Thursday 24 January 2008

Another Blog to Shout About

Well, just about everyone else is blogging these days, so why not me? I've dabbled a bit in just about everything to do with computing, but not really enough in any one area to consider myself an expert. I tend to think of myself as a bit of a Jack of all computer related trades, and this blog will probably start to reflect that with posts on a wide variety of topics.

But who can say, ey? Plenty of friends and people I know consider me to be a computer expert, some have even used the term "genius" to describe me. Maybe it's all relative - I consider Andrew Tridgell a computer genius, and I've heard that he thinks of Linus Torvalds as a genius, so the question really is: Who does Linus think of as a Genius, or is he really the top dog?

I've been thinking about starting a blog for quite some time now because I've done many random things (not always ending in success mind you) that I felt like documenting at the time but didn't - now I have somewhere to put all of that, my only excuse left can be laziness, lack of time or both. Perhaps I will persist and avoid this blog befalling the same state of disarray as so many of my past projects...

I will be attending in Melbourne next week and fully intend to blog about my experiences there. This will be my first time attending a conference like this and I don't really know what to expect - but it should be fun finding out!

What else can I say? I'm a full time Software Engineering student at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. I have a passion for Linux and Free/Libre/Open Source Software, and Linux has been my primary OS for many years now. I have a considerable collection of gadgets and machines running Linux, most notably:
* A GP2X Personal Entertainment Player which I primarily use for killing time playing old SNES ROMs and I daresay will come in handy on the train to and from Melbourne for the conference next week. Came running Linux out of the box.
* A Sharp Zaurus SL-C3200 currently running pdaXii13. This too came with Linux out of the box and QTopia for it's GUI. This little beast doesn't see too much use these days but it's 6GB microdrive comes in handy to store plenty of music for when I don't want to waste the battery on my Most Valued Gadget:
* And the MVG (Most Valued Gadget) award goes to my Nokia N800 Internet Tablet running the Linux based Internet Tablet OS 2008. I don't know how I lived without this gadget, I really don't. It does just about everything - Kagu Media Player plays music from one of the two 8GiB SD cards I have in it, while Vagalume Client streams new and exciting music from It's built in mapping software has helped me to find places on more than a few occasions, while Maemo Mapper does all my mapping related tasks that the built in mapper doesn't. It's mozilla based web browser works like a charm, the webcam has captured a number of amusing moments when I haven't had any other camera available. I can SSH into any of my other boxes from it. Video playback works great, although I haven't actually used that too much. Pidgin, Skype, Gizmo and Modest Email clients all work great although to be honest I don't use them anywhere near as often as everything else I have on the tablet. GPE PIM todo has my shopping list and checklist of things I need to do before I go to Melbourne next week ;) Well, this summary was a little longer than I anticipated - almost enough so to get a post of it's own - perhaps I shall post a full review of this device, everything I use it for, like about it, and the few things I dislike about it at a later date.
* A Dell XPS M1710. This one didn't run Linux out of the box, but naturally it didn't take me long to set it up for dualboot with Kubuntu. Yeah, I went all out on this machine - I'm a dormant gamer (would play more if I had the time) and wanted a machine that could easily handle what my old laptop could not (last LAN with my old laptop I was quoted as saying that I "should really upgrade my framerate tower" when it dropped down to seconds per frame during the later rounds of one particular tower defence map), yet still be portable enough to take with me - even if I'm just going home for a few weeks on train or plane - something my desktop is certainly not.
* My desktop box. Like most computer enthusiasts I put this together myself so I can't simply quote a brand and model for you to google. Currently it's still set up to dualboot 64bit Kubuntu and XP, the latter of which hasn't been booted since I got the M1710 (it was only ever there for gaming) and I'll probably claim that space for Linux in the not too distant future. This machine is unsurprisingly used for mundane computing tasks when I'm in my room such as typing up this blog post and listening to music. This computer doubles as my MythTV box and most of it's 1.4 Terrabytes of storage are filled up with things MythTV has recorded. Has an annoying tendency to only crash when I've gone away - usually half an hour before I attempt to log in remotely, so that means it's next crash will probably be while I'm in Melbourne next week.

Well, that's enough for the first post - I've got a few more things that I want to put up tonight, but they deserve their own posts.

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