Wednesday, May 31, 2006

FreeNX Still Hot

FreeNX - Ubuntu Wiki

I forgot to post about freenx lately.  I'm starting to get involved in the Ubuntu community and got sidetracked creating a wiki account to help out.

Dapper works great with freenx.  I'll have to try out freenx and xgl when I get a chance but I'm pretty sure all 3D graphics are not available through freenx.

Don't forget to pick up a Windows client or payed service for a Citrix replacement from 


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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Picasa for Linux

How google used wine to modify their windows codebase to create a linux port. 

How Microsoft Could Crush Google Overnight Legally & Free 

Basically, Microsoft could offer an ad blocking plugin to Internet Explorer.  This may hurt Microsoft and would probably get a lawsuit from Google, but, wow, what a blow it would be to Google.

Problems with Ubuntu Dapper 686-smp

When I try booting into a Dapper kernel (currently 2.6.15-23), I get a silent reboot after seeing the Ubuntu splash screen.  Apparently there was something wrong in the libc6 package that affects the initramfs.  It has nothing to do with smp.  Linux kernel bug report  Prelink bug report

Friday, May 26, 2006

CNN's Business 2.0: Bulletproof Startup Steps

 37signals idea: 

Ubuntu Wireless

I thought I new enough about wireless but this one threw me for a couple hours.

I'm using a Linksys WMP54GS under Ubuntu Dapper.

"sudo apt-get remove ndiswrapper" # No longer need this
"sudo apt-get install bcm43xx-fwcutter"
"sudo /usr/share/bcm43xx-fwcutter/" # Live internet connection is needed

Only problem is that you need the latest Kismet software (not available in Dapper) to run the bcm43xx driver

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

XGL - Ubuntu Dapper

XGL on Dapper -- ATI settings (Home Machine) -- Nvidiasettings (Work Machine) -- Main discussion with pointes to multple configurations
Can't wait to try this out.

It worked like a charm. The windows are very nice.


  • Breaks Twinview dualscreen with Nvidia (it merges all monitors into one long picture)

  • Remote Desktop window doesn't play well with compriz (Need to change to use the default color depth)

I rebooted and found that the Lock Screen and screensaver worked again.

Cool video demonstration. I'm hooked :)

Ubuntu Evolution Exchange Connector

I used to have problems with the contact information using Ubuntu Breezy and Dapper with the Exchange connector.  The big trick, if you have more than one domain controller, your administrators may have put the Global Catalog Server on the backup/ non-primary server.  Both domain controllers will show your personal address book but only one of them contained the global catalog for me

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Web 2.0 Invoicing

FreshBooks - The Fastest Way to Invoice Your Clients

Here is an easy way to start your own business.  Fully web 2.0 compliant billing application to create, track, and distribute invoices.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Getting Bart PE to boot with RIS?

Booting Bart Pe With Pxe - The CD Forum

Another link to research later. 


Compare RIS and Ghost

RIS vs Ghost - Sell me on which one - Topic Ars OpenForum

We used to use Ghost and now have switched over to RIS.  The best part is the ability to set up a computer with admin credentials in 5 minutes and walk away.  The user can then log onto the machine in approximately 20 minutes because it is part of the Domain.

Biggest hangups with RIS:

  1. There are 6 Hals, so there are a maximum of 6 different images that need to be created (depending on your environment).  For us, we had to create 3 different images.
  2. The other big hangup for RIS is trying to use a ghosted machine to create the image.  You are much better off recreating the image entirely on RIS.   I had to manually hack what HAL was used and I'm not sure if I did it correctly.

Biggest benefits with RIS:

  1. All images are located on a network share.  You can easily add or delete files from the image.
  2. Setting up an image is only 5 minutes of work, then you can walk away. 

Windows GPL Anti-Virus/Spyware Tool

Winpooch : Windows watchdog helps to detect spywares and trojans - opensource - anti spyware and trojan

Not much to say about this but it uses ClamAV for the backend.  I'll have to test this latter. 


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Mediawiki in the Workplace

NewsForge | Putting MediaWiki to use in an organization

I installed a mediawiki server for our IT department documentation.  After showing a couple people the web pages, they commented immediately on the lack of security.  I thought that security was unessesary since all changes could be linked to an IP address and the original content couldn't be changed but I think everybody would have had a better feeling if there was security already installed. 


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Monday, May 22, 2006

Ubuntu Need to Jump from Community to Commercial

Can Ubuntu jump from community to commercial?

LUGradio recently talked with someone from Suse and discussed how Suse and Red Hat seemed to have commercial support but not community support and Ubuntu has community support but not commercial support. There may be something significant in the balance between the two. And by community support, they mean that many volunteers support and develop for said distrobution. Commercial support is developed by and for the business users.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ubuntu Dapper Hyperthreading
Ubuntu Linux: Since it is not possible to provide a safe patch in a short time, Hyper-Threading has been disabled in the updated kernel packages for now. You can manually enable Hyper-Threading again by passing the kernel parameter "ht=on" at boot. [Quoted from Ubuntu Security Notice USN-131-1.]

I edited /boot/grub/menu.lst to modify this line to add the ht=on. Then I ran "sudo update-grub" to propagate the changes.
# defoptions=quiet splash ht=on

Ubuntu Dapper and VMware
sudo apt-get install build-essentials

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gvim for Windows

Remember that under Windows, by default gvim is configuredto use Control-V for Paste, because that's the standard way mostWindows apps work, so in Windows one must drag through theregion and then use Control-Q, because the usual Vim purposesof Control-V are remapped onto Control-Q.

Tip #743 - Use Alt+Mouse to select blockwise (MS Word like) : vim online



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What's up with Ruby on Rails

Crossing borders: What's the secret sauce in Ruby on Rails?
But people who compare Ruby on Rails with a mix of general-purpose Java frameworks are missing the point. You can be 10 times more productive for some problems by radically changing the nature of the tool. Professional framers now use nail guns that can drive in dozens of nails in the time it takes to hammer in one nail. Like nail guns, Rails is specialized. It's a framework written with a laser focus on a single niche: new database-backed Web applications.

Great article by IBM about what makes Ruby on Rails (RoR) so special.

If you are a web developer or had any interest in learning how to program web applications, you should look at the Ruby on Rails framework. I am not a developer, I like scripting but I don't have the patience for coding. Ruby on Rails is a tool that allows me to create something as complex as a storefront with shopping cart.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wine Updates to 0.9.13

[Wine] New Ubuntu Breezy and Dapper APT repository - stop using sourceforge!

Wine will not be continuing its sourceforge repositories because of the limitations at sourceforge.


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LaTeX Tutorials

Getting to Grips with Latex - Latex Tutorials by Andrew Roberts @ School of Computing, University of Leeds

I have heard of LaTeX before but never had a reason to use it.  It looks like a better method for creating acedemic articles and documents.  It has enough intelligence to figure out the date, fill in the table of contents, and figure out the bibliography page at the end.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ubuntu WPA Goodness

Every six months Linux grows better by an order of magnitude. 2 1/2 years ago I was using Debian Potato and very excited when I could get graphics to work.

Today I am using the new Ubuntu Dapper Beta and was wondering why it is so hard to set up a dual monitor on Linux and why wireless connections are not as easy as using ethernet on Linux.

I have read that some company is donating their wireless framework, so I would guess that in 6-12 months the mixture of different wireless configurations will go away and we will have an easy way for Linux users to connect wirelessly. Today I am okay setting up basic wireless connections but at home I set up a WPA-PSK [TKIP] or WPA2-PSK [AES] connection. At work we use WPA2 [AES] connection exclusively. Up until today, I didn't think their was a way to get this working on Ubuntu or Debian without doing something really difficult.

Here is how to set up WPA under Ubuntu Dapper's Live CD portion. The live CD already has the wpa_supplicant package installed. The installed version might not have it installed, so verify the installation with your package manager.
All the pieces are available on the LiveCD, you just need to know how to activate them.

1. Enable the wireless network with the GUI through System-->Administration-->Networking

I had to Activate my wireless adapter and change the properties to use DHCP. I also verified that my SSID of my wireless device was listed.

2. Copy a configuration file for wpa_supplicant to the home directory.

zcat /usr/share/doc/wpasupplicant/examples/wpa_supplicant.conf.gz > ~/wpa_supplicant.conf

3. Modify the configuration file with your WPA secret code. This will append the basic configuration for WPA to the end of the configuration file. Fill in your own SSID and passphrase :)

wpa_passphrase SSID Passphrase >> ~/wpa_supplicant.conf

4. Now we just have to run the wpa_supplicant program with some specific settings to your environment. First lets find out what interface your card is using. Usually your device is something like wlan0 or ath0. Here are the interfaces you should avoid (eth0 is for your network card and lo is the loopback device).


5. Now you will have to run wpa_supplicant with no arguements to first get the list of drivers or just use this list to figure out what driver your card fits into. Use the 'lspci' command to help.

hostap = Host AP driver (Intersil Prism2/2.5/3)
madwifi = MADWIFI 802.11 support (Atheros, etc.)
wext = Linux wireless extensions (generic)
ndiswrapper = Linux ndiswrapper
ipw = Intel ipw2100/2200 driver
wired = wpa_supplicant wired Ethernet driver

6. Finally, we are ready for the command. I will be using the driver and interface for my card, you will have to adjust it to your situation.

sudo wpa_supplicant -c/home/ubuntu/wpa_supplicant.conf -Dmadwifi -iath0

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My Take on IE7

Internet Explorer 7

Here is my take on Internet Explorer:

1. Tabs are great, even though I miss the rounded corners from Firefox and Flock.  Interesting, I guess Flock doesn't have rounded corners for the tabs.  There is something I don't like about the way IE7 renders the tabs.  Maybe because the tabs are sharing the same horizontal space as the favorite tools and all menu options, the user is really left with only 2/3rd's of the space for tabs.

2. Integrated RSS is more impressive than Firefox.  IE parses an RSS feed showing a 'subscribe' button towards the top which is very nice for non-techies.  However they dropped the ball on placement for retrieving the data.  You need to go to the favorites section and click on the RSS tab.  RSS is an important feature of the new web and should be a big button on the task bar.

    The second issue with the RSS feature was the lack of quick navigation through RSS feeds.  I subscribe to 40 odd RSS feeds through Bloglines and need an easy way to get my information fast.  I couldn't even begin to use IE for RSS reading.  It kinda reminds me of Firefoxes built in RSS engine without the live updated bookmarks, but Sage is a much better platform for consuming information.

3.  Third gripe, when running Windows Updates, all other tabs are not available.  I'm pretty sure that IE6 used to allow other windows to grab focus but tabs are a different story.  Luckily, I could open Flock while waiting for IE7 to download updates.

4.  Bloglines renders the left pane in a minor funny way under IE7.  This is probably to be expected since IE7 hasn't left beta but I am quickly reminded that IE7 probably doesn't follow Internet standards. 

5.  I did, however, like the minimized interface of the address bar.  My first impression was rejection but after forcing myself to not change the interface to the old skin, I started liking it. 


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Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Monitor Test Patterns

Image Systems Corporation

I went to an AHRA conference about Digital Radiology in Tampa around April in 2005.  Someone there mentioned a great website for downloading test patterns.  This was before I blogged, so now I have to look through google searches and my notes from then. 


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Monday, May 8, 2006

Consumer Technology

Ignore consumer tech at your peril, CIOs warned - IT Director - Breaking Business and Technology News at

I believe that IT needs to allow enough room to allow users the ability to try services and products out that can help them do their job.  IT is a bad place to make decisions on workflow applications.  It does much better defining the technology necessary for a smart decision. 

For example, when IT is not involved with the purchase of a major database application, I have seen 2 project purchase vaporware.  IT is used to seeing and sniffing this out.  However, IT is not good when Skype can save a company overseas telephone costs. 


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Ubuntu Software Tutorial

Ubuntu software installation basics

This covers everything from dpkg -- apt -- aptitude -- synaptic package manager --  Ubuntu's update-manager


Yahoo is Upgrading its Search Advertising System

» Yahoo Upgrading Its Search Advertising System * SEO G: Surfing the Infosphere

I'm excited to see Yahoo and Google become the big advertising models for the Internet.  I am also silently watching to see what MSN/ Live does.

Twinview versus Xinerama

I got my dual head nvidia card working beautifully under Ubuntu Breezy using Twinview, but when I upgraded to Dapper, I lost my configuration.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Messing with Multiprocessor HALs 
When XP is first installed it tries to determine what type of BIOS is available on the computer. Newer systems have what is known as Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) capability. Unfortunately, XP doesn't always recognize a computer BIOS is ACPI capable and doesn't install the support for ACPI. Even more unfortunate is the fact that if ACPI support isn't determined at the initial install it's virtually impossible to correct this at a later time short of reinstalling XP over the top of the previous XP installation. To do so requires changing the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL). The chances of successfully changing a HAL after XP has been installed is pretty close to zilch.

Uh, oh, this makes this post seem pretty dumb.  Or maybe it means I am brilliant :)

Enable Hyperthreading after upgrading motherboard

Filed under:

— Mark @ 11:23 am

I ran into this problem this morning after I upgraded my computer. Many sites on the internet suggest that in order to upgrade your computer to use the Hyperthreading on a Pentium 4 you have to upgrade the driver under the device manager.

However, as in my case, no other HAL was installed when I had installed Windows XP. Other Microsoft “MVP”s suggest that if a multiprocessor PC does not show up under the list of new drivers, install Windows XP on top of the existing installation to get the right HAL installed. This would mean loss of all application settings and you would have to reinstall all the security patches from Microsoft, all over again.

I did something much simpler and it seems to have worked all right. Here are the steps to enable hyperthreading support in Windows XP if your original install did not have Hyperthreading or SMP enabled.

1) Download and install Windows XP Service Pack 2
2) Find the following files (normally in your c:windowsservicepackfiles)
    - ntkrnlmp.exe
    - halmacpi.dll
and copy them to your c:windowssystem32 folder. (This is considering your new motherboard has ACPI support. I know that these files will support non-ACPI computers as well, but that has not been tested)
3) Open up boot.ini in your text editor and find the following line:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn (or something of this sort)
and replace that line with:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”XP Professional MP” /fastdetect /kernel=ntkrnlmp.exe /hal=halmacpi.dll
Make sure there are no line breaks in that line.
(backup your boot.ini and your hardware profile if you want, that might be a good idea)

Now reboot, go through the installation and reboot of the new kernel and you are done. To test that you have SMP or hyperthreading enabled, hit ctrl-alt-del and task manager to see two seperate graphs for the processors.

All done.

This “advice” does not come with any warranty or support. If you use this, I am not responsible for any damages or difficulties caused by this. Please use at your own risk.