Sunday, March 30, 2008

Xbuntu on the XO

Had the first Seacoast XO Users Group meetup today, three adults (not including myself) and four kids, a nice group but sans Infamy or anybody who's hacking the XO, so we did some XO activity exploration with the kids.

On the hacking front, however, this wiki post provides the keys to the kinggdom, instructions for creating a bootable Xbuntu SD drive for your XO. My 8 GB card arrives early next week, and I'm psyched. Sugar is way buggy.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Terminal Goodness

It's late and I'm tired. I got quake terminal running on the XO, so I can finally cut and paste to the command line. i also installed a couple of libs for VLC, but VLC itself keeps dying when I try via yum, an error about a corrupted double linked list. In the afternoon we're having the first users group meeting, so I can get some cool tips.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Singing That Same Tune

So I'm back to using Opera. Both Firefox and Seamonkey were too sluggish, though my test page wasn't a good reflection of that, and Opera seems to have better options for the XO's form factor.

My test page was Blogger's composition screen, and I think I've got a good guess and to why it dragged such that my typing was a good half-sentence ahead of the cursor. Back in the day, its autosave feature worked off a timer and every few seconds Blogger would save your work, but that later changed to what appears to be an autosave that triggers after each keystroke, presumably sending a post of the entire contents back to the server (but maybe it takes a delta). No matter what browser I tried they all ate dirt on that page, so I'm writing this in Abiword and I'll copy it over.

The better test was CNN where you've got plenty of images and text in a pretty narrow page, and here Opera not only loaded faster than Firefox or Seamonkey but its zoom features really won me over. Instead of simply scaling the font size, Opera scales the entire page, images and all. It's much faster and looks better too. I'm seriously going to miss my FF extensions, but who knows? I've heard that FF3 scales the entire page and maybe it will have some speedups.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Singing with Opera

At least thtat metaphor maakes sense ... aww this isn't going to work either.

Swimming with Seamonkey

What's with the monkeys in the sea anyway. Wow, this is still really pokey. I'm going to have to hek outOpera.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Brought to you by the letters X and O

Along with a serious number of typos. Wow this keyboard is small. I have to press my fingers together just to fit them on the home row keys. That's by far the biggest issue at the moment. I'm writing this post on it and it's sloooow. I mean, mytyping is slow,but the machine is sluggish too. More on that in a minute.

My three month wait ended today when Fedex finally delivered my white and green bundle of joy. Since unboxing I've installed Firefox and subsequently discovered that it's really slow. In fact, I switched out of Blogger two sentences ago and moved to Abiword for that very reason. So, first impressions: seriously cute machine that must know that it's a kid magnet (both Hazel and Gabe were drawn to it as if it were a television playing cartoons), tiny keyboard that's a real challenge to a touch typist (as my ridiculous amount of errors here would have attested were I not culling them like a copyeditor on speed), --- hang on ... pausing because Amanda just shut the light and I'm deciding whether I prefer the grayscale or backlight modes; backlight better for legibility but the radiation coming at my eyes causes strain I can feel immediately where grayscale is much easier on the peepers but I get some glare from my booklight ... ok, upping the fontsize helped. Where was I? First impressions. Love the screen swivel, and the screen itself is really sharp, especially the grayscale mode.

So I'm going to try swapping out Firefox and using Seamonkey since I heard it runs more smoothly on lower end hardware. But that's for tomorrow; tonight I'll try the ebook capabilities :D

Friday, March 21, 2008

XO Arriving Tuesday

Yes, my XO obsession continues, and hopefully won't result in squashed expectations. I've steeled myself for the smallness of the thing, particularly the keyboard, but I'm really hoping that I'll be able to adapt to it. I intend to write this very blog and God willing a whole lot more with it each night. May repeated use teach my long fingers to move in small careful movements!

Yeah, I could hang a USB keyboard off the thing, but that sounds like a hassle, plus another keyboard will clickety-clack and Amanda won't like that (she has the eccentricity to sleep in bed).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tracking Number!

I have a tracking number! I'm excited! Still won't get it this week but my XO is on the way!

What? I ... don't get out much.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nottingham Games Day Set

The family gaming event being sponsored by the Nottingham PTA has been set for Saturday April 5th from 6-9 p.m. (so more of a Games Night). I'm writing up a promo flyer, and Amanda and Dad and I will create a few plaque designs to give away to the Wii Tennis winners. Should be good times, assuming we get all our ducks in a row (I think we'd be better off having the event in the afternoon, but there might have been a conflict with another event).

In XO laptop news, I read last night that somebody who donated on the same day as me received his laptop last week, so I might get mine any day now. In preparation I've looked up some info on upgrading the OS, the firmware (not sure if I'll need to do that) and other miscellaneous upgrades.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Strangest Game

I was about seven when I crept down the stairs that morning, tiptoeing across the living room and pausing before the doorway to the dining room. The voices of my two older brothers and their friends drew me like the smell of fresh baked cookies. I wanted to join them, but I was much younger than they and if I revealed my presence I'd surely be ordered away. They were clearly having fun, older kid fun, and I wanted to be an older kid too.

But what were they doing?

From the context of the conversation I could glean that they were playing a game. Monopoly? Pay Day? Sorry? When I felt that my approach hadn't been detected, I leaned my head to peer around the door frame, and with one eye I spied the boys seated around the dining room table. And they were playing a game. But there was no game board. Instead, in front of each boy sat sheets of paper, the oddest dice I'd ever seen and a large stack of hardcover books.

Teenage boys who complained about homework playing a game that required stacks of books.

And thus my fascination with Gary Gygax's most famous co-creation began.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Goodbye, Gary

Gary Gygax died this morning. Gary was not only the father of the role playing game and grandfather of the online fantasy gaming industry, but he was also a warm and funny man who loved meeting fellow gamers. On April 24 of 2003 I met Gary at one of Hector's Jumpgate sponsored Games Day mini-conventions. Hector had held a raffle to benefit Childhood Cancer LifeLine of New Hampshire, a volunteer organization committed to assisting families dealing with childhood cancer, and the ten winners would get to not only meet Gary Gygax but play the original "white box" D&D with him. I was one of the lucky few. In addition to meeting Gary I got to meet his youngest son, Alex, a funky kid who loved Less Than Jake and played a mean game of Diablo. My thoughts today have been with him and his family.

As someone who began playing AD&D in the second grade, there's much I can say about Gary's influence over my life, and that of many of my friends. Our childhood's would have been unrecognizable without his works. But I'll save those musings for another day, and leave you with a brief video that I shot from a small digital camera while playing with Gary on that day back in 2003. When I have time I'll upload some pics I took that day as well.

Good journey, Gary. You will be missed.