Windows 7 beta

January 15, 2009

I am currently testing Windows 7 beta on the Dell XPS 1330 laptop.

To be continued tomorrow….


Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex on Dell XPS M1330 Part 2

October 10, 2008

During the latest round of updates released by the Ubuntu team yesterday was a display update of some description.  Having the Nvidia Geforce M8800 model of the Dell the said updates have stopped the display from working properly.

It has switched to a low graphics mode which I tried to fix using the built in reconfigure menu.  This led to a black screen which was unrecoverable and led to a hard shut down.

It looks like I will be waiting for the official release of 8.10 before using Intrepid again as I don’t have the time at the moment for a bug fixing session.

Update:

I managed to get the Laptop to boot again in low graphics mode.  I then proceeded to install more available updates, rebooted and then got a 20 second or so burst of loud system (POST) beeps during start up and was left with a blank static orange Ubuntu screen.  After trying a couple more reboots the problem stayed the same but without the beeps.  I decided to return to the cosiness of Hardy Heron which is where I am writing this from now.


Google Android SDK 1.0 with Ubuntu 8.04

September 25, 2008

For those of you of programming nature I have found an excellent step by step, hold your hand guide to installing the Google Android SDK under Ubuntu.  It’s an idiots guide and that’s how I like it.

Anyway, I have it all installed and will be playing around with it today with the idea to possibly develop applications for the Android market place.  We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, here is the link.


Amiga 600

September 24, 2008

I have long been wanting to indulge in my retro computing fetish.  This isn’t something I have had the chance to immerse myself in before now.  It all stems from my first every computer, the Sinclair Spectrum +2, which I was given for Christmas at the ripe old age of about 8.

I imagine that this bastion of retro computing was what set me on the road to my much too geeky present self.

Anyway, like I say, I have been wanting to indulge myself again recently with a passion.  (It was either that or Hornby model trains…).  So I spent the last couple of days trawling the depths of eBay for a suitable bargain when I came across a rather cheap, working, and decently attired with extras Amiga 600,  (The not so popular Amiga as I have read).  A Buy It Now push of a button later last night and I am eagerly awaiting delivery.  Now all I need is a soldering iron and I can really get ready to indulge in some serious retro modding.


New Wireless Router

August 15, 2008

I finally got tired of my old wireless router and it’s ever more frequent reboots yesterday. So I purchased a new Netgear model today.

Now it has been a while since I set up the old one so I was a little rusty and not a little surprised when it came to me needing to call technical support.

Not that I should have bothered.
Virgin Media confirmed that all the settings I had input were correct and kindly forwarded me to Netgear technical support. Before calling either support team I had figured out by myself that the problem was DNS related. Anyway, after spending another half an hour on the phone with Netgear the support staff finally decided that he couldn’t fix the problem and that I would need a call back from his supervisor. This call has yet to arrive.

So why shouldn’t I have bothered calling either companies? Well after putting the phone down to Netgear I proceeded to fix the problem myself….

So what lessons have I learnt?

1. I know more than I think I do sometimes.

2. I know more about Netgear’s products than their support line (This is the first one I have ever owned and I have only had it for a couple of hours).

3. It’s nice when the technical support tells you that they don’t often get calls from ‘people with my expertise’. But not so nice when they are about as much help as an automated message.

4. It might be fun telling the support supervisor, when he eventually calls back, that I solved the problem by myself.


Apple

July 7, 2008

Apple logoI have always been a reluctant Apple user but over the past year or so I have found myself surrounded by more and more Apple products and you know what?  I like them.

Yes they can be over priced, yes they do overly use DRM, and yes there is an element of style over substance.

So am I that superficial that I can be converted despite all of those things or even because of them?

Well not really, my love affair began fairly simply with my other half wanting and getting a iPod shuffle last year.  I scoffed of course having never used iTunes and read all the negatives about it’s DRM and how it limits the way you can use your downloads and devices associated with it.  And I still hold those views.  But iTunes really is a very slick and user friendly piece of software.  It makes downloading podcasts, which I listen to lots of, and other sundry simple via an Ipod.  However I don’t use iTunes for the negative reasons I stated.  However I still like Apple products.  Again, why?

Well since the day of my partners pink Shuffle I have been curious and as such have tired the majority of their products to the point of now writing this on a Macbook (as you will have an idea of if you have read my previous posts).

I like the iPods, especially when using them under Linux using software that allows you to edit as well as you can with iTunes if not with a little rougher UI.

Having used the nano, classic and shuffle I have found the zenith in the Touch.

My iPod Touch isn’t used for music or podcasts.  Why?  Because I have jailbroken it to use it as a very capable handheld mobile PC.  There isn’t much I can’t do with it using the inbuilt wifi.  It is use to check my email on the fly, sign in to an IM, check on the news, browse the web, check the whether and basically any other operation you can think that you might want to do on the move.  Of course it can’t replace the functionality of a fully fledged laptop but what it can do is replace my Asus EEE 701, which has now been handed down to my partner.  Yes, I love my Ipod Touch, not for it’s Ipodness, but for it’s functionality, when jailbroken of course.

So I guess I can move on to the Macbook.

I had never used an Apple computer until I got my hands on this one.  I knew what to expect from the style and looks; as I mentioned Apple products are simply stunning for the most part.

But hardware and OS X wise I had to lose my virginity.  OS X is slick and smooth, there are problems getting some freeware tools and programs that I am used to using, but  I am happy to be using a system that is close to Linux in it’s Unix core although I have yet to really get under the bonnet.  I haven’t even opened a terminal yet.  As such I can only comment on the GUI and it is functionally simple with installs via downloads very easy and it’s overall simplicity over complexity works well.

Hardware wise I am impressed.  The Core Duo model I have runs fairly fast after my upgrades.  I have installed 2 gigabytes of RAM (The maximum for this model I was rather sad to read), to replace the default 1 gigabyte.  I then changed the hard drive from a 60 gigabyte to a 120 gigabyte model.  What I noticed most doing this was just how easy it was to install the upgrades.  Remove the battery, undo three screws and you have access to everything most users would need to upgrade.  The whole operation can be done in under 10 minutes.  Now I come to my favourite aspects of the Macbook, and these alone are almost enough to keep me on it as my main machine.  The screen is simply gorgeous, the best I have seen on a laptop.  It is clear, bright and unbelievably crisp.  But the coup de tat is the battery life.  5 or 6 hours during my normal usage!!!  Brilliant, and coupled with the above, a deal sealer for me.

Yes Apple.  You have a convert.  Not because you are beautiful, although that helps.  You have your downsides in software availability  compared to a Windows or even Linux machine; and your DRM is horrible.  But your hardware is brilliantly designed and that coupled with the functionality of your devices… well, like I say, the Macbook will be my main machine for the foreseeable future and me and my Ipod Touch are never separated.

Maybe its time for me to try the Iphone?  I just hope my other half doesn’t read that!


Macbook Part 2

July 5, 2008

It is finally here and although it is second hand I had to sell my soul on ebay to get it.  It is the first generation Macbook so it is over two years old.

It needs some work.  I have replaced the hard drive from stock I already had laying around.  It also needs some ram as the stock it came with is minimal and I hope to install some today.

However….

I am writing this blog post from the machine!  It is running OS X Tiger and  I have to say I am impressed with how slick it is.  It is nice to have a propriety machine that isn’t windows based.  It means I can finally migrate ‘totally’ away from the Redmond machine.  I expect I will be fiddling with for some time to come and that my Ubuntu Dell will be neglected no doubt.

It also means that the Asus passes to my partner and hers passes to our eldest.  She has been needing hers replacing for a while after she broke it.  So everyone wins.

Anyway, on with the work!