Adventures In Computing

October 11, 2007

Boring Update

Filed under: Gnome, GNU/Linux, Gutsy Gibbon, KDE, Kubuntu, Linux, Ubuntu, Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 9:11 pm

In the last post I told you that I was upgrading to Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Beta release. The upgrade went fine. The only problem I have is that I don’t have the time to try it out. Maybe I should have upgraded my laptop instead since I use this one everyday.

Last time I said that I’ll be installing Gutsy on my three computers the 20th and 21st of October, this hasn’t changed. What I decided to change is I’ll be installing Kubuntu on my older computer and Ubuntu on my newer desktop computer and both on my laptop.

I guess this is it for this post, I know it was a boring post but you know what they say: “Life is a Bitch and so is Britney Spears.”

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August 22, 2007

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 9:41 pm


I have got decisions to make about my new laptop. The major decision to make is what operating system to use. I’ve been thinking of doing a dual booth XP, for my gaming needs, and a GNU/Linux OS. I might just get rid of XP completely and just do GNU/Linux. At this moment the complete removal of XP is what I am leaning towards.

As I stated before what OS to install? I am debating between Ubuntu, Kubuntu, LinuxMint and Debian. The Two in the lead are Ubuntu and Debian. I am very comfortable with Ubuntu, I have been using it for almost a year (Sept 11, 2006). Nothing really surprises me using Ubuntu now. I’d like to try Debian because it is there and I want to see what Ubuntu is based on. These are good enough reason for me.

Another thing I have to decide if I choose Ubuntu over Debian is do I do an install when I receive the computer or do I wait until Ubuntu 7.10 comes out in October? I know of a few compatibility issues with the Dell laptop I’ve ordered with Ubuntu 7.04, but from forums I’ve seen they can now be overcome. Ubuntu 7.10 will be ready for most of the new hardware, I hope.

I have installed Kubuntu 7.10 tribe 4 on a virtual machine to try it out and as we speak I am installing the KDE 4 beta to try this also. I just can’t wait. I feel like a child in a candy store.
Well that is it for today.

August 18, 2007

We Have Lift Off

Filed under: Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 10:58 am


Just to let you know that I have ordered a laptop from Dell yesterday. It’s not an Inspiron 1520 as previously noted but a Vostro 1500. It is basically the same machine except for cosmetics. The Inspiron is A “home” laptop and Vostro is a “business” laptop.

This is what I ordered:

Vostro 1500
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz, 4MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB), Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP2, English
Vostro 1500 Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz, 4MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
[466-8717]
LCD Panel 15.4 in UltraSharp™ Wide Scrn XGA+LCD Display w/TrueLife™
[320-5544]
Memory 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz, 2 Dimm
[311-7263]
Video Cards 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ 8600M GT
[320-5559]
Hard Drive 160G 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
[341-4886]
Operating System Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP2, English
[412-0998]
[420-7291]
[420-7291]
[420-7311]
Integrated NIC and Modem Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
[430-0493]
TBU Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 7.08
[410-0960]
Optical Drive 8X CD/DVD Burner w/ double-layer DVD+R write capability, w/ Roxio Creator
[313-5297]
Sound Card High Definition Audio 2.0
[313-4783]
Wireless Cards IntelJ PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/g WiFi Mini Card
[430-2409]
Camera Integrated 2.0 mega pixel Web Camera
[320-5546]
Bundle No Microsoft Office, English
[412-0379]
1st Software No Anti-Virus/ Security Software
[410-1054]
Batteries 85 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
[312-0545]
Hardware Services 1 Year Return to Depot Service and Technical Support
[920-0797]
[920-3140]
[930-2960]
[987-6829]
Online Data Storage 10GB for 1 Year Online Data Backup by Dell DataSafe
[420-7368]
[987-7479]
Dell Support DELL SUPPORT 3.4
[420-7180]
Dell Network Assistant DELL NETWORK ASSISTANT 1.7
[420-7189]
Dell Support Centre DELL SUPPORT CENTER 1.0
[420-7186]
Automated PC Tuneup 1 Year Dell Automated PC Tuneup
[420-7367]
[960-8851]

The estimated shipping date is September 3 2007. I don’t think it will be shipped on that date since that is Labour Day in Canada, a holiday.

I’ve read a bunch of reviews on the Inspiron and a few on the Vostro. Most reviewers, that tried the machine, liked it. A few reviewers gave the laptop low marks because of delays in shipping. I give these reviewers a rating of 0.05 out of 10. When you review a machine review the machine not the company. I saw on cnet people that did not receive their laptop giving 1 out of 10 because the shipping date was pushed back. How the hell do you know how the laptop works without trying it. These reviewers should be brought behind the barn and shot and the buried in a shallow grave! Imagine Roger Ebert giving thumbs down to a movie he did not see because the theatre he was supposed to see it in had a power failure and could not show it. Good grief! Give me a f%#king break. Grow up why don’t you.

Enough of this ranting and raving, don’t you hate stupidity. I read a review on major appliances a few months back where the reviewer was giving a bad review on a 4 year old fridge because it broke down and the appliance company was not fixing it for them. The reviewer did not take an extended warranty and the refrigerator had a 1 year warranty. It is too bad the fridge stopped working get it fixed or buy a new one and get the f%@king extended warranty you cheap bastard!

Enough of the ranting and raving, for real this time. Boy that felt good. I guess I’ll stop it at that today because I don’t want to alienate to many people today.

p.s. My review on a HP Pavilion tx1220ca laptop: I give it 0 out of 10 because Staples did not have it in stock and the clerk told me on Tuesday that it would be in on Thursday and now it’s Saturday and they still haven’t received it yet. Am I a bastard or what? No more ranting for now.

August 14, 2007

Never Say Never

Filed under: Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 10:48 am

Last time I compared the time it took to install Ubuntu and PCLOS. This week I’ve installed XP in a computer for a friend. Am I a traitor to the GNU/Linux movement? I think not, I only did it for one reason: the cash, … and research. OK I did it for two reasons: the cash and research, … and friendship. Lets try that again, I only did it for three reasons: the cash, research and friendship, … and for fun. Four reasons: the cash, research, friendship and for fun.

I’ll state right here and now that I whole hardy support the GNU/Linux movement. I have gotten people to try Ubuntu but most people are like old dogs: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. From my experience most people want to follow the path of least resistance. A greater number of people will watch The Discovery Channel and watch someone climb mount Everest and say that would be challenge and leave it at that. While a very small percentage would actually do it. I think I have used an overblown analogy because installing and using a GNU/Linux operating system is not as hard as climbing mount Everest. It is a hell of a lot easier and less preparation and it takes less time.

I digress lets get back to the point. I popped in the install disk in the laptop and turn the computer on. It was 6:45 pm. After a few minutes I was asked on which partition I wanted to install I deleted all partition and created one and chose that one. I then chose the NTFS format, not the quick and then I waited, and waited and waited. It took over 50 minutes just to format! I stopped checking the time. The installation took another 35 to 40 minutes since I did not notice when it started. When the computer restarts I install the drivers needed for the chip set, the display, the card reader, the modem, the sound card, the wireless, the web cam and the muse pad. With all the restarts this took between half an hour and 45 minutes, at this point time is flying by.

The next step is the installation of anti virus, anti adware/spyware. I also install firefox and upgrade the windows media to version 11. I install video codecs and ac3 (sound codec for movies). Windows update has been working all along these installation and now it tells me that I have to restart the computer and I need a break. It is now 9:40 pm, I don’t restart the computer I simply turn it off. I decide to continue the installation the following morning.

I wake up at 5:50 am turn on the computer and let window finish it’s automatic updates and go for a walk. I’m back at 6:45 am and the update is done, I have to restart the computer. It take me another hour to download and install Open Office, install plug ins for firefox, install iTunes. I’m almost done. The last thing I install is Nero for burning CDs and DVD’s. I forgot to install Picasa 2, Google Earth and Gimp. They’re now installed. The total time to install Windows XP and accompanying programs and tweaking is 4 hours and 17 minutes whilst it took me an hour and twelve minutes to be at the same point with Ubuntu. Now I did not calculate the Windows update I did this morning and all the drivers and programs I had downloaded before starting the install. With Ubuntu all was calculated. Now the myth that Windows is easier than GNU/Linux is easily dismissed when you install the operating system.

Cost wise, Ubuntu cost 75 cents for the CD it was burned on. Windows XP pro is $249.95, NOD32 is 39.95 and Nero is 69.92. All the other programs I installed are open source therefore free. $359.82 CAN instead of $0.75 my choice is Ubuntu. After looking at the cost of installing windows on a computer, I no longer look for reasons why people use peer to peer sites to avoid paying these ridiculous prices. The same amount of man hours were placed in creating free Open Source programs. The only difference I can see is that one is a labour of love and the other is how much can we get for this.

At the beginning of this post I said that one of the reasons I did this was for fun, I take that reason out, it was not fun it was hard work. I won’t be doing it for another long time. I think I learned my lesson, for now.

I have to go to work now. That is it for this time.

p.s. I would like to state that Windows users are not old dogs, it was only an analogy.

p.p.s I still have not gotten a new laptop. I know that I’ll be going with a Dell Inspiron 1520. I’ll let you know when I order it.

August 8, 2007

Back To The Future

Filed under: Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 10:05 pm

I will tell you right now, PCLOS (PCLinuxOS) is a fine operating system. I know they will continue to make improvements but at the moment it is not the GNU/Linux distribution for me. So my computer is back to Kubuntu and I also installed Ubuntu so I can have my cake and eat it too. The main reason I switched back are as mentioned before, ktorrent crashes when I try to quit the program and no automatic updates. The ktorrent bug I could have lived with but the funny thing is when it crashed I could not get Firefox to start unless I logged of and then back in. Weird Hey?

I think I’ll be purchasing myself a new laptop. I have been debating between an Acer and a Dell. In the last 24 hours I have flip flopping from one to the other. At the moment I am writing this Dell is winning. Come back to see who will win, if any!

In the last post I mentioned I loved my iPod, and after posting it I realised that I did not mention getting it on this blog. I wrote about it on the other blog. Now you know that I own an iPod video 80 GB, why go nano when you can get video?

Back to my Ubuntu re-install on my computer. A few posts back I wrote about the installation time for PCLOS now lets compare them with Ubuntu. Ubuntu took 16 minutes and 47 seconds to install. PCLOS took 15 minutes and 10 seconds. PCLOS is ahead by 1 minute and 37 seconds. I waited 39 minutes and 33 seconds for my updates on Ubuntu whilst with PCLOS I had to wait 49 minutes and 34 seconds. Round two goes to Ubuntu. Too tweak my system I spent 16 minutes with Ubuntu and with PCLOS approximately 10 minutes. Round three goes to PCLOS. It took longer to set up Ubuntu because not all the multimedia codecs are installed but with PCLOS they are. The overall amount of time installing are, I’ll calculate it for you mathematically challenged, PCLOS 75 minutes and Ubuntu 72 minutes. Not a big difference overall. Now I have my automatic updates. ktorrent 2.2.1 still crashes when I quit the program but it does not affect any other programs. I guess that is why this version of ktorrent is not in the official repositories.

I guess that is it for this post, i see you next time.

August 1, 2007

Back On Track

Filed under: Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 9:55 pm

Hey everybody! I guess by reading the previous post you know why I did not write in a long time. Now to bring you up to date with my progress with PCLOS(PCLinuxOS). I did not do a lot of work with in the last two weeks with all that happened. Everything works fine, mostly. Ktorrent crashed when I try to quit the program, I consider this a minor inconvenience since I am quitting the program when it crashes. What I find really annoying is the fact that there is no automatic update feature with
PCLOS. We have to do it manually. This is a problem PCLOS people! It should be fixed with the next release if PCLOS wants to play with the big boys.

I almost decided to thrash PCLOS and reinstall Kubuntu but I decided to keep at it. It basically does the same thing, but I am better acquainted with Kubuntu and Kubuntu has a automatic updating feature (Can play with the big boys).

On the computer that I have Ubuntu as an operating system, I have switched for Exaile as my music player to Rythmbox. I’ll stick with Rythmbox until I find something better.

I still love my iPod. Everybody that enjoys music should get one! I can do everything that Mac or Windows users can with the iPod. This is one of the reasons I switched from Exaile to Rythmbox, I prefer Rythmbox’s iPod options over Exaile.

Thank you for your time reading this today, and I hope you’ll come back soon.

July 29, 2007

Jean Francois Xavier Charles Bissonnnette Rest in Peace

Filed under: Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 10:41 pm

At 9:04 July 18th my father pasted away. I will miss him. I love you Dad.

July 13, 2007

First Look at PCLinuxOS

Filed under: Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 10:43 am

<!– @page { size: 21.59cm 27.94cm; margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } —

PCLinuxOs is the new star of the GNU/Linux world. A few weeks ago I decided to give it a try to see what all the hoopla was about. I tried to run it in VMWare virtual machine but I had too many issues. I then tried it in VirtualBox, another virtual machine, different issues. Finally one Monday, July 9th, I did a regular install.

PCLinuxOS, like so many these days, is installed from a live cd. The experience is a pleasant one. I did not perused the live cd before installing, being well versed with GNU/Linux. This is a feature for those disillusioned Windows users or the adventurous. It is a fine way to try out a GNU/Linux distribution before taking the plunge for the first time.

When the disc boots up I answer a few questions to set the language, time, stuff like that. Once the desktop appears and I hear the KDE music I click on the install button. PCLinuxOs installs in an amazing 15 minutes and 10 seconds, wow that is fast, faster than me beloved Ubuntu. During the installation I am asked where to install, if you are new to GNU/Linux and you still want a security blanket use only a part of the hard drive and keep windows as a fall back OS. If you give GNU/Linux a chance and don’t give up easy you’ll never go back to windows. The last thing you’ll be asked is about grub, I recommend to OK at the recommended setting, 10 seconds.

After the reboot I look to see if there are updates because the ISO is over one month old and there has been some improvements to a few packages. No automatic updates? No I can’t find it, so I fire up synaptic and do a manual update. Now I know why it took only 15 minutes to install compared with about 20 minutes with Ubuntu. Ubuntu checks for updates at the end of the installation. This must be an oversight by the PCLinuxOS programmer and should be fixed by the next release.

The updates took 49 minutes and 24 minutes to download and install. I reboot the computer since I believe there is a new kernel build. One of the only times you have to reboot after installing something in GNU/Linux. Now I have a complete working OS with everything updated. You may say that 50 minutes for updates is just a bad as windows, well it is not! I don’t have to install burning software, got it, don’t need to install an anti virus program, don’t need it. With PCLinuxOS I have lots of multimedia codecs preinstalled so I don’t have to install them. The last time I installed XP it took me about three hours to be at the same point I am now with PCLinuxOS. So I have a bit less than 2 hours to set everything the way I like it.

The first thing I do is set up the screen resolution to 1680×1050 which was made easy. Everything I needed was in the Administration Center. I had to configure my monitor and then change the resolution. The next thing I wanted was eye candy. So, still in the Administration Center, I liked on the “Configure

3D Desktop Effects. What my video card does not support 3D, bull crap, it does. I change the video package from nv to the nvidia propriety package and tried again. It works. Unfortunately for PCLinuxOS the changing of the nvidia package should be done like Ubuntu, automatic. I hope that they change that for the next release.

One thing that PCLinuxOS got right and better than Ubuntu is the setting up of the printer. I clicked Set Up Printer and chose on this computer and it saw it right away I clicked next and then done and I was done.

I then change the wallpaper, added a panel on top, moved Icons installed gtkpod for the new Ipod and then i was done. It took me 75 minutes to install, update and modify PCLinuxOS for my tastes. Everything seems to work fine. I keep you updated in future posts.

That is it for this long post, it was way longer before I decided to edit it. I hope you did not find it boring and I also hope that I did not jump to much details for you tech heads. See ya later.

July 9, 2007

And the winner is…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 10:39 pm

In the last post I had asked for your help in deciding which desktop I should use on one of my machine. Because of reader apathy, only two vote, There was a tie between Red Martini and blue Martini. So I will be deciding on the desktop I’ll be using. Drum roll please, the winner is Red Martini.

On other news, I have upgraded my other computers RAM to 4 GB from 1GB. Wow I still haven’t put the computer through its pace to see the amelioration, if any. I will be updating you on the progress I am making with Fedora 7 and PCLinuxOS in the next posts, since I haven’t taken the time to work with them, The 4 GB RAM will help in running the virtual machine, that I will be using with Fedora and as I am writing this I am installing PCLinuxOS on one of my computers.

I guess this will be a short post. You know what they say “a short post is better than no post at all”. See you later.

June 27, 2007

Minty Fresh

Filed under: Uncategorized — Normand Bissonnette @ 8:19 pm

Hey everybody, How are you all doing? I’m fine. No preamble today straight to business. I installed LinuxMint on one of my computers last Sunday and on Tuesday I re-installed Ubuntu. They are both the same operating system! Give me one hour at the most, and my Ubuntu computer would be exactly the same as LinuxMint. I knew that LinuxMint was based on Ubuntu but I did not realize that there weren’t a lot of difference between both. By the time I switched back to Ubuntu, My LinuxMint was looking and feeling like the Ubuntu it had replaced. So I asked myself, Norm why did we change? And my answer was to try something different. There is not enough different in LinuxMint to warrant the change from Ubuntu. Now if you do not use either and you felt adventurous you could switch to one or the other and you would be pleasantly surprised. I think that if you are trying Linux for the first time and are not and “expert” in the art of frigging around tweaking this and that, go with LinuxMint. I noticed that multimedia codecs were installed by default.

On other news I am trying the new and improved compiz-fusion on this machine and all I have to say is WOW! I know, you might be saying to yourself that eye candy is not useful at all for productivity, but, there is always a but, damn it shure looks perty.

Now to the million dollar question. Which of the following desktop should I use on my computer? I know that you know that I know that ultimately I’ll decide what goes on my computer but I’ll pretend that I give a rats ass what you think and maybe you can influence my decision one way or the other. So please vote, early and vote often.

That’s it, that’s all.

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