Linux and Dvorak Update

After using Dvorak for several months now, I am quite comfortable with the layout. Far from my initial struggles, I am no longer annoyed at the layout, but rather enjoy its benefits. I am faster than my Qwerty days, but am not quite to the level of touch typing. I was never much of a typist to begin with, so perhaps being faster in not that much of an accomplishment. Currently, I cannot see myself going back to Qwerty.

On the Linux front, my total conversion over to a Linux based desktop is going along great.  All of my computers currently run Gentoo,  as I just switched one of my servers from Xubuntu to Gentoo.  I do still have my Windows install around so that I can play the occasional game and get a file or two when necessary.  To maintain as much connection to my home computers as possible, I have started to make extensive use of SSH.  Thus, even when I am stuck in the computer labs at school, I can SSH into my box and get all the functionality I would normally have.  Cone has proved to be an excellent command line mail client (with POP and IMAP support) and naim is a functional command line AIM replacement, two common programs that I like to use.  mp3blaster is also a nice program to listen to music.

With the quarter winding down, I should be able to get back to my neglected projects, and maybe start some others.


I had bought a Hauppauge PVR-500 a few months ago with the plan to build a MythTV box.  My first attempt at this resulted in a 866MHz PIII with a 10GB hard drive running xubuntu being converted into my first MythTV machine.  As you can imagine, the computer was a bit too slow for it to work well and the hard drive was far too small to be useful for recording programs.

I’ve finally gotten around to making a good effort into the myth box, due primarily by this deal on Tiger Direct.  The price ($400, plus $24 shipping) was excellent, considering the AMD Athlon FX-60 processor alone is $399 at Tiger Direct, and $525 at Newegg.  The Tiger Direct package deal included an OEM Athlon FX-60, Ultra CPU cooler, Ultra V-series 500 watt power supply, Asus A8S-X motherboard, and Ultra X-blaster case.  My main desktop machine has an FX-55 chip in it currently, so I stuck the FX-60 into my main machine and am using the FX-55 for the MythTV box.  This just leaves me to buy RAM and another hard drive to have a very nice MythTV box.  The old MythTV box has been retired, and will most likely spend the rest of its days crunching SETI@home work units.  The case that came with the deal is useless to me since I have everything rackmounted… to ebay it goes!
The only snafu with the new FX-60 in my main machine is that my BIOS doesn’t know what processor it is.  I have a Asus A8N-SLI mainboard, which supports the chip.  Its not a significant issue, as the processor runs the way it’s susposed to, however the BIOS reports it as “AMD Athlon: Model Unknown”.  I checked for BIOS updates, but there are none… oh well.  Its a lot faster than the FX-55, so I’m pleased with the purchase.

The MythTV install on the new box is great, definitely runs better than with the old PIII machine.  Its running on Xubuntu and once I get a bigger hard drive, I’ll reinstall and do a more detailed analysis.

Battery Life

Now that I’m safely at my destination, I can continue where I left off.  Recently I’ve been trying to see how long I can extend my battery life on my Thinkpad T30 (aka darkstar, running xubuntu).  One of the methods I’ve been trying is not starting x (and thus not starting xfce).  Of course there are a lot of variables that determine battery life, but so far under normal use I seem to get about 30 more minutes.  Normal use would be internet (elinks vs firefox) and typing (nano vs open office).  I’m going to continue to track battery life over time to get a better estimate over longer periods of time and for different amounts of CPU usage.