Computer hardware and software and other stuff that's semi-related. Unless it's to do with the Internet. Won't find that here...
So you might have read Oh Dell and wondered what's happened to my PC.
The good news is that it was finally dispatched from China.
The bad news is that Dell seem incapable of sorting out the problem of the incorrect shipping address.
Continue reading and comment on 'Dell Utter Hell'
If any retailers near me sold 14" laptops with an Intel Core i7 processor, then this wouldn't be a tale I'd be telling. But they don't which meant I couldn't just walk in to a store and buy what I needed.
So I went to Dell. I already have two Dell PCs and they work well. Good price, good specs. The first computer I bought through them was a nightmare on the delivery side but the second went OK, and how bad could it be?
Continue reading and comment on 'Oh Dell'
Throughout my life, computers have always reigned supreme. The first was a Dragon 32, followed by a ZX Spectrum +. An Atari STE came next, then a 386DX-40. After that it all went a bit blurry, but there’s been several upgrades and new machines. Our house now contains a desktop PC, two laptops (one nine years old) and a very shiny and new netbook.
I’ve never had any experience with 3G dongles, and I must confess I approached plugging one into my Dell Mini with some trepidation. I’d heard scare stories of faffing with config files and other horribleness. I remembered a whopping four page feature in Linux Format on “how to get 3G dongles working.” I mean - four pages. That means it certainly wasn’t going to be easy…
Every now and then when you have a PC you inevitably end up with some near heart attack inducing moment.
I recently broke the USB wireless dongle I use on my eight year old Linux running laptop PC. Without it, the laptop can’t connect to the internet. Hmm.
there’s a draw in the spare bedroom just of computer cables and other bits - full to bursting. All tangled up, and with no idea what was what. As such, an obvious bank holiday task was to actually sort it out. And looking through, I was amazed at what there was in there.
Anyone following my microblog updates yesterday may have noticed a certain anger with the trauma centre that is iTunes. I’ve never been a huge fan of iTunes (bloated, slow, klunky), but after yesterday I now hate, loathe and despise it.
Windows was slow, and whilst I felt that re-installing Windows XP might help, Muffin is only a 900Mhz Celeron with 384meg of RAM and a 20Gb hard drive. And I don’t like Windows (although XP is far better than Vista) - I’m a Linux user and have been for years. And it was time for Muffin to get a conversion.
As anyone who has read these pages before, upgrading Linux since the arrival of my new PC last year, hasn’t always been smooth.
Over the last few weeks, my broadband connection has been a bit slow.
As a GNU/Linux user myself, the thought of the BBC’s iPlayer being Windows XP only, wasn’t one I particularly relished. So I was particularly interested in the reports that the BBC Trust have told the BBC management that iPlayer must take a more platform agnostic approach.
So here’s the story with getting the sound working again on my new Ubuntu Edgy Eft setup.
I’ve just been reminded why I tend not to bother upgrading my Linux setup very often. It generally causes more headaches than benefits…
Well I finally have persuaded Ubuntu Dapper to give me sound. After delving around in the depths of the Ubuntu forums, I finally found a thread where someone had realised the issue was a faulty sound module in the Ubuntu default kernels. One roll your own kernel later, and here I am with sound! As I type, I’m blasting out some Sigur Rós in celebration!
Well since by last post about going to Ubuntu Dapper things have changed.
Last night I left the computer ugrading itself up to the latest version of Ubuntu. Okay I didn’t quite leave it to do everything - actually I had to sort it out a few times in the middle of the night, but that’s only because I was checking it whilst I was struggling to sleep due to the heat.
Earlier in the week, I spent an evening trying to get my Hauppage PVR-150 to work under Linux. It’s no easy task, taking me a couple of hours, and even now it’s not exactly east. For starters, I’m only able to watch TV via Mplayer, whilst using a command line app to change channel.
Sometimes I just wonder about the quality of documentation from the world of open source. Take this question from the MPlayer FAQ…
Since getting my new PC, I’ve been taking stock and reviewing some of the stuff I’ve got on my hard drive - which is quite a lot actually. Old websites, copies of letters, and a bucket load of WAV files of goodness knows what. But most of all, I’ve been trawling through the several gigs worth of radio comedies that I’ve recorded from BBC7 and BBC Radio 4 over the last few years, and still haven’t managed to listen to yet.
What really annoys me about new computers is when they don’t come with a Windows CD. Yes, okay, I use Linux, but having a Windows setup on my machine is occassionally useful, so I’d prefer to have a copy of it just in case anything ever goes wrong with the machine. Merely being able to “repair” from the hard drive is no good if your hard drive gets trashed!
Well here we are. The new PC is up and running and I’m in the slowish process of migrating stuff off the old one and onto the new. More importantly, as is the *nix way, the new PC has finally been christened.
I’d like to say I got a coherent excuse for not getting my PC delivered, but whoeever it was that I spoke to at the “delightful” Walsh Western had the worlds worst phone line possible, and about the only coherent thing I got out of the conversation was a question about whether I have a brown door. Quite why, who knows, cos every time I tried to get anything useful, I ended up on hold.
Well it’s 21:42 and still no PC.
Every now and then, you come across a computer programme that really makes a difference to your life - that really makes life easier and is worthy of being hailed. So stand up and say hello to abcde - a better CD encoder.
The other week we went out for a walk with two friends, Jane and Jacko (who aren’t a couple - it’s just impossible to write two names without making it sound like they are) in Kent, and happened to pass by Lullingstone Roman Villa. Now looked after by English Heritage, the villa itself is inside a quite horrible green corrugated iron building. We didn’t go in, but I couldn’t help but spot the sign outside…
Well that’s it. The answer is clear. I’m buying a new PC.
I can see it now. In forty years time, little children will be running up to us saying "Daddy, daddy! Tell us again about the old days when to upgrade your computer operating system, you had to wipe the whole thing and start everything all over again". And I’ll laugh and go, "Well little ones, sit down and I’ll tell you all about it…".
This post will only mean something if you know anything about *nix operating systems. If you’re not that person, this will be meaningless.
I gave up on Red Hat some time after because I’d updated my copy and everything went wrong. Nothing worked properly - it was a mess. I went onto Mandrake. And it was great.
It has just taken me thirty five minutes to log into my PC this evening. For those thirty five minutes, the X server just refused to boot up. Why, I am at a loss to know. The graphical login page just returned me to itself.
Funny isn’t it that you spend more time preparing to upgrade your operating system, then you do actually upgrading your operating system.
There was a time when I used to rifle through my Windows looking for redundant .ini files, or unnecessary log files. Anything to give my hard drive some more space. And I’d diligently defrag it once a month to get that perfomance boost.
My PC’s been getting a little slow in it’s old age so I thought I’d treble its RAM to 384Mb. I’ve never used Crucial before, but they are often raved about, so thought I’d give them ago. And it was a very pleasing experience.
Had to use a floppy disk this evening.
Computers have played a big part in my life - even giving me a career. And over those years I’ve had my fair share of computer equipment. And a lot of it still remains. In a box. A big box. Until tonight.
Well I guess Chicken Soup can’t solve every problem which is why I spent most of yesterday and part of today, in bed with flu.
Okay, I’m confused now. Certainly it looked like I had the Sasser virus on Muffin the Wonder Laptop…
How depressing. I connect the Windows XP laptop to the internet for the first time in 6 months and bamm. Sasser virus.
Computers are wonderful things. Until they go wrong.
A tale of woe.
I hate feeling unproductive at work, and yet for seemingly the third working day running, that’s exactly how I feel.
I feel sometimes that my entire working career has been leading up to the day that I can sit at my computer and do flow charts and process diagrams.
Today I struggled with some HTML. Does this set a worrying path to technical oblivion?
Ogg streaming came to Virgin, The Groove and Liquid in June which is fantastic news!
Why building and developing software is like a game of Kerplunk.
Upgrading your PC is fun. Oh yes. Especially when it only all starts to work at a random point in time for no apparent reason.
100 emails in 3 days from a pesky virus means a trip to email filtering hell. Oh how I love computers…
The trials and torments of installing an operating system which doesn’t do what you want it to.
Will someone save me from this wonderfully addictive computer game?