Adventures In Computing

May 20, 2008

My Linux Anniversary

Filed under: GNU/Linux, Hardy Heron, Kubuntu, Kubuntu 8.04, Linux, Ubuntu, Ubuntu 8.04, Vista, Windows, Windows XP, XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 10:56 am

As of today it has been two years since I changed from Windows XP to GNU/Linux. I started my Linux experience with OpenSuSE. I remember after formating my computer I could not get my Internet connection working. I work a few hours to get it. If you have been reading this blog you know that I am now using Ubuntu/Kubuntu and I remember that right after installing Ubuntu I did not have to do anything the internet worked right out of the box.

linuxIt has been a very interesting two years, I have a lot about computer since the switch. I could do almost anything when I used Windows XP and it took maybe one year for me to be able to say that I could do anything with Linux. I got a lot of help from Google, forums, various Wikis, How-Tos and several blogs. When I am unsure I just search the internet with Google and most of the time someone else has had the same problems before and a solution has already been found.

Two weeks ago I installed Ubuntu on a friends computer and he is having problems with the computer freezing. I think his problem is faulty RAM because the computer had these same problems using Windows XP. He is now shopping for RAM. There are several reasons for switching over to a GNU/Linux systems, the main reason that I upgraded to Linux was no more software piracy for me. Two years ago almost all the software on my computer was downloaded using P2P software and being a cheap SOB I did not pay when I could get it free. I felt somewhat guilty and to get rid of the guilt I either had to spend thousands of dollars or go with free open source software. I chose the cheapest path and I did the right choice.

Most people will use their computers only to surf the Internet and do a a bit of word processing. GNU/Linux is perfect for these users. If you don’t mind using “non-free” codecs, most users fall in this category, you can watch DVD’s and listen to music. I have stated before that where GNU/linux is lacking, is in the gaming area. With the money you have saved (Vista $239, Nero $99, Microsoft Office $179…) you can buy either an Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or a Wii. Maybe you can purchase two of the three gaming console if you use Gimp instead of Adobe Photoshop ($699).

If you are willing to do things differently and you are ready to learn something new you should start thinking of switching to something better, why settle for mediocrity when the alternative is so much better?

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December 14, 2007

I Have Seen the Light with Enlightenment

I have been experimenting with both Geubuntu and Elive-Gem the last few days and I am quite intrigued. I have been using Virtualbox trying them out and I like what I have seen so far. Yesterday I was off from work and played around with both and I was so impressed with Geubuntu that I was one mouse click away from installing it one my laptop. I was to lazy to back up the files from my /home directory to my /storage one, so I did not install it. I wait a bit before I decide to take the plunge. I can’t install Elive-Gem on the laptop because it won’t support my wifi or audio card.

Both these operating systems use Enlightenment as there windows manager and it is different from everything I have seen so far. Maybe I’ll install it on my eldest desktop, but not now, I wanted to try KDE 4.0 first when it comes out in January.

In the last two post I mentioned that I have been trying out other web browsers than the top two. Here are my finding. On the laptop I am using Epiphany with a bunch of there extensions. On this computer I am not missing Firefox at all, to tell you the truth I prefer Epiphany. On my Kubuntu box I have been using Konqueror which I find slow but I still enjoy it. I would choose Firefox over it. On my Ubuntu 64bit computer I have kept Firefox but I installed the 32bit version so that the flash player plug in could work. I might switch over to Epiphany on this computer. On this same computer I have XP with which I tried Maxthon and since I don’t use XP often I find alright but I haven’t used it to its full potential. At work I now use Opera and I am very impressed with it, it is very fast I would recommend it to anybody wanting to get rid of bloated browsers.

I guess my time is up for today.

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.

October 23, 2007

Gutsy Gibbon Up And Running

Filed under: Gnome, GNU/Linux, Gutsy Gibbon, KDE, Kubuntu, Linux, Ubuntu, Windows XP, XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 9:47 pm

Gutsy Gibbon is up and running all the three musketeers, yeah that right I installed it on my lap-top, Kramer, last evening. Everything that I use regularly works, hee haa little doggies. I am very happy with this version of Ubuntu.

I had a freezing problem with one of my desktop computer, new-toy to be precise. I had installed Ubuntu on it Saturday and nVidia’s propriety driver and the computer was freezing. I found out Sunday that my graphic card (EVGA 7300GS) and motherboard (E9N) for one reason or another were not really compatible. When I installed the drivers for Windows XP there was a patch for the graphic card so XP works correctly. I tried a few fixes and they seemed to work, but after a while the computer freezes again.

I did not have this problem when I had Kubuntu on it, so guess what? I reformatted it with Kubuntu and christen it Sidney, and what the hell I reformatted precious with Ubuntu and named that one Newman. I did all of this Monday evening.

Today I finished tweaking all three computers and Sidney froze again. I removed the nVidia propriety drivers. It still froze. I was getting pissed off. I read in the nVidia forums that there is no solution for this problem. I have a solution I go and buy myself another video card a GeForce 8500GT. Now Sidney does not freeze. I am a few dollars poorer but I am Video rich.

I am tired so I’ll take a break and watch television and not touch any of my computers this evening. See you later.

October 21, 2007

Gutsy Gibbon Second & Third Steps

Filed under: Gnome, GNU/Linux, Gutsy Gibbon, KDE, Kubuntu, Linux, Ubuntu, Windows, Windows XP, XP — Normand Bissonnette @ 4:43 pm

First off I’d like to say that I am sorry that I did not write on Friday, or yesterday, as promised in Gutsy Gibbon’s First Step. Friday was a very hectic days so when I got home I decided to take it easy and not work to hard on the computer, so all I do is transfer some files from New-Toy to Precious so I don’t have to do this on Saturday.

Yesterday when I got home from work I went back at it. My goal was to complete the Kubuntu 7.10 installation on Precious, install Windows XP (for Games) and Ubuntu 7.10 on New-Toy and if I still had it in me to install Ubuntu in Kramer the laptop.

The first thing I do is start my XP installation on New-Toy and while this is going on and on and on and on and on (get the point it is slow, painfully slooooooww) I install all the packages I can think of that I’ll need. Stuff like Samba, ssh, x2x (to be able to use one keyboard and mouse for more then one computer), gstreamer plugins, flash player, mencoder, mozilla-mplayer, gtkpod (for the iPod), GPixPod (again for the iPod), unrar, etc, etc, etc I am sure that I have forgotten a few packages but it is quite easy to install them when I’ll need them. I set up the desktop the way I like it. I don’t really like the wallpaper/desktop art but no more time to waste to change it at the moment.

I have to mention that when I used Dolphin, the new KDE file manager, I like the look and feel of it but there is no tab option like in Konquerer, the consolation is that there is split view where I can open two folders at the same time. I guess I’ll have to make due with that. In Konqueror I usually opened up to four folders at the time.

When XP is done installing I try to install NOD32 on it but my back up copy of the anti-virus is on Precious and I don’t have my Ethernet drivers installed. New-Toy as never had XP installed on it and I did not expect to install it on that computer so all the CDs are put away God knows where. So I have to download all the drivers I need from the net. I start the downloads and I start installing Ubuntu 7.10 on New-Toy. Same thing happened with the “Scanning the Mirror” being stuck at 82%. I watch television while I wait. When I go back to the computer everything is done in less time that Windows XP was “completely” installed.

I log in and I again get a restricted driver notice. I do install the nVidia driver so that I can use the desktop effects. The basic setting is, let us say, basic. I install the CompizConfig Settings Manager and set up the desktop effects to my liking. I again install all the packages I’ll be needing. I have to mention that both New-Toy and Precious had the correct screen resolution when the were turned on. This is the first time this happens for me since I apparently have abnormal monitors. Everything else is working, sound, Ethernet, modem, printers. I have to download and install drivers for my XP installation, which is simpler? My choice, on three computers, is easy.

I do change the wallpaper on New-Toy to Elephant, note to self find a blue Elephant wallpaper for Precious. Once everything is done on New-Toy Ubuntu. I restart the computer with XP to install the drivers. I spend the rest of the evening/night installing drivers, anti-virus, anti-spyware, a good firewall, burning software, updates and a secure web browser (Firefox). Time is up it is 11:30 and I call it a day.

This morning after I get home from my morning walk I decide to install Battlefeild 2 and Bioshock and a few more game on the XP partition. I try them out for several hours,in fact about 4 hours. I don’t play computer game very often but when I do I play them for way too long. Nothing creative done yet today except that now I am transfering files back to New-Toy from Precious and I am putting yet more music in my iPod, when will I listen to these songs? Soon I hope.

I decided not to install Gutsy on my laptop at them moment I wait until I have more time to devote to this endeavour. I guess that is it for this overlong post. From what I have seen Ubuntu has another great release under their belt. Now we have to get ready for Hardy Heron Ubuntu 8.04 when it comes out in April.

This has been posted to both my blogs, Adventures in Computing and No Name Blog. Usually this would only have been posted in the Adventures blog but I wanted to see how much traffic it would create on the No Name Blog.

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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