Part 3: Pentium III laptop for $35? Why, I'll take it.

*phew*

So I finally got Slackware running on my new laptop, which I have lovingly named Rogue. I got my wireless card working (the Netgear WG511v2 which runs on the Marvell chipset, not the Prism chipset as I thought) using ndiswrapper, a brilliant driver wrapper that allows Linux to use Windows drivers.

Now I’m just hoping nothing else goes horribly wrong. I decided to start using GNOME to keep my sanity for now; perhaps I’ll want to go insane later.

Update: Pentium III laptop for $35? Why, I'll take it.

So I went to Best Buy and picked up a new Netgear wireless ethernet card. It looked like it would do the job using the Prism54 drivers which are designed for this chipset. However, installing the card has involved much more than I was willing to get into. Or so I thought…

First I put the card in and checked to see if it auto-configured miraculously. Of course this wasn’t the case, but it was worth a shot. I started looking around for help and saw I needed the Prism54 drivers as stated above. Attempting to install those then yielded an error saying I didn’t have an option in my kernel set correctly (evidently some sort of firmware loading option). I sighed heavily, but wasn’t going to make a big deal out of recompiling my kernel. “I’ll get to know the machine better.” Right. Anyway, I try to find the option in my kernel configuration and there doesn’t appear to be such an option. Oh good.

Time to install a 2.6 kernel. “I was going to do that anyway.” Right. I started filling out the configuration when I realized this was a lost cause because I was simply lowering my chances by configuring my own kernel and not paying much attention to detail.

So now I’m reinstalling Slackware so I don’t have to deal with my mistakes and crossing my fingers. Stay tuned for part 3.

Pentium III laptop for $35? Why, I’ll take it.

It seems that my lowly stagnance in cubicledom comes with perks! After contemplating buying a notebook for quite some time and never giving in, my calling was answered. I have it up and running Slackware 10.1 with Fluxbox and all of the fixin’s. Here are le specs:

Dell Latitude
Pentium III 1 GHz
512 MB RAM
14.1" monitor (1024×768)
30 GB HD

I don’t fancy Dells, but there’s a Dell, and then there’s a Dell for $35.

Summer

This summer has proven to be one of great spiritual and mental growth. I feel like I am finally discovering what being human is all about. I have embraced religion — something I thought I had left in the dust of my Catholic childhood. I have realized the roots of human conflict and am better able to separate my feelings from the truth. Patterns are emerging — perhaps not patterns explicable by mathematical means — but the patterns that shape and evolve people.

One theme of the summer has been tolerance. I have recognized the merits of diversity — not only among different creeds and ethnicities — but in all facets of life.

As a result, I am more confident and secure with myself. The problems of our lives are all created within ourselves — anxieties manifest inside our minds, and therefore we can control them. That is not to say that we should ignore life’s difficulties, but that we should identify the roots of our problems and change our behavior appropriately.

My parents always told me that I could be whatever I wanted if I put my mind to it. I’m not sure if they were eluding to the above philosophy, but their words still hold true.

Inspiration Inside a Tibetan Monastery

Today I visited the Tibetan monastery downtown for their meditation and prayer session. It was a very enlightening and uplifting experience. I felt things inside me I have never felt — or perhaps it was that I stumbled upon parts of my being I never knew were there. No one can deny the mystical energy that flows through our inner selves — and no one can explain it. We look for answers to questions regarding a higher order and create those answers based on what these energies tell us — but the explanations are arbitrary. It is the undeniable fact that we are a part of an immense system of emotion that causes prophecy, spirituality, and theocracy. The names, places, dates, etc, are there to allow those who have not directly felt — or directly known such energy to be able to conceptualize it.

THESIS
All belief systems, including religion, myth, science, and philosophy, stem from the desire to explain the inexplicable energy that comprises the universe. However, by accepting the undeniable bonds that we observe, we are able to harness those energies.

My Journey Into Awareness — Buddhism as a Way of Life

I have finally found a faith I can live by! Buddhism has literally changed my life in the last week alone. I am so enthused by a religion with no worship — only meditation. A religion that I may practice as I please — in which awareness and living supercede belief and fear. I have never felt so alive in my life.

Upon appreciating the moment for what it is rather than what it could be, a blanket of fears is lifted away and one realizes the true meaning of existence: to live the joy of existence itself. Filling the voids of one’s life only manifests more problems; simply accept these voids and jump over them. Realize that the universe is the way it is and that there is no particular reason for it. Even if we knew all the answers to life’s questions, would we be more fulfilled? Would we even be able to accept them as the last thread of the unknown, or would we become so terribly bored without the aspiration to know the unknown?

For instance, if God does exist and he is the true creator of the universe, then how did s/he get here? We cannot imagine a world with boundaries yet we cannot conceptualize a world without them. If the universe has an end, what’s on the other side? Likewise if the universe is infinite, how could we ever prove it before we die?

I am finally conceding to the one thing that held me back — curiousity is integral to an enjoyable life. Without chance, problems, and chaos, life loses all excitement. I would rather be confused and in danger than retain complete knowledge and security. What would be the reason for living?

Welcome to the Fourth Reich

Evidence of America Becoming A Police State

The following is a list of measures taken recently by the American government projected to protect American interests. However, these measures bear striking resemblance to measures taken by past tyrannical regimes. I have included their potential purpose in what could be a grave threat to our democracy.

  1. The New Freedom Commission
    Projection: To improve the mental health of our citizens
    Purpose: To reduce citizen awareness through mass use of
    prescription drugs (see Aldous Huxley, Brave New World)
    Historical Equivalents:
  2. USA PATRIOT Act
    Projection: To protect the American people from eminent threats through increased intelligence
    Purpose: To deny chief rights to citizens to maintain order at the cost of liberty
    Historical Equivalents: Reichstag Fire Decree in Nazi Germany
  3. The War on Terror
    Projection: To protect the American people from another dastardly attack by taking preventative military action
    Purpose: A justification for global cultural imperialism and ultimately world rule
    Historical Equivalents: Salem Witch Trials (metaphorical)
  4. National Security Service
    Projection: An elite spy agency that will combat domestic terrorism by centralizing domestic security.
    Purpose: To create what will become a fascist police force akin to the Thought Police (see George Orwell, 1984)
    Historical Equivalents: Gestapo in Nazi Germany
  5. Tax Cuts (EGTRRA, JCWA, JGTRRA)
    Projection: By cutting taxes on higher-class American citizens, the economy will flourish due to increased spending.
    Purpose: To weaken the lower class’s economic power in a world where capital provides political power, thereby undermining the political power of the proletariat.

Stay tuned for further development of this thesis.