Saturday, May 01, 2010

day in the lab, the play by play

Gee, I am excited. The other day I got 2 flash drives @ 2 gig each. I used them for back up so that I could install Ubuntu 10.04 and still have my stuff. Then after that was done I put Wolvix 2.0.0 live-CD in, booted it up. Of course it runs great! Wolvix is Slackware based. I plugged in one flash drive, installed Wolvix on it.

I discovered my second machine wouldn't boot from a flash drive via the bios setup. Neither could my laptop, they are both older. It might be possible to boot from the flash drives using Grub the boot loader. My laptop has XP, will boot from hard drive or CD Rom. I will see if a MS platform boot loader is out there or install Linux inside XP via Wabi or something.

My second machine has XP and #!Crunchbang Linux on it along with Grub. I could write a config in Grub to see and boot from the flash drive.

I did however plug the flash drive into my first machine. Via the bios, I adjusted the boot sequence to see my flash drive. It booted without a whimper. It was totally weird not to hear the hard drive or the CD Rom revving and humming. In fact, if I had a LCD monitor there would be no sound, not even the clicking of my CRT going from blank to signal present. That was awesome.

Many of todays OSs have that Cylon style indicator going back and forth or a series of dots moving from left to right while booting up. I actually like to see the script being executed and scrolling. There is often a switch to turn it off/on called verbose. It reminds me of the "Matrix". There is something totally magical about seeing Linux boot up, especially on a laptop. That screen with the thin borders and black background and the text. That is the real face, the real software running, then it constructs the face or GUI to cover those inner workings. I still find that fascinating.  Some things in the PC world you can't fix or adjust via the GUI, you need to go deep inside, go behind the scenes. This is true in MS OSs as well as with Linux OSs.

I am in that gap between just running/using software and just managing data and monitoring systems. It's it called creative computing. A little hardware, a little software and let's try to do something besides mainstream use. Back in the day and not that long ago, hacking was a good term. Today hacking has been usurped and criminalized. The bad connotations of shared labels don't always defame the whole that do it. DIY home remodelers and backyard mechanics don't have a bad rap. Some how creative computer users get a bad name because "hacking" is easy to say and the consequences of bad guys/gals more visible. If it were not for hacking, there'd be no computer controlling and monitoring your car and other critical devices where humans can't stay awake 24/7 or be consistently vigilant on the job or in harsh environments, or handle the nuisances of media, medicine and entertainment devices. I can reluctantly give up the hacking label but don't criminalize all creative computer users.

No, "engineer" is a professional label. Many who have "engineer" knowledge and or ability are not pros in the professional sense. Some who have that "engineer" designation are evil doers, engage in "hacking", (if you will) and use creative computing as a means to gain access to  pillage and plunder. I am just fascinated by the technology and tinker and dabble. Some have a 57 Chevy under a tarp, I have some old/newer PCs, some build a shed, I a lab, some home stereo and multimedia centers, I could do that too! Hobbyist is an old school word or enthusiast more for today. When I turn on my lab the the neighborhood lights go out, I guess I've gone too far. OK, dressing in a Tux (Linux mascot) and passing out Gummy Fish to kids yelling "use Linux" is a bit much, LOL!

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