Thursday, January 01, 2009

tech life - the sequel

Of course there is a sequel! Because I heard an anguished sigh when I said Linux and games in the same sentence. OK, you are a serious gamer, this also means you are probably technically savvy and could dual-boot if you wanted to. Or you already have a dedicated gaming machine, Xbox, Wii or PSP. So you should conclude that the Linux crowd really has little interest in duplicating the whole gaming world's roster in order to justify itself as a MS Windows or Mac rival. Such expectations and assumption are totally wrong. You have to look at this whole Linux gaming thing as an adventure in another place. Linuxville as I call it has a flavor all it's own. I don't play games but I fiddled with Neverball and Neverputt and that Frozen Bubble is addicting. I have to learn the Billard-GL, a 3d pool game because I like pool. But the Doom type games are not my type. Cards and puzzles and mazes and such, there is no end. But because the favorite games of some are not here, we have no games. So, if I were a real gaming fan I would rather have a dedicated game box and not burden the Linux world with my insatiable demands, "Halo".

Among the many PC users are the types who just play the programs and the types who want to do stuff. I think Linuxville is an uncluttered landscape, a place where you can escape the commercial, the pre-packaged and venture into a world of your own making. The opportunity to do-it-yourself is lost when we are continually told there is no time to create just consume. Linuxville is where you can find many avenues of development still open without an end users (consumer's) agreement. How terrible it would have been if back yard mechanics could only turn the piles of parts they've bought into the same cars that roll off the assembly line (wrench by number anyone?). Might as well get a job on the line. Innovation came from the backyards, drag strips, race tracks and car shows, not the assembly line. Folks have different solutions, different approaches and sometimes a new solution comes from folks unpolluted by years of learning.

So, lets look at things in a more proper light. MS Windows and Mac OS are company products. Linux is a kit of parts that when put together accomplish the same things as the company products. Over the years people have improved the Linux parts making Linux as a whole improved. Technically, Linux is a frame or kernel on which all the other various Linux parts can be hung. While the various parts can be swapped in and out, the kernel is the same. The same kernel in every solution holds all the parts together. So, you can customize the Linux parts, bolt them on the kernel, have a different Linux solution. But fear not, you don't have to put Linux together from scratch yourself (yet you can). Pre-assembled parts called "distributions" or "distros" are available to everyone. They are combinations of parts that work well together and are the handi-work of folks who have done the testing for you. Distros target different tasks, tastes, purposes and users. The Linuxville community from the user to the developer/programmer do a lot of talking, tweaking, and fixing to improve all the parts and make Linux better as a whole. Problems and short-comings are being noted and repaired even as we speak if it is known, not left to PC tech support to compensate for as needed. The PC tech guy would be like the Maytag repairman on a Linux network. Once setup Linux runs forever.............

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my granddaughter has a Nintendo DS. She poked at it with a little stylus. I've seen the elder of the church I attend do the same thing with his PDA. Man, I laughed, talk about priming the young for a product. I don't know all what can be done on this Nintendo DS, I did see a virtual keyboard while looking over her shoulder. So here is games, music, possibly texting on a pint-sized junior PDA to be. My dad had big hands, said he was clumsy at small parts, I can't imagine working the tiny (to me) PDA work-station. Just watching her peck away on her DS, intently staring at the tiny screens, immersed into that small world. She lost the little stick once and was helpless until she found it again. (oh, that was the best darn stick!) PDA's aren't there for me yet, I still don't have a cellphone. When PDA's replace my garage door opener, universal remote collection and my clapper light switch, it will be a must have. The clapper? That's to turn off my computer.

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