Installing FreeBSD 7.2

As a friday night expedition, I decided to install FreeBSD on one of the old PC in the proximity of my desk. An Amd Athlon 2400+, 1GB mem, a cdr-drive and two 50G PATA disks. Should work, shouldn’t it?

For some reason the installdisk from the full CD set did not boot. At all. Reason unknown, but the situation persisted. OpenBSD ran like a charm, but OpenBSD wasn’t the intended goal for reasons I will not go into, at this point. Using the OpenBSD bootloader to boot from the CD also wasn’t an option as even OpenBSD found something wrong with the install cd. I was getting tired of the sh*t, so I tried one last thing: use the boot-only disk to do a network install. Guess what: no problem. At all. So, that took care of that. FreeBSD was running on the old box, I could login.

I wanted X to work, because I might actually decide to use BSD from some development I’m doing right now. But, setting up X is rather awkward. For some reason FreeBSD doesn’t accept that I have a normal keyboard and a simple mouse. X insists that the machine has a sysmouse. Hmm. Because of this insistence I did not have a mouse or a keyboard. But Ctrl-Alt-Del seemed to work ok, go figure.

Finally, I found an answer: add the following to /etc/rc.conf:
hald_enable=“YES”
dbus_enable=“YES“

What happens is that FreeBSD’s default X configuration (or xorg’s default config) wants to autoconfigure all input devices, but the default FreeBSD config does not enable the features to actually enable the autoconfiguration stuff.

That took a while and cost me some gray hairs, but that now works. Next step: getting nfs4 to properly work. It sort of worked, but the idmapd did not arrive at the proper ids. Looking further on the net, it was revealed that nfs4 was kinda, well, pushing up the daisies. It was no more than an abandoned carcass. Sigh. No lovely kerberos + nfsv4, but plain old insecure nfsv3.

Package management is a bit harsh, when you compare it to other package managers out there. At least pkg_add has an -r option to get stuff remote and it actually resolves dependencies. But there is no real equivalent for ”apt-cache search foo“, which is a bit of a nuisance since I like to search the package repository before building myself (I’m lazy, and totally fed up with dependency problems)

But now everything works, and the system is very fast. Faster than it used to be running other stuff, at least, that’s how it feels to me.

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hotdogsladies: remark

Seen on twitter.

Multitasking is like driving or cunnilingus; most people assume they’re great at it until they start asking around…

As always Merlin Mann has something to say that is obnoxious, but to the point as well. Yes, people are very bad at multitasking. I thought I did okay, but recently I find that hard to believe of myself. It’s not to bad to switch between tasks that combined only take less than the whole of your attention span. However, if you have a task where you need your whole brain, not just the left or right part, it starts to fall apart.

What can you do in this case?

  • Well, I try to get away, if possible. That works like a charm when I do not need my computer. When I do, well, I’m (literally) stuck.
  • Posting a note on the door telling everybody they can come in during ‘visiting hours’ does not work. At all. Unless you get very impolite, which is rather against my nature, I suppose. You can tell people to come back another time, but if you break that rule once for somebody, anybody feels they can break the rule as well. So, visiting hours, yes, if you can keep the discipline of telling everybody to, basically, come back during visiting hours or send email.

But, people walking in, even if you tell then to come back later, take your focus away from the task at hand, and you need time to get back in. That’s when I get sidetracked: “Ok, I’ve been interrupted anyway, I’ll check the email before I get back to the groove.” At that point in time, I’ve lost the flow and takes me even longer to get back in.

MacJournal test

I’ve been using Ecto for a long time now, but it still feels a bit clunky. The stuff I like are the way you can add pictures and make them scale, but for the rest… Nah. Not really.

The raving review on MacHeist suggests that you can do better with MacJournal, even though it might not be actually usable for blogging. We’ll find out, won’t we.

So far, setting up the account is quite easy, it found WordPress by itself.

That also works like a charm. Wow. I’m impressed.

What I’m, however, not very impressed with is my rate of blogging. It wasn’t spectacular in the first place, but it’s rather terrible.

Really, it became a wasteblog, like so many other blogs out there. And why would mine be any different. Well, maybe this is a “I’ve got to change my life sometime” event, where I really get things done (thanx David Allen).

Update:
So far I have been using MacJournal to actually keep a list of my ideas and early drafts of pieces I want to write. For that purpose it’s working like a charm so far. The only thing holding me back is that way in which it handles various fonts which is, to say it mildly, strange.