Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Edged Out?


After a great start, interest in the Edge appears to be on the wane.

Mind you, that is nearly $250,000 in twenty-four hours but the run rate is not sufficient to meet the target.

Anyway, I'll add the widget and try to do my bit to maintain interest.

Sources & References:

  • None

Monday, 29 July 2013

Canonical Passes $7,000,000

I've just checked Canonical's progress in its campaign to raise $32,000,000 to develop the Edge. At 12:30 BST, the total pledges amounted to over $7,000,000 with 24 days left.

That's amazing!

Sources & References:

Not Dead Yet

The Register is running a fascinating opinion piece by Trevor Pott on Microsoft's future.

It seems that Pott has pretty much accepted the death of the PC and points to Microsoft's divergent business interests and innovation as the Company's potential salvation. All-in-all though, he seems pretty sanguine about the behemoth's future:

"The next 24 months is Microsoft's true window of vulnerability. If the wrong calls are made Microsoft's competitors will shred them. It will take a decade or so for Microsoft to die, but if there is a chance for a fatal wound it is now. If the right choices are made, however, Microsoft becomes functionally untouchable for the rest of our careers."

I've yet to be convinced by the argument that the PC is dead: there are several factors to consider for declining sales over recent years; not least, a worldwide recession. But hey, what do I know?

Notwithstanding my slightly different take on the future of desktops as endpoints, a well considered article and worth a read.

Sources & References:

Friday, 26 July 2013

One Careless Owner

I'm amazed at what some folk will throw out.

I went to the dump recycling centre the other day and found this Compaq C700 sitting in the electronics skip. At the time I was working on a customers CQ71 that some imbecile had removed most of the case screws, so I grabbed this only so I could cannibalize it for parts: I simply assumed that it didn't work.

Anyway, it's been a quiet couple of weeks so I put in an old 2.5" hard drive and turned it on...

...some lights, but not much else seemed to be happening.

Anyway, out of curiosity I plugged in a VGA cable and the monitor fired up without missing a beat! Clearly, the screen was shot (something that seems to happen a lot with Compaq Presarios), but (apart from all the bits I'd robbed) it was good to go.

I bought the parts from ebay and kept the refurbishment second-user: apart from a new screen (grade B) I've had to replace the battery, charger, speakers, caddy, and screws (plus an old 60GB hard drive I had laying around).I put it back together this morning and it fired up first time. All the ports work, the optical drive is fast and quiet, and there's barely a scratch on the case.

If I had some spare money, I'd keep this little beauty but sadly, I need to sell it!

Sources & References:

  • None

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

DELL 6400 Integrated Card Reader & Ubuntu 12.04

My six year old laptop has become my primary machine over the last few months. I've always liked the DELL Inspiron 6400 but it's never been used as much as it should have been - until now!

Unsurprising then that I should only now realize that the integrated card reader doesn't work! I've been meaning to look into it for a couple of days and finally got round to it this evening: the fix took seconds!

Open a terminal and type:

sudo gedit /etc/modules

When Gedit opens, add the following code to the bottom of the file:


Save and close the modules file and reboot. Inserting a SD card on restart resulted in a welcome media prompt.

I always like the easy fixes!

Sources & References:

Small & Perfectly Formed?

It seems that everyone's at it; making PCs smaller is the order of the day and in August, Compulab will start taking orders for its new micro-computer - the Utilite.

Designed to run Linux & Android operating systems, this isn't a bad looking piece of kit: sadly, it'll probably end up fixed to the rear of a flat panel monitor with some sort of VESA mount! OK, I'm being cynical, but it makes you wonder why they don't just put all this inside the monitor and be done with it: if you want a PC so small that it's all but invisible, you might as well hide it to begin with.

The technical specs aren't too shabby though: top-end, the Utilite boasts a quad core Cortex-A9 MPCore and up to 4GB of DDR3 although the headline price of $99 will only snag you a Freescale i.MX6 single core processor and (I'm guessing) less memory. Ports galore and a low-energy supply it looks versatile and capable of saving the planet from all those 500W electricity guzzlers out there.

Ironically, for such a small product, the market in micro-computers is remarkably crowded and users are almost spoiled for choice. Take your pick from the Raspberry Pi, Intel's NUC, Gigabyte's BRIX, or a thousand handsets running Android, IOS, Windows, and (hopefully) Ubuntu.

Sources & References:

Oh, That's All Right Then

It seems that the Ubuntu Forums hacker has broken cover to assuage users over fears that their passwords are on the market to the highest bidder. However, this promise doesn't appear to be some charitable act on behalf of a benign Mitnick wannabe: apparently, cracking 1.8 million passwords would just take too long!

The Register is reporting that someone claiming to be the hacker made his/her promise on TwitLonger. So, no harm, no foul? I don't think so, perhaps Sputn1k_ should get a job.

Sources & References:

Monday, 22 July 2013

I'd Love to Help....

...but I don't have a spare $600.

Canonical has turned to crowdfunding to get its new handset off the ground: I hope it works because I'd love to see Ubuntu Edge on general release. Sadly, I'm not in a position to fork out the cash and, even if I were, $600 is a reasonable mid-range PC!

It'll be interesting to see if Canonical hits its target of $32,000,000 and I, for one, will be keeping my fingers crossed.

Sources & References:

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Win98 Custom Build - Specs

Last month I blogged about installing Win98 using Virtualbox on Precise, so, for completeness, I thought I'd post the spec and a couple of pics.

Bear in mind that the primary role of this build is to run Win98; it's designed as a business machine and not a gaming rig! That said, it's running the 64-bit version of Ubuntu Precise and the UEFI is tweaked for virtualization.

  • Chassis - Xigmatek Asgard II
  • CPU - Intel Pentium G620 2.6GHz Dual-Core
  • Mobo - Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H ATX LGA1155
  • Memory - G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333
  • PSU - OCZ CoreXStream 500W
  • Wireless Card - TP-Link TL-WDN4800
  • Optical Drive - LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer
  • Card Reader - Icy Box IB-864 Front Panel 3.5"
  • Operating System - Ubuntu 12.04 Precise 64-bit
  • Virtualization - VirtualBox

The case doesn't attract particulary good reviews (either on Amazon or PCPartPicker) but I really liked it. Cable management is actually easier than some of the reviews suggest but it does require some forethought. If I have a criticism, it's that the tool-less system doesn't hold the drives square in the drive bays. Adding a securing screw on the I/O side of the case helps, but this does defeat the object!

The PSU is virtually silent and is seriously over-powered for the designed purpose (more than twice the estimated power requirement!). However, it was on offer at the time of the build and it does add some future-proofing to the build - highly recommended!

The card reader required a header adapter (the USB3.0 internal connection is a standard usb connector). The adapter is a little loose in the header, but the connection appears sound enough and the system did survive the journey from workshop to customer.

Sources & References:

Ubuntu Forums Hacked

OMG!Ubuntu is reporting that the Ubuntu Forums has been hacked and user names and passwords, compromised.

Oh well, time to change my Forum password. Fortunately, I used Launchpad to access the forums (although, I do have a Forum account) and this doesn't appear to have been affected. Moreover, I use unique passwords for all sites and email accounts, so whatever the outcome, my personal exposure is an increase in email spam. Nonetheless, it's disappointing to see the suggestion that lax security led to this attack. It'll be interesting to see the outcome of any investigation. For now the Forum is down with a holding page at the url.

Sources & References:

Desktop of the Month - 8400 July 2013

This picture was taken from Y Foel (SJ188391) looking NNE towards Creig iau Eglwyseg.

This week I was lucky enough to join some friends on Tryfan to watch the sunrise. I received some photographs this morning that show my point-and-click efforts for what they really are! I'm reminded that I am lucky to live in North Wales where even a poor photographer such as I can capture beautiful images.

Sources & References:

  • None