October 26th, 2003



I drive a GMC Jimmy. It's a complicated piece of machinery and I don't understand all of its intricacies under the hood, but I can drive it well and it works for me. But most of all I like that it's free. Unfortunately, since I didn't pay anyone for it, there's nobody to fix things when they go wrong. But thankfully it's a well-built vehicle and things tend not to go wrong. Once in a while there's a little problem but I can take it to a friend of mine who is a mechanic and they're able to help. But after doing that a few times I start to feel like a nuisance.

A while ago I discovered that with an add-on package (also free) I could get my Jimmy to automatically negotiate gridlock traffic for me. That's pretty cool, right? So I went ahead and installed it. It wasn't too hard, and it's worked great, saving me a lot of grief.

The maker of that add-on package has a newer model available now that has a lot of neat improvements, and I thought it would be a good idea to install it. As I was reading the instructions, I came across a paragraph that describes how it integrates with the nuclear fusion engine now to negotiate traffic much more efficiently. Wait a minute... Nuclear fusion engine? I don't think my Jimmy has one of those. Ok, then later on I found a paragraph that said Jimmy owners need to get a fusion engine from a distributor that stocks such things and drop it in. (Apparently for owners of regular cars, the new add-on package comes with the fusion engine integration already done.) Ok, so I visited that distributor and looked around for a fusion engine... I think I found what I needed, but it had a bunch of weird connectors hanging off of it and its own 30-page installation manual. In fact, it looked like it was more complicated than what the add-on package instructions indicated.

I found a support group for people affected by this problem, and discovered that indeed that's what I need to do, but most of the people there were nuclear physicists, so they knew more about their vehicles than I did. Yet despite being nuclear physicists, many of them STILL had problems. I tried to listen in on some conversations about how they're solving the problems, but it's way over my head. They're talking about tweaking intermix chambers and aligning atom streams... stuff I would never even think of messing with in my vehicle.

So I guess my choices are to just live with an older model of the traffic-negotiating add-on that won't be supported anymore if something goes wrong, or I'll have to ditch the Jimmy and get a regular car. This pisses me off.

The above rant is true, if you replace the Jimmy with Red Hat Linux, the traffic-negotiating add-on with POPFile, and the fusion engine with BerkeleyDB.
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