Archive for April, 2009

Wakoopa: Facebook for geeks

Have you ever felt that, although Facebook is a great social networking site, it just doesn’t let you express your real inner geek self, trapped by the mainstream tastes and expectations of society? Have you ever longed for a peaceful haven where technological self-expression abounds in plenty and abundance? A whole different world you can beam yourself into and enjoy every imaginable form of technology and awesomeness ever imagined by mankind at the press of a button? Er… we’re gonna have to wait for that last one, but in the meantime you can enjoy Wakoopa, yet another social networking site. But this isn’t just any old run-of-the mill networking site. According to Wikipedia, the ultimate source of mostly-truth, Wakoopa is “a social networking site that monitors the software applications its members use.” In other words… GEEK POWER!!!

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Continue Reading April 24, 2009 at 11:40 pm 2 comments

foobar2000: a new kind of music player

Well it’s actually been around since 2001 (that’s how old the license is, anyways), but this is the first time I’ve tried foobar2000. I’m in a fresh Windows XP setup until Ubuntu 9.04 comes out. Of course, I can’t go 10 whole days without crankin’ up some tunes, so I downloaded MediaMonkey, my standard music player. After I got error messages upon trying to import my music library, I decided to try something new for a change. I picked foobar2000, since I’d heard about it but never tried it.

Continue Reading April 18, 2009 at 2:55 am 4 comments

Glossary added

I added a new page, a little baby glossary of technical and not-so-technical[-but-still-sort-of-technical] words. Hopefully it’ll grow soon. Check it out!

EDIT: I decided that it’s not such a good idea to make my own glossary. Whatever I make would be epic fail compared to all the great sources of technical definitions out there. But I did add a glossary link to the sidebar. What would be even nicer would be a search bar, but I don’t think that’s possible. 😦

April 16, 2009 at 2:53 am 2 comments

Oops

This morning I continued trying to make my desktop look good. I found an awesome-looking Desklet (whatever that is), so I tried to install it. Nothing happened. So I figured I needed to reboot, so I did. But alas, that was the last I was to see of my not-ugly interface, because now I’m getting an error before the GUI loads up. *sigh*

So now I’m locked out of Linux Mint. I’ve spent some time trying to fix it, with no success. I’ve already done too much fixing than is good for a person in the last few days, so now I’ll just chill in Windows XP while I wait for my openSUSE download to finish. I’ll use a handy program called ext2fsd to grab my Linux files (which is all my files… except for my games). Goodbye Linux Mint, you were nice… but sometimes not very nice…

April 10, 2009 at 4:45 pm 4 comments

Pretty gnome

Lately I’ve been noticing how bland my interface looks in Linux Mint. I messed around with the appearance settings screen from the main menu, but I couldn’t make it look any better with that. I’ve heard that the GNOME desktop environment is not as nice-looking as KDE, so I started looking into KDE. Then I found some screenshots of really nice gnome desktops. Wow. I wish I knew how to make it that pretty, but now that I added a new theme from GNOME-Look.org my eyes are much happier.
I still feel like trying out KDE though. I don’t know if it’s GNOME or Linux Mint, but it seems like I can hardly customize my desktop at all. Or maybe it’s just my noobness at Linux. -_-

April 10, 2009 at 6:51 am 9 comments

Dual-boot install done

NOTE: Windows XP is quite old now and that it doesn’t really represent Windows as a whole anymore, especially in its setup time. I know this, but I installed Windows XP because it’s the Windows I’m the most used to and the only one I have. (I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on the newest Windows when I don’t need it or particularly want it… as for a pirated version, I try not to get those.)
ANOTHER NOTE: Also note that I am not trying to do a “Linux vs Windows” type thing. What follows is simply a comparison of my own experience installing Linux and installing Windows XP.
ONE MORE: And I don’t have any data, it’s just my subjective view of the setup process.
SIDE NOTE: Ah, why am I telling all these disclaimers if I have only one person reading my blog… well I guess those disclaimers are for you, bro.
LAST NOTE: Ok, so here’s the post. No more notes.

I finished my dual-boot setup. I installed Windows XP and Linux Mint from scratch side by side on the same hard drive, XP first, then Linux. I had a few problems, but all were minor and quickly fixed. Here’s a summary of my install, and to make it more interesting I’ll compare XP and Mint in terms of convenience and speed of setup.

INSTALL TIME
Windows XP took a VERY time long to install (again, I’ve heard that the newer versions of Windows install much faster, so this is not an issue with Windows in general). Linux Mint installed pretty quickly.
Updates took about the same time on each – quite a long time.
Mint wins here.

DRIVERS
It’s been so long since I last installed XP that for a while I forgot that I had to get some drivers off of the CD that came with my motherboard. But then I remembered that last time I got newer drivers on the internet, so I did that. I installed 5 or 6 drivers in total, and most of them required restarting my computer, which was kind of annoying. (Wow… I’ve gotten so geeky that “restarting” sounds weird and “rebooting” seems like the better word.)
In Mint, all the drivers are installed automatically. Nice, but there’s a catch – these only include open-source drivers, which are sometimes not as good as proprietary drivers. Getting a proprietary video card driver is a must if you want nice desktop effects, games, and (not completely sure about this one) better video multimedia. For me it was easy: I just opened up the “Hardware Drivers” app in the menu and enabled the proprietary driver. I had to reboot… so much for “no rebooting in Linux”… of course, the proprietary drivers are out of the control of the Linux people, so it’s not their fault.
I also installed a proprietary audio driver, which was quite a bit more complicated, and for Linux newbies like me, quite time-consuming. I had to compile from the source… several times, actually, before I realized that I had to update ALSA (the sound controller thingy… dunno exactly what it is actually) and change some settings in order to make the driver work.
Summing it up, installing drivers was kind of a pain due to lots of restarting in XP and the complicatedness in Mint. I actually kind of enjoyed the challenge of installing my audio driver in Mint, but at the same time I feel like I wasted a lot of time doing something not very important. But for me I suppose that’s true for Linux in general. 😛
XP definitely wins here for convenience. I’ll give Mint an honorary second place for giving me an interesting challenge of installing a sound driver. And that is better than regular second place.

SOFTWARE
This post is getting pretty long so I’ll be brief. From a setup point of view, Linux Mint clearly wins here because it comes with lots of good programs. Windows XP comes with hardly any software, and what it does have out of the box is not very useful compared to some free third-party equivalents. Now, many more programs are available for Windows, but that’s a whole different discussion.

So which one won, you ask? For a regular non-nerdy person, Windows XP is definitely easier to set up. Linux Mint is faster to set up… for an expert Linux user. For a newbie like me it takes a long time to fix all the problems that come up, like installing drivers and making it so that booting up into Linux is not a chance type of thing.

April 7, 2009 at 10:03 pm 1 comment

Reinstalling for dual boot

Yesterday I finally gave in and installed Windows XP to dual-boot with Linux Mint. I just couldn’t stand not being able to run windows programs anymore (read: games). Yes, I’ve tried Wine and virtual operating systems (more on that later). It’s just that not everything works between those two, especially games. And if I’m gonna run Windows virtually inside Linux, why not just set up a dual-boot and suffer waiting the extra 15 seconds for Linux to shut down?

Come to think of it, if I’m that desperate to run Windows, why not just ditch Linux? I actually thought about that, long and hard, but I’ve decided to stick with Linux for the time being. By using Linux I’ve been learning some stuff not only about Linux but about computers in general, so that’s good. Of course, this learning comes at the cost of not being able to do what I actually want to do on a computer sometimes, or taking a long time at it, but oh well.

Also, if I stopped using Linux, what would I blog about? The Silicon Jungle would have to be chopped down… burned… destroyed. I wonder if anyone would notice it ever existed… besides my thousands of readers. 😉

Anyways… after I installed XP on a new hard drive partition, Linux’s Grub bootloader was overwritten by Windows. So after going on yet another “fix-it” mission, or rather “learn-how-to-fix-it-then-fix-it,” I got Grub working again… but now it takes almost twice as long to boot into Linux and maybe 3 or 4 times as long for Windows. Now I see a new screen when booting into Linux that lists a bunch of stuff loading and some errors too, so something seems to be wrong. I’m going to reinstall Linux and Windows, Windows first this time. So it’s back to the beginning. -_-

April 3, 2009 at 9:38 pm 5 comments


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