Why call them service *animals* if they must be dogs?

I'm lucky that I live in my childhood home my family owns, and that I don't need to rely on my cats as service animals (I did have a pair that showed a strange ability to detect & mitigate/halt meltdowns before I did, though).  I just read and responded to a sentence in a blog post on a pet site hosted by our paper:
"In simpler language, dogs who provide emotional support are no longer considered service animals."
No, that isn't what it means... A lot of disabled people rely on trained miniature horses (for blind guides), cats (detect/warn for seizure, blood sugar, limited fetch/retrieval, etc.), and other animals for a variety of reasons.  Common reasons include dog allergies and a home/life that isn't good for dogs (tiny non-ground-floor apartment that the person rarely leaves), or phobias/aversions.

The change means that everyone that relies on those other species will either lose their service animal (even if they've worked together for years) or their home.  [Edit: miniature horses will be allowed in a few rare cases.]

There's little reason to restrict disabled people this way if another meeting the same standards is more appropriate; they aren't infringing on any other citizens' rights (at least not in any way that a service dog wouldn't).  From what I've read, it's a matter of our government being pressured by corporate interests to restrict American rights (as any of us could become disabled and need assistance) to make things run more smoothly for their businesses.

According to ABC7-KGO, California is considering adding protection for other service animals as they regard the federal law a "floor rather than a ceiling".  (On TV they also said that public comment will be taken, just didn't say where. I'm still trying to find it...)

The San Francisco Mayor's Office on Disability is having a meeting on the topic in May where they want to hear comments from disabled people with service animals, particularly emotional support animals. Anyone interested can contact the Mayor's Office on Disability at 415.554.6789 voice, 415.554.6799 TTY or via email at mod@sfgov.org

Fedora's back online, but can I install anything else?

Well, I finally discovered the solution for my self-inflicted problem with Fedora failing to go online...  My guess that it was Network Manager was semi-right: the update I chose was a scheduled one that somehow conflicts with the acer-wmi module.  The immediate solution was to log in as root and type
modprobe -r acer_wmi
Once that was done and proved that it worked, I edited the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf file to include a line that said "blacklist acer_wmi" so it'll avoid loading in the future.

I also discovered (with some embarrassment) the reason for a serious problem I was having with trying live distros.  Almost all of them (including Gujin, which is more of a boot manager) would boot up to a point, then crash in some manner.  Turns out that even though there's nothing suggesting it on the little sticker, my netbook's processor is 64-bit! 

So I'm downloading Mint Debian Edition 64 right now... I wouldn't do it, but Fedora refusing to let me install Open Office instead of what they want me to use (and their devs' recent Ubuntu-team-like attitude) really annoys me, and working fighting with OpenSuSE's web-based live creator reminded me how much I hate their repository setup.  So over to Debian-based distros (or Debian) I go...

When In Doubt, Switch Distros

So, rebooted Cecil back into Fedora in hope that OpenSuSE 11.3 turning on wifi would fix it...nope.  However, screwing around in the terminal, while iwconfig couldn't get the stupid thing to connnect, dhclient did.

Note I say "connected", not "working".  NetworkManager still insists it's not connected, and all attempts to ping fail.  I know there's a not-impossible way to fix that in the terminal, and since NetworkManager might work once I degrade it to the old version, I guess I have to look into it...

Okay, no, after another hour or so, I got sick of fighting with Fedora and ended up trying out the OpenSuSE-meets-E17 spin Petite Linux. Its creator hasn't quite finished the 11.4 version, so it's running from 11.3 right now -- but it got me online and came with a fully-functional version of OpenOffice.org 3.x.  This also neatly solves the problem of what environment I was going to use since GNOME's moving towards total suckdom.

I need a faster network (and a Windows quote)

Gleargh. So, figuring out that OpenSuSE 11.3 can bring Cecil online kinda-sorta-somewhat handles it for the time being...because if there's anything I've learned from using Linux for three years, it's that what works today will likely break at the next release.  Which means I should download a recent prerelease of 11.4...

In the "making shit up while not throttling my download" department:
Mom: what is with the connection? I had to drop my picture quality all the way down to minimal
Xyzzy: I noticed it was slow too but only on some sites...means the backbone at the border is probably bogged (or normally it would, had I not been downloading a distro at full speed...)
Mom: are you downloading anything?
Xyzzy: I've been mostly playing "hit the wrong key" on the netbook (not quite a lie; I just didn't mention my other system had been downloading)
Mom: I have ben tryng to access some pages, but it is still loading. for about 10 minutes now. not just one, but two separate ones
Xyzzy: could both be in places that go through that backbone (she replied, whistling innocently)

Yes, she believed me.  Knowledge is power (or download speed and power over which computers get network priority, at least)... Also, from an Arch forum I ran across in my quest to fix Cecil:
"Got myself an Acer Aspire One 721 yesterday, booted it up, laughed hard at the Win7 Home Premium that was preinstalled and dumped it..."

Now it's working, now it's not

I'm starting to think the netbook is cursed or something.  I've discovered, first, that despite being listed as 11.6" it doesn't fit in 11.6" cases...and 12" cases are about three inches too big. 

More infuriatingly, my own screwing around has caused a deeply strange wifi problem.  I was annoyed at having to try repeatedly to bring wifi up, and updated NetworkManager...which promptly placed a block on wlan0 that I can't lift in Linux.  Of course the block doesn't appear to exist in Windows.

So far, I've tried booting other/older distros via USB to see if their NetworkManager/Wicd could control it (nope), then installed & asked rfkill to "unblock" it.  I now know from experimenting that the Fn+F3 combo controls a hard block on phy0, but that acer-wireless has a soft block that won't go the eff away.

Edit: evidently OpenSuSE 11.3 will lift it. That makes even less sense, but if it works, I'm installing it: I want to explore Linux when I feel like it, not when major components fucking break.

LibreOffice won't recognize the existence of its dictionary (I've tried more things than I can keep track of to fix THAT problem) and I can't get OpenOffice of any version to install.  Since that's not enough, while typing in hand-edited changes to my writing, I've noticed the computer copies don't match the printouts, plus a good quarter of them have inexplicably lost all text formatting.

A Fedora/RPM LibreOffice repo exists!

My other tiny triumph of the day concerned LibreOffice.  Thanks to Fedora's insistence on excising a tool I rely on from their copy of OpenOffice I spent too many hours Saturday trying to install either LO 3.3.1 or an unmolested OO 3.3.  If I followed the instructions and installed the damn things from RPMs, the program segfaulted after the registration screen with the oh-so-useful error $sd_prog/$sd_binary. (I found jackall useful about that online...) Copying a chunk of files from the RPMs on top of an existing Fedora-mangled install basically got me nowhere aside from several yards closer to dumping Fedora.

Meanwhile, I intermittently searched the web (and various RPM/app sites) aggressively for a RPM repository, but all I found were repos for other distros, and the knowledge that LibreOffice will be available in Fedora 15 (which doesn't help me now).  Finally, Sunday night I discovered a Fedora-based repository with LibreOffice, courtesy of an intriguing distro I've never heard of before called Kororaa.

Their repo file didn't work right away (package managers kept telling me the repository was inaccessible), but a lucky guess let me figure out how to fix it.  Open a terminal/console and do "su" so you become root, then download their .repo file per their instructions:
wget http://kororaa.org/repos/kororaa.repo -O /etc/yum.repos.d/kororaa.repo
Once you've grabbed it, while still root, open the little bugger with your favorite text editor (I like nano):
nano /etc/yum.repos.d/kororaa.repo
On the "baseurl" line, change the part bolded here from the original:
over to a more useful (as of right now; the number will change):
(I'm not using Fedora 14 on this machine, but it doesn't seem to matter.)

All you should have to do from there is use your preferred package manager to remove any old copies of OpenOffice/LibreOffice and install the properly-functioning one from Kororaa.  I recommend also trying their distro out because it seems like a very good way to have your cake with Fedora and eat it too.

I love Exaile, shame it Has Issues

Exaile has been my favorite music player in Linux practically since my very first install three years ago.  It has what I want (usually including decent Shoutcast/Icecast radio support) without cluttering the screen up with stores, video interfaces, and so forth.

Today, I actually figured out the solution for a frustrating problem I'd been running into over the last year or two: when I clean-installed a distro and got Exaile set up, sometimes it would claim it was scanning my music collection for me, but never get beyond 0%.  As it turns out, this only happens if some aspect of Gstreamer -- I suspect either the ogg or mp3 codecs -- isn't fully installed.

So tonight, while typing in handwritten edits to one of my stories/novels, I wanted a particular tone to match what I was working on, but could only think of one song offhand that applied.  I decided to try Exaile's "dynamically add similar tracks to playlist" button with Danger Zone from the Top Gun soundtrack -- and was served up Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon after it!  Well, if nothing else, it's good for entertainment value, even if it has absolutely no clue what songs sound like...