Adventures In Computing

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.

August 13, 2008

Getting You Up To Date

Filed under: Asus, Dell, EeePC, GNU/Linux, GoblinX, Kubuntu, Linux, opensuse, Ubuntu, Vostro 1500 — Normand Bissonnette @ 1:14 am

I have gone missing for over two weeks, I was on vacation and I sort of took some time off of working on my computers.  I have now returned and my post will be more frequent.  The first thing on my agenda  is the Dell RAM situation I told you about in my last post.  Last week when I got home I called the Dell service line to get them to ship me the replacement RAM for my Vostro laptop.  They told me that I would get the 1 Gb RAM card within 10 business days.  The courier tried to deliver it to me 18 hours after I hung up with Dell.  I was not at home so I called them and got it delivered to my place of work the following day.  I still have to return the defective part.

Before I had the problem with my Vostro 1500 laptop, I was thinking of getting a MSI Wind netbook.  My eeePC is still working fine but I find the keyboard painfully tiny, it is hard to type with accuracy since I have normal adult hands.  I think the keyboard was designed for child.  The service that I got from Dell was great so I might wait until the release their mini Inspiron which wil be release, hopefully, in the near future.  I have a suspicion that when it is releases it will have ubuntu’s netbook OEM pre-installed.

I have also read  somewhere on the Internet that Apple will have a true netbook in 2009.  I used to have an Apple Macintosh which I really liked at the time.  I would keep OS X but I would have a dual boot with Ubuntu as my main OS.

I am not sure what I will do but I will keep you in touch.  Tomorrow is m day off so I intend to remove OpenSuse and Install Kubuntu on one of my computer I want try KDE 4.1.  I am sure They have made improvements to 4.0.

This evening I tried to get Goblinx on my eeePC but I could not get X to start.  I think that the screen resolution is what is preventing X to work.  I am tired so after an hour I have decided to take a break.

I guess that is it for today I sit back and watch the Olympics on television

July 26, 2008

Dell Laptop RAM Fails. Dell Service Saves The Day

Filed under: Dell, Ubuntu, Vostro 1500 — Normand Bissonnette @ 9:09 pm

Last night my laptop froze while I was moving data from the hard drive to a usb memory stick.  Nothing was working, I had to turn off the computer by pressing on the power switch until the computer turned off.  I restarted the computer and I was getting noting except the power indicator light, the DVD drive light and the caps lock light were on.  It was late so I did not fool around with it too much.

I am presently on vacation and staying at my mothers house on the river.  There is no internet at my mom’s so I could not research what was happening to my laptop (Dell vostro 1500).  This morning I decided to drive to my apartment in “the city” and try to figure out what was going on.  I was not even getting the Dell splash screen nothing was happening with the computer.  I read a bunch of forums to see if anybody had any idea what was going on.  I read that it was the RAM, I read it was the hard drive, I read that it was the CPU, I read that it was the motherboard, …etc.

I check on Dell’s Canadian site to see if I was still under warranty and thank goodness I still have 26 days of warranty on my laptop.  Worse case scenario I send the vostro to Dell and they fix, I might lose a bit of data.  I call the tole free number to see if they can help me out before I send in the computer.  I try a lot of things, after a half hour on the phone we figured out that the problem lies with the RAM failing.  They are upgrading their system at Dell so it takes another 30 minutes before the tech confirms that they’ll ship out a replacement for my faulty RAM.  I am glad that I can fix this myself and that I will not lose any of the data on my computer.

Last year when I ordered my Dell laptop, Ubuntu pre-installed was not available in Canada.  I got my computer with Windows XP and when I got it I installed Ubuntu right away.  These days a Canadian consumer can get three systems from Dell With Ubuntu pre-installed.  I own two Dell computers and with both  I had a small problem with each one and when I called the support line they were able to help me out so I will recommend Dell to anybody that is looking for a great computer with Ubuntu as its operating system.  It’s all about the service.  We all hear about bad service it is time that we hear about good service.

October 29, 2007

Parking Is Dangerous For Your Hard Drive

Filed under: Dell, Gnome, GNU/Linux, Gutsy Gibbon, Ubuntu, Vostro 1500, Windows, Windows XP, XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 9:45 pm


Three days ago on October 26th, I read about a bug with Ubuntu that would kill my hard drive within a year if left unchecked. I read someplace where someone says that it is the fault of the BIOS vendor and another place it is the fault of the hard drive vendor, yet another place says that it is Ubuntu’s fault. I don’t care who’s fault it is, we have to fix it and fix it ASAP.

The bug is that in laptops the HDD parks itself once a minute and according to most of the articles I read a HDD can do this 600000 which means that a hard disc drive will last a little less than 167 hours. In my case it is not as bad as that but my hard drive will only last 1 year if it continues at this rate.

When I first read this article I did not think that I was affected and that it was just a freaky thing happening to a few laptops. Yesterday I read more and started wondering if my computer was affected with this bug. I checked it and my computer was cycling once every two minutes or so, as I said not as bad as once a second but worrisome. I read of a few fixes but I didn’t really have the time to try them so I waited until this evening to give it a go.

Let me tell you that I was really worried this afternoon, not because that my hard disc drive might fail within a year but because I might have to remove Ubuntu and install XP on my laptop. I have tried the fixes and thank God they are working on my desktop. I am very happy right now, so happy that I want to jump around and yell “hee hah”, but I won’t.

Almost all the information I got to fix my problem I got it from here, thank you Roald Hopman (AKA Ubuntu Demon) if it wasn’t for you I would never have known what happenned to my HDD in a years time.

August 28, 2007

That’s One Small Step For A Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind

Filed under: Dell, Gnome, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, Vostro 1500 — Normand Bissonnette @ 12:54 am

After long deliberations I have decided. I am happy with my decision. My decision was to simply install Ubuntu 7.04 on my new Vostro 1500 from Dell. Since most of the hardware is relatively new the Linux kernel does not support it all. With a lot of hard work from my Ubuntu Community friends I was able to do it in a very short amount of time. I started the installation a 8:30 pm and finished at 10:30 pm. I installed Ubuntu with the Alternate install CD, which basically means no fancy live CD or GUI, all was done in text mode, like it was done in the old days, two – three years ago.

One of the reason it took so short a time is the fact that my Internet Provider, Aliant, has finally given me what I was paying for a fast Internet connection. My Internet connection is now at 5Mbps instead of 1.5Mbps, what a difference? I could not believe it.

Anyway I still have a few issues with my laptop, which I have called Kramer, The Web Cam is not functioning and when I turn off the computer I have weird colours on my screen and I have to completely shut it of by pressing the power button. I’ll be trying to fix these issues in the near future. I don’t think that these can be considered major problems. If I can’t find solutions for these inconveniences I believe that I can live with them until the next release of Ubuntu in October.

You might be asking yourself why I decided not to do a dual booth with XP? Well when I was doing a system back up the damn thing froze. It also froze another time which I can’t recall what I was doing. What is the point of have an Operating System that freezes all the time? I can’t see why myself.

I guess that is it for now. Thanks for all you faithful readers and I hope you’ll join me at the other blog because that one is more fun to read and write. Just click the No Name Blog link.

August 25, 2007

The Eagle Has Landed

Filed under: Dell, Gnome, GNU/Linux, Linux, Ubuntu, Vostro 1500, Windows, Windows XP, XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 2:13 am

I have received my brand spanking new laptop from Dell today, Woo-Hoo! Mmmmmh laptop. The estimated shipping date was supposed to be September 3 but to my amazement it was shipped on the 20th of august instead. I am so happy right now, I am just like a pig in shit. This is the best thing since slice bread. I have a shit eating grim. Enough of the cliches. My first impression is that it is thicker than I expected but it feels very solid.

I haven’t decided if I dual booth Ubuntu and XP yet, but as you can see I have decided to install Ubuntu as my GNU/Linux operating system. I am not going to do anything until the beginning of next week, so I still have time to decide what exactly I’ll be doing.

I’ve installed security programs on the computer and I will be doing a back up so that I can revert it to almost the condition I received it in.

My fake cnet.com review would be 10 out of 10 because I receive it two weeks before I was supposed to. This review is not based on any of the computer’s performance what so ever(Please refer to “We have Lift Off” post for reference).

I am using Internet Explorer 6 right now and being so used to Firefox I don’t know how people can use a browser without tab browsing. I had to open another window to remind me of the title of a previous post! If you are still using IE 6 change to Firefox or Opera or even IE 7 and get with the times.

It is getting late so I’ll call it a day and early next week I’ll tell ya what i am doing with the laptop.

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