Sunday, October 22, 2006

Installing Solaris - Halfway There...

In the last post when I said "I took the full version home and decided to install NexentaOS", I wasn't telling the whole truth. You could say that I was telling as much of the truth as any politician would; I took the full version of Open Solaris ON (Consolidation 46) home and then went through the long, slow process of installing that.

Why do I say long and slow? Well, for those of you have never installed a Solaris consolidation, if you do so by CDs you get to wait for about 5 CDs worth of data to be copied to your hard disk. It's painfully slow, dull and boring and renders your computer utterly useless.

In fact, I blame it on Solaris that I finally went and bought a DVD reader!

After at least 45 minutes, I had Solaris installed. Given that the NexentaOS LiveCD gave me network, I kind of assumed that Solaris itself would also give me some type of network. Sure enough, Solaris installed, my Gnome problem mysteriously disappeared (i.e. my computer actually booted into the JDS properly) and I lacked network.

Herein lay a problem, remembering that:
  1. I had never successfully managed a Solaris installation in my life
  2. I only had access to readonly fixed media (no floppy drives, no CD/DVD burners)
  3. I had no flash memory devices of any description
Consequently, although I found the Via Rhine II drivers:
  1. I needed the network enabled to transfer the drivers
  2. To enable the network I needed the drivers
I toyed with the idea of using the NexentaOS Live CD to transfer the drivers. This idea didn't work primarily because I had no idea, at the time, how Solaris named its disk slices. To me, the name:
  1. /devices/pci\@0\,0/pci-ide\@11\,1/ide\@0/cmdk\@0\,0:a
...was simply unguessable [that incidentally is the second slice in the first partition of the master device on my primary IDE channel].

Therefore, after all that time, I thought: stuff this, I'll use NexentaOS.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Move Towards Solaris...

I got bored with Debian GNU/Linux so one day when I was browsing in my local Dymocks store I chanced upon Solaris Internals (2nd Edition). I couldn't decide whether to buy it straight away or to order it from Angus & Robertson who give a standing 20% discount on all computer books; I decided to put a book order in - a wise choice because I ran out of money unexpectedly that week.

For reasons still unknown to me - call it professional interest - but I'd been trying to install a Solaris on x86 operating system for some four years. Back in those days, if I recall correctly, I did get a machine to actually boot into Solaris with one big but: it booted into the Common Desktop Environment (CDE), which I might say is one of the most awful GUI systems I've seen.

It makes Windows 3.1 look glorified!

Anyway, I resurrected a 650Mhz AMD Athlon with just 256Mb of RAM and a 40Gb, slowish hard drive. Patiently I changed over 6 CDs as I eventually got Open Solaris to install. The experience reminded me of installing Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 using floppy disks, however unlike those experiences:

The desktop manager, GNOME, did not work at all!

You might say that I was not a happy camper. You might also say that I was most annoyed that the Open Solaris developers correctly identified the problem as a GNOME problem and provided absolutely no hints on how to fix it, well at least none that worked for me. I was disappointed...

About this time, I started to talk to the LinuxSA mailing list. I detailed that problem plus maybe one or another and someone mentioned a distribution called NexentaOS - a GNU/Solaris type offering. This had me scampering to their site and downloading their LiveCD.

Now, I've used Live CDs and I've used LiveCDs. Let's just say that NexentaOS' LiveCD boots so slowly and brings up the desktop so slowly that you'll probably be dead by the time it actually does boot. In fact, there's an FAQ or instruction which essentially states it takes ages upon ages to startup.

All that aside, it eventually did impress me. Why? Not for any sensible reason but because it had sound!

I hate configuring sound. Sound is one of those subsystems that my early days of: fight with ALSO, OSS, ESD, kArts and other random things just made me give up on unix/linux and sound. It was way too hard. Therefore, when I found a LiveCD whose sound actually worked, I took notice...

And I took the full version home and started a plan to move from Debian GNU/Linux to NexentaOS.

More later!

Chapter One - How I Started Work as a Full-Time Project Manager

A chapter in my life has ended - I am once again a freelance contractor rather than a permanent member of the workforce. I guess I should write a little bit about what happened...

I had been working for a company called Bull Media - this link may still be valid. I'd started working at Bull Media about 3 years ago now and had first contracted to determine if it was feasible to synchronise a Moregroupware Calendar against a Palm Pilot.

Time went by and it transpired that the person who had introduced me to the company moved on to do chase his own dreams and I moved on to become the project manager (well, at least that's the title I liked to give myself). In that role, I worked with 3-6 other developers concentrating on a groupware product based on the Moregroupware web-application.

After about 3 months it was clear that I could fulfil the role...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Oz Opera's Carmen

On a whim, I decided to go and see Oz Opera's offering of Carmen by Bizet. It was, perhaps unfortunately, sung in English with no subtitles. I don't know what it is but I simply can't understand English opera (i.e. cannot parse it, not that I can't follow the story) because of the so totally out of the ordinary way of the language presentation.

I was lucky I vaguely knew the story of Carmen - otherwise I would have been at a total loss.

Tickets were sold out and I was lucky enough to buy a ticket from a lady whose daughter couldn't attend. I actually got a real BOX OFFICE seat. I couldn't believe it...good seat and the two ladies in the box office with me were absolute dears - in fact I became "surrogate son".

What surprised me the most about this production is that neither Carmen nor Don Jose were - to my mind - particularly attractive but they still played their roles credibly and very well. Though my idea of a male lover is a tall, dark haired and athletic young man (we can all dream), this Don Jose wasn't particularly tall and was rather, umm, rotund.

Grudgingly, though, he was quite attractive. He had boyish looks and played his part earnestly...

As for Carmen. They differentiated her perfectly. I'm not a good judge of female form but she seemed passably beautiful but moreso carried an air of beauty that can't really be described in words. The way the actress portrayed her character on stage was as though: "I am beautiful and different..." compensating for any, possibly illusionary, lack of beauty.

Both their singing skills compensated whatever lacked in their physical look.

In short, I liked this production of Carmen. It's actually the first real live one I saw. It reminded me of something that I've been missing out on - live theatre, musicals and art and that even if I go by myself, if I try (or in this case not try), I'll find someone to share the experience with.

Anyway, these be my thoughts!


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hah, A New Scooter

I have bought a new electric scooter. Well, it's not that new but it's one that I've never owned before. It was an impulse buy from Cash Converters and costed me $345; I was slightly annoyed that new ones cost $349 from Toys'R'Us but alas!

It goes all right. It's not as fast as I imagined it would be but there's nothing particularly wrong with it.

At least I have a means of moving about the place in a slightly more lazy fashion now.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Linux User Groups

Ever since about 1993 I have been a member -- for want of a better description -- of the LinuxSA User Group. The group was set up many years ago to provide a community, technical focus for Linux users in South Australia.

That said, recently I've decided to take a small break. Many reasons there are, however I will allude to one of them: I will not at this point in time be a member of a group that supports people who I deem to be fundamentalist, right wing red necks.

There's a small discussion between me and another member about whether the group supports such people or not. On a technicality, it does not; the majority of the group doesn't support the majority of these people's views.

But these people are still apparently free to spread their views about the place.

Guilty by association it is, at the moment. I have better things in my life than to listen to these types of people. Sure, to be fair I can be an annoying, cranky bastard -- many picture me as a grumpy old man -- but I have actually done many useful things for Linux in South Australia.

And I would defend the statement: DSL (aka lloy0076) has done more things for Linux in South Australia than all LinuxSA's rednecks combined.

That's my post for the day. I wish 1PM would hurry up, going out for Yum Cha and I haven't had breakfast.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Blogger is Slow


It seems that blogger is slow. That is possibly a little unfair because they more than likely they have many, many users but it should go slow for people other than me!

I thought I'd just drop in -- if that is the correct term -- to say that I'm finally catching up with all my bills. Absolutely amazing! Charming! If you don't care, then neither do I!

Anyway, enough for to check my messages and see what dramas are unfolding.


Friday, May 12, 2006

At Least It's Not Friday the 13th...

This is my first post using this peculiar looking editor. I don't know what's it's based on but it seems to be quite useful. Mind you, I know that I'll be cursing it by the end of the week.

Note to self: If you can borrow it to use for some of your own work, David, borrow it...

Let me tell you a little about my interests - they may seem a little, well, eclectic:
  • Open source for:
    • Business
    • Education
    • End user
  • Religion and spirituality:
    • Christianity
    • Islam
    • "Paganism"
  • Divination, I understand:
    • Tarot
    • Numerology
    • Astrology
      • Note: I mean reading birth charts and interpreting them; not the "play" astrology one reads in newspapers
  • Online games:
Did I mention that I am the project manager for a small company in South Australia called Bull Media?

That said, I've returned to playing Achaea from a break that I took primarily because I'd become a little too stressed at work to have any outside activities. Things were mostly recognisable but a small number of things had changed.

I'm still the Minister of War in Cyrene and a member of the Order of War; I'll talk about this later. For some people online games are just that, games, but I actually find that when I am playing Achaea it's more like being in a different reality than playing a game.

Anyway, it is time for me to walk into town IRL as one might say. Sometimes, it would be nice to be the Minister of War in Adelaide and be able to declare war on STUPID people, but alas!

Until later!