Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hell of a day so far ...

Even more so since the first draft of this post disappeared (apparently not just from my screen but from everywhere) when I hit "preview." I'm entering it in Konqueror 3.5.2, for reasons I'll shortly make clear.

Last night, my beloved ShuttleX (hand-me-down from the magnificent Susan Hogarth) laid down and died. Or so I thought (I wasn't the one using the machine at the time). Actually, it was an OS problem, probably caused by my recent attempts to optimize OpenSuse and KDE so that this marvelous but probably obsolete (1.7GHz CPU, 256Mb RAM) machine would run faster. On a restart, I couldn't log in except in failsafe, and I'm not enough of a command line jockey to figure it out from there and get things back up and running.

Anyway, I planned to get up this morning and go computer shopping -- I'd been thinking about it anyway and this whole chain of events just screamed "omen" -- but dammit, I hate to shop for a machine under the gun. So I pulled out my handy-dandy Knoppix bootable CD (don't be without one!), booted it, and verified that the machine itself is still apparently in fine fettle. Yes, it was a software problem.

I went ahead and installed Knoppix/Debian to the hard drive (after rescuing some files to pen drive from it), but it didn't take me very long to figure out that I'd rather go back to OpenSuse. For one thing, my attempts to upgrade from Firefox 1.5 to either 3.x or Debian's Iceweasel -- a Firefox rebrand due to some kind of hissy between the Debian folx and the Mozilla folx -- not only didn't work, but made even the old Firefox unusable.

Current situation: OpenSuse 11.x DVD ISO downloading on the kids' computer. In a couple of hours, I'll have burnt it to DVD, installed it on this machine, and grabbed some software that's not part of the basic install (Firefox upgrade if the latest version isn't on the DVD, Skype, Gizmo, etc.). Then I'll either be ready to start the work week, or out the door to visit Best Buy. Hopefully the former.

[Update, 4:45pmish: OK, The ShuttleX is now running OpenSuse 11. I've upgraded Firefox from the included 3.0.4 to 3.0.6, installed the plug-ins I can't live without, and logged into a number of places I might need to reach quickly in order to make sure I remember the passwords. Life is good ... or sorta good, anyway. Too early to tell whether or not this machine has the resources to handle this OS and these applications without bogging down. Guarded optimism in any case - TLK]

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