1 Jan 2002 opie   » (Observer)

Yay, I am now officially in the fraternity (or sodality or whatever) of system and network engineers who work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Here I am in the EMPTY freaking building, with NO real tickets and NO real engineering projects and NO customers calling and NO machine problems. Free money, but I would have really liked to kiss my girlfriend at midnight, as is tradition.

Anyway... I have started entertaining the notion of programming in C again, rather than doing every damn thing in Perl. I think the last time I actually opened an empty editor buffer on a .c file, and had to manually type out #include <stdio.h>, I was... ouch. OK, I don't even remember. (wait, I do, but it was to type in 'hello world' to test see why the compiler was broken - a bad stick of RAM, IIRC).

Its amazing what you forget. Years of Perl programming (as my primary language, and the first with which I had any sort of profiency, other than Javascript and HTML) have trained my fingers in the right motions - always end stuff in semicolons, proper formatting, and the like. Still, I hate having to actually sit down and remember the pointer rules, for example; how many times yesterday did I say to myself, "Wait, did I mean * or &? Aw, shit. Guess we'll see in a minute."

So lately, other than my autoconf hacks, I am trying to convert some of perl scripts into C.

Going to put Rock Linux on tomorrow, assuming my broke-ass CDRW will work. Its always an adventure, that thing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it chokes and dies. It seems to have a pattern where it gets tired. It works for a few weeks, then it has to be removed from the machine and placed in the extra hardware bucket. After a while, I need to burn a CD, and I pop it back it and it works for another couple weeks.

More PDA shopping. I still can't decide: Palm: works with every OS I have in my house (Linux, W2k, OSX, OS9). Cheaper. Nice form factor and plenty of apps. OTOH, they might go under before the end of the year, and the apps (and the device itself) are starting to show a little age, despite incremental improvements like colour and nicer screens. iPaq: Loaded down with features and IMO the only WinCE device worth owning. OTOH, expensive and only works fully with W2k. Also I would be buying "last years" model which, as anyone in the Windows world knows, is paying large money for obsolesence. Developer tools are expensive, and seriously non-Free. Still, for a WinCE device it has a BADASS form factor, a very nice screen, and very nice features.

My new machine will be running W2k, for purposes of games, so who knows. What bothers me is, that its lock-in. So I buy a machine for games, running Windows. Its the secret shame of many Linux/BSD people; they all have a machine around to play their fav Win32 games on. (OK, not all, don't take offense at that, I'm just talking here). So, its for games. AND, if I get the iPaq, it now is also for my PDA functions.

I want the PDA because I want it so that when I log into my computer first thing, I want to see: reminders and todos, all that shit, and to have them available to me all the time. So, given these contraints, that means I will have to log into my game box to sync, which means it now holds my PDA features, too.

BUT!!! One of the bonuses of the WinCE device is that it syncs automatically with Outlook, all that stuff. So if I want to take full advantage of the iPaq, I would need to move my mail from my Mac desktops to the Windows box.

Although in all seriousness, I'm going back to having my mail on my Linux box via IMAP, like it was before it died. That freaking ruled. Didn't matter where I was, it was all IMAP, all the time.

So, by introducing the WinCE device into the equation, it basically acts "virally" to cause me to spend a lot of time in front of the W2k box, doing my "personal productivity" thing. When allI want that box for is to play the latest 'Dark Age Of Camelot' and stuff. I have my OSX and OS9 boxes for Word, web design, etc, and my Linux boxes for server stuff.

Argh. Decisions, decisions. and nothing to do tonight.

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