Tree-Drilling Lazarus

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It seems the 85 year old reports of the extinction of the ivory-billed woodpecker were slightly exaggerated.

Fantastic. Let’s not blow it this time, fellow monkeys.

Hail Ra!

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A few months ago I went off on a rant about Mac hardware prices, the Apple “boutique” experience, and my cogitations on my next machine.

Well, about two weeks ago I asked OSX to do an ls of my mp3s, pipe the output to a text file, and play an mp3 in iTunes at the same time. HFS+ completely pooped itself, the volume information of my Firewire drive was entirely corrupted, and all the data therein went poof.

Fortunately, having been playing with ‘puters for as long as I have, I had (knock wood) a backup. But I was still plenty pissed. There is absolutely no reason that a journalled filesystem asked to do an intense ls read while accessing a file on the volume should explode. None.

And Tiger is around the corner. I’ve heard some ghastly rumors about Spotlight. I’m seeing more interest in feature deployment than feature engineering. It’s gonna cost US$129. It will be dog-slow on the 500Mhz G3 iBook. Yadda yadda yadda. So, what to do?

Thanks to the generosity of my girlfriend and family in the face of an impending birthday, I am now the proud owner of:

Along with these major components came a floppy drive, USB keyboard etc etc. Total cost, including shipping, was ~US$730. I built the machine from the assorted parts yesterday, thanks to some speedy shipping from NewEgg and Crucial. The machine is fast. Extremely fast. I have to adjust, I’m not used to apps opening in an instant. But don’t get me wrong, I do not miss the SPOD (Spinning Pinwheel Of Doom). :)

Installed Ubuntu on it last night (you didn’t think I would buy such a beautiful machine and subject it to Windows, did you?!) and am very much enjoying this Debian-derivative. I have christened it “ra” in keeping with my tradition of naming my machines after Egyptian deities (the server is “aten”).

The only rough spot thus far (knock wood again) has been the fact that iTunes did not actually tag a lot of my mp3s in the way it displayed that it had. For instance, a lot of tracks (but not all) whose track number was blank got a “0” in the actual tag, even though iTunes displayed them as blank. Comment fields that iTunes said were blank actually had things like “000000009382GJH 488402009.” Thanks, iTunes. A lot. It’s fun cleaning up 18,190 mp3 tags. But I must say, the combination of EasyTag and Rhythmbox is making it a lot less painless. And thus far, I much prefer the Rhythmbox UI to iTunes’. With 18K mp3s, Rhythmbox is much easier to navigate.

Before I bore the non-nerdy to tears, although that probably happened as soon as I started spouting specs, I’ll go back to playing in my new world. A big “THANK YOU!” to woo and my family, the Ubuntu community, and drastically less expensive hardware.

I am a happy camper.

Mediahemoth

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The news just broke that Adobe is buying out Macromedia. If you have been asleep in a drawer the past 10 years, Adobe makes things like Photoshop and Illustrator and Acrobat. Macromedia makes things like Flash and Dreamweaver.

This could be really great news. The employees could pool their talent and meld the best of competing products like GoLive and Dreamweaver into a single killer app. It could also be that that killer app now costs US$1500 and your firstborn manchild. Or it could suck.

In any event, the software world just lurched on its axis. Time will tell if this will be a boon or boondoggle. For now, just watch for that fourth horseman. Or the rapture.