A Brief Fling with Foresight Linux

This probably fits in the “it just works” category of things, but I am back to using Ubuntu on my laptop after a brief fling with Foresight Linux 0.9.3. To this point, I have never been able to effectively manage the network settings on my laptop in moving it between work (where it has a static IP address on the wired network interface) and home (where it has a dynamic IP address and uses the built-in wireless interface). As a Gnome fan, I had seen several postings on the Gnome news site over the past couple of years announcing new releases of Foresight, and I was curious to give it a shot since it had all the latest Gnome goodness built in. So right before Christmas, when 0.9.3 was announced I thought I would give it a shot.

The initial installation went very smoothly and it seemed promising in terms of its support for the hardware on my laptop. It certainly seemed to recognize that both network interfaces were present when I ran through the initial installation (which I performed while connected to the network at work). Unfortunately, as soon as I pulled it off the network and brought it home to fire it up and connect it to my WAN, it had no indication that the wireless card was even present in the box. Wierd. Dropped the Linux partition and reinstalled at home — still no indication that it even had a wireless card inside. More wierd.

Back to work the next Monday, hung it on the network, dropped the Linux partition, and reinstalled. Both network interfaces seem to be present. This time, I went ahead and configured the wireless interface, pulled it off the network and rebooted. Wireless interface was still there — that seemed promising. Took it home, booted, and I could actually get it to see my WAN at home and connect to it. After much Googling and forum-searching, I managed to figure out what I would need to do to get the routing table entries tweaked to switch between the two interfaces so that I could actually see the outside world.

Home free, I thought! New distro, with the latest and greatest Gnome to play with. The next day when I went to boot the laptop — still here at home — what do I find but that it has lost all track of the fact that it even has a wireless card! Nothing I could do even seemed to make it aware of the card.

At that point, I decided that it there was something flaky under the hood in Foresight that just couldn’t keep track of the card. I decided that I was headed back to Ubuntu, which for me has always come the closest to “just working” of any of the distributions I have tried on all of my various boxes. Dropped the Linux partition, installed Ubuntu (this time at home), and let it configure the wireless card as part of the installation process.

It just works — and works well. So for the time being, I am running Linux wirelessly (that can’t really be a word, I know) on the laptop at home, and Windows wired at work.

Foresight still seems like it has quite a bit going for it, and my intent is to keep an eye on it. For now, however, I am back to having just Ubuntu installed on my various boxes. I still have that sort of vague wanderlust feeling at times, thinking that maybe there is a better distro out there for me than Ubuntu (the same feeling that makes me take a hard look at Evolution every time they update it, but I have always ended up back on Thunderbird), but I haven’t found it yet.

Stock Firefox on Ubuntu

Having played with the betas and the pre-release candidates of Mozilla Firefox on several of my Windows-based computers, I was very anxious to get the new v1.5 up and running as soon as it was released in late November. As the release date crept closer, the traffic on the Ubuntu forums indicated that a quick backport of the Mozilla release for the inclusion in the Ubuntu repositories wasn’t likely. Luckily for me, though, a kind soul on the forums posted a slick How-To with instructions on getting the stock Mozilla build installed and running on Ubuntu. Worked like a charm…

And the results? Highly non-scientific, I realize, but this new version is screaming fast compared to the Ubuntu-included v1.07 that is available in the repositories. I don’t know (and, frankly, don’t care) how much of that is v1.5 vs. v1.07 and how much might be the stock Mozilla vs. the distro-specific build (I have seen grumblings in the Ubuntu forums that the distro version may be something of a pig). Either way, it feels much snappier, loads pages quicker, and works without any problems so far!

Update: I also have switched to running a stock Mozilla Thunderbird (currently at 1.5rc2), based on a similar How-To, and have had no problems.

BlueDragon on Ubuntu (Revisited)

Having recently upgraded most of my boxes to Ubuntu 5.10, I needed to get NewAtlanta’s BlueDragon CFML server re-installed. The good news is that the steps from my earlier post worked verbatim (aside from finding a couple of tweaks to the post where I clearly mis-typed a portion of a step or two). The good news is that I now have BD6.2 running against the stock Ubuntu Apache 2.0.54, and MySQL 4.0.24. I have gone back and tweaked just a couple of items in those instructions to clear up those mistakes.

Tango: Learning to Dance

Well, OK. Not really that kind of dance…

The new look here at we3geeks is a WordPress theme that I have been working on (or more correctly, off and on) for the past couple of months. Called “Tango” (hence the dance comment), it is based in large part on the colors, presentation, and icons of the Tango Desktop Project’s work. It is definitely still a work in progress, and my intent is to continue to clean it up and make it work (and look!) better in the coming weeks. It has taken what seems like forever to get it even to this point, where I could roll it out, in part due to an almost complete lack of time to play with it, and because this is my first (admittedly feeble) attempt at putting together a WordPress theme.

There are still a fair number of rough bits (e.g., I know that the layout is kind of dorked up in IE) that I need to work through and clean up. Keep watching.

Until I Find You

John Irving, Random House, 2005

Typical John Irving, falling well within in his usual quirky spectrum of too-wierd-for-words and brilliant. A melancholy (until the last 150 pages or so) story about a young man, his missing-in-action father (a tattooed organist), and his mom (a tattoo artist and a … no, wait, that would give away too much). The main character feels very much like Owen Meany to me, although this book didn’t have that same feeling of building toward Owen Meany’s climactic ending. His story has three distinct parts, each of which has a distinct feeling: quirky initially, drifting and kind of an aimless sadness, and ending on a high note of hilarity and closure. To be honest, I struggled to make it through the later portion of that central part; the first half of the story, on the other hand, flew by, and the last 150 pages were a treat and went very quickly.

If you liked “A Prayer for Owen Meany” and/or “A Widow for One Year”, you will probably would enjoy this one, too (although I would place this book a notch below each of those two, which I consider to be his best so far).