Mureung Valley

This weekend we took an amazing hike up Mureung Valley, near Donghae (about 45 minutes south of Gangneung).

Hiking is pretty popular in Korea, especially in Gangwondo.  Every weekend, the parks fill up with people, and quite often a “hike” is actually filing up a big stone staircase in a line with hundreds of other people.  Not exactly my idea of a good time.

If you get off the official path a bit, things are completely different.  After walking up the path for about 20 minutes, we dropped down onto the river bed and rock-hopped upstream.  There were a few people sunning themselves or having picnics, but we walked a few minutes upstream and had the whole river to ourselves.

We spent the day swimming in the river and lounging on the rocks.  In the evening, a few more people showed up, and we set up camp.  We pitched tents, cooked some food, and drank some beer.  We hiked back down on Sunday, after more swimming and lunch.

I wish I’d known about the valley sooner, but I’ll definitely return before we leave.

Here are some photos.  Also, I’m looking for feedback on the new photo system.  I’ve wanted a Lightbox script of some sort to overlay my photos and display captions.  Some of them run really slowly on my server, but I think I’ve found one that works.  I’m still tweaking things, but let me know what you think.

a plug for CrunchBang Linux

CrunchBang Linux is awesome!

I don’t typically blog about the day-to-day geekiness involved in maintaining our small fleet of computers, but I have to recommend this distribution.  It’s been on my laptop for about 36 hours, and I absolutely love it.

Our current network consists of:

  1. My Asus EeePC 901.  It’s running Ubuntu 8.04.  We use it for Skype, occasional browsing/productivity, and as a portable machine.
  2. Erin’s Dell E6400.  This is her primary machine, and it’s running Ubuntu 9.04.  It usually lives in the bedroom, but has been known to move around the apartment.
  3. Erin’s ancient Dell 600m.  It’s connected to the TV.  It has no working screen, wireless card, battery, PC slot, or USB ports, so it’s not good for much else.  It’s running Windows XP, as the S-Video out doesn’t work under Linux.
  4. My Dell E1505.  This is my primary machine, and it lives on the desk, connected to a couple external drives.  It’s on pretty much 24/7, and gets used for just about everything.  It serves files to all the other machines and functions as a desktop.  This is the computer that’s now running CrunchBang.

I recently installed Ubuntu 9.04 on my Dell, but I just wasn’t pleased.  It felt bloated and slow.  To be fair, this machine runs an FTP server, a Samba file server and a DAAP server in addition to the usual desktop apps including Firefox, Skype, and a busy bittorrent client.  It’s about 4 years old, and it was feeling sluggish.  I’ve been meaning to set up an internet jukebox of some sort, maybe Jinzora, but that means adding a webserver and database to the mix.  It was time for a lighter-weight OS.

Enter Crunchbang Linux.  It’s built from a minimal Ubuntu installation, but without all of the bulk of full-fledged Ubuntu.  You still get apt for package management and the very robust Gnome network tools.  It uses the Openbox window manager, which is amazingly fast and configurable.  The rest of the installed applications are an excellent compromise between features and speed.

Installation was a breeze, and I haven’t had a single problem.  Lately I’ve felt that Ubuntu is focusing more and more on eyecandy and flashy new features, and I’m just not that interested.  I’m tired of spending hours trimming the fat from the distro.  So far, crunchbang performs impressively.  Memory and CPU usage are lower, and everything feels snappier.

This isn’t a distribution for everyone.  It requires some comfort with the terminal and configuration files, but it’s surprisingly easy.  If you’re looking for a lightweight alternative to Ubuntu, I highly recommend it.

And just to prove that lightweight doesn’t mean ugly, check out a couple screenshots: