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Mood 556 on the Penfield: “Technolust that results in refreshing Slashdot every 5 minutes”

I don't use an RSS reader. If I did, it would probably save this company a whole heap of cash: our bandwidth usage would halve, I'd be much more productive and I imagine various news sites around the web would probably pay us for keeping me away from their sites.

The problem is this: I like reading the news. A lot. In fact, every five minutes or so, I feel the compulsive urge to start up Firefox and browse to Slashdot then The Inquirer, then maybe a half-dozen other sites that haven't changed since I last checked them a few minutes earlier, until finally my thirst subsides and I can get back to work. If I were to install an RSS reader, I could have a little ticker on my screen somewhere that did all this checking for me and would only flag up things that had changed. But I don't want that; RSS isn't for me.

In the same way that I enjoy buying books from a book shop, I like visiting websites for my news hits. It's almost a game looking over BBC News and spotting the bits that have changed, then deciding whether it's actually interesting enough for me to read. But then ultimately I have little interest in most of the stories I see whizz by - I'm really just looking for a distraction.

The cure is simple but drastic: cut off the internet. In the past, the few times I've been seriously late with a feature, I've found that yanking out the 'net connection works wonders - suddenly I'm much more productive, and can usually finish whatever I'm doing in an hour or so. But it also highlights how low I've sank with my news addiction: whenever I open Firefox I get a "Can't find the webserver" error, which is a smack in the face that reminds me I'm supposed to be working. If you've ever started eating a box of Pringles, decided you've had enough, put it to one side, then found yourself mysteriously eating Pringles five minutes later because you'd unconsciouly re-opened the can, you'll know what I mean. I don't think I'm alone in this!

Fortunately, the long-term prognosis for my problem is far from fatal. I simply must install and RSS reader. I'm going to install an RSS reader and I'm going to like it, too. That or I'm going to neurally connect myself to the internet, but I've put that on the back burner until I can convince my frontal lobe that IPv6 is A Good Thing.

Click Try Again until Slashdot loads for great justice

In other news, who agrees with me that Fedora Core 5 is one heck of an exciting release? I've been using it since Test 1, and was first rather scared/appalled/anxious that so much was changing. Test 1 was a complete mess, with lots of bits broken, other bits removed but not yet replaced, and only the least idea what the future held. Test 2, somehow, managed to be even more crazy. But test 3? The Fedora/Red Hat guys have managed to pull all the different development streams together and the result is an attractive, fast, powerful distro that makes FC4 look like a bad taste in your mouth. The new theme is simply gorgeous, and I sincerely hope other distros will borrow at least some of it.

My only niggle is this: the new Xen guest installation script is pretty good, but when it comes to installing a distro on your guest you get to choose from HTTP, FTP or NFS. Note: there is no "I have the DVD in my hands, please use it" option. Otherwise, this is a terrific release that has managed to turn the flagging Fedora project around - hurrah! I've managed to stay on SUSE since 10.0 was released (with a bit of Ubuntu thrown in for good measure), which is the longest time between switching distros I can recall since the glory days of Mandrake. But I think FC5 will put me back on Fedora, at least until Dapper Drake ships.

Finally, I'm dragging myself into the 21st century. I've recently purchased a couple of pairs of Bose noise-reduction headphones for my holiday in April (I can't stand the constant noise on airplanes), I signed up to Audible for some audio books and I just took the plunge and bought me a dual-core iMac. Now if only Sony-Ericsson would hurry up and release the P990 so I can upgrade...

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