Archive for : October, 2010

Vicious Jakarta part 1

“Ibukota lebih kejam daripada ibu tiri” roughly translated to “The capital (mother city) is more vicious than a step mother” is a phrase used sometimes jokingly describe Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. To a certain extent, it’s true.

The big durian is not for the faint hearted, trust me. I learned that after being born and raised here for the last 26 years. Somebody attempted to abduct me when I was around 11, on my way home after school.

I’ve been through at least five pick-pocketing attempt, some guy might actually succeed, considering the fact that I lost my phone several months ago. I’ve been the subject of numerous con attempts, it’s amazing what stories people would make up in order to get some money from people on the streets.

Everyday you’ll witness at least one traffic accident, ranging from a simple dent caused by a motorbike who bumped you from behind to a bloody truck versus car collision causing pile ups. And not to mention the traffic jam caused by those incidents.

You see, Jakartans just love their drama, people would not hesitate to slow down or even stop their vehicle in order to watch a fight between uninsured drivers about who’s wrong in a crash. Or maybe to be part of spectators witnessing the bloody victim being evacuated from the wreck. Never mind the fact that they are selfishly blocking the road and that they can’t do a thing to help anyway.

Those are only traffic tales, the things you discuss with your friends when you got to the office or maybe at a cafe after work. When you’re stuck in traffic you might even decide to dial a number and start recalling about the crash to a friend.

Besides poor road management and Jakartans addiction to road-side drama, traffic jams are also caused by poor traffic ethics. Prepare to be part of a snaking traffic jam in the middle of the rain caused by motorcycle riders who decided to keep their selves dry by stopping under a tunnel, at the expense of other vehicles.

If you complain, they’ll just say “Easy for you to say, you’re sitting dry and comfortable in a car.” at that point I usually just keep my mouth shut. There’s no use pointing out to them that I drive without air conditioning and that half of my shirt is already drenched by rain coming from my half-opened window. My choices were getting drenched by the rain or to close the window and in a slightly suffocated state drive as my breath fogs up the glass from the inside.

Taking the public transportation is a fairy tale either, remember the pick pockets and con men I told you about? Yeah, they also operate on public transports, along with molesting freaks and other weirdos. But I’ll tell you all about them later, cause it’s time for me to get going before another traffic congestion starts, with all the demonstrations planned today.

Ah… demonstrations, it was once a democratic way to bring down a corrupt regime. Now it has become a way to bring down everybody’s mood. Who wouldn’t be upset to see that their trip to the office was obstructed by a group of clueless people carrying signs and giving speech. It’s not that I’m against free speech, I just prefer to hear them from people who actually know what they are talking about, not some group of paid slackers.

The Mini-Ubuntu leap of faith

This post is written on the netbook I bought three days ago after a series of events that made me realize that despite my home PC and Blackberry, i still needed a netbook. I must admit that the purchase was rather impulsive, despite the fact that I’ve contemplated buying a netbook for several months.

My PC was being repaired for the -nth time, and even though my thumb typing skills are more than adequate, I find it hard to write and edit articles on a Blackberry. It was fine for one or two online articles, but after four paragraphs my thumbs and eyes will start to complain. That and several other reasons.
So I set my budget, did a little browsing, and decided to go and buy an HP Mini 110-3014TU. I must admit that the main reason I choose that particular model is because of the price. My budget is IDR 3 million, and the Mini 110 is priced at IDR 2.780 million, at least that was the price listed on Bhinneka.com, a computer online store. Turns out, I only had to pay IDR 2.650 million for the Mini 110.
The netbook was sold sans OS, and although the seller was kind enough to offer me pirated windows, I declined. I can’t afford to buy the original Windows 7, the price starts at IDR 999,000 which is too much for me right now. I was planning to use the netbook to quench my curiosity for Linux.
I’ve been running a Knoppix live CD for sometime, and I find it rather interesting. But the OS I installed on my netbook is the Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. Apparently, it was released at the binary date, October 10th, 2010.
Now I realize that I’m no computer whiz, not a weekend programer, not a tech geek. My degree is in English Teaching, not for IT. I’m just a girl who believes that Google will solve all my problems. So I bit the bullet and went ahead.
The absence of an optical drive made me decide to create a live, bootable USB drive. It was pretty simple, I just had to download the ISO image of the OS, and a nifty little downloadable software does all the work for me.
Then I plugged the USB drive in the netbook, and turned it on. Had to tinker with the BIOS a bit, telling it to boot from the USB. And voila, Ubuntu is displayed on the screen of my spanking new netbook. But it was still running from the live USB, not installed at the hard drive yet.
After doing some clicking and waiting, and retrying, I finally managed to install the OS. Then comes the learning part. I must admit that it was kind of a stupid move for me to install an OS I’m not familiar with on a netbook I’m not familiar with either.
I’m not familiar with the hardware, cause the instruction manual is provided on a CD. since the netbook itself lacks an optical drive, I guess I’ll have to wait till my PC is back from repairs. I’m not familiar with the OS, having spent most of my computer time with Windows. But hey, I’m feeling adventurous!
So this is the third day, and I’ve managed to do all the essential stuffs I needed to do. The netbook has delighted me so far. The OS had some glitches, but I decide that it was still an acceptable trade, knowing that I actually can function and do all my online and offline needs without having to use pirated software or draining my account.
I must admit that this overall move is a series of leaps of faiths, faith in myself at some part. I still have to pay for the installments, and I’m also determined to make good use of this netbook. One of it is a promise to write more often. Let’s see if this is a promise I can stick with.
this post was written on an HP Mini 110-3014TU running on Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10.