Tuesday, February 11, 2003

NetNewsWire 1.0

The “pro” version of NetNewsWire is out. Although I was initially skeptical, NetNewsWire Lite really grew on me. Now it’s probably my favorite new program since Watson.

[Michael Tsai’s Weblog]

As Michael indicated, NNW Pro 1.0 is out. If this post works, it was made from NNW Pro.

Hey, it worked just dandy. That's pretty cool. And I can edit my recent entries in the blog editor.

Update: RadioServices.app is pretty much dead at this point. NNW Pro provides all the Radio Userland blog posting and editing features I need. Cool!
8:16:22 PM    


Over the weekend, I installed Debian Linux on a couple of surplus Dell boxes that were lying around. The goal is to build out a replacement box to host friday.com as that machines primary drive, power supply and CPU all melted down over the last year of operation without any internal fans. Ooops.

In any case, Debian has evolved significantly since the last time I installed it sometime 5 years ago (the last time friday.com needed to be rebuilt, coincidentally).

The initial challenge of installation is in dealing with Intel hardware. What a total disaster area! Interrupt this! Controller chip that! I now know way more details about the innards of these stupid disposable boxes that I ever cared to learn.

For the most part, Debian is quite straightforward to install. However, the installation process can occasionally lead one into a situation where things just get stupid.

Of course, the person doing the installation can do the same -- upon the first installation, I set up the system to do the long winded download-and-install part of the build out and then went out to run some errands. Upon my return, I could not for the life of me remember what the hell I'd set the password to.

Reformat and reinstall.

Another challenge is in setting up X11. First, you need to figure out exactly what kind of video card is in your machine -- not just the manufacturer, but the exact model number including revision and the exact amount of video RAM on the card. Then you have to figure out the horizontal and vertical refresh rates of the monitor. Next comes the mouse; what version of which manufacturer's particular mouse do you have and exactly what perversity need be done to make that third button work?

In my case, I only had to reconfigure the video card twice and the mice three times to finally get the system to the point where (a) X11 actually runs and (b) it shows more than that stupid grey moire riddled screen. Question: Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to use such a nasty, headache inducing, background as the default in X11?

The next challenge is getting the machine to boot to an X11 based login prompt. This is actually quite easy. Just choose a display manager.

I made the choice of using KDM -- the KDE display manager.

Worked perfectly. Login was a breeze and the wizard help me setup my account.

But the whole thing is unusably slow! Not that that is a surprise -- I'm running the system on a 200mhz Pentium with 32MB of RAM.

However, the last time I installed Linux-- long before KDE was available-- it was on a Pentium 133 and it was fast, fast, fast.

Unfortunately, I can't find the damned option to turn down the eye candy that was presented during the KDE's account initialization wizard. I doubt if it would help that much as KDE in and of itself is simply a heck of a lot more heavyweight than the baseline X11 stuff I was running so many years ago.

KDE is quite a beautiful environment. Works quite well and provides an excellent sweet of general applications that work relatively well.

Linux is a great desktop environment for folks with the patience and knowledge to get the damned thing running correctly on their system. However, it is a long, long way from being an OS that my mother could use.
2:24:10 PM