kuangning: (thoughtful)
So, it's been a few weeks since Rhapsody ceased being a Windows machine. We're (fairly) stable with Mandrake 9.0, and I'm considering Mandrake 9.1. I thought this would be a good time to stop and take stock.

  • The first thing I'm noticing with Linux is that the whole experience is less about Linux than about how it's affecting me .

    It's an oddly user-oriented experience. Note that user-oriented doesn't mean user-friendly. Perhaps I should say user-dependent. Windows was both more flexible and more OS-centered. No matter what I knew or did not know, Windows accomplished certain tasks for me, almost independent of input. Helpful wizards whisked me through the steps of a task, and in the end, the task was done, and whether I learned anything from doing it was immaterial.

    Linux's first lesson is: I am ignorant. Blunt, straightforward. When I have reached the limits of my knowledge, I must either find more, often painstakingly, or give up on the task and retreat to something I do know. I know I went through the same newness and cluelessness when I first came to Windows. I also know that it was never so apparent to me that I was a rank tyro. Which approach is better? Neither, as far as I see. I'm glad I started with Windows -- Linux would not have been the right starting place for me. I would have been too intimidated to ever touch another computer. But once I started wanting less of the coddling Windows gives, well... I'm in the right place for me now. I wanted more knowledge, faster. I can't have that if I'm not very aware of how much I need to learn.

  • GUI matters less to me than it did, or than I thought it did. That has happened partially perforce -- Linux GUIs, so far as i have seen, suck. The many small programs that can be chained together approach works only as long as all the program creators are operating from a common set of baselines and assumptions on how the GUI should behave. And especially if you're going to make the GUI look like Windows, it should behave in the ways we expect of Windows. Windows-like icons should do what they would do in Windows. And if I'm going to make the time trade-off and use the GUI instead of the command line, whether by force from not knowing the command line alternative or by choice, I should be rewarded for the choice by being provided with an intuitive, smooth experience. I should not ever have to spend more time thinking about the interface than I do accomplishing my task. Given the choice of a poorly designed, inconsistent, clunky GUI and a slightly-intimidating but much more streamlined command line interface, the choice for anyone who can get past the intimidation is the command line. Whether this dissatisfaction is going to develop into disdain for the majority of GUIs in my particular case remains to be seen. The fact is, anyone who knows the commands can accomplish from the command line in half the time or better anything that can be done using a GUI.

  • The key to the last part -- and the majority of Linux so far as I've seen -- is knowing the commands. As far as I'm concerned, every install disk ought to be distributed with a booklet listing basic commands, what they do and the all-important syntax for using them. As nearly as I can tell, Linux provides tools for solving almost every situation you'll face in it. But someone thought it would be amusing to disguise the toolbox and hide it. The only thing more frustrating than facing an insurmountable problem is facing one where you are convinced there is a simple solution, if only you knew what combination of arcane abbreviations would implement it.

  • Transitioning, for me, has been harder than I think it should have been. I have some non-standard hardware (a Promise Ultra 133 TX AT adapter, to name the prime culprit) -- and the Linux approach to that is, frankly, a shrug and a careless, "if you don't know what to do about it, what do you expect me to do?" The which, while I can't exactly blame it on anyone or anything beyond my own lack of knowledge, almost caused me to run screaming back to the sanctuary of Windows and its kindly wizards. "Insert manufacturer's disk and click OK" would have been looked upon as manna from heaven at one point.

  • And speaking of gifts from deities, I'm still switching off between desktop and laptop to play my favourite game, Nethack. When I figure that out, I think I'll stop griping for a long while.

    Until then, well, I'm learning. I'm very satisfied with that. And overall, I'm happy with Linux in general and Mandrake in particular. I've a few books on order that should help greatly -- but I wouldn't have wanted to take a study course before using my first computer. I'm glad I waited for this.
kuangning: (curious photosphere)
Rhapsody is, for the moment and for the foreseeable future, no longer a Windows machine. I've been sitting on the fence for months, wanting to switch over but not quite daring to do it, and today I got annoyed enough to jump in with both feet. Hello, Lycoris, g'bye Win98. Though I'm not getting rid of the install disk just yet. Think I can live with Lycoris, though -- just need some time to learn its ins and outs.

I'm kind of proud of myself. Just figuring out how to get back online when my ethernet card wasn't detected during install was a bit of a triumph. And I'll be a happy, self-satisfied woman at the Great Big Sea concert tonight. ;)
kuangning: (Default)
Before I run away to work and forget ... http://www.tears-of-gold.org is back online, after months' hiatus and two weeks in design. Not everything is the way I want it yet, but there should be no -broken- links -- if you find one, let me know? (I know there's something that tests for the things, but I've completely forgotten what.) Most of what's there is familiar to you if you've read this for any length of time. The poetry section probably is not, and the files in the "hidden" area definitely should not be.

I got my first assignment back yesterday, and I am pleased. Very pleased. Taffy made only format changes, and not many of those. Her only quibble with the content was that I hadn't included some details she would have liked to know, and that was a function of the word count restriction.

The assignment was a character description. What I wrote was a rewrite of Life with Logan. Actually, that was the second thing I wrote for the assignment, and I almost didn't send it. Her reception of it mattered greatly, and getting it back without great amounts of red ink -- I can't possibly explain how that feels.

I'm off to work now -- please take care of yourselves and each other.
kuangning: (Ami)
Normal girls wake up early to do their hair or their make-up, to look out their clothes for the day or something of the sort.

I got up at 8 AM to CHMOD files for my new guestbook.

... now we know why I'm single.
kuangning: (Default)
Question for those of you with any experience with networks and lab environments.

Is there a (simple?) way to fix it so that a machine or network of machines gets reset to a predetermined state upon boot? IE, wiping out all user changes during the session? If so, how, and would someone be willing to walk me through doing so?

Here's the problem: I've been hired part-time to care for Melrose Apartments' computer lab. The apartments' tenants are college students. The machines run Win98. There is no on-site tech for the lab -- which translates to the students doing whatever they want, and infecting the computers, among other things like removing vital bits of software (Novell Netware leaps immediately to mind.)

They have to have Internet access. They need to be able to download whatever they like.

I need to have the computers stay pretty much the way I left them, in running order, without being able to be there to babysit them.

I have no idea if it's even possible. Help?

I had to.

Aug. 28th, 2002 03:39 pm
kuangning: (cheerful)
You are 59% geek
You are a geek. Good for you! Considering the endless complexity of the universe, as well as whatever discipline you happen to be most interested in, you'll never be bored as long as you have a good book store, a net connection, and thousands of dollars worth of expensive equipment. Assuming you're a technical geek, you'll be able to afford it, too. If you're not a technical geek, you're geek enough to mate with a technical geek and thereby get the needed dough. Dating tip: Don't date a geek of the same persuasion as you. You'll constantly try to out-geek the other.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com

kuangning: (Ami)
Tonight, I got sick of having no FTP access. I was in that kind of mood anyway.

Now I am no longer intimidated by Wingate settings. And FTP Commander works again.
Guess I ought to get constructively angry more often.

That is all.
kuangning: (Ami)
... even if it isn't quite what I want yet. ;)

trading card. )

Oh, yes... before I forget? I played a dozen different songs and made twenty different screenshots of Sonique's LightMagic vis to get the one that became that background. The song that did it was Peter Gabriel's Red Rain. Because, well, who else on earth plays music to make an image she likes? ;)
kuangning: (cheerful)
You know... I don't know which really says best how far I've come -- that I know how to configure my email for pop mail, or that I preferred to use pine instead of doing so. Maybe it's time to stop calling myself a refugee from TechnoWeenies 'R' Us, hmm?

( [livejournal.com profile] johnbot sent me some audio files. Too big for my web-based email, so I had him send it to my nerv account. I considered configuring Outlook, and started doing that -- then I changed my mind, telnetted in, and used pine instead. And I remembered the commands. Colour me proud of myself.)

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