Using some generic machine for presenting

https://twitter.com/danachis/status/665976105715781632

I have to agree, my machine runs Ubuntu which makes using Windows or OSX  weird but its everything else which is important.

For example…

  • I turn off my trackpad and use the trackpoint (nipple if you prefer), so I don’t have to worry about accidentally pushing the pointer when presenting.
  • My mouse pointer has a certain amount of acceleration and is very quick, I hate trackpads with no acceleration.
  • I usually have my own bluetooth clicker because then I know exactly how smooth I need to click and the response my machine should give me.
  • If something goes wrong, I know how to fix it or can debug it.
  • I don’t use presentation notes, and its a pain to use real estate with them.
  • The text is usually too large, mine is tiny because I have great eyes
  • I also hate those bright screens and have to turn it down instantly, plus I have redshift/twlight running usually so I’m not blinded by the screen
  • I can make changes to the slides right up to the last moment
  • Screensavers are disabled meaning nothing will lock, unless I want it to.

I know what its like for the organising team but I have VGA and walk around in my bag with Mini-Display port to HDMI. Its rare my machine doesn’t work with the external projector or screen. I’m responsible for my machine and my presentation, relying on the conference organiser to remember to copy everything and make sure everything works good on the generic machine is unfair in my mind.

What happened to Ubuntu Unity across all devices?

Ubuntu devices

Interesting to think about while watching the Microsoft Windows 10 launch… What even happened to the Ubuntu on Android?

Update: A number of friends commented on my blog entry.

Jas finds an engadget entry talking about how the launch will be limited to Europe and the East.

https://twitter.com/Jas/status/563777195114770432

If the boot sequence was this cool

Hackers movie

Remember on Hackers when the guys all start up there laptops and your treated to a range of animated startup sequences?

How cool was it to have all those individualised, personalised startup sequences? Certainly beats looking at the Lenovo, Apple, Microsoft, etc logos.

Well someone is thinking along the same lines at least

Coffee shop culture clash

Coffee from North Tea Power

I wrote a while ago about working most Fridays from coffee shops in the northern quarter of Manchester instead of working out of my home.

However someone at work pointed me to this blog post from a guy who is complaining about people treating coffee shops like there personal offices.

Dickheads with cups of coffee so dry they were probably ordered three hours ago. Dickheads reading the tea leaves in their empty glasses. Dickheads with just some free water.

Dickheads with absolutely no sign of having consumed anything except some three-week old canned tomato soup stains on their emo punk pop hip hop band t-shirts, the ones that proved they were at that concert nobody else gave a shit about.

One of them even had the pierced balls to get a banana out of this bag and proceeded to eat it as he scribed the novel he’s never going to publish, looking at his Samsung Galaxy III—iPhones are so passé—at the same time.

And here I was, (delicious) coffee in hand, waiting for my sandwich, with nowhere to eat it. And I wasn’t alone—there were two more people like me. While I waited, three more people came in, and, after looking around fruitlessly for five minutes, left without ever touching ass to chair. I didn’t need telepathic powers to read their minds. DICKHEADS.

To be honest I found the whole thing pretty funny but I do get what he sometimes means. I personally buy and spend too much money at coffee shops including FYG, North Tea Power and Vivid Lounge. So I would agree with all the points the writer makes…

  1. Buy at least a coffee. Don’t just go ahead and sit there with your computer. If you do the latter, I hope your genitals drop rotten into the toilet bowl one day.
  2. When you are done with your coffee—it’s ok, take your time, as long as you do it at some reasonable pace—you can stay around for five minutes. Perhaps ten. Then leave.
  3. If you want to stay longer, buy another coffee. A pastry would be fine too. Perhaps a sandwich. Anything. Whatever. But keep buying things. This is the rent you pay. It’s much less than getting your own office. Or a real apartment.

However I still don’t like places which go out of there way to restrict laptop users.

In Manchester when I first arrived, Teacup and Drip Coffee was a great place to enjoy a chat, read and catch up with some work. Now they both seemed to turn hostile on computer users by taping up plug sockets, messing with the wifi and general snobbery of laptop users. In Teacup you need to be shown a place which makes it too formal for my own liking. But fear not others have stepped in to fill the void.

Interestingly North Tea Power not only fills the void but takes customer service to another level, really encouraging laptop users… Love those guys!

Ubuntu is broken

It hurts me to say it but Ubuntu is broken for me.

I upgraded 2 machines to Ubuntu 11.04 on Saturday night and left them downloading/upgrading over night. One of the machines, my Pentium 4 desktop machine. Upgraded and after a reboot looks and feels pretty much the same as it did before hand. There was a message to say it wasn’t able to run Unity because the graphics card was too low spec and after a click ok, its pretty much the same as it was before, nothing really changed. All seems good.

However my laptop (Dell M1210 XPS) also got upgraded after the pop up came up. After a reboot, I logged into Ubuntu which I assumed had unity installed and I’m left with my usual desktop picture some icons but no menus at all. What makes things worst is the location where I assume there should have been a menu is now black. So down the left hand side is black and along the top is black. Nothing… I would show a screen shot but as I discovered my keyboard mappings have also been lost in the upgrade. Yes even Fn+Print Scrn no longer works. Luckily Gnome-Do still kind of works, so I’m able to open applications, including screenshots with some hassle.

Ubuntu 11.04 Fail (no menus)

I finally logged out and tried running Ubuntu in classic mode (I assume using Gnome instead of Unity). Things are better but still not correct. My keyboard shorts are still somewhat broken and its a nightmare not having Compiz cube switching which I didn’t know I was so use to now. After a little googling I got cube switching back but only using a keyboard short cut. It seems the automatic switching when the mouse touches the side of the screen is no longer available?

Right now I seem to have three choices…

  1. Live without Compiz and run Ubuntu totally plain
  2. Run Ubuntu with Compiz using classic mode and work on the annoying things like (you may have noticed) no chrome/window boarders. (at one point I had no menus! Try saving something with no save menu…) Compiz seems to accept some changes but do random things to some of my settings. Like currently I can’t move windows or even change there sizes.
  3. Reinstall the whole thing from fresh and attempt to get Unity working

Ubuntu 11.04 Fail (lack of chrome)

Its frustrating and I don’t really know what happened but for me right now Ubuntu 11.04 is simply broken… Expect screenshots as when I can consistently take them and upload them.

Ubuntu 11.04 in classic mode

Home Server setup

So after the long wait for the Ubuntu home server group to launch something instead of just talking about it. I found in one of the forums a link to Amahi.org.

Please checkout the people at amahi.org as they are working on a similar initiative I think. Currently they are based on Fedora Core 6 but they are also looking to build a similar distro around ubuntu.
Would this perhaps be interesting enough to cooperate with?

ok i finished setting up amahi.

Amhi has a good aproach ,namly
create a dhcp , and samba domain controler for the user.

The Information about the ips and the domain name is read viva the web.
Each must have an account at amahi.org. With this account he gets a dynamic dns account like .amahi.org

amahi is in early beta stage (but far further than uhs). The useradministration is not quite finished ( personal oppinion)

Now I need your Comments on Amahi. If i should provide some screenshots .. let me know ..

I think we have the following opportunities:

  1. amahi is as far to base OUR development on it
  2. merge with amahi ( unlike )
  3. keep our own way and reinvent the wheel.

So I had a look around Amahi.org and actually I'm very impressed except a couple of things. Its very tied to the website and is made for people who have no knowledge of unix/linux at all. This is great but a little too black box for my liking. I also don't like the idea of opening ports for the software and switching off DHCP in smoothwall. Amahi will do everything and granted seems to be aiming its self right at the Windows home server market. Its no Network magic, thankfully because you do still feel more in control of whats going on. So although I hate duplication, I think Ubuntuhomeserver and Amahi should be different projects doing simlar things.

I've been thinking about what changes I want to make to my home network and home entertainment system when I move to Manchester. Theres things which I should be doing like getting rid of my large workstation/servers in favour of maybe one huge server and a couple of laptops. Why? well the power usage of a laptop compared to a workstation is just something else. The form factor means no more problems with getting monitors into weird places is no longer a problem and lets be honest, laptops go really cheap now, specially if you don't care about battery power or scratches, etc. It doesn't matter if it has the orginal cds or not, hell it almost doesn't matter what videocard or memory is in it. As long as Ubuntu will install on it.

While talking about Ubuntu and laptops, I've decided I'm going to pick up a cheap laptop for my replacement to the Xbox and Xbox media centre. I'm getting more and more HD content via podcasts like pop!tech and its a real pain to convert them each time. I figure this is a better option that a Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. Although I got to say I was able to watch live Flash streaming via Twit.tv/live yesterday using the Wii's Opera browser and it worked really well. BBC iPlayer doesn't work because it needs the upgraded Flash 9 plugin.

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I told you I would never upgrade to Windows Vista

My Ubuntu desktop

It took quite a long time but I finally got fed up with Windows XP when weird services started showing up plus it would take 1min to suspend. I could have reinstalled XP, upgraded to Vista or moved to Ubuntu 7.04. Although its not exactly the best time to do so, I moved to Ubuntu GNU/Linux and I'm slowly porting my settings and data over from the Windows drive. So far, Firefox, Thunderbird, Keepass, Hamachi are all up and running. I'll get the tricker stuff going tomorrow.

I'm finding ubuntuguide.org and TuxMobil useful by the way.

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A new year and a new laptop

Dell XPS 1210 laptop

I was tempted to do some mac fanboy mac fanboy unboxing ceremany for my new Dell XPS 1210 but decided that would be just – too sad! So it came as I finally spec'ed out with
Dell, and actually ahead of the 7 business day delivery. Being delivered on a Friday means I'm obviously all night copying files from my old laptop to the new one. I'm almost pretty much done now except Firefox which doesn't seem to work correctly when I copy it over from the old machine. Thunderbird and even Sunbird worked but not Firefox, odd eh? (yes I did try Mozbackup)

The new Laptop is beautiful and seriously looks like my Toshiba from the front (promise to take pictures once I sort out Firefox). I have started putting things on it which I wouldnt dare on my older machine. Touchstone, Microsoft virtual desktops, VM Ware and even Second life. The Dell just seems to run everything smoothly without a hitch. On the downside I spent 2 hours removing all the Dell crap before doing anything constructive. The battery life seems to last 6 hours with wireless, bluetooth and with use.
It does stick out the back but honestly I couldn't careless. When I'm sitting on the train or airplane with my extended battery and your searching for power after 3 hours, I'll be sure to remind you about the battery sticking out. Other things I love about the Dell right out of the box. The shinny widescreen screen is stunning, I've enabled Cleartype which needs some tweaking. The built in Wireless finder is a great idea for wifi searching.The keyboard takes some getting use to mainly because of the Toshiba I've
been using since when-ever.

Next day

So I finally got Firefox across using another utility called BackupFox which also does Thunderbird. I'm pretty much done with setting up my laptop now. I even installed Ubuntu Linux via VMWare. I don't know about Microsoft's Virtual machine client but VMWare runs Linux bloody fast on this laptop. So fast I might not even bother installing it on the disc at all. I guess this is what some of those Mac users were talking about with parallels over bootcamp. I'm also using Microsoft's Virtual Desktops extension which acts like Linux workspaces, so I easily go between Linux and Windows with a quick 2 finger tap. Although I have to say that the virtual desktops is a little buggy with badly written applications. This does however beg the question about what I should do with the Toshiba? Now the Dell runs Linux as smoothly as it does.

dell and toshiba next to each other

I've put up a load of shots of the new laptop on Flickr using the tag dell. Including this one which puts my old toshiba next to the new dell. Weird how they look so a like from the back.

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Anyone want to buy a Toshiba Portege 3500?

Toshiba Portege 3500

Today I received my Dell order(s) (one with bluetooth, one without – go figure). This at least confirms I will be getting my new Dell XPS 1210 Laptop sometime on the 8th Jan. So that means my current laptop the Toshiba Portege 3500 is up for sale.

There's nothing wrong with it except for the two things. The CPU fan sometimes rubs against the sides of the case if you shake it around too much and the touchscreen has a area where it no longer works as expected. Otherwise its all good. Pentium 3 1.33ghz with 768meg of memory and a 2.5 inch 40gig Hard drive which has and had no problems (spinrite says its fine). 802.11b Wireless, Bluetooth 1.1 and Card readers for SD, CF and PCMCIA. The tablet pen still works fine and I have all the media which came with the
laptop. Its general condition is ok, its has wear marks of almost 4 years of everyday use. The new battery lasts about 2.5 hours with wireless and bluetooth turned off. I also have the first one which lasts no more that 5mins on full charge if you want to redo the cells inside of it.

Ideally I would like to see closer to £300 for it but I'll consider all decent offers.

If no one else wants it I'm deeply considering installing Ubuntu Linux on it and using it for browsing the web and to act like a ambient device for me and Sarah. If I underclock it down to about 733mhz I shouldn't need the fan anymore and it could make a great electronic picture frame, group calendar display and clock. Maybe use a widget engine or rss screensaver. I've also found a really good guide on how to take apart the Toshiba laptop which could help if I want to really go the whole process of converting my laptop

The other thing I could do is use my laptop is use it as a media centre by sticking a fresh version of windows media centre on it and adding a VGA to Svideo adapter on it. Its only a 1.33ghz processor but it can playback 720p video under the correct conditions, unlike my xbox.

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Wanna buy a laptop mate, yours for 300 pounds

So I was walking for the train today because my scooter has a flat tyre. Walking down briskly, listening to a podcast as usual when these guys roll up in a slightly beaten up old style Vauxhall Caliver. The passenger rolls down his window and says, You wanna buy a laptop mate? At first I couldn't fully hear him but once he opened the laptop , a Sony Viao. It all quickly clicked into place.

So the first thing which goes through my mind is not to get too close to the car just in case they happen to have some weapon. But I do stop and lift up my sunglasses. The guy with a very strong Irish accent, almost sounded put on. Says just got it from PC World brand new with recepts, yours for 300 pounds. I look at the driver who seems more concerned about driving off quickly that the deal which was happening. So anyway, being the haggler that I am, I said sounds expensive for a knocked off Laptop, hows 100 pounds? And you know what he seriously considers it. By which I'm already reaching for my sunglasses and walking. These guys follow me down the road, showing off all the features of a standard XP install. Till I say 100 pounds or nothing. They disappear shouting its too low for them and they will easily find someone else in this area (woolwich).

To be fair I shouldn't have said anything, but I wanted to see how desperate they were to get rid of the laptop. It was a nice Sony Viao with motion eye camera and looked to be about a 2.4ghz Pentium 4. But I was never going to buy it. I was also thinking about all the angles of there deal. For example I carry a bag which looks like a laptop bag, so I was wondering if they were really after that. I mean it would make sense why they would ask me rather than any of the other people walking down the crowded street. And there were lots of people walking fast to catch the train to London.

Just thought I'd share this, as I have got older my brush with the blackmarket (why do they call it that?) has become less and less which is a good thing. I've not had this kind of a deal since I was living in Thornton Heath (south central London) funny stuff, eh?

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