Adventures In Computing

September 16, 2010

My Failures with Ubuntu 10.10 and Experimenting with Windows 7

Filed under: 64bit, GNU/Linux, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit, Windows — Normand Bissonnette @ 3:05 pm

On Friday September 3rd I decided to install the first beta of Ubuntu 10.10, code name “Maverick Meerkat” on my laptop, which happens to be my main computer. I knew that since it was a beta there might be some bugs and minor inconveniences because it was not the final product. I usually try the live cd first to make sure everything works but this time I decided to just do a distro update, wrong move.

It took about an hour to complete but when I turned on my latop I was getting a psychedelic screen. It was cool looking but I could not use my computer what so ever. It was late so I fired up my desktop , which I have been using as a media server, and downloaded a live cd to install the next day.

Saturday September 4th after work I install using the live cd. When the installation is done and the computer starts up I get the same funky screen. I was starting to get annoyed. I try to fix it using the rescue mode, same screen, Crtl-Alt-f2 same thing. Try seaching the forums, nothing there to help me. I decide to download the Alternate Install disc and give that a try.

To make a long story short, this ended with the same results. At this point I was very pissed off, at my computer, at Ubuntu and most of all at myself for not trying it live first or on VirtualBox!

I then decide to do the unthinkable: I install Windows 7. I have been using linux for 4 years and 6 months and Ubuntu for 4 years, I have sworn never to use Windows as my main OS, yet I decided to see if I liked the Windows 7 experience for a month and install Ubuntu in October when the final product comes out.

Last year I installed Windows 7 beta on VirtualBox to try it out and I played with it for a few hours and decided that it was not for me. This time around I would give it a fighting chance to either impress me or disappoint me. I was going to give it a full try with no Ubuntu to fall back on.

I’ll be honest with you, all the propriety programs I installed to get my Windows to work (Office, Ant- virus, Defragmentor…) are either trial versions of the programs or pirated, I did not want to spend a fortune just to try Windows 7.

After using Windows 7 for the past 2 weeks, I am amazed that I like Windows 7, there are some thing that I don’t like but there is a lot to like. I know some of you will call me a traitor to Open Source software, that I have turned to the dark side. My answer would be:  not really, I like to try new things to keep myself up to date with PCs and we have to face fact that Windows has a 88.92% share of all computers and linux has only 1.10%. Linux has lots of space for growth.

Even tough I was pleasantly surprised by Windows 7 and my short experience was for the most part enjoyable,  I will be installing Ubuntu 10.10 on my laptop in October but I will not be dismissing Windows 7 like I did Vista and XP. I will keep on pushing the use of Open Source software.

The linux community must roll up its sleeves and continue the great work it has been doing. They must push the envelope and be leaders not followers in software development and we must educate the mass of the advantages of Open Source over the oligarchy we now have.

I am in sales and the worst thing a sales person can do is put down the competition instead of pushing the product he/she is  selling. It is always easier to put down the competition than to elevate your product, but you will feel better taking the high road, and in the long run you will gain more supporters. So if some Windows or Apple enthusiast is putting down Linux don’t stoop to his/her level just state something that you really enjoy when you use Ubuntu. Mention some option they may enjoy out of Linux, don’t just say that Windows sucks and Ubuntu rocks. You’ll just antagonize  them and chances are they won’t try Linux. (And Windows 7 doesn’t really suck).

January 14, 2009

Banshee and iPod Re-Revisited And 64bit Computing

Filed under: 64bit, Banshee, MSI Wind, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 5:02 pm

The continuing situation I have with my iPod and Banshee 1.4.1 in Ubuntu 8.10 seems to be only related to the 64bit version of Ubuntu 8.10. The last time I mentioned my iPod, I said that gtkpod worked on my MSI Wind which runs 32bit Ubuntu, I decided to try Banshee with the ‘pod. The last time I used Banshee with my iPod I lost all the music I had on the ‘pod, when I decide to try Banshee on the Wind, I had an intuition that it would work and I am glad I did since my intuition proved to be right. The problem we have is not with Banshee but with a 64bit package.

I am pig headed, for those of you who don’t know me, when I have set my mind on something it is very hard to get me to change my mind. I want to use Banshee as my music manager because I like alot of its features, but if I can’t use it or gtkpod to manage my iPod what is the use of it or what is the use of a 64bit operating system if some of the utilities do not work in it? When I upgraded to Ubuntu 8.10 in October I went with the 64bit version on all the computers that had 64bit capabilities. I knew that it would only improve the speed on certain utilities but if a computer has a 64bit CPU I said to myself that I should go with the 64bit OS. Apparently I made the wrong choice. Is there any other packages that do not work properly in the 64bit edition of Ubuntu?

I am thinking of doing a fresh install of Ubuntu on my main computer, the laptop. This time I would go with the 32 bit version. I might do the easiest thing and wait for Jaunty to be released in April before I do anything drastic. Only time will tell.

December 5, 2008

iPod Classic And GTKpod Revisited

Filed under: 64bit, GNU/Linux, iPod, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 4:48 pm

Rhythymbox is great for importing and exporting music to the iPod.  The only situation I encountered with using Rhythymbox as an iPod management tool is that it has a few problems with album art.  To get album art to the ‘pod we must play a song from the album.  The problem that I have is that if Rhythymbox is play music it somehow screws up alot of the album art, what I mean is, the album art I am trying to import on the iPod is wrongly associated to other albums.  I have had this problem in Ubuntu 7.10, 8.04 and the newest 8.10.

I have been trying gtkpod and gtkpod-acc to see if it now works and when I turn it on everything is fine but the second I click on the iPod directory, to manage it, The gtkpod GUI freezes and my CPU goes to 100% usage and after a little while it starts overheating.  Last night I let this go on for about 15 minutes and I killed the process fearing damage to my laptop.

I have told you a few posts back that I have the 64bit version of Ubuntu 8.10 on “kramer” my laptop.  So I decided to try gtkpod on my Wind netbook, which runs the i386 version of Ubuntu 8.10.  Gtkpod works fine on this installation.  I guess I will have to file a bug report stating that the gtkpod 64bit package is broken.

I can now manage my iPod using “blizard” with the correct album art.  I can also import video to the ‘pod again, since RhythymBox does not support video.

November 25, 2008

Banshee 1.4 And iPods Are Like Mixing Oil And Water: It Does Not Work!

Filed under: 64bit, Banshee, Gnome, GNU/Linux, iPod, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 4:47 pm

I’m not a happy camper as I am writing this.  I simply wanted to add some music to my iPod.  Gtkpod froze and my computer was heating up.  Must be a bug.  Rhythymbox works but I decide to try Banshee 1.4, Bad idea!  I am able to load new music fine.  I unplug the iPod after it says that I can disconnect it.  No music on the ‘pod.  What is going on?  Plug the iPod and I can see the music so I disconnect it once more and still no music.  I restart the ‘pod by pressing the “Menu” and “Select” buttons simultaneously.  The iPod restarts, still no music.  I am pissed off!

I connect the iPod back to the computer and  I “Drag’N’Drop” the songs, all 11016 of them, on my laptop.  I don’t feel like pulling out all my CDs and ripping them again so that I can place them in the ‘pod.  I boot Windows XP from the only computer that I own which still has Windows on it and do a factory reset on the iPod using iTunes.

I spend several hours, over several days loading up my iPod with music.  I used Rhythymbox Music Player to load the music in the ‘Pod.  I have to mention that this post has been written in three steps:  the first paragraph was written when my iPod “lost” all of it’s songs two weeks ago.  The second paragraph and the first sentence of the third paragraph was written a week later.  The rest was written today the day I published the post.

I now know that Banshee 1.4 is the culprit in losing all the songs.  I taught that maybe gtkpod was since it had frozen and I had to terminate it because my computer was overheating.  It took all my courage to try uploading songs in my iPod using Banshee and it worked but when I eject the ‘Pod it says that I have “0 songs”.  I know for a fact that I have 11037 on it since I just loaded 21 songs using Banshee 1.4.  Damn, damn, damn.  I plugin the iPod to my laptop.  I launch Rhythymbox.  I see all 11037 songs.  I play one of the songs I just uploaded using Banshee.  It plays fine.  I unplug the iPod and low and behold all my songs are there.  I am so glad, that I am glad, that I’m glad; to quote Cream.  I must dig out their CD and add that song to my iPod.  So I have learned that I cannot use Banshee as my all purpose music player/iPod loader.  I must keep on using Rhythymbox.

I really liked Banshee 1.4 but I cannot use it because of this problem.  If you do not have an iPod I whole heartily recommend it, but if you do I cannot recommend it. Apparently I am the only person that has this problem since I cannot find anybody else on the web with the same problem.  I wonder if it is because I have the 64 bit version of intrepid installed?

If you know of a solution please leave a comment, thanks.

November 11, 2008

Ibex Quite Mundane To Install

Filed under: 64bit, EeePC, Funny, Gnome, GNU/Linux, Humor, Humour, KDE, Kubuntu, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit — Normand Bissonnette @ 5:52 pm

I have installed Ubuntu 8.10 code name Intrepid Ibex on three computers. I upgraded two computers from Ubuntu 8.04. I installed Kubuntu 8.10 on a computer. No major situations to report. It has become very mundane to install Ubuntu or even upgrade. There is no reason for the regular Joe not to install Ubuntu on their “Windows” computer. Come on haven’t you heard we are living in a new era first Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, now switch to Ubuntu!

I have two computers that I still have not did the upgrade; the eeePC, I’ll do it when I can spare time. The other I will not upgrade until the gpac package is fixed. I use this computer to remux HD movies so that my Xbox 360 can play them and with mp4box that is included in the gpac package available with Ibex I cannot remux the HD movies 😦

I almost forgot to mention that I have installed the 64 bit version of Ibex on most of the computers. 32 bit computing is so twentieth century 🙂

On an other note here is a great Matrix/Windows parody, I know that most of you must have seen it, this is for those who haven’t, enjoy.

September 22, 2008

Converting One Person At The Time

Filed under: 64bit, BIOS, Dell, EeePC, GNU/Linux, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit, Vostro 1500, Windows, Windows XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 6:21 pm

On Sunday I installed Ubuntu 8.04.1 AMD on my friends laptop, an Acer.  I won’t go into detail how easy the installation and tweaking was.  I was done within an hour.  I have been trying to convince Jacques since he got his laptop in 2007 to try Ubuntu.  He finally asked me to do it last week, I think he was tired of me bugging him.

Before I did his upgrade to an operating system that works out of the box and is very secure and looks great, I had been wanting to update my Dell Vostro laptop’s BIOS and I had to this from a bootable DOS disk since the BIOS is only available as an .exe file.  I decided that I would create a DOS bootable USB stick.  I found a few how to’s on how to do this from a linux based computer.  Nothing I tried worked.  I took the decision that in October when I would upgrade to Ubuntu 8.10, I would either install XP and have a dual boot or install XP just for updating the BIOS then format the hard drive and install Ibex.

With Jacques laptop at home I had another option to update the BIOS.  I removed both hard drives from the two laptops, placed Jacques’ HD in my Vostro 1500 and installed the BIOS updates from XP.  It worked.  It took less time than trying to create a bootable DOS USB stick.  I think that I’ll create a USB with XP that is bootable with my eeePC just in case there are more updates to the BIOS.  Problem solving is my forte.

December 5, 2007

Gutsy Again

Filed under: 64bit, Epiphany, Gnome, GNU/Linux, Gutsy Gibbon, iPod, KDE, Kubuntu, Kubuntu 7.10, Linux, Opera Browser, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 64bit, Ubuntu 7.10 — Normand Bissonnette @ 11:41 am


I don’t remember if I mentioned in one of the Gusty Gibbons posts that when one of my computer was freezing with Ubuntu installed on it I switched it to Kubuntu before I found out that it was a freak combination of my video card and motherboard. I was a bit disappointed because I wanted Ubuntu and Gnome on my newer desktop computer and Kubuntu on my oldest computer. On Monday I decided to switch them over with a complete Installation.

On the oldest computer, Newman, everything went fine as expected. This is the computer on which I am try Konqueror as a web browser, a bit more on that later. I am pretty much an expert on installing Kubuntu/Ubuntu and setting them up the way I like ’em. Installing Ubuntu on the newer desktop was another story.

I Had been thinking of trying the 64bit version of Ubuntu. On monday a few hours after switching Newman from Ubuntu to Kubuntu I decided to Sidney, the desktop, to Ubuntu 7.10 64bit. I downloaded the installation cd, popped it in and restarted the computer. After choosing to install I get a black screen, no signal detected, damn. After a few Google searches I found out there is a bug. I decide to install using the alternative CD, I hope this will work. It does install. I won’t go through it step by step because we would be here for hours and we don’t want that do we?

The screen resolution was screwed up! I have a 1680×1050 screen but all I was getting was 640×400! After fooling around with it a while I finally get to change it to the correct setting but I only get to see about a quarter of the screen and when I move my mouse to one of the edge I can view another part of the screen. I try several ways to fix this but to no avail. Being a fairly good problem solver, in my own mind, I decide to fix this in an unorthodox way. I decide to remove my video card and replace it with an older one.

During the installation I rechristened it Bubble Boy to continue the tradition of naming my computers after Seinfeld characters. My iPod is named after George’s Alis Art Vandelay. Anyway, Ubuntu was installed without a hitch. I installed nVidia propriety driver and a few other packages and then turned of the computer and replaced my new video card and voila everything works as it should. I should mention that Bubble Boy froze twice when I had the older video card in it and it never froze with the newer card.

Now I will be trying everything I can with the 64bit edition of Ubuntu and if anything interesting happens I be sure to mention it to you. The first step is to get flash player to work in FireFox.

I can’t install Opera since they don’t have a 64bit version but I have installed it the computer I use at work. I like it. I like it so much that I installed it in my Kubuntu box, Newman, along side Konqueror. I tried making Konqueror faster by following a few tweaks I found on the net. That did make Konqueror faster but Konqueror was so slow that it is still slow. I now use both Konqueror and Opera on that computer. On my laptop I am using Epiphany 95% of the time and 5% is FireFox. I am getting used to not using my FireFox extensions and learning to use Epiphany’s extension. I just added a few third party extensions and I am liking Epiphany more and more.

Well I have to call it a day if I want to get some work done on Bubble Boy tonight. I’ll keep you posted.

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