2013 — 4 July: Thursday

I've evidently become a jaded old man. I have (as usual) more than a couple of bits of evidence. For example, driven away from NPR by its cheerfully optimistic,1 and apparently unshakeable, religious belief that daily reporting of meaningless stock market numbers somehow makes them meaningful (and not being desperately keen to hear an upcoming "Freakonomics" lesson in the merits of a Big Mac, either, let alone another annual round of celebrations of "Independence") I've already retreated to BBC Radio 3 this morning.

Now that I've finished...

... reading all about the latest version of VirtualBox, I've also been thinking more about the whole business of OS choice versus application availability. I'm prepared to admit that when I took Linux Mint out for a spin natively (to give it a fair opportunity to strut its stuff) inside BlackBeast the other day I was pleased by its visual slickness, but distinctly underwhelmed by all that promised (and indeed confidently predicted) difference in speed and responsiveness I would (but in fact could not) immediately detect.2

And while I can appreciate that BlackBeast obviously spends an awful lot of time inefficiently and inelegantly scurrying around in the murky depths (and evidently twisted internal logic corridors) of Windows, the undeniable fact remains that it also spends (on average) 99% of its current 'brainpower' idly waiting for me to press the next key or click the mouse (whose inventor died, I note, yesterday).

Since — in the wake of his phone call last night — I can now also put off worrying about clearing access-to-bed paths in Peter's room for a further week I can also, as it were, put my mental feet up. Indeed, I think I can already feel a burst of High Street retail therapy coming up :-)

I can also...

... stop worrying about the remaining lifetime of my SSD system disk, if this can be believed:

SSD predicted life

May 2022? I'll be lucky to live that long myself. Unless I do something about breakfast.

I suspect...

... this to be the book that Penguin rather unwisely paid its author a $4,000,000 advance for:

Antifragile book

Unwisely? Well, they were betting against a repeat of the "Black Swan" success of his "Black Swan" that I enjoyed in mid-2007. The bits of this I was browsing earlier today in between chatting to my friend Joanna in her bookshop seemed fairly enticing. Random example: "If you want to accelerate someone's death, give him a personal doctor. I don't mean provide him with a bad doctor: just pay for him to choose his own. Any doctor will do." Ouch.

It tickles me...

... to think that two of my chums are now either thinking about, or have recently thought about, doing exactly the opposite of me. (Probably a wise choice.) They both would like to run their Windows systems in a VirtualBox under Linux Mint, whereas I would quite like to run my Linux Mint system in a VirtualBox under Windows. Funny old world, as dear Dad used to say.

In other — unrelated, but surprisingly effective — tinkering I removed just one application from my system. Why? Well, doing so reduced my installed "set" from the 99 programs (that Windows claims to know about) consuming 16.2GB, to 98 programs consuming just 2.37GB. I was genuinely shocked to discover quite how incredibly bloated the code I removed3 was. And very pleasantly surprised to see, after its removal, that the time now elapsing between entering my login password and seeing the Win8 "Start" screen is about 2 seconds.

Jaded no more!

My second genuine shock of the day: just how trivially easy it's been to pop VirtualBox on my BlackBeast, configure a 64-bit 2.6 Kernel "system" with a 60GB virtual hard drive, give the VM 1GB of BlackBeast's real RAM, start the VM, point it to the Mint 15 ISO image still sitting on a hard drive from a couple of days ago... Result? In less than five minutes I'm looking at the Mint 15 desktop running in a Win8 window. Two mouse clicks to enable bidirectional clipboard copy'n'paste and drag'n'drop. Does it (could it?) get any easier than this?

And I've just heard from Tom, who's equally easily just installed Ubuntu on a VirtualBox running on his OS X Apple Mac.

I can't help noticing, as I peer into the bottom right hand corner of my left hand screen that...

System Time

... there is a one-hour discrepancy between the Win8 and the Linux system clocks!

Third shock: Amazon have tweaked their Kindle application. It proved unnecessary to "Manage my Kindle" to persuade my latest book on to both the PC and Android after first getting it on to the Kindle itself... or maybe that's what I have been doing wrong all along?



1  Some might say "sickeningly relentless".
2  Obviously, the problem — if any — resides somewhere buried in the depths of the piece of faulty Intelligent Design of the wetware interface seated at his keyboard. So, unless I get a neural upgrade of the sort not yet readily available on the NHS — but more than adequately described in (for example) "Gold, the man" or "Flowers for Algernon" or "Camp Concentration" or "Understand" (need I go on?) — I might just as well stick with the devil I know. No great matter.
3  What was originally "Network Magic" from Pure Networks, before passing through Cisco's tender embrace, and ending up part of the LinkSys empire, before being withdrawn from sale last August. I originally bought it to help me share disks between a mixed Windows, Linux, OS X network back when doing such things was a bit trickier than it is these days. There's quite a lot to be said for having just one PC.