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Thinking about simplicity ...

Last night, Mark reviewed a book called Laws of Simplicity, which he simply declared was a good book, but a less-good website.

Anyway, I hit the website this morning, and found the fourth law: Knowledge makes everything simpler.

I'll get back to that.

Kerry wants Windows because she wants Office. She wants Word. And I've seen enough of Windows that I would not willingly choose it if I had any other choice. So I keep saying "OpenOffice.Org can write Word documents". So, finally, she decides to try it, and she complains that the person on the other side could not open it. So, I have her send it to me.

She isn't Ms. CS, but she's been in computing longer than me, and far more connected to word processing than I have been in the last 15 years. So why didn't she understand the concept of Save As Word Document?

It seemed perfectly simple to me, but then knowledge makes everything simpler. I got the concept. When I install Office, I always put in all the conversions, because you don't know when someone wants you to read a document written in WordPerfect on a Mac. Somehow, somewhere, she missed it.

I have knowledge on this, so it's simple to me.


Thinking about mail ...

I use Thunderbird for mail. I use multiple mailboxes to segment my life. I have one that my bosses use to mail me. I have one for some friends. I have one I put on my resumes. I have one (strictly speaking, it's at least 6, potentially more, but one mailbox) that I've been at forever, and it's where most of my mailing lists go, where my parents mail me, and where I can bring the awesome power of Procmail to trigger abstract code through a mail filter. Plus one from my cable company that I don't really use.

Anyway, I use Thunderbird, because it's easier to watch all those mailboxes with one thing than it is to have seventeen windows open. I have Procmail for one mailbox, GMail's server-side sorting for two others, and contempt and Thunderbird's built-in filter for the campus mailbox. So, when I get mail from mailing lists, it goes to the list. When I get spam, for the most part, it gets trashed. Very fine-grained control over what goes where.

And very coarse control over alerts.

I like mailing lists. I'm on a lot, on a few subjects where I'm not the master and not going to be soon. So I collect great gobs of mail and use search functions or grep to find exactly what I'm looking for. But the alert function has just on and off. I don't care if there's a flame war on the opensolaris list, or discussion on new forms of statistical analysis on the Bioconductor list, or a flame war on the guitar list, and the alert function that tells me about that is stealing my focus. What I want is alerts for the people in the office, my parents, my wife, my children, a select set of friends, and complete silence for everyone else.

I'm going to have to write a module, aren't I?


Looking Nevada and feeling Indiana ...

To explain, first....

Solaris is becoming opensolaris, licensed under a Stallman-compliant but Torvalds-grumbly license to keep the coolest parts out of Linux. This process is lead by Ian Murdock, former head of Progeny Linux, whose goal was, in part, making an installer for Debian that didn't suck. Progeny died, Ubuntu make the Live CD, and Murdock went to the LSB and then to Sun, where he's in charge of the process of s/S/opens/.

The old code base is code-named Nevada, the new code base is code-named Indiana, because that's where Ian lives. And it has a dev release Live CD. And I tried it out.

Years ago, I had a specific Celeron box. It was the only PC I had that had a real ATX motherboard rather than a proprietary Compaq oddball thing. So, when I tested things, I tested them on that one. BeOS wouldn't use the network card, so I didn't stick with BeOS. (Otherwise, Be was so choice. It had speed on a 500MHz chip that I would now barely expect on a 2GHz chip.) Later, I installed Windows .Net 2003 server. Again, no networking. If it couldn't network it was of no use to me.

Now, I have the opensolaris live CD. That specific 500MHz machine has been dead for a year. I tested it on this machine, a Compaq desktop I got from a friend whose company was salvaging old desktops. 2.26GHz. Over four times as fast. That'd fight the image that it's Slowlaris. And it looks good. It got that machine to run 1600x1200 on a screen that Ubuntu Feisty refused to run at more than 1024x768.

But, it couldn't find my NIC. What good is a machine that cannot talk to another machine?

But that's a good thing about a live CD. You can test the hardware and see if it works.

I'll try it on my #1, a Dell GX260, soon. In the mean time, can anyone point me to a FreeBSD live CD?

ETA: It works fine on my work machine, a newer HP/Compaq. I'm writing on it right now. It doesn't to TwinView or Compiz. Which is fine, I guess. It's supposed to work, not look pretty.

The live view, this time, required a login and won't give a gterm. It didn't do either when I tried it before. Odd.


Blowing it again ...

Or perhaps still.

Fuse went right as I walked through the door. So, I spent my time wondering how I was going to get anything done, rather than getting something done.

Sometimes, I think I should get a laptop.

Then again, you don't get 2560x1024 on a laptop.

So, this means I did nothing today.

"Nothing" include "not reviewing Beautiful Code".

However, I did read some Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Solutions using R and Bioconductor. Which is pretty much what I do here. But I couldn't try any examples, which sucks.