Saturday, January 24, 2009

Badi' Report

Progress Report on the Badi' Essays Blog

By John Taylor; 2009 Jan 24, 06 Sultan, 165 BE

We have begun the huge job of moving my entire office, complete with desk and filing cabinets, from the back 1/2 bedroom to the living room and garage in order that the kids can have separate bedrooms. As a result I missed a couple of weeks of the promised essay each day, though if you look on the Badi' blog you will find that I have been posting directly there on a regular basis, though little is original material. I have also been hindered by frequent migraines, partly due to a lack of the rush of pleasure I get from completing an essay, no matter how inadequate. That daily boost helps stave migraines off.

But these attacks were chained to one another, the aftermath of the first attack contributing to the next, just like in the horrid days of my youth. Then last night I found what I think is the cause. I had noticed a strange smell of oil or tar on the area around my pillow. I even bought a new pillow in hopes that this repulsive odor would go away. Then last night I craned my head way over into the back and found that Thomas had lodged a tennis ball, reeking of neoprene or whatever it is, into the lower space behind the headboard. I squeezed it out and the smell was soon gone.

And, so far, no more migraines.

And the really good news is that at last, after the purchase of two computers, one used and one new, I have a set up in the living room where I can use my ancient (1988) writing program, Maxthink, which runs under DOS only. I am a slightly more modern version of the greying old writer with his beat up typewriter. I have used Maxthink, an "idea processor," for so long that I cannot imagine making a change. I had to leap through many hoops to be able to write this to you. At one point I had Maxthink running filtered at two removes, an emulator and a virtualizor. That did not prove adequate either, though I did learn a great deal about VmWare, a type of virtualization software, and the flavor of Ubuntu Linux that it ran for me. Finally I broke an old rule I had for myself -- never buy used computer hardware -- and forked out a hundred and thirty dollars for a refurbished small footprint desktop Compaq running XP Pro, which runs Maxthink almost natively. That is what I am writing on now.

But more problems cropped up.

With so many computers to deal with, things got impossibly complicated. What about weekends and holidays, when the living room is far too noisy and busy (we have five people living here under one roof) and I need to concentrate alone in tranquility? A writer, it has been said, must have "a room of one's own." I could put this Compaq in the garage or my bedroom for those hectic times, but then I would have to switch quickly among computers. The solution I came up with is to put my whole research database and writing system, including Maxthink, onto a flash drive. Then all I would have to do is take it out, put it into a pocket and walk over to another machine. The old "sneakernet" form of connectivity. All I would have to do is reassign the drive letter of the flash drive to "d" drive, which DOS and Maxthink imperiously demand. Unfortunately, that was way beyond my expertise, even way back when I could remember DOS commands like "assign." Fortunately, a few seconds pumping keywords into Google Search and I found a little step-by-step tutorial. After a few minutes I was reassigning drive letters like a madman. Two machines have flash drives as their "d" drive, and, with more fiddling, I hope to be able even to run it on the iMac again.

John Taylor



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