Monthly Archives: April 2008

Quick tip – people will buy anything (if it is cheap enough)

After selling junk for a few years now, I have learned never to underestimate the value of junk. Case in point, my wife and I sold a rusty old 1985 Ford truck for $250. We had over two dozen responses from buyers but a single regret, not asking for more money. Other items sold to perplexingly eager buyers, an original xbox that sounded like a helicopter, a paper grocery sack full of movies in the now outdated DVD format, and a big box of used incandescent light bulbs from my wife's old condo. All of these items could have sold for more if only we'd known someone actually wanted them. I wonder how much I can get for a defunct generation 1 TIVO?

Huzaa to the junk market!

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Personal Stories – My old truck

Back in 2005,a friends father-in-law was downsizing and selling his old 1985 truck. For less than a grand, my wife and I bought. She jokingly called it my x-mas present. I was actually psyched to have it. I suffered through many moves and hauling using only car. The full size bed of the truck was a rusty bit of heaven.

We put the truck to work right away, hauling a new bed from a furniture outlet store. Then followed an antique corner cabinet for $20, drywall, an entire kitchen worth o, etc. We gave as well as we got. A truck full of cardboard and scrap metal was sent to the recyclers. Goodwill received an entire load of donations. Like "Thomas theTank Engine", our blue truck was also very useful.

Last summer we decided that we wanted our driveway more than our useful truck, and we planned to sell it after one last trip to the Salvation Army. Those donations would be our downfall. On the return trip, the truck started giving out. I had to roll through stop signs to keep it going until I could roll into a gas station. My dad and I discovered the fuel pump was spewing gas all over the engine. After the repair, I took for a test drive. Just as I was about to pull into the driveway, it gave out again. My then pregnant wife coaxed it into a parking spot after our attempts to push failed miserably. Because I have no idea how to repair old car technology like carburetors and what not, our useful blue truck had become a proverbial white elephant.

My wife wanted some recourse, like all of the money we spent keeping the big blue truck going. As the months went by with the rusting blue hulk dominating our driveway, my wife's monetary demands lessened. Last month she finally said, "let's just get rid of it." So a couple of weeks ago I put an ad on Craigslist for "An Inoperable 1985 Ford F-150 Pickup in very poor condition – $250". The next day I had received over two dozen e-mails. Note to self, never underestimate the market for junk. The lucky buyer was a man named "Cork" with a flat bed truck and a check that hasn't bounced (yet). I sent all the potential buyers this picture:

Hasta la vist

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Personal Stories – I konquer Linux!

I earlier reported the demise of my computer. In summary, the system went kaput, I installed Ubuntu Linux, and I found out that bugs kept me from unleashing the full power of open source software. Bugs be damned, the full power has been unleashed. Let me just make a brief note as to why you should care. You are using a computer to read this blog. Hence, you are a computer user. As a computer user, promoting open source software, like Ubuntu Linux, is in your best interest (period).

A week or so ago, I upgraded my video card driver so I could change my screen resolution. When I rebooted, I was greeted with a black screen of doom. It is like the blue screen of death only without the indecipherable message letting me know how FUBAR my computer is. Thankfully, my dear wife has a fully functioning iMac. With the help of a few community forums, I was able to enter enough commands to restart the system. I'm talking old school style terminal commands as in "would you like to play a game".

I felt lucky to have a working computer and declared never to change anything ever again. A week later I thought, hmmm, I wonder if Compiz Fusion will work with the new drivers. I tried it. It did. No black window bug. No FUBAR events. It just worked. Check out the above screenshot of Ubuntu running Compiz and a program called Avant Window Navigator.

Before accidentally getting Compiz to run like some kind of idiot savant I experimented with a "windows manager" called Enlightenment. A windows manager is like Windows 3.1 for those old school computer users like myself. It is just a program that makes pretty. I actually installed a windows manager/desktop environment hybrid called OpenGEU. It was Ubuntu like I know and love with a some awesome looking effects. Best of all, it runs great on outdated and underpowered computer hardware. Too bad Enlightenment is full of bugs and things that cause "SEGV'D" events. Nevertheless, for anyone with old hardware and a thirst for office chair adventures, I recommend Enlightenment powered distributions OpenGEU or gOS Rocket. Enlightenment is a truly unique and beautiful computing experience.

It may appear from my screens shots that the the ultimate goal of Linux is to replicate the Mac OS. That is not exactly the truth (although it is pretty close to it). Apple certainly hit the proverbial nail on the head with Mac OS X. I tell my wife how unfair it is that she has been using a fantastic desktop environment for about eight years while I had to suffer through Windows ME.

Huzaa to not leaving well enough alone!

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