a technical surrender…

by josephzizys

Last night I gave up on my quest to revive an IBM Thinkpad 600 with 64 meg of RAM and a 3 gig hard drive and CD Rom and get it onto my home wireless network using Linux.

I have a tp-link pcmcia cardbus wireless network card, model number tl-wn610g using the atheros AR5212 chipset.

I had gotten as far as getting Puppy Linux to install, with the right screen resolution (1024×768) and color depth (16bit) and framebuffer, and even to recognise that there was a card in the pcmcia slot, but with both the ath_pci madwifi driver set and the ndiswrapper on the bundled sys and infs I could not get the os to recognise my wap protected wireless network, getting a scanning error in WAG every time.

I love Puppy, it has a simple, intuitive install process, it is easy to run entirely in ram, even with only 64 megs, it does most things well, but its wireless support is not anywhere near Ubuntu’s. I have also managed to install Fluxbuntu on the 600 but it failed to give me the option of my screen resolution, so I killed it. I have now noticed some options in DSL that allow you to specify the resolution at startup so I may do some research into startup options for Fluxbuntu in the hope that I can get it looking right and that it included Ubuntu’s killer wireless scripts.

Fluxbuntu also works ok with 64 megs of ram, but it takes hours to install, unlike Puppy that takes mabye 15 minutes, it and DSL are damn fast to install, and seem very smooth to run on the old girl.

But I digress, I meant to say that I am giving up. That is an important thing to be able to do sometimes with tech, walk away and get your life back. I could reinstall Fluxbuntu and tweak the Xorg settings and try to get the wireless working, or post a long query to the Puppy formus and hope Tremulous could explain it all simply to me, or do some more browsing on basic linux commands that might help me in interrogating my system to find what exactly is missing in the shell, but each path may not lead to success, and each one takes time, and after a while you have to really examine what the benifits are that will outway these costs.

So rule number 5 or 6 or whatever I’m up to: Know when to quit. When you like to fool around with computers you can become lost for days, and your loved ones can get angry and throw things at you. Know when it’s time to walk away and rejoin th eland of the living, or if you are hacking for a crust, know when it’s time to shelve the problem and go do something else.

Important rule.

Today Katie and Elliot and I head up to Burwood to see Katie’s honors supervisor for the first time this year, Katie is stressed because she dosen’t think she has enough material and she has issues with female authority figures, perhaps because her mother was somewhat moody and capricious. So I will be the babysitter while Katie and the Supe do their thing.

Katie’s Thesis is quite interesting actually… This may have to wait, I have Elliot now, and Katie needs to get up, I shall have to busy myself, probably won’t be back untill after Burwood…

…ok, back again, ten hours later, we went up to Burwood and I looked after Elliot while Katie went up to see her supervisor, me and him had a coffee and read the paper at the student cafe, then went and browsed the bookshop, anyway when Katie came back it turns out that her thesis is due on the 30th of June instead of the 30 of October. Wow. So her laptop has been on the blink and we decide that rather than risk things with this new deadline that we will buy a new computer, so we drive to North Melbourne and decide to have lunch first, after the lunch, nice ten dollar vege breakfast special with coffee, we walk down to Computer Parts Land, the mecca of things hardwareish in Melbourne’s central zone, and order a fourhundred and fifty dollar box, pick up on Sturday. Then because we are in the area we go see if my parents are home and my dad is so we hang there for half hour and then drive staight to the Durso’s for dinner, chatt, and now we are back.


Elliot has been pretty good all day except for a crying fit at the Durso’s whenever he looked at Deano, his Aura must have been off or something. Anyway, it’s been a long day and I am just going to wrap up this post quickly and then chill for a bit before bed. It’s exciting getting a new computer, I will be able to experiment with the TTV recording thing after all, and then when the thesis is handed in in a few months I guess we will be able to move the box into the loungeroom and use it as a dedicated home server and pvr. Katie is taking the news about her shortened deadline really well, who knows if it will last, but for now she is keen to take it as an energizing challenge rather than a nightmare made real. Awsome.


Dean read some of my blog, so I have another reader, I don’t know if he checked out the story or the unfinished story, I will get back to Lizzy soon, but I will have to re-read what I have written so far and plan the next bits a bit first, so if you have been checking in, don’t give up, the unfinished story isn’t finished yet, I intend to keep writing it until it is a lot more finished than now, or something…




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