Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy new year...

Yesterday was Ma'al Hijrah marking the beginning of the year 1431 in the Islamic calendar. So with a new year comes new hope and a fresh new start. Even for my computer. I bought my acer aspire 4810tg a few month ago before the release of windows 7. Even then they already promised there will be a free upgrade once it is released. When I finally applied for my upgrade, found out that the software itself is free, but you still have to pay for the shipping (USD 18 to ship to Malaysia). I applied for it anyway. It arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago but I was too busy then to actually do anything about it. But Alhamdullillah there's a bit of change in the pace of our work in Inigo and finally I've decided I've got enough time to risk it. And risk it I did. After making a full backup of my /etc, /var and /home directory of course.. :P

It took a very long time to upgrade to Windows 7. It was searching for incompatible software, gathering settings and things like that I guess. And after a whole night (well, I started after 10.30, and by 2 I felt I needed to sleep already, so it might have completed sooner but I wouldn't know.. :P) I finally have a fresh install of Windows 7 on my trusty Delorian (it's a timeline model ok.. that's the best name I can think of in regards to time.. >.< ). But after a reboot I realised something which I should have known but completely forgot "Windows overwrote the MBR, now no more grub..". Ugh, and I didn't have any arch linux cd handy. Had to download the iso. I did have a copy of Fedora 12 iso already though so I thought I'd try to install that. It stoped booting with an error and mentioned something about the hardware. I didn't write it down, neither did I bother to google it, so not sure whether it's just my machine of for aspire 4810tg in general. Anyhow, I tried to boot with the latest arch linux iso, also said there was a problem. It was starting to not look good. I downloaded an earlier version of arch and that one finally booted. So I was able to access my old linux partitions and all but I didn't know how to just configure grub. After around 3 hours of googling and trying various things (going into the grub console and all) I just gave up and said "What the heck, I've got a backup anyhow". So I did a fresh install of arch linux on my laptop... Completely clean install. :)

As you might have known already from my previous post, I've been on a minimalist streak for quite a while already. Using xmonad as my windows manager and even going so far as installing vimperator to control my browser completely by keyboard. So since I'm already pretty comfortable with that setup, I thought that "hey, why not dump gnome and try to have an installation without the WHOLE gnome thing". I mean I even use wicd (it has a pretty cool curses interface when you really need it) as my network manager of choice so I don't even need the networkmanager. But seriously, I don't intend to use xmonad completely. I only use it for work when I need to really be efficent. When I'm just slowly browsing and enjoying my computer, I like to slow down a little and doesn't really need all the efficency a full fledge keyboard bounded setup could give me. So after some deliberation, I choose xfce. So now I've got a super light desktop for play and a super efficent setup for work. Hohohoho.. and oh yeah, I've got Windows 7 (/me do a little chicken dance to the dismay of my fellow open sourcians.. :P).

Why on earth would I want Windows 7 you may ask when I've already got the best setup a man could ask for? Well... sometimes a man like to play games.. :P Yes, I only use Windows to play games.. :P Since I'm trying my best to be clean and since although I respect RMS very much I still think there is still such a thing as software PIRACY, I only play free games (at least till I can afford original ones.. :P). My favourite game currently, SOLDIER FRONT.. :D It's a pretty cool game, and if you decide to join in, look out for me.. jebat.. :D But sometimes I play extremely badly, when you see that please know that most probably that's my son playing using my account.. >.< (yes I know, I'm a bad father..)

Ok. That's pretty much what's new with me in this new year. So to all my muslim friends "Happy new year.. ". I'm looking forward to a great one insyaAllah, hope you are too.. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

After all that, there is more...

I remember in my younger days when I actually had time to sit for hours and hours in front of a computer to play, just play, and had lots of fun. Some of the games that I still remember fondly is like the classic Digger, Doom (especially Doom 2), Monkey Island (1 and 2 was the most memorable to me), Days of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Command and Conquer, Warcraft, Starcraft, Baldurs Gate, Outlaw, Fallout. I miss those days. Those easy times. Then it was a busy day if you only get to play for just 1 hour. And "balik kampung" was probably the worst time. You can't play for days on end.. :P

And I remember strolling around Imbi Plaza (there wasn't any Low Yat yet back then) and just looked around. I couldn't afford ANY of the things I adored back then but just being able to window shop made me quite knowledgable. Friends and family come to me for advice on what computer they should buy, or for this price what are the recomended specs. I barely know it now. I have no idea what's the latest and greatest graphics card, or CPU, much less their prices. Those were the days.

Now most of my days I'm pretty much stuck in front of a computer. Doing 'work'. And more of it. And once that is done, there's more where that came from. Living close by the seaside, I watch in awe at the waves and wonder "Maybe I should try to be a fisherman". When I said this to my wife, she just laughed and said I wouldn't last a day. The hard labour would probably kill me. I think she's right.

I love programming. Don't get me wrong. I love doing my work. But when I think about my 'work', I've been doing web based things for almost 4 years already. As long as there is any sort of data mining and manipulation involved I would say 'I could probably build you a web app for that'. I know python, php, html, css, javascript, ajax, mysql, zodb, apache and stuff but when I think about it, I barely know C anymore, nevermind java. I look at all the jobs on jobstreet and find that they want a 'java' programmer. If I had to learn it back, it'd be pretty quick, but who's going to beleive just someone off the street that he's that good? Maybe I'm just tired. Or maybe I'm just a little bored. But anyhow, I'm thinking of ways I could diversify more of what I do and know with a computer. Not just software but also hardware. Not just web apps but also stand alone application optimized for the desktop. Not just another day of 'work', but an expression of an artistic soul. Maybe...

Haiya ala Solah