My laptop is not better. It's less bad, but still very ill. Apparently,either the power subsystem in the laptop itself is busted, the connectorsare messed up, or Dell shipped me another AC adapter that's only slightlyless damaged than the old one. I can't trust my laptop, and it constantlyflickers between on-AC/off-AC mode, the screen brightening and dimmingas it goes. While jiggling the cord can put it back on AC, it quicklyflickers off again. Heat appears to be related -- when the system is off,if I can position it right, it stays charging for a few minutes before itstarts to flicker.. It is *very* frustrating, and if the eBay-suppliedAC adapters don't fix it, I may need to either ship the whole thing backto Dell for repairs, or look at getting a new laptop. Argh.
My Neuros arrived today, and I spent a good amount of time getting it working.It turns out that Positron, the neuros Manager thatI was pointed at, is badly broken, and despite my prodding at its sourcefor quite some time (it's written in Python, which I dislike, but can code inwhen needed), I was unable to fix it. I suspect that part of the problem is thatit was written for an older Python, and perhaps that Python 2.3 is itself amonstrosity. I found all sorts of strange behavior, including what looked likea perfectly sane file copy failing, the pyogg/pyvorbis packages segfaultingif you use them on more than one file within a script, and .. well, frankly Idon't understand why they felt the need to do their own filesystem-to-filesystemcopying anyhow. So, even if Python is to blame for it not working, the thing isa piece of junk to begin with. Instead, I went with a Java-based programcalled NDBM. Fast, easy, andwhile not as powerful as positron, it works (in fairness, the positronfailures only happened when I was dealing with OGGs). So, now that I have itworking, how is it? Answer: It's totally awesome! It can do all sorts of crazythings, it's reasonably attractive, has a nice interface, and is pretty fastwhen used as a disk. One note: while I've long scoffed at tagging my MP3/OGGfiles with author, genre, etc, the Neuros uses these things more than it doesfilenames, so I'm going to need to go back and either re-rip everything orgive things accurate tags (the latter necessary for things which I either nolonger have or never had the CD for). This may be a good opportunity to movea lot of my music into ogg format.. and for the rest of the stuff, I'll writea script. Wow, this thing is so cool. I can scoop the last of my data from myvoice recorder too, recording it right to mp3 on the neuros, finally mail itto its new owner (sorry for the delay, J).. and I can give my USB keychaindrive to someone new (I think I know who'd appreciate it the most). With 40Gof storage, I have plenty of room to store a lot more than music on my neuros..
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that a friend pointed me at a site where peoplecan pass useful things to people who want them.. here's an url that'llhelp you find a local branch. For Pittsburghers, I believe you'll want tojoin "theburghfreecycle" group. w00t!
Oh, two new TMBG CDs arrived in the mail today. Hurray!So yes, it takes a lot to cheer me up with my laptop ill, but I have enoughgood-ness to do it.