Coded green.

Saturday 7 September 2002

Download day

It rained off and on, and I didn't go to town with my computer. I didn't go to town at all, or even to the nearest supermarket. Instead I fell asleep again in the morning, and slept till early afternoon. Then I played Dark Age of Camelot on the portable - it is surprisingly similar to the main machine now that I have attached the USB trackball to the portable. The screen is smaller but closer, and very sharp and crisp.

After playing a while, I proceeded to download the free office suite (yes, it is named for its website, which incidentally did not load). This is based on StarOffice, which I used on the other machine (and at least one machine before it). StarOffice has now gone pay with its 6.0 version, but the tradition of free download is taken up by It has inherited the codebase from StarOffice, a friendly gesture from Sun Microsystems. Actually it is probably less friendly than spiteful, as it offers people an alternative to MS Office. Sun is quite likely willing to lose money if they can hurt their arch-enemy. How much harm they really do is uncertain: I for one would hardly have invested in the big Office package anyway. I use this as WordPad with autocomplete and a spelling checker.

I spent the rest of the evening downloading (from a mirror site, which had version 1.0 rather than 1.0.1 but at least worked). Extensive testing showed that download speed was not influenced by playing The Sims in the foreground. This was not unexpected; the connection is the bottlenect, moving much slower than the rest of the computer. I guess this will be somewhat different with ADSL, but only somewhat. In this case, the download speed was less than my running modem connection, as I was getting the file from a UK server. Downloads within Norway generally run faster, as our rich little country has quite good capacity. On the other extreme, I had to give up reading some of my favorite online comics today, as they simply did not appear. These were all based in North America. Given that a few other American sites came up OK, I am convinced that the problem was either with their server or a local part of the network within America. Given the state of the telecoms business over there, I am hardly shocked if they have some bandwidth crunch.

I have already downloaded and instealled MS Chat, also called “comic chat”, because it offers the ability to represent your IRC friends as characters in a comic strip, with the text in speech bubbles. It even adapts the facial expressions and body language to express emotions, based on cues in the text such as smileys :) and emotional abbreviations (lol, rofl etc) and of course punctuation (!, ?). Nifty but demanding way too much screen space even for short conversations. Anyway, it is free, and even though it is no longer supported by MicroSoft, you can still download it from Phoenix online. The program is available in 23 languages, including one Norwegian, but I chose English. I chat only in English after all, so it is less confusing.

And of course now that I am online with this portable, I downloaded various security patches. Now as I write this, I am downloading a newer version of Opera ... 6.05 Nynorsk rather than 6.02 Bokmål which I had installed. (Note for foreigners: Nynorsk is my mother tongue, the version of Norwegian used on most of the west coast and rural areas in the south. Bokmål is the majority Norwegian language, used in most cities and eastern Norway, as well as parts of northern Norway settled from those areas.) While it would be more natural to have my Net browser in English too, I feel like celebrating the fact that there actually exists a program in my mother tongue, and a good one at that.

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: The invincible village
Two years ago: News from Norway
Three years ago: Shopping Day

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