laura_seabrook: (Default)

Since I got MInt Linux/MATE running smoothly on the Media PC (itself  based on Ubuntu) I've been thinking of replacing the two Linux installs I have, on the Studio and RecRoom PCs. The truth is I've barely used either since I installed them, partly because I really don't like Unity or the Global Menu (it behaves like a Mac). And yes, I could just get Kubuntu (KDE), XuBuntu (Xce) or  install something like Cinnamon or Mate on it, but there are other possibilities.

I went to Distro Watch and found that there are Multimedia distributions and some of these are based on Ubuntu as well, but without the HUD crap. That's important maybe, because like Mint it means that they probably have easy access to a lot of software updates, which, after it's stability is the big feature (or so I thought) with Ubuntu. I narrowed things down to Ubuntu Studio and Artist X distros.  The press for Artist X is impressive:

After nearly ten years of development and more than ten versions, the ArtistX 1.2 multimedia studio on a DVD is finally here. It's an Ubuntu 11.10-based live DVD that turns a common computer into a full multimedia production studio. ArtistX 1.2 is created with the Relinux "successor of Remastersys" software for live DVDs and includes the 3.0.0-15 Linux kernel, GNOME 3 and KDE 4.7 and about 2,500 free multimedia software packages, nearly everything that exists for the GNU/Linux operating system organized in the GNOME menu. Main features: based on Ubuntu 11.10 'Oneiric Ocelot' without Unity with all updates (from October 2011); most of GNU/Linux multimedia packages and the very easy Ubiquity installer.

And I downloaded the 4GB live disk on the strength of that and I must say that it has MORE apps than I could use! No games however, but then the games just might go on the media PC, because the TV is a LOT BIGGER than any monitor I have. Or maybe I might just have Pipewalker, Mahjong and Shisen. I also looked at Ubuntu Studio but it had much less in the way of packages.However something called Ubuntu Studio is probably in the package pipeline (as they don't say).

This may be a weird form of greed. But I'm excited by the possibility of doing animation and videos under Linux. Yes, I have my AVS Video editor and Flash, but nothing says that I can't use them all as components in other other I'd make. Anyway. I'll sleep on it.

laura_seabrook: (Default)
Ever been so fucking OBSESSED that it persistently clouds your judgements and every decision seems "rational"? I think the last two weekends have been like that with that bloody media PC. I was up until after 3am last night trying to get WIN 7 to consistently work on the reconstructed media pc. It does, but "blue screens" all the time, especially on windows updates! :(
After establishing that a linux install can...
  1. access my home network; and
  2. play sound and video OK

...I've wiped the Win Partition and am going to replace it with Ubuntu/Mint.This does of course mean even MORE time spent on setting up, but this time around I know there's a finite limit to it (instead of a bottomless pit of obsession that kills off all over activityZ).

Mind you, Win7 runs fine on the other PCS.

laura_seabrook: (Default)
Every had a day where everything went wrong, but in retrospect what made it so was your attempts to "fix the problems"? That was pretty much yesterday.  I woke up feeling not well, like all the energy had been sucked out of me. I'd slept from 7pm the previous night to 5am. The walk was good, but everything else deteriorated after that.

The Rec Room PC

For some reason the two Linux installs I'd created last month dissapeared (their partitions had vanashed). This might have had something to do with my reinstalling the 64bit version of Windows 7, and I discovered this Friday morning when I attempted to reinstall grub - there was nothing to reinstall! I attempted to remedy this before I left at 11am. After reviewing SUSE and MINT and decided only to reinstall MINT, which is an Ubuntu fork. I was doing this and something went wrong. I had to catch a bus so I left it until I got back.

But when I'd gotten back I felt absolutely exhausted and just plain stuffed. I decided NOT to do anything on the PC until Saturday.

Come Saturday morning and the Mint install didn't seem quite right  - even though it installed Kdenlive flawlessly, but everything else didn't quite work smoothly. I decided to reboot ti Win7 and then I discovered that Mint had installed Grub incorrectly. Instead of going to SDa it had gone to Sd1, which was the boot record of the Windows partition. What that meant was that I couldn't boot to windows because GRUB was there in the boot (so it would boot back to grub). At least I think that's what happened. After an awful lot of mucking about (after doing research using the Studio PC) I was able to restore the MBR of the windows partition after about the sixth attempt, which meant that I could now boot to Windows again (hurray!).

Clearly though the Mint install was not right. I took a risk and installed Ubuntu 11.10 over it, even though I dislike the new version of Gnome (Mint uses a different menu system akin to KDE). As it happened the install went OK (even though I had the old problem with Kdenlive). That was a relief, but anytime you reinstall an OS you need to update it and reinstall the programs you use, and it just went on and on. So, after about 3 days of fuck-ups and effort I was (more or less) back to where I was before, but instead of Win7 (32bit) and two 54bit Linux installs (Mint and Suse) I now had Windows 7 (64bit) and Ubuntu (64 bit).

Not going to install or change any OSs untilk I sort other stuff out (though now I'm looking at how to share Firefox and Thunderbird between the two). Whew. Lessons learned:

  • Don't install an OS in a hurry; and
  • Don't try and fix stuff when you're feeling sick..


laura_seabrook: (Default)
Last weekend I re-jiggered both PCs and installed WIN 7 on each. Both have more hard drive storage and have more or less been running a lot smoother than when they were using XP.

I considered installing some version of Linux on either, and have left space for a dual boot later o. I wouldn't consider having ONLY Liniux installs but there are Windows programs that I prefer to use and running things under WINE just doesn't cut it. Funny too how some programs I was using under XP (like Foobar 2000) just don't work as well under Seven (I replaced it with Music Jukebox). Haven't reinstalled any games yet, but did save the settings from the ones I had installed before.

One problem I did have was connecting up to other PCs on the network. Win 7 has something called HOMEGROUP (sounds like something to do with a HOMELAND) and I was extremely frustrated trying to connect to that. Kept getting error messages and the lounge PC wouldn't download Windows updates! The solution I found was to un-install ZONEALARM FREE (which stopped the IPv6 protocol dead) on each (replaced it PCTOOLS FREE FIREWALL) and instead of trying to connect with HOMEGROUP, I logged on to each of my PCs remotely as a know user - works great!

Always fun to start over again.
laura_seabrook: (Default)
Sigh - I like Linux, I really do, but sometimes it does more harm than good.

I recently bought a terabyte SATA drive and added it to my study PC. So far so good. I set up a windows swap partition at the start of it, with the intention of in stalling Ubuntu further along the drive and after that a new work area for graphic files. The current install no longer works, so I thought downloading Ubuntu 10.1 and burning it to a CD should be fine. That was, but the next steps got dodgy.

I was able to run GPARTED from the live CD and went about reorganising my partitions I'd done this in the past and no problems. The idea was that it shouldn't matter if I deleted the existing linux partitions because I was creating new ones with the new install. To make that work I needed to move a big partition of 500 Gb (done it before without problem) and I did that over night. Only there was a power surge or something because when I woke up in the morning the power was OFF and the move was incomplete, and, as I found out MUCH LATER, the partition while there isn't recognised by windows as being formatted!

It gets worse - when I tried booting up it would still go straight to GRUB that gave an error 17 message and would hang. Fair enough, since I must have deleted the partition it was looking for. So I went to the lounge PC and did a search on the web for fixes and it said to boot the WIN CD and repair the boot sector by using FIXBOOT and FIXMBR, which I did, but which didn't make any difference at all. OK, I then tried to install Ubuntu again but this time it just went to a blank screen instead of a Live install. So I try booting again and this time it gets to a message "Checking DMI..." and then immediately reboots thereafter in an endless loop! I check the BIOS and can't see anything that can be changed. I try booting from a CD but it happens so fast that nothing works, until the umpteenth time with me pressing ESC and spacebar when it finally boots to a Live Ubuntu 9.10 disk.

I try installing that and it all seems to go smoothly but when I boot I get a "BAD DISK READ, Press ALT+CTRL+DEL to continue message"! By this stage I'm getting very frustrated. I finally manage to boot to windows by using something called a "Hiren's Rescue Disk" which allows me to manually selct the Windows install to use. But I have to use that all the time, and I'm still attempting to recover date of the damaged partition and...

...and it's been a bloody long day.smiley

Suggestions please.I've clearly stuffed up my Master Boot Record and don't know how to get it back. Recovering files of the now "unformatted" data partition'd be good as well, since it has all my documents on it. I would have backed up first, but couldn't get the external drive that K rigged up for me to work.

laura_seabrook: (Default)

I had K put together a 1 terabyte external Samsung SATA/USB drive for my Windows (XP) PC. SATA is a format different from IDE, which is what the motherboard defaults to.  Anyway he built it into an external case, installed the plug into the back of the PC, and the first time it booted it connected fine. But when attempted to set up partitions and so on using Manage Computer things froze. When I rebooted the drive had become invisible to the PC (and no, it doesn't run under DOS)!

But it gets weirder. When I boot Ubuntu it can see the drive fine and I can even run GParted on it. And after I installed an Windows update XP started to see the drive some of the time, with a v-e-r-y l-o-n-g boot time. Strange. When I go into manage devices and rescan it mostly finds the external drive, but the details never seem to stick.

Very frustrating. I had this set up so that when I have a a whole bunch of 300 dpi print files for the graphic novels, I can just take the drive with me and get the thing printed. And in theory the thing should be a good form of backup as well. But something is obviously wrong here.

laura_seabrook: (Default)
DissappointedI really thought I'd achieved something yesterday, when I was able to install Ubuntu via memory stick to the Media PC. But...
  • It won't read the SATA drive installed in it;
  • It won't connect to the home network;
  • I can't get sound; and
  • I can't get it to display on the TV (had a dual monitor set-up before).

So I officially declare the whole thing fucked until Kevin gets back. The heat is just too much to work in. If it were cooler I might stand a chance.

laura_seabrook: (Default)

A second install worked.

I think the problem before was that I created the first partition as a blank one for Windows, and installed Linux in the extended partition. I wiped it all and installed Ubuntu in the primary partition. It even recognizes the CD-Rom now (though not the SATA hard disk), which will make a big difference!

Lots more to do, but this was the essential first step.


Jan. 12th, 2010 04:19 pm
laura_seabrook: (Default)

When I left to go out, Linux was installing itself. When I got home it seemed done, but when I rebooted I got just this on the screen:


Sign. Take 2 soon, after I've fed pets and had a long cold bath (thank shit I have a second working PC).
35°C | °F
Current: Clear
Wind: NE at 24 km/h
Humidity: 53%

33°C | 23°C

30°C | 21°C

Chance of Rain
24°C | 21°C

Chance of Storm
25°C | 19°C




Linux Boot

Jan. 12th, 2010 10:00 am
laura_seabrook: (Default)
Finally, a boot from the USB stick that works! I'm installing Ubuntu 9.10 as I type (and leaving room for ewindows).
laura_seabrook: (Default)

That was the furthermost I'd got with a USB stick trying to insall Win XP. It actually started the WIN set-up program. But I got aBLUE SCREEN OF DEATH message which probably couldn't be corrected with my level of expertise. So, now officially to PLAN B - I'll attempt the same thing with LINUX.

It looked a lot llike this one...

Next attempt is creating an Ubuntu 9.10 USB stick using UNetbootin (which is probably what I should have done ages ago). 


Jan. 10th, 2010 08:56 pm
laura_seabrook: (Default)
Well, I have now exchange the 160 Gb in the set top box with the 80 Gb I bought today. This means that I can extract some of the recording on the old disk (and will swap it back when done). I've also swapped the old 30 Gb disk (kaput?) in the media PC with a new 40 Gb disk. No, I could easily have put the 80 Gb in the media PC but it doesn't need it, as it has a second (SATA) drive in it for storage anyway, and playing video and the occasional use of SL on it don't warrent a huge system disk (yet).

Step 2 is done. The next steps will be
  • Partition the Drive using a Linux boot disk;
  • checking my Windows disks are usable; and if so installing WIN on the 1st partition;
  • Installing Ubuntu on another partition;
  • Installing drivers and programs to make it work.
In the meantime I'll examine the dud disk, and extract the videos off the other (according to a long and convoluted procedure).
laura_seabrook: (Default)

When looking for something else related to Paint Shop Pro, I came across the GIMP UI brainstorm blog. This is a blog of ideas to improve the the interface of GIMP. One of the main reasons I seldom use GIMP is that its interface really annoys me. Anyway, the thing about this is that all submissions are in the form of images (with or without supporting text in the image), so users can see what the idea is.

I liked that idea, and I want the GIMP User Interface improved so I made some suggestions based on my use of Paint Shop Pro X (which no, won't run under Linux, not under WINE anyway). Here's my first suggestion (thumbnail at right) and you can see the full size image at dialog rearrangements (just click on the image there).

And yes, that's a photo of Pegasus under the suggestions.

laura_seabrook: (Default)

Every so often I have a look at Inkscape, which is an open-source Vector Graphics editor that runs on both Windows and Linux. I don't generally use vector graphics editors, except my old copy of Fireworks MX 2004 (windows only), which I use to add text, speech balloons and SFX to my web comics (it's also a good exporter of low size graphics files). Anyway, Inkscape is currently up to version 0.46. It's improved since I last looked at it about a year ago (and the samples at Deviant Art are cool, and check out the interactive examples at ASCIIsvg) , but as the number indicates (numbers less than 1 tend to be pre-general release), still has a long way to go. For example, I tried creating a drop shadow. In Fireworks this is just a general filter which you add to an object. In Inkscape there's a mini tutorial telling you how to do it!

Of course there are different paradigms at work I guess. Fireworks adds stuff to PNG files and was designed to export the results as web images or pages (complete with drop-down menus et al). Inkscape is the graphics designer using the SVG standard that was developed by the W3C. Sounds impressive but implementation of that standard on web browsers is patchy at best. When I was doing my honours back in 2005-2006 I read a fairly thick tome on SVG and was impressed by its elegance and the fact that everything is saved in XML format, meaning that it could be generated and edited as text.

Lots of options in this - it does have filters but it will take a while to get the hang of them. It can certainly handle adding text and speech balloons. Special effects will take longer to understand and perfect. Perhaps if I'll have any suggestions in its development, it would be able to add, save and import presets for filters and effects, and like the GIMP (which has so far been a big disappointment) some form of scripting language with which to automate tasks.

reviewUntil I can get decent replacements for Paint Shop Pro (which has its own vector graphics and media art tools) and Fireworks, I'll still be running Windows (and no, WINE dies horribly trying to run PSP).

laura_seabrook: (Default)
Finally, after lots of fiddling, I now have Windows, Ubuntu, and SUSE installed in peaceful coexistance on my PC. And after a bit more research I got the buggers to boot properly. Steep learning curve.

The bad news is that neither Paint Shop Pro nor SeMagic will run under Wine, and GIMP is not yet a real replacement (though, look at this). Damn.
laura_seabrook: (Default)

I popped into Borders yesterday and almost (after an hours browsing of  half a dozen candidates) bought two books on Linux for just under $90. But I didn't. Good sense prevailed and I will read the Linux Bible book have on loan from the library (and pages on the web) for free.

Instead I spent (some of)  that money on Minder and Rio Bravo DVDs, plastic boxes, beer and food. Money well frittered away *GRIN*

laura_seabrook: (Default)

OK, I got both SUSE and Ubuntu installed. But - here's the rub - it seems that it's difficult to have a multiple boot system.

I installed SUSE first and then Ubuntu, after which the SUSE Grub got replaced by the Ubuntu one. OK as far as it goes, but it kept on giving a "file not found" error. I found that the reason was that SUSE had updated the files it boots with and changed the numbers on them accordingly, so the Ubuntu Grub was looking for the old file. Eventually I edited the entry manually and change the file names but only after I'd downloaded and installed something called KGRUBEDITOR. I rebooted and SUSE loaded fine. Then I discovered that the SUSE Grub took over when you rebooted from SUSE, and that gave "file not found" errors for Ubuntu!

Seems to be a comedy of errors. I've actually created a Grub partition just for the thing, but I need to get one of them working properly first! Ubuntu mysteriously won't read/write to my USB stick (formatted as FAT32) otherwise I'd make a copy of menu.lst and see what was wrong. Sigh - it's awfully confusing only half knowing what I'm doing. Kevin is some help but assumes that I know that which I don't know.

computerNo wonder Linux hasn't driven Windows into the ground, when configuring it is a maze of archaic commands and little known facts! At least I can still boot to Windows.


Mar. 12th, 2009 11:29 pm
laura_seabrook: (Default) back online after using Super GRUB. Mind you., I've trashed the SUSE installation, but Windows does boot now.
laura_seabrook: (Default)
Don'tcha just love it - I installed SUSE 11.0 and it booted OK, once (the idea was to Install SUSE, followed by UBUNTU and have a dual boot option, so that I could run different packages).

Thereafter I kept getting a text message that GRUB was loading and then an "error 22" and everything would freeze. Well I came to university today and found the SUPER GRUB page. I'll burn the Super Grub CD using the media PC and boot it on my study PC, which has the problem. Good job I have two PCs.

There's something odd about SUSE 11.0. SUSE 10.3 was fine and never gave much trouble, but 11.0 has been annoying from the start. Hopefully UBUNTU won't be.


laura_seabrook: (Default)

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