Blogging from the serenity of Woodbury University. I'm outside, taking advantage of the wireless connectivity and the battery on my iBook. I'll prolly have to duck into Woody's and fill my battery up but until then I'm going to enjoy the beauty and relaxation of being outside in glorious Fall-like weather.
One thing I forgot to mention over the weekend. The notorious Captain Crunch, aka John Draper, is now a member of SFVLUG. He showed up at this Saturday's meeting, and was at the previous meeting but nobody made a big deal about it. He's more of a Mac-head than anything else, and does development of security software on OpenBSD which of course is related to Darwin, the UNIX under the hood of Mac OS X. He's local now, having traded the Silicon Valley for the San Fernando Valley. Of course he is welcome in spite of his not really being into Linux per se. He's a living link to the period of time where communication was corked up like a genie in a bottle and people all over the world were trying whatever they could to open the bottle up. Now that you can place long distance calls for something like 5 cents a minute or for free using Skype it's no big deal. But back in the late '60s the cost was really prohibitive and the technology was really primitive. I suppose you can say what the Phreakers were doing was not ethical, but one could question the ethics of Ma Bell at that point as well.
For some reason, he really got along with Richie. It doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense considering that Richie is not a computer kind of guy, but perhaps it's some sort of generational thing. Richie came of age during the '60s, so did Mr. Draper. Most SFVLUGgers are in their 20s and 30s. Which makes me usually the oldest person in the room. This is another reason why I welcome his presence...I'm no longer the "granny" of the LUG.
OK, about aging. I really don't feel like I'm going to be 42 next birthday. I feel more like I'm the same age as my college-age compatriots here at Woodbury. Of course, sometimes when I wake up in the morning I feel every minute my 41+ years. But usually I feel like I'm a 20 year old smartass. Call me fixated. Whatever.
Oh yeah, the reason why I'm here so early is because I got a letter in the mail stating that I indeed was entitled to a refund, that I was overpaid Financial Aid monies and to bring the form in with my decision about what to do about the money ASAP. So most of the money is coming back to me, but some of it is being held so that I have book money for next semester. I will be able to do something very positive as well: pay off a couple of more credit cards. Considering the onerous terms of the Bankruptcy Bill and the requirement for a minimum payment on a credit card to be 4% of the carried balance, "zeroing out" two of the four cards I currently am carrying a balance on is pretty damn cool. Yeah, it's using one kind of debt to manage another kind of debt, but there are distinctions made by economists between "productive debt" like investing in a business or a house or incurring student loans to sharpen one's skills and make one more attractive as an employee; and "non-productive debt" like credit card debt and car loans and time payments on items that will depreciate in value. That "Computadora en credito facil" is going to depreciate something fierce. Moore's law will make sure of it. That's why, no matter how tempting, I'm happy with my current crop of old computers. It would be nice to have a brand spanking new AlBook instead of this classic Clamshell. It would be nice to have a lappie I could actually play games on instead of be limited by the GPU processors of this machine and my 600x. It would be nice to have a mighty rocket-powered Athlon64 as my flagship machine. But oh well. For what counts this suits me fine.
Oh yeah...I'm using Opera Mac OS X on this lappie more and Firefox and Safari less and less. It's simply the best choice for a low-powered Mac OS X-capable computer. It can handle this just fine. What is it about people from Scandinavia and good software? Linux was developed in Finland and so was FProt anti-virus. Opera was developed in Sweden. If you move the circle further out, there's all those German hackers (in the old-school sense of the word) who have given us stuff like KDE. The software community in Northern Europe is pretty damn cool. Now if someone will suggest to the Opera folks that free as in beer isn't enough, and opening the code would be the next step to take, then life would be good.