Friday, April 25, 2008
Post First Year Thoughts / Brain Dump
I just finished out my first year at college here in the US. Whew... what a year it was. In that time I've met new people, experienced new cultures, and learned many new things. I'm looking forward to my second year in the next 4 months. In the mean time, though, it's time for summer, and I won't be doing much in the way of school work for quite some time. But I digress.

In my first year at college, I committed myself to running Linux full-time. I started out with Ubuntu, worked my way up to using Openbox, then decided to go for broke and install Arch Linux. I'm extremely happy with that switch. Using Arch has enabled me to learn much much more about Linux than I could have with Ubuntu.

Next year I'm considering migrating to a no Pencil/Paper system of note-taking. While some will argue that this isn't the best decision, let me reassure you that I'm not totally sure this is the direction I want to take yet. Aside from math classes in which I'd more than likely have to write equations rather than dictate a lecture, I'd use Google Notebook as my note taking device, Google Docs as my Office Suite, and Google Calendar as my schedule manager. In the mean time, I'm hanging on until Google moves more, if not all, of its applications to Google Gears. Also, I'm waiting for Google Notebook to become a bit more flexible, resembling an actual notebook (with margins, diagram making (yikes), quick comment -> content linking, etc.). Until these things happen, I'm not sure I can confidently use my computer for EVERYTHING just yet.

All good things in time, I suppose.

I also introduced a few of my floormates to the Linux world while I was out at college. My roommate, who had already adventured into Linux a tiny bit, is really loving Arch Linux. He still runs a dual boot so that he can play his favorite video games to their full potential (it is possible with Wine, but the quality difference is extremely noticeable). Another friend was sick of Vista, so he tried Ubuntu, and then Arch. I'm not sure if he likes it as much as a Window environment, though. I also offered to install Arch on a third friend's older laptop (an Inspiron 510m, I believe). He said the speed difference is incredible. He seemed extremely interested in learning the Linux environment, so I introduced him to the Unix for the Beginning Mage ebook which I find a pleasant and informative read. My friend said he enjoys it, as well.

Also, I found out it's really a bother to mess around with wireless in Linux. However, the wicd program makes it extremely easy. If you're trying to connect to your University's wireless and you have a wpa_supplicant.conf file all set up, you're halfway there (well, more than halfway). You need to plop that script into /usr/lib/wicd/encryption/templates/ (some people report this folder is actually in /opt/wicd/encryption/templates, so this fact may vary across systems). After this, just add the name of that file into /usr/lib/wicd/encryption/templates/active and you should be able to select your template as an encryption type when connecting to a network. You'll need to modify the beginning of your new template a tiny bit, so just look at one of the other templates in that directory and see what you're missing.

Finally, I should mention that I changed some of the items in about:config in Bon Echo. I modified general.useragent.extra.firefox to have the value Firefox/ so that I wouldn't run into websites telling me that I don't have a compatible browser (ie Google Gears). I also changed middlemouse.contentLoadURL to false, because that error message is really annoying sometimes.

This post is more-or-less a brain dump, so please forgive its large size and lack of cohesion.

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