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Showing posts from February, 2009

Fedora 10

For several years now, I've used PCLinuxOS, a Linux distribution, on my home machine (an HP Pavilion). But PCLOS is mostly based on the KDE desktop environment. I generally prefer the Gnome desktop, but installed Gnome too (KDE and Gnome coexist just fine), and was quite happy for a long time.

A recent series of updates made my system very unreliable, though: my wireless started winking out, and there were strange delays, once per session, when my screen would go unresponsive. Eventually, I have no doubt that the good people over at PCLinuxOS forum will iron things out through a series of updates. But I got restless, and popped in a Fedora 10 disk I got in the mail (from my about to expire LinuxFormat subscription). Then I completely reformatted my hard drive, and installed the new software. That whole process took about half an hour.

Fedora -- an offshoot of Red Hat -- is very well documented. I quickly got online (a great little pop-up wireless tool), and found several long FAQs.…

Palm Centro

I've been a Palm user for a long time -- since the very second version of the device. I got pretty good at Graffiti, which I tended to use more than the onscreen keyboard. My third Palm was a T|X, which at first I liked quite a lot. Very clear, colorful, and large. I do a lot of writing on mine, or did.

But I wound up being pretty unhappy with it. The digitizer got out of whack, and short of replacement there seemed no fix for it. The screen also got scratched up quite a bit, although I took reasonably good care of it.

Over time, I also got irritated by having to carry both it and a cell phone.

Enter the Palm Centro. The library has a Verizon plan which allows for regular upgrades of phones. The Centro was just $49. I was able to get it to sync with PCLinuxOS and Ubuntu very easily (and with my assistant's Windows PC). All of my contacts, memos, calendar, etc. came over lickety-split. I particularly appreciate that it used the same USB synch cable as my T|X.

I like it as a phone.…

End of "Harvey"

Tonight was our last performance, and it was fun. So strange that all these hours of memorizing and rehearsing come to less than a handful of performances, then a cast party, then it's done.

It was, I think, our best performance tonight. It's good to hear the audience laugh. And it was a good respite from too many other things to think about -- tugs on my consciousness that will now resume.

Thank you, my fellow actors and stage crew. Thank you, generous audience.

Curtain.

The Long Emergency

Jim Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, has a pungent posting entitled "Clusterfuck Nation," available by clicking the title of this entry. Bottom line: he argues that as a nation, and perhaps as a global economy, we are in a period of contraction. Kunstler fingers oil dependency, which he calls the vision of "Happy Motoring," as one of the big things we have to eliminate. Our easy credit economy is gone, and will not return, he believes.

But I liked his ending: "My hope for the year, at least for my own society, is that we will transition away from being a nation of complacent, distracted, over-fed clowns, to become a purposeful and responsible people willing to put their shoulders to the wheel to get some things done."

Planning for budget cuts

Since our failed election, since our projected drop in revenue next year, I've been engaged in discussions with board and staff about how best to respond. We've put together a framework for dealing with the times, and I'm proud of it.

First point: the library is in better shape than many. No debt. Money in the bank -- the "rainy day fund" everybody talks about but few set aside. A balanced budget. A history of planning ahead -- as evidenced by our RFID/self-check/automated materials handling. No greedy, short-sighted and foolish investments that gambled away our future.

Second point: an eye to the realities of public finance. When people vote against sufficient funding for a certain level of service, then you can't provide those services. You must, instead, restructure your operations to make them sustainable and logical within existing resources.

Third point: rather than come back year after year with different strategies for cost-containment, I'm urging th…

Harvey

Last night was opening night for the Parker Arts Council production of "Harvey," by Mary Chase. It's a wonderful play, one of my favorites. I was fortunate enough to land the part of Elwood P. Dowd. The rest of the cast is amazing:

Mark Como, director and cab driver, has an eye for great bits of physical humor. And he has assembled a fabulous team.

Sarah Como, Assistant Director, is not only an efficient stage manager, she also put her finger on something I'd never seen in any production of Harvey. Elwood's first appearance is when he says, "Excuse me a moment. I have to answer the phone." But Sarah is the only one to spot the clear stage directions: the phone doesn't ring until after Elwood says he'll answer it. The point is that Harvey (who is in constant conversation with Elwood) gets "advance notice." A brilliant insight.

Shelley Cullen as Nurse Kelley. A sassier nurse you will not find, with a wonderful smile. She gives me a smooch, …