This Space for Rent

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™


Dust Mite gazes skeptically at the remains of my Macbook, which suffered the True Death tonight when I gave it an overly enthusiastic twist in an attempt to quiet the whining of the hideous backlight.

Well, shit, that’s not particularly useful.

I suppose I can always repurpose the carcass as a server (I can still telnet into the box, so I didn’t manage to kill the cpu or disk) but I am now without a desktop machine except for this horrid windows box I’m typing at right now. But for desktop purposes, I could replace the carcass with…

  1. A Macbook Pro
    • lcd backlight, so (hopefully) no hideous backlight whining.
    • bigger hard drive.
    • US$1839
    • Leopard (the clown car of macosx)
  2. A Macbook Air
    • lcd backlight.
    • sexier than computerly possible.
    • US$1691
    • Leopard
  3. An iMac.
    • cheaper than a macbook air or a macbook pro
    • sturdier than a macbook
    • slightly bigger screen
    • Ugly ugly ugly
    • not a notebook, so it probably does not do suspend but will just sit there sucking up power unless I remember to shut it off.
    • doesn’t have an LCD backlight, so may develop the hideous whine.
    • Leopard.
  4. An external monitor for the existing Macbook
    • fairly cheap
    • don’t have to migrate things off the macbook
    • With an external monitor and keyboard, all of the lovely power-saving features of the macbook go right out the window.
    • See my previous commentary about the hideous whine.
    • fairly ugly.
    • Oh, and it would bite the wax tadpole in the portability department.
  5. Scrap the macbook (I guess I could drop a vanilla Darwin onto the box and just use the open source components of MacOS) and install the OS on this Toshiba Tecra.
    • All I need to buy is a DVD burner and some DVD blanks
    • No guarantees that it would work
    • a lot of the hardware in the Toshiba may not work correctly.
    • the Toshiba doesn’t have the same fit and feel as a macbook (a con that’s made up by the hideous whine and the mouse button not sticking, so it probably doesn’t count.)
  6. Give up on MacOS and go back to Microsoft Windows.
    • I hear that they are very very nice in the local insane asylum.
    • I’m sure that Microsoft Windows is a lovely operating system, but it’s not Unix and it would drive me insane.
  7. Use Linux! And Gnome! Or KDE!
    • No. Just no. If I wanted to use a clown-car GUI, I’d use Windows and theme the fuck out of it.

UPDATE: Oh, to devil with it, I bought a new Mac. I’ll sell the pile of laptops, windows software, and unused K-mount lenses I’ve got lying around here to pay for it.


There are a few other GUIs for Linux. Some are definitely not a clown car. They are small, sparse, and fast. What about them?

Lynn Dobbs Sat May 17 09:24:26 2008

The problem with X11, which I used to think was just a matter of applying enough eyes to it, is that all of the user interfaces built on top of it are a matter of a dozen or so different individual UIs piled roughly together.

If, for example, I’m using blackbox as the window manager and I try to cut and paste between putty and Firefox, I have to highlight to select on putty, then right-click to insert into firefox. If I want to cut out of firefox, I have to use ^C to copy into the clipboard, then right-click to paste into putty. And then the horrid clipboard is stuck on the firefox selection until I can force empty it, at which point highlight to select starts working again.

KDE and Gn*m* are better integrated on the cut and paste front, but they’re still pretty feeble on the rest of the UI integration front. (The less said about Xterm settings the better; I use putty instead of Xterm because it actually lets me do configuration.)

And, god, KDE and Gn*m* are s*l*o*w; My desktop machine at work (a 1.8ghz P4) rapidly becomes a pool of slugs when KDE meets my workload. And this with a gbyte of core (Ozymandius [the new name for the now-a-server'ed macbook] worked happily with 512kbytes, not even breaking enough of a sweat to spin the fans; the P4+KDE ran up to 60% cpu when I did anything out of the ordinary.)

So, no, I’m done with X11 for now. I’m willing to pay the turtlenecked great Satan $199 for MacOS, because it’s FreeBSD underneath and thus much like (most of the) the rest of the systems I work with.

David Parsons Sat May 17 12:04:28 2008

Which unused K mount lenses might those be?

Graydon Mon May 19 18:46:40 2008

My (new) 50mm FA f1.4 lens (niiice lens, but I haven’t used it since I got my 50mm K f1.2 lens) and the 18-55mm DA kit lens I got with the *istDS in the first place. I might dump the Quantaray 70-300 tele-macro too; I bought an ancient promaster 100-500 and if it does macro photography at all well I won’t need the Quantaray.

The only really good lens of that lot is the FA 1.4 lens. The DA is okay, but slow and the optics are muted, and I have to use the quantaray in manual mode because the *istDS doesn’t have the grandest autofocus in the jungle.

David Parsons Mon May 19 19:31:33 2008

Sorry to have taken so long to go back and check for an answer; work is doing some moral approximation of throwing rabid badgers at my head.

I regret to say that I’ve got all of those, or equivalents.

Graydon Thu May 29 16:36:36 2008

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