One of my most faithful and most beloved home servers was my old laptop, a Compaq Armada 4120 we originally got (used, for that matter) in 1998 and that was my main laptop until 2002, when I got my first Dell. 120MHz Pentium, 16 MB RAM (later upgraded to 32), 2GB hard disk.
From 2002 and until around 2005, it was my home server - Think about it: A low-power, compact machine you can store anywhere, and that has (still today! Wish I could say that for ~2 year old machines...) a two hour battery with the LCD on. We swapped the hard disk for a 40GB one around 2003, and it was just perfect for DSL sharing, Samba file serving to our internal network, and simple, personal HTTP server. Of course, it started aching when Nadezhda and I started running our blogs - MySQL and Apache didn't fit in the memory at the same time :)
For some months, we had an old 1GHz Athlon as our server, but it was too noisy and ate too much electricity - We now have a nice Mac Mini, but share the UPS with Nadezhda's main machine. Which is fine, but takes a bit off the coolness factor :) Oh, and -of course- it does not have a built-in screen anymore. Nadezhda uses an iMac, so whenever we need to directly use the server, I have to go find our clunky 17" CRT and work sitting on the floor...
Now, what about the roles of the different group members? Each of us has some skills that make him better for part of the task - i.e., we have an amazingly knowledgeable member, Niko Tyni. He just fixes all the bugs that baffle us. Honest, my best kudos to Niko, he is a good part of our team's success. And then, we have hard-working people as Gregor Hermann, who not only fixes also nice amounts of bugs, but also writes and runs general QA tests throughout our over 300 modules. Neither of them is a DD yet. And of course, many other hard-working folks. Some of us are DDs and try to upload promptly - and, of course, also try fixing bugs. So far, we are in good shape, and we tend not to lag too much. I have taken some vacation periods (both announced and unannounced - sorry :) ), but to my surprise and amazement, my packages tend not to be buggy - Why? Because there is a real team looking after them, and in the end, we keep an eye on each other.
For the pkg-perl group, group maintenance has really worked. We collectively maintain more packages than it would be reasonable for all of us added together as individuals, and they are in a better shape. There are several things we can make better, and we do try to address them - it is not yet heaven, but... :) I'll elaborate later, when I finish a text I'm preparing for presenting at YAPC (it's not that long, of course - During Debconf, I showed advances of it to several people... I just have left it aside). Right now... Well, I have 3hr of sleep left before we leave for a daytrip to the beautiful (but hot and humid!) Veracruz Huasteca. See you on Sunday/Monday!
My city's government seems to be seriously promoting people to consider using the bicycle as means for regular transport and not just as a recreational device - I see some of its measures as quite silly, but some are just perfect. One week ago, while I was on the plane from Edinburgh, we had the first Ciclotón, a 32Km ride open to everybody (and of course, Nadezhda was among them). Over 70,000 people took part, reportedly, and it seems it will be held monthly. Besides that, yesterday we had the paseo dominical in Coyoacán very close to my house - What's that? Something similar to the ciclotón, only much smaller (14Km), much less publicized, and in a different place of the city every Sunday. Well, we started up the day at 8 AM by cycling from Metro Copilco to Miguel Ángel de Quevedo, Av. Universidad, Río Churubusco, División del Norte and Henriquez Ureña back to Metro Copilco. We later learnt that around 10,000 people took part. 14 Km, 30 minutes - not bad, and quite enjoyable!
We didn't go for the second round, because we wanted to be by ~10 AM at Reforma, probably the city's most emblematic avenue, to be part of the demonstration marking one year of the electoral fraud. But... Well, we didn't want to just leave the bikes at home and go by metro - What can we do? Yes, take the open streets. We followed a bit of the path we had taken a bit earlier, then took Minerva, Insurgentes until Reforma (~45 minutes). And once we got to the meeting point, we didn't want to step down and crawl the bikes along... So we both found out that not only we dared take the main streets where people are not really used to cyclists and where taxi drivers will often try to make a point that if you don't own a car you should use a taxi and not a bike - We were able to cycle most of our way to Zócalo, going slowly and moving through people, in what seemed to be almost an unthinkable feat for me just a couple of months ago. We can now control the bike, we can even be almost still while riding it, and not crash into anybody!
Of course, the way back was similar - We took our bikes across Obrera, Doctores, Algarín and Álamos, then took Av. Universidad all the way down to Copilco, and -after some three hours riding, with my arms quite red and of course somewhat dehydrated and sore-butted- got home.
It feels great to have a well-deserved siesta! And... Well, biking is just too enjoyable. I guess we had ~45Km yesterday, plus some ~5 extra zig-zagging through the crowd. It rules.
I use a 17" Dell LCD monitor at work (sorry, cannot recall the model), and I've been quite pleased with it. Granted, 1280x1024 isn't what I had gotten used to (1400x1050 on my previous laptop and previous work machine), but it does the trick - And for my current laptop, I went for a smaller machine, with a 12" wide-screen 1280x800 monitor. I still find the monitor somewhat small, and the missing 224 pixels _are_ noticeable - but the size is well worth it.
But what I've been playing at work with is changing the monitor orientation - This 17" Dell monitor can be set up vertically (1024x1280), and xrandr will merrily change the orientation. So far, I'm happy with this setup. I still feel there are some video-related quirks, and maybe the pixels are a bit off (i.e. black letters in a white background have a bit of a shadow), maybe it was visible as well in the regular configuration, but not as noticeable. But well, I feel it easier to work with for most of my work cases - For having a full-screen browser, each row is smaller and more rows fit on screen - It's quite pleasant. For doing Web development, having a horizontally split screen (one above of the other) between Emacs and the browser is quite natural. And when I use more than two frames (i.e. for following logfiles or debugging multi-factored breakages on servers ;-) ), well, they are small enough that it's similar to having the ol' regular layout.
I'd still like to get a second video card and monitor. I remember working that way in the job I left four years ago, and it was very comfortable.
BTW, Russell, for your needs I suggest you to try Ion. After all, who really needs to have a root window/background after all? :-)