (still requires the use of the IMG tag). It does include a tool for formatting your post in the form of a drop-down menu that lists HTML tags that can be inserted. The menu can be customized, but to do that you would have to learn HTML. So far this app seemed to be the best, except for the silly editing issue with previous posts. This one by far has the most features. There is another that I should mention, although I have not yet tried it (I will try it as soon as I can get it home). It is BlogWorks and it looks promising. It is also simple and seems to only have a few options, but it is scriptable and comes with at least one script that allows posting from clipboard. As I was looking at the site I noticed another called iBlog (hmmm, familiar ring) that I will check out now. It is by the same author as BlogWorks (no wonder I found it from the BlogWorks site), but it is much smaller, and is in active development. I will try that one too. And one more: Frequency. Another shareware ($9) app but looks like it has many features. I will also try this one. Well, it looks like I was not quite ready to post as I had not found several good options yet. I am excited that I now have more software to test. Yehey!
Another app I found posts images to a blog from iPhoto, and appropriately is called iPhoto2Weblog. It is still in the beta stage, but may work. Like Archipelago it requires you to enter more technical information, but does not offer much help in explaining where to find the information needed. It actually looks like it only works with MovableType so far, so we can just wait and hope that blogger support makes it onto the list.