02 July 2007

Then came the last days

The semester is very nearly finished. Grades only need to be printed, signed, and given to the people in that little room where the classroom keys used to be kept. I feel like I slept through the whole thing. There's all those hand-written notes I made while in class, detailing who was naughty and who was nice, that seem to indicate I was present and conscious, but I honestly can't recall much of anything. Every third page includes a deprecating note about the text book*.

Over the weekend, I installed Xubuntu on my laptop. It's more efficient than Ubuntu's standard release. I didn't like not being able to turn off gnome. I'm not sure I love XFCE, but when I started looking for the latest Slackware release and googling Linux from Scratch, She Who Must Be Obeyed mentioned that we share this machine, and I had to finish whatever I was doing in time for her to do some "real work".

All told, the installation took an hour from booting the CD to configuring our PPPoE, Chinese language support, and "windows-only" printer. I promised Dearest that, after I fetched something cold to drink, I would explain how to reboot the machine into XP. In the time it took for me to retrieve a cold one, she figured out how to use all the software she cared about (Firefox, OpenOffice, and an MP3 player I didn't know was installed) and would probably have gone on to hand-tune the kernel if other tasks not been more pressing.

Recently, I came to the realization that I could search for images now. In the old days, I used to look at newsgroups for new wallpaper or images that might connect to things I was writing. So, the idea that Flickr might conveniently give me all the images of "abandoned" that I could handle was a pleasant surprise. Damn, what will they think of next, a way to download music?

I've meant to mention Philosophy of History for a while now, but never seem to remember it while I am at the computer. It's an excellent resource for information about history. Look down the page a bit for "Reference Resources" and there's about every royal family ever documented.

* Seriously, why do the textbooks have to uniformly suck? The piece of crap we were given this semester was, at best, good for a laugh when the matching exercises went in ways I'm certain the authors never envisioned. In 12 chapters, they included 8 discussions of Elvis Presley, including activities requiring students to stand up and tell everything they knew about him (the students took turns standing, saying "Nothing" and then sitting back down).

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