Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Pirate's Tale

Man, I've never been so happy to have windows on my computer. I bought it, with no OS installed, about three days ago. I refused to pay $100 for Windows and just assumed Fedora Core 4 would install easily. That was not the case and FC4 was the only OS I had brought with me. I spent about two days trying to find a Linux version with a 2.6.14 or higher kernel that would install from floppies. Debian is about the only distro left that supports this installation method and they are too damn conservative to have released any floppy install images using the 2.6 kernel.

During this time I was also looking for software pirates. I mean, they had to be here, right? Hell! This is Asia for God sakes! I wandered around the GuangHua computer shopping district for hours. I hung out around the exits and tried to look suspicious. I explored every nook and cranny. I took unlabeled staircases and walked down back alleys. My problem was that I did all of these things with the Sun still hanging overhead. In Taipei, it turns out, software pirates only come out at night.

I remembered this guy who approached me one evening on my way back to the hostel and tried to sell me binoculars...or porn...or I guess both. He had a bluish grey hatchback with peeling paint backed into a side street. Standing by the open hatch, he accosted passers by with binoculars in hand and an array of cheap porn on display from the inside of his hatchback. Tonight, it was about 7:30 PM and I headed straight to where I saw that guy. If he didn't have a pirated copy of Windows XP, he must know someone who did. And I was right. He didn't have it but he know who did. And he was right down the street. After a little bargaining, and with exactly six fewer 100NT bills in my wallet, I walked outta there with the English version of Windows XP Professional SP2 in my expansive coat pocket.

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