Monday, June 23, 2008

Touring, Finally

After playing in one band after another for too many years, hauling half a ton of gear everywhere and wishing it were somewhere farther away than a half hour from my house... I am finally doing a multi-city US tour with a band I really enjoy.

This Wednesday I am getting in the van with Eric and Greg of the Jet Age and playing Columbus, Des Moines, Denver, Seattle (twice), Portland, SFO, LA, Austin and Atlanta. Nine cities, ten shows, 24 states, over 7,200 miles, all in 14 days. All the show dates are on

To say I'm happy about it doesn't even come close. This is my dream. This is what my life is really about. I have no idea what this trip will bring but man, I can't wait to start.

openSUSE 11 installation this weekend

I installed openSUSE 11 x86-64 with KDE4 on a dell latitude D630 this weekend. Overall, it is very clear that a lot of work went into this release. Congratulations to the team!

Centrino Core 2 Duo
nVIDIA Quadro NVS 135M
WXGA 1280x800 widescreen
Intel PRO/Wireless 3945AG

Some quick pluses and minuses:
+ Installation and boot-up are a lot faster. I found my jaw on the floor at one point. A DVD-based installation based mostly on the defaults took about ten minutes.

+ love how the installer used kexec to boot the installed kernel after the initial installation (instead of doing a full restart).

+ Overall the whole system seems more responsive and snappy, esp. firefox

+ like the inclusion of compiz fusion and emerald (and the new eye candy they bring, esp. the rotating cylinder features).

+ love the Expo feature in compiz (ok maybe this isn't new to you all but I hadn't played around with it until now)

+ Configured wifi card with no problems

- Had to manually download and install the nvidia driver and use sax2 -r -m 0=nvidia to set it up - there's a tool for this in SLED but didn't see it in openSUSE/KDE4 -- anyone know if it's there? -- anyway I was hoping it would add the nvidia repo and do all that for me

- compiz performance with the nvidia card is choppy at best --- that may not be the distro's fault per se --- tried playing with the settings in the nvidia config tool but it didn't seem to help --- if
you are running this, what are the recommended settings?

- NetworkManager didn't detect my access point; had to type it in.

- had to do rcnetwork restart /and/ manually startup NetworkManager after waking from suspend-to-ram --- anyone got it working?

neutral observations:
* the widgets are interesting but don't do anything for me productivity-wise
* Noticed a new compression scheme is used in RPMs such that 10.x RPMs wouldn't work directly (release notes).
* it now takes two ctrl-alt-backspaces to bounce X (instead of just one) (release notes)

still to try:
* 3G modem on AT&T - this took some finagling in ubuntu. I've read about how well NetworkManager integrates with EV-DO and UMTS modem cards. I have a usb-connected phone that doubles as a modem.
* WebEx Training Manager
* Xen
* iPod

In summary: a great effort, lots of neat features. I'm not sure it would replace my hardy heron laptop yet. Looking forward to 11.1.