Birch Street Computing -

about me

John M is a Linux fan in Lowell, MA.

I work at at a company writing software. I fool around with Free and Open Source software for fun & profit.

I was big into and you can still see some of what I listen to there. I can also be found using github and recently sourcehut as well as bitbucket (historically). I don't care for most popular social media sites. If I have an account on one or the other it's probably either old and unused or was created just for tinkering.


Links to things I like, use, or otherwise feel is worth sharing. Things I'd like to see get more popular.

New Laptop - Dell 700m

Well, I've managed to go pretty much a whole month without posting here. I have an excuse, I've been busy. I have a rather extensive FPGA project due for class the first week of December. Plus work always cuts into my free time.

On the "super-good" side of things, I bought myself a birthday present this year. A laptop, I've wanted one ever since this summer when I brought home the laptop from work and used it to ssh to my desktop and hack on one of my python scripts. I finally caved in and bought this dell via the corporate account we have.

I immediately proceeded to install kubuntu on it. I wanted to try it, since ubuntu has a lot of positive "buzz" right now. (The fact that gentoo takes a long time to build apps and a laptop isn't really a number crunching machine factored into it too. And my linux servers at work are Debian.) I have to say, the install when very, very smoothly. Easily the simplest linux install I've ever done in terms of post install tweaking and getting hardware to work. Wireless just worked, the synaptics touchpad just worked, battery life monitor, etc.

I only had two issues. The easy fix was the screen has a funny native resolution, this is fixed by the 855resolution package. There are plenty of other sites that address using this program, so I'll skip it for now. The tougher problem to fix occurred when I mounted the samba share I have that has all my music stored on. I'd listen to a song for a bit and then it would pause for roughly five to ten seconds. dmesg told me that the firmware for the wireless card was resetting. (This is an ipw2200 card btw) I finally found a fix in one discussion thread 'echo options ipw2200 hwcrypto=0 > /etc/modprobe.d/ipw2200'. As I understand it, the problem is with WEP and this makes the software do it. I've had no more music troubles since. (Can't live without my amaroK)

Overall, I'm very pleased with the hardware (nice and compact!) and kubuntu is pretty much what everybody says its cracked up to be. :-D

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