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12 June 2008 @ 09:54 am
yesterday's twittering/upgrading ubuntu  
None of yesterday's tweets got posted last night. They were:

upgrading to Hardy Heron

my resolution keeps dropping. Soon I'll be working in 100x100 pixels.

got back up to 800x600. This will do for now.

@MarsPhoenix: Hurrah!


Rather than using Windows, I use the Ubuntu distribution of Linux. There was a new version (Hardy Heron) released in April, so I upgraded yesterday. Mostly, it consisted of clicking the button to start the upgrade, OKing a couple of dialog boxes and waiting. But when the computer restarted, the monitor wasn't happy. I've been in 1280x[something] resolution up till now, which was fine. Ubuntu started up in 1024x768, which would also be fine - I don't really need those extra pixels. What wasn't fine was that the monitor kept complaining about that it wasn't in the optimum resolution, plonking a message in the centre of the screen. I could press a button on the monitor to make it go away, but it came back again pretty soon. Very irritating.

There was no option higher than 1024x768 in the resolution setting dialog. Fiddling around resulted in getting it usuable (though still slightly fuzzy round the edges) by turning off the 3D acceleration, but in an attempt to fix it properly, we ran a program recommended on the internet (dpkg-reconfigure), but ended up in 800x600! And no option to raise the resolution any higher. Further fiddling and comparing with nuteile's settings resulted in 640x480!!! This was pretty much unusable: a quarter of the real estate I'm used to; I couldn't reach the System menu because of overlap - there were more items in the top menu bar than would fit (the top menu bar is pretty much equivalent to Windows' Start menu); Firefox was bigger than the screen, so the title bar was off the top; etc. I managed to clear some stuff off the menu bar, which solved the overlapping problem. Further fiddling got me back to 800x600, which is what I'm using now.

Nuteile has found a different set of instructions, specific to Hardy Heron (apparently dpkg-reconfigure shouldn't be used any more), so hopefully that will fix things. I'm not trying it just yet though - I'm testing the theory that leaving it at 800x600 will mean I use the computer slightly less. Also, if it doesn't work, I don't want to get caught up in fiddling and end up being late for lunch with friends.

The last tweet is in response to the Mars Phoenix lander, which is testing soil samples looking for ice. It had difficulties the day before and couldn't get any soil into its test oven. But it's managed it now. Apparently it will be a few days before we get preliminary results.
lazy_hoorlazy_hoor on June 12th, 2008 09:32 am (UTC)
Would you recommend Ubuntu?
a very caring potatomollydot on June 12th, 2008 09:45 am (UTC)

From googling, I think what's happening me is unusual, even if not unique. Nuteile had no problems with this upgrade. He's being using ubuntu longer than me, so has done a few other upgrades (this was my first big one) and I don't think he's had any issues.

The best thing for me about ubuntu compared to other linux distributions I've tried is that the interface, especially the key combinations, is very like Windows, so I didn't need to re-learn.

Whether you should make the switch or not probably depends on what you use the computer for. These days, I mostly use it for web browsing and solo card games, with a little bit of programming, photo editing or music listening and the odd document or spreadsheet. But you don't need to switch over completely - you can have a dual boot machine and choose between operating systems when you turn it on. That's what I have. I use Windows for downloading data from my pedometer, which has no linux software, and for scanning things, which I just haven't bothered trying in Linux. Nuteile is entirely Ubuntu at home - he bought his machine with no Windows.
lazy_hoorlazy_hoor on June 12th, 2008 09:48 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Web browsing, downloading (lots of this), listening to music.

I heard that Microsoft will be switching to Vista permanently and this scares me.
a very caring potatomollydot on June 12th, 2008 10:06 am (UTC)
Stopping XP support? Yes, they generally do that a while after a new one comes out.

I haven't used Vista. Work was on XP when I left, and this is dual boot ubuntu/XP.

If you were to make a permanent switch, I'd recommend checking that any browser plug-ins you need are available first. But, really, if you're not sure and already have Windows on your machine, I think dual boot is the way to go - all you need to do to switch back is reset your computer and choose Windows on the menu.

BTW, on a dual boot machine, the files in the Windows file system will be available to Linux, but not vice-versa. But if you want to make something available to Windows, you can save it there when you're in Linux.

(Don't mind me switching words between ubuntu and linux - ubuntu is a particular breed of linux)

hell in spectaclesleedy on June 12th, 2008 11:41 am (UTC)
I like Ubuntu, it's very user-friendly.
a very caring potatomollydot on June 12th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
I was in Read's today and saw an Ubuntu special of a magazine. They include a copy of the latest Ubuntu which you can install, or you can just run it to try without installing! I didn't think to check the price of the magazine.
lazy_hoorlazy_hoor on June 12th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, I must check that out!
lazy_hoorlazy_hoor on June 12th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
Oh I convert a lot of avi files into dvd and burn them, I take it I can still do that with Ubuntu?
a very caring potatomollydot on June 12th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
I imagine so, but it's not something I've actually done.
lizmopuddy: rofllizmopuddy on June 12th, 2008 11:09 am (UTC)
you're speaking all forrin again. Don't understand a word :-)
a very caring potatomollydot on June 12th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
Re: *whoosh*
Short version:

I upgraded the operating system. Something went wrong and very irritating. Something went more wrong, but a lot less irritating. Something went even more wrong and slightly more irritating. Then it improved and went back to "more wrong, but a lot less irritating".

But other than that, everything's working fine :-)
Niall Richard Murphyniallm on June 12th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
Rather than using Windows, I use the Ubuntu distribution of Windows.

ITYM "Linux". Interesting mistake though.
a very caring potatomollydot on June 12th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Haha, oops! Fixed now.
a very caring potatomollydot on June 12th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
nuteile noticed that too, but he thought I was joking!
(Anonymous) on June 12th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
Windows versions
I believe that the Mac version of windows is quite good too!

- nuteile.
alba_otakualba_otaku on June 12th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
Really quite hellish scenario... I've used Ubuntu myself. Quite liked it...
a very caring potatomollydot on June 12th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
All better now. That's one of the great things about Linux - if it does go wrong, there's a good chance the answer is on the internet.
a very caring potatomollydot on June 12th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)