25 september 2002
Hg and Xe -|-
musings of señor prod. -|-
mercury and xenon
Last week, I ordered a refurbished laptop computer... Pentium III, 500MHz, 320MB RAM IBM
Thinkpad 600X. Monday afternoon, it arrived. I don't, technicaly, need a laptop, nor
could I convince Paul that it was a reasonable and/or wise purchase, but spending most weekends
in Barstow, I often wish I could bring along a computer with my own software and my own settings.
Of course, my hunny's laptop is far superior, wonderful large screen and fast, fast, fast, but
it's a bit like wearing borrowed clothes for me: I never get completely comfortable using it.
It doesn't fit quite right in the shoulders, or across the back because it had
shaped itself to fit its owner.
All of this is not to mention that her computer-geekines quotient is much higher than mine, so she would
brook no tinkering on my part. Of course, Windows XP Home edition (which she uses) has very
good user-profile management, but it still feels like borrowed clothes.
The other reason I made the laptop purchase was that my recent business trip to Chicago (perhaps
an entry on that once I get through the San Francisco Fever Trip) put in stark relief the
advantages of owning such a device. And so I bought one, selected the configuration which
appeared to cover the minimum requirements of all my games (more on that later), and had it
shipped to the office.
Since work is a non-negligible obstacle in my schedule, I have only spent 2 nights working on
setting up the LAN at home (Raven was very helpful
in helping get the laptop and the desktop talking to each other), testing the DVD drive
(interActual is an abominable, pathetic excuse for DVD software), and installing games. On this
point, I have yet to get Empire Earth to work on this machine, but Civilization III, Age of
Empires, and even Diablo II (luckily after some fits and starts during which I grew
quite frustrated that the configuration I selected for the "minimum requirements" still
for some reason wasn't up to the task) are all there.
I spent more than a few minutes trying to think of names for the computers. Should I continue
with the naming convention I helped start at Commjerks, chemical elements? No, there will
never be enough computers on my LAN to require the full list of 110-plus elements. Perhaps use
characters or names of processes from my stories (Jane, Lincoln, x-dis, x-nihilo)? No. Planets?
No. Eventually I agreed on a subset of chemical elements: only those gases used in lightbulbs.
Without going into the full explanation, the Toad the Wet Sprocket lines from "All Things In
Time" works here, and, thus satisfied, I named the laptop Mercury (quicksilver, a liquid at
STP, standard temperature and pressure), and the desktop PC Xenon. Now to get Mercury to run
Empire Earth without it crapping out on me. "low-level engine.dll" error it says. Bah.
The Great American Fever Trip will continue in the next update.
musings of señor prod.
Pain is weakness leaving the body.