Binary watch

Binary watch - 12:23Spent my (western) New Year visiting my family and shopping in Hong Kong – great sales by the way, even at normal price every branded stuff is way cheaper than China – and found something that can only please a geek: a binary watch. Didn’t know it existed and wanted it as soon as I saw it. The only draw back is that you need to push a button to be able to read the time (it switches on the LEDs), but the rest is really cool. And I guess only another geek would steal it from me, as anybody else will probably not be able to read the time (they still added the bits value on the PCB though, for non-geeks I suppose). The upper LED row shows the hour, coded on 4 bits, and the lower row the minutes, coded on 6 bits.

And in case you were wondering, it was 12:2312:27 (thanks Julien) when I took the picture! 😉

Riding the small dog

For those of you regularly reading the Beijing LUG site (or even participating in our events) you might remember our Old PCs Refurbishing Party lead by Ben from BISS and held early March of this year. After struggling with various flavors of Ubuntu because of bad Chinese support and heavy resource usage, we settled on 256MB of ram as a minimum requirement and had to manually customize every single install we did.

Not satisfied we decided to study other options such as mastering our own light-weight derivative distribution with the right packages and good Chinese support. We did get a lot of positive supporting offers from ThizLinux, Mandriva and Novell and it’s nice to feel you’re part of a group of great people.

After a few weeks, Ben pointed out a few Puppylinux variants and I am now playing with it: IMPRESSIVE! I am testing it on an old Thinkpad X30 with 256MB of ram with a Pentium III: so fast, so flexible. All the necessary applications are available, it’s very easy to make your own build (actually 2 ways of doing it) and you can even install deb packages (experimental feature).

We still have a long way to go, but it really seems we’ve solved our first issue: small footprint and easy setup. Puppylinux has also a very active IRC channel on freenode (#puppylinux) and a fairly good documentation. I’m almost considering using it as my full time distribution!

So whatever distribution we use at the end, I’m quite pleased to have had to dive into Puppylinux. It’ll give us a base to chose the right applications and do our own customization in order to get the project rolling!