Situation report from Austin, Texas.

Things have finally slowed down somewhat in Austin, affording me the opportunity to write a long-overdue update. Workdays have been long (averaging thirteen hours out of every twenty-four), which is why I've been quiet lately.

From what I've seen of Austin, it's a pretty nice place. I"m situated a stone's throw from the airport, and within visual distance of the highway system, which has been both relaxing (coming from an urban background) and a pleasant change of pace from the places that I'm usually put up by my employers.

Two nights ago Tiffany (co-worker and fellow foot soldier fighting the good fight) and I found a couple of otherwise unallocated evening hours in our schedules and took the opportunity to visit the local Asian restaurant, named Asia (1931 E. Ben White St.; Austin, TX; 78741; phone 512-445-5117), interestingly enough. It's a combination Chinese and Vietnamese restaurant about four miles as the crow flies from the hotel, a fairly easy trip in the rented pickup truck. Their prices are reasonable, which is to say expect to pay in the neighborhood of $8us for your entree, with a total outlay of $12us for a dinner for one. Their spring rolls were tasty and had an unusual texture (I've never had one before, you see, as I prefer egg rolls to spring rolls), which I greatly enjoyed. Their General T'sao's Chicken (my benchmark for a new restaurant) wasn't overdone, flavorful without a lot of sauce, and even had a slightly crispy coating, which are all positive points in my book. Oddly, they serve Earl Grey instead of green or oolong tea, which was a nice change of pace, and didn't detract from the rest of the meal, I don't think. Overall rating: One and a half flareguns out of four. Stop by this place if you're in Austin, or order takeout by calling them or going to their website.

Someone over at the Puppy Linux project's forums has posted .pet packages of Truecrypt so that you can access your encrypted datastores from a Puppy Linux install on a bootable USB key (my preferred modus operandi) or multisession live CD. I've been testing it and I'm quite pleased with how well it works under Puppy v3.01.

Speaking of working, bad things are afoot these days with Windbringer, who's become my primary workstation in the past year or so. Not only does he run uncomfortably hot now, but I've run into problems with his USB ports conking out for no good reason (both Windows (a project requirement - bleh) and Linux report problems initializing USB v2.0 devices plugged into the uppermost port, though simple devices like keyboards and mice work as expected), which in my experience is never a good sign. This is when happened when Kabuki began to fail back in 2003. I'm considering pricing out a replacement laptop in the next couple of months, because I can't work without a laptop these days, what with all of the field work lined up. Windbringer's got one operational USB port at this time, and I have a USB v2.0 hub plugged into both ports (which I'm using right now to write this post - I've booted my magick USB key from the hub and my iPod's attached to the side, providing music courtesy of GTKpod and Xine). I'm planning on picking up a PCMCIA USB card when I get back to DC, but I've got a really, really bad feeling about this.

It figures that this would happen as soon as I got William Gibson to autograph my deck.