Setting up a small file/printserver

September 25, 2009

Now that Jen has her new laptop, and I have a netbook, I finally came to the conclusion it might be a good idea to put my music collection on a file server. Another good idea would be to make sure that Jen doesn’t have to go to my desk and connect the printer to her laptop every time she wants to print something.

In theory, Arch would be ideal for this. In practice, I was tired, I couldn’t figure out the right Samba settings, and the server had to double as a desktop for my son anyway, so I slapped Ubuntu on it, right-clicked the map I wanted to be shared, made a small (suggested) change to /etc.smb.conf, plugged in the printer, noticed it was shared automatically, and finally made it boot into console by default.

It’s the easy way out of course, but I like easy, and it works.


Amarok on the right track

September 23, 2009

I’ve blogged about my dislike of Amarok 2 before, but I’ll recapitulate the main points: cluttered layout, playlist editing is too complicated, importing playlists far too difficult…

Seems like they listened to me (yeah right 😉 ). In any case, The changelog of Amarok 2.2 “Chrystal Clear” looks very good. Maybe it’s time for another go.

Now if I could only figure out how to get the window in “mini-mode” like in this rather fabulous screenshot


Vista has entered the building

September 19, 2009

…and I hope it’ll leave as soon as possible. Jen’s new Dell Inspiron came pre-installed with it, and I detest it. Not only does Dell think it’s a good idea a desktop is littered with crap (taskbar, dock, moving pictures, clock, hideous wallpaper…), not only did McAffee demanded to be registered in a way I could only close it via the taskbar, not only did the bloody thing immediately need 27 updates, 3 reboots, and then some more updates, not only does it asks for an approval up to three times for the same task (install Firefox), it actually manages to be much slower than Tinkerbell, the Asus EEE900 I bought recently. Okay, it’s not a top of the line machine, but it has twice the processors and four times the RAM of the netbook, ergo, it should perform faster.

So tomorrow that Vista abomination will be replaced by a Arch + XFCE and Windows 7 dual boot.


Why I’m still an amateur

September 13, 2009

I usually don’t bother with installing a printer. I have one, but I rarely use it. Jen however needed to print something, her Windows Dell is broken (another story), so I installed cups and the HP drivers, and connected the printer. I tried to add it via the webinterface, but it wasn’t found.

I modprobed the right module. Nothing. I rebooted, although I knew it wasn’t necessary. Nothing. I reinstalled the drivers, but of course, nothing happened. I muttered a bit, when Jen passed and asked if I had checked the cables.

“Well, of course I did, I just plugged it in, and at the back of the printer it’s…oh. Thanks. And I’m an idiot.”

Printer was up and running a minute later…


The slow route to Linux

September 6, 2009

I blogged before about putting Linux on Jen’s laptop. After wring that post, I found that the new KDE (4.1 at the time, I think), didn’t really work out, so I simply slapped Ubuntu on there and asked her not to ignore the updates. That’s pretty much all I did, because she’s sick and tired of hearing me claim that Linux is far superior to any other OS 😉

In any case, she didn’t use it much, and kept booting into Windows by default. Fine by me, but every time she had a problem (wireless simply doesn’t work, SN connection problems, weird Firefox scrolling behaviour), I asked “well, does it work in Linux?”, because if it did, that would be my solution.

Then a couple of things happened. First, she wanted to edit some photographs, didn’t find a good application on her Windows partition for that, booted into Linux, found the Gimp, and liked it. Secondly, she bought a camera and didn’t liike the software that came with it. I installed Kino for her, and although converting movies into MPEG doesn’t always work the first time, it does get the job done eventually. With Emesene being an acceptable replacement for Messenger (apart from the games) she doesn’t have much reason anymore to boot into Windows.

However, her using a video editor meant that the 5GB partition I had put Ubuntu on wasn’t big enough anymore. I borrowed her laptop for a couple of hours, made the partition 10 GB, and installed Arch on it. I chose Arch instead of Ubuntu mainly because I wanted more recent software on it, like Firefox 3.5.

I wanted to keep the system lightweight, so I tried LXDE first, but that turned out to be a bit too sparse. XFCE turned out to be the better choice. I installed the Buuf icons because she liked them on my netbook, chose a purple theme she liked (which I think clashes horribly with the icons, but who am I 😉 ), made the Volume up, Volume down and Sleep buttons work, and gave it back.

She’s been booting into Linux by default now, because at the moment it’s that or a crippled Windows. The best thing about it is that I haven’t forced her to pick Arch. She made the choice herself.

The best thing for me is that I have to do the support of her laptop anyway, and I’m much better at it in Linux. Everybody happy.