Unix for Theologians

quod scripsi





Monday, June 28, 2004

Cool toy of the day

The cool toy of the day is Slax, a live-CD version of Slackware which runs from one of those cute little mini-CDRs. It has a nice generic selection of features (I'm running it now) but unfortunately doesn't include much development software. However, it shouldn't be too tough to modify the system. Removing KDE would leave lots of room for actually useful stuff: Perl, etc.

I've been looking for an excuse to crack open that box of mini-CDRs for a long time, so this was a good reason. I think I'll put a copy in the glove compartment just in case...

Posted by joe @ 09:04 AM EST [Link] [No Comments]

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Field Day 2004

Yesterday I tracked down the local ham radio club's Field Day setup. I've never done a Field Day before (Saturdays used to be a bad time to get out and do things). The local club had 4 stations set up using only battery power. I got to work on one of them for about 90 minutes and made 3 contacts using 5 watts. It was my first time on HF since 1998. Conditions were definitely different from previous contesting: we were set up in a tent with a large tarp continually blowing around us. That made things a little challenging, along with the QRP operation. I wish I could have gone back for more, but maybe next year.

One of the local hams is giving away a 20-meter beam antenna. I think I'll ask some of the locals to come over and give some advice on putting up that 40' tower so I can get on the air. Finally.

Posted by joe @ 12:03 PM EST [Link] [No Comments]

Really back in Slack, this time.

The last Slackware installation didn't go so well. The installation went fine, until I attempted to install the Nvidia drivers for my video card (an old GeForce 2). The drivers wouldn't install because I didn't have the right modules for my kernel, or something like that. I couldn't recompile the kernel because I didn't have the source (it was an old Slack 9 CD which apparently didn't come with the source code). So I grabbed the source code for the latest kernel and built it, installed it, rebooted. . . kernel panic. Apparently I forgot to umod my kernel. That's what I get for not building a kernel for several years.

Fortunately Slackware 10 was released last week. I downloaded the install CDs and set it up yesterday without a problem. One nice feature is much-improved fonts in X. Mozilla looks quite nice now in the default install. Now it's back to the usual setup steps: video drivers, sound card support, etc. That shouldn't be a problem this time. I hope.

Posted by joe @ 11:59 AM EST [Link] [No Comments]

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Back in Slack

It's been a while since I've had a decent Linux system, but I've finally cobbled one together again: a speedy 400 MHz Celeron system with 128 MB of RAM, 20 GB of SCSI disk and a GeForce 2 video card. I've never messed with a SCSI PC before, so it took a few minutes to figure out how to boot the Slackware installer. Now that I'm up and running, it's time for all the usual tasks: install the Nvidia video drivers, build a new kernel, deuglify fonts in X, etc etc. But that's the fun stuff. Well, time to boot my shiny new kernel.

Posted by joe @ 07:17 PM EST [Link] [No Comments]

Friday, April 30, 2004

Cool toy: Lisp Resource Kit

I've wanted to learn Lisp for decades and have made a few attempts at it over the years. A few months ago I was playing with Knoppix, a Linux system which runs completely from CD and thought, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a version of this with Lisp tools?" After all, learning a new language is much more fun when you're using Linux.

Last week on comp.lang.lisp I saw a link to the Lisp Resource Kit, a version of Knoppix with several Lisp implementations (clisp, CMUCL, Allegro, LispWorks and maybe some others) and some good tutorials. It's my wish come true.

Lisp Resource Kit is free to download, burn and run. Like Knoppix it boots up, detects your hardware and network and gives you a very useful Linux system which runs completely in RAM and from the CD--no system modification is needed. I'm actually using it right now. When you're finished, remove the CD and reboot to your regular OS.

The KDE menus have been modified and loaded with links to all the Lispy goodness in the system. The tough part is deciding which to use. I like the idea behind CMUCL, but LispWorks is a nice system and Allegro is great too. Unfortunately the tutorials don't include Touretzky's Common Lisp which is one I like, but it's no big deal: simply browse to the site and read it from there.

This is one nice package. If you're interested in learning Lisp, check it out.

Posted by joe @ 05:47 AM EST [Link] [No Comments]

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Henry the Philosopher

At supper last Wednesday Henry asked, "Are we real, or are we being read in a comic book?" Not bad for a preschooler who still (occasionally) puts his pants on sideways.

Posted by joe @ 07:04 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Time really flies, this time

Hard to believe it's been 6 months.

We've been pretty busy around here, and work has been more hectic than ever before. By the time I get done with work I'm usually pretty tired of the computer and don't seem to get around to updating here. Excuses, excuses.

So, what's new in 6 months? Well, Hair of the Frog is closed. During the 8/11 visit the fire inspector was inspecting the building and had a lot of complaints. Apparently the building owner never got around to resolving them, and the brewpub owners finally had to shut down. RIP Frog.

Last week was my birthday, and my plan was to try one of the other brewpubs in town. Unfortunately I caught Henry's cold and by noon I didn't feel like doing much of anything. Maybe another day.

Well, short update: it's the boys' bedtime.

Posted by joe @ 04:54 PM EST [Link]

Monday, September 1, 2003


On Saturday morning while the boys were getting dressed I slipped into my office to check out my personal email (none) and then work email (to make sure that nothing was too urgently wrong). While I was reading the daily error messages from the reporting system, Simon came walking out of the playroom.

At 1.75 years old, he's constantly practicing words and various intonations. I didn't hear too much as he walked toward my office door, just (surprise-tone) "Mouse", (aha-tone) "Mouse". The cats have several dozen toy mice and leave them all over the house, so I assumed that Simon had found one in the playroom.

I felt a little guilty for doing a few minutes of work rather than paying attention to the boys on a Saturday morning, so I smiled and turned too look at the toy mouse he had found.

Toy mice don't have legs.

Simon was smiling and holding a real dead mouse just under its front legs. He had never seen a real mouse, but knew one when he found it. My first thoughts were "lice" and "plague" and he looked a little startled to hear how urgently I was demanding that he put down the mouse, but he did. I pushed the mouse onto some cardboard, took it outside and tossed it over the back fence.

Tigger got the "Hunter of the Day" award.

Posted by joe @ 07:13 PM EST [Link]


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