April 23, 2018

.comment: A Two-Pound UNIX Workstation On the Cheap - page 3

And A Great Pinball Game, Too

  • January 2, 2002
  • By Dennis E. Powell

I'd still like to get Debian on this machine, because it will probably work better, because online upgrades are said actually to work, and because it doesn't perform autoconfigurations I don't want done. I'll need to do a little research -- I don't think that the "render" extension that makes anti-aliasing possible is available in XFree86-3.3.x; otherwise, I'd probably go that route, because that would allow the 2.2.x kernel, which on a machine such as this one makes more sense (plus, the PCMCIA floppy driver patch is more likely to work with the earlier kernel).

Fortunately, I have sitting here a Fujitsu 8.4-gig notebook drive onto which Debian could be installed. I'll pop it into a different machine, either another notebook or, via one of those cool little adapters, a desktop machine, then run the install. It's ridiculous that all the Linux stuff I want on the machine won't fit on a 4.3-gig drive, but it won't. Additionally, I want to provide plenty of swap space; 128 megs just isn't enough, I think.

The sound card needs to be configured, and I want to bring over from the desktop my collection of TrueType typefaces.

And there's one thing more. I won't do it today or tomorrow, but it already lurks in the back of my mind: The 100CT is readily overclocked. It requires a little soldering, but it can result in a machine running at 200, 233, or even 266mHz. Seems to me that 200 isn't worth the trouble, and 266 is pushing it from reliability, heat, and battery life standpoints. But 233 would be enough to notice without burning down the house. There is even a company that will do the work and install a tiny front-panel switch that lets you change back and forth between standard and overclocked speeds. I'll have to see how much I use the Libretto before going that far, though.

My sense is that I'll use it a lot. In just the 2,000 words since I execrated this tiny keyboard, I've become surprisingly accustomed to it, though I still accidentally hit the CapsLock key from time to time. The little pointing device -- a variation on the eraserhead theme, located at the right of the screen, with the buttons on the other side -- is becoming more usable. It looks as if it is practical for actual work.

And there's always the pinball game, for passing the time on the train amid commuters who do not yet know how devoutly they hope I never get the sound to work.

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