TigerDirect keeps sending me ads for widescreen LCD monitors. I’d love to pick up a 22″ widescreen (right now I’ve got a 17″ LCD that runs 1280×1024), but my computer is in much more need of a mobo+processor upgrade. Especially since something on the system — and not the video card or the monitor — went bad recently and is preventing it from running at any resolution higher than 1024×768, leaving me stuck with a blurry screen on the monitor I’ve got. So I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of a new monitor anyway.

I’m putting that off mainly because I need to do make the time to research what I’m going to get. I’ve narrowed it down to a dual-core AMD, but then I have to balance which processor, motherboard, and memory to get.

Also, at this point, I may as well go 64-bit, which is going to mean reinstalling Fedora. Though in theory I should be able to run the 32-bit OS to start with, which means I could do the hardware upgrade one weekend, and the OS reinstall the next.

The other tech upgrade I’m desperate to get is a new phone. While my ideal phone doesn’t quite exist yet, I’d really like something with better mobile internet access than my RAZR V3T — particularly with Comic-Con coming up next month. They’re usually good at keeping you informed of scheduling changes (unlike Wizard World), but now that I’ve got SpeedForce.org, I’d like to be able to do at least minimal blogging from the convention floor rather than waiting until I get back to the hotel. Posting by email doesn’t cut it, and even with the WPhone Plugin providing a stripped-down admin interface, half the time the built-in browser tells me it can’t display the page. I may bite the bullet and pay T-Mobile the extra $20/month for a data plan so that I can run Opera Mini.

On the plus side, I’ve at least found a way to post photos directly using Flickr.

Fedora Linux.I haven’t been following the progress of Fedora 9 very closely (possibly because it took me until last month to finally upgrade my home PC to Fedora 8), but as the release date of April 29 May 13 approaches, I thought I’d take a look at the release notes for an overview of what’s new. Of course there’s the usual upgrades to the various desktop environments, including, finally, KDE4, but something that surprised me was the inclusion of Firefox 3 beta 5.

Admittedly, Linux distributions often include non-final software by necessity. Many open-source projects spend years in the 0.x state not because they don’t work well, but because the authors don’t feel that it’s complete yet. (Often, a project will take their checklist and build feature 1, stabilize it, add feature 2, stabilize that, etc. so that you get a program that’s a stable subset of the target. Off the top of my head, FreeRADIUS was quite stable long before it hit 1.0, and Clam AntiVirus has been quite usable despite the fact that its latest version is 0.93.)

FirefoxLately, though, there’s been a tendency toward sticking with the latest stable release, at least for projects that have reached that magical 1.0 number. Sometimes they go even further. Only a year and a half ago, Fedora planned to skip Firefox 2 and wait for version 3. (Clearly, they expected Firefox 3 would be out sooner!) So it was a surprise to see that this time, Fedora has decided to jump on the new version before it’s finished.

Fedora LogoThe code name for Fedora 9 Linux has been chosen, and it’s going to be Sulphur. Because a foul-smelling rock associated with rotten eggs and depictions of Hell is just what we want to identify an operating system. (Actually, it might not be too far off for Windows Vista.)

Bathysphere was only 8 votes behind. Weird, but considerably cooler.

Oh, well. At least it’s not Mayonnaise or Chupacabra. And some of the other names on that list are considerably worse.

In the decade I’ve been using Linux, it’s gone from something that required lots of technical know-how just to set up, to something that (in its major flavors) can auto-detect most hardware and provides friendly GUIs for most configuration tasks. But every once in a while, I have the kind of experience that would turn a new user off of Linux. Usually because Fedora has decided to change something during an update.

In this case, it was a digital camera problem. Since we bought our Canon PowerShot SD600 last December, I’ve used KDE’s digiKam to transfer and manage the photos. DigiKam detected the camera and accessed the photos right out of the box, no configuration needed beyond telling it to remember the model. But something changed in the last two weeks, and last night I started getting an error message: Failed to connect to the camera. Oddly enough, it could still detect the camera when it was connected. But it couldn’t display or download the images.

I searched all over, hitting dead end after dead end, until I got a hint that it was a permissions problem. Continue reading

Fedora LogoFedora 8 has just been released, code-named “Werewolf.” As is tradition for this particular Linux distribution, the official release announcement is accompanied by an alternative, humorous announcement playing off the code name.

This time, the joke announcement is a song parody of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” And unlike a lot of really bad filk I’ve seen (online and otherwise), it’s surprisingly not bad (for all the subject matter is a bit odd. At least, from what I remember of the original song, it scans.