Thursday, March 12, 2009

Redoing my office

One thing that suffered while I was gainfully employed was the state of my office at home. My desktop* stayed booted into Vista pretty much all the time since the only thing I used it for was WoW. My laptop** was booted into Ubuntu/Hardy for doing work from home stuff.

Now that I'm looking for jobs, I've had to turn my desktop back into a "workstation" instead of a gaming machine. Everything was fairly ergonomic already since I wanted to be comfortable if I was going to be sitting in front of the machine for a few hours at a time. But it only really did one thing, run WoW.
So what did I do?

- The first thing was to fix GRUB where the Vista bootloader overwrote it. I had been hacking my way into Linux when I needed to get back to it.

One thing I had done not too long ago was upgrade from Hardy to Intrepid. The upgrade went smoothly so the system wasn't broken by any stretch. It just happened to be sitting with the default Gnome desktop and whatever was on my desktop. I didn't really have many third-party applications installed. It was basic but not too functional for long-term use.

- The next thing I did was modify my desktop to be similar to the layout I had on my workstation at MediaOcean. I've come to fall in love with a sidebar. I don't use it on Vista but I actually swapped to KDE from Gnome because the screenlets sidebar was so useless. This was pretty painless with a quick apt-get on all the kubuntu packages.

So now that I had the Kubuntu packages installed, I had to take the time to lay everything out. Remove the Dolphin desktop plasmoids, add the sidebar and put the stuff I needed there. The other thing I did was add the 6 desktops I like to have available. I also had to configure the KDE counterparts to the various apps I used (Akregator instead of Liferea, Kopete instead of Pidgin, Kmail)

The one thing that took the longest was setting up all my RSS feeds again. Any smart company, when they do a layoff or termination, disables access for the now-former employee as soon as possible. This is just smart business. When I got back to my desk, my workstation was already turned off. I didn't bother to turn it back on because I didn't really have anything personal on there other than some images of Gus for my screensaver.

I did, however, have a pretty extensive list of bookmarks in Firefox and a very large list of RSS feeds. While I had *JUST* finished setting up Xmarks with my own WebDAV server, I hadn't recently done an OPML export of my feed list. This meant having to rebuild it from memory. That sucked. I know I've missed some.

- Install some of my "development" tools. Since I'm not a developer in the programming sense, this isn't so much setting up my IDE as it is getting the machine ready for concept work. MY development environment includes, but is not limited to:

So what's left to do?
- Install VMware
- Update EC2 API tools
- Install Firefox extensions (S3fox,ElasticFox)
- Decide between TweetDeck and Thwirl
- Install Ruby toolchain
- Back it ALL up and install 64-bit Intrepid ;)

* When I originally purchased my desktop several years ago, I tried to future proof it as much as possible. I basically have a server sitting next to my desk. It's a dual-proc Opteron box with 5GB of memory and a metric arseload of diskspace. I built it this way so I could have a lab in a desktop.

** Dell XPS M1710

*** I'm currently using VirtualBox because I haven't gotten around to installing VMware Workstation. I prefer VMware Workstation mainly for the teaming feature but VirtualBox is growing on me.

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