Archive for February, 2007

A couple of updates about my new laptop:

  • I managed to get wireless internet working with WPA encryption on my home network (after going through some congif file hacking following this link), but still had to find a way to get it to switch between my home and school network seamlessly – and I found it at this blog post.
  • Turns out Vista comes with a built-in partitioning utility, so I wasted most of a day when I experimented with reinstalling Vista to install Ubuntu (not that I really care, I think dual-booting works better with my method). See here.

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I’m typing this post on my new laptop. Yee-haw! On Ubuntu! And the wireless internet is working!

Actually it was quite an adventure to get both Vista and Ubuntu working cleanly and playing nice with each other on my new G1. This is going to be long and boring post, but it might serve as a blueprint for anyone wanting to install Linux onto on of these behemoths. The laptop ships with Windows Vista and a hard drive prepartitioned into OS and data partitions (plus a recovery partition), but the data partition was too small for my purposes with Ubuntu, so I decided to resize the partitions. That’s when the fun started. See, the recovery DVD that came with the laptop gives you the option of either a) installing Vista to the first artition, b) installing it to the entire hard drive, or c) installing it to the first partition on the hard rive and create a second one as well. Which meant I had to install Ubuntu on the second partition (no problem) and resize to the size wanted (slight problem). The installer for Ubuntu provides gparted, which ostensibly is able to resize whole partitions but in practice ended up borking the Vista partition (and, somehow, the recovery partition, which I didn’t actually touch). I know this because when I restarted and booted into Vista with grub, the Windows loading screen came on and then nothing happened. So either resizing the partitions lost data, or Vista gets confused when the partiton table is altered and pouts. Stupid Windows.

Well, at this point I need to find out if Vista really needs the partitions the laptop came with or if the recovery DVD only installs to whatever the first partition is, no matter the size … because if it’s the latter, then i can resize in parted first and then install Vista, but if it’s the former then I’ll have to resize partitions after installing Vista using something like PartitionMagic. So I started by deallocating the entire partition table in parted, and then tried reinstalling Vista. The recovery DVD goes in, I decide to install on the first partition only (which remember should be the entire HD), and it proceeds to install…along with all the Asus bloatware (grrr!)…then I restart…then I wait…then I restart again, then I wait again, then I restart again, then I wait a really long time, then it shuts down, now at the state in which it shipped. I turn it on, it wants me to configure regional options…and it restarts again. Stupid Windows. Now i’m finally able to check the hard drive usage…and it installed to entire hard drive. Good. (In retrospect, I should not have had to do all this, but someone has to do it to find out what happens so other people don’t have to..right?) This means I can install Ubuntu while prepartitioning the drive as I like and then install Windows.

At this point I had lunch. Leftover balti. Very tasty.

Then I proceeded to install Ubuntu again, this time partitoning the drive exactly as I wanted, with the first third for Vista (as fat32 for the moment) and the remainder for Linux. (No recovery partition.) Restarting brings up the grub menu. Good. Now, to reinstall Windows. Recovery DVD goes in, I choose to install to the first partiton, image unpacks, bloatware (grrr) follows. Restart…into Ubuntu. At least Vista doesn’t appear to hijack the HD like previous versions of Windows. But I do need to edit the grub configuration file with an entry for Vista. After restarting, it boots into Vista’s endless install process when I select that entry in grub. Good. After 378 more restarts (each time being sure to go into grub and boot vista instead of Ubuntu), Vista is finally installed (using ntfs). Good.

Bottom line: I now have both Ubuntu and Vista dual-booting and working cleanly on my sexy new laptop. And for the past four days, I’ve only used Ubuntu.

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What if the national flag of countries expressed statistics of that described the nation? An excellent example of art as protest. Prepare to be awed by the artists vision.

read more | digg story

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Yesterday evening, I finally purchased a laptop online, and, contrary to what I had implied in a previous post, it is not a MacBook. It’s an Asus G1, which is a nifty 15-inch preconfigured Linux-ready (at least that’s what the Ubuntu forums claim) laptop with the best specs I have seen for the price. It’s quite an attractive one to boot, as well – no ugly Dell for me! Yay!

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Who am I?


You scored as Lt. Sharon Valerii (Boomer). You forget things. Are they important? You think you might be a Cylon, but does that make you a machine? Who are you? Who am I?

Lt. Sharon Valerii (Boomer)
Dr Gaius Baltar
President Laura Roslin
CPO Galen Tyrol
Col. Saul Tigh
Number 6
Lt. Kara Thrace (Starbuck)
Tom Zarek
Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo)
Commander William Adama

What New Battlestar Galactica character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com


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Plenty interesting that happened this past weekend…

I went to an anti-super bowl party on Sunday – we went over to my office mate’s house and watched several episodes of ‘The Might Boosh’, which is a remarkably literate, highbrow, and thought provoking British documentary series about zoos. Here’s an example on YouTube.

I went out shopping for a laptop on Saturday, which meant a trip to Kingston Computer Planet, which is the only computer store in walking distance worth its salt given that the Campus store charges far too much and that the only other one would probably sell me an abacus and tell me it’s a laptop if they thought they could get away with it. KCP used to sell a very impressive array of customizable Asus laptops but seem to have now switched to focussing on premade Acer laptops. Upon explaining to the salesperson that I required a high-performance laptop for research, he instructed me to forget about Acer and purchase a Dell instead. $1400 for a decent laptop is not bad, but I have been advised against Dells as some of my friends who have used them say they tend to break with alarming regularity (and if I were to buy a dell, Jenny told me she’d look upon me as I would her if she had started programming in Fortran.) Fortunately, KCP also sells Lenovos…

I met Nate, James’ housemate, and his girlfriend at Tara’s, the local natural foods store, on Saturday. Upon noticing that I was purchasing a slab of delicious vegetable pate he enquired as to whether or not I was vegetarian, and I replied, ‘No, but I’m working on it.’ Now, I already refuse to eat red meat and have been wanting to cut down (or out) most other meat, and I’ve told a few people that I’m thinking of progressing towards vegetarianism, but after telling two more I now feel like I’ve told enough people that I’m now compelled to actually start doing something about it instead of waffling. Which means no more meat or poultry. I’m not inclined to give up fish yet, though.

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From digg: Charlie Brooker in The guardian discusses why he hates Macs. Choice quotes:

I hate Macs. I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don’t use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui.

Cue 10 years of nasal bleating from Mac-likers who profess to like Macs not because they are fashionable, but because “they are just better”. Mac owners often sneer that kind of defence back at you when you mock their silly, posturing contraptions, because in doing so, you have inadvertently put your finger on the dark fear haunting their feeble, quivering soul – that in some sense, they are a superficial semi-person assembled from packaging; an infinitely sad, second-rate replicant who doesn’t really know what they are doing here, but feels vaguely significant and creative each time they gaze at their sleek designer machine. And the more deftly constructed and wittily argued their defence, the more terrified and wounded they secretly are.

I should maybe point out that I’m currently considering purchasing one, as I need a new laptop. But I’ll keep Brooker’s critiques in mind.

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