Ethical computing

Tomorrow's World was a show on BBC TV about innovations and tech stuff and I thought a good name for our computing and tech section.
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Martin
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Post: #49617 Martin
Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:25 pm

if you want to restore your faith in getting one to work, try "DSL" - damn small linux - it'll run IN windows, picks up all the needed settings, and just works - rather slowly, but it does function! :wink:
Like Muddy, I'm impressed by the people who give their time to such projects, and have used things like the Gimp and Open Office for ages! If they can make it just a bit more user friendly, they'll have a winner! :cooldude:
As an aside, when I visited the DSL site recently, I spotted that they have low noise/low power consumption computer parts in their shop, which may be of interest to computer geeks seeking "green" computers :geek:
http://solarwind.org.uk - a small company in Sussex sourcing, supplying, and fitting alternative energy products.
Amateurs encouraged - very keen prices and friendly helpful service!

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quercusrobur
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Post: #49620 quercusrobur
Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:47 pm

I wa going to mention DSL as well, but didn't want to give the impression that i actually know what I'm talking about ':wink:'

I also had a fiddle about with Puppy Linux, whci is another really small Distro that will run in RAM rather than from the CD, and is incredibly fast. Both DSL and Puppy are good for older, low spec PC's that might otherwise be consigned to the landfill site, so have got to be a good thing!
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Post: #49683 wulf
Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 am

I wouldn't rely on that. I'm about nine years into the Linux thing (although the first few years barely count - having Linux installed on a computer somewhere and barely using it doesn't promote much knowledge) and I'm still keen on the whole concept.

:mrgreen:

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Post: #49912 pskipper
Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:39 am

Just spent a few hours playing with Ubuntu, it installed well and seems to be playing nicely with XP. My big problems have been getting it to connect to the web through a speedtouch modem! I've done it now but the advice out there is not consistant!

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Post: #49918 wulf
Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:13 am

Good stuff. What set of instructions did you find most useful in the end? My parents have got a Speedtouch and sometime I want to see if I can get that working with the install of Ubuntu on their machine so they can swap to Linux as their primary OS.

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Post: #49951 pskipper
Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:02 pm

These ones..

http://www.linux-usb.org/SpeedTouch/ubuntu/index.html

what they don't include is that if it doesn't connect after re-starting to use

sudo pppd call speedtch

The ones on the ubuntu website and a couple of others have mistakes in them, ' instead of " and stuff like that.

Finally got my website up and running on apache as well, I'd forgotten how case sensitive linux is!

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Post: #49958 wulf
Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:26 pm

Thanks.... and yes, you have to be careful about upper and lower case characters. On the other hand, you have got all sorts of command line tools that make it worthwhile - one of my favourites is rename that easily lets you rename a large set of files (great for things like setting an initial title for pictures downloaded from a digital camera).

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Post: #51438 metricben
Sun Mar 18, 2007 8:04 pm

I have been using Ubuntu for about two years, after trying Debian, Gentoo, and FreeBSD, and am dual-booting with Windows. Unless you are a serious gamer, using Windows is pointless. Linux provides a much faster, stabler OS, with IMHO better software. Also, software makers don't try to squeeze all your money out of you, nor infect your PC with viruses or spyware. Do not buy Vista, and try Ubuntu! The list of incompatible hardware is getting ever-smaller, and the cost of one auxiliary component is a much more economic choice than having to upgrade to 2GB of RAM with the latest video card just to achieve smooth performance.

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Post: #56047 The Chili Monster
Wed May 02, 2007 3:06 pm

For some time I was thinking of escaping to Linux. I've nothing against Microsoft as such - without them I would never have found this site, for example. However, I was bored with being locked into Microsoft and for the most part the feeling of being railroaded into accepting machines with this that and the other pre-installed (mostly what I didn't want or need). The appeal of Linux is choice.
Having tried and failed to get the more mainstream Linux distros onto my machine and play nicely, I have plumped for the FREE Xandros Desktop (OCE 4). Taking advantage of the 30-day Crossover Office Trial has allowed me to run MS Office flawlessly (although I've been using Oxygen Office more and more -even persuaded clients to use it).
The major plus of this distro is that it will partition the disk for you as part of the installation process. Another is that it feels like Windows.
The downside is that Xandros upgrades are not free (although they are significantly cheaper than their Windows equivalents).
On balance, I think I'll stick with Xandros rather than looking to switch to another distro.
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Post: #57899 catalyst
Sat May 19, 2007 4:53 pm

ive been using linux for a couple years too, and recently obtained one of the free ubuntu cds (posted to me totally free from a website). previously i have had to mess about to get linux to find my hardware, this latest cd just worked. it was fantastic.

also, easyubuntu or automatix sets up all the codecs for dvds, cds etc, video drivers, acceleration cards, modems etc etc

and google has a special linux search, so whenever i have problems i can always find the answer:
http://www.google.com/linux

it may involve writing some code/instructions into a console, i love this ability to make it work myself... but generally, ubuntu does just work...

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Post: #57927 Muddypause
Sun May 20, 2007 1:37 am

It must be just me that has continuing and unaccountable problems with Linux.

I couldn't make Ubuntu 6.06 dual boot with Windows, so tried Fedora. I was doing well with that for a few weeks untill, for no apparent reason, it suddenly wouldn't boot. The whole thing became inaccessible (presumably still somewhere on the computer, just not able to get to it).

I tried Debian, which seemed nice but couldn't get my modem to play with it. So last week, I downloaded Ubuntu 7.04 to see if that would work any better than the last one. It took a long time, much Googling, half a dozen reinstalls and some late nights, but today I finally got it cracked. And the modem, and most of the other peripherals seemed to work without much difficulty. Hurrah!

But then, tonight, just as I was starting to feel good about Linux again, no boot. And worse, GParted (partitioning tool) can't see any partitions on my HDD, and another partitioning tool returns a whole bunch of errors on the disk. I've cocked up the install somehow, and seem to have come dangerously close to losing the whole disk.

Clearly I am a singular Linux disaster zone.

If anyone knows how to repair lost sector signatures, or rectify CHS values (whatever they are), or a whole bunch of other terrible-sounding things, I be glad to hear about it.

I will get Linux working on my machine; I will! Meanwhile, back to banging my head on the table again.
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Post: #57979 The Chili Monster
Sun May 20, 2007 1:55 pm

Muddy
CHS values are gobbledegook engineers assign to the hard disk itself. Apparantly hard disks are split into CylindersSectionsHeads.
Sometimes they are listed on exterior of the hard disk. More info from here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylinder-Head-Sector.

Further adventures in DOS and BIOS here and here (values).
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revdode
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Post: #58018 revdode
Sun May 20, 2007 8:49 pm

The latest version of ubuntu runs without any trouble on my laptop. The last version and all previous version needed some tweaking but now it just works and in the form I use (kubuntu - ubuntu with the k-desktop - more like a conventional windows/mac interface) it's rather nice. It's familiar enough that my wife uses it with no real tuition.
I've been using linux since slackware and build at home distributions, back then it was a hobby, now it just works and lets you get on with using your computer. A reasonable spec laptop runs kubuntu with no problems. I can do photo, video and sound editing on a low end laptop which is a couple of years old now (Pentium-M 1.73GHz; 1024MB RAM; 15.4in TFT LCD; ATI Mobility RADEON X700 graphics; 80GB HDD; 802.11b/g wireless). I don't really notice any problems with this spec of machine although the DVD can be a bit creaky. Buying again I'd focus on build quality (feel) and make sure I get a laptop with a graphics card that uses it's own memory. The biggest compromise on low end models is shared memory for graphics cards, this is a problem of you start pushing the machine and kills performance on XP, "Bob" knows what it does to Vista.
If you decide to go down the linux route google the laptops choice first to see if there are any problems. It's getting better but hardware makers cheat with laptops and sometimes integrate functionality of the hardware into the driver. Like those dumb printers which use your PC to create the page for them, or USB ADSL modems. To get this hardware to work the people who keep linux going have to do a lot more work unless the hardware manufacturer shares the driver source or provides their own Linux driver. I had a card reader that had this problem.

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The Chili Monster
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Post: #58023 The Chili Monster
Sun May 20, 2007 9:26 pm

revdode wrote:
I can do photo, video and sound editing on a low end laptop which is a couple of years old now (Pentium-M 1.73GHz; 1024MB RAM; 15.4in TFT LCD; ATI Mobility RADEON X700 graphics; 80GB HDD; 802.11b/g wireless).


You think that's low end? My laptop boasts 16GB HDD, 512MB RAM, 14.1" monitor, don't understand the rest of the spec ... Despite the ancient technology the laptop works far better than on XP; no overheating, sound card is better optimised, everything runs faster and more smoothly.

'Tis rumoured that Dell are to offer customers the choice between Vista and a Linux distro (Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu) but you have to dig about the Dell website to find the information.
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wulf
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Post: #58052 wulf
Mon May 21, 2007 6:55 am

Muddy - there could be some issues with your disk. A few years ago, I had a machine that started to get very flaky with Windows 98 (rather than moderately flaky, which was par for the course). After reinstalling Windows only to have it go down again after a short time, I decided to zap everything and install Linux. That was also not as solid as I had hoped but gave me more detailed error messages (somewhere in /var/log, I think) that made me suspect a hard drive error; after replacing the drive, everything worked smoothly again.

Therefore, I wonder if part of your disk is dodgy, hence Linux's apparent instability. The program fsck (file system check), which could be run from a "live CD", might help test that theory although it is a long time since I've used in earnest so perhaps someone else could offer better advice. If the disk is dying, then it is probably only so long before Windows also starts to get affected, so a new disk might be in order (the old one could be taken apart and will yield several metal platters that make excellent drinks coasters and could probably be used in countless other ways too).

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