Saturday, December 27, 2008

Laptop Reborn

Maybe it was the limited 512MB ram, maybe it was the rather slow Celeron 1.5 GHz processor, maybe because I didn't spend time tweaking it, whichever way it was my old laptop was really crawling under Fedora 9. Hearing that Fedora 10 is so much faster I was kind of tempted to try it out. But when I think back I haven't got much time to upgrade and tweak my laptop all the time, I decided to just go the bare minimum way. I decided to go back to Arch Linux. Back home.. :) It'll take some time to get it exactly right, but I know once it's exactly how I like it, it can stay that way for a very very long time but still updated due to Arch rolling release life cycle.

So I wanted something light. Very light. If possible no Gnome or KDE. So that's what I've got myself.. :D Installed xorg with Openbox. Fuh.. now finally my laptop loads under 1 minute again. In the end my desktop consist of openbox for window manager, wicd as network manager, docker as a dock manager, lal as clock in the dock, volwheel for a mixer, pcmanfm as the file manager and urxvt as a terminal emulator.

Learned quite a few stuff too while looking for the lightest software to run. One of them being audacious. I hate xmms. But I don't want to install amarok or even rhythmbox neither due to their rather heavy kde and gnome reliance. So after googling through the arch linux forums I found audacious. It uses gtk+ so selecting which files to play looks very good but still kept very lean and mean.

Another suprising discovery was wicd. I wanted a good network manager. I must admit gnome-networkmanager spoiled me a bit and I don't really want to have to go through the whole iwlist and iwconfig route anymore. Again the arch forums gave a hint about wicd. The interface is drop dead ugly compared to gnome-networkmanager but it works quite well. It automatically detects wifi ap and connects to them once the profile has been created. And since most of the time it just sits in the dock so you forget about the ugly interface after a while. At least till the next time you have to create another profile.. :P

I found out even the gnome-terminal has spoiled me a bit too. Now xterm looks pretty ugly to me. The fonts are so retro. I want beatifully rendered anti-aliased fonts. Again the arch forums and wiki came to the rescue and pointed me in the direction of rxvt-unicode. It can do a lot of other stuff apart from anti-aliased font (like unicode, transparency, and lots of other stuff) but I don't really need them all that much. I just need to be looking at smooth curves all the time. That's all... :D

So finally now my laptop is able to load up fully in under 1 minute and running everything I need to do my job, even mysqld and httpd. I'm happy.. till next time.. ;)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

No Sound From Dell Inspiron Mini using Ubuntu

Bless my mom. Even after a few weeks of using ubuntu on her Dell, she didn't realize that it cannot produce any sound at all. Recently my father was complaining about the windows on his Dell too, so he too wanted me to install ubuntu on it. Since now I've got a little bit more time on my hand, I wanted to do a proper job with all the codecs and flashplugin installed and everything.

But after installing flash, going to youtube I realized, "Hey, this thing is not making any sound at all". So after much googling, I came to find out that I have to add the following line to the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base file:

options snd-hda-intel model=dell

Once I've rebooted there was a new option in the mixer(Speaker). Just have to max that up and finally we have sound.. foss ftw :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

MyMeeting, Ubuntu Netbook and other stuff

There has been a lot of things happening for the past month or so until I've been so busy I didn't get the time to update my blog properly and even if I had the time I'd rather use it to sleep to get back my energy. Anyhow things are much calmer now and let me take this opportunity to say a few things.. :)

First off the bat, MyMeeting has won an AIPA (Anugerah Inovasi Perkhidmatan Awam) and it was awarded by The Pak Lah himself (some people call me Pak Lah too but this is the real Pak Lah, the one that's running this country. I don't wish to run this country.. :P) at the AKSA (Anugerah Kecemerlangan Sektor Awam) 2008 on 27th November 2008. Check out some of the pictures of the OSCC booth on that day here.

I guess I'm pretty proud that it won that award. Now I can write on my resume, one of the developers of an award winning system.. :) LOL.. somehow I like the sound of that.. :P Whichever way it is, it has drawn quite a lot of attention to MyMeeting. And finally we get feedback from users.. Yay.. \o/ And thus why I've been so busy. MyMeeting has been developed quite a lot since then and finally I think I can be truly proud of it. Most of the features that I've been saying it has but wasn't actually implemented is now implemented.. >.< You can check it out at the MyMeeting trac.

Apart from that, quite recently (as in around 3 weeks ago), I've bought for my parents Dell Mini Inspiron 9. So one for my father, one for my mother (using their money of course.. :P). The funny thing was that my mother's mini just kept on having problems. It wouldn't shut down properly so suddenly you find that it's battery has been completely drained. It sometimes wouldn't detect the mouse. But my father's one was a-okay. My mom asked me to fix it. What was my answer? "You know you wouldn't have this problem if it was running linux rather than windows xp :P"... So she agreed to let me install Linux on it.. \o/

So I went out to buy an external DVD drive (I know there's ways to install it using usb pendrive and all but I need an external DVD drive anyway.. :P) and promptly installed Ubuntu 8.10 on it. I've read that because the SSD have limited amount of write cycles you should limit the amount of writing to it as much as possible. So rather than formatting the hard disk with an ext3 that has journaling (and thus more writes for every file operation) I opted to use ext2. Some people would also suggest not to have a swap partition as there would be lots of writes there too. But I've read somewhere else that most of the time you don't use enough memory to require a swap if you've got 1GB of ram (which the Dell Mini has) and thus wouldn't use it even if it's there making it okay to create a swap partition. But I didn't create a swap partition because what's the point. If you want to create a swap partition for suspend and stuff you need to create it at least 2.5 times larger than your amount of RAM. The Dell Mini has only 8 GB of real estate. After installing Ubuntu you're left with only around 5GB (compared to only 3GB with bare windows). 2.5GB would take away half of the available space. So forget suspending this baby. Better just shut it down. Googled for Ubuntu netbook and followed the instructions written here. Made sure to add maximus and netbook-launcher to the list of programs run at start-up (System->Preferences->Session for those who doesn't know).

The verdict. After over two weeks of using it, my mom loves it.. :D Now she's not embarrased when she try to boot up the netbook in front of her friends it doesn't boot. Or when she tries to connect the mouse it doesn't work. It just works and it's interface is lovely. And then it happened... My wife asked me to install it on her EEEPC too.. :) Her EEEPC was still using the original custom Xandros which greatly limited the amount of software (and even drivers) available for her. So I went and installed it. And because it has a 20GB SSD, there's plenty of space to create the swap partition (which I did). So just like I suspected it now boots a lot slower than the original Xandros (but still much faster than any kind of windows xp installation.. :P) but at least now she's running the latest software and drivers. There's a whole lot more issue with the EEEPC actually and I've still haven't got the internal mic to work yet. But at least bluetooth doggle should work (actually I haven't tried it yet.. :P).

Fuh.. this has turned into a longer post than I thought. So I'll just end it here. If you're a PHP developer (especially if you're a CakePHP developer) please check out MyMeeting and who knows, maybe you can contribute something. If you're not a developer but you know how to install web apps (php, mysql stack) try installing mymeeting and see whether maybe your organization can use it. If not give us a feedback on why and maybe we can make it happen.. ;) If you're neither of that but you know someone who is, tell them about it.. :)

Alrighty then, till next time...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Leon: The Professional -- Shape Of My Heart

He deals the cards as a meditation
And those he plays never suspect
He doesn't play for the money he wins
He doesn't play for respect
He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of a probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance

I know that the spades are swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that's not the shape of my heart

He may play the jack of diamonds
He may lay the queen of spades
He may conceal a king in his hand
While the memory of it fades

I know that the spades are swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that's not the shape of my heart

And if I told you that I loved you
You'd maybe think there's something wrong
I'm not a man of too many faces
The mask I wear is one
Those who speak know nothing
And find out to their cost
Like those who curse their luck in too many places
And those who fear are lost

I know that the spades are swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that's not the shape of my heart

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Great movie. Thanks to BuffaloSoldier for pointing it out. :)

Haiya ala Solah