Ubuntu Update

With a little effort, I’ve got:

  • Sound working
  • The high-performance drivers for the NVIDIA video card working
  • DVDs playing
  • A connection to my external Firewire drive working so I can get stuff off of it that I put there while backing up my mac laptop… All the more cool because it’s formatted with a Mac partition, not a Linux one
  • mldonkey running, which I would never ever use to download pirated movies in divx format, or songs in mp3 format, or share them of course
  • mp3s and divx’s successfully playing
  • CDs ripping

Still want to do:

  • Get DVD-ripping going so I don’t need the DVD in the player to watch a movie. Tried this but ran into some weird problems that weren’t worth the effort to fix at that point.

Overall, while some of these things have required a little hackwork/voodoo, this is about a 10 to 20 times easier to use version of Linux than classic Debian was, and unlike the other “user friendly linuxes” like RedHat and SuSE and the like, it has a Debian-like elegance and openness.

good to know if I ever feel the need to leave OS X behind, a Linux as sweet as this is waiting for me.


I just wrote a Perl script to go through all my posts and remove the Markdown from them, by passing them through the Markdown script itself to turn them into HTML. I eventually decided to take my man Topher’s advice and “look into a little thing called Hypertext Markup Language” instead of using a meta-markup language like Textile or Markdown.

It’s, like, I’d like to be using remote blog posting tools like Ranchero Software’s “MarsEdit” or the like, sometimes, and adding a meta-markup language to the mix is just one more thing that can go wrong in the pipeline.

The script seems to have worked well except for my last post, which it munged, but if you see any posts that seem to be mutilated, please call them to my attention and I’ll dig into my backup and fix them.

A Traditional New Year’s Resolution

Resolved: try not to be a total dick to conservatives. It just strengthens their stereotypes, and while some of us liberals may, at least some of the time, deserve their jibes, it’s not fair to all the liberal folk who go out of the way to rise above it. (I’m thinking people like Larry Lessig, Dan Gillmor, John Perry Barlow, and others.) They get tarred with the same brush.

Really, if you play that “your side are bad people” game you have already lost. You can speak truth without invective. You can judge policies and actions and ideas without judging people.

The important thing is not so much getting the good people in power, as getting the people in power to do what is good, in any case.

The Search for a Nonviolent Future

Reading The Search for a Nonviolent Future by Michael Nagler right now. It seems like it’s going to be one of those Big Books that Really Matters to me.

What I’m getting out of it so far (about 1/3 of the way through):

  • Nonviolence is already being practiced the world over; it is wildly underreported in the media. It has not entered the public consciousness outside the people who are deeply involved in it.
  • Nevertheless, it has had some massive successes. The attempted coup against Gorbachev was prevented by the action of many, many nonviolent resisters, who had been trained in nonviolent resistance. It worked. The nation of India achieved its independence from Great Britain by means of nonviolence. South Africa’s apartheid was ended by nonviolence. And of course, MLK Jr’s nonviolent tactics changed America.
  • Nonviolence can be understood as a positive force, not a negative prohibition. The Sanskrit word which is translated “nonviolence,” “ahimsa,” is a word which expresses a positive through its opposite. A comparable English word is “infinity.” Which means something much more positive than merely “lack of finity.” Heck, “finity” isn’t even a word. “Ahimsa” is like that, in Ghandi’s usage at least.
  • The power of nonviolence is that it can only work through the free will of the oppressor. This means it is always a gamble. But it turns out that in practice it is a very good gamble. Many people who would act very badly towards those who either fight or flee them, find themselves changing when they are confronted by those who neither fight nor flee them, but oppose them with nonviolence.

I’ll write more when i’ve read more.