Ubuntu switch: If you ever want to sleep at night…

…don't try and create samba shares on top of NTFS formatted partitions.

Honestly it's been a ongoing problem for the last few months. My first lot of shares just worked on NTFS so I tried to duplicate the setup over other machines including my laptop and my ubuntu home server. Did it ever work? No. So I've finally juggled the data around and formatted all the drives in my ubuntu home server Ext3 (i was tempted with reiser3 but couldn't see the point) and now finally setup the shares. As expected, with some tweaking of my /etc/fstab file its all working correctly.

So hows the rest of my switch going? Well actually pretty well. I've not switched back into Windows for ages now. I actually deleted the virtualised image I had of Windows XP and although Wine is still installed, I have never really used it beyond seeing if particls will launch. Of course it didnt…

I'm now blogging using QTM and found a couple useful applications including Specto and Timevault. Timevault is like Timemachine on Mac OS 10.5 but without all the fancy crap and it can sync to a network drive. Yes this is very important and I realised after talking to Miles that Timemachine doesn't have this feature. Plus realisticlly Timemachine is actually just a app which allows unlimited undos, not really backup. Timevault on the other hand can back up to a local HD, Firewire drive or Network drive making it useful for real backup and with a VPN coonection very powerful.

My standby problems on my laptop are under control. I have a script which I can active via Natuitus Scripts to shutdown Gnome's Power manager control. Once the Gnome power manager is shutdown, the lid will put the machine to standby no problem. Sometimes I have to watch out because gnome will start the power manager again after a update. I had a problem a while back with my wireless card waking up afterwards but its all sorted now. I've also noticed my battery times have gone up again. Now I'm getting about 3.5 hours out of my 1 year old battery, so I'm not doing too bad. Maybe I'll get another battery later next year as a spare.

Another thing which got fixed recently was my calendaring solution. Now I'm using Google Calendar as a syncing tool between Mozilla lightning and Plaxo. My phone now talks directly to Plaxo and my work outlook calendar.

I'm glad I switched over and my next project is to get rsyncing working well with a couple of cron jobs. So for example my laptop will have the latest podcasts when I pick it up in the mornings. I'll also use it for backups in liu of amanda or bacula. I'm also still using Hamachi for my VPN solution and I'm finding it a pain on Linux, the gui version does crash a bit and the command line gives very little feedback. So I'm thinking about switching to OpenVPN as its got real Linux support and its highly recommended. Lastly I want to switch to Evolution and I need to upgrade my smoothwall server to version 3.0. Who knows a couple more late nights before Christmas and it might happen.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.