i am huge in japan

Sunday, June 25, 2006

VMware and OS X tease

The Macbook has been purchased, with a heavily rebated 30 GB iPod to go with it. I can't wait to have a play with them. I still have to wait two weeks sadly.

In preparation for using OS X a bit, I have skinned my linuxes to use OS X window borders and button positions. I am getting quite used to minimising with the middle button.

Last night I wanted to do a virtual install of Windows XP for Macbook iSight testing with Yahoo Messenger. I downloaded Parallels (13 MB) and tried to install but of course it failed. Looking at their forums it seems it doesn't work with SUSE 10.1 yet. So I look at VMWare Workstation. After some humming and ahhing I gave in and downloaded the 95 MB install. Followed some online instructions and I was soon installing XP.

I couldn't believe how long it took! About an hour to copy in a base OS. It also asked me for network configuration settings on two occasions. Silly install. When it was half way through the graphical file copying process and it said '37 minutes remaining' I thought it was joking!
At least it boots fast.

I've noticed my SUSE boot has slowed a little bit. Somewhat annoying but not too bad.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Yesterday I installed the Xfce desktop environment in Ubuntu. It's looked alright in screenshots but I didn't vibe off of it. Since it wasn't preconfigured like with Xubuntu I had to do it all from scratch. I found it a bit cumbersome and soon when back to GNOME. It is supposed to be lightweight and faster but I guess my computer is powerful enough to make it no faster than other environments.

Ubuntu was really getting on my nerves with a shift+backspace=restart x server issue. Looking at the forums it is quite common. Something to do with XGL config I think. I applied a fix which worked for a day then came back. Finally got it stable. So aggravating being logged out just as you get to the end of an email.

SUSE is still going okay. Except for a bug where the updates list doesn't clear after installing. I was reading in a recent status meeting that SUSE 10.2 will 'definitely' feature GNOME 2.16. That's good news because I figured they would get stuck with 2.14.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gmail and Earth

Yesterday I got inspired to shift all my work email to Gmail. I found a nice program to do it.

It was a good excuse to cull my mail archives before uploading. In the end I only took up 4mb of my 2.7 GB of space.

I have my work mail forwarding to the gmail account which is authorised to reply to mails using my work address. Unless people really read headers no one should know any different.

Google also released Google Earth for Linux beta yesterday. I downloaded it and ran it on SUSE 10.1. It was extremely buggy and not showing the right parts of the world which was disappointing. Then I decided to turn XGL on (it was off) and sudddenly it all worked mostly fine. Don't understand that one. Good to see my city finally has good enough imagery to make out my house!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Speed glorious speed

Cable internet was installed today. Technically it went fine but it took me a bit of head scratching to get our home network connected up to it. I eventually found the problem, a rookie mistake. Over the course of a few distro installs the last few days, our network domains were all different. Made those all the same and presto! fast net all around.

So far my downloads have peaked at 190k/s which is quite good. That was some downloads I started last night but cancelled when they were going a mere 5k/s on my old ISP.

In gaming news, I have a PS2 that I haven't played much lately. Yesterday I bought Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for it. It was half the price it usually is. Now I have something to keep my occupied over the coming weeks.

Brickbat to Ubuntu for freaking out on the Powerbook when booting up without network connectivity. Took a few reboots to get it barely usable to change the network config!

XGL under Ubuntu is still not going very well. It starts ok but then does weird behaviour like not accepting mouse clicks. I also can't change the settings for the life of me. Maximising and resizing windows is extremely wobbly.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The return of SUSE

It was a brief falling out but I have reinstalled SUSE 10.1 at home. The updating and packaging has now been fixed and it's nice to be back in XGL goodness.

The balance tipped last night when I tried to order pizza via a flash based website. Opera wouldn't display it, Firefox kept crashing half way through. I had to use the pvr to order it! bah.

Good thing about SUSE is that all the flash stuff is set up properly straight out.

Now that things aren't so broken it's much ncier to use.

I think I'll still keep Ubuntu at work because some of the features are more valuable there than at home.

The question you're all asking is, did I make two GNOME panels or just the one that SUSE 10.1 provides? I made two!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Starts with U ends in u.

Ubuntu went on the work pc today. Much the sameness except Opera icon worked fine and dependencies (though I installed a nightly Opera 9 build). I had to edit xorg.conf to make it use 1920x1200 on my monitor. I got XGL going somewhat. It's not as slick and featured as under SUSE but it's a start. I need to learn how to manually configure it.

I am pleased to report that Ubuntu supports hibernating with network support on my home pc. This is a good thing!

I also changed my home kernel today from 386 to k7 because I noticed it was only using one cpu and not two. (I have a dual core Athlon). But a simple 'sudo apt-get install kernel-k7' was all that was needed. Nice to have something not be a headache.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A very dapper PC

Surprise surprise, yesterday I installed Ubuntu on my home PC. After an enlightening dummy run on a work PC I discovered it's best to use the Gnome Partioner first before running the live installer. Turns out the partitioning program in that is a little simplistic and buggy. Once that was avoided it was all plain sailing, 15 minutes later I was on the desktop.

I went back to work while EasyUbuntu did it's thing and then came home to do more configuring. I knew the first user created would have the root password so I wanted to make my own user the second created. I soon found this to be troublesome because I then lost access to menu items that required the root password. (Quite against the spirit of Linux I think) so I gave myself admin rights, possibly temporarily.

My next task was mounting my data partition, post install it auto mounted temporarily but later boots made it read only. A fstab here and a change permission there, I was up and running.

I downloaded Opera 8.54 and installed it to find the same issues as on the Powerbook, missing libraries. So I visited the Ubuntu Wiki and downloaded those. Still can't use the Opera icon for the shortcut so it is once again a Goat.

I really like that no matter what platform I am using, I can get Opera up just the way I like it with all my data stil there.

I haven't had a good play with Ubuntu yet but I am keen to explore more. Until then...(pray for working XGL)

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Yesterday I got on the task of making Ubuntu play non-free file formats. It's quite easy with a program called EasyUbuntu which luckily supports the PowerPC architecture too.

It's a simple program that with a few tick box selections will install the things you need to play mp3, wmv, mov, dvds, 3d graphic drivers, java etc. It went quite smoothly though I haven't had a chance to try out the java. When I tried to do it manually on Hoary it didn't work out so well. But it was a really easy process so I was glad.

I will definitely use it when/if I choose to install it on an x86 pc.

I have noticed that Dapper boots on the powerbook in 1 minute 40 seconds. Programs like Opera and Firefox open faster than under Hoary but OpenOffice is still slow as a dog. That really needs a fast processor behind it. I ended up making the Opera icon a goat since it refused to use Opera.png. The Mrs really likes the choice and wants one on her Mac!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A very Dapper Powerbook

Updating the G3 Powerbook Lombard model from Ubuntu Linux Hoary Hedgehog to Ubuntu Linux Dapper Drake went quite smoothly. There was only 3 problems.

1) During the install process via the live cd, out of interest I chose to manually edit the partition table instead of erase the entire disk, just to see how it looks for when I want to do it. But it hanged. So I rebooted and chose to erase the disk and it went smooothly

2)Opera Browser wouldn't install because it was missing a dependency that wasn't in the repositories. (I had already added multiverse and universe). I was a bit stumped and googled to find other people with the same problem. But it was eventually solved by the Ubuntu Wiki which had a page about Opera with a link to the elusive file. Phew.

3)I had backed up the data before installing Dapper so I copied it all back. When I went to tell Opera where the bookmarks file was, it couldn't be found. It seems not all the files were backed up. Oh no! But I discovered them all safely on my main computer. The pendrive for some reason didn't get them all copied on. Damn Nautilus. That has been giving me grief at work a bit too.

Anyway, I am quite liking Dapper. It feels and looks newer. But how much longer it will be used I don't know as in a couple of weeks a Macbook will be purchased!

Still undecided about replacing SUSE with it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Final hours

My new keyboard came yesterday.
It's really nice to use but not as silent as the promo material makes out.

Waiting on Ubuntu to release sometime in the next day. I am getting keen to give it a try. SUSE has started to talk more openly about the severe bugs they released with and they say an update patch is very close to coming out. It could be a case of too little too late though?

I found the long standing 10.0 bug about copying to USB devices going really slow (like dialup speeds) is still there in 10.1 They knew about this bug before 10.0 came out and decided to just fix it in 10.1, but they didn't. Makes me really mad. This on top of the horrendous package management bug is why I am seriously looking at Ubuntu.

It will be more work to get set up though, but maybe it's about time I got my hands dirty again.