Where Scott is lambasting Mandrake, David Watson is singing its praises mostly due to it's ability to detect his wireless modem without problems and the inclusion of Open Office 1.0.1 . He's "ready to move my personal computing experience full-time into the Microsoft-free zone." Yes! Way to go Dave! I'm right behind you buddy!
Having decided that I won't be able to use the extra hard drive because of the USB ADSL modem nightmare problems, I'm going to try VMWare and see if that's useable. My Lattitude is ONLY a 650Mhz P3 with 256 megs of RAM, so it's not going to be able to do much virtually, but we'll see how it works out.
I "fixed" the DNS problem in the classic Microsoft Windows style: I downloaded the new drivers from the Allied Data website, tried to install them and ended up deinstalling my CD-RW and hub, flashing my screen (an LCD... I've never SEEN that before) and hanging my computer. Nice. SOOO I uninstalled the "new" drivers, fixed the rest of the stuff (detected, thankfully, the next reboot) and reinstalled the old drivers and POOF, there's no more instant DNS timeouts (for now). Joy.
I guess this is a bit easier than the alternatives. Chris Kelly emailed me to tell me he lives in Sofia, Bulgaria and has had to install BIND locally... "I had to use it last month while working in south-central India, and the main ISP in Bangalore had a wacked-out DNS server that resolved less than half of my requests. So I decided to host my own darn DNS. " Oof. Thanks for the advice, Chris... it should have been obvious to me from the beginning that it wasn't a DNS server problem, but a local driver problem... But's it's nice to know that there's other solutions if I needed them!
Actually... I am FINALLY happy... my computer is finally running like it should A WEEK after I started my re-install. Maybe Ana and I will have that iBook conversation again tonight. ;-)
Later... Nope. VMWare doesn't have a freakin' clue how to connect to this USB modem either through any of their networking options. It's looking for a normal ethernet driver and finding bubkus. Oh well... I realized that to use VMWare I needed to have a lot more memory too. It was a fun idea for 2 minutes... ;-)