More Assorted Shorts (11/2009)

Some assorted shorts, given that I haven’t had much time to post of late. I’ll write more on some of these in the coming days.

More to come on some of these as we get our lives at least marginally back under control as soccer winds down for the fall…

  • We’ve got Halloween pix coming; you’ll want to keep an eye out for those in the next couple days!
  • On the Linux front, Ubuntu 9.10 is out as of late last week. I pushed one of my older boxes to it with reasonable success. Not much more there to say other than the startup and shutdown times are impressive, even on old hardware. Brown hasn’t done much for me lately.
  • The time change is wreaking havoc on our mornings at this point, particularly with Li.
  • The first pre-release of Firefox 3.6 is out, but I haven’t had a chance yet to pull it down and give it a try. At least on the surface, the only interesting aspect is the return of some eye candy regarding switching tabs. Also on the browser front, Google Chrome continue to progress, but the continued absence of the ability to control default font sizes on Mac OS X is mystifying.
  • Ian wrapped up his high school soccer career with a trip to the state tournament in Boise in late October. Odd to think that’s over and done with; odder to think that I am going to be saying that more and more over the next few months as he works his way through his senior year.
  • Done a bit of reading, although little of it was worth noting aside from “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy. I haven’t read anything by him for several years and this was a great reminder of how much I love his writing.
  • On the movie front, go see “500 Days of Summer” if you haven’t yet and can still find it in a theater. Best movie we’ve seen in a very long time.

New toy: Asus EeePC 1000HE

A new toy showed up at our house late last week: an Asus Eee PC netbook, and I’m just now starting to play with it.

A new toy made its appearance at our house: an Asus EeePC 1000HE. I’m just starting to play with it; I’m posting from it this morning. It comes with WinXP pre-installed on the hard drive, but my plans are that it will never run Windows. I’m running Ubuntu’s 9.04 netbook remix from a USB stick right now, and I’m planning to install that to the disk after updating to a solid-state drive. It’s an amazing little box and I’m very impressed with it so far. Great screen, decent keyboard (even though it’s small, I believe I can easily get used to the spacing and I like the feel of it), and everything just seems to work under this version of Linux (sound, wireless, webcam, multi-touch trackpad, compiz).

I popped out the stock 1G of RAM and replaced it with a 2G stick before powering it on the first time and it recognized it without problems. Performance and responsiveness is pretty good, even running from a USB stick and for stuff like the GIMP (I used it to scale down my test snapshot from the webcam).

I will probably switch the normal GNOME desktop once I switch out the drive for the faster SSD and will definitely tighten down fonts, etc., in the UI to maximize screenspace. I’ll post a screenie when I’ve got it set up in a more typical (for me) configuration.

So far, I’ve very impressed. It seems to be well-designed, feels solid, and works great.

Linux Mint 5 Released

Looks like I will be rebuilding a couple boxes…

Late yesterday, the latest release of my favorite Linux distro was made public. As much as I’ve liked having Ubuntu’s 8.04 release on my laptop, I’ll be ditching it within the next few days to give Linux Mint 5 a hard look. Mint has been my distro of choice for better than a year now, and based on that history, what I’ve read about the changes, and my positive experience with Ubuntu 8.04 (upon which this release of Mint is based), I don’t believe I will be disappointed.

I will follow up with more on this after the first of my re-builds.

A Blue Heron

Although I didn’t start out with this particular destination in mind, I have a new and blue installation of Ubuntu 8.04 running on my laptop as of late Friday.

Not to be confused with a red herring…

Although I didn’t start out with this particular destination in mind, I have a new and different distribution of Linux running on my laptop as of late Friday. With previews available of upcoming releases of both Fedora and openSUSE, I had intended to try one of those two distros for a bit while I await the next release of Linux Mint (which is currently my distro of choice). Having pulled down images for those two previews, I got started early Friday morning trying to get both of them running — and failed. Bad installation image for Fedora 9’s preview (despite the checksum on the download being correct) and openSUSE’s 11 beta 1 just doesn’t work on my laptop well enough to keep there. So what to do, having dropped my installed Linux Mint?

Ubuntu 8.04, codenamed “Hardy Heron”, was released on Thursday, so I figured I had nothing to lose at this point in pulling down a copy and trying it. I’ve used Ubuntu in the past, so I knew what to expect. Installation and support for the hardware on this particular box has always been quite good in Ubuntu and this version didn’t break that string.

Blue version of Ubuntu 8.04

I’ve never been crazy about Ubuntu’s orange/brown color scheme, however, so the first thing after installation was to start tweaking and prodding to get it to look like something I can use. Installation of the “blubuntu-*” packages via synaptic, some image assistance from Ian to get a blue version of the default heron desktop image, and some tweaking of my .conkyrc to fit from a color perspective… and I think this will work for now. I still need to get most of my local stuff installed and working again (apache, MySQL, Komodo, etc.) but I don’t anticipate any problems there based on past experience. I’m sure I will take a hard look at the next version of Linux Mint when it comes out — particularly for our main box here at home — but I’m OK with this on my laptop for now.