Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hey look its february!

A note about blogging. I think up cool things to blog about all day long, but then they fly right out of my head once I'm in front of a computer. They really should invent something for people like me, that records our thoughts digitally without having to write them down or talk into some sort of tape recorder.

So anyways, I'm not going to just blog about blogging, I'm going to blog about unetbootin. Yes, its a stupid name for a program. So what does it do? It lets you install linux onto a usb flash drive. It's a QT based program, like Skype and Google Earth, so it runs on Linux and Windows, and you can create USB boot drives of Linux (many distros), FreeDos, and I dunno, whatever else is out there that it supports. I like it.

I put the latest unstable Ubuntu (Koala) on it to try out on my desktop and my netbook. It works pretty good on the desktop, On the netbook it works pretty good, boot time is around 45 seconds, and the function keys for volume, screen brightness etc work. That said, its an Acer Aspire One, you'd think they'd have figured out how to get Ubuntu to work on it BY NOW. The Acer Aspire One has the WORST Linux distro ever conceived, Linpus Linux Lite. It's a fedora derived frankensteins monster of a distro. But it works, and you can hack it up to get other crap to work on it. So I use it, the only problem is my 3G USB modem is really finnicky under that operating system. And its a pain to upgrade anything.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't blame Fedora / Red Hat for this. I have nothing personally against those distributions, aside from no plan to run them in the forseeable future. (Note to RedHat: If you want me to run RedHat Linux, use Apt-get by default instead of Yum. That is all you have to do). I blame Linpus and Acer. Really, Acer? You couldn't make a deal with Ubuntu? Really?

And that gets me to my next gripe, that you can't get a netbook with 3G anywhere in Canada. It's ridiculous. C'mon Rogers, its a freakin no-brainer. Some of your Rogers wireless stores have netbooks on display, its freakin TAUNTING me. No, the USB modem is not an elegant solution. I need a netbook with it built in, preferably running linux. Ubuntu ideally.

Which brings me back to Ubuntu on the netbook. It was a nightly live CD version of the latest Ubuntu, and what worked on the netbook surprised me. 3G was detected as soon as I plugged it in. Granted the 3G setup screen was too big for the netbook screen, and ALT-Drag with the mouse did not work, but I hid the toolbar/taskbar for some screen real estate and was able to set it up. The REALLY nice thing was that there was an option to select under "Canada: Fido or Rogers Wireless. That was nice. Auto detects, you just click and bravo, connected via 3G to rogers. So for now I'll keep the USB drive just for when I need it. Still, its not enough to get me to install ubuntu on the aspire one. I know theres a console trick to get the networking working, but I'm not going to do it. No. I'll wait until everything in the Ubuntu live CD works on the aspire one, when that day happens I will gladly remove Linpus forever.

Oh, right, other things that seemed to work were both my 16GB SDHC cards were detected, and I assume they worked. Screen seemed to work fine as well. Touchpad worked, but there was no scrollability with it, which sucks in Firefox cause paging up and down on a netbook is such a pain.

As for the Desktop, FINALLY my RT2860 pcmcia card is detected. Wireless N on my desktop rather than the stopgap wireless G card solution. Still, FGLRX drivers weren't detected, and whats the point of using the default radeon X driver when it DOESN'T OFFER XV OR COMPOSITE? Why don't I just install DOS if that's going to be the case? Seriously its a two year old on board ATI 680G. Whats' the freakin problem, Xorg?

Anyways, thats what happened with my adventures with unetbootin. I'm going to install FreeDos to a usb drive now. Hopefully update the firmware on my TV, the bios on my netbook and desktop PC, and maybe go old school for a bit.

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Crappy google quote of the day