Sunday, October 5, 2014


Today's New York Times Magazine has an extended interview with Marilynne Robinson, an author I must confess I've never read. Parts of the interview are just brilliant:

People: Brilliant creatures, who at a very high rate, predictably, are incomprehensible to each other. If what people want is to be formally in society, to have status, to have loving relationships, houseplants that don’t die, the failure rate is phenomenal….Excellent people, well-meaning people, their lives do not yield what they hoped. You know? This doesn’t diminish, at all, the fact that their dignity is intact. But their grief… -- Marilynne Robinson

This notion (fact?) that we are all mutually incomprehensible is at the core of the conflict, and resultant suffering, that pervades our lovely world.

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Apathy works like forgiveness"

A review in this week's NYTimes book review prompted me to re-read "Goodbye, Columbus." It's better than I remembered, and I'm just finishing "Eli, the Fanatic."

Roth is better than "Portnoy's Complaint." This book proves it.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Installing Ubuntu via the Internet using a small USB stick

I needed to install Ubuntu on a new computer that had no operating system on it, and my older, available Windows system does not have a reliable DVD burner. Further, the only USB stick I could find in the house is small - 512MB. No problem, I thought - I used to do network installs of Linux all the time. How hard could it be?

WOW - really hard! These days there seems to be an assumption that everyone is able to download a 2GB iso and burn it to either a DVD or a largish USB stick.

Eventually, though,  I found what I needed:

  • A "mini ISO" for Ubuntu. This is a very small bootable image with just enough bits to be able to run a network install, and...
  • The "LinuxLive" USB creator (aka "lili"), which creates a bootable image of an ISO on a USB stick.
Once I had these, all I had to do was run lili, "burn" the mini ISO to the USB stick, and boot the sucker. I was now in what felt like a late-1990s-era text-mode Linux installer. Hooray!