Up Close and Personal with LXDE

Regular visitors to this site will know that Fluxbox is Trent’s and Patrick’s preferred window manager. I, too, am impressed with its speed and customizability, and its low overhead. Fluxbox’s biggest drawbacks are that customization is somewhat less intuitive and significantly more labor-intensive than the full-featured environments’, and that the interface as a whole is foreign and unintuitive to those whose only other computer experience has been Windows.
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The Laptop Renovation Project: Decisions, Conclusions and Lessons Learned

As some of you may know, a few weeks ago I posted about my efforts to revive aging laptop hardware. While there is still a bit of work to be done, the bulk of the project is complete, and the rest is simply detail work and optimization for our particular work environment.
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Laptop Renovation Part II – The Community Feeds Back

Upon reading responses to my previous post, I decided to put some of the community’s suggestions to the test and examine some of the other options out there. Of the suggestions given, I primarily focused my attention on Debian (Lenny), Damn Small Linux and the wattOS beta.  All the distros had relative advantages and disadvantages, and this provided me with an opportunity to look at some distros I otherwise might not have.

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The Laptop Renovation Project

At my office, we have a pair of old laptops purchased back in 2003 or 2004, which are terribly slow, woefully underpowered and horribly outdated, but which we still use periodically.  In other words, they made a perfect target for an OS makeover.

Anyone who has run Windows XP on a P4 with 256MB of RAM should be able to appreciate just how sluggish these machines are.  So with my boss’s blessing, I gathered the two machines and tried to breathe some new life into them.

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Point! Clack! Mash! And Hurr! The Clueless User Was Confuzzled

“Move!” the oppressive beeper-equipped geek howls in utter contempt at the perfectly inoffensive white collar worker. The worker has been given no chance to do anything, but he is already condemned of failure. The geek, clearly the master of his domain, wishes to make sure all around know who’s the boss of the computer realm in which they aimlessly wander. And all the normal users, with their completely reasonable requests and questions, are incessantly scorned by the geek’s insane derision.

The worst of the geek stereotype, and more, is ridiculed in this popular Saturday Night Live skit by Jimmy Fallon. I greatly dislike such portrayals. This is certainly an exaggeration for comedic effect, but it is funny to people because it has an air of truth to it. My problem is that the truth is not so easily discernible as appears on the surface.

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Help a fellow techie out?

The primary way I have the time lately to write so much here at Linux Critic is largely due to the fact that I’m currently unemployed.

Now, I’m the kind of guy who’s normally used to having a lot of irons in the fire. I’m always tinkering with things, finding better ways of doing things, and I troubleshoot stuff that I find wrong pretty much compulsively. I normally work in IT (of course), specifically support/helpdesk. In fact, my last “real job” had me managing a helpdesk at a company that hosted hundreds of Windows Terminal Servers for thousands of end users, and I liked it a lot.

Yeah, I know, it was an almost 100% Windows shop, but for what that company does, it’s the Right Tool For The Right Job — that’s still important, remember?

Anyway, being unemployed for an extended amount of time when one is used to that kind of high pressure, fast paced work environment as the norm doesn’t exactly scratch the usual technology itch for me. That’s a big part of why I started this blog to begin with; I’m a very passionate person when it comes to technology.

As I told my wife not too long ago, not only do I like digging into tech and then writing about it here… I have to. It’s part of what I am. I MUST keep moving forward, I HAVE to keep learning more about the world around me, particularly when it comes to technology, pretty much of ANY sort. Linux and open source software is an area of enormous personal interest to me, so it’s a natural choice to scratch that itch for me.

So, with that said, I still need income.

I know, the market sucks right now, and there’s a lot of competition out there. But the only way I’ve ever gotten worthwhile jobs has been networking, and what better way to network than with a technology blog read exclusively by techies?

So if you would be willing to help a fellow techie out, I need a job. I realize that you guys are far-flung, all over the place (there was an argument that at least in part took place in what I think was Hungarian yesterday!), but if any of you know of a job that might be a good fit for a professional troubleshooter and technology expert such as myself that happens to be in the Central Minnesota area, or at least willing to let someone like me telecommute, please let me know.

My email address is Mr.Shifty@gmail.com.

I’m open to temporary positions, consulting, and permanent positions. If someone out there is actually interested in hiring me directly, send me an email and if it’s for real I’ll send you back a copy of my resume and we can talk about it.

Thanks, all!

And thanks for reading! When I started Linux Critic it was really more of a way for me to organize my thoughts on what I’ve been doing in the Linux world lately, and give me something to do… I never thought I’d be getting 12,000+ hits a month with it.

So thanks for the attention, and even more so, thanks for the comments. I love and appreciate the input! Take care!


Replacing KDE applications

Those of you who have been following my Linux Critic blog know that I’ve been on an app-hunt to replace some of the applications to which I’ve grown used to in KDE, mostly so that I can break my ties with that desktop and move forward completely without it. So far I’ve had some measure of success in this task, so I thought I’d do a writeup in case anyone else out there is moving on from KDE and needs some ideas about how to do that.

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