Friday, April 27, 2007

Ubuntu experience for a beginner (Part 2)

I have written an article regarding my first experience on installing and running Ubuntu. This article picks up where the pieces left behind: screen resolution and wireless connection.

1. Wireless connection
First, I started looking for solutions to fix the wireless connection using the WPA encryption. I have tried to change the router encryption using WEP (since Ubuntu default wireless encryption is WEP), but it only made matter worst - my windows wireless connection was totally lost. It seems like my temporary solution was not able to fix the issue, therefore I did a search on the internet on how to configure it. Luckily, I found an article on the Ubuntu forum itself. By just following the command stated there, I was able to get my laptop connected. "Ya hu" (I don't want to upset Yahoo by using there trademark)

2. Screen resolution
I was happy when I got my laptop connected to the internet but there's problem, the screen resolution wasn't look so nice. As I mention in my first experience post, I was lack of 32 wide resolution. Again, I search through the internet, without switching back to my windows (how nice), and I found the article for this problem: Ubuntu Fix resolution. As usual, I followed the first instruction in the article by using the Xorg autodetection. It was a disaster. After the changing the configuration file and reboot the machine, my Graphic Display Manager has failed and it cannot boot into windows-like environment. It left me high and dry with only the command screen. I tried to fix the problem by re-running the autodetection program and yet, it failed me everytime. In the end, I left it and went to sleep.

With that hanging problem, I started to do more research and searching. Finally, I hit the jackpot article Ubuntu Laptop Testing Team. This article stated their finding by install Ubuntu into different laptops and write out an report upon their findings. It also provide the solutions on what has been missing and how to solve them. I quickly returned back to my laptop, restored back my config file and tested out all those solution stated in the article. It works like a charm. "Ya hu"

3. Enable Desktop Effect
Now I'm connected, the screen resolution is fine (except the font wasn't as sharp as it looks) and what's next? Enable the desktop effect, of course. Again, it blows me away. I believe there's a lot of video, screen shot and plug in to enhance the desktop experience; however, on what the desktop effect was able to provide me was more than enough.

Summary: Will all these makes me want to dump windows forever?
Hold your horses. There's too many commercial item/gadgets that are still rely on windows to work. Example: digital camera, webcam; plus the money I've paid to Microsoft for that windows xp home edition. Throwing windows away sounds like depreciate my gadgets and laptop's value faster. The best solution, let it dual boot. "Hahahaha" (Evil laugh)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ubuntu experience for a beginner

There have been a lot of news regarding the new Ubuntu release 7.04. As I have tried the previous Ubuntu 6.10 liveCD before, I thought I'll give 7.04 a try by full install into my Dell 640m laptop.

1. Patient
First thing on trying to get my hands on Ubuntu is not the CD or the software itself but by acquiring the habit of being patient. Yes, it's required a lot patient by just downloading the software (I think I'll need it more when installing and configure the hardware). The file server available for download the CD does not seems to be stable. It keep breaking up my Ubuntu downloading process and I have to keep searching for file mirrors to resume my file. The whole downloading process took me 2 days but it seems it can be done in one day. Finally, I have manage to download a copy of it without any file corruption.

2. Read
I have my WinXp Home installed in my laptop without any more free space for Ubuntu because laptop came with preinstalled with WinXp Home. In order to solve this problem, I went to the Ubuntu support site and checked out the forum. It did provide me a solution on how to dual boot Ubuntu along with Windows.

It's called SystemRescueCd. I've download the Linux ISO and burn it into a CD. I've booted it up with the CD and trying to follow the instruction provide in the Ubuntu Forum. It was a mistake. It stated a command I need to key in once the rescueCD is booted and blind me, I tried for 4 or 5 times and it didn't work (Here is what I mean in point 1: Patient). So, I started to read what's provided on the screen in the boot menu. It shows that the command has changed. After carefully read the instruction on the boot menu, I finally got it boot to the option I want and successfully resize my NTFS partition.

3. Backup
Guess what, I partitioned the disk with only partial backup on my windows data. I was risked of having all my recent data lost but somehow after reading the forum from Ubuntu, I found it can be done without backup since someone has successfully dual boot their PC (Don't try this at home). After resize the partiton, next thing is try boot up windows and make sure it still working correctly (with my finger crossed). It worked and I could see the free space available using the windows disk manager.

4. Installation
The installation was easy by just following the Wizard. Boot into live, click on install, and follow the installation wizard instruction. Easy. After the laptop was rebooted and I was in Ubuntu environment, I was surprised that the laptop customized buttons and the FN key was working correctly. So, the next thing is how to get it log on to the internet.

5. Wired and resolution
My home has a wireless router that connects to the internet. The router was configured using the WPA encryption, which is more secure than using WEP encryption. Anyway, Ubuntu wireless setting comes with default WEP encryption and I have to find a way to configure it to use WPA setting. So, I need to switch back windows and get online to check on the instructions for it (Again, point 1: Patient). After one day doing that, I thought why not just use the wired connection. So, I got my laptop connected to the router using wire and started the firefox browser.

It blows me away. The webpage is loaded way much faster than windows version (Perhaps I have too many extension installed in my windows firefox or personal firewall was slowing down my window's connection). So fast that it feels like just a snap of a finger (Maybe I was exaggerate; perhaps it was 2 snaps of a finger :P)

Then it's the screen resolution. The default screen resolution supported was 1280 x 768, 800 x 600, 640 x 480. My laptop optimal resolution is 1280 x 800; another 32 more wider is required. Again, point 1 is required to search for solution on the internet.

Summary: Almost a near window experience
In conclusion, I would like to see there is a driver support page for linux. With this, it will solve most of my problem mentioned above: the display resolution and the wireless configuration. The problem is that it's free for everyone and what more can I complain about that. :P

P.S: More information I just found
Seven post-install tips for Ubuntu 7.04

Saturday, April 14, 2007

RIP, my palm.

No, it's not my hand has any problem. It's my Palm pilot device is broken. I was sad for 1 minute when I took it out from my backpack and found it was broken (Never put your wide screen device in your back pack especially without any cover).

"Why sad for 1 minute? It's a expensive device!"

Well, I've stopped using it for quite a while mainly due to I bought my first Dell laptop. I've spent more time on my laptop than on my PDA. :P Anyway, I think I won't buy anymore personal devices, such wide screen mobile phone or PDA; except for laptop, because PDA and laptop almost cost the same. In the future, I believe desktop or PDA will be replaced by laptop with different sizes (11 - 17 inc. screen) because most my work can be done by using a laptop.

From Miscellaneous

Monday, April 02, 2007

Auto update for VB6 application

My daily work used VB6 or to create application, therefore I read books on those programming language to find out better ways to write. In one of the VB books, which I forgotten which one, I came across a point that mentioned "Desktop application lacks of scalability; Internet application lacks of security". Well, perhaps scalability wasn't an issue anymore since DotNet allow automatically update for VB6 application.

Automatically Updating Visual Basic 6 Applications: Part I
Automatic Updating of Visual Basic Applications: Part II

I prefer desktop application to handle data intensive program rather than internet application, which gaining popularity very fast these days especially with introduction of Ajax. No offense to web developer, but I think desktop application provide better response (in terms of UI) than using the browser. I also believe the desktop application will be remain on the PC for many years down the road before internet application would actually take over (Until then, I would probably too old to write programs :P).