The Upgrade – 4 hours of Waiting

I started the upgrading last night. I have four machine that I wanted kept current so I started the downloading of 10.04 around 5:00pm Thursday, April 29, 2010, just as the release of the Lucid Lynx was let loose. Overall I am very happy with 10.04, but I quickly found out that some of my hardware is rapidly dying from old age.

The first problem was my DVD burner. I tried two different types of ISO files from off of the web, and both seemed to have scores of errors on them. I tried an install right from the boot/start up on my second file I downloaded, and it went through about 40 percent, then displayed a bad DVD medium error. The first DVD I burnt, it did not even work. This was frustrating, but then I realized that my DVD burner was so full of dust and dirt that I switched over to my laptop to burn with. I had to start the download all over again because I didn’t have anymore DVD+ to burn with, and my laptop only takes the DVD- type disks. So, I fired up Ktorrent, and grabbed the next available bit-torrent to burn just for the laptop. That took 5 hours to download because my wireless is topped out at somewhere 1MB/s.

My second problem was setting up my encryption. Ubuntu 10.04 gives you the option of encrypting your user accounts, so I jumped on that. The problem there was my hard-drive, a LO-1 TB SATA drive. With so much space, and such a demanding encryption algorithm, this took a lot more time to do than if I just ran the regular option of a simple password. I take security very seriously, and LINUX systems seem to do a better job than the commercial product I have used on the market. So I hunkered down and waited while the upgrade took place. Hey, the encryption works good. I tried to scan with my Window$ machine, and it could not  even see the partitions and content – just a big empty disk that read full.

The Fresh Install versus the Upgrade debate. I learned that installing fresh is way better than upgrading. This dates back to my WIN95 to WIN98 days. I learned that boot problems just get passed along to each new upgrade without actually getting fixed. Things like rouge programs and third party software are rarely fixed, or never at all, and they seem to have more problems after each consecutive upgrade. So fresh is always better in my book. Also, I have noticed that if you just upgrade, you never really get the full benefit of the latest release. Your old configuration files always linger around on your hard-drive from one upgrade to another.

Once I get my main workstation back to user happiness, I will post my experiences, probably tonight when I things calm down around here. This, and my flat tire with the nail in it, are all that is on my agenda for today, so type to you then!

Five minutes With the GIMP

I just thought I would spend some time with the GIMP and see what improvements I could get with some of the new add-ons I found for it. Basically I just added a whole bunch of brushes, gradients and tools to the stock collection that originally came with the GIMP. I search on Google (plug) and found a huge amount of stuff that I could add.

The results I found were quite interesting. I had tried some professional software that I used at my Collage, but they were way over priced if I wanted to buy them. I’m worse than cheap, some of my friends say. I was looking for anything that was free, and did close to the same job as the professional software does. The GIMP seems to be very close for me. I’m currently using Ubuntu 9.10, with the 6 x 9 inch drawing tablet and just the GIMP, version 2.6.

I sat down just a few minutes ago and started my timer which I set for five minutes and started to draw with the GIMP. This is the end result. I went with a volcano theme on this one, mainly becuase when I started the GIMP, it gave me a black background to stat with, and the images of the volcano currently erupting in Iceland started me moving my table pen into creating this. I can say that this is not bad for free and open source software.

Did I mention I like free? I do you know! 🙂

Playing Around With Ubuntu 10.04, Alpha-3. Code Name: Lucid Lynx.

Yay! It looks like Ubuntu 10,04 LTS (Long Term Support) will be a “hopeful” success. I took some time to play around with the early, bleeding edge build, to see how it is shaping up, and took it out for a test drive. With the predicable bugs and hick-ups, it went very well. There are some surprises that caught me off guard, like my tablet still worked, after reading all bugs that were causing that device to brick. My Lexmark E210 laser printer still worked, and my Nvidia card still pumped out the 3D desktop and eye candy that I love so much.

The final release with April 29th, 2010. I strongly recommend that you do not install on your main machine! The Alpha 3 is still bug ridden, so you might as well save yourself the headache and wait the 30 to 40 days for the final release. The Ubuntu Web Site “Alpha 3 Page,” strongly says this.

Although at first there didn’t seem to be that much of a change from 9.10 Karmic, once I started to poke around, the subtle yet drastic changes started to pop up. I would also strongly recommend a total install, not a upgrade due to all the configuration issues most people will have, like with certain peripherals and PCI cards. I lost all of my MIDI functions from my Audiophile 24 x 2 sound card, and along with it my digital audio out.

Oh, the look and feel are great with a fresh install. Way faster than 9.10. I can honestly say that this blows the door off of Windsow$7, both in performance and time. Window$ still has way too much “stuff” to load while 10.04 only takes what it need to boot-up. Window$ 7 = 1.24 sec., Ubuntu 10.04 = 0.21 sec., from boot-up to desktop. This is using a PhenonII X4 965 Quad Core CPU with 4 Ghz of DDR2 Ram, and a 1TB SATA 32M Hard drive Seagate, 7200PRM, SATA2, with 32MB Buffer. Note too that I have always had this USB issue with Window$7 that I cannot get rid of.

Here is the release schedual, if you are interested in this: Ubuntu Release Schedual – 10.04.

Below are two YouTube clips, the first is from mark Shuttleworth, the brainchild of Ubuntu, and the last one is a short demo of the boot-up sequence for 10.04, and what to expect while installing.


Note: this guy below is using virtual machine to load and use 10.04 and he is suffering from a slow boot up while running virtual box. The jumping and skipping on the video is him using a time-laps fast forward speed while going through the start-up and installation process. It is quite funny. And it didn’t work, I got Alpha 3 to run in Virtual machine.


So, I’m looking forward to installing Ubuntu 10.04, LTS,  the Lucid Lynx out in April 29, 2010!

Woo-Hoo, First Post for 2010 & Drawing Cherries With InkScape!

Now, …what should I type? Awh, later.

OK, I am back. Today I am going to talk about InkScape, becuase I am getting a lot of emails from my friends about some of the images I have being posting on my blog. First of all, if you are the unfortunate who is running Window$, and  feel for you, you are still in luck becuase InkScape does run on it, but I have noticed that it is not completely stable in my experiences on the OS. With that out of the way, Vector image programs are completely different from those programs that manipulate images. InkScape does work with photographs, but not in the same way that programs like the GIMP do.

Think of Vector images as drawing with Math, in other words, every shape or element of the image you create is just a bunch of numbers that represents what you are seeing. This means two things. First, you can increase, or decrease the size of the image without compromising any loss of detail. Second, you must render the finished product into a image so that your audience can see your lovely creation.

I have created these cherries.

Each cherry has six elements, or components in it. The two basic shapes, or primitives, are a circle and a rectangle. The stems are made of two rectangles, twisted to curve into the shape and each shape also is shaded with a different colour, darker colour on the bottom, and the lighter on the top layer. The cherry is just one big circle with red colour fill, and three smaller circles, with different sizes, each with lighter colours, with the effects of transparency and blur added to give the reflective look from the light in the virtual room the cherries are in.

If you want to see the SVG file for yourself, click here, “Cherries01.svg” to down load it, and then run it with InkScape. Also note that this was created on  version 0.47 at the time of this writing. Enjoy the file.

It was the night before Halloween, and all through the town…

Yikes-I have being going like crazy! I lost track of time here. I am so tried, I just got from a nap, and my circadian cycles are shot to hell. An example of how screwed up I am—I didn’t get home from class until 10:45pm. This morning I had to get up at 4:30am, run some stuff, then head off to work which started at 6:30am, then off for a meeting for 3:00pm till 5:00pm.

Last night I had my class after the huge midterm in physics, the 30 percent exam that I dreaded. Just about everyone in the class was feeling the same way. The weird thing about this science class, as compared to most of the classes I normally take, is that the prof handed out the exam right at the beginning of the class so could go through it. In my liberal arts classes, profs always wait until the end so that we are fully focused on the lecture of the day, then dump the final results on us so we can ride the emotional roller-coaster and leave. The prof told us that the class average was very high for a third science class, a whopping 67 percent. Now, I would say that a mark of 67 percent really sucks, but then I sort of felt better knowing that if I did poorly then I wasn’t alone. I was happy that I didn’t fail, but I never got the happy mark I wanted. I was one percent off from a “A-”, so a mark of B+ will have to do for the first 30 percent of the term.

In amongst all of the hours of stuff going in my daily routines I managed to perform the upgrade on my home desktop to the Karmic Koala, aka Ubuntu 9.10 today. Actually it was fast because I was running the Beta for the last month, so the upgrade was only an hour long, including downloading, instilling and the final reboot. I’m very happy with it. I will blog more about it very soon.

Whoa! It just started to rain. It’s coming down in buckets! Might have to order in a pizza.

Arrrrrr, Lookie at the all Ye Window$ Pirates Out There Maties!

As a 100 percent Linux user myself, I get great amusement out of these numbers of pirated downloads of the latest Wondiw$ El número siete. Firing up my open-source bit-torrent tracker program, I decided to search the P2P (peer to peer) world and to see for myself just what activity lurks out there among the file sharing population; you know, the group of people who every right-wing government, corporation and self-centred capitalist all hate, aka as the “Free World,” by some, cheap by others. And before you think that the open-source community fits this definition, then I need to remind you of all the licence agreements that you are breaking before you give me the spiel. I can hear Mr Gates groaning in his office just across the border as the 78,000 leechers, and the 55,000 seeders (that is just on PiratesBay alone) making copies of the closed source money making software, sharing it all—for free.

What is interesting is that so many people are hoping that this will be the version to take MS Window$ from the most hated OS, to the best because of the last reincarnation called Vista was so bad. Even the word “Vista” has negative connotations now among the less fortunate who are stuck with it because they bought a pre-loaded lap-top or PC with it. I cannot tell you how many machines I have wiped it off with Linux just to correct some basic problems like the user being able to use to it? And I highly doubt it that the Spam and Virus problem will be fixed either, in fact, I predict that it will get worse now.

But before I leave my soup-box I want to say one last thing about what is happening with all the illegal copies of Window$ being sent across cybor space. You are reason why governments, like Canada, want to take control of the Internet. The criminals, and terrorist are just an excuses for the push to legislate laws to control the Intranet. It is the file sharing of copy-right and licensed protected marital that is at the root of this drive for ultimate control by governments. In Canada, we have the oligopoly of ISPs who serve the majority of the online users, mainly the broad-band connections, while only a small fraction are still using private, ghost and dial-up server providers. The new legislation will make it law to open these service providers up to the authorities and demand all records of your online activities. This legislation will catch anyone using their broadband connection for illegal uses, and will greatly increase the likelihood of prosecution.

Did I make you feel guilty? For more reading about Canada’s policies and possible future on the Internet and file sharing, please read some of these links:

Nothing but Happy Notes Played Here.

One of the best moments of having less to do during the summer break is figuring out what to do with all the time that is now available. It is kind of like watching a child who grew up in the city, having no back yard just walls all around him, and is then moved to the country where there are open expanses of fields and no man made objects can be seen as far as the eye can see. All you can do for the first day is run as fast as you can until you drop from exhaustion, then fall asleep until the realization hits that the alarm clock will not go off. This is probably to much of a stretch for the metaphor, but that is what it feels like.

I finely made good on my promise with helping my long time friend with his home network. I started converting and upgrading his system last spring, but as my time got to demanding with my commitments he had to get shoved to the back burner. I felt bad for leaving him in the lurch like that, but my busy life was too much to care for the projects that got started and demanded the extra time that I did not anticipate on. So I feel good that he now has a fully functioning network and all of the equipment works. Regrettably, having this type of network means that constant upgrading and learning how to deal with the server, as it may become temperamental, may be a job in itself. Already he experienced a brief power outage, and it took him several hours to put the server back on line again. The learning curve—it is a mean curve but one that must be climbed.

Software Goodness

Lately I discovered some nifty new software that too me by storm. As some of you know, I’m a bit of a armature musician, and I like to dabble with writing and playing music everyone once in a while. When I tripped over this piece of software, I was gun a blazing with as I must of staid up the whole night playing on it.

I’ve always wanted to find a way of properly writing music out, just like the professional print shops. I learned to read and write music while in high school as I was in the school band, and in the local high school orchestra, but since then I gave up on it. Reading and writing music is nice to have as a skill set, but it is a lost art when no else can do it. This brings up my argument that playing by ear my not be the best way to learn music because I can run through a piece faster with the sheet music in front of me than I could if I have just a recording of it to go by.  I see music in the same way as reading words from a book compared to watching a movie of the same story, there is a huge difference in quality and understanding of what the author is saying.

So this software is cool in my opinion. Not only does it properly lay out the arraignment to their proper proportions, such as the notation and multiple clefs and staffs, but you can play back the music through MIDI, with 128 voices of basic sounds. I was really surprised when I hit the playback function and the real time sounds of what I scribed into it played back on my speakers. That was very cool.

Like all open source projects, it lacks some good solid documentation, and it does not go out its way to teach you how to write and arrange music, that you must have already. It is sure a very nice tool for writing with if you want to professionally share your music with. I give it five out of five. This is one of the best kept secrets of the open source world in my opinion.

The Software: NoteEdit.

Note: it requires other packages from your favourite respotitory for yummy free sotfware, such the Timidity Server, which are linked from the authoer’s web page. If you run Ubuntu, or other common LINUX platofrms, these are prepackaged for easy installation. It took me about threes tries to find all of the dependnaties before I got it to its full glory.

What a day: The case of the Bad LapTop

I spent the better part of today helping my neighbour install Ubuntu on her laptop. She had seen it on another neighbour who I did an install on Ubuntu several weeks ago, so they got together and shared the good and bad points of using Linux for their everyday computer and Internet needs. I was approached and said that I would install it during the weekend when I had time spend.

Initially I told her that it would be a four hour time period, baring any snags that may pop up. After about five hours of fiddling around with a USB stick and booting the operating system from that device, then finally doing the install, I finally made some headway only after to resorting to using a DVD ROM. I should have paid closer attention to what type of optical device she had on the laptop because had I known that she had the DVD writer on it, that would have save a lot of time in the first place. The marking on the DVD carriage were rubbed off from wear. It was an older computer, and fortunately most of the issues that popped up were fixable ones once I got a list of all the hardware components.

Once the operating system was install, then came the tweaking. That took another four hours, and before you knew it, the whole day was done.

I enjoy doing this type of work because I learn some much from it. Every bug that I find and squish makes me better for the next gob. So far I have managed to install successfully Linux on every machine that I have run across, even MACs—yes you can run Linux on MACs too.

For the owner of the laptop, she was very grateful, and was very impressed at the speed and new found life that was brought back into her machine. Before, she was running Window$ XP, and it was hurting. The machine was not worth it to go out and buy software for it, so free was an expectable price for a days worth of work.

She said that the pop-up nag windows, a million virus protection programs and the constant freezing made running the derelict OS simply impossible to use. On top of this, porn and solicitation were a big problem too.

So another happy camper has joined the free world today.

A Very Good Upgrade (Ubuntu 9.04) and Mums the Word

Looks like Mother’s Day has arrived and everyone will try and either contact their mother, or wish her a happy Mother’s Day. Because of my busy schedule this weekend I may have to forego the phone call until this Wednesday, but I will say this now, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!”

Last night I did the upgrade once I was satisfied that all my favourite programs were still going to work. The release of Ubuntu 9.04, the Jaunty Jackalope, actually came out in April, but having learned the lesson the hard way, I found waiting a few weeks pays off as it gives the community a chance to fix most of the bugs that pop up from each “short term” release.

The only big issue I had was loosing my sound. I have to use Pulse Audio software as the ALSA programs seem to have been messed up in the repositories. It was scary at first because of the new format with the audio selectors and configuration set-up, but after about twenty minutes my speakers were pumping out lovely sounds of music.

Jaunty, Ubuntu 9.04 has one of the fastest boot ups I have ever seen so far. It now takes my machine about ten to twelve seconds from start to desktop. These are boot times that only Window$ users can only dream of. Remember, I did an upgrade, so I have a lot of stuff on this box that needs to be started during boot-up, as opposed to a clean install.

Oh, and don’t ask me what a Jackalope is. I have no idea, nor have I ever heard of such animal. Someone said that it was a rabbit with antlers? Go figure….

When Programs Break

I love creating computer generated graphics. I like doing the whole rendering process, from creating the shapes and adding lighting, to pretty much the whole experience of creating something that does not exist in reality. I’ve created some scenes that were very close to what you perceive as a real photographic image, to the weird and freakish image that would be impossible to exist in the real world. So when I did the upgrade to KDE-4, my favourite scene and rendering program KPovModeler was broken.

The shock came when I decide that I would render some of the scenes I created several months ago. One scene in particular took me several hours to create and almost 3 hours to render. I was in disbelief when I fired up KPovModeler and it was broken.

Fortunately all those days of using POV-Ray back in the good old days of using command-lines paid off. At least I was able to get my CG (computer graphics) fix by output(ing) a command-line scrip and then rendering from the command-line.

I really like using KpovModeler and POV-Ray, so I sure hop that the bugs are fixed in the KDE-4 soon. I could go into withdrawal soon without my CG fix!