Phoneless

I finally canceled my home phone service a few weeks ago. Today I was walking the dogs and got a call from a local number I didn’t recognize. It was the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Last Spring I had taken Susan to see Carmina Burana, and ASO has been sending me mail, e-mails, and calling every now and then ever since. Not sure why I gave them my cell phone number, but I quickly informed them that they were calling my cell phone and I didn’t want them to use that number. The guy asked if there was another number where they could reach me. I hadn’t thought that far ahead, but realized I could only answer No. So he said “So you just don’t want us to call you?” I said “I guess not.”

Kaspersky – Ugh

Last year I bought Kaspersky Internet Security 6.0. I was really happy with it because it wasn’t that intrusive and didn’t use a lot of system resources. It was also pretty easy to configure. So when Fry’s offered a 3-license version of KIS 7.0 for free after rebates, I jumped on it. The first install I tried was on Mom’s laptop. She said it brought her computer to a crawl and uninstalled it. One nice thing about Kaspersky is that it is pretty easy to uninstall. I was disappointed, but if Mom said it was no good, then that was the case (maybe more memory will help Mom’s computer).

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Linux, Part 3

I couldn’t get rid of the partition I had freed up for Ubuntu. So I thought I would try one more time with a clean installation. I also noticed on the page of lengthy instructions (from Linux, Part 2) that it was for the Dell 1390 wireless card and I checked and I had the 1395 wireless card. So I reran everything, only this time I downloaded the driver file R174291.exe instead of what the instructions told me. Worked like a charm!

Yeah, it still took a really long time to get everything to download and install, but I am writing this post wirelessly on the Vostro 1400 on Ubuntu.

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Linux, Part 2

Today I got the Vostro 1400. Starting it up and getting Vista going wasn’t bad, but it took a while. I had opted to get rid of most of the software bloat that Dell usually includes, but still had to set things up, download updates, etc. Vista is the slowest thing ever.

After I got everything set up, I decided to try installing Ubuntu (see Linux, Part 1 where I downloaded and tried out the installation CD). I knew the first step was shrinking the main hard drive partition to free up room. But Vista doesn’t make this easy. I still don’t know how to get to that control panel other than by searching Help for “partition” and then clicking on a link that opens the utility. I struggled with that for a while before I went back and read the article that said I didn’t have to do anything but free up the space (not create a volume, which I couldn’t do). The Dell came with the hard drive already partitioned into 4 parts. I think one is for a quick-booting media player, the other is a recovery disk, one is diagnostics, and the other is the rest of your hard drive with Windows on it. (In Ubuntu they are called MEDIADIRECT, RECOVERY, DellUtility, and OS).

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Asian Grouper

For birthdays and other special occasions at work sometimes we will go to a restaurant near Little Five Points called Front Page News. They serve regular American fare with a little emphasis on New Orleans food. One item they have had for years is a grouper sandwich. Sometime last year it started to come out that most restaurants offering grouper on their menu weren’t really giving you grouper. This is because we have eaten almost all of the grouper in the ocean and it is very hard to get anymore. Groupers mature very slowly and a typical fish might be 40 years old. Fishing for grouper is completely unsustainable.

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Budget Notebook

After considering some kind of internet tablet I realized that an inexpensive notebook is a much better buy than an underpowered $400 Linux device. I found some notebooks in the $400-$500 range at Fry’s made by Toshiba or Compaq. With 15.4″ screens, all of them were over six pounds which some reviewers considered heavy. So I went to notebook review where you can filter on price and weight. Surprisingly, there was a 5-pound(ish) Dell computer for $499. I had looked at Dell recently, but they didn’t even mention the Vostro line of notebook computers. Apparently the Vostro is a “small business” computer and Dell feels like consumers should buy more expensive Inspiron or XPS notebooks. Even better, the Vostro has free shipping right now. There is a still less expensive Vostro 1000 (I’m looking at the Vostro 1400), that starts at $399, but once you add in a few extras to make it roughly equivalent to the 1400 (the 1400 uses an Intel Celeron processor and the 1000 uses an AMD Sempron), the price difference was fairly small.

Since the democrats in Congress have decided that I should receive nearly the full $600 stimulus rebate, I thought I should go ahead and blow most of that on a laptop. Rather than wait for my check in May, I think I may pull the trigger on this deal this weekend. The nice thing about Dells is they are very popular among Linux hobbyists, so I may try setting up the computer to boot in Linux as an option.