i am huge in japan

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Yesterday I ordered my new keyboard for home. It's a BenQ slim silver and black number which will match my case and mouse. It will be nice to escape my boring generic beige keyboard!

Ubuntu Linux releases 'Dapper Drake' on June 1st. I will definitely be updating the version on this laptop (Hoary Hedgehog). I unexpectedly have the urge to install it on a desktop too. Maybe at work or home. I love SUSE a lot but right now it's just not up to scratch so maybe it's about time I got my feet more dirty in a debian based system (I've never even used apt-get!). Setting up XGL and non-OSS stuff in SUSE is really easy but it's a bit more work in Ubuntu. I guess I will try the livecd to get a feel for how it will work out. It's a big step but that's what Linux is all about - choice and not being locked to one option!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Package woes

So I've seen mention on the SUSE website and various news articles around the Internets that there is definitely something seriously broken with the 10.1 package management. YaST and Zen-Updater don't get along it seems. I'm glad it's not just me, but I am appalled that it shipped with such a horrific bug not resolved. Looking at the comments of the bugreport it looks like someone declared it fixed when it actually wasn't. That might explain it. A fix for this issue should be out in a few days or a week or something. Just how people will be able to update to get the fix is another issue ;)

Been battling access to FTP repositories and I now finally have the new amaroK installed. I couldn't even install it via an rpm because of the above bug.

Took a peek at KDE under 10.1 yesterday, very briefly. Enough to see that it had a nice package manager program but otherwise looked rather KDEish. Since there was no easy XGL option I fled back to GNOME.

In other woe news, my G4 iPod has decided it doesn't feel like charging at the moment.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Boot times

This afternoon I started to look at the time it took to boot SUSE 10.1

I looked into what services were starting on bootup and disabled some unnecessary ones. I then timed it before and after. I wanted to compare my work and home computer. So to make it fair I only timed between pushing enter on the grub bootloader screen and being presented with a login prompt.

Work PC: 60 seconds and I got it down to 55 seconds.

Home PC: 45 seconds and I got it down to 35 seconds.

Returning from suspending to disk I get a prompt after 25 seconds however I lose the connection to my router so that's useless.

On the software updating front, I see other people are encountering the same issues that I am. Looks like a fix is in the works, hope they push it out to people and don't just leave it to 10.2 to give it. *cough*faultyusbdrivesin10.0*cough*

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fresh install

A fresh install of SUSE 10.1 at home went well. I had a bit of trouble yesterday and this morning because for some reason I couldn't access the repositories. Finally started working this afternoon though. I had to download some codecs so I could watch the video of Lordi at Eurovision.

I hope the guru and packman repo's that I use get 'digitally signed' soon because it sucks having to dismiss a warning message every time I open Software Management or Installation Sources.

I must say I am not impressed with the new way of installing standalone rpm files and the 'Software Updater'. It takes ages to load when installing software and sometimes doesn't work. The updater tells me I have updates but when I try to install them it says I need root privileges. It doesn't *ask* for the password however.

I hope these issues get fixed with a bug fix patch but I doubt they will somehow. I will try updating my GNOME packages which could fix it. (If I can get that repository to load). I think I've found a 2.14 source.

A fresh install means that GNOME now has only one panel instead of two. I didn't think I could make it work after getting used to two, but I've found it not too bad. I considered adding the top panel again but I feel it makes my screen seem too small.

At least XGL is still being awesome. Stumbled across a couple more tricks too.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Oh and the Macbook

Great news today about the Apple Macbooks now being available. One will most likely be purchased by the Mrs on her holiday because it works out to be $400 cheaper that way.

(this post posted by the blog posting applet)

The switch is in motion

Today I got so fed up with the slowness of my wireless 'broadband' that I made the call to switch to cable internet. I'm getting the 2mbit/2mbit 10 GB plan for the same price I am paying for a "1mbit/128k" 5 GB plan. 1mbit really now meaning "about twice to three times as fast as dialup" not '20 times faster" as advertised.

Anyway the install is scheduled for the morning of June 12. Hopefully all goes to plan, stay tuned for my June 13th post of rage if it doesn't. Still tossing up whether to cancel my current service this month or not. The Mrs says no. It ends on June 14 so there is a chance I will be paying another month for no good reason or it will be a lifesaver if the cable install is delayed...

The Mrs is going away for some weeks on June 17th so she doesn't want to risk having no net on the days leading up to it. Fair enough really. I guess I can leave my spare "broadband" downloading big stuff to the pvr.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SUSE 10.1/XGL goodness

As expected, my SUSE 10.1 dvd arrived today. I promptly installed it on my home and work computers.

Visually it has some subtle differences and the most noticeable change being the revised way ot installing software.

But I then got eager to set up XGL. I reinstalled the NVIDIA graphics drivers and then went into the Gnome settings to enable XGL. I was really blown away at how much it improved my experience. Window management is much smoother and crisper, and the eye candy effects are really cool. Justin the Mac user across from me was jealous ;)

When I got home I configured XGl as well and discovered even more effects I didn't know about, like peeking behind a window by bending the top of the window down.

I thought a reinstall would be needed at home because it was very slow logging in and CPU usage was maxing out. But it seems to be a problem I read about in a review with the Beagle search enging racing away indexing everything by default. I disabled that and things have sped up.

I haven't used it yet because I'm posting from an Ubuntu laptop but Gnome now features a blog updating program that supports Blogspot and Livejournal so I doubt I'll be updating from the web much anymore.

I'm yet to fully explore the 10.1 set up so I wont comment too much yet.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Better SUSE news

Last night I was reading the SUSE website and they were talking about how you can make a DVD iso by using a special program to merge the 6 CD isos. About the same time I recieved an email from the Linux shop saying they had decided to do just that so I can get my order on Tuesday instead of Saturday. A really nice coincidence. I agreed to this plan and they will still send me the real DVD iso if this doesn't work for me.

Now I have to choose which I will upgrade first, work or home...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

SUSE 10.1 delay and Opera

When SUSE 10.1 was released yesterday I got up early to start the torrent download but found the DVD iso would not be released until May 18th. This was sucky because I was hoping to use up the rest of my internet traffic allowance on SUSE before today. Instead I have pre-ordered the DVD from a local merchant that I got 10.0 from previously. It was only $22.

I've tackled using some of the traffic by catching up podcasts instead.

I tried a newer nightly build of Opera 9 to see what the revised widget ui was about. Ugh I didn't like it at all and reverted to the older nightly. I need my dim screen with widgets appearing with a keystroke. Choosing them individually from a menu sucks.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


So on Monday I got the minotaur working at 1920x1200. It's soo nice to have a big desktop. After that I went to help someone with a 17" CRT and it just felt so tiny.

I started to have a bit of problem with the VGA connection but I corrected that by using the DVI cable. I would have used DVI the whole time except it bizarrely didn't work at first.

SUSE Linux 10.1 is out either tomorrow or on Friday, depending on where the "11th of May" announcer is. This time I think I am going to download the DVD ISO myself instead of buying it online. I have a few gigabytes of monthly traffic to use before Sunday and I have a DVD writer now. I just need to get a blank DVD.....

Saturday, May 06, 2006


At 12pm yesterday Justin informed me that our 24" monitors and video cards had all arrived. I was hungry so we set his up and it looks nice. Then we went to my place to try some PVR stuff. It's going quite well now - timeshifting rocks. I even got a missing channel sorta tuned in.

At 1pm we arrived back at work and I started to install my monitor. This began 4.5 hours of hair tearing out boot failures, video card failures and multiple linux reinstalls due to a mangled file system (caused by said failures). Anyway after a bit of googling an alternative search string I got the solution and am now running it at a useable resolution and visually useable. Previously it was ultra zoomed and psychedelic.

It's not running at the optimum res of 1920x1200 at the moment because I haven't had the time to tweak but it's sitting at 1450xsomething. I'm just glad to have it running - it was looking quite bleak for a while

and the post title? Back in a previous job I was labelling about 50 boxes as 'MONITOR' and on one of them I accidently wrote MINOTAUR. It made me laugh and I hope the receiver noticed and laughed.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Media Center totally went wrong. I installed a certified MCE codec and then suddenly I couldn't playback recordings OR watch tv. I reapplied some patches/reinstalled the tv card to no avail. So I decided to give Media Portal a try. Justin uses it so I knew it worked with my TV card.

He kindly brought me in all the downloads I'd need to get it going and in our lunchbreak we set to installing it. It all went quite well and we left the electronic program guide downloading information since it would take a while. Unfortunately I couldn't tune in one of the channels I want but it did give me some I didn't want.

After work the EPG data was ready and I set to ordering the channels and aligning them with the EPG. Somewhere a long the line I lost TV3. The channel frequency it was showing up on was no longer working. Eventually after a long new scan it picked up at 91 instead of 11. I redid the channels again and now have it all working nice. The good/bad thing is the reception picture is better on the pvr than the native TV which means more power consumption.

Media Portal has been reasonably stable for a 0.2 RC4 release except for it choking a bit when it had to handle 200 channels and a skin change causing a forced reboot and having it accidently change to a skin I didn't want but have found to be good.

I even did some timeshifting for reals lastnight when I missed the start of a show. But not enough to be able to fast forward all the ads.

All in all, it looks like I'll be staying with Media Portal since it actually does what it's meant to.

ps, still now video cards or 24" monitors at work. Sigh.

Monday, May 01, 2006

surprises and expected things

I arrived at work this morning to find my TV tuner and mouse package waiting on my desk. Yay.

Then I checked my email and got told my ISP plan was auto upgraded overnight and I now had a 1mbit connection (up from 512k) and a 5 GB data cap (up from 3 GB). This is good news so I went home at lunchtime to try it and all day since I have only been getting 4 to 15 kb/s downloads. 128k connection at best! boo.

Anyway the install of the tuner went well and I was soon using the remote to watch tv. It did crash out to the desktop ungracefully a few times when mucking around and even told me once that the tuner was already in use so I couldn't watch tv. Sigh. I upgraded the drivers though which I think helped. I seem to need a decoder codec to be installed. I thought it came with one though. Will have to look into that. Maybe reapply Rollup2 now that I am using MyTV.

The red mouse is cooler than I suspected. It lights up all red around the sides!