Gutsy first impressions

Overall, I’m really happy with Gutsy.  I find myself spinning the desktop cube just because I can.  But I haven’t done much yet.  Today I think I’m going to create a separate partition for my /home directory, and I’m going to pull the pictures I took yesterday off my camera and see about uploading them to Flickr.

I have some small issues.  First, the gnash free flash plugin doesn’t really work for Firefox on a 64 bit system.  The proprietary flash plugin is fine.

My panel icons are displaying at the center of the panel, not all the way on the right like they’re supposed to.  I haven’t really searched for a solution to this yet.

Other than that, this is a pretty slick OS.  Wireless has been perfect – the only setup I did was selecting my network and providing my WPA password once.  The frequent disconnects I got on Feisty have not happened at all.

Gutsy supports my Nvidia video card much better than Feisty.  I just had to choose a different driver in a drop down menu and then reset the screen resolution.

Anyway, if you’ve been thinking about trying out Ubuntu, now is the time.

Liveblogging the Gutsy install

I have the alternate cd now. This is going to work. I can feel it. Even better, the wife is cooking some weird cake for dessert. I’m sure it will be delicious.

So, the keyboard layout detection wizard is kind of fun. I don’t have most of those keys, though. I feel a little left out.

It can’t configure the network. That’s probably not a big deal. I’ll do that later. Now we’re setting the computer name to “calvin”, as in “and Hobbes”. And now I’m formatting partitions. Since I don’t want any remnant of Windows Vista, and I’ve backed up all the files I need, I chose to reformat the entire drive. Some may not want to do that. But really, who wants to dual boot Vista and Ubuntu? On one hand, you have an OS that pretty much everyone has acknowledged is a giant mess. On the other hand, you have the first real alternative to Windows and Mac OS that is getting some real traction and publicity. So, goodbye, Vista.

I know my brothers-in-law, and some of my other readers are probably aghast at my dismissal of OSX. But Macs hate me, and Windows hates everyone, so I don’t feel bad.

The alternate installer is pretty easy to use. Sure, it looks like something from 1989. But that’s okay. Just so long as it works. It’s installing software now. That’s probably a good thing.

And the wife is beating something in the KitchenAid. Probably eggs. Actually, it’s butter and sugar. I know because I just checked. And the software installation is stuck on 6%. Hopefully that’s not a problem.

There it goes. It jumped up to 18%, and now 22%. Things are going swimmingly.

Ooh, now it’s installing the GRUB boot loader. “You’re a grub boot loader”, the wife would say.

Now I’m restarting. This is exciting.

Okay, I’m all booted up. Unfortunately, it’s at 800X600 resolution. Let’s see if we can fix that.

It looks like I’m missing the latest Nvidia driver. Clicking the little icon between the network icon and the volume icon doesn’t seem to get me anywhere. Wireless works, though.

So, let’s run some updates. sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade sudo apt-get dist-upgrade sudo reboot

Don’t know if this is working at all. Going without a guide is a little harder than following in someone else’s footsteps.

I just tried to change the video driver to “nv”, the open source Nvidia driver, in Administration->”Screens and Graphics”. I chose the driver, hit the “Test” button, and now have a blank screen. Sweet. “


I feel like I’m running Windows.

I went to System->Administration->Restricted Drivers Manager and enabled the NVIDIA driver. Now it’s downloading. This reminds me that there is no way my dad or my sister, who have both expressed interest in Ubuntu, are going to be able to install this. I think they’d like it if someone else installed it, but this requires more comfort with a computer than either of them has. I hate to bash the install process, but it’s just not going to work for people who aren’t computer geeks.

It’s asking for a restart now, so I’m obliging. I’m hoping for some sweet graphics to be enabled now. That would rule.

Well, that didn’t really work. But you know what does? “

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

Go through the wizard, reboot, and then go to System->Preferences->Screen Resolution, and you can choose 1280X800. I think I can actually get a better resolution out of the video card, but this will do for now.

So, things seem to be working. Wireless was painless. In fact, I’ve never had an easier time of connecting to a wireless network. This is groundbreaking.

Gutsy is definitely an improvement – this install took me much less time than Feisty did. I’ll have to update you all when I get a chance to play with things, but I’m currently pretty happy. I haven’t tested anything, like hibernate, or the sound, or any of the software. But I’m just going to assume that everything is awesome. I think the wife is feeling a little neglected, so I’m going to go wake her up and tell her that she’s more important than the computer. With any luck, she’ll believe me.

Seriously, Ubuntu

_I’m sort of live-blogging my Ubuntu install.  The following would probably be more interesting if it actually, you know, worked. _

So, we just finished some delicious Saag Aloo, and now I’m going to install Gutsy while the wife watches Law and Order: SVU.

I’ve got a black screen so far. That’s not good. BTW, I’m writing here on my old laptop while I install on the new one. Just FYI.

I just got a warning, telling me that Ubuntu is running in low graphics mode. That’s not cool. I chose 1440X900 from the “generic” monitor resolution list. Now it’s running local boot scripts. This doesn’t seem good. I was kind of hoping it would just boot up without my input. I’m staying postive, though.

I just ctrl-alt-deleted. It wasn’t doing anything.

I tried the default 800X600 resolution this time. Now it’s running local boot scripts again. I’m not optimistic.

This Live CD stuff just isn’t working. I’m downloading the alternate install cd now. I’ll be back in an hour or so.

Gutsy or Bust

So, I’m going to install Ubuntu 7.10, Gutsy Gibbon. It’s going to be awesome. You may have already seen my guide to getting 7.04 onto a Lenovo Thinkpad T61. Well, this time I’m doing things a little differently. First, I’m going to try the Live CD install rather than the alternate install, because I just have faith that it’s going to work. Then, I’m completely blowing away Windows. Vista is stupid, and I haven’t missed it since I got the Thinkpad. Which is good, because I broke it installing 7.04.

Anyway, I’m going to install a second partition for my /home folder, which lots of people say you should do. And everything is going to be awesome. I just know it.

First of all, though, let me complain about downloading the stupid ISO. I tried it yesterday, release day. After two hours, I was at 2%. I killed it, and tried again later. No dice. I even tried wget from the command line, thinking that maybe without whatever overhead Firefox introduces to the process, it might be better. No dice. So I tried again today. My ever-helpful brother-in-law (I should probably write down the euphemisms I use for my various brothers-in-law so I can keep them straight, but whatever) suggested that I might have better luck with BitTorrent. That seemed like a good idea, since a huge number of users slows a download but speeds up a torrent.

No dice again. Why? Because Satan’s ISP (Comcast) has decided that P2P=BAD for all values of P2P. Never mind that what I’m doing is downloading totally free software and saving them bandwidth at the same time. I mean, I won’t get into illegal downloading and all that. But what I’m trying to do is TOTALLY LEGAL and encouraged by the creator of the intellectual property or whatever we call software these days. But Comcast can’t allow it, because some people use P2P for illegal things. Up yours, Comcast. If it wasn’t for your dirty monopoly on cable internet here, I would have cancelled your service today.

Anyway, my laptop is currently sitting two feet from the router, plugged in by wire, because my wireless is being finicky and I don’t have any long ethernet cables anymore. It’s maybe 1/3 done with the download.

If all goes well from here on out, I’ll have this working tonight. If all goes as expected, I’ll polish off this bottle of scotch trying to get it to work.

Ill make you famous

Okay, probably not that famous. But I’m looking for some names for my Nanowrimo novel, and I’m terrible at thinking of good names. I used names from my Gmail spam folder last year, but last year’s novel was a little more fanciful than this one, which is going to be serious literature. Written in 30 days.  I mean it.

Anyway, I have a couple of characters already named. I still need names for:

  • A thinly veiled Barack Obama.
  • An equally thinly veiled Mitt Romney.
  • The hero. Actually, I think it will be a heroine, because I’ve always had trouble writing women (It’s hard to write what you don’t understand), and that seems like a good challenge. She’s the partner of a cop who dies early in the story. I’m not sure yet if she’s the partner in the cop sense, or partner in the romantic sense.
  • Random characters. These characters aren’t planned yet, but will undoubtedly pop up.
    That’s all for now.  If I use a name you suggest, you’ll get credit in whatever form this is published in, which could be Lulu, a real publishing house, or just the Writing folder on my hard drive.  TheWriting folder is a really strong bet.

Since context may help, a little background on the story.  It will contain political intrigue and violence, but also a homeless guy named Shake and Bake.  Think Christopher Buckley meets John Woo, then they go smoke pot behind a dumpster.

Suggestions welcome in the comments.

This is beautiful

Inhabitat » SOLAR DECATHLON 2007: Technische Universität Darmstadt

Combining the manufacturing expertise of Volkswagen with a stunningly modern design sensibility, the Technische Universität Darmstadt’s wowed the crowds this week at the 2007 Solar Decathlon with their gorgeously innovative Solar Decathlon home.

I’m not exactly sure why I haven’t gone down the the Solar Decathlon.  They’re announcing the winner today.  Maybe we can stop by on the way to flag football tomorrow.

Anyway, the house I linked above is beautiful.  It looks like a little beach house.  And it’s totally solar powered.  Imagine dozens of these set just off a nice clean beach, accessible by foot or bike, and maybe a hybrid bus, but no driveways or street parking.  Maybe there’s a few Sunfish pulled up on the sand, and a lost flip flop next to a path paved in crushed shells.

If that doesn’t make you nostalgic for your childhood, then I have to ask what the heck you did growing up.

Still no 7.10

I probably should have guessed that I wouldn’t be the only one downloading Ubuntu 7.10 the day it came out.  Maybe it will actually work tonight.

And next weekend, I’m going to put Ubuntu on my dad’s old Windows 98 box.  That should be interesting.  I’m thinking about trying Xubuntu, the lightweight version that requires almost nothing in terms of processor and RAM.  Wouldn’t it be nice if Microsoft and Apple had an OS that ran on 128 megs of RAM and 1.5 gigs of hard drive space?

I guess that would keep you from upgrading, though, wouldn’t it?

Id be installing this now if it wasnt for work

Review: Ubuntu’s New ‘Gutsy Gibbon’ Brings Linux Out of the Jungle

If you’ve been considering making the switch from Windows or Mac, Ubuntu makes the process painless. It’s ability to seamlessly import your settings, music and data from a Windows partition erases one of the most pressing barriers for new users. And once you’re in, the learning curve is minimal. In fact, besides requiring a little futzing to get multimedia playback set up, Gutsy Gibbon is about as easy as Linux gets.

Ubuntu 7.10 is out today. As soon as I get home, I plan to upgrade. Well, a clean install, probably, because I haven’t been running 7.04 long enough to really need to keep stuff. Also I want to redo my partitions and clear out all remnants of Vista.

I hear the wireless is better in 7.10, which would be great, because I lose my connection every day when I get home in the evening.  It works great most of the time, but for some reason, it refuses to stay connected from 4pm to 6pm.  It’s very strange.

Anyway, if you haven’t tried Ubuntu, you should.  You can use the installation cd to run the operating system without installing anything.  It’s a little slow that way, but you can test it out without losing any of your files and whatnot.

Prius good, bottled water bad

I walked over to the grocery store to get a sandwich for lunch a little while ago, and because the person who designed the parking lots around here forgot that some people actually walk places, I had to maneuver my way through parked cars to get to the store.

I passed a Toyota Prius and thought, “Hey, look, an environmentally responsible mode of transportation!”  Seriously.  I thought that.

Then I noticed the cup holder.  Bottled water!  Bottled water is bad.  I forget the exact numbers, but I think it takes 300,000 gallons of water to make one 20-ounce bottled water.  It might be 400,000, or maybe a billion.

Anyway, the point is that bottled water should be your last resort, when you’re away from home and really thirsty and pass by a 7-11.  Otherwise, go buy a water filter and a thermos and carry it with you.

Really, you should try it.  You get to look at people drinking bottled water and be all smug.  It’s fun.  I mean, what’s the point of saving the world if you can’t be smug about it to the enviro-heathens?  But don’t be a jerk about it.  Smugness is best kept to yourself.