To sum the previous week, I am going the phrase: WTF!

The main things for this week outside of work are gadget hell, crazy christmas cabaret, and microblogging.

Gadget Hell

Gadget hell is a phrase that I coined when every little gadget that have become part of your daily routine has developed a crazy penchant for causing grief.

First in the list is when Paquito (my PDA) started getting a sleep problem. Most of the time Paquito will shutdown on its own. This is more of an inconvenience since pushing the power button will start the little bugger and last until the duration of the use. I think I have narrowed the problem down to the fact that giving Paquito a shake will cause some shuffling in its innards. Now for more bad news, Harold had previously worked as a service engineer for HP and he said that they don’t repair IPaqs. It is all an all-or-nothing replacement deal. If they get a defective IPaq and its out of warranty then they would quote the customer for the price of a replacement. And no discount whatsoever. Bummer.

The main star of gadget hell week is Lala (my Fujitsu-Siemens laptop). I have been having some troubles with upgrading Lala (Linux system) to the latest Mandriva release which was documented blogged here and here. The inability to have wireless connection across the apartment is a major disadvantage so I decided to try installing other distributions. First on my shortlist of replacements is Arch Linux since this is the distro that I want to be familiar with. Unfortunately Arch has some problems with detecting the built-in network card which means its basically useless. Next was Ubuntu’s Gutsy Gibbon release. Everything went fine, and I was determined to try Gnome for a week to get familiar with it. I experienced some initial problems with the wifi configuration but figured/blundered out the settings after the first hour. Everything looks good and I was able to download most of the applications I normally use.

Then strikes Murphy’s law. Rebooting the laptop takes forever, on both Stu (Windows) and Lala (now Ubuntu). Stu is the one hit the most since doing anything will have a delay. Playing anything with audio is out since there is a noticeable stutter as if I am playing a scratched CD. This does not happen in Lala but the problem is that she freezes after a few minutes. I thought it has something to do with the power management settings so I set almost every action to nothing so any hibernate/suspend/shutdown command will have to be done manually but still I keep on coming back to a blacked-out laptop with blinking LEDs. Not a bad nor an encouraging sign. Ubuntu, for me, was a quick taste of heaven before plunging to (gadget) hell at breakneck speed. I need to somehow restore Stu from the image I made with partimage but Lala is at no condition to help. I had this idea to try another distro and the next I want to try is either PCLinuxOS or Mepis. Since PCLinux has initially been spawned off Mandrake, I figured Mepis will give me more education along the way. I downloaded it in Windows and got ArchLinux off the CDRW I used, then Murphy’s second law came into full effect! The image will not fit the media since it can only handle 650MB but the ISO is for 700MB media, and I don’t have any other blank CD to spare!

Swallowing my pride, I installed Mandriva 2008 again so I can restore Stu from the image I created last month. I also borrowed a laptop hard drive from Harold so I can isolate if the problem is already in the hardware level since having problems in both OS means that my issue lies somewhere deeper.

Mandriva came to the rescue. I was able to do a partimage restoration without any problems last Friday night. Ironically, Stu is now fine but Lala (in Mandriva suit) now manifests the shutdown hanging problem. I am currently lost what I would do with Lala. PCLinuxOs is also at 700MB so I am looking for something with core images at 650MB but user friendly enough that I won’t get shocked when I install it…

Crazy Christmas Cabaret

The Crazy Chrismas Cabaret (CCC) is a yearly Christmas presentation of the London Toast Theater. Most of the long-term assignees here in Denmark was able to watch last year’s CCC entitled “Bored of the Rings” which as you can guess is a loose parody of the Lord of the Rings. Lacking any real social event, the team decided to watch this year’s presentation which is entitled “Fogg’s off” which is loosely based on Jules Verne’s classic “Around the World in 80 days”.

We paid more than DKK200 for each ticket and we were seated on the right wing of the stage. The ticket is relatively cheap for a reason, there are angles in the stage that is blocked by the pillars holding the movable dome of the Glassalen theater. Anyway the show was very enjoyable, right from the segue introduction until the very end. There were some comedy skits that sounds old for Filipinos (“Seafood diet, when I see food I eat it”) and there were some joked that were targeted at the local elections that we couldn’t get. But all in all, the costumes and great use of the surroundings were more than enough to make up for the things we could not understand.

The best take away of the CCC for us is the line “… with a winning smile, but a losing face.” and the dance routine skits for the Egypt (Dance like an Egyptian) and Hong Kong (Kung Fu Fighting) stops of the travel. If given a chance I would definitely go to another Crazy Cabaret, and hopefully I would be able to take my wife with me. This is something that would be better watched than told.

Microblogging

I finally dipped into micro-blogging for these reasons:

  1. I really dont have time to do full blog posts every time.
  2. I needed a quick outlet for my frustrations either in work or in personal life.
  3. I needed something that would allow me to post quickly, precisely for the two previous reasons.

For these reasons, a micro-blog would be perfect. I immediately narrowed down my choices to either Pownce since I am a digg reader, and Twitter which started (at least brought to my attention) the micro-blogging concept. I was looking for something that would not require me to login to a full editor like what WordPress does. Pownce was still by invite only and I remembered reading about Google acquiring Jaiku so Jaiku became my second choice (I am a Google junkie at the deep core 😛 ). Unfortunately Jaiku is also by invite only as of this time, which I assume is strengthened by the Google-beta syndrome. I sighed and signed up for Twitter and everything looks fine. I posted a quick test and everything looks fine, so the next step is to figure out what are my options for posting. I was looking for something like sending my micro content via email. Twitter only presents two options: either via SMS or instant messaging. SMS is out since there is no Philippine provider and sending a message to a US number will kill my wallet. Instant messaging is the logical solution and I got redirected to imified.com which is a nifty site for gluing web services to the messaging framework. I “signed-up” with imified and started to add the widget for my Twitter account. In this area I got another setback since the Twitter widget is not working and I read that Twitter just changed their API. I noticed that Tumblr was in the list and remembered Ian Dexter posted something about it (which I discovered was Tumblog and not Tumblr). I signed up with Tumblr and here is the current result.

Ramfree17 out.

ciao!