TmSd on Tour: Mr. Tambourine Man

Presenting tmSd on Tour: Quality tmSd banter from places that are not my house.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably expecting the normal lump of technical gibberish that tmSd has come to be known for. But no, I’m actually here in the cadet squadron’s main hall with that laptop in the presence of a band who are practicing – and I quote Mr. McDonald here – “As quiet as possible”

It’s certainly an interesting idea this. Any regular readers will know that I am a member of the Air Training Corps here in the UK. Turns out that the squadron has had the idea of making a band. Not a marching band, like you might expect but a regular band. It’s an awesome idea – made far more awesome by the fact that the sight of someone in RAF working blue uniform with an electric guitar is far weirder and far cooler than one might initially imagine.

Well, why am I here? I was originally going to pitch myself to play the keyboard, but it seems that my skills – which I haven’t practiced for getting on six months.. shame on me – are shot down by pretty much everyone else who turned up.

So until Monday, when I can bring down my keyboard, I’m playing the tambourine. Hooray!

So here I am, writing on the lappy in Openoffice. Note that I’m using Openoffice because there’s no wireless internet card here and I’m sorry, but I simply have a mental block where it comes to making the squadron’s wired internet work.

With the other laptop – which has a PCMCIA slot – it would be a matter of whacking in a big card with a little wire coming out of it and plugging the RJ45 (which may or may not be the right name for this particular plug) into the tiny socket on the wire and the Ubuntu system tray would light up with the wonderous glow of an “OMG YOU CAN CONNECT” warning.

Predictably, my far more modern laptop doesn’t have a PCMCIA or a PC Express slot.

Well, my usual attempt would be to whack the plug into the socket on the back of the laptop that looks pretty much the same. No such luck, as the alien components inside this thing do not seem to grasp the notion that I might just want to get onto the internet.

And yes, I did cave in to presumable pressure about the lack of technical gibberish. I love technical gibberish!

The band has just finished playing “Give me some lovin'” by the Blues Brothers.

Applause ensues!

Well, the laptop’s battery is bound to run flat sometime soon. I should probably put some effort into a witty signoff but I frankly can’t be arsed.

Plus the battery would probably run out just as I fini-

Original writings Copyright James Plant 2009. All trademarks acknowledged.

By James Plant Posted in Uncategorized

Warning: This is a warning.

So, just to piss me off, KDE 4.2 has just told me that my laptop has just been plugged in. I know it’s just been plugged in. I just plugged it in. So why does this notice exist? To warn you of some scallywag running off with your power brick and allowing your battery to charge? To warn you that it just plugged itself in? I genuinely can’t think of a single reason for this. Hang your head in shame, stoned programmer.

To be honest, my transition from GNOME back to KDE has gone about as smoothly as I could have wanted. I left KDE 4.1 because of it’s appalling glitches and it’s tendancy to eat your CPU time like a big fat CPU eating thing.

Well, the KDE team are back with 4.2, and first thing that struck me is that.. well, I like it! Everything seems to be in order, it looks lovely, it runs great on my laptop, my only problem – apart from the inane warnings about that bastard who has had the audacity to touch your power brick – is that the ALT+F2 box appears to do nothing. I mean, seriously, lets give it a whirl again now.

Ok, it opened Kate with absolutely no delay. Please disregard everything I have ever said.

So there, KDE 4.2 is a nice piece of kit and I think you should give it at least a look. I hear Torvalds himself migrated to GNOME after the steaming glitchy pile that was 4.1 appeared on his screen.

Let’s see if this is enough to win the man himself back.

All trademarks acknowledged. All original writing copyright James Plant 2009.

By James Plant Posted in Uncategorized

Hard Drive Purchased, Linux Deemed 20% More Awesome.

So, as a starter for tonight’s entry, I should probably notify you of TMSD’s new logo. And yes, I know this site’s had about a million logos and that any regular readers must be sick of it by now. So I’ve decided to keep this one, at least until it starts to look bad and I begin to hate it.

And if you email me telling me it doesn’t fit in the frame, I will eat you, because it looks good and I want it like that.

I’m expecting the following scenario:

<Noobgai666> OMG UR LOGO DUZ NT FIT PROPLY!!!!!11

*Noobgai666 has been defenestrated.

So there.

Right! On to the actual posting for tonight. In my never-ending quest to put Linux on a computer that isn’t what is technically known as “pants”, I’ve splashed £32 – some of it admittedly borrowed from my brother – on a second hand 80GB 2.5″ SATA drive so I can put Ubuntu on my new laptop – which is by far the bast computer I own. Now I don’t have to worry about partitioning and stuff and I can easily swap drives at the drop of a hat.

And Wubi won’t take 15 GB of hard disk space and refuse to give it back.

So far, it’s running very nicely indeed. Apart from a hiccup with the internal WiFi chip, it’s running as well as I could have hoped. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the pinnacle of Linux running in this house.

The WiFi bug was easily fixed by using an external WiFi USB gadget which I knew worked with Ubuntu’s drivers.

One thing I very much like about having Ubuntu on a good computer is that all the stuff which I wanted so much to work with some sort of vigour on the old Ubuntu PC – namely Compiz and Blender – work like greased silk due to this laptop having a GPU built in the last few years.

Better than my first Ubuntu box, which had a Rage 3D of indeterminate age and origin.

Ok, I am actually looking a gift horse in the mouth here. That PC is/was damn good. Until, at least, I took it apart and nicked it’s hard drive for the rendering box. I’ve put it back together now because a hideous pile of green cards and grey boxes is an annoying sight in the morning.

No-one will ever know that the disk drives are held in by duct tape because I lost the screws.

Back on topic: If you want to have Ubuntu or Linux on a laptop, a second drive is seriously worth the money, especially if you have a swap-out drive bay like I do.

My God, I managed to write an entire post in a faux-serious manner. That’s got to be a first.


All trademarks acknowledged. Original writings © James Plant, 2009.

By James Plant Posted in Uncategorized