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User Journal

Journal: [misc] Still here 4

Journal by GeckoFood

It has been close to a year since I have bothered to post anything on here. I still read almost daily, and once in a great while I find something on here that entices me to comment though it's rare. Anymore the room is quiet, with the occasional political post or the intermittent technical post.

I am not really sure why I have stayed. I guess part of me is comfortable here and just cannot get motivated to move on, even though there isn't too much holding me here. At one time I had a good number of friends here (a few of whom I actually met in person), but I have slowly and steadily lost connection with almost all of them. I know it's my fault.

So why am I posting now? I am not really sure, to be honest. I think I am just reminiscing about times past, friends that have sailed for bluer waters and a portion of my life that has slipped through my fingers. *shrug*

User Journal

Journal: [query] Looking for a new email provider 3

Journal by GeckoFood

I know it has been a looong time since I have posted anything. I still read here though, and today I have a question.

I have an email provider that does spam filtering above my local box. That is, I get filtered results with no opportunity to see what has been filtered out. The problem there is that sometimes it filters out emails I actually want and there's no way to get them at all.

I need a new email provider. My needs are simple - I need POP/SMTP access, I do NOT need web access, and I want absolutely no spam filtering at all. I'll filter out spam locally. I do not care if it's a paid service or free.

Any suggestions?

User Journal

Journal: [misc] Underachievement 1

Journal by GeckoFood

Saw the following statement regarding underachievement and it made me laugh out loud:

Underachievement: The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the lawnmower.

Why does this make me think of Slashdot?

User Journal

Journal: [/.] This is progress? 3

Journal by GeckoFood

I thought progress was supposed to go from "old and busted" to "new hotness", not "old mediocrity" to "new and busted"...

Amazingly, /. renders better under Opera than MSIE, though FireFox seems to be supported best. I can't find half my stuff, everything is left-justified and fonts are ugly. Another nail in the coffin, I guess.

User Journal

Journal: [geek + query] Looking for HTML component for Delphi/C++ Builder 4

Journal by GeckoFood

I know I am asking this to the wrong crowd - Delphi is a Windows product and this is a mostly Unix/Linux/Mac kind of place. Nervertheless, I have a project I'm fiddling with and I need to be able to render HTML. I had planned on wxWidgets as my platform but I cannot get it to compile properly anymore for some odd-ball reason. So... My fallback is that I have the latest and greatest version of Delphi on my Windows partition, and I am willing to go that route to get down to it. The problem is that I need a VCL component (window, panel, whatever) that can handle rendering the HTML for me. My budget for such a component is around $100.

Anyone know of one that they would recommend?

I suppose I could use the OCX control for IE, but I need something faster. The Gecko engine is out of the question as there is no guarantee that any given machine will have FireFox or Mozilla.

JE open to anyone other than AC.

User Journal

Journal: [geek] Windows Console App vs. DOS 32-bit app 8

Journal by GeckoFood

Ok, not the most glamorous topic to kick off the new year but you get what you pay for. This is the first JE I have posted in several months, not because of ill will or dissatisfaction here, but simply because I do not have the time I once had to post.

Anyway... I decided to conduct a small experiment with one of my C++ compilers. I have a 32-bit application that has a benchmark test embedded in it and I have been recompiling the app over and over to isolate the optimal set of parameters for the compiler and linker to get the best performance. So far I have found that compiling for the i686 chipset with full compiler-provided optimization and stdcall linkage yields the very best performance. I am not sure why stdcall is best, to be honest, but that stems from my ignorance on the different linkage strategies. Also, the performance gain with stdcall is not large but it's noticeable. Once I got the application tuned as tightly as I could with the compile, I got curious - how would a DOS32 app compare against a Windows console application?

In a nutshell, the DOS32 application performed dreadfully. Where the Windows console application benchmarked around 1550 ms on average, the DOS32 application benchmarked just over 2000 ms. I assume this is a penalty relating to the translation layer of the DOS extender.

User Journal

Journal: [misc] Mining the past can be poisonous 2

Journal by GeckoFood

The deeper you delve into the distant past, the richer the pain and sorrow you may find. Sometimes, the truth is best left unknown - knowing may bring healing, but it can also crush you with unbelievable weight.

Ask yourself - do you really want to know? How badly? Is it worth it?

User Journal

Journal: [misc] Sadness 3

Journal by GeckoFood

A word of advice for my friends.

You can spend decades searching and searching for people from the past. When you finally find them, be ready for the memories to flood back and be ready to accept that their recollection of you may very well be the last thing you'd expect.

That is all.

User Journal

Journal: [food] A new development

Journal by GeckoFood

I have not had time to do a lot with baking in some time now, so when I get to make a loaf of bread for my family it's a treat for everyone, including me. Today, however, I was approached and was told, "I want to pay you to bake for me." The person was serious too.

Suddenly, I am feeling encouraged.

User Journal

Journal: [geek] Ubuntu: First contact 7

Journal by GeckoFood

A coworker of mine gave to me his laptop, wanting me to configure it for wireless access to the Internet. After handing it to me, he asked me "Can you install Ubuntu for me?" Um, ok, I can do that, but I am not an Ubuntu wizard so I expected this to be unfamiliar territory, to some extent.

I installed it, and it barfed. I am not sure why. I tried to install it again and it went just fine the second time around. I am not sure what went wrong the first time, so I have no idea what I can do to avoid the issue when/if I install it again later. Regardless, the goal was to get it up and running on my coworker's laptop.

My very first observation - sexy GUI! It is clear that the Ubuntu team has put a great deal of time and effort into making the GUI smooth, sleek and pretty. It makes the typical GNOME or KDE interface look kinda unpolished, even though both of those workspaces are attractive enough.

Working in the Red Hat world, I have gotten very used to the distinction between user accounts and root. I have never been a big fan of using sudo, and I expected Ubuntu's methodology of eliminating root logins to be cumbersome. What I did not expect was all of the utilities I need as root on Red Hat to be in the path for the user account and seem to work properly (so using sudo would not be a common occurrence for me). That is, I don't need to look in /sbin for administrator utilities on this system. 'ifconfig' is a prime example of a tool that is not in the default path of the average user on Red Hat installations but it in a different location and IS in the path for Ubuntu boxes.

I didn't realize that Ubuntu is a small distro. I also did not realize that it's a Debian derivative.

My first real contact with Ubuntu hasn't been all that bad. However, I am not so sure I would switch to it. I think I prefer Red Hat, at least for now.

User Journal

Journal: [geek] The final nail in the Windows coffin 6

Journal by GeckoFood

I finally abandoned my email client last night. I have been using Pegasus, which is a very nice freeware client for Windows, and I have amassed a good store of emails in the database. It appeared to run fine under Wine, but I was wrong. Wine unceremoniously shuts it down every time I send a new message. Can't have that.

I looked at several replacement clients and finally settled on Evolution. It is not ideal, but it works well enough. I tried Sylpheed at the suggestion of jawtheshark but it's a little too minimalistic for my tastes.

The tether has been cut. Windows is still loaded on my other hard drive, but there's little motivation to go there now except when there are data files that I need to pull over, and that's happening less and less.

User Journal

Journal: [geek] Long live the king 14

Journal by GeckoFood

It is official - no more Windows. Running Scientific Linux 5.5, I now have everything I want on my Linux install to the point that I no longer have a need for Windows to be loaded.

I have one and only one Windows app that I need, and that's Pegasus mail. I would switch, but I have enough emails in the database that I don't want to abandon the application and start clean. Pegasus runs fine under wine, so it's done and done. I have already moved it over and have pulled mail with it, demonstrating its usefulness. Between OpenOffice and SoftMaker Office 2010, I have enough support for MS Office formats that I can - and have - cut the cord.

There's a new sheriff in Gecko's town.

User Journal

Journal: [geek] Linux restart 6

Journal by GeckoFood

I have been jabbering on here about moving from Windows Vista to Linux, and the transition is actually moving along well. I thought I was finished - until yesterday.

My chosen distro has been CentOS from go (no I won't switch to Ubuntu). CentOS is a derivative work from Red Hat, and since I am working on RHEL in the office and need to get certified, it's a logical choice. The installer is not dissimilar, the layout is the same, and everything is supposed to be the same as Red Hat except for the graphics and copyright notices. That said, I have noticed a few quirky things with it (no I won't switch to Ubuntu).

Setting up wireless was just short of painful. This is more of a function of my hardware than my OS, but to a point. The OS sets up a series of strange network interfaces, most of which I cannot identify and have bogus MAC addresses associated with them. eth0 is ok, of course, but many of the others are of unknown use to me.

The kernel source is not present in the main CentOS distro, which is in line with Red Hat's methodology (no I won't switch to Ubuntu). This is a royal pain in the *** when trying to compile drivers, NVidia in particular. Some drivers are fine with just the kernel headers while others require full kernel source. Getting the proper source requires a visit to the online repositories.

Wine doesn't want to play either, though that's not a huge concern. The yum repositories do not have wine in them and the source compiles but the binary complains of a missing module without giving additional information.

I forget where I was looking, but somewhere I read about a *different* Red Hat-based distro called Scientific Linux (SL). It is a recompile of Red Hat sources too, and it adds a few jiggly widgets and stuff not included in Red Hat's release. After fouling up my CentOS install on my backup box I decided to give it a try.

The strange network interfaces are gone. The kernel source is actually installed on the box. And wine pulled over without a hitch.

Though I am loathe to reload my main system, I think tonight I am going to wipe the system clean and load up SL 5.4 (not Ubuntu). If all the indicators are right, then this will be the final step to eliminating Windows from my system once and for all.

And, no, I won't switch to Ubuntu or any of its derivatives.

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