03 Nov


I am starting to get my pace of work at a level that I am happy with. I have to say that working from home is a mixed blessing, and since one of my projects has been postponed in startup I’ve had to refocus on my self driven research. Have been to the Bristol Broadmead Consolidation Centre, which was interesting and maybe could be part of a case study.

On the computing front I have now installed Ubuntu Linux onto my HP PC, only for it to utterly refuse to recognise the soundcard or configure the display at all. I wiped it and installed Mandriva 2006 on it and it works like a dream. Strangely tho’ Mandriva 2006 didn’t like the Dell, no sound card recognition, but a CD based version of Ubuntu was fine. The vagaries of Linux distros. All my friends and colleagues seem disillusioned with Mandriva (Mandrake as was). I am certainly very disappointed with the service and qaulity of the Club website. I paid my money and I get almost no useable support, mind you I joined to be able to download the distros really. But it is dreadful that a commercial company can’t produce a website which volunteers can deliver for free. Anyhow, I think the real reason is the mainstream nature of Mandriva/Mandrake. It’s too smooth, too much like Windows (or rather KDE is), and presents fewer challenges for tinkering. Distros like Ubuntu are sexier, new modern grafix, present some challenge. I am myself also tempted, hence I’ll see how it lasts on the Dell, but only as a toy system in dual boot, since the Dell box will stay my Windows workhorse. I do think, however, that when Matt leaves home I will go completely Linux. I just don’t need much that is Windows anymore, and I do have VMWare on the shelf which I really must install..

Games are always the issue with Linux. There have been few ports and few of those have coped with a few distro changes or upgrades. I have Civ: Call to Power for Linux but can I get it to run? Can I heck as like? There are, however, a few jewels in the crown. Cute penguin games like Frozen Bubble and the silly but fun TuxRacer… in fact for Breakout clones, vertical scrollers and the like you can’t go wrong. I have also seen most idsoftware games running with their Unix engines. My current favourite is the charming simple and yet addictive Wesnoth which is available for Linux and Windows and Mac and a helluva lot of systems. It is charming, tactical, well written and free, what more can you want? A turn based fantasy wargame it reminds me of the hex based classics of the past but with better graphics. It play smooth, it has great tutorials and it never becomes too complex or obscure to put you off, whilst still offering an endless stream of pre-written campaigns, online games and the ability to create your own. I recommend a download and a trial to anyone who likes computer games, rpgs or wargames. Anyone want to play it head to head with me over the Internet just email me!

Ah well, back to work.