domingo, 25 de Novembro de 2012

Buying a Laptop configured in English in Portugal

STOP!!!!!!!!! Before buying a laptop in Portugal, be aware that 99% laptops in Portugal come with a Portuguese version of Windows installed. I am not sure sure about the current situation with Widnows 8, but I do know that with Widnows 7 and previous incarnations, one could not easily change the operating system language. Indeed, it was often necessary to get hold of an English version installation disk and reinstall the whole system. The only shops I have ever found that would configure/reinstall new machines with an English language version of Widnows OS were Radio Popular in Guia and Radio Popular in the now-defunct burnt out ex-Portimão Retail Park. If you are happy working with a system in Portuguese, no problem. Otherwise, make sure that the machine you are buying is fully configured in English OR buy an Apple Laptop. With the latter, you can change the language of the operating system on start up or later with ease. A final option, depending on your requirements, might be to buy something like this Tablet Eee Pad Transformer TF300T which is a tablet on steroids with detachable keyboard and being equipped with a Google Android OS, can also be configured into many language with ease.

sábado, 24 de Novembro de 2012

Portugal - Advice needed about Kindle Fire and the Internet

O.K. Lets try and simplify this. 1) You currently have a laptop with Microsoft Vista OS (uggggh!) installed. 2) It appears that your current access to the Internet is via a Vodafone Pen Stick Dongle that plugs into a USB port on the Laptop. 3) It appears that you do not have internet over a phone landline. (e.g PT/sapo) 4) Given the above, I deduce you do not have a router! 5) A router takes the adsl/cable internet signal form the phone line and shares it with other computers. 6) There are two types of routers, pre-historic ones without wifi where the computer was connected by an ethernet cable and since the mid-2000's, wifi routers. 7) Wifi routers (which are nearly all "Linux inside"!!! "Penguins forever!" ) also transmit the internet signal by wireless to computers, smartphones, tablets, and other suitably equipped exotic IT wildlife! 8) Wifi equipped hotspots (such as one gets in Mc & Dons, hotels, some Rede Expressos buses etc.) are basically industrial strength wifi routers on steroids. 9) It might be nerdily possible using some exotic gateway software and a usb wifi pen in another usb slot to turn your laptop into a wifi access point, but even I would be loathe to do it with Vista onboard!! 10) Your 3G Vodafone dongle uses a different technology to receive its Internet signal. This signal is transmitted as a signal layer over via the 3G mobile phone network. 11) Each piece of IT equipment that is going to use this latter option has to have: i) either a usb slot where the dongle can plug in or ii) a slot for a sim card (like one has in mobile phones and in you dongle) Consequently, if you only have one Vodafone USB 3G/Dongle pen, you will only have one sim card and only one unit can use the internet at a time. 12) The Kindle paperwhite 3G version should allow you to take the sim card out of you dongle and plug it into the Kindle. It also has wifi so one could also use it where there is a wifi signal. (e.g. Mc&D's) HOWEVER, I do NOT recommend this, as sim cards get very worn when frequently changed between units. 13) So, (I wish I could get paid for writing this stuff!! :))), in summary, you are in a fix. 14) Proposed solutions by Barlaventoexpert: a) You could keep switching the simcard in your Vodafone 3G Dongle between the dongle and Kindle, severely reducing its lifespan! However, This would also mean you could only use either the Vista-equipped (uggh!) Laptop or the Kindle at one time. b) Buy a second data simcard from Vodafone for the Kindle and, obviously, pay a second time for the privilege. b) Get a phone landline and a sapo account (or cable if one is in a Zon/Cabovisao area) (all these usually comes with a free wifi router) and pay one's usual monthly small fortune for the privilege. c) Spend money driving up and down to your local Mcd's / local public free wifi area every time you want to use the Kindle. or d) (drum rolls) take yourself off to your local purveyor of IT and Telecoms equipment with your existing Vodafone 3G dongle and get one of these: http://goo.gl/npHhD This is a Vodefone 3g sharing dock! Costing €30.00, it will allow you to plug your dongle into the dock which then can allow 5 devices equipped with wifi to connect to the internet. There is one final caveat! Does your Vista(uggh!) equipped laptop have built-in wifi! If not, you will need to buy a separate wifi dongle to plug into a spare usb port. You can pick these up from any Worten for +- € 15.00 See: http://goo.gl/T9wNl I have to say that, in my opinion, you would be wasting your money buying a kindle or any ebook without either a good internet/wifi connection or a good 3g/wifi connection chez vous! There may be more technical solutions such as using 3G/4G phones such as the Samsung Galaxy as a wifi hotspot but as you are confused now, I would not recommend that route without a good local nerd to hand! Invest in the sharing dock for your existing Vodafone 3G pen and perhaps a usb wifi dongle for the Vista (uggh) machine. If you go this route, take your laptop and dongle with you when to go to buy the gear and get the unfortunate spotty nosed Zé Nerd to get it all working before you leave the shop.

terça-feira, 10 de Maio de 2011

Unity Desktop on Ubuntu 11.04

Those of you who follow this blog will know that I have been an Ubuntu user and devotee for the past 6 years.

Ubuntu powers my work machine and while there have been periodic bugs it has generally performed marvelously.

Now, in the second bad piece of news today, I have to report that I have upgraded my machine to Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity Desktop and I really do not like it.

There are a lot of bugs in Unity. It is not intuitive for users and it is clunky.

It is almost that in an effort to catch up with the desktops on Apple machines, Canonical have done a "Vista".

The concept may, in principle, be good, but only launch a system upgrade like this when its ready for the big time.

The fact that one cannot also easily install Gnome3 without breaking Unity and the OS is an unmitigated disaster makes live very difficult.

I hope all this is resolved shortly, or I'm off to Debian 6.0 and will build my own customised linux box.

MS and Apple must be laughing their heads off and I cannot blame them.

If you are using Ubuntu 10.10 ... do not upgrade yet!

Microsoft Close to Buying Skype

I really am concerned at this news.

It took long enough to get Skype to produce an effective Linux Client.

I can just see the "evil empire" keeping the existing Linux client and then as the product develops easing the linux version out because "it is no longer compatible.".

I can also see the "evil empire" also trying to turn itself into the "world's" phone network. Free Computer to Computer Calls will go!

With Google dominating search, Facebook social media and Microsoft voice communications, the world Interweb really is becoming dominated by a small cartel of US controlled IT companies.

We really do need companies like Amazon.com, baidu.com, yahoo japan etc. to start fighting back internationally and offer competitive products.

domingo, 17 de Abril de 2011

Is there a stable version of Linux that I can install but not have to constantly tweek to keep working?

One of the main advantage's of Linux and linux distributions is that the Linux Kernel and other software is regularly updated to ensure the OS is compatible with the latest hardware.

Ubuntu, (based on Debian Linux) is today probably one of the most stable distributions. If one configures a machine with this distribution; is happy with the resultant initial configuration and does not want to receive further updates, one can configure the "update manager" not to check for updates.

The machine will remain stable as originally configured

sábado, 26 de Fevereiro de 2011

Freeciv crash in Ubuntu 10.10

I am having an ongoing problem which continually ruins playing Freeciv on my Ubuntu 10.10 installation.

I will play for several hours and then in the middle of a seesion, bingo, Freeciv crashes. The game will not restart from that point onwards.

Any help, comments or advice would be appreciated.

Details:

Ubuntu 10.10
Gnome 2.32.0
Kernel Linux 2.6.35-25-generic
Intel Celeron M CPU 530 @ 1.73GHZ
Memory: 2.0GB
FreeCiv- server version - Freeciv: 2.2.1-1ubuntu1

Error Message from system.log

Feb 26 08:20:39 xxxusernamexxx kernel: [ 5540.017512] freeciv-server[2221]: segfault at b4 ip 0000000000485b60 sp 00007fff2ae10ae8 error 4 in freeciv-server[400000+185000]

sexta-feira, 25 de Fevereiro de 2011

Installing Ubuntu on a Laptop

First of all you will need too decide which media you will use for booting the Vaio

- usb stick
- cd

Make sure you know how to select boot mode - some laptops will let use use F11/F12 to select your boot media otherwise you will need to go into the bios F2 or delete key and change the boot selection media.

If you are not sure, use the boot from cd option. It will be slower but probably easier for newbies.

Before downloading, make sure that you know whether your Vaio is has a 32bit or 64bit processor so that you can select the correct version.

Download your preferred ubuntu distribution from ubuntu here:

http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download


Very Important:

Insert the cd and boot to the live cd version. Make sure that all the essential systems are working. Sound, Networking, wifi etc.

There should be a systems testing entry on the Systems > Administration menu. Run it and see if it reports any major problems recognising any important devices such as ethernet port, wifi, sound. If it does find problems and you are a newbie, this is probably not for you to do without help..

If all OK, now go Systems > Administration > Disk utility.

Look at the Volumes table. You may find that in addition to your normal hard drive partitions (e.g. C: D: in Widnows) there may also be "hidden partitions", created on installation at the factory to customised the machine and how it runs Widnows!

If you are doing a full Ubuntu install you will need to select "use the full disk" when prompted to ensure that the hidden partitions get "nuked", otherwise you may encounter booting problems.

If all has gone all OK so far reboot the machine and when prompted select the install to disk option on the Ubuntu live CD menu and follow the walk through.

It is fairly easy process. Easier than Windows, I would say.

At the end of the installation process, let the machine remain "online" to download the latest updates. You will be prompted for authority to install them. Let them install and away you go,

Learn to use the "Synaptic Package Manager" on the System > Administration menu to install extra packages such as codec packs etc.

Hope this helps