Microwave Biscuit

Snap…don’t !

Posted in General by microwavebiscuit on June 17, 2007

Via: fragility » Blog Archive » Snap…don’t !

Message received. I disabled the Snap plugin. I don’t know if it only takes effect for new urls or if my old urls will stop the snap preview.


The new home (for my PC) is finally ready

Posted in Technology by microwavebiscuit on June 17, 2007

After last night’s debacle with a busted power supply and case issues I have finally gotten it all back together again. I went back and got a new power supply to replace the defective one I bought. It was remarkably easy and I give big props to Fry’s for making the return process painless. I ended up getting a different power supply then the one I had picked out last night as I was enticed when I went to pick out the replacement by a power supply that was “modular”. Instead of having a mountain of cables coming out of it, there are plugs to plug in the cable sets that you need. This way I’m not cluttering up my case with PCI Express cables that I’ll never use and I only have 2 SATA drives so I don’t need 4 connectors. Anyway, it went back together fairly easily and I’m very happy with my purchases.

When did buying a power supply become such a big deal anyway? It seems that when I built my first PC all of the cases you could buy had built-in power supplies (and they were all one size and beige) and the only reason you’d ever buy a new power supply is if one went bad. If you needed a new one, there wasn’t much choice in them and they were about $20. At some point it changed such that no cases have power supplies and when you go to buy one they have everything from 300 Watt to 1200 Watt now. They also cost quite a bit more than $20.

While I was looking at the power supplies I wandered over and looked at the motherboards, processors, etc too. I managed to pull myself away before I ended up getting some quad-core monstrosity some $800 later. And really, if you’re going to spend the dough on a quad-core processor and kick-ass motherboard combo, you may as well spring for the dual SLI PCI Express video cards. Once you go that route, it really only makes sense to buy 8 Gigs of RAM as well. If you’ve got 8 Gigs of RAM, you’d better also get another TB of disk space to go along with it. I’m guessing I could have dropped about 3K on stuff that I really don’t need all while trying to return a defective power supply. This is why I brought my wife with me last night when I was going to buy the new case on power supply! Fortunately I was able to exercise some self control and left with only a replacement power supply.

Case Picture

Posted in Technology by microwavebiscuit on June 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by phoch_98.

Here’s a picture of what my new case/power supply situation is. Isn’t that lovely?

My PC has a new home but it’s kinda broken

Posted in Technology by microwavebiscuit on June 17, 2007

Tonight I went to Fry’s and bought a new case and a new power supply. Both made by Antec as I’ve had very good luck with Antec stuff over the years. The new case is a P180B ( link ) and it’s very awesome. My old case was also an Antec but I bought the cheapest one I could find because when I built this PC I was doing it on the cheap. In any case, it was time to upgrade. Putting together an existing PC in a new case is always a challenge because inevitably I hook something up incorrectly. After I put it all back together again it booted up right away (yeah Ubuntu!) but then shut down almost instantly. I tried to restart it but it just kept quiting with no warning. I checked all of the cables over again to make sure everything was hooked up correctly and it still kept failing. By process of elimination I figured it was the new power supply. Sure enough I plugged in the old power supply and everything works great. Mind you it took about 45 minutes to reroute all of the cables and whatnot to get my old power supply in place. The other thing is that the old power supply’s cables aren’t really long enough to support this new giant tower I’ve purchased so I have to leave the PC in a very crazy state with the case all open and the power supply just resting on the open case. Looks like I’m off to Fry’s again tomorrow to return it and get a new one.

Issue with GAlternatives + Geany

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on June 16, 2007

Over the last several weeks many folks have posted about using the text editor Geany. I tried it out myself and I love it. It has finally beaten Kate for me. I’ve used Kate for a very long time but my new love is Geany. More info is available at the Geany site: http://geany.uvena.de/ and it is available in the Ubuntu Repositories. I like it so much I thought I’d try and make it my “default” text editor in Gnome. A very long time ago I installed GAlternatives which is supposed to allow you to change how the system behaves and what programs are used by default. So, I added in Geany under “gnome-text-editor” and selected it as the default. However, if I go to a text file in a directory and right-click on it choosing “open with text editor” it loads up with Gedit. What’s the deal with that? Do I need to do something different?

Mark Shuttleworth » No negotiations with Microsoft in progress

Posted in ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on June 16, 2007

Via: Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » No negotiations with Microsoft in progress

Definitely nice to hear directly from Mark Shuttleworth that Ubuntu is not presently negotiating with Microsoft. It does seem that Microsoft is trying to strong arm Linux distributions at present and Mark goes on to say that the threat of them NOT suing is not enough.

I also appreciated the fact that later on in his article he goes on to say that if Microsoft (or any other closed source vendors really) want to bring something to the table of value and/or change their attitudes that Ubuntu could partner with anyone. It seems to be a very “open” approach and not just anti-Microsoft rhetoric. Great job Mark!

Comparison: Krusader vs. Gnome Commander

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on June 15, 2007

It’s not really a secret that I use Gnome but tend to prefer KDE applications so with that in mind my comparison of Krusader and Gnome Commander will probably be unbalanced at best.

First of all, both of these utilities are used as file managers and have the feel of Norton Commander of old. I’ve always liked tools like this in both Windows and in Linux. I especially like having a 2 pane interface to manage files within directories.

Secondly, the specific task that I am measuring is as follows: Connect to a share on a Windows machine, analyze/compare to a directory on my Linux machine and then synchronize the folders. Why am I doing this? Well, I have a “pictures” folder on my Windows box that I use as a master folder for all of my digital images which I share on my network so that my Wife’s PC can see them as well as for sharing with various other PCs. However, when it comes to really working with the pictures I prefer to use my Ubuntu machine for editing, uploading to Flickr, etc so I want to always be certain that I have the pictures stored on two machines.

Now, the test results.

Gnome Commander: When I open up Gnome Commander, it’s fairly easy to connect to a network share by clicking on the SMB button. It then searches for available workgroups and shares. It does take a few seconds to identify what is available, but locating my shared folder “All Pictures” is accomplished. However, if I close Gnome Commander and reopen it, it remembers my local folder selection on the left pane but on the right pane I get an error “file not found” and it defaults back to my home directory. It isn’t terribly difficult to reconnect however. Next, attempt to compare the directories. This is done by going to the Mark menu and selecting Compare Directories. At this point, nothing seems to happen. However, it does show in the bottom “2 of 2000” files selected although there is no visible difference to let you know what it found different between the two folders. If you select copy it does actually copy the files. End of test. Result: Sort of pass. Would be nice to know what it found before copying with a visual clue. Could be that I don’t have the program configured correctly in some way but this seems to be the out of the box behavior.

Krusader: To create a new network connection, you click on a toolbar button “new network connection”. It doesn’t appear to browse the network; it just gives you a smb:// prompt which allows you to type the host name. Fortunately the host I’m connecting to has a short and easily remembered name. After that, available shares are displayed. Next to compare directories, there are two ways. You can go to the “edit” menu and select compare directories or you can select the “Tools” menu and choose “Synchronize Directories” which also includes a comparison feature. Using the Synchronize feature has quite a few options to only look at certain file types and many other choices followed by a “Synchronize Button” which will the sync up the two directories. This works and satisfies the requirements laid out. End of test. Result: Pass.

In this case for my specific task, Krusader seemed to work better. I prefer the network detection of Gnome Commander to Krusader but the synchronize functionality is much better in Krusader.

I may have missed an option or two in Gnome Commander but I couldn’t seem to find a “Synchronize” menu choice. I’m also not certain if it recursed through the directories to detect changes whereas Krusader definitely does. So, my final choice is to use Krusader.

Hackety Hack: the Coder’s Starter Kit

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on June 15, 2007

Via: Hackety Hack: the Coder’s Starter Kit

Hackety Hack has been getting some good press lately and it seems to be a great way to learn some fundamental programming skills. I’m dying to try it out however I can’t quite get it to work on my machine. I’m thinking that the problem is 64-bit Ubuntu vs 32-Bit. I’m hoping to get a resolution to it but I’m even considering creating a VM to mess with just so I can try this out! Give it a shot if you want to learn a little programming skills. It’s presently available for both Windows and Ubuntu (possibly Mac too).

My top 10 commands

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on June 13, 2007

This post: My top 10 commands at Koke’s talks about top 10 commands in bash history. Here’s mine:

117 cd – Looks like I change a lot of directories
81 exit – I also Exit a lot.
53 sudo
36 converts – This is a script that I’ve written to convert shn/flac files to ogg
31 ls
19 ll – alias to ls -l
17 top
17 ./configure
14 make
12 perl – I’m glad Perl made the list.

Load Averages

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on June 10, 2007

I almost always have “top” running on one of my desktops as a means of making sure no processes are running away or hogging memory, etc. Occasionally I’ll find that FireFox has sprung a leak and is using 500Mb of RAM or something. That usually indicates that it will crash at some point in the near future and if I really care about what I’m looking at I should bookmark it and restart FF. Obviously there are other processes that can run away and/or that need monitoring which is why I keep top running.

One of the statistics that I’ve seen but didn’t really understand was Load Average. For example, right now in my “top” window at the upper right is the following:

load average: 0.26, 0.38, 0.33

I previously had no idea what those numbers meant other than to know that if I’m encoding audio or video, running lots of stuff, etc. those numbers go up. When nothing is happening on my machine, the numbers come back down. So it is measuring some sort of load on the system. I decided to look around the web today to see what I could find out.

Here’s the deal, the reason there are three numbers is that they represent the last minute, the last 5 minutes and the last 15 minutes. They are more like trends on the system. Basically when I copied those numbers out of top my system had used 26% of the CPU in the last minute, 38% of the CPU over the last 5 minutes and 33% of the CPU over the last 15 minutes. If any of those numbers are over 1.0 that generally means that stuff is waiting and/or your system is bogged down.

There are much more detailed explanations available on several sites that determine exactly how the numbers get calculated but I was able to get a rough sense of what they mean and why there are three.

Helpful links:

Wikipedia entry
Really geeky article