Showing posts from June, 2006

Hard disk upgrade

One of my computers needed an larger hard disk. It had WinXP installed and I did not want to reinstall it (and the many other applications that it had installed). But on the other hand I wanted to have a larger C: drive.

I have used Symantec Ghost in the past and it does the job quite nicely. However I wanted to do this using free software, as I was not sure if the Ghost version I got was NTFS compatible and I did not want to buy a new one.

Googling a bit will lead me to HDClone 3.1 of which there is a free version. This program clones your old harddisk content to the new one, keeping the partitioning scheme intact. You can create a bootable CD-ROM with the software so you can use it with systems without a floppy disk (alternatively you can boot from a floppy disk too). The program does a great job with a nice graphical interface.

Once I was done with the cloning I used another shareware program called Boot it. It's main goal is to act as a boot manager, enabling you to have up to 2…

Getting 3D to work

Until recently, I have been happy without decent 3D performance on my computer graphics card. But the Linux version of Google Earth spiced my curiosity. This and the fact that my old ATI Rage 128 Ultra refused to work properly with the "ati" driver that Ubuntu Dapper installed by default.

I then learned that I could install an accelerated driver from ATI but I was not lucky enough to have it working flawlessly: The system was freezing quite easily, forcing me to hardware reset it. So I recover an old card my kids had discarded, that was in fact more powerful than the ATI one. It is an NVIDIA MX440 GeForce 4 with 64MB RAM.

Again, I needed to install the special Nvidia driver for it, but now it is working. Do not think it was easy: I actually needed to perform some dark magic to get it working. The problem this time was not with the 3D not working but with Firefox. Everything was working fine till I started Firefox, then the mouse still could move but the rest of the system was …

Aging computers

I've kept my children happy with their old computers for several years, with some graphic card upgrades every now and then. But after reading this article in Tom's Hardware site I decided it was the moment to give a try to the new Dual core Intel processors.

I've to admit that I've been a happy AMD customer since the 386-40Mhz. Most of the time AMD delivered good performance cheaper than Intel. The exception to this rule had been several laptops non based on AMD processors (G4, PIII & Pentium-M) and one eventual Celeron so I could make some use of an ASUS Pundit box.

So, I got ready for the challenge and decided I was going to buy a new motherboard, new memory and an 2.6Ghz 805D processor. I wanted to buy a 1GB 667Mhz DDR2 RAM to have room for some overclocking but unfortunately it was not available at the shop. I wanted a motherboard with a basic 3D card (Asrock775-TWIN-HDTV) but unfortunately was not available so I bought another mobo that had at least an AGP slot …

Fighting with Ubuntu 6.06

After some success on my laptop and using the released version, I have decided to install Ubuntu 6.06 on my main computer at the office that has been happily running SuSE Linux 10.0. I guess it is against my own advice (and common sense) to install a new software when the old one was giving you a good service, but I can't help it, I enjoy trying out new software versions (maybe I'll have to start a branch for "Installers Anonymous").

There is always a catch: My hard drive does not have space available and I really would like to keep SuSE Linux just in case. After all I have lots of stuff installed and working, like VMware or CrossOver Office and I do not know whether all these will run trouble-free on Dapper Drake (DD is the name of Ubuntu's 6.06) or not. I know from experience that VMware use to be quite picky about kernel versions.

So I needed some free space on my hard drive before I could install Ubuntu. Catch 2: I could not resize my Linux partition from SuSE …

Google Earth for Linux!!!

I've just tested the Google Earth beta for Linux with not very good results. First the install, you get a single .bin file that contains all what you need (or almost, read on). To install it you execute the downloaded file as a shell script. It will unpack the installation files and you get a nice window informing you about the install process. It does not take long.

My first attempt was on SuSE Linux 10.0 and when trying to run the software I get a complain that I did not have Bitstream Vera font installed (the message contained a link for me to install it too). I wonder why they have not included that font (if required) in the first place in the installation file. Next the program starts but it just ends up blocking the system to a hardware reset. This time I cannot put all the blame on Google's camp as my ATI Riva 128 graphics card might be the cause of the system freezing. The 3D support on the driver is enabled and Yast2 tells you 3D support is "experimental". Ev…

USB booting and more

I've always been curious about booting from USB devices. With most motherboards, the use of an external USB CD or DVD-ROM seems to be a no brainer.

As USB flash memories now offer up to several gigabytes of storage, it seems they might serve for many pursposes.

The guys behind Damn Small Linux think that it is a good idea to have a simple GNU/Linux setup that can boot from a credit card size CD-ROM or from a USB flash memory with only 50Megabytes!! I needed to try this out. I had most success using the USB-ZIP configuration on most of the BIOS on the systems I tried this out. I even have found a new life for that old 64MB USB 1.1 pendrive I bought several years ago. The system that includes a graphical environment, wordprocessor, Firefox browser, pdf reader, spreadsheet, xmms, vnc viewer, and a long list of other useful applications.

All that was quite an achivement, and the developers want to keep the system size small. One of the drawbacks is DSL is based on a 2.4 kernel, but they …

UPV wireless network access with Ubuntu

I'm getting the hang of the different flavors of the Ubuntu thing. I tried Kubuntu while Dapper was in beta and now I've just installed Xubuntu (xfce4-based version of Ubuntu) which is specially crafted for "old" computers (low resources). The LiveCD allows you the same install as with the two more powerful siblings.

I ran out of network sockets but I had a spare USB wireless device so I used it with this computer. The fact that the computer is old means it is only USB 1.1 so I won't be able to handle the maximum speed over the network, which is not a problem at the moment. The easiest way to access our campus WLAN infrastructure is by using a VPN tunnel over the open wireless link. There is nice webpage telling you how to do it, even if you use Linux, but I always like to try something new. Today I did it: I installed pptpconfig and I got it working at the moment. Defaults are ok but the "All to tunnel" option on the Miscellaneous data of the connectio…

NSA wiretapping

I saw the link on Bruce Schneier's blog and and I found it quite funny (if you forget about the sad part, of course)

Click on the image to start playing it