Monday, December 22, 2003

School's out until next semester, so perhaps I'll be able to update this blog more often. Then again, I do have several other projects I'd like to work on during the break as well. I have two websites I'd like to get up and running by next semester, and a couple of programming projects I would like to see completed within in the next few months.

Currently, I haven't decided where I'll put either of my web sites. In the past, I have been unable to complete any of the sites I've started work on, so perhaps I'll hold off on picking a host until both of the sites are ready. For a short time, I had some pages put up at Tripod, and was pleased with their services. However, I'd like to find a host that offers it services for free without requiring me to place adds on my pages. Impossible, I know. I do have space for a web page on my school's servers, but that would only be a temporary solution since I'll be graduating at the end of next semester. Besides, I'm not entirely clear about who would own the rights to my work if I used the school's web server.

A few word of advice for any would-be amateur webmasters out there: Make sure your topic is limited in scope so it can be given the proper amount of attention from a single individual. Perhaps the only thing that has kept me from having my own web site is my tendancy to come up with some grandiose vision for my web site, then realize that the idea is too big for one person to cover. Now I have two sites, but both are limited in the amount of information they will cover.

It seems I've run out of time to write further. In my next update, I'd like to cover how I managed to get Duke Nukem 3D up and running under Windows XP. Of course, I'll actually have to get the game up and running before I can do that.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Yes, it has been a while since my last post. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to find time for blogging now that I have a job. Lucky for me, I wasn't scheduled to work this weekend so I can do some posting. While I may not have been posting for more than a month, I have done quite a bit of thinking about what direction I would like to go with this blog. I think the best approach would be to post stories about my experiences with technology in general and computers specifically. Since there may not be enough problems to post more than once per month, I will also include my comments and thoughts on technology. Once in a while, if something is really eating away at me, I might even publish something a little more personal.

To inaugurate this new direction, I'll add my two cents worth to the Linux vs. Windows debate. Please don't write nasty comments about this post. I realize that many people, especially Linux die-hards, will disagree with some of the things I say, but it is my personal opinion. Having worked with both OS's and watched others of various skill levels work with with both, I think my opinion is somewhat valid. Let the reader be warned: This is not a well thought out essay, just my thoughts on the subject.

First, let me briefly describe my computing history. When I began exploring the world of computing, it was with a Commodore 64 my dad purchased in 1984. I was only three years old at the time, but I was curious none the less. When I was in fifth grade, I began learning how to program the beast. Then, when I was in seventh grade (maybe it was eighth, or even ninth, I don't really remember), my father bought the family a PC equipped with MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1. From there, the progression went something like this: Windows 95, purchased my own computer, Windows 98 SE, major hardware upgrades, Windows XP Pro. Windows XP found its way into my life last Thanksgiving, and it was the following Christmas that I installed Mandrake Linux 9.0 so that I was dual-booting between the two operating systems.

To be perfectly honest, my experience with Linux has helped me to develop a taste for crow. You see, before I actually installed Linux on my own system, my experiences with the OS had been limited to the two or three times I had used the computer labs at school. My head was full of forum postings by avid Linux fans and comments by various TV personalities espousing the virtues of Linux. Thus, I went around to all my friends and family making comments like, "Linux is great", "Linux is so much better than Windows", and "You really need to get Linux." Then, with more than a little bit of anticipation, I opened the small DVD sized Christmas gift underneath the tree. After going through the installation process for Linux several times and using Linux at least as much as Windows for the past year, I have been forced to reevaluated my views. Yes, I've come to the conclusion that, great as Linux may be to advanced computer users, it is far from becoming mainstream and taking a sizable chunk out of Microsoft's grip on the market.

Windows may be buggy, short on customization, unstable, etc. but it is much easier for the average user to install and navigate than Linux. My dad has watched me install Linux and use it on a number of occasions and has remarked several times about how difficult it would be for him to properly maintain a Linux system. I don't blame him. I myself have had to do quite a bit of reading on the internet to get everything up and running, and I still have more to do. I don't think the rest of my family, or most of the people I've ever met could easily make the switch.

Were I to be approached on the street and asked, "Should I switch to Linux?" I would have to respond that it depends on one's situation. If you feel as though you've outgrown Windows and need to take your computing to the next level, then you should seriously think about Linux. However, if you're comfortable with Windows, it does everything you ask of it, and you're more comfortable with a GUI than a CLI, you'll be better off sticking with Windows. Until someone begins selling a distro of Linux as easy to use as Windows, I don't think I'll be changing my opinion (From what I hear, MacOS X is great, but you have to buy a whole new computer to use it. Also, I have no experience with Macs whatsoever, thus I cannot comment on MacOS X).

As a side note, there are still a few things which I prefer to use Windows for however, I find myself spending more and more time in Linux. That's for another post though...

Friday, September 26, 2003

What is wrong with judges these days? Two of these "judges" (and I use the term loosely) ruled in favor of telemarketers in the recent fiasco invloving the national "do not call" list. That one of the judges said the list infringed on the first amendment rights of the telemarketers is ludicrous. As if telemarketers should have any rights after invading the privacy of citizens for so long. All of them should be put in prison.

I shouldn't write too much while I'm still so upset, so I think I'll end it here. Just one more thing, it looks like all of you who signed on will still be receiving calls after the October 1 start date. By the way, how is signing up for a national "do not call" list any differant than buying one of those telezapper jiggers?

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Have you ever found yourself thinking about past romances (or attempted romances) and wondered "What if..."? Today, I found myself thinking along those lines exactly. In my case it was one in particular. Why is it that we so often torture ourselves imagining what might have been? I have way too much time on my hands...

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Yep, school is back in session and I managed to get my internet connection working again. I've never installed the software that Charter Communications bundles with their cable modems, and I had not intended to start this past Saturday when I received my self-installation kit. However, WinXP wouldn't see the connection to the internet (Linux did!) and I didn't feel like fiddling around all afternoon to get the thing working, so I folded and popped the CD in. Once the installation software was done taking down my life story, everything seemed to be working great. I removed all of the software that Charter had installed (everything that showed up on the control panel under "Add/Remove Programs" anyway) and my connection was still good - proving that Charter's software is absolutely useless.

Of course, Charter being what it is, it wasn't long until things started going wrong. Shortly after dinner, I noticed that AIM had been disconnected. After some random pinging and poking around in XP's settings, I determined that it wasn't a problem on my end of things. Actually, I could still get things to work if I plugged the modem directly into the cable outlet instead of going through the splitter. Turns out the signal levels weren't where they needed to be in order for the modem to work properly (which explained why the cable TV still worked). Anyway, a technician came out Tuesday and got everything working again. I have to give credit to my dad who suggested the signal problem when I told him about the problem Friday Saturday night.

Anyway, everything is up and running smoothly. Now I can regal everyone who reads this blog (all two of you) with plenty of exciting, thought-provoking entries sure to keep them awake for hours.

Friday, August 22, 2003

School starts back up on Monday, so I will be heading back up north to Michigan Technological University tomorrow morning. While I do see the value of a solid education, I have no desire to return for what will hopefully be my last year. By all rights, I should have found myself with a B.S. in computer science and a decent job at the end of last summer. However, the process of transferring from Northwestern Michigan College, which I attended for two years, to MTU did not proceed as I had hoped. Thus, I am now on my fifth year of college. At least I'm down to just one more year.

Now that I've done my little rant for the day, I'll get down to business, which is another rant. The purpose of this post is to correct a terrible wrong. Something so horrific, I come very near tears every time I think of it. Once in a while, when I am incredibly bored and have nothing better to do, I'll sign on to AIM just to read through the profiles posted by users on my buddy list. In this case, one of my friends (who we'll call WRONG, as that describes said person quite aptly) had posted a list of the top ten movies they had watched this summer. Reading through the list, I noticed that...just a moment...let me compose myself...I noticed that..."The Matrix Reloaded" had ranked a full 2 places higher than "Pirates of the Carribean"! I'm not saying either film will ever be remembered as great cinema, but at least "Pirates" had some semblance of a plot and a script, not to mention some very witty and amusing lines. "The Matrix Reloaded" certainly made one of my top ten lists - "Top Ten Movies I Regret Seeing in the Theater".

I would like to let everyone who worked on "Pirates" know that though my opinion will not count for much in the grand scheme of things, I consider their movie one of the most entertaining movies of the summer.

Now, I'm going to finish off my scotch and try to forget that school starts again on Monday...Advanced computer architecture - unghh...

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Well, here it is, my first entry. I'm not sure what direction I'm going to take with this blog yet, but let us hope I'll be able to update it more often than I did my website. Considering how much easier this is to maintain, I don't think that will be a problem. Here's to many more (frequent) posts!