buzzy: Rigby from Regular Show sitting in front of a computer (Computer Rigby)
This is long because I just wrote what I thought without really trying to organize it )
So the obvious benefits from all this work: faster startup (at least 21.9% faster) and less RAM usage (about 18.3% less). Most of the hardware support in the stock kernel consisted of modules, and I compiled everything in, but my custom kernel image is only 11.5 KiB larger while reducing the modules folder from 38.9 MiB to 12.5 KiB of just configuration files. (I would've skipped module support entirely if it didn't mean I'd lose my customized boot screen and initrd support.) A less obvious benefit comes from manually configuring the horizontal and vertical screen resolution in the Input Device Support area of the kernel configuration. Because a maximized VirtualBox window is kind of a weird size (1366x672), I can actually specify that weird size and have the mouse work better. Previously, the mouse would jump around the screen if I got too close to the edges of the window. That could just be a coincidence though. If you contact me not too long after this is posted, I could send you my .config file. I would've put it in this entry, but that file is huge. I may try this with a non-virtual machine in the future. After all, I still have the kernel source on a server on my local network.
buzzy: Steven Universe from the show of the same name with a rather neutral facial expression (Steven Universe 1)
Cut for a picture )
I mentioned in yesterday's entry how I used an old version of Firefox and it looked exactly like the latest one. That looks like it'll change at some point. We're on Firefox 27.0.1, and a new interface could be included as soon as Firefox 29 (April 29, 2014 release). It's supposed to be touch-friendly, which generally means everything is gigantic, even if you have no touch interface. (See Windows 8/8.1 without a touch screen) I just think it's amusing that they're bringing out a new touch interface when touch events on websites don't work and it doesn't look like it's getting any closer to being fixed. The new interface breaks some add-ons (because they got rid of the add-on bar), so it wouldn't surprise me if certain add-ons I use now will be unusable in the future. (That happened before when they switched to their increment-major-version-number-every-six-weeks development cycle. I had an "browser odometer" add-on that showed how many pages were loaded.) In addition, some buttons that were moveable (like forward and back buttons) are now locked in place. There's a weird menu button that brings up a popover that reminds me of something you'd see on iOS Safari. Of course, things can change between now and when it's released. After reading all about it, I wanted to try it for myself. It's available in Aurora (two versions ahead, so it's kinda like the alpha version), so that's what I got. It installs to a separate spot, so you can keep your regular Firefox. I made sure to create a separate profile to do all the testing because I don't want to mess up my regular Firefox profile.
First impressions, critiques, etc. ) Bottom line: It's not as bad as I thought it would be, but it definitely changes how I do things. A lot of people will also have to relearn when the orange/purple Firefox button disappears from the upper left corner and is replaced with the three-gray-horizontal-lines button on the right side and not quite at the top. It reminds me of Chrome.
buzzy: Rigby from Regular Show with arms crossed looking unimpressed. (Rigby 2)
On Wednesday, I did my 2013 taxes. I filed them and paid them. I generally get some panic attack symptoms when I do my taxes. Once it's submitted, those symptoms usually go away. It didn't this time, and that's why I'm writing this. The writing seems to help. The taxes themselves went smoothly and I only had to pay a relatively small amount (6% of what I made) since I'm so far below the poverty line. Yay for the EIC for making it slightly less awful. I make so little, I don't actually pay any income tax...only self-employment tax. It's the portion of taxes paid by the business if you're lucky enough to be employed.
There's a scene in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Captain Picard is trying to convince Geordi to bring not-up-to-date Scotty on an away mission. In it, Picard talks about how Scotty just wants to feel useful. Geordi brings Scotty along and together, they save the day. I just want to feel useful, so I try to work any way I can. Unfortunately, by working, I'm the one whose day will need saving. Follow me under the cut to find out why. This is long, but at least there's pictures. I tried to organize my thoughts into sections, but it's not like I wrote an outline before writing a journal entry. )
The TL,DR version: I don't make enough money to buy insurance on my own and I don't make enough to qualify for any help, but I still might have to pay the tax penalty for not having insurance. The penalty incentivizes not working and makes it more expensive to get employment from April to December than January to March for the long-term unemployed. Also, I can't remember if I ever wrote an entry that had more than 3000 words...
buzzy: Rigby from Regular Show sitting in front of a computer (Computer Rigby)

In my last entry, I ended mentioning that I was backing up in case the Windows 8.1 installation totally screwed up my computer. The installation went fine, but it's always good to have backups. It didn't take that long for me to back things up anyway, since I back things up every couple weeks. With that out of the way, I guess I'll talk about my first impressions.

Yesterday, I got a banner that appeared across my screen inviting me to open the Store app and install Windows 8.1. It's weird that it doesn't come down through Windows Update, when it's basically Windows 8 SP1. It provided a scarily large download size, but based on how long it took to download it, they were either providing the worst-case scenario download size or the uncompressed size. Anyway, I took a nap while it downloaded and messed around on another computer. The download also randomly stopped for several minutes, then started again. I couldn't figure out any sort of pattern; all I wanted was it to finish so I could use my Internet connection again. Eventually, it finished and restarted...and restarted...and restarted. When I finally had a chance to interact with my computer again, it started asking very installing-an-OS kinds of questions. Then I hit the "Sign in to your Microsoft account" step. I purposely didn't want to do that when installing Windows 8, but with this upgrade, it did not [visibly] give me any kind of choice not to. The only choices were to sign in, create a new account, or view the privacy statement. I hopped on the other computer I had nearby to look up if there was a way past this. Basically, you just click the option to create a new account, then there's an option at the bottom to keep signing in the way you always have, i.e., locally. This works the same way for a fresh install; click to create a new account, and click the option to sign in without a Microsoft account. (This site was the first one that showed up when I did a search, so it's their advice I took. The site also has how to remove a Microsoft account if you didn't want one in the first place.)

First impressions and junk )

buzzy: Rigby from Regular Show sitting in front of a computer (Computer Rigby)
I went to bed and Firefox was opened, but it just had one tab open with that "new tab" (about:newtab) page that shows those nine boxes. When I woke up, it was gone. It crashed while I slept, but there was no notification. It just magically closed on its own. When I restarted it, it said it was having trouble opening one of the tabs I had open know, the new tab page. (Such a detailed page, I guess.) Firefox has been acting strange lately and the only thing I could think of doing was creating a new profile and slowly putting all my data into it. There's the Reset feature (Help menu, Troubleshooting Information, Reset Firefox), which I tried, but it didn't fix the problem I had with my history and bookmarks. (History would show up if I did Ctrl+H, but bookmarks would not show up if I did Ctrl+B, and the library (Ctrl+Shift+B) was empty except for three pages that did nothing when clicked. The Library also didn't show any of the normal stuff it should be showing, such as the download history, browsing history, bookmarks, or tags. The entire thing was empty except for those three blank pages. Luckily, I knew what was in my bookmarks; I could just type part of the page title or URL into the address bar.) I looked at what I wanted to save: my history (well, most of it), my cookies, bookmarks, and saved passwords. Here's what I did to save those things.

Moo IX

Feb. 5th, 2013 12:00 am
buzzy: Rigby from Regular Show sitting in front of a computer (Computer Rigby)
So in yesterday's [probably friends-locked] entry, I did a lot of Windows 8 dissing (oh, the Desktop Window Manager is now using 907 MB of RAM), and while today's entry will include talk about some OS bugs and problems, but this time, they're totally understandable; the operating system is alpha quality. Anyway, I popped ReactOS (0.4 SVN 20130203-r58282) into a VirtualBox VM. They had a prepackaged version on a VirtualBox hard drive image, but that version was older and I couldn't get the sound to work. I used one of the Subversion releases that they happen to compile (warning: that link takes forever to load) into ISOs compressed with 7-Zip. It took two tries to get it to install (I have no idea what made it install the second time; I just did the same things I did for the first time), but eventually it got on there. Here's a list of problems I ran into: (I can't report these to them because their issue tracker is invite only.) Actually, some of these aren't problems because I couldn't be 100% negative. :P Cut for length ) As rough-around-the-edges as it is currently, there is a lot of promise. It's too bad that when they sought to raise €30000 to pay some developers to devote time to the project last year, they got less than half of that. I'd give them some money if I had money to give and if it meant they'd get closer to beta quality.
buzzy: Rigby from Regular Show sitting in front of a computer (Computer Rigby)
After lots of tinkering with my Kubuntu machine's kernel, I think I got it to a good state for what I want to use it for. I basically removed everything that I knew for sure wasn't needed, then whittled away the rest. When I was comfortable with that, then I looked at the output from dmesg to see if there were any errors or general weirdness. Most of those were cleared out by removing offending parts of the kernel that it turned out I didn't need. In the end, my computer boots about 10% faster than it did before I started tinkering, and I think that's pretty awesome. After all that work, I found I still had a few problems, or things that look like problems. Here's a few of those things: Cut for being gigantic )
buzzy: Ed (from Ed, Edd n Eddy) with a wolf pelt on his head (Ed 1)
Rather than reinstall Windows XP on an older computer my brother gave me, I decided to install an up-to-date Linux distro and use it as a server...sort of. I decided on Kubuntu. I started using KDE back in the day in the 3.x days...either 3.1 or 3.2, though back then I ran it on FreeBSD. I liked that it was a nice graphical environment for an otherwise entirely command-line based operating system. For practical reasons, I couldn't use non-Windows operating systems for anything other than servers, but whenever I try them again, I usually gravitate to KDE. A lot of what I'm about to say probably applies to Linux in general. So on to the experience:
This is really long. )
buzzy: Ed (from Ed, Edd n Eddy) with a wolf pelt on his head (Ed 1)
I have no idea where my entry for July 29 went, so I'm putting this entry here. I only vaguely remember what it was supposed to be about, so I'm posting this entry I was saving for when I was too lazy to write something.
I don't know how I missed this one, but I recently changed the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 login background on two computers, a notebook (1366x768 resolution) and a desktop (1280x1024 resolution). Changing that background luckily doesn't require any third-party software replete with viruses and adware. Here's a step-by-step guide. This is what worked for me, but don't blame me if you bork your computer.
The steps and stuff )
buzzy: Steven Universe from the show of the same name with a big smile (Twitch)
All of Buzzy's Windows 8 entries: LJ | DW
I finally managed to get the Windows 8 Release Preview installed. I'm typing this on Semagic while running Windows 8, but Semagic keeps giving me errors that lead me to believe that the file virtualization feature of User Account Control is not working properly. Semagic is based on an ancient version of the Microsoft Foundation Classes, which is probably why it doesn't work right. Anyway, they changed various graphical elements. The fish motif for booting Windows 8 is gone and replaced with something that simply says "Windows". The cursors are slightly modified, and all the various controls (combo boxes, check boxes, text boxes, buttons, etc.) are all flat. The scroll bars look like they're bringing the Metro look (i.e., everything should be huge) over to the desktop. The little arrows at the top and bottom are more than twice the size they were in Windows 7. A lot of the icons are different, such as the Windows Update icon just being a rectangle with wannabe recycling arrows. (The EULA doesn't allow me to show you what that looks like, even though anyone could get the Release Preview and install it themselves.) The first thing I did was uninstall a bunch of the apps that came with it. Many of the apps that come with the Release Preview didn't come with the Consumer Preview and vice versa. And it keeps going )
I don't feel particularly enthusiastic about going back into Windows 8. I liked the release candidates of Windows 7 and XP, but it seems 8 is about as exciting as Vista and Me.
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