I haven't posted much here over the past few months and I can't say that I feel much of anything about that. I can't really feel any sort of guilt or sense of laziness about that because, in truth, I've been incredibly busy and none of it has been anything to proverbially write home about. I have an increasing number of balls that I'm obligated to keep continually aloft and precious little energy for tech fetishist pseudo-intrigue. Excuses begone:
1. I'll own a Kindle in a few days which I'm pretty excited about. I can't really comment a whole lot on the controversial DRM because I buy books pretty consistently and hate the fact that I'm left with an all but useless husk when I've finished the book. I also dislike the fact that the cheap trade paperbacks that I favor when thinking about the comparatively small amount of disposable income that I have to blow on fiction are not durable at all. I'm much happier with access to sanely formatted text than I am with twenty more pounds of paperback to cart around until I eventually spill coffee on them and they are destroyed.
A former co-worker was kind enough to let me mess around with hers a bit and I'm pretty happy with the e ink display. I'm pretty sensitive to glare after too many years of squinting at bad monitors attached to server room KVMs and making the mistake of buying more porous contact lenses and the Kindle display is ridiculously glare resistant.
The only real downside that I can see is the issue of expense -- no more super cheap used books but I think there is some exchange in value there simply because I can't lose or physically destroy the book. I'll write some more on this when I've actually had some time to beat on it and figure out if the interface is as good as it seemed after using it for a few minutes.
2. New job. I finally found a new job which is apparently something akin to a miracle while the economy is being nudged down the shitslide into eternal torment and damnation or something like that. It's the same basic deal as always but pays a lot more and will (hopefully) give me more time to do system administration and less call to delete normal.dot and play seek and destroy in the Windows registry. This is wishful thinking because, although I sincerely feel as though I've paid my desktop support dues, I will be the entire IT department for a 60-85 user environment. This is pretty similar to the situation I just left but the money certainly helps. I start tomorrow and feel better already.
3. Ubuntu. I've finally settled on using Ubuntu on my desktop machines instead of the other distributions that I've known and sorta loved. I really tried to keep a couple of installs of Debian unstable sane but they eventually broke or conflicted in a way that made them useless. I've always held Ubuntu in mild to moderate disdain as a luser-oriented distribution in contrast to Debian's QA-centric take on building the stable branch of the distribution. Unfortunately, I'm mainly using Linux on the desktop these days so I typically need newer/sexier versions of applications and libraries and can't deal with unfucking dpkg/apt after every update. Ubuntu is a fairly good compromise between the tendency towards bleeding edge and having your shit actually work. Feel free to heckle me so I can give you the interWeb equivalent to a blank stare. That is oddly fulfilling.
I'm trying out Chrome as my primary browser on this machine for a couple of days. I've converted all of my *nix boxes back to Debian because, whether I'm comfortable admitting or not, I like the way that things work in Deb land and most other distributions are frustrating. I'm even running the stock kernel (2.6.30-2-686) which doesn't happen very often.
Anyway, back to Chrome because that was my intent when I opened emacs to write this. I installed the developer release straight from the mouth of the beast which seems wiser than the community built Chromium releases that I've found pretty crashy and not very much fun. Most of those early builds were missing any of preferences which are scant but at least accessible on this version. I'm hoping that one day I'll be able to run Chrome and control which fonts it uses. Right now, that isn't a presented option which was disappointing because I do a fair amount of reading from web sites and being unable to bypass the demonic urges that cause some folks to force us to read in small, serif fonts is making me kinda headachey.
Other than that rather small glitch (which is perfectly acceptable for somethng that is released for developers), my Chrome use has been really stable and easy on resources. It's a much lighter browser than Firefox by miles and with the inclusion of Flashblock basically disappears from the process landscape when I'm not actively using it. This works out great for me since I typically have somewhere between 15 and 30 tabs open in a browser. I tend to open links people have mailed me or from things I want to read from an RSS reader and Chrome has yet to freak out and freeze or crash. That is exactly what I needed and here's hoping that the eventual move from beta to something closer to a final release doesn't change that sentiment drastically. Remember when Phoenix was jaw droppingly awesome? Sigh.
I'd nearly forgotten that MariaDB existed or that it was nearing the point of being a viable replacement for MySQL but Jeremy Zawodny mentioned the project and its progress today on his linkblog. It's pretty surprising how well things are coming along and the features it offers in comparison to MySQL. Given the questions surrounding the future of MySQL now is an ideal time to start looking into alternatives in case Oracle decides that they can suddenly reap huge profits by making that software less accessible or something equally inane.
The really super duper good news is that the devs have organized a Debian and Ubuntu repository for packaged versions so taking MariaDB for a spin is a much simpler process than I first imagined. I'm hoping to set aside a little time to install and configure it on a test machine tomorrow. If that actually happens I'll try to write something about the observable differences or at least how well a clean install or conversion went.
Question posed to no one in particular:
Has anyone ever seen an actual implementation of the Coda file system. I started reading the CM site sometime in the past couple of weeks and noticed that it was updated within the past year. You couldn't tell that from the available documentation though since most of it is nearly ten years old and does its comparisons with Linux based on ext2 and seems pretty ambiguously hostile towards file systems that are actually used. Just curious if anyone knows about any actual uses of it and how it fared under real world stress and being accessed by the usual gamut of applications.
Wherein The Whiny Consider the (In)Human Elements In Employment And Ponder Building a Rocket Ship And Leaving Earth Permanently
I've been looking for a new job for the past couple of months and I've reached an epiphany of sorts about it. I'm starting not to care at all about potential environments and thinking more about the potential money. This is probably a pretty solid indicator that I need to move on to something else. I've grown pretty weary of the dichotomy between HR-heavy interviews where I'm asked too many questions about teamwork and the developer-esque interviews where people try to stump me according to their favorite hangups and and amounts to a dick measuring contest. Although I really do want another job that doesn't require me to jump through so many ridiculous hoops crafted from years of laziness and incompetence, I'm also less willing than I've ever been to keep cranking on the dimmer switch for my actual personality predictively for each and every loathesome interview. Perhaps the more correct methodology would be to wear a tiara and just answer: a best effort to fix all of your broken shit because I hate things that don't work the way they're supposed to. Also, I'm tired of simultaneously nodding and rolling my eyes when asked about Vista experience without screaming "You deployed that bullshit!?!?" at people interviewing me.
School? Shit, maybe.