My computers

Seeing as everyone in the world is doing it.

  • brick (Toshiba laptop that is my main Linux machine – Ubuntu 8.04.1)
  • kallisti (G5 iMac that runs all my music-related things – OS X 10.5.5)
  • eeepc (new toy that goes everywhere with me – Mandriva 2008.1)
  • impulse (G4 iBook running Ubuntu 8.04.1 – lives in the kitchen)

I also have some inactive desktop machines that I don’t find I need to use these days:

  • Cerberus (old IBM web server – running Ubuntu 7.04 I think)
  • Baptist (very old Dell optiplex I’m half way through setting up as a router)
  • Scorpio (my old desktop from a couple of years ago. Now used to test things that might break my laptop)

Steph also has three machines; a desktop and a laptop running Windows XP and a server running Fedora 8.

Too many computers? There is no such thing. And it’s not like we have more than 3 or 4 on at a time.

Review : Window Sills by The Wind Whistles

I was going to wait to review this until Sunday, but as I’ve listened to it a fair few times over the last 24 hours I thought it was worth sharing.

Window Sills by The Wind Whistles – They think they sound like the Violent Femmes and the Lemonheads. Other people compare them with The Decemberists and the Moldy Peaches. I’d agree with all the above and add the White Stripes and the Fiery Furnaces to the mix.

The music has a traditional edge, but deals with modern (yet universal) subjects. Both singers can sing, and it sounds like they would be amazing in a live setting (anywhere from a concert hall to a camp fire).

I think I’ve just found my “walking to work” record for the next few days.

New keyboard

My much loved Belkin keyboard croaked it yesterday (or at least several of the keys now refuse to work). Today I bought an Advent ADE-KBW100, largely because it is slimline, quiet to type on, and didn’t break the bank. It claims to only be compatible with various versions of Windows, but not only does it work perfectly with Ubuntu, I can also use all 18 of the hotkeys without any further installation of drivers (which actually makes it more compatible with Ubuntu than with Windows XP).

Once again, another win for Ubuntu.

Defining what I actually NEED

After taking my Eeepc away on a trip to Italy, I’m now starting to work out what applications I need and don’t need. The following is what I’m actually using (or am keeping because I think I might need them):

  • Gedit and Terminal (with which I can do most things)
  • Firefox
  • Evolution (yes, I use Evolution on a tiny laptop and it works for me)
  • Emapthy (for IM – it’s the future so I thought I’d start using it now)
  • OpenOffice.org (for presentations and reading documents sent to me)
  • VLC & Rhythmbox (for the growing collection of media on my spare SD card)

Apart from that, I don’t use anything graphical, and I’ve also got rid of anything that requires a CD drive, or bluetooth, or anything that the Eeepc doesn’t actually have.

Now to think about streamlining my other computers and also investigating why my external keyboard died half way through this post.

Taking mobile computing to a new level?

Over the last few weeks I’ve not had an office, or even a proper place where I could set up a computer and work. As a result of this, I’ve been exploring the concept of mobile computing (using laptops for everything, and working wherever I could get a wireless signal). It’s been quite eye opening; and has actually made me more productive because it was meant if I am working on something that requires tranquillity I can move somewhere quiet, whilst if I need collaboration and input I can move my laptop to where the people I need to talk to are working.

As a result of this, I’ve got used to carrying a laptop with me wherever I go. This has lead to increased shoulder muscles (both laptops I’ve been using are on the heavy side), but has also lead to me being able to write a quick blog post, check email, or work on the fly wherever I am. At the end of each day I’ve synced all my data back to a central server, so that everything I write on any computer is all stored in the same place (and is the most recent version thanks to the wonders of rscyc). This also ensures that if a laptop I’m working on gets lost or broken then I don’t lose too much in the way of data.

My new office is finished now, but since I have just bought an EeePC I still plan on using the mobile computing model on occasion, because I think it really does work.

EeePC

I’ve finally got round to getting an EeePC, and so far I’m really impressed. I’ve installed the latest version of Mandriva on it, and have a very functional Gnome desktop, which does everything I need it to do.

Installing Mandriva was a breeze – it was just a case of changing the BIOS to boot from my external CD drive, and also to enable wireless at boot so that the right modules were loaded. I’ve uninstalled a load of stuff I don’t need, added a couple of things, and at present I’ve still got 1.2gb free on the 4gb internal flash card.

I plan on getting another 4gb card and installing the original EeePC OS onto it for testing purposes.

Computers and productivity

Every few months I like to change my working area around, and try undertaking familiar tasks in a new way. Having a new office has intensified this, and has lead to me re-evaluating my working area at home as well.

And once again I seem to have settled on a very similar setup in each. I’ve not got photographs of my desk at work, but I have taken a couple of pictures of my desk at home, which should demonstrate what I mean.

My desk (Linux laptop on the left, iMac on the right)
My desk (Linux laptop on the left, iMac on the right).
I am trying to use this laptop for everything at present
I am trying to use this laptop for everything at present.

And yes, I gave up on KDE4 after a few hours. While I’m more than happy to bounce between several different operating systems, I do have very definite preferences regarding how each one should look.