Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

pentium M and porteus

I love eBay. I like the way it's a good place to find recycled things. I love its yard sale aspects, and the way it indirectly helps the post office. I love to bid low and lose, until I bid low and win.

I buy things that interest me, usually things at low prices. I think the most expensive thing I ever bought on eBay was a lovely hand-crafted mountain dulcimer. I try not to buy anything that is too expensive to avoid disappointment. I have been fortunate in my purchases. I can think of one book that was too well-worn. I can think of one cheap telescope that the seller sold without one lens, because the remaining lens was a bit out of whack. A couple of sellers over the years mis-described their products in innocent ways (usually by just quoting likely specs for a model instead of actually figuring out the actual specs of the unit on sale). But count me overall an extremely happy camper.

Recently, I bought a used computer on eBay to give as a holiday gift. I paid a low price for it. Then, soon after, I saw an even better one, also with a low price.
I got the latter, received it in the mail, and got it in gift format. I found a 2 dollar Goodwill case and a couple of accessories on sale. That is ready to go.

The lesser computer arrived later in the mail (seller had a mild delay). When it arrived, I was tasked with installing Linux on a Pentium M machine. Modern linux distributions do not always run well on the Pentium M, a decade-old CPU. The computer acts like it has no p.a.e., when in fact it has a p.a.e. but no p.a.e. flag. It is all a bit arcane.

I had done my research, though, and knew some things to try even before it arrived.
First, I installed AntiX. This is a Debian derivative for very old equipment. Articles speak of the "AntiX Miracle" which ensues when this operating system takes an old, slow Windows system and modernizes it. I got AntiX to run live, and I got the wi-fi connected in good order. But then Iceweasel (the even more open source version of Firefox) did not work. The firewall was off. I knew from past experience that there was probably a browser firewall or other hidden wall to locate and fix. But I got bored of looking.

I started to download a non-PAE version of Linux Mint Debian Edition, but it was a huge 1.4 Ghz download, larger than I like an install on old equipment to be.
I tried Peppermint 5, but it would not load on the older system, which was not a huge surprise.

Then I remembered Porteus. Porteus is a Slackware derivative that is my favorite "run from USB" distro. But I decided to install it as a frugal install on the hard disk.
I figured out how to create a data file to all changes to persist, which literally turned out to require simply running a simple package and then typing four words different on a text file.

I got Porteus installed, and now that old Pentium M computer runs as fast as a modern system, with a great array of free software. I prefer Ubuntu's package manager and software repository to Slackware's (and Salix's and the other Slackware derivatives, all of which software repositories Porteus offers), but it was great to get Porteus running so smoothly. I was pleased with myself, even if I did get to bed after one a.m. I was going to give this computer to a fellow who I thought I knew needed one, but it turned out he had been able to borrow one until he could get a new one next year. I'll find another good home for the Porteus box.

The weather cooled today, and turned rainy. It was one of those days with lots of clouds and moisture but only modest rain. It was not a drought-buster. My departing partner moved out of his office yesterday,and another of our attorneys moved into it.

Tonight I made a Christmas list and sent it to my wife. One of the items is already arranged. I find my wish lists lately are more about experiences--a play,a concert or a weekend trip. Speaking of wish lists, I realized tonight that the Weight Watchers point count is "per serving" and the microwave popcorn bag had more than one serving. I almost never make that mistake in calculation, but this time I did.

Things I like lately:

a. the google chromium app Harmony, a fun drawing tool.
b. my niece sold me a drawing of a deer she made. It was fun shopping on her etsy site;
c. made-for-TV obscure cable Christmas movies
d. offbeat music (as always)

The news is full of a Hollywood movie being pulled from the market due to terrorism threats. This is a disturbing thing to me. Freedom of expression is a terrible thing to lose.

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