Custom Mounts In udev For Non-Techs

One of the only difficult aspects I've found about transitioning to SimplyMEPIS is that while Ubuntu relied on fstab (which sometimes did make me want to f*ing stab things) for mounting drives, SimplyMEPIS uses the evidently-more-popular method called udev.

I keep all of my music, photos, videos, etc. on an external drive partition named Biggus after the Monty Python character. ;) When I'm using the command-line or a program dialog that doesn't show individual drives, it's much easier if I know Biggus is always at /media/biggus than wondering which /media/sd* it's been stuck at this time. Same goes for things like my iRiver H10 media player, external backup partition, and so forth.

So, onwards to udev... I understood the basics quickly enough, but the way to really use it eluded me for a couple of days, in part because I was using a seriously-outdated guide. (Having barely passed C programming long ago, I knew I was in trouble when the howto made reference to one of its "easier" commands.) Thankfully I found Arch's Map Custom Device Entries with udev wiki article...

Since udev is capable of so many things that it seems dauntingly complex at first, I'll explain how I met success. I'll probably need the mini-guide in the future, and maybe it will help some other hapless end-user.

Evidently Merced's prisons are empty and free?

Yes, I'm at it again... SFGate has a short article that states, in brief:
"Homeless people in Merced have six months to leave their camps or face arrest. The City Council adopted that deadline Monday night when it voted 4-3 to enforce Merced's no-camping law."
I was the second person to comment, and gave this wholly disgusted response:

"Wonder how many have developmental/cognitive disability or major mental illness that has gone untreated for various reasons, and won't fully comprehend the 'warning' or remember it?

If that seems like overdramatizing, try reading this sadly-common account from a country with much more assistance than ours: [ Autobiography Of Anonymous]

If you're curious why some patients become too terrified to seek/accept help: [ Conversation On Institutions]

I've encountered far too many people that have been through the same sort of things. As anyone that has dealt with SSI/Medicaid can attest, handling issues with them is a failure-prone drain at best even if you're well -- let alone for people with mental/cognitive problems.

Merced should get volunteers helping those folk get the help they need, so they have a solid chance at *contributing* to society. Better than wasting $$ to fill our prisons with folk whose 'crime' is needing help society won't give."

An Author Whines About BCP

Another quickie, as it's late (and no, I haven't sorted out my font problem yet, arrrgggh)... Salon's latest "traumas of the privileged class" article, Why I Hate The Pill, annoyed me enough -- I've always hated it when people whined about piddly shit -- that I was inspired despite the late hour to write a fairly diplomatic response:
The author's focus on the age of various forms of birth control is a sad sign of our times. Like with furniture, new isn't always better: most advances in medicine have improved or saved lives, but others have been harmful or even deadly. If one has endured despite multiple competitors, it probably works -- and no matter how new something is, some patients will have unpleasant or fatal reactions.

Note: I've never been bothered by the issue I wrote about below; I shared it because otherwise my reaction to the article wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.

I've been on various hormone pills since my ovaries self-destructed at 13 years old. Each year, if I still didn't have sexual thoughts or interest in finding a mate, I was given a higher dosage, until I finally answered 'correctly' at 19. We've bumped it up repeatedly since then, and given my symptoms, will probably do it again around the 20th anniversary in a few months.

I've tried to quit a few times after reading anti-BCP rants, but learned even before my first doses that without the drug, I have intolerably severe perimenopausal symptoms. Big whoop if my libido never learned to notice anyone sexually/romantically, I'm less "womanly" in mind than my ex-BFs were, and I never have surges of hormones -- I'm not suffering from hot flashes, cold sweats, random crying fits, simmering rage, attention/memory deficits, etc.

So I really have to wonder what Geraldine Sealey would have done in my shoes -- or, if she eventually has peri-menopausal symptoms as horrid as mine are but reacts badly to hormone replacement, what she'll do then. She might have to handle any emotional issues with medications, as I do with my PTSD-induced anxiety/wariness & depression.

PS. Since she felt this was worth sharing in detail despite its relative rarity, the author should find a routine activity to keep things in perspective... It can even be upbeat: volunteer at a hospital's pediatric playroom, join a night class or seniors' group focused on autobiographical writing (plenty of great tales there), read some of the blogs at, etc. It's not about how good one has it -- it's about being reminded that we all have challenges that sometimes feel horribly unfair/burdensome if we don't see real evidence of others fighting along with us, and then getting that 'evidence' so we feel more determined/optimistic again.

I'm not saying that nobody gets to recognize that life's unfair (it is!) or that this fixes the really traumatic stuff. I'm talking about handling things more in line with my having to carry an asthma inhaler & spacer everywhere, her not being able to take BCPs, your team losing a big game, and so forth. As a really cool sociology teacher put it, "you have one minute -- don't waste it."

For Salon: you're not doing yourself any favors with the "traumas of the privileged class" series, especially since most aren't very well-written. If you want to attract readers with personal tales, there are quite a few on Open Salon alone (let alone other blog sites) that are more engrossing, hard-hitting, and well-written, plus some of the authors could use the money. Some blogs/posts I'd strongly recommend, shortened due to the absurdly long URLs OS uses:
As a bit of a side note, I have a slight suspicion that the author mentioned might have been experiencing a psychosomatic reaction to some degree. I noticed years ago that on discussion groups for self-identified asexual people, there were three very distinct groups:
-- never had sexual interest/awareness, no fantasies, no real sense the body is gross (like a kid before being told it is)
-- people that had been sexually abused or were virgin girls afraid of sex hurting the first time
-- people with strict religious or otherwise anti-sex upbringings that they internalized

I'm in the first group: I don't mind having sex, I can orgasm, but I just don't seem to notice anything/anyone as having sexuality. As far as I can tell, that is what it is to be asexual -- and I'm pretty damn sure people in the other two groups have a major psychological hang-up about sex in the way. Among friends of mine that didn't handle BCPs well in that way, there was a similar breakdown: some of them just became asexual, but others (who often had anti-chemical or anti-science parents, went that way in college, etc.) acted more like they had some kind of personal guilt/morality issue making the whole thing so horrible that they didn't want to even think about it. No need for BCPs if you're too disgusted/uninterested to have it, after all.

(I'm not saying that I necessarily don't have mental issues of my own in the sexuality department. With my medical history, I'm quite certain that I do... However, given I have no emotional reaction and a working libido that simply doesn't seem aware that living creatures exist sexually any more than doorknobs, I don't think the medical stuff is the culprit.)

OK, who stole the sub-pixel hinting...

Ever wondered how genuinely horrid fonts can look if the sub-pixel hinting (known in other OSes as Cleartype/Cooltype) is really out of whack?  Well, now I can show you:
Yes, that's not zoomed (unless Blogger edited my HTML...) -- it's actually how bad the Font Installer in System Settings looks at the moment. Bizarrely enough, not evverything looks remotely that bad, nor is there any consistency with what is/isn't affected.

I think I'm going to go take half of a migraine pill, finish ordering the case of Ringer's Lactate for the renal kitties

I upgraded Karmic to SimplyMEPIS

Yep, my title is a riff on the old sigline joke about upgrading Windows directly over to rival operating system Linux. I felt about the same in the day before the transition, too...

Anyway, after looking around and fighting with a lot of live discs/sticks, I finally picked a new distro to install and use. I heard about SimplyMEPIS from the LinuxOutlaws podcast, and saw that their community & wiki were the friendliest by a longshot. Compared to everywhere else I've been, they sound like they're on f*ing ecstasy, right down to naming the forums, if I recall, "SimplyMEPIS Lovers".

Someone (a lover??) there linked to an article that mixed a new-release review with interviewing their leader, and this is what made me finally just install the darn thing:
First Glance at SimplyMEPIS 8.5

Incidentally, based on forum posts and the interview, the guy that began & leads the distro seems startlingly nice. Based on his attitude in the interview, I find it very hard to imagine him essentially telling the community to STFU. Then again, like I said, after many other attitudes I've seen recently (all of which boil down to "if you don't like it, too damn bad"), I want what everyone else involved has been on...

I had thought that their copy of Firefox couldn't properly do font hinting, until I remembered that I had to reboot it first. To my delight, ohmygod it isn't going to make me install a special Mozilla repo just to keep my eyes from bleeding! Woohoooo!

Then again, I'm ready to shout for joy simply because my fricking computer isn't crashing at every opportunity. It also isn't running like ass with multiple heavyweight apps open. In comparison, Ubuntu Karmic (installed only a few months ago) was crashing 4+ times per day, running slower than Xubuntu Hardy ran on my 600MHz system, and having bizarro glitches galore. While I like tinkering for fun with my computer, being forced to do it just for basic functionality sucks hairy goat balls.

In unrelated news, I was listening to a LinuxOutlaws podcast recently when I thought one said he imagined an evidently-well-known forum member "chasing meerkats" around my little obscure city. I replayed it several times before giving up and joining the forums so I could see the person's profile. Sure enough, the map link he used as a "location" pointed to the old part of downtown! So in filling out my profile, I admit that I wrote "Telecom Valley" rather than the city name, to avoid looking like a stalker or something.