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Part IV: Employment

May 26th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Potpourri

When I first started really using the MacBook, I wanted everything to be just like my desktop PC, which is currently a 24-inch iMac. I’d only been using the iMac a few weeks, but I had gone crazy installing apps and trying to make it feel like home. So I put the iMac in target mode and migrated my entire user account to the MacBook.

The next time I recall thinking about whether the laptop (Is it still OK to call them that? Do I HAVE to call it a notebook now?) and the desktop were still in sync, I was at work trying to keep some notes from getting so huge that I wouldn’t be able to make use of them later. At that point, I made two major changes to the way I compute. The first was to start using Dropbox. I installed it on both Macs and on Bauer, our home server and theater PC. I’ve been using it for four months and so far it hasn’t caused me any grief, so I’d recommend it for anyone who wants to keep files in sync between multiple machines. It prevents a lot of the wasted brain cycles I might otherwise use up thinking about backups and whether I need to roll my own script. If the space limitations and internet bandwidth weren’t factors in the equation, I wouldn’t have to worry about backups at all.

The second change I made was to try using Spaces, only on the MacBook. I thought keeping apps separated would help me stay organized while working, but after a few months I realized it wasn’t really helping with the problem I wanted to solve and turned it off. I don’t need it on the iMac since I have a shit-ton of screen real estate there thanks to the combination of its built-in 24-inch screen and the 30-incher looming above it.

So, if you’re keeping score: Dropbox, yes. Spaces, not until I find a better use for it.

Speaking of Bauer, I might need the help of fellow OS nerds to figure out why the display turns off every 30 minutes. It’s Ubuntu 8.10, with nothing extremely screwy or customized. I’ve turned off the screensaver and added the following section to xorg.conf:

Section "ServerFlags"
Option "BlankTime" "0"
Option "StandbyTime" "0"
Option "SuspendTime" "0"
Option "OffTie" "0"
EndSection

So if Gnome isn’t doing it, and Xorg isn’t doing it, what’s left? Syslog/messages show nothing when it happens. Could there be something unconfigurable in the display driver (intel) that prevents anything in userspace from keeping the display awake for more than 30 minutes?

It wouldn’t be as annoying if we didn’t have to walk over to the keyboard and hit a key to wake it back up. If input from Microsoft Media Center remote were recognized as keystrokes, we could just hit Info or Pause to wake it back up and chances are it wouldn’t even happen as often since we pause and rewind quite a bit. I still haven’t found a wireless keyboard and mouse combo small enough to keep under the coffee table with a good enough range to keep us from having to do the “Work, Dammit Dance”. If I just knew for sure WHAT was doing it, I could probably fake some kind of keepalive.

I hear our squirrel on the roof of the porch. I should give him some money so he can go to Home Depot and come back and fix the damn thing if he’s going to continue to treat it as his own. That squirrel needs a summer job.

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