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Category: linux

06/27/11 10:48- ID#54588

System76 == Ubuntu. Dissatisfied Review.

After much heartache, I have finally given up trying to make other worthy linux distros work on my crappy System76 Pangolin "Performance" PanP7 laptop. In short, there is no other OS apart from Ubuntu that can work with the hideous combination of obscure hardware that System76 has piled on the Pangolin Performance laptop.

All Debian: Wireless doesn't work. Because the Realtek RTL8191SEvB driver is not included in the kernel.

All Slax: Same problem as above

All ArchLinux: Ethernet doesn't work. Because the JMicron ethernet driver is not included in the kernel.

All Fedora: Either the wireless doesn't work or ATI throws a fit somewhere down the line.

Many modified Ubuntus: Either ethernet or wireless doesn't work. Naturally, the most useless and obscure of hardware drivers (JMicron and Realtek RTL8191SEvB) are the first to go in any modification because the sane systems don't have them. Except, of course the Pangolin Performance - the crappy prison/refugee-home laptop from System76 where all obscure laptop hardware come to roost.

Ubuntu from minimal CD (mini.iso): Doesn't work because the ethernet card JMicron driver is not on the mini.iso and it refuses to budge after a while. Pity. This was one way to cut the ubuntu bloat.

Ubuntu itself: Patchy performance on EVERYTHING. a) Because ubuntu is just a nickname for crappy and b) Because ubuntu (crappy) + Pangolin Performance PanP7 (uber-obscure) makes for a crappy obscure experience that does not have a common ground in solutions found on the net for any problem. The list of frustrations go on and on with ubuntu. Java doesn't function properly. Proprietary technology doesn't compile well. R-packages don't work.

Which leaves me with...

Super OS: Also an ubuntu modification but with every imaginable proprietary software bundled in. Around 400+MB more than standard Ubuntu. And this is where I have thrown in my lot for now. Atleast, I am still seeing my ethernet card, wireless networks and camera. Java is installed and so are a zillion small proprietary bits that make everything tick for a normal person. And yes, I am on the Unity shell and it's a resource hog, but System76's obscure hardware formula leaves me with no other choice. The baseline RAM consumption is around 2GB without anything else running. Its a disaster in terms of minimalism. But ATLEAST, I don't need to waste time looking at the endless forum posts of blind leading the blind for the minutest problem in the world.

As I said, stay away from System76. Unless they realize that linux is not just Ubuntu, their laptops will be obscure and not play well with anything other than Ubuntu. This is a problem because Ubuntu is definitely not the definitive linux and has several other worthy competitors who have thought about things much more carefully and deliver wonderful solutions.

All of which I can't now enjoy. Screw you, System76. You have put me in bloaty Ubuntu prison.


EDIT: I managed to put Fedora 15 on the Pangolin System76 system without ATI software and terrible graphics. However, the wireless performance is WORSE than TERRIBLE. Unless you are right next to a really strong wireless signal, forget connecting reliably to any wireless network.

The bottomline is AVOID System76. Their hardware is obscure and does not play well with anything except Ubuntu. Even on Ubuntu the wretched Pangolin System76 laptop has problems. For a company that drums on and on about "lnux friendliness", Pangolin PanP7 is a total disaster for many linux distros and everyday connectivity.

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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54588/System76_Ubuntu_Dissatisfied_Review_.html
Words: 584
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 11/09/11 08:14


Category: linux

06/26/11 08:59- ID#54587

RTL8191SEvB - worst linux support ever

If you want to run linux and are getting a laptop, and see this wireless card listed in the specs:

Realtek RTL8191SEvB

Run. Run as far as you can from any laptop that has this wireless card.

The Realtek RTL8191SEvB wireless card has SO MANY troubles with linux that it's a shame that it was ever included as a wireless option for any laptop. Only Ubuntu works with the RTL8191SEvB and that too, in a patchy sporadic way. NONE of the other linux distros include the driver to the RTL8191SEvB. What is worse is it throws a ZILLION errors when you try to compile it from the driver posted on the Realtek website.

RTL8191SEvB is quite plainly the WORST-SUPPORTED wireless card EVER on linux. There is NO support and all advice on the internet about how to get it working is useless, time-wasting and has a ZERO success rate.

I hate you System76, for putting the RTL8191SEvB wireless card on Pangolin Performance. I hate you because only Ubuntu has patchy support for this card and I am pretty much bound to the sucky OS if I ever want wireless working even half-decently. For all your linux-centric philosophy, putting the RTL8191SEvB wireless card on your Pangolin Performance PanP5 COMPLETELY traps your users into Ubuntu - which is just as much of a resource-hog as the worst windows. You are a ludicrous snobbish company. Your customer support maybe fast and responsive but NOT helpful AT ALL when it comes to RTL8191SEvB installation on linux distros other than Ubuntu.

Stay away from realtek RTL8191SEvB. For good measure, also stay away from System76.

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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54587/RTL8191SEvB_worst_linux_support_ever.html
Words: 278
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/29/11 08:44


Category: buffalo

06/26/11 12:11- ID#54581

Buffalo Desobration 2011

A bunch of us trooped ALL the way to the outer harbour to get on the grand balloons but there was nothing but a couple port-a-potties on site.
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I decided not to shoot them and instead, got these cool shots of just how desolate it is out there.
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(e:Paul) and I got a complementary cross-phone android shot at the desolate shore. See the companion shot at: (e:paul,54567)
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We got some cheese and cream puffs in the city hall reception later.
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But I am fairly sure this is not how things were managed and run back at the Pan American Exposition of 1901 - which this event was supposed to emulate.

The citibration people had a twitter account and a whole webpage and several announcement avenues but they never took the effort of either scheduling an alternative rain-date or even announcing the cancellation of the balloon event till it was almost 6 PM and we were already there. If you have been a resident of Buffalo for any length of time, you know how unpredictable our weather can be. Look at how those trees were being almost being flattened to the ground at the outer harbour.

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Not anticipating weather-related issues is so very odd, especially when you are planning to launch wind-dependent balloons at one of the windiest spot in the city and especially, when you knew that there was a thunderstorm on the forecast for the region on the balloon-launch day more than a week ahead.

Badly done, Citybration.
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54581/Buffalo_Desobration_2011.html
Words: 263
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/26/11 12:15


Category: e:strip

06/26/11 11:40- ID#54578

The Garden at 24

This Bergamot plant in (e:PMT)'s back garden makes really excellent Earl Grey tea.
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It's quite unlike any Earl Grey I have ever had. The flavour is sharp and if made without any other tea and steeped for around 5 minutes, completely takes away any residual tiredness and has the capacity to defog your brain.

I didn't quite get the money-shot of the other visitor to the garden ((e:Paul,54519)) but here he is, hiding away and chomping in the herb patch.
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I can't wait to see if (e:PMT) will be able to set up a stall at the Elmwood Saturday Market from what ends up growing out of these beds!
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54578/The_Garden_at_24.html
Words: 117
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/26/11 11:40


Category: eating in

06/26/11 11:27- ID#54576

The Pumpkin from 24

It's only slightly dried up. It has gone into the oven for roasting now.
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I am planning to make a pumpkin and lentil soup like this one:
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54576/The_Pumpkin_from_24.html
Words: 33
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/26/11 11:28


Category: buffalo

06/26/11 06:56- ID#54573

Around Elmwood.

Noticed some interesting new shops on the strip...

I like the concept of Off Beat Emporium. Most of the furniture near the display window had tags that announced "SOLD". Guess the shop must be popular.
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I somehow never walk past it when it's open.
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The O3 café is ready to open (or maybe already open) in the block before Spot Coffee.
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There's something fresh but industrial about a kitchen done up with grey, green and stainless steel. The grey makes it somewhat cold but the spring green is fun. And of course stainless steel is my favourite accent for any kitchen. 2/3. Not bad. Plus I really like that hanging lamp. I want that for home.
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A million salads, sandwiches and wraps are on the menu. I need to check this out some Wednesday after Yoga. Wonder if they will be open for dinner though... The menu looks very breakfast-y/lunch-y. Click on the menu for a HUGE version.
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The coop is still selling the original herbmare salt but the orange discontinued tag has moved to the next item on its left. Makes me suspect that they might be using the "discontinued" orange tag as an innovative sales strategy.
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Are more people likely to think that a discontinued item is always at a steeper "discount" and thus, a better deal than a regular item on "sale"?

In this cases organic is not better than natural.
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The Organic variety has some crazy preservatives and additives while the natural variety doesn't. If Annie's can successfully create and market the "natural" variety, why do they even need the "organic" version with preservatives anyway? Why not just sell the natural line? Doesn't make sense.

Solé has made creative use of that wall...
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54573/Around_Elmwood_.html
Words: 306
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/26/11 07:10


Category: the odes

06/25/11 05:31- ID#54572

Past resentments with gift-giving.

Some conversations I had with (e:Paul) yesterday sparked off a series of thoughts about my inherent resentment with the whole gift-giving culture that exists around weddings, birthdays, baby-births and all sorts of other sundry milestone "occasions". It made me recall one of the numerous reasons why I rejoiced in my move to buffalo and left my "mandatory gift-giving" baggage behind.

When I was in Rochester, it seemed that everyone except me was getting married, having kids, throwing kid and pet birthday parties and ALL I was stuck with was trying to appear decently interested by getting them, their spouses, their kids, their pets (yes, their pets!) and their extended family some decently priced gifts or just writing them cheques for hard cash.

You might argue that I had free will in these matters. But I don't think free will ever factored into the mandatory-gift-giving culture at all. Deviation from it was often viewed as an equivalent of me saying that they could go to hell with their milestones because I couldn't care less about them. I don't think that was true.

I sometimes genuinely felt happy about their milestones when they told me about it. However, I am not sure that my elation at their having achieved that milestone translated into voluntary gift-giving. I often faced unwritten pressure from my fellow-students/acquaintances to get random department-mates mandatory gifts. It reflected the insidious face of consumerism that most of my "friends", coworkers, acquaintances assigned to my relationships with them.

It was never enough to wish them well, enquire after the well-being of their loved ones, donate my time to help them out in random everyday situations and continue on without my relationship without being weighed by the price or grandiosity of my expected gift or favour to them.

So I am very thankful and super-glad that I am not in such a terribly awful position anymore here in Buffalo. I genuinely like around 98% of the people I know and interact with here. My "gifts" come from my heart and are not always about a price-tag. However, it was never the case where I was before (read: parent universities and workplaces) so I know the oppression of forced gift-giving all too well.

In my case, I just took the step of walking out of such relationships before the undercurrents of gift-giving resentment and unequal expectations undermined them completely into open hostilities. Looking back now, I sometimes think this is why my quality of life in Buffalo is heads and shoulders above any I have ever had elsewhere.

PS: And yes, the worst was Rochester. I have very few fond memories of the duration of my stay in my parent uni and almost every single of my sparse favourite moments came from what I did with people completely unconnected to my academic life. I disliked that place for so many reasons and in so many ways. Every day I spend in Buffalo highlights the wide abyss between my experiences in Rochester and my polar opposite experiences in Buffalo.

And since I am thinking about it now, out of the 500 odd people I interacted with on a regular to semi-regular basis during my stay there I guess the ONLY real person I miss from Rochester is my landlady who was like my second mum and unconditionally gave me her love and help all throughout my stay in that wretched "city" right up to my last day. It was probably my only relationship in Rochester that was completely devoid of any pressures or even convention...
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54572/Past_resentments_with_gift_giving_.html
Words: 591
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/25/11 06:57


Category: opinion

06/24/11 10:15- ID#54556

Ear Bleeds?

Have any of you had non-trauma-related ear bleeds before?

I had some minor bleeding yesterday from my right ear. I am a bit concerned. It did happen immediately after I turned up the volume on my headphones to drown out some annoying noise in my office. So that gives me a clue that my tympanic membrane might have ruptured a bit.

However, apart from a ruptured eardrum, the second most common cause of ear bleeds is malignancy... I need a consult soon. (e:Paul) suggested the Buffalo otolaryngology group on Delaware. I wonder if they take Aetna.

PS: I now absolutely hate Rochester accents. :/
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54556/Ear_Bleeds_.html
Words: 104
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/24/11 10:21


Category: goals

06/24/11 01:33- ID#54555

Anxiety...

I have not been able to sleep for more than 2 hours at a stretch for the past couple months. I was a very light sleeper to begin with but my insomnia has reached an abysmal low this month.

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I now envy people who can sleep an unbroken 8 hours. All this lack of sleep is swinging a wrecking ball at my already feeble efforts to put on any muscle whatsoever.

I hope this phase passes soon. I feel like an unsatisfactory ghost of what I really want to be.

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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54555/Anxiety_.html
Words: 90
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/24/11 01:40


Category: i-tech

06/22/11 09:51- ID#54551

Scratchpad!

I lose my notes all the time and can never keep them in one place. I then conduct detailed unwieldy searches to locate them because I only remember having written a note somewhere with some specific content but never recall what I named those notes! I now have something that fixed this problem quite elegantly - Scratchpad for Chrome!!!

With Scratchpad, I can not only have all my notes sync silently with google docs but also search their full text from anywhere and everywhere. I think eventually, I will end up replacing the bland notepad entirely with Scratchpad.

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I only wish I could embed Scratchpad and Google Tasks side by side on chrome's new tab page now.

More about this awesome App:
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/tinypliny/54551/Scratchpad_.html
Words: 149
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/23/11 09:48


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paul said to mike
Its an official title. I had to get a degree for that....

paul said to mike
I'm still working on the same goals at 37....

paul said to lilho
So cute. When are you coming back?...

lilho said to mike
I wish I had been on that walk......