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.comment: Little-Iron Chef - page 6

Relieving Ennui

  • March 28, 2001
  • By Dennis E. Powell

Now that I had Linux and X installed and working, I tried to do some work on the notebook machine. It was slow. Very slow. Unacceptably slow.

Booting took place apace, but X, KDE-2.1, and associated applications were just dismal. I closed down any services that were running -- and Linux distributions are big on running by default all kinds of things that are of no service to the user, but giant welcome signs to crackers -- without much improvement. I suspect that with a lot of tuning, a performance boost could be achieved.

The OS/2 installation, though on an older, slower drive, was much faster. I tried the suspend-to-disk option (which is entirely in hardware, independent of the software that's running), and it worked. I was able to crash it, unsurprisingly, by suspending with PCMCIA cards installed and restoring with them absent. This makes sense, but indicates the vulnerability of PCMCIA in general.

OS/2 surprised me, though, in another way. Warp 4 came with a couple of applications that started by default. One is a launcher app of the sort that would be familiar to Linux users who have employed any of the ``Good Stuff'' floating application launchers. The other is called the WarpCenter, which is like the menubar in Windows 95 or Kicker in KDE-2.x. It comes populated with a number of utilities -- a rotating graph of space used on hard drive partitions, degree of processor and memory use, and on the notebook battery status, as well as terminal emulators (OS/2 window and full screen, DOS window and full screen, and WinOS/2, the Windows 3.1 emulator) and various utilities. Applications are added to it by dragging and dropping, which produces a symlink that in OS/2 parlance is called a shadow and that allows the app to be launched. It can be autohidden. There is a menu at the extreme left, where the K menu or the Start menu is found, but it's limited to things iconized on the desktop -- a silly way of doing things, not that it matters anymore.

But If I wanted no icons on the desktop -- and I didn't -- there was a simple way of making a great application menu in WarpCenter: Create a directory, anywhere. Put shadows of applications in this directory. If I wanted to create subdirectories of things like games or utilities (I did), creade subdirectories, and put the shadows there. Then drag the whole thing to WarpCenter. Clicking on it would produce a menu, alphabetically sorted, of everything in the directory, with subdirectories for each submenu. Really brilliant work, I think.

I thought about this as I restarted the videotape. The announcer was listing the dishes the competitors had prepared.

``The challenger offers three dishes: 'Sauteed liver or sumptin' of rodent whatchacallit, yeah, appetizer, that's it,' 'Roast loin on a bed of shredder paper,' and 'Crunchy dessert.' The Junkyard Chef, too, has three dishes: a light and tasty 'Soup of wild fungus and Rocky Mountain shrimp,' his signature 'Souffle ala corregated cardboard,' and a dessert of coffe grounds garnished by the hazelnuts left behind in a mixed nuts can.''

The judges were lighthearted, appraising the challenger's dishes as ``better than the chair,'' ``better than rehab,'' and ``who'd have thought the market would pick now to tank?''

Sadly, they mostly did not get to enjoy the full array of the Junkyard Chef's creations. The mushrooms were indeed toadstools, and the convicts and the fortune teller were rushed to the hospital, where efforts to save them met no success. The Baldwin brother did comment, saying ``These mushrooms aren't bad, but I've had better -- you know, on weekends, for recreation.''

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