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End of 2005 Recap

January 14, 2006 at 6:11 PM

As promised, here's what's been going on so far:

In 2005:

November 29: I did some work on two computers for my uncle - I put anti-virus software on one (from Norton to AVG), put in a new modem to the other (due to original being a few years old and unable to find drivers for it), and made sure that the applications on those computers were updated to the most recent version.

I also got my laptop, and so far, it works great! The only negative things I've noticed are that it feels a bit heavy (though I haven't lifted that many laptops, and I'm sure the more I carry it around, the lighter it'll feel =P), and the battery life seems to be used up quickly, lasting a bit more than an hour when constantly run...But that's still pretty good for me, given that I can run it for quite a bit without having anything plugged in =)

I also found there were some startup issues with Ubuntu Linux the first time I booted into it, but they appeared to be related to the lack of a network connection (it was tested out in the upstairs living room, away from the Ethernet connection) - Aside from that, I didn't notice any problems, and will continue to test it out tomorrow, to make sure everything works OK before putting it away till Christmas.

December 3: It's a good thing I decided to send it back (and not validate my copy of Windows XP at this time - I made sure to return the XP Home Edition CD it was sent with), as I found three issues with the laptop: (1) My GigaBank 4.0 USB drive was recognized as a USB 1.1 device, although it was really 2.0, and I thought the system didn't have any USB 2.0 ports, (2) Even with the Ethernet cable plugged in, I still couldn't connect to the Internet in Linux, and (3) I checked XP and noticed that they installed Home Edition, rather than Professional (I clearly stated I wanted Professional, and it was also marked as such on the order form I got from them). Other than that, I don't see any problems with it.

Also, my parents found another kitty in the barn, and I filled out a few more job leads.

December 22: I went for two job interviews today. When I came home, I found that the laptop has arrived...This time with XP Professional installed on it (and also boots to it by default - it booted by default into Ubuntu last time). I reinstalled my programs, tried it out again, and it seems to be working great now.

As for the three issues? Well:

  1. Thanks to USBInfo, it turns out that not only are all three of the laptop's USB ports 2.0 (High)-compatible, but it is the USB drive itself with the problem - I tried both it, and a card reader (with a "Certified USB (Hi-Speed)" logo on it, something the USB drive didn't have), and though the USB drive reports to be using USB 1.1, the card reader uses USB 2.0 (High). I'll have to contact I/OMagic (the manufacturer of the GigaBank 4.0 USB drive) about this and see what can be done about it.
  2. In Ubuntu, all I had to do was set the Ethernet connection to use DHCP, and it worked just fine. I should've thought to check this out first before complaining about it, right? =P
  3. I paid for Professional, but got Home...Although I think that this was an honest mistake, as I'll bet it's not requested that often. I got it sent back with the XP Professional CD, with a replacement ID tag on the bottom of the laptop, and have confirmed that it is running XP, so this issue has been taken care of =)

December 23: I updated some parts of Ubuntu via Synaptic, and it worked OK except for one update which wouldn't install. Also, I have had issues with creating new users as, although I can create them, I can't log in with them for some unknown reason. Logging in as root (thankfully) still works , though...But the next time I went to start up the computer, the entries in GRUB were all messed up, and I couldn't boot into Windows or Ubuntu.

I was really worried about it, but then decided to search around for info on this problem, and tried out my Knoppix CD (which I had made a long time ago, but didn't use much) on it. Thanks to that, I managed to find out what was installed where, and found both the current menu.lst bootfile (which somehow got screwed up) and a backup of it with a tilde at the end, named menu.lst~ (the original, clean copy).

I tried to allow writing to this file (so I could switch the data in the bad one with the data in the good one), but I couldn't get it to work, so I copied those files to my USB drive, and from there to my desktop, for safekeeping. I then restarted the system, and when GRUB came up, I manually edited the first boot option so that it would work like the one for Ubuntu in the clean bootfile. When I tried it out, it worked! I could boot into Linux, and after I did that, I made backups of the bad and good bootfiles (renaming those so they wouldn't be overwritten by accident), and replaced the bad menu.lst's data with that of the good copy's data.

Once I did that, I restarted the system one more time, and I can now boot into both Ubuntu and Windows as if nothing ever happened.

December 24: I went to the Christmas Eve service at church, and then to Granny's for supper and gifts. After that, we went home, and I opened my Christmas gifts tonight since Dad wouldn't be here on Sunday, due to how the shifts were set up (if I heard right, he won't be off Christmas until 2010!).

After opening up my gifts, I went ahead with getting one of them set up - it was a LinkSys WRT54G router, which I got since it allows for wireless connections, and also has a four-port switch built in (I decided it would be better to replace my current [wired-only] router and switch with this instead of getting a wireless access point, especially given the small difference in cost between them and the fact I could reduce some cord complication this way). I used the automatic setup utility to set everything up, and it worked just like my old router once that was done. I tried getting my laptop to connect, but it wouldn't for unknown reasons - it could see the network, but not connect to it.

December 25: I went to church for the Christmas service, and then came home to change my clothes. After messing around with the router a bit more, I finally managed to get the wireless connection working this time around - now I can use the laptop in my bedroom, or pretty much any room on this house, and be online without the need of an Ethernet cable =)

Later in the day, I got my laptop and gifts for my relatives, and went to my aunt's house to visit Grandma's side of the family (as Grandma's house was too small for everyone to be in). We had supper, and I messed around with the laptop afterwards, showing it to my relatives, who thought it was interesting. When running on the battery, it lasted quite a bit (I didn't keep track of how long, though) before the system started beeping due to the battery being almost completely drained, at which point I shut it down and put it away until I left. When we had to leave, I wished my relatives a Merry Christmas, and then left for home. When I got home, I plugged in the laptop so that I could recharge the battery for the next time the laptop would be used.

In 2006:

Between Christmas 2005 and January 10, 2006: I have been working on getting my laptop set up, and am slowly moving my program installers and personal stuff over to it. I also got two new mice, both made by Logitech (my previous mice were made by Microsoft). For the old computer, I got an MX310, to replace the mouse with the messed-up left button. There were some difficulties getting back and forward navigation to work in addition to autoscroll without the use of the program it came with, but I managed to solve this issue by substituting its own mouse driver with that of a Microsoft IntelliMouse one. For the laptop, I got an LX7, and for a cordless mouse, it works great! Much better than the first cordless mouse I got years ago, and when the program for it isn't used, it works just like the mouse I have on the new computer (no driver substitution required, unlike the old computer).

Also, in regards to the password issue brought this up on the Ubuntu forums and was told to upgrade to Breezy (from the pre-installed Hoary), but something went wrong, and I do not have a GUI when booting into Linux anymore - if anyone can help (or can find someone to help me), please do - I'd greatly appreciate it.

January 10: I went to the optometrist to see about getting new glasses - I've had my current ones for over two years. It went good, although it seems my right eye got (negligibly) worse since I last went there, and the next pair of glasses I have will be bronze-colored half-rims (and my first half-rimmed pair).

That should be everything =)

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2006 at 12:00 AM

I just wanted to let all of you know I'm still here - I've been rather busy lately, but things are winding down, and I'll be sure to update my blog with what's been going on here soon.This is also the first post I've made that has a timestamp set in the future, so it didn't show up immediately after I published it - if all goes well, though, it should show up at midnight, when it will now be 2006 =)

Finally, I've just upgraded to WordPress 2.0 and so far, barring some possible (minor) redirection problems, things appear to be working good - If you're seeing any problems with pages that used to work, or regressions like different text for certain pages (which probably meant that I overwrote a file that I manually changed prior to the upgrade, and forgot to reapply those changes), tell me, and I'll try to fix them as soon as possible.

I've also changed the theme to use new colors - in this case, switching out the code in the current theme's stylesheet for the code in the Tagra* theme's stylesheet - as it fits in better with the color scheme of the rest of my site.

(* - The link to this theme does not exist anymore, and has been removed.)

Happy New Year, everyone! =D

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