Mr. Centipede (mrcentipede) wrote,
Mr. Centipede

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Happy New Year, and such.

So I've discovered that my college is falling apart. The thing is, I don't think this really matters. The College of Santa Fe is on the verge of declaring exigency, which allows them to fired tenured professors. Thing is, I have been pretty unhappy with the program for a while, and while the lack of solid staffing isn't going to help, it's really not a deciding factor. With that in mind, I have to decide what my academic future holds.

Right now, I am planning on applying to Union Institute, and I am taking classes at the community college to hold off my student loans in the mean time.
The two classes I am currently taking are Chinese II, and American Politics (or something with a similar name). So far they are both pretty interesting, so I'm doing okay.

For Christmas, I received a new laptop. It's fast and new and shiny and has a remote control, but it is running Vista. Vista is worse then XP was when it first came out. I like XP now, but it took a few years for things to stop sucking horribly. Now I have to wait a few more years. Blech.

I have a theory that the User-Friendly-Linux movement, such as Ubuntu, is dominated by people who don't understand how regular folk use computers, but they have one thing going for them, they know that they don't understand.

Having run Ubuntu/Kubuntu for a few months on multiple systems1, I felt like I sort of got where it was coming from. I thought, "It's just not ready for Mom's sewing room" if you'll pardon the cliche. The thing is, a lot of the problems I was having, I now understand, are not entirely about Linux. They were about hardware. Linux, when run on a machine that is setup specifically for Linux by someone who knows what he or she is doing2, is a wonder to behold. It may not have the breadth of software that even Apple has at this point, but it works and has its own selling points going for it.

The problem is, as I see it, that a free operating system is going to attract people like me- people who end up cobbling together their computers from bits and pieces. I know at least a bit about computers beyond Myspace and WoW, at least I thought I did, but even the beginner's section of the Ubuntu forums is rife with incomprehensible arcana that scares the shit out of me. Ubuntu is trying to be friendly, but it just doesn't even know where to begin3.

Now that I've used Vista, I have a slightly modified opinion. Vista feels like it was also made by people who don't know how regular folk use computers, but they seem to think they are experts. One of the main visuals used in Vista TV commercials was the [Win]+Tab combo, a boffo waste of time that, as far as I can tell, performs exactly the same function as [Alt]+Tab only requires a hell of a lot more video memory. I have yet to encounter any one UI feature of Vista that is better then either XP, or not having that feature at all. This is a classroom example of planed obsolescence, as far as I can tell.

So far it seems like Linux requires a fairly large commitment of time in order to get working because it lack so much basic functionality when it's installed, while Vista requires a likewise time investment to tinker with and disable those features that interfere with basic functionality. Linux: get a network printer running through WINE? Vista: disable the stupid fingerprint reader verisign crap? Either way, Shoot me now. Needless to say, they do not play well together in a network.

In other news, Tutorial is going pretty well, all things considered. The kids have problems, but they seem to deal with them pretty well with minimum interference from the adults. It's pretty awesome. I still do not have internet at my apartment, though. It is complicated, but involves running cables overhead and drilling and such.

I am planning on holding a potluck social at some point soon. I think it will be good to have a meeting of my friends who know how to cook and my broke friends who spend all their money at restaurants4. I'm thinking it will be a Sunday, because that is when people are not working and have time to cook? I dunno.

1. Yeah, I know, this doesn't make me an expert, or anything.
2. Not me, yet.
3. I suspect this is because Ubuntu is a collaboration amongst many different projects with differing agendas. The Gnome people are not the same as the Debian people, who are connected to but different from the Ubuntu people, and then if you use KDE you've got some other people, etc. I may be way off base on this, though.
4. I have a mental image of Micheal eating canned chili every meal. Say it ain't so, Mike!
Tags: computers, school, update, work
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