Friday, June 26, 2009

Connectivity, ancient Slackware, and other stuff

So sitting in the passenger seat of my brother's sedan, I was able to get online with my (sadly discontinued; it was a great, cheap, Linux portable, and all-important for me, it was the only then-available netbook without a camera; the replacement Mini 10, and the Vostro A90, are both camera-laden, as are all the other netbooks on the market now that I'm aware of) Dell Mini 9 and my Millenicom mobile broadband adapter ($50/month for truly unlimited service, pay-as-you-go), and got some client work done. Nothing huge, just reviewing a contract, adding a few lines to an addendum, and bouncing it back to him. On the way to the family farm, in the middle of nowhere.

While I was there, in the middle of corn fields, I was able to use my BlackBerry to send a copy of a fax I'd sent out using TrustFax to another party via email (downloaded the preview from their web interface and attached it as a file using the standard OS 4.5 BlackBerry mail application). Tech can be, at times, maddeningly frustrating when it doesn't work, or when it connects you to the drama at the office when you'd rather not have seen the flashing red "message waiting" light... But the times it lets you spend time with family and still get done the time-critical tasks that need doing -- yeah.

So while at the farm I stumbled across one of the first Linux distributions I ever used, a Slackware 3.0 CD-ROM from the Linux System Administrator's Survival Guide. This wasn't my first go-around with Linux; that was Slackware 2.2.0 (with August 1995's 1.2.13 kernel; of course, kernel 2.0 wouldn't be released until the summer of 1996, and the first Linux box I put into production went online in January 1996) I got bundled with the book Linux Unleashed. (Eventually I outgrew the books and just started buying dirt-cheap CD-ROMs from Cheap*Bytes. This was in the days before my college had high speed connectivity; I think the entire campus was sharing a 56k leased line. Once, I signed up for an MSN dial-up account -- which came with 100 free hours -- to download a Linux distribution.)

Anyway, with a few magical incantations:

$ sudo dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/media/PNY/Slackware3.iso
$ eject cdrom
$ sudo mount -o loop /media/PNY/Slackware3.iso /mnt

I have an ancient piece of my history I can play around with a little bit. Maybe fire up VirtualBox and see if I can get it to live again (like Arren did with the DV-8).

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