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Anything for a distraction…

Politics. A local political activist sent me an editorial slamming the Sierra Club for backing down on its anti-Bush campaign during the war. The Sierra Club is arguing that being perceived as anti-patriotic/anti-American hurts its cause more in the long run than suspending for a while. The author takes them to task for not standing by their principles; I think it’s a wise move. They can sling all the mud they want after the fact without harming their reputation, and they’ll accomplish at least as much, if not more.
I often disagree with liberals, but I don’t think they’re idiots. On the other hand, I usually agree with conservative ideas, but I grow tired of seeing conservatives shoot themselves in the foot constantly.

Changes. My Linux box has been my main workstation for about three days now. Konqueror is a more than competent Web browser with some really nice features; KWord turns out to be an awfully nice word processor; it doesn’t do everything Word does but it stays out of my way, and it provides just about all of the functionality that Final Copy, my preferred Amiga word processor, gave me. And KWord’s desktop publishing capabilities put Word to shame. I suspect it’s close to being the equal of Publisher for light DTP work. I wish it had a word count feature and a means of handling footnotes and/or endnotes, but those aren’t features I use constantly. (I can always save the document as plain text and then run it through the standard Unix utility wc; which probably means word count would be frighteningly easy for someone who knew what he was doing to just flat-out implement–output the file in plain-text to a temporary file, pump it through wc, then pop up the output in a dialog box–but C++ scares me.

For mail, I’ve been using Sylpheed, a fast and lightweight client. It’s not feature filled, but it does what I need a mail client to do, and, again, it stays out of my way.

Overheard. “Women are always right, which makes for an interesting problem when two women disagree. So we each just walked away and didn’t say anything.”

I laughed.

“You do know the woman is always right, don’t you?”

“I learned that the hard way. Several years ago.”

(Later in the conversation. Much later.)

“Maybe I’m not quite as brilliant as I think I am.”

“That’s okay, you can keep on thinking you’re brilliant if you want.”

“I can? Cool! Can I have that in writing, so I can take it to work and frame it and hang it in my cubicle?”

“Only if you remember that the woman is always right.”

I expect her to have that sheet of paper written out the next time I see her. And you better believe I’ll be hanging that up if I get it.

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8 thoughts on “Anything for a distraction…”

  1. Hi Dave,

    I have recently (2 weeks back) jumped off the Redmond wagon. I am now using Linux and KDE for my every day needs. It is surprising how easy the transition has been. I don’t use office stuff all that often but the stuff I got is pretty simple so I can save it as an old .doc/.xls (or even .rtf or html) format and read it into Koffice programs. So far my only hinder has been playing quicktime files although I have read that it is possible. I simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. So far Linux has been extremely stable (Slack 8.0) and I have learned so much in the two weeks that I have been using this system. I am having a great time! Sylpheed is something that I want to look into….

    Keep up the good work.

    /Dave T.

  2. Yes, there’s a commercial program that allows Windows browser plugins to work. Reportedly they run faster under Linux than under Windows. I can’t remember the name, but they talked about it a lot on LinuxToday this month.

    I’ve had no difficulty whatsoever in the transition; this is the fastest, most stable machine I’ve ever seen (I compiled all my own stuff from source, using the Sorcerer Linux distro for the base, then downloading and compiling my own source if Sorcerer didn’t have a "spell" for the software I wanted).

    I keep Windows on a couple of machines in case I ever need to make some fast cash by writing about Windows again, but I think you can consider me a convert.

  3. As someone who works at a non-profit, I understand the need to walk a fine line in the public opinion these days. The Sierra Club is going to find that their donation levels will not only decline, but do so dramatically. Their financial base will go to the efforts in New York and Washington D.C. There is nothing wrong with that–it just makes it harder to raise funds for an established organization. The Sierra Club is not altering their stance, just backing down from it as a matter of national unity.

  4. I will also keep Windows (98SE) on at least one machine (P133) so that my wife can surf and read her mail. I am not ready to convert her at this moment, even though I won’t be going back. I also got a terrific scanner that doesn’t run at all under Linux which is a shame. Another reason to keep Windows around in a smaller scale.

    I am currently writing this out of Netscape 6.1 which I actually find quite impressive. I haven’t tried Netscape for some time but this is finally starting to look like its worth it!

    The only thing that irritates is that I can’t see my TTF’s at all. I gotta look into that….

    /Dave T.

  5. TTFs? TryeType fonts? Look into FreeType. I got it running, but I’m not quite sure how. Search on Font Deuglification HOWTO. That was one of the keys to my willingness to switch–I spent enough time in the newsroom that I’m picky about how my fonts look.

    Now I need to bring up a temporary mailserver (built from scratch, of course) with some spam filtering and see how I like it.

  6. True Type fonts with anti-aliasing. Yup. I have looked into running that with Netscape but I am not so sure it can be done. However, KDE apps look absolutely beautiful with anti-aliasing turned on.

    Btw, I got Freetype installed. It is a built in part of XFree86 4.x if I understand things correctly.

    What mailserver are you going to use? I have been thinking about setting up some sort of IMAP server so that I can load any mailclient and read my mail from there (I haven’t really decided on which one to run) but I haven’t had the time to look into which one would suit me best. Any recommendations would be welcome.

  7. I’m working on getting NS WebMail setup to work with my POP3 mail server. I hope to be able to sufficiently modify it so I can login and check my mail from my PCS phone. I’m having to use Yahoo! for any mobile mailing at the moment.

  8. I’m leaning towards the Courier IMAP server and either Qmail or Exim as a mail transport. Courier’s the smallest and fastest IMAP server; I’m extremely disappointed with the widely used University of Washington server I’m using right now.

    Courier plus Qmail or Exim, plus Fetchmail and Procmail ought to give me an awful lot of capability.

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