Since it’s officially December, and the work year is winding down, I can probably safely talk about “stuff” without fear of being morally chastened. Stuff, as in, December 25 is probably the biggest “stuff” day of the year; that kinda stuff. Trust me, around here (unless you’re a certain critter I know) Christmas does not even come close to happening in August, much less November. It’s a December thing.

So, as the work year winds down and deadlines have all been met and profits for the year have either happened or haven’t, we can turn our attention away from work and stress and start to focus more on the “stuff” we enjoy. For Loyal Americans, “stuff” is part of life and is usually quite expensive. Well, I’m pretty Loyal, at least to my country and my friends and family, (don’t confuse that with politicians), but my This Year’s Stuff didn’t necessarily cost much. Some of it was free.

To start off, my bunker in Kennesaw has traditionally been in the basement. That’s where my “main computer” was, my music, all my crap. It’s cool in the summer, and it’s pretty cool in the winter. Lack of heat and air conditioning lets a basement do its natural thing. Well, a couple months ago, Elaine mentions that she is planning on adding her sculptural studio to the basement, putting in some oxy-acetylene, torches, fire-proofing, etc. She was basically putting me on notice; when she’s down there doing sculpture, she doesn’t want company cursing and drinking 30 feet away in the bunker. I took the hint and started re-creating my bunker upstairs in the heat/air-conditioned area. Which gets us back on topic.

My main computer, running Windows XP had to stay in the basement because it’s needed for the Soho office. Okay, I can live with that. Upstairs in the living area, we had an old computer running linux that was sitting on a chest of drawers. Those same chests of drawers that will bark your knees on the drawer pulls if you try to pull up a chair to do some serious computing. (And how can you do serious computing on an AMD K-6 400?).

Okay, so that one had to morph into an AMD Athlon 2000+. No biggie, but the drawer pulls are still doing damage. Enter our “cheap desk”: aka Stuff #1.
The computer running linux had been running Red Hat since Version 5.4 and was now upgraded into various renditions of the Fedoras. Problem? I couldn’t get the sound card to work on any consistent basis in any of the Red Hat family distros. But I couldn’t change OS’s because I’d spent $50 on a Red Hat Bible three years ago. Seriously.

Well….just for laughs, I put in a live cd for a new distro called “Ubuntu”: Amazingly, it discovered all my hardware, including the sound card immediately. This led to an actual install of Ubuntu. It was free. It was too easy to be true. Ubuntu is basically a Windows version of Linux. (I can hear people cringing now) But really, it’s so easy, that it might as well be Windows as far as setup goes. Obviously, it’s built on Debian and is way better that Microsoft products, but hey, the forums aren’t even snotty and they welcome newbies. I’m sorry, that’s not in the Linux tradition.

Well, if it discovered the sound card, then a guy needs music in a bunker and $2 speakers don’t quite cut it. Enter the new “speakers”: . “Shoutcast”: is our buddy now. Anybody with “stuff” worth their salt with a Linux box needs “Firefox 1.5”: and the newest “Opera”: But wait, there’s more. I got this a year ago, but any bunker isn’t complete without “Tivo”: And large quantities of “coffee”: and obviously, beer, because what would cursing be without drinking?

I’m telling you, I can get used to 72 degree heat after winters in that dungeon in the basement. Well, it’s only December 3. I have two more weeks of stuff to accumulate. It doesn’t get much better than this. In January, it’s Back Ta Work, beginning with a Trade Show in Chicago, which is usually enjoying a Lake Effect blizzard or four at about that time. Enter our new waterproof boots….oops, at this point, I don’t even remember who I ordered them from. But Fedex should still be here Monday morning. The driver usually hits us first to clear space in the truck.