Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another PC vs Mac

I know; it gets old. But this one is actually pretty good:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dell Optiplex

Some people have looked through my blog to find out about a problem with some Dell Optiplex computers. I encountered the problem with two GX60 units.

It seems that the installation of Ubuntu, or even Xubuntu, doesn't go well on a few systems. The common answer I've found is: Set the Frame Relay from 1mg to 8mg. If you're using another graphics card, you probably didn't encounter the problem. My Optiplex GX260 has a 32 mb graphics card on it, and it works more than well enough. I've thought about getting a better card, but that would involve rebuilding the system. Might as well upgrade the processor too. I simply don't use the things a super-duper graphics card is used for. What I have works well.

This Thread on the Ubuntu forums will help.

In Other News
It seems that Maxed Out was removed from Google Video. I'll leave my link up till someone else posts it, and I'll relink to it.

Someday, these people will understand that posting movies like that on Google Video or YouTube will boost their sales. Too many people live in old, out-of-date business models.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Maxed Out

This is such a must see

Purchase it on Amazon:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Uh oh!

This is scary and cool at the same time:

Sunday, July 15, 2007

In Click, Out Click

Sounds like a Dilbert topic, don't it. Every so often I check my blog stats to see what brings people to my blog, and what the click on. The cool part is I can tell what search request lead to my blog. So, here's some quick answers to search requests:
  • At the moment, I can't recommend Fluxbuntu. I didn't find it any faster to use than Xubuntu. If you need to use a very lightweight distro for older equipment, use Puppy Linux or Damn Small Linux (DSL). Hopefully, Fluxbuntu will improve.
  • The Belkin 54g USB Network Adapter doesn't work in Feisty. You can get it to work, but it's not worth the hassle. If you absolutely need to use that adapter, go back to Edgy or Dapper. Hopefully, it will be fixed in Gutsy. Just think; do you really need the eye-candy in Feisty? Dapper is the LTS version anyway.
  • Louisana Catahoula Leopard Dogs's are absolutely wonderful dogs. If you get one, just make sure you have a high fence. No, 8ft isn't a high fence. If you don't have a high fence, an electronic collar will be necessary. The link is to the C.U.R.S (Catahoula United Rescue Society).
  • Xubuntu works very well on older iMac G3 computers. Only the alternate install CD will load, and I recommend using Xubuntu Dapper 6.06.1. You can try Feisty, or Gutsy when it comes out, but starting with Dapper, and upgrading from there seems to work.
  • The Windsurfer is an excellent antenna booster. I'm amazed at how well it works.
  • I was able to get around the Critical Temperature Reached bug installing Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn by removing the laptop battery during installation. Not sure if that works for all laptops, but give it a try. Other than that, install Edgy, then upgrade to Feisty through the update manager.
Those are the most common searches that people are looking for when they hit my blog.

It would be interesting if someone was trying to look up how to get the Windsurfer antenna working on the Belkin USB adapter with the Xubuntu iMac G3, so they can surf for pics of Catahoulas. That person probably wouldn't have Critical Temp problems though.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Farmers Daughter

If McDonald's played this commercial in USA, I'd probably stop my war-cry against them:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pirates, Macs, Xubuntu and ZaReason

I watched "Pirates of Silicon Valley" again. It's pretty much required for anyone working for an Information Technology degree. While it is a drama, the basic history of it is very significant, especially the chronology of events. The drama and relationship between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs is just that, drama. I'm sure most businesses have something similar. The early car makers had similar relationships. If you haven't seen this movie, it's fun. Not boring even for the non-techy type. If you can't find the DVD, or the torrent file, it's on Google Video:

It's funny; Mac has it's Mac Cult, and Linux has it's line up of fanboys. Not many people are in a Windows cult, or are fanboys of Windows, but it's still the dominate force. Go figure! I know - it's because business and education. Maybe a bit about gaming too.

Xubuntu is working out very well as the primary choice for the Free Geek installations. Having it Virtualized on my laptop helps too. Xubuntu is very easy to work with. Even the Forensics Distro, Helix using XFCE now. Having Xubuntu on a Pentium III laptop would work very well.

Another independent hardware company is selling Ubuntu preinstalled on PC's: ZaReason. ZaReason is the brainchild of the people behind the ACCRC - Alameda County Computer Resource Center, near the campus of UC Berkley. They work very much like Fre Geek. ZaReason seems to be another excellent choice for an Ubuntu preinstalled new computer. The use the Shuttle PC form factor for their desktop models, and they have specific computers for kids and teens. There's an interview with the CEO of ZaReason, Cathy Malmrose, on AllAboutUbuntu blog. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

GPLv3 - Good or Bad?

The General Public License version 3 is out. Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux kernel and current trademark holder doesn't like it. I don't pretend to have the first clue on legal issues (get it? clue?), but from what's been going around, it seems Richard Stallman and The Free Software Foundation are more interested in sticking it to Microsoft than pursuing the interest of Software Freedom. While I agree Microsoft has participated in some rather unscrupulous business practices, they aren't alone. People absolutely love Apple, but I'm sure Apple hasn't been the most ethical company either. They both stole the graphical user interface from Xerox, after all. Or, did Xerox share it with them?

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) has it's place, but I believe proprietary software has it's place too. Most of all, I believe the consumer should have the choice. In practice, I choose a blend of both. I prefer the operating system I use to be Open Source and Free. It's okay if the drivers I use are proprietary (close) source, but I prefer them to be free (of charge). If software is worth it, I'm willing to pay for it, but not an exorbitant price. $400 for an Office Suite is exorbitant. If a business needs a specific, mission critical software application designed for them, the developers should be well paid for their work. Such applications are going to be expensive.

I'm encouraged with Linux and Open Source Software. I love the idea that the average person now has a choice of what to run on their hardware. I love the idea that we can use this technology to keep older hardware in use, and used by people who need it. I'm encourage that people are willing to contribute their spare time to develop excellent software (thanks people), and give it away for free.

The GPLv3 may prove to be a good thing in the long run. At the moment, it's fracturing the Free Software community.

In the meantime, I'll keep using Ubuntu, and loading it on the the FreekBox computers I build (I recently discovered Free Geek rebuilds are called FreekBox, not FreeBox). I'll even keep using Windows XP - as little as possible though. I'll use Vista kicking and screaming "Cancel! Freaking Cancel!"

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn and the Belkin USB Wireless Network Adapter

In the past, I've reported that the Belkin Wireless USB adapter works out-of-the-box with Ubuntu. It seems not so for Feisty. The module for that particular chipset is broken. Not sure how, but I'm hoping it's fixed in Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10 - due in October.

For anyone who surfed and purchased one based on my recommendations, sorry. If you want to save money, download a copy of 6.06 LTS Dapper Drake, or the previous release 6.10 Edgy Eft. The USB adapter works fine in those versions.

What the F...?

I've been looking through the stats of my posts to see what's the most popular topics, links, and pictures. Now, in my vanity and tremendous ego, I'da figured that pictures of me would be the most popular. I figured posts of me would be popular. At the very least, anything about Nancy would be the most popular.

Nope. Guess what the most popular picture is:

Yeah! My friggin laptop! At the time of writing this, the view count is 1,827. My laptop?? WTF? Out of all the interesting pictures of me, me at Disney, me at work, me in school, me and laptop is more interesting than me?? AArrrggghhh! (Simulated rage). Just about the only comments I receive are requests on where I got the Ubuntu sticker. I made it, folks! I used my creative head, and made it myself. Instructions are on the flickr page.

The next most popular pictures are the various screenshots I did, like this:
This picture was view 498 times. So, a screenshot of my computer is more popular than all of the pictures of me put together?

Oh, and then there's the links. Out of all the links, everyone seems to link to anything having to do with one of these little buggers:
And that's not even my picture! No one cares about all the educational links, or the entertaining links I provide. No one cares to learn more about Open Source software, Xubuntu, Ubuntu, Free Geek, or any of that. Everyone wants to find out how to borrow wireless signal from their neighbors. Be my guest. The little Windsurfer antenna instruction page is, by far, the most popular link I've ever provided.

So, I better see some more clicking on ALL my links! Remember: I know where you surf!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Virtual Free Geek

I was thinking I would eventually need to load Xubuntu on my own laptop, mostly so I could have it for support for our Free Geek installations. Like Free Geek Chicago, we get mostly 500 MHz - 1 GHz machines, and rarely anything more powerful than that. These are still powerful machines, with the right software. With Xubuntu, they hum right along.

Helping my brother out reminded me that I don't have to have Xubuntu as my primary installation on my powerful laptop. I can enjoy the power of Ubuntu, while having Xubuntu in a virtual computer to help with support. Using VMware or VirtualBox, I can have a Xubuntu installation that will be exactly like what I put on a FreekBox.

Which brought to mind another thing I want to accomplish: Ubuntu support. The original Free Geek in Portland provides support for the systems. I'd like to set up volunteers with a website and a Skype in phone line so they could provide chat or phone support for the systems we provide. It would give people trying to get into technology jobs some experience. A cool thing Free Geek does; if they can't fix your machine in 15 minutes, they simply replace it. Try that with any other computer store! There's a lot to be said for used equipment with Free and Open Source Software on it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Virtual Help

My brother had a typical problem today. He purchased a computer with Vista. The night he bought it, he really liked it. All pretty, and gussied up with it's eye candy. But, Vista's like pretty girls back in the 50's. You can look, hoot and holler, and they'll even wink at you. But don't you dare try to do anything with her. She's not that kind of a girl. Back then, girls had there own version of "Cancel or Allow".

My brother found out that a very important program problem Vista shares with Linux; a lot of programs don't work on it. The one he needed didn't work with Vista.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work with Linux either. But, that may be turning around soon. According to an Evans Data Study, developers are shying away from developing programs for Vista. Instead, more programs for Linux are being developed. I'm betting my future endeavors on it.

A week or so ago, I wrote about a problem with Quickbooks needed for a small business. Quickbooks doesn't support desktop Linux, and most small businesses need Quickbooks. At least, that's what their accountants and advisors tell them. Rightfully so probably. Quickbooks is an excellent product, and the Open Source alternatives don't match the abilities. Not yet at least. Programs like GnuCash may eventually be super powerful, but Quicken and Quickbooks are the name to beat.

Hopefully, the Evans folks are right, and solutions for Linux are lining up as I write. Hopefully, I'll have my ducks lined up, and the IT suitors will be knocking on my door.

We did solve my brothers problem. I had him load VMware player on his Vista machine, use to make a .vmx file, load a Windows XP version on, then load the necessary program he needed to work. So far, it's worked. I run XP on my Ubuntu laptop when I need to for school. It actually runs faster in VMware than it did natively. Go figure!

(Yes, I'm experimenting with Larger font size)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Open Education

In my effort to become part of the new style of education, here are a few links to educate you on some things.

Ubuntu Specific:
Ubuntu Clips
- This site has short clips on basic, everyday things you usually want to do on a computer.

Ubuntu Videos -
This site has lots of videos showing you how 'cool' Ubuntu is compared to Mac or Vista, but the link I provided is to the tutorials section. Some of the tutorials are on more advanced programs in Ubuntu Specific:
Tutorials for - Very similar to some of the older Microsoft Office tutorials, but good enough to teach you pretty much everything you need.

Open of Course - You have to register for this site, but it's completely free. Lots of subjects, and most of them in Video tutorials. Even language tutorials. The tutorials are excellent.

So, for my Free Geek installations out there, you have lots of training material available.

Just think: Free Computer, Free Software, and Free training! How scandalous!


I'm not sure why, but this is just really neat: