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Week of 31 May 2004

Latest Update : Friday, 04 June 2004 08:39 -0400


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Monday, 31 May 2004

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Tuesday, 1 June 2004

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15:23 - Barbara and I just got home. We spent the holiday weekend up at the Bilbrey's home in Bowie, Maryland. As always, Brian and Marcia were the best host and hostess imaginable. Barbara and I had a very relaxing time, thanks to Marcia and Brian. Even the dogs behaved, mostly.

I'm sure Barbara will be posting details on her page later today or tomorrow, probably including pictures. I'm really under the gun this week. I have until Friday to finish the last chapter for the new book, so I won't be coming up for air until I get that finished and sent off to my editor. More then.

 

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Wednesday, 2 June 2004

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11:53 - I got the trip pictures copied over from the cameras. I zipped them up and posted a copy (a 47MB zipfile) on my web server for Brian and the others who were there to download. That's all I've had time to do, other than work stuff. I must get this final chapter done by Friday, whether it kills me or not.

And I really want to take some time to play with XandrOS Linux, which I call the "Buffy distro". (I'd rather they'd named it "WillowOS", but there it is.) I carried a boxed set of Mandrake 10 up to the Bilbreys. Brian loaded it temporarily, and neither of us were particularly impressed. I see no reason to choose Mandrake 10 over, say, Fedora Core 2.

XandrOS, on the other hand, looks like a very good desktop Linux distro, and I may end up using it for a server OS as well. When Brian brought up XandrOS initially, it detected the Windows networking shares automatically, offered to mount them, and even suggested sane mountpoints. It also detected the 802.11b Cardbus adapter and used it without further ado. Very nice. Based on a very short look, it appears to me that XandrOS is a viable alternative to Windows, and it can only get better.

 

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Thursday, 3 June 2004

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9:34 - I opened a can of worms yesterday with my comments about Mandrake 10, which O'Reilly distributes in the US. I sent a brief message to one of my O'Reilly contacts, telling him that Mandrake 10 was okay but nothing special, and that I was disappointed in it. I'd expected it to be more newbie-friendly, particularly with regard to co-existing in a Windows-based network. Messages flew back and forth, with several people from O'Reilly being added to the distribution list as things progressed. At this point, we've gone international. The CTO for Mandrake in France is now in the loop.

I suppose I should be intimidated. After all, who am I to criticize what is by all reports an excellent Linux distro? On the other hand, newbie as I am, I'm in a position to tell them what I don't like about it, and what, from my newbie perspective, needs to be fixed. Not that O'Reilly is angry at me for criticizing Mandrake 10. They honestly appreciated hearing what I had to say. I took pains to tell them that I wasn't criticizing Mandrake 10 in general, but merely that I, as a Linux newbie, was disappointed in it as a desktop distro for newbies vis--vis Xandros.

Speaking of Xandros, I emailed their Press Relations contact to ask for an eval boxed copy. She sent me a bunch of URLs that point to ISOs and PDFs for all of their products and documentation. I downloaded the Business Install ISO, Business Applications CD, Deluxe Install ISO, Deluxe Applications CD, and the Standard ISO, along with PDFs of the Business Manual, Deluxe Manual, and the Getting Started Guide. She's sending the boxed copy of the Deluxe version as well.

And now it's back to work for me. I have two full days to finish this final chapter, and it's going to be a stretch to get it done.

 

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Friday, 4 June 2004

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8:39 - I'm not gonna make it. The chapter is starting to come together, but there's a lot left to be done. I mailed my editor at O'Reilly last night and told him I could finish the chapter today if he really, really needed it today so as not to screw up production, but otherwise I'd prefer to spend a few more days on it to get it right. He mailed me back to say he'd rather wait and have it right.

That pretty much sums up O'Reilly's corporate culture. Other publishers I've written for want things on the date promised, whether they're really finished or not. One MCP editor actually told me one time when I was doing a short project for them with a three-week deadline that they'd rather have something mediocre in 21 days than something perfect in 22. Other computer book publishers are similar. Which is, I suppose, why O'Reilly has the reputation as the Rolls-Royce of computer book publishers.

We're in the midst of a strong thunderstorm right now, so I hope I won't lose power. It was so dark at 8:15 that the streetlights had come on again, and a deluge followed shortly. I think we must have gotten half an inch of rain in about the first two minutes of the cloudburst. It's still raining, and looks as though it may continue doing so sporadically throughout the day.

 

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Saturday, 5 June 2004

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Sunday, 6 June 2004

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