Ubuntu Continues To Impress

Last weekend I tried Ubuntu 7.04 on my Fujitsu S2020 laptop, also with great results. Everything worked right out of the box, with one problem: I could not figure out hot to get WPA-PSK to work. There is no option in the GUI, and although the wpasupplicant package that promises WPA and WPA2 support is installed, somehow it is still not usable by mere mortals. So I’ll wait a little longer.

My previous experiences on this laptop with SUSE and Debian were less than pleasant: unacceptable boot times, scores of configuration problems and painful troubleshooting sessions. Cluttered interfaces with overabundance of useless options while all configurations that really matter are done old school by editing text files, with little documentation support; too many choices for a novice user (do I really need three text editors from the get go?), tacky KDE names and so forth.

Writing this from Ubuntu 7.04…

This is the first time when I actually liked the Linux experience almost right out the box. The machine is HP Compaq dx2200 with 3.06GHz P4 and 1GB RAM, some of which is used for video buffer. I had to download and install the ATI video driver and add a line to a configuration file to get the audio to work, but the troubleshooting information was easy to find and the fixes easy to apply. Everything else is nice and clean, I was able to browse shares on a Windows 2003 server, browse the Web etc., so far I am very pleased. If you are interested, head over to Get Ubuntu page.

UPDATE:
To get audio to work, edit the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base file and add

options snd-hda-intel model=3stack

to the end of it. To edit the file, launch Terminal and type

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base

The internal speaker will not work but external speakers and headphones will.

The driver for Radeon Xpress 200 is provided by a “restricted” package xorg-driver-fglrx. You can download and install it as follows:

sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install xorg-driver-fglrx

More information available here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BinaryDriverHowto/ATI

If You Need A Linux PC…

I was looking to buy a computer with pre-loaded Linux so that I wouldn’t have to mess with drivers etc. and came across http://system76.com/ Funny thing is, once you customize it to have reasonable specs, the price makes you think whether you should add $150 and buy an iMac instead.

Javascript Object Explorer

I’ve created a simple tool to aid in Javascript development to browse the properties of client-side Javascript objects. Javascript Object Explorer works with IE6/IE7 and FF2 on Windows, I haven’t tested it with other browsers yet. Its purpose is to show which properties are exposed to Javascript programs by different browsers. To check it out, click here. There is a similar tool on the Web also called Javascript Object Explorer, which can be pointed to an arbitrary page. I may implement this feature if there is significant interest. (Done!)

Text::Templet 2.5

Version 2.5 of Text::Templet is available for download. Added new syntax and changed license from GPL to Perl Artistic License.

The Lost Dog

Early in the morning I went for my usual 3-mile run in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. On the overpass leading to the zoo I saw a dog off leash, a young tan bit bull, that ran up to people, looking confused and unsure what to do. He jumped up on me in a greeting, which I did not particularly like but it revealed a good-natured dog, he had a blue collar with a two-feet piece of rope tied to it.
Continue reading The Lost Dog

One Man’s Pain Is Another’s Business Opportunity

Just came back from a nearby LIRR station buying train tickets for tomorrow. 1.5-hour line in 25-degree weather, thank Pete it’s just cold, clear skies and not windy; actually quite nice if you have enough layers on.

A couple of young women were trying to re-sell $4 tickets for $10 to the people at the beginning of the line, ostensibly because they would not need them anymore. But there were no dopes among us who decided to get their tickets the night before.

Then, closer to the end, a guy walked by handing out menus. He’d have more luck pouring hot coffee though because at that point the line rounded the corner under the bridge where a noticeable draft made everyone quite uncomfortable.

I could not get rid of a feeling that I’ve seen a couple of people on this line before: a guy behind me I had a little chat with and a woman in front.

I Discovered Eclipse and CDT

I discovered Eclipse, a multi-platform, multi-language IDE. I got interested when I read a news article somewhere that Eclipse is not just for Java anymore, and I wanted to try it out since. Recently I had a couple of ideas to play with but I was not looking forward to doing it the hard way, with a text editor and command line tools. Since I decided to adopt GCC, I was interested to see if GCC could be integrated into some generic IDE, and Eclipse seemed like a good place to start looking, and I was blown away by it. I wish I have tried it sooner!

Here I want to share what I’ve found so far.
Continue reading I Discovered Eclipse and CDT

Format144 – the /u switch

Several people wrote to me saying that standard Windows Format supports switch /U that does the same thing as Format144, and I would like to clarify the issue.
Continue reading Format144 – the /u switch

Magic Renamed to Text::Templet

Magic has become Text::Templet, and the latest version is 2.1. Also, listen to my latest recording and tell me what you think.