Thursday, July 30, 2009

Of being sick and the timing

Great, just woke up about an hour and a half ago. Now what? Responded to some mailing list post, in retrospect may not have been the best decision for someone who is still hazy.

The medication for my fever indeed worked so well that I found myself sleeping most of the time the last couple of days; if only it was continuous sleep and not waking up every few hours or so and feeling gloomy. Seriously, why can't the doctor just gave me something that will knock me out for say 6 hours at a stretch or something?

My fever came about at the worst possible time of the month, I missed two workshops back-to-back. Why can't I get sick over a long weekend or something?

Ok now I am mostly cured of my fever and am wide awake at 230am in the morning. Simply marvelous. Got a text message from the boss reminding me of an important meeting at 9am (any meeting that is ever unimportant?).

Maybe popping another em pills will do the trick? Great, chemically induced slumber. Ah well, time to get some water and perchance to sleep.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some Stuff for Nasir

An excellent guide here for enabling your Broadcom wifi:

Just gotta watch out on the kernel version. If you are unsure check it out by typing :

uname -a

For us HP Mini 2140 users, it is usually the pae kernel.

For multimedia stuff :

you can easily turn it into a rocking multimedia machine....Just navigate to :

And then choose you desktop environment click on the the codecs-gnome.ymp or codecs-kde.ymp files.

By default GNOME is the selected at installation time for openSUSE 11.1.

Select open with and just follow the prompts.

One-click install is an extremely cool feature for the openSUSE platform. There are many one-click installs available for instance:

Broadcom Wireless

NVIDIA Drivers

ATI Drivers

There are lots more one-click installs on the Net. Google is your friend.


Friday, July 24, 2009

SLED 11 on my HP 2140 - Part Deux

I finally removed SLED 11 from my HP 2140 Mininote. What happened was a case of itchy fingers. I added openSUSE OSS and Non-OSS repos and accidentally did a "zypper up" without looking.

Urggh, it updated alright just that after a shutdown it refused to boot cited some issues with the / (root) partition. Ah well, it worked well while it lasted.

No noticeable performance issue when I was doing SLED 11. It was getting kinda boring coz it just worked! But I was pleasantly surprised that it was bundled with 3.1; IIRC, OO.o 3.1 was not even released when SLED 11 was launched back in March.

Yeah I know it's quite sad to be so darn excited over a boring old office suite....

On the other hand, the same firewall issues from its openSUSE upstream is still present in SLED 11. It seems that when the firewall is up you can't connect to a SMB share or a CUPS server (though port 631 is explicitly opened for incoming, just like in Fedora).

I just pulled down the firewall and downloaded and installed Shorewall. last some sanity.

The multimedia support in SLED 11 is quite spotty at times. Well, the playback was superb with no issues of lagging or video artifacts but the available codecs available are just very limited.

While Moonshine was installed to allow playback of WMA and WMV files, I found that more esoteric file formats such as MKVs and RMVBs simply wont play nice with Totem or Xine. Heck even some xvid (or divx AVIs) files won't play. I have tons of AVIs and RMVBs, that won't do.

So I added Packman's repo:

#zypper ar Packman
Added the "restricted bits" like gstreamer-0_10-plugins-ugly and gstreamer-0_10-plugins-bad and libxine1-codecs.

And back to multimedia goodness.

But then a thought sank in; since each openSUSE version only has support for 24 months and SLED 11 could potentially be used for far longer than that, what will happen when Packman decides to dump the 11.1 repo?

I mean if I never format the netbook then perhaps I could live with it. But never is a big word and the techie in me will never hear of it, never formatting my Linux installation means I hardly do stuff to it. I cannot say for others but sometimes my frack ups are so huge it requires nothing less than a rebuild.

At least with a RHEL Desktop there is the RPMFusion repo. Hmm..unsure about going all Shadowman for my netbook since Fedora 11 absolutely hates the on-board Marvell LAN and decides to ignore my Broadcom wifi. At least with only one connection I can do a yum for wl-broadcom.

Ah well, back to the green embrace of the Geeko.

Well, bye bye SLED 11, it was a joy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If only it was a joke.....

Today's lunch was an elightening affair. A good friend of mine shared with me an interesting story relating to his beloved's job interview for a science officer in an un-named Government agency.

Well, this lady have years of experience in her line and was not all bothered by a pre-interview test. So off she went to book up on the impending test. Seems all are normal.

Until she saw the questions. Instead of questions to test her technical competency or some of those mind-twisting IQ questions supposingly to see how smart or sane you are, she was presented with retarded questions like, "What was the motto of the PM's first 100 days", "Which country did the PM went to last?".

WTF? Seems like it's more of a loyalty test than anything else.

I really hope it is a joke. I really do. But then again the ruling regime no longer surprises me with its foot in mouth policy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

SLED 11 on my HP 2140 - making it work!

I decided to install SLED 11 (once again) onto my HP 2140 last night. I was watching an interesting documentary on WW1 and was replying to some tweets. Suddenly the machine froze and just wouldn't work and the screen started to flicker (totally like a blinking idiot!).

A hard reboot and a couple of more times of doing various things and the same freeze and flickering....urgghh.

I knew I shouldn't have mucked around with openSUSE Build Service repos...aiya. I searched the whole apartment and couldn't find a working openSUSE 11.1 DVD (the Live CD won't do due to some weird X issues).

Found the SLED 11 DVD, should I? No Fedora 11 DVD as well; ah what the heck, took the plunge, registered with my previous key and updated the netbook via Ethernet cable to the WiMAX router.

Some one hour later, added the Packman repo for openSUSE 11.1 and walla, got the broadcom-wl and codec packages. Sweet....

Although the packages are a little "dated" in comparison to openSUSE 11.1 and Fedora 11; SLED 11 seems to work better than when I was running openSUSE 11.1. SLED 11 picked up all my hardware and does hibernation as well. The video playback is smoother and has lesser artifacts when I move my cursor over the playback screen. Though the boot-up seems slower in comparison. Impressive nevertheless.

Should I take the plunge and fork out some serious dough for a Linux distro? Hmm...let me just run it for a couple of weeks and then I'll decide.

My HP Mini 2140

I am still gaga over this cutesy little performer. As a true to God 933k, I knew we were meant to be together when I saw it during MSC OSCONF and it came without Windows! Sweet! While many of my fellow brethren were busy checking out the attractive ladies selling the netbook, I was more intrigued by the gadget then with the cleavage.

Also later when I found out my wife was expecting our first kid, it was a good, me thinks, to let her use the netbook for computing (and catching up on her serials) rather than that beast HP gave her for a notebook during her confinement period/maternity leave.

It arrived a little more than 2 months later with SLED 10 pre-installed. SLED 10 is a fine OS but it's dated and it doesn't work with the latest Wireless HSDPA dongles.

The 2140 runs excellent with openSUSE 11.1, but sadly it came with pre-built with a Broadcom 43xx wireless card. No deal with cajoling it working out of the box, heck even SLED 11 couldn't deal with it. This was unfortunate as I really wanted to support Novell with buying SLED 11, seems like it was a no go. Put in a search and all I got was some feedback on how to do it via compiling the driver challenge for me but hey, it's the 21st Century now man, and since compiling drivers into the kernel requires a recompile after each kernel upgrade, that is a hassle I do not need. Where's the freaking RPM man?

openSUSE has better community support and a short detour later to got my Broadcom issue resolved effortlessly.

The keyboard for the HP 2140 was what got my attention in the first place. I mean a netbook is a netbook is a netbook. I don't expect to run jaw-dropping 3D stuff on it. But at least I can type comfortably and in that aspect, the HP 2140 does not disappoint. The literature says 2140's keyboard is 92% of a full keyboard, I did not measure or anything but the keyboard does have a nice feeling to it (and it's silent) and big enough for me to do my stuff comfortably.

The LCD is 10.1" wide-screen type and is somewhat is "shorter" that other 10-inch screen netbooks like the Asus 1000h. openSUSE 11.1 and SLED 11 had no problem configuring it "automagically" and compiz works! Graphics is powered by Intel 945GME.

The openSUSE 11.1 Live CD didn't work however (it could not load X) and that was an extra hassle when I needed to connect my netbook to an external DVD drive to get the DVD version installed.

It's not a openSUSE only issue as I tried making a Fedora 11 Live USB and it didn't load as well. Odd. Must be the xorg drivers.

The on-board webcam worked liked a charm and the capture was pretty clear and crisp. Cheese worked like it should.

The on-board speakers performed well enough for me to view some AVIs and listen to my MP3s without resorting to my earphones. Not Dolby 3D or anything fancy but hey, those who expect to get real 3D effects on a netbook are unrealistic to begin with.

In all, it is an excellent device, light enough (1.1kg) to tote around and powerful enough to do most stuff. And mine has 2GB RAM and 160GB HDD. Sweet!

The extra RAM me thinks is part of the promotion at OSCONF.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bon Odori

To my many Japanese culture fan-boys/girls friends, today's bon odori celebrations at the Matsushita Stadium in Shah Alam is a must attend bash. While I am not a huge fan of Japanese culture, I can certainly understand their enthusiasm for an ancient and colourful culture as well as the modern flashy J-POP culture of music, animes and manga.

Many of my Ah Beng mates are also crazy over anything Japanese. The Japanese and Chinese culture are very similar, heck even the katana and kimono had their roots in Spring & Autumn period of Chinese history (8th BC to 5thBC); and much of the "modern" Japanese culture is essentially a different branch of same ancient one. Many even in mainland China admire Japan of what China could have been, notwithstanding the bloody history between the two nations during WW2.

Now back home in Malaysia, I am delighted that many of my Muslim friends are flocking to bon odori. It shows maturity and sophistication to accept and join in the celebration of another people's culture.

Sadly while there is such a ready acceptance of a foreign culture, I often wonder if they would be so accommodating if I were to invite them for a Chinese do, say the Mid Autumn Festival (also erroneous referred to as the Moooncake Festival).

Always the first question, will the food be Halal? WTF? Do I look so bloody ignorant as to serve non-Halal food and drinks to my Muslim friends? Mooncakes sold nowadays are already Halal. In practically all of the previous places I have worked at, some of my Muslim brothers get so upset if I ever were to eat non-Halal (even if it's just chicken rice with zero pork) in the office, citing a lack of respect; but the same people will NEVER think twice gulping down a Big Mac in front of Hindus and beef-abstaining Buddhists.

As a mark of respect, I will usually excuse myself from the presence of my Muslim brothers if I was to eat or drink during Ramadhan.

The 1-Malaysia concept looks good on paper. If some of my Muslim brothers cannot even stand their non-Muslim brethren eating non-Halal food in thier presence, then all will be just a pipe dream.

To those who considers what goes in a man is more imprtant that what comes out, I ask this, when was the last time any of your Hindu co-workers complained you ate beef in their presence?

End of rant.