Archive for January, 2009

When All Else Fails

My mother, a teacher, was very fond of saying, when all else fails including you, read the chapter. What I am about to tell you is a case where I did all the necessary software checks but – oops! – forgot to check the hardware. 😉

For the last week or so, I have been having an awful problem with my internet connection. I have a wireless card, which up until that time was working reasonably well. A week ago, my internet connections started to have entirely too much in common with a yo-yo. Being a – so I thought – fairly knowledgeable computer geekette, I proceeded to reboot the Linksys router and Qwest modem, to no avail. Then, since it couldn’t hurt even though it is normally a Windows trick, I rebooted my computer. Still, the connection was lousy.

Today, it downgraded from lousy to horrible – only up long enough to go back down. I went back to my assortment of tricks – check with the children to see if their Windows boxes had any better connection (yes in both cases). Reboot the router and modem. Download the latest updates from Jaunty in case the developers were working so hard they had broken something and had only now fixed it. It wasn’t until I started to move my computer box to the side to see if I could get a better connection physically to the signal coming from the Linksys router, that I finally realized what the problem was.

Both of the fan vents on the side of my computer were covered with dilute blue-cream tortie-point Siamese cat fur! Thick wads of the stuff, actually. As soon as I removed the suspect wads, the internet connection improved at least a thousand percent.

So much for all my booklearning! I’ll have to make sure I never again forget to dust the side of the computer. 😀

Jaunty Jackalope Alpha 3

Jaunty Jackalope Alpha 3 has been released.  According to the Ubuntu release notes, the latest X.Org server, version 1.6, newly available in Jaunty, “will again cause increased instability for some users while the video drivers catch up.” I have seen this personally because X.Org server 1.6 is incompatible with the proprietary Nvidia drivers. In the release notes, users of the Nvidia drivers are encouraged to either wait until the new proprietary drivers become available or to switch to the open source driver -nv in the meantime. I am going with open source, waiting for the upgraded driver.

Another scheduled change in Jaunty is a new style for notifications – a “simple menu” to set preferences for notification icons. Jaunty may even get a whole new notification system.

Jaunty comes with support for using the ext4 file system. However, “ext3 is likely to remain the default for Jaunty….”

Alpha 3 also includes the 2.6.2803.4 Linux kernel.

Appnr – Get Ubuntu Applications!

Appnr is a web-based service that installs Ubuntu applications – sort of a web-based apt-get. It is a site that Ubuntu newbies and not-so-newbies should know about. It lists out applications to install, each with an “install” button. The apps can be sorted either by popularity (the default) or by name.

The way I personally have used Appnr is to sort by popularity, and go over all of the applications of a certain type – let’s say games. This way, if I have forgotten to install a game that I like, it will be jumping out at me from the screen, just waiting for me to click on the “install” button. I have also found new applications that I have had the chance to try. The print on the screen is large enough for easy reading, and all of the applications are available. This last is unlike Ubuntu’s own Add-Remove, which only gives the most popular in each category.

The site advises adding the Medibuntu repository to your repository list when you start out. This is easily done through System > Administration > Software Sources > Third-Party Software, clicking on the “add” button and including the following line:

deb intrepid free non-free

of course, replacing Intrepid with another version-name if that is what you are using.

Appnr is broken down by categories such as Games, Multimedia, System Tools, etc.  It is a very well-organized system for getting new applications onto your computer.

Jaunty Jackalope Impression

Jaunty Jackalope is already turning out to be better than Intrepid, even with a few bugs not quite shaken out. The booting time is noticeably shorter. Even the installation time seemed to be shorter, though I didn’t do benchmarks. My wifi connection is working as well as or better than it did with Intrepid.

Compared to Intrepid when it was in Alpha 3 – when I started testing the last time around – I am duly impressed. The sound isn’t broken. Already, it works and works well. There are a few things that make me aware I am running an Alpha version, though, like the restart icon that does nothing when you click on it, or the Nvidia driver that belches xserver-xorglets all over the great bit bucket in the sky when you install it.

I hope they get the Nvidia problem solved soon, I’ll admit – not being able to use the driver means not being able to use the proper resolution for my widescreen monitor. I know that one has been posted at That means it is being worked on. Whew!


January 2009

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