Microwave Biscuit

Only if you enjoy violence

Posted in Hockey by microwavebiscuit on February 28, 2007

One of the greatest hockey fights ever. Happened last week. Enjoy it (or don’t).


Feisty Updates.

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on February 27, 2007

All of the 380 updates required were installed. Upon reboot everything still works! Not that I am surprised – just pleased. The couple of issues I have right now are:

1. After updates it told me that I needed a reboot. I clicked on the taskbar icon that shows up after system updates that require a reboot. As happened after install, the screen flickered and it looked like it was going to reboot but it didn’t actually. I had to click on the “power” icon and select reboot. Not a biggy and I’m sure that’ll be fixed.
2. Sound – being that I installed Feisty in VMWare, who really knows if sound will work or not. It doesn’t. Could be VMWare and/or Feisty. When I attempted to “test” the sound system, the Gnome sound panel crashed.
3. VMWare tools – I wasn’t able to get VMWare tools installed. It seems as though there are several kernels installed and there are several sets of kernel headers. I attempted to build the VMWare tools using the same kernel sources that correspond to the running kernel (2.6.20-9-generic) but VMWare said that they were different somehow. Could also be VMWare and not the fault of Feisty but I don’t know for sure.

I haven’t really felt that it’s terribly different than 6.10 out of the box. Here are a couple of new things that I’ve found so far:

1. Inhibit applet. If you add this to your panel it lets you click on it to enable/disable power saving features. This is definitely not available in 64-bit 6.10, don’t know if it is available in other versions or if it’s brand new.
2. There is a preference to “Enable Desktop Effects”. So far, all that happens when I click “Enable” is that my X session restarts. Could be due to the fact that I have not installed the VMWare tools and the display adapter selected doesn’t support it.
3. Control Center – this is a much better replacement for the older control center. It has the look of the enhanced Gnome menu that’s available. I like it. It will definitely feel cozy for Windows users as it has the look/feel of the Windows control panel.

I’m sure that I’ll find other things as I mess around but so far it’s been behaving pretty good and I have no complaints.

Feisty Testing!

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on February 27, 2007

Last night I downloaded a CD of Feisty Fawn (Ubuntu 7.04) to play with. I have VMWare on my work PC which runs Windows so I decided to create a new virtual machine to install and test out Feisty. This morning I created a new virtual machine and set it up in a fairly typical fashion. Booted up using the Live CD that I downloaded (Herd 4) from the Release Schedule page here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/FeistyReleaseSchedule. It booted up as a live cd, detected my hardware immediately and even found the network correctly which is always a challenge for me with VMWare. Rather than play around with the live CD I immediately clicked on the “install” button. As with previous Ubuntu installs it was quick and painless. When it finished installing it asked me if I wanted to continue using the live cd or not. I selected no so that it would boot into the installed system. I’m not sure if it exactly worked as I turned my head away for a second figuring it would take time to reboot the whole machine but when I turned my head back it was already at the desktop which seemed too fast for me. I’m not sure if it was supposed to do that or not so I figured I’d just fully reboot the machine to see what happened next. After a normal reboot, I logged in to my newly installed system and so far everything works! Truly amazing if you ask me. According to the release schedule, Feisty isn’t even supposed to be “Beta” until 3/22 which is almost a month away.

Herd 4 was released on 2/15 (12 days ago) and when I got the new system booted I went to check for updates. There are 380 updates available as of this minute. Some may think this is a bad thing but I think it’s a testament to how hard the developers are working on getting the new release ready. I’m currently updating the system with all the new updated packages at which point I should probably have a very current look at what Feisty will be like.

Being that this release is very early (i.e. not yet even beta) I’m hesitant to recommend it to anyone for anything other than testing/playing. I will not be upgrading my main machine for quite a while, although I do have another Ubuntu VM that is at 6.06 which I might upgrade just to experience that. More reports to follow!


Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on February 26, 2007

Another tool that I use often is KRegExpEditor. What this allows you to do is to put in some sample text and then write a regular expression to see what matches. I’m not a regexp wiz so I find it helpful to plug in a sample of the text/log/etc that I’m going to be searching through and then attempt my regexp. It does have some handy tools for building regexps using drag and drop style input but I generally write my own. I’m sure some people can write regexps in their sleep but for those of us that are not so great this tool comes in handy. I don’t know if there is a gnome equivalent or not. If I find one, I’ll post it to.

Bash Script to check for a file

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on February 26, 2007

Occasionally I need to find out if a file DOES exist and/or a file DOESN’T exist.

Here are a couple of snippets to do just that:

if [ ! -f filename] ; #File that you are looking for isn't there
do stuff

And the opposite:

if [ -e filename]; #File is there
do stuff

Using code like this can help determine if there an error file was generated during a process or if you are expecting a file to be there that isn’t.

Drivel Sources

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on February 25, 2007

Over the past few days I’ve been posting on using Drivel and other offline blog tools see here and here and I commented that there were a few things missing from Drivel that I would like. Last night I decided to put my money where my mouth is and download the sources and take a peek. Unfortunately modifying the sources is probably a bit above my pay grade so to speak – I don’t think I’ll be able to make the changes I want, however being able to review the source code of an app is a great feature of Linux and open source in general. In order to more completely work through the code, I installed both Anjuta which is a development IDE and the Glade Interface Designer. Anjuta is totally optional if you don’t intend on building – you can view the sources in Gedit or Kate, etc. The Glad Interface Designer is what was used by the author to develop the forms, etc. so it’s pretty much necessary to view all of the form designs.

Here’s what I found out. First, some of the things that I am looking for are sort of available but only if you are using LiveJournal. The main form does have inputs for Music, moods, etc. but they are enabled for LiveJournal only. I’m sure there’s a reason for this, probably due to the LiveJournal api’s or something. The second thing I found out is the programmers have a nice sense of humor! From journal.c:

/* if there is no username, throw a fit */
else if (!dc->user->username || !strcmp (dc->user->username, ""))

As I was browsing the sources that made me laugh!

In any case, I may mess around a bit with the sources and see what I can do to make it better for me but even if I can’t/don’t – having the power to review the entire application design is awesome. Imagine being able to do this with Microsoft Office or Windows!

Ubuntu Ultimate Edition

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on February 24, 2007

I found this recently (forgot the source) –Ubuntu Software – Ubuntu Ultimate Edition. This appears to be a more customized distribution of Ubuntu that contains many of the features that folks enable/install via Automatix, etc. Looking at the list of additional things installed, many of them are things that I have found useful myself. Being that I already have my PC installed and configured the way I want it and the fact that I run 64-bit version (Ultimate Edition appears 32-bit only) I won’t install it. However, it does look appealing as a base install for people that are looking for a complete install that includes flash, proprietary codecs, etc. as opposed to having the base Ubuntu install and using Automatix and the like. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has installed this edition.

Follow up on offline blog tools

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on February 24, 2007

Earlier I wrote a post on offline blog tools and did a comparison of 3 different programs that I found in my repositories. My general feeling was that I needed to do more testing and that there wasn’t a clear winner. Over the past several days I’ve spent a little time playing around and I have decided that “Drivel” is the winner. It’s not perfect and I honestly do most of my posting online from the WordPress dashboard, however if I had to pick a winner this is it.

Here’s what would make it perfect for me:

1. A toolbar. Having all of the formatting options (all options really) in different menus is not nearly as easy as clicking a button.
2. Ability to select more than one category. It’s limited to a single category which means that if my post covers more than one topic I’m forced to go edit the post online and select the other category(s) which kind of defeats the purpose of having an offline blog tool.
3. Some ability to include scripts or something. It would be really cool if you could automatically include what you are listening to in Amarok or the output of the fortune command, etc in the bottom of a post.

While these are not major usability issues they are just a few things that would go further towards making this program perfect for me.

Linux Forums

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on February 24, 2007

A long time ago I was searching for help on something – don’t actually remember what and I came across the Linux Forums website: Linux Forums – Where People Come For Linux Help !. I have found this to be a great resource full of really helpful people. Unlike many forums, even asking the “dumbest” question in the world won’t get you flamed. As with most forums, it is generally good practice to search and read the forum a bit before posting a question looking for help but I think you’ll find that people are very welcoming and helpful there.

How to get 32 bit packages installed in 64 bit ubuntu

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on February 23, 2007

I use the 64 bit version of Ubuntu as I have an AMD 64 bit processor on my PC. I’m not sure how drastic a difference it makes in day to day tasks but I figure since I have the architecture it’s nice to take advantage of it. In any case, there are some programs that don’t have a 64 bit version. If you attempt to install one you may get a message like:

package architecture (i386) does not match system (amd64)

If you have a .deb file you can enter this:

sudo dpkg -i --force-architecture packagename_i386.deb

To force install it. If you don’t have a .deb file read on….

Just because it’s 32 bit doesn’t mean you can’t use it. There’s another great Ubuntu forum post of the topic here which describes some of the ways to accomplish getting various software to work. Additionally Automatix will install some 32-bit programs for you. The 32 bit program that I use most is SwiftFox as I can configure some of the web plugins like flash to work with it. There is no 64 bit flash plugin available so you can either use a 32 bit browser or use some plugin managers like nspluginwrapper.

It’s very rare that I find I just can’t get something to install or work under 64 bit Ubuntu.