[conspire] return to a state of grace

Eric De Mund ead-cabal at ixian.com
Sat Oct 16 23:02:42 PDT 2004


A brief note to announce that I've returned to a state of grace: I no
longer have any Microsoft Windows systems here at home. I may need some
moral support as my body cleanses itself of the 7 years or so of toxins
that have accumulated.

My main system at home is now running Slackware Linux 10.0. (I'm too new
to the Debian packaging and system-updating scheme to make my main sys-
tem Debian; over the next couple of months, I'll come up to speed on
this with my secondary machine, which will be Debian.) From 1990-1997,
after which I got hold of Windows 95 (or vice versa), I was running
SunOS 4.1.1 on a Sparc 1, and it served me very well.

The straw that broke the camel's back for me was another system-file-
gone-bad under Windows 2000. Over the years, I'd become an expert at
Windows 95, NT 4.0 (even managing to convert NT 4.0 Workstation to NT
4.0 Server, by extremely judicious off-line tweaking of the System
Registry), Windows 2000, and Windows XP, however, far too much of my
time, over those years, was spent tweaking and babysitting the systems.
I have no idea how many man-days if not man-weeks I've spent getting the
systems "just right". I'd gotten my expertise to the point that I could
set up a Windows system for a friend or client and have it remain rock
solid for one year without need of further tweaking.

However, after that amount of time elapses, give or take, depending on
the use of the system (past future mother-in-law system has lasted 3
years; my systems never more than 18 months), the System Registry and
system files invariably get into either a corrupt or an inconsistent
state that simply cannot be repaired. And so a reinstallation is the
only fix.

This time, some system file went south, resulting in a blue-screen-at-
boot-and-then-reboot cycle. And, as I wasn't put on this ball of rock to
spend my life tweaking Windows systems, I finally said, "Enough. I'm

I type this message to you from host chickamauga, that aforementioned
Slackware 10.0 system, ssh(1)'ed in to my ISP, idiom.com, where
ixian.com is hosted. And so my emailing capability was not affected. In
fact, most of my capabilities have not been affected by this change. For
some time, now, I've been doing my emailing via UNIX; my "word process-
ing" via Emacs or OpenOffice; my IM'ing via gaim; my browsing via Opera
or Firefox (cf. q1); and my IRC'ing via X-Chat. I probably only have
about 6-12 things that I exclusively used Windows applications to do,
and if you folks have pointers on Linux analogs, I'd be very grateful.
Once these items are solved, I'll essentially be fully up and running

q1:  Is there a (non-commercial) graphical web browser under Linux that
     remembers all my open tabs from the last session? This is one thing
     I like about Opera, yet would love to find a non-commercial solu-
     tion, here.

q2:  What application rips audio CDs, using error-correction? I used to
     use Exact Audio Copy under Windows, which would read a CD sector
     repeatedly until it was happy it had read the sector correctly. It
     was a superb ripper, handling scratched CDs with aplomb. Not to
     mention grace, and elan.

q3:  Is CUPS now the preferred way to go, for printing? I need to figure
     out printing. I have a NEC non-PostScript laser printer (NEC Super-
     Script 870) directly connected to my system.

q4:  What is an easy CD/DVD burning solution? Consulting my notes data-
     base, I see that it was K3B that you were discussing and praising,
     recently. Is that the way to go?

q5:  Is XMMS still king, for playing audio?

q6:  What do people use for playing movies (e.g. avi's, mpg's)?

q7:  What do people use for scanning? Is SANE still the way to go? I
     have an old SCSI scanner (ach! I forgot about this, and didn't se-
     lect a SCSI-capable kernel at OS install-time), a Umax Astra 610S,
     that as a Domex (DTC Technology) DTC-3181LE SCSI controller card in
     the system.

"Although plastic was brought into industrial use in 1909 by L.H. Baeke-
land of Yonkers, it was not until after World War II that the modern
miracle substance was used in a wide variety of consumer goods, among
them speedboats, dentures and flamingos. Previously flamingos were made
of cement. Before that they were made by other flamingos." --William E.
Geist, The New York Times

Eric De Mund              |   Ixian Systems, Inc.   | cell: 650.303.4336
email: <ead at ixian.com>    | 650 Castro St, #120-210 |  fax: 240.282.4443
http://www.ixian.com/ead/ | Mountain View, CA 94041 | Y!IM: ead0002

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