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Author Topic: Back from vacation.  (Read 2751 times)
nightflier
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« on: August 12, 2007, 06:07:20 am »

Summertime.. when the livin' is easy..

Just returned from some wonderful weeks north of the Arctic Circle. Had a great time. The weather was unusually warm for the region and I got to do things I have not done since as a kid. I went swimming in the fjord, picked cloud berries in the mountains and spent a lot of time with my family. Ate and drank way too much.

Using my parents' computer to check e-mail was a downright painful experience. XP took almost five minutes from POST before hard drive activity slowed enough to make it usable. Even then it would periodically slow to a crawl as some process kicked in and demanded most of the resources. I sought refuge using a Live Linux disc. Once configured, I saved the settings to a file on the hard drive and got a fast, familiar environment including a US keyboard layout. Impressed by the speed, my parents asked if I could clean up XP and make it comparably fast. I told them it would require either days of tinkering or a full re-install, and then it would not last long before the (grand)kids mucked it up again.

I offered a different solution. In a short time we had a dual boot setup. VL SOHO 5.8 had the keyboard layout for the Toshiba laptop as well as the Norwegian locales. It booted in 55 seconds flat and totally rejuvenated the machine. I found Linux replacements for my mom's card games. Opera comes in the local language, of course, and so does Firefox. I showed them a few new things every day. My dad burned his first CD ever, using K3B. Amarok streaming Magnatune's collection was a big hit. Soon, "Linux" became the default in the boot menu.

I also helped my brother put his old P3 to use. We made a headless server and tucked it away in a corner. Now it provides network storage and streams his music collection using gnump3d (I have a modified version which fixes the video bug if anyone is interested).

When visiting my aunt, I realized that the five minute boot and molasses-like performance is the rule more than the exception for the "normal" computer. Alas, not enough time to do anything about that one.

Using part of your vacation to work on computers may sound like a waste of time, but it actually provided a nice form of interaction with family members. They were very appreciative and receptive, so education became fun and rewarding.

Now, back to the pile of work that accumulated while gone!
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Joe1962
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2007, 06:12:23 am »

Well done, nightflier. Nice that you had a good vacation.
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O'Neill (RE the Asgard): "Usually they ask nicely before they ignore us and do what they damn well please."
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The Headacher
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2007, 08:12:54 am »

Linux : never leave home without it Smiley.

Perhaps we should all be taking a linux LiveCD with us by default Wink on vacation.
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2007, 10:56:55 am »

Linux : never leave home without it Smiley.

Perhaps we should all be taking a linux LiveCD with us by default Wink on vacation.

The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is confused by its own reflection in the shiny side of the CD.

When sharpened at the edges, a Linux CD can be used as a rudimentary, but deadly chakram.

...that and it makes a good replacement for XP.

Don't kernel panic!
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2007, 11:02:07 am »

I offered a different solution. In a short time we had a dual boot setup. VL SOHO 5.8 had the keyboard layout for the Toshiba laptop as well as the Norwegian locales.

Damn, all this time I thought you were Swedish. I guess Bokmål is mutually intelligible though.
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"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
nightflier
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2007, 02:58:48 pm »

Damn, all this time I thought you were Swedish. I guess Bokmål is mutually intelligible though.

Close enough  Tongue   The Scandinavian countries share a lot. Norwegian, Swedish and Danish languages are close enough that we understand each other. Bokmål (one of two official languages in Norway) is very close to Danish so it would be a good common ground.
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2007, 06:21:22 pm »

Damn, all this time I thought you were Swedish. I guess Bokmål is mutually intelligible though.

Close enough  Tongue   The Scandinavian countries share a lot. Norwegian, Swedish and Danish languages are close enough that we understand each other. Bokmål (one of two official languages in Norway) is very close to Danish so it would be a good common ground.

Hell, I'm a poser who was fortunate to have a large, but essentially false cross-section on people's Scandars, and I can still read Bokmål when I see it on IRC. In fact, it's one of several accepted languages on #sverige (undernet). If all else fails, I can use a certain degenerate language created by squatters on some island that seems to be popular these days.

Well, at least I know how to settle arguments about death metal on YouTube now.
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"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
Lyn
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2007, 11:14:10 pm »

Linux : never leave home without it Smiley.

Perhaps we should all be taking a linux LiveCD with us by default Wink on vacation.

The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is confused by its own reflection in the shiny side of the CD.


LOL now there is a beast I haven't heard about for some time....

The main problem I have in the UK with live CDs is they rarely can work with the usb modems provided for broadband free by most of the ISPs in the UK.  Otherwise my dad would have been running linux at home and would not have gone and spent £600 on a shiny new computer.
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2007, 09:15:48 am »

Linux : never leave home without it Smiley.

Perhaps we should all be taking a linux LiveCD with us by default Wink on vacation.

The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is confused by its own reflection in the shiny side of the CD.


LOL now there is a beast I haven't heard about for some time....

The main problem I have in the UK with live CDs is they rarely can work with the usb modems provided for broadband free by most of the ISPs in the UK.  Otherwise my dad would have been running linux at home and would not have gone and spent £600 on a shiny new computer.

Free modems, huh. I guess they dispatch the processing that they should do to the computer itself though (i.e., Win-modems).  Roll Eyes

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"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
rbistolfi
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2007, 11:32:09 am »

We have a lot of them here too... I never got to work the ZyXel 630 series USB modem, and I guess that is the easy one, since looks like it use the Conexant Access Runner and the module is in the kernel now  Sad
Anyway, I think I will be able to buy e real modem the next week Smiley, if Vanesa helps me saving some money (dont tell to her I said that) Wink .
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2007, 09:54:14 pm »

I brought two LiveCDs along on my recent vacation but didn't use either one. When my niece wasn't buried in her computer, I got some brief computer time during which I checked my e-mail. I was not about to reboot the computer (and probably would have to change the boot order in BIOS if there wasn't a magical key to hit at power-up), so I used Internet Explorer on XP. There was a cable modem and wireless router in the house through which we had Internet access. I've never set up VL for wireless and didn't feel like taking my chances even if I had dared to change the boot order to use a LiveCD.

I never actually booted the computer because my niece had it hibernate when we closed the lid, so being ready to go took a matter of seconds.

My brother- and sister-in-law had me work on her XP Media Center laptop, which was taking 10 minutes to boot. Also, the Media Center loaded at startup, which they didn't want but couldn't find a way to stop. Not surprisingly, through MSCONFIG I found about 50 things loading at startup and running in the background. I disabled everything they didn't want and also found the magic entries for starting Media Center and got rid of that. The computer booted a lot faster after I got rid of all that startup junk. They were immensely grateful.

The computer was still slow in operation, though. It's about two years old and MUCH slower than XP on my 4-year-old laptop. I suspect it's due to a bunch of McAfee and AOL stuff that they didn't want me to disable. If it were my computer, I'd disconnect from the Net and disable all that stuff and see whether operations would be faster and if so, replace McAfee with something less system-sucking. I wish I could have tried a LiveCD to compare performance under Linux but didn't have time, as I was doing the cleanup right before we were leaving for home.
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nightflier
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2007, 06:44:28 am »

One reason for the LiveCD was so that my significant other (she does not know Norwegian) could use the computer. A foreign language and keyboard can be quite a challenge.

It's frustrating how many applications seem to be designed with the assumption that the computer will be dedicated to their operation. AOL, "Internet protection" suites, P2P clients, media players, the list goes on. One of the newest system hogs is Windows Live Messenger.

How different the notion of "free" is between camps. In one, you get "free" in exchange for putting up with in-your-face nags, annoyances, resource theft and invasion of privacy. In the other, "free" offers simple and effective solutions if you bother to educate yourself a little.

Additionally, paying big bucks for your software does not buy an easy way out. Some of the worst performance killers come in the form of expensive packages from big, well known industry players.
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2007, 07:43:33 am »

Some mS Partners are not working well, and their are contributing to the XP malfunction. For example, I shared a computer with my brother for years, when I was still on mom house. He has a nice cellphone and he uses bluetooth to connect with the pc. The usb dongle on the XP box run an incredible heavy daemon to scan for devices, it loads at startup. Even when I found the right command to start it, I never was able to get of the thing from the boot time, I navigated the registry but nothing. I just wanted to start the daemon for my brother, let him to do his stuff, and shut the thing off. The solution was to move out from mom house  Grin.
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
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Joe1962
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2007, 08:40:17 am »

The weirdest things can be resource hogs nowadays. I recently detected as such the Realtek HD Audio Manager and the Intel PROSet Wireless applets. The first was a bigger memory hog than explorer.exe (> 20 MB), the second was a CPU hog when in marginal or no WiFi coverage areas (talk about heavy-duty polling, duh). I`m working on some onboard computer communication servers (for the PC side), over GPRS and FM radio, well you could see the received packets list stop and start for a few seconds whenever the thing polled for the AP (which was every few seconds). After a bit of research, I found that you could disable the HD Audio Manager (RTHDCPL.exe) from startup with no problems to the sound and also uninstall all the Intel WiFi stuff, then simply install the drivers only and let Windows handle the connections.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 08:42:57 am by Joe1962 » Logged

O'Neill (RE the Asgard): "Usually they ask nicely before they ignore us and do what they damn well please."
http://joe1962.bigbox.info
Running: VL 7 Std 64 + self-cooked XFCE-4.10
Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2007, 11:28:18 am »

One reason for the LiveCD was so that my significant other (she does not know Norwegian) could use the computer. A foreign language and keyboard can be quite a challenge.

It's easy; the word for 'not' is 'ikke', and everything else follows in a like manner.
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"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
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