Updates and an opinion from the UK

The distribution upgrades from last week are coming along, if less smoothly than I had hoped (the inline radeon/radeonhd driver is not all it's supposed to be) forcing some additional changes. Thanks to a combination of Lenovo's hardware design and some weird heisenbugs I can only have working network management and battery monitoring/power control on my Thinkpad under GNOME, KDE 4.6 seems to be a bit of a step backwards, and for some reason Wicd is only being packaged by 3rd party contributors which means it will likely be a few weeks before it's available under 11.4.

In other news of interest to no one, over ten days since my last real cigarette but my nicotine intake still fluctuates, averaging above average levels. I might just have to try getting some of the very low nicotine cartridges to test whether the high intake is likely to be more attributable to physical/mental rote actions or chemical dependence. On a related note, I found this column from The Independent few weeks ago and the more times I read it the more I like the author's points.


Counting down changes

First, as I do when OpenSuSE releases a new version I get reminded about hardware upgrades.replacements and changes that I had been putting off or which I should do before the software change in order to avoid a problem during or after the installation. Last time (the change from 11.2 to 11.3) the changes in video drivers caused issues with my workstation for several days while I learned the new CLI utilities necessary to compile and install Nvidia's drivers and then work out their new xorg.conf structure. (At that time, I considered the Nouveau driver they had switched to, to be far from ready for primetime.)

This time, in an attempt to avoid the problems with Nvidia's cards and drivers I've decided to replace it with an ATI card. Sounds simple enough, until you try to find one that is actually a straight forward replacement for my current GeForce 9800 GT. It seems to me that a video card designed to drive multiple high resolution monitors should actually have more than one of a given type of port, yet nearly every card that is easily available has only one DVI port (or that DVI-esq port for a dual VGA adapter) and then they cram the rest of the faceplate with HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA ports which then means that they have to build the card up to two slots thick which then tends to cause cooling issues if you happen to be using any of your other expansion slots. Then of course I have to find one that not only is available but is in my price range.

Eventually I managed to find one that actually met my needs, a Radeon HD 4670 by XFX. From the looks of it it is one of maybe three ATI cards which actually has dual DVI ports (and the only one that can be found for less than $150). It should be arriving tomorrow (assuming that UPS doesn't fuck up again) which should be almost perfect timing.

There is also my effort (thanks largely to the ever more pervasive smoking bans I have to deal with and the exorbitant taxes levied on cigarettes in my area) to change my smoking habits. This afternoon marked one week since I have smoked a cigarette with hardly any cravings (or the common nicotine withdrawal symptoms) thanks to Green Smoke's electronic cigarette product. While I'm still working on adjusting my nicotine intake with this system so far the experience has been a good one. Hopefully I'll be marking 29 days of not smoking at the next 2600 meeting.