Monday, June 23, 2008

Linux VS Windows

For the 40th installment of the blog, I am going to be doing my own opinions on windows VS linux. This is bound to make the windows fan boys twitch, and the linux gods cringe.


My lovely MDG machine finally blew its hard drive after a brown out. A total loss of the MBR, followed by the thunk-thunk-thunk noise of the reader arm tapping the flatline against the spindle. Its been a beautiful machine to me. Unfortunatly, money is a little tight right now, and I havent been able to replace it. Windows XP is my primary OS, however It requires a HDD to run. Some people have dabbled in creating a portable version of it, however there is no true following to run with. Bring on linux, which Ive used for a few weeks now, and is what Im using right now.

The first step in looking into the OS's is not to compare them. They are two different animals, with two different history's following them. The key to learning them is to separate them mentally into two different os.

So I am going to look at this as more of a linux review then anything else.

Linux has been long heralded as the redheaded stepchild to windows. Its never been as publicly known about, and isn't a run of the mill OS like windows is. Chances are if you visit a buddy, his machine will likely have some incarnation of windows on it.

Windows uses DOS for its kernel, as Mandriva uses Linux. Linux boots slightly slower then Windows xp, however once loaded, its basically ready for use. There is little driver hunting, or seeking. Configuration is minimal. This is what makes linux distros so popular in thier followings. Its easy to install, and configure over a wide range of systems. Linux is so versatile it is used in everything from micro laptops, through to cell phones, servers, and just about anything. Right now mine is running on a machine with no hard drive. Its on my USB jump drive.

But its not all roses. Linux's GNU liscense is its acheles heel. Unlike windows where your drivers are typically professionally made to work, linux's programmers are largely volunteers. If you happen to have that limited production device, chances are your gonna wait for its driver for a long time.

As well with linux its small following makes it limited for mainstream applications, such as games. Games are designed for the mainstream as most people use windows based machines.

Not being number one is a strong point. Linux is an oddball. Just like Mac. Because it isnt the #1, it tends to fall out of the cross hairs of spyware and viruses. Its a different language that most don't speak.

Performance wise, I would say Linux is a hands down winner. Linux screams through multi-tasking like its nobody's business. Linux seems to figure out whats going to work best and set itself up for that. Ever use a windows machine, and see that wireless networking services are running although you don't have a wireless card? Linux seems to figure that out on the boot.

As well, not having to run a firewall, antivirus, anti rootkit anti malware, etc.. program seems to help.

Visual effects in some distros with Beryl are excellent with tons of configurations. They dont seem to bog the machine down as well.

Will I be keeping linux once the new HDD arrives and the Laptop comes? No. And heres why:

Linux isn't compatible with the unique software I use for my radios. This isn't a fault of Linux, its part of how it works. And most likely, I am not going to find a program for it.

Linux isn't beginner friendly. My wife can't stand Linux. Not because it sucks, its because it's different. Its not what she was taught on, and she doesn't want to learn. She knows windows and thats what she wants to see when she turns her computer on. Plain and simple. Push power and off you go. The schools are teaching windows because anywhere ya go, thats what your going to find!

Same with the kids. What my daughter is learning is windows in school. Not linux. Shes used to clicking the little firefox on her destop and going about her buisness. She isnt used to looking for it anywhere else.

For myself, my work uses Windows. And MS office. And thats what I need to use for pure compatablility when I work across computers.

As well, when Im on the road, Ill be putting XP onto the computer, just because most free internet sites in out camps and in truckstops are geared for windows, and I dont wanna spend my time dinking around with Linux when all I want to do Is get on MSN and go.

All In all, linux is great for certain people, as for me. When I get my laptop, it will be XP, and so will the MDG when It gets handed to her.

Now that vista thing *shudder* what was MS thinking?!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thoughts. Or a lack of them.

Its been a long quarter.

Its been almost 3 years since I returned home from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Its been an upward battle, but I can now say I've come to terms with my demons.

The nightmares have all but ceased. There are only a few things that activate the terrible memories I have to carry for the rest of my days. When they do come to front. I have the ability to control these emotions. All except for the sad ones. The anger, rage, and indifference is nearly gone, my compassion and understandind is beginning to come back.

Kabul was a cakewalk for some people. Perhaps because no one died on my tour. The rocket attacks on Julien were far and few between. Most people didn't work for an EVAC company.

As a bison ambulance driver, I didn't happen to be with most of my regular transport crew. We were constantly exploring the area with the Engineers, the Royals, and on occasion, the Dragoons. We had one important fault that no body else experienced.

We didn't have weapons.

Aside from the armour, the ambulance was a sitting duck. There was no heavy weapons, no smoke grenades, nothing. The only thing protecting us was the red crosses on the ambulance. It didn't count for much. If anything. It made us a target.

Roaming the vast mountainsides of Kabul, we could see them. On the mountains. Waiting. Aiming. Toying with our minds. At any given time, they could go out and nail us. It's no secret. They are a smart enemy. 2 well placed IED's and we would make interesting hostages.

I kept my 9mm browning on the top of my thigh, and 1 spare 9mm bullet in my pocket for this reason.

That bullet was for me.

I wasn't alone in this thought. We would drive around for days, aimlessly wandering around the afghan scenery, navigating minefields, countering IED's. Sleeping under the armor. Wondering if our number would be tomorrow. Each morning we'd deal with the injured. We'd wake up to the masses looking in past the hasty constentina wire fence, wondering which one has the bomb strapped to him.

Alas, all they did was watch. That knowledge was enough to make a sane man mad. Waiting for the first shot, just so you could get it over with.

The nights were never a good sleep. The dreams of getting nailed by the next day's IED and getting flown home in the freezer would terrorize anyone. Each day we drove through the mine patches, it got a little easier on the head to handle. It was laughable by the time I got back, I wasn't flirting with death. I was tap dancing through a minefield with a 13-ton vehicle and 2 other lives, hundreds of kilometers away.

Each time we'd drive past a body, or a kid in the mine field the immoral thought of not saving them drove me mad. 3 year old children playing in the red part of the rocks, reminded me that I had a daughter at home, a wife and son. The same thought kept me from rushing in to save them, when the boom was heard later.

I still wake up. Late at night. Dreaming of the nights where Id sit in the ambulance, running as the missile strike alarm would go off. People scrambling to the bunkers. I was sitting in the ambulance wondering how many body parts I would pick up if one of them actually landed in the right spot, or if someone would pick up mine if the missile went astray.

The nightmares of me clenching my teeth as the front tire rolls over an anti-tank mine I didn't see until it was too late.

My brain has shown me in my dreams what my own blood looks like, and my innards. Perhaps its an overactive imagination.

Thankfully it has stopped. For the most part. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes. But I don't remember the dream. Guess my brains block it out.

Some things still upset me. Air raid sirens will initiate a flashback, stirring the memory. Smells of burning meat bring me back to the Green route markets. The white toyota corollas here make me laugh. Until it swerves. Then it causes and instant anger moment. Same with some arab descent people who welcome me to my own country at customs.

Certain songs make my cry. Taps. Ive lost too many brothers with that song. Remembrance day Is hard.
Amazing grace will to. Even in the best times, it does.

In the end. I say I'm cured. But I will never go back over, because If I do. I may never mentally come back home. If I come back at all.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The fox welcomes thee.

Good day all.

In case you haven't noticed, the counter has officially cleared 1,000 hits.

I'd like to take the time to thank the readers of the blog. Watching the counter go up just shows me that you all really do care, or enjoy my sadistic, sarcastic sense of humor.

So what has been going on? Well not much. I keep hunting for jobs, seeing if something interesting comes my way. Its good to keep options open when you have qualifications like I do. You never know what might come out of the blue.

Challenger Motor Freight did send me an Info package. But the wage isn't as much as I make in the CF, so I know my path right now.

And I guess things could be worse. I mean I know I'm going to Wainwright in the fall. I've missed too many as is, and I got a feeling I am next in the breech.

But on a good note, a buddy of mine tells me I am moving over to Heavy Lift section. Which is all tractor trailers. Which could be good. Tractor trailers get a lot more runs then the trucks I drive now. And at $500 to $1000 per run, I could save up some coin for Christmas. If thats the case, dad better hurry up with that inverter and laptop!

Besides, this is my last working week then I begin leave. So I just gotta hang in there. Really. All thats left is tomorrow I do a run, which will suck. Wednesday, I don't think much is planned. Thursday I go to a mess dinner at night which should be.. Interesting. And Friday is a sports day.. Then leave!

Too bad Jamie couldn't go to the dinner.

Think I will try to get some fishing in this weekend.

To the readers, thanks again, and I'm sure Ill find something to piss me off! Hang in there!