Posts in the category "Computer & Gadgets" and its subcategories.

Installing Ubuntu Netbook Remix – well, trying to

I had planned on installing Ubuntu Netbook Remix on my AA1 this morning so I started downloading the image to make a bootable USB stick.

Ehm. The image is 1.02Gb in size (I understand I need to do something with it first but I can’t imagine the file size reduces from that). And I only have a 1Gb USB stick. A bit of a pickle.

Need to go shopping for a new USB stick on Monday…

:neutral: I was so looking forward to playing with Ubuntu today.

What I learned today

The next phone I’m going to get will be a clamshell or a slide phone.

Why? Today as I was walking home, listening to music, my phone suddenly started a call. And the destination was none other than the emergency centre! I was mortified! I’ll have to figure out a better place for my phone in the bag — and fast!

Stupid phone. :evil:

Merry Christmas(time)

Someone in this building seems to have gotten their very own WLAN and maybe a netbook for Christmas. A brand new network has appeared in the selection (called “own wlan” — clever). This one is locked — kudos to them.

Myself, I’m typing away on a fancy new keyboard: a Razer Lycosa. The blue backlighting of the keys nicely match the blue lights on my computer. I don’t like blue but this blue I can like. I haven’t yet tested this in action — I just installed it and haven’t yet restarted the system. I got this from Dad. I got tired of my basic keyboard once the browser button suddenly stopped working and I couldn’t figure out how to re-program it to start up Firefox. The basic keyboard has no special settings anywhere. Then I started looking for keyboards and I shouldn’t have googled “keyboard”… I stumbled across a site reviewing Razer keyboards and that was it; I couldn’t settle for a dull Microsoft board anymore. I mentioned the brand to Dad and said I couldn’t even think of asking for it for Christmas because they are more expensive than the basic keyboards. But he insisted.

Razer Lycosa

Well, this keyboard doesn’t have a browser button, but it has customisable macro buttons so I’m hoping I can get an easy access to the programs I need. This does have media buttons which are also important to me. Now I need to learn the new layout: the media buttons are in the top right corner now, not in the center anymore.

I spent the Christmas eve and most of Christmas day at my parents. The muffins were a hit but the sweet potato casserole wasn’t. Apparently it wasn’t a taste they are used to. Well, of course it isn’t because Mum never uses sweet potato. They like the same ol’ same ol’ every day. I’m more into trying new stuff. And my sister didn’t try it at all because it’s a casserole… Oh well, more for me. It’s not tastier than the sweet potato casserole I usually make so I’ll keep making it until I find a better recipe.

My Christmas Star was offended when I chose not to celebrate Christmas with it. I had watered it on the morning of 24th, and when I got home in the evening of 25th it looked like this:

Christmas star

Come on! You can’t expect me to sit home alone talking to a plant on Christmas! :laugh:

[Edit] Yeah, I programmed Scroll Lock and Pause/Break to work as my browser and email shortcut keys. I never use those anyway and they’re in the same area where those special keys used to be on my old keyboard so I instinctively try to push a button there. [/Edit]

[Edit2] When I told the boys at work that I got a Razer keyboard for Christmas one of them commented “I heard they’re not that good.” Er, what’s the point in telling me that? To make me feel bad about my present? [/Edit2]

Wireless surfing

I’m sitting here at my dinner table, waiting for potato wedges (mixed with onion wedges, sweet chili sauce and a little oil) to bake for half an hour. You guessed it, on my brand new Acer Aspire One.

I haven’t got my cookblog here and I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to have a local copy of it here or whether I’ll try and access the blog on my PC (which I may not be savvy enough to accomplish). So, to get things started I set up the mail program to access the same Gmail I’m using on my phone to view recipes. Boy, was that a breeze! I just entered the email address and password (which I luckily remembered by heart) and the application set up everything else. There are some “pre-installed” mail addresses you can set up as easily as that. If the application doesn’t recognise the mail you can enter the information manually.

So, what do I think about this little thing. (I haven’t named it yet.) The keyboard feels nice. The del, home and end keys are a little difficult to access: ins and del are in the farthest top right corner, and home and end keys need to be accessed using the Fn key. There is a Home button where the Windows key usually is and it minimises all windows which is really handy.

The touchpad is a little tricky. Sometimes I’m good at using it and sometimes the pointer is all over the place. Maybe it depends on the dryness of my fingertip. :) Sometimes it sticks, sometimes it glides. But I’m getting the hang of it. I’ve enabled tapping (I should say I haven’t disabled it — it was on by default) because the mouse buttons are on the sides of the touchpad instead of above or below it (which is the layout I prefer) which results in some accidental clickings. Especially because the applications open with single-click not double. Don’t know if there is a way to change that setting.

The out-of-the box theme looks like Windows XP so I couldn’t be faster in changing it. First I needed to access the advanced settings which aren’t accessible by default. To do this, I browsed to the 10 tips I found earlier. I’ll also try and figure out if it is possible to use the other user interface style of Linpus: not this ultra simplified 4 categories, 3 icons layout but a normal desktop with a menu in the left hand corner and several icons on the desktop.

(Excuse me for a second. I’ll need to toss the potatoes around a bit.)

Hm, what else. Oh yeah, obviously I got the WLAN going. It was nice and easy because I just followed the instructions without doing anything special. I did enable all kinds of security settings I could find and restricted the use to this laptop and the PC (because the WLAN box works as a router for the computer). I was proud to name it something “clever” instead of the default (brand of the router). I’m imagining the faces of the people who find it in their access point list. I’m seeing two other networks and one of them is unprotected! (Or at least it doesn’t have a lock symbol.) Tsk tsk.

Anyway, time to resume cooking.

Hello, gorgeous

Acer Aspire One
Acer Aspire One
To be continued… (i.e.: can’t write right now, I gotta play with this new toy)

Christmas/birthday present for me!

Today I went and bought an Acer Aspire One (with Linux Lite). Please, don’t ask me why. My co-workers got me wanting one and I thought what the hey. It’s been a while since I’ve bought a nice new gadget for myself. (Not counting the kitchen goodies.)

I didn’t get just the laptop. I got it with a customisation. They only had white and blue ones; blue is a colour I absolutely don’t like and white is a bit too… Apple. Ick. So, I decided to have a white One customised to metallic red. Niiice. :) It’ll still have a white keyboard and touchpad and the screen and its frame are black, but the rest will be red.

And, I didn’t get just the laptop and the customisation. I got an 8 GB memory card to add to the 8GB Flash-drive.

And, I didn’t get just the laptop, the customisation, and the memory card. I got a laptop sleeve to protect the lovely gadget.

And, I didn’t get just the laptop, the customisation, the memory card, and the bag. I got a WLAN router because what fun would it be to have a WLAN-capable laptop and have to plug it in.

I won’t get these for Christmas, though. I’ll have to wait until the start of January because the customisation has a queue and they’re quite busy at this time of the year (no surprise). But it’ll be in time for my birthday. Can’t wait! Will post photos once I get my One.

Note to self: remember to re-read ten tips for new Aspire One in January.

The Orange Box

Fiiinally the Half-Life 2 Orange Box was so inexpensive that I decided to buy it. Ever since it was released over a year ago I’ve been annoyed that it contained two games I already had (Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2 Episode 1). Sure, it was a bargain anyway but why buy duplicates? At first it seemed that Episode 2 and Portal wouldn’t be available in any other format (except digitally on Steam, but I like the smell of game boxes) but I suppose they’ve released them individually by now.

On Tuesday I saw an advert for a game store’s “grand opening” and they had a really good deal on the Orange Box — it was only 9.90€ while in other stores it was around 30-50€ still. After some persuasion by my co-workers to once in my life “play hooky”, I decided to come to work later than usual and stop by the game store on Wednesday morning. I did, and I got the game!

I installed it the same evening and decided to try it out. I had real difficulty getting connected to the Steam servers which were too busy to handle my request and it prevented me completely from launching the game. Apparently it required some files downloaded or some thing to be done first even though I had turned off automatic updates. Eventually it worked but this got me thinking: what happens when the servers get overloaded? What happens when they are closed completely? Could that happen in the near future?

Kory was just telling me about a 5-install limit on some games. Game companies are doing their best preventing people from playing today’s games in the future. That’s so sad.

A byte of sympathy

This post is dedicated to Jafer. Computers are really something, aren’t they.

Error message

I got this at work. And I laughed aloud.


I’m about to upgrade my phone’s firmware. Wish me luck!

It’s been acting up lately: rebooting suddenly. The screen pixelates and goes black, and after a while it reboots to the active idle screen without having to enter the PIN code. Odd and annoying. And today was the last drop — it started playing Nokia Tune when someone called me! Of course, there are many things that can cause this but then I had just had it. That’s it, you’re getting an upgrade.


Let’s see what happens…

@10:03 pm: At least it’s not bricked. The computer says the upgrade was successful.
So, I had done a backup of everything on the phone and now I restored it. It brought back my selected theme and even the very customised menu. It is missing some of the applications I’ve installed but I listed those (the important ones) before the upgrade.

So, now I’m at version 4! My old version was 2.0628.0.0.1. I hadn’t upgraded before because my operator either hadn’t approved of many of the previous versions or hadn’t bothered to approve them.

New firmware!

Unfortunately, now the music player doesn’t open directly to the playlist but in a completely useless menu. Now there’s one extra step between me and my lovely music. Getting it on full blast (ehm, 20% volume) quickly is sometimes crucial — after a long day at work and there’s a kid, or just other kind of noisy crowd, on the subway/train/bus.

Do you Jaiku?

Don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve added a Jaiku flash thingamabob in my sidebar. A guy at work asked me if I wanted an invitation (we always talk about all things mobile) and I thought “sure, doesn’t hurt to try.” (Jaiku is originally Finnish, hurraah! But now they’ve been acquired by Google.)

Jaiku describes itself: “Jaiku’s main goal is to bring people closer together by enabling them to share their activity streams. An activity stream is a log of everyday things as they happen: your status messages, recommendations, events you’re attending, photos you’ve taken – anything you post directly to Jaiku or add using Web feeds.”

I don’t see much use in posting activities all the time (especially as I’m not doing much — at least nothing interesting). So, in my Jaiku stream you may see me stuck on a packed bus for days on end. I think it’s going to be a note-taker/blog-this list for me but why would I use it instead of the memo feature on my mobile. Ah well, we’ll see.

During the installation Jaiku asked for my phone number to activate the phone feature. (I didn’t see any way around it but I guess I could’ve skipped it somehow. The activation is needed only for the SMS service and I’m definitely not going to pay for something like this.) I installed the mobile application but after it pulled up my phone book (and the names in parentheses that I’d rather have kept at the end of the list), I didn’t want to use it anymore. Who knows what it could do! Instead, I’m using the Jaiku Widset.
When I realised the phone activation was of no use, I wanted to remove my phone number from my information at Jaiku website. No way to delete it. I tried entering space, nothing, or just the country code — it wouldn’t stick. Then I entered the example number under the form field and now it’s pending for an activation code for all eternity. Ha! (Not very elegant, but I really don’t want my phone number there even though no one (?) will see it.)

Do you use Jaiku or Twitter or other similar services? To what purpose are you using them?
(Sorry Kory, I promise I’ll send you an invitation to Jaiku if I ever get those — if you want one then.)