Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kubuntu 9.04 on Vostro 220s with dual monitors

Installation of Kubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackelope" on a vanilla Vostro 220s is very straightforward. My Vostro however is not vanilla in that I have added an addin graphics card, an nVidia GeForce 8400GS with dual outputs.

This is what caused my problems from earlier when I tried to move to 9.04 beta release.

How you get it running on this system is as follows.

Open up your case and pull the VGA output off the graphics card, this tells the card that it only has one output.

Start up your machine and open the BIOS settings and tell your machine to use the pci-express graphics card before the on-board one. Dell machines normally complain otherwise.

Install [K]ubuntu 9.04 as normal in whatever layout you want.

After installation, get your system updates and enable the restricted nVidia Drivers (V. 180)

Reboot and check your machine still works and that you now have the nVidia Server Settings option in your K menu (or wherever it goes for Gnome)

Power off after testing and plug your VGA output back in on the card, attach your second monitor

Open up your nVidia Server Settings application and enable the second monitor. DO NOT CLOSE THIS APPLICATION YET

Open up a terminal window (ALT+F2 "konsole") and enter
sudo chmod a+w /etc/X11

Back in your nVidia Server Settings app, hit "save to X configuration" and you are now done. Dual screens persistent across reboots.

TA bloody DA.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Burning ISOs from Command Line Linux
sudo cdrecord -v dev=1,0,0 -data $1
sudo eject

install cdrecord (apt-get install cdrecord) then create a bash file somewhere in your $PATH (/usr/bin) then run: /Path/To/ISO.iso

Removing Sticky Stuff

Peeled a few labels off a Dell Latitude 131L (yes the one that doesn't want to install Vista, can't really blame it) and got left with a load of very sticky stuff and bits of label guff.

Don't have any spirits or thinners to hand to remove it and wouldn't really want to use them in case it eats through the laptop casing (would be very bad as it's not my laptop)

Whip out the old gaffer tape/duct tape and tear off a strip. Stick it down on the surface with the sticky stuff and rip it off, takes a bit of the sticky crap with it. Repeat as necessary. Yes you may worship me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

vLite - Unattended Installations for Windows VIsta

How to create your very own bootable ISO with all the drivers you could need on it.

Go to and download all the driver packs for your architecture (x86/x64) Extract the .7z files to a local directory using 7-zip ( or winRAR (

Download vLite and the Windows Automated Installation Kit (W.A.I.K.), these are both free and should be the first hits in google

Install the WAIK and then install vLite - don't run it just yet.

Copy the wimgapi.dll from the Windows AIK/Tools/YourArchitecture folder (x86/ia64/amd64) into the vLite root folder. Windows AIK defaults to installing in "c:\Program Files\Windows AIK"

Run vLite and on the first screen pop in your Vista DVD and direct it to that drive (it will prompt you to create a local copy) or point it to a location where you have copied all the files from the CD.

NOTE 1: I recommend copying the files across yourself and then making an additional copy of the folder. Using vLite can be a destructive process and you may not get it right first time. If you have a spare copy on your hard drive, your golden master, so to speak. It's a lot easier and quicker to just clone this folder than having to: find your DVD or mount the ISO, copy the files across etc. etc. etc.

NOTE 2: If you are struggling for space you can uninstall the WAIK and save a few gigabytes as you will need them shortly to create your ISO, at least 6G is what I would recommend leaving available so you can copy the files locally and build your ISO image.

vLite will now detect your architecture type and the version of Vista that you have given it. On the next screen, all the options with the exception of Integration is optional (technically it is but then you wouldn't have any drivers installed on your DVD which is kinda the point of this post)

The checkboxes let you do several things, most of them are self-explanatory from the name of the checkbox but let me give you a quick overview.

- HotFixes, Drivers and Additional Language Packs
Using this will let you integrate HotFixes from Microsoft, Drivers from 3rd Parties (or MS) Language packs (Haven't used this option yet)

Components - Component Removal
This lets you remove components that you are not intending to use - EVER.
There is an optional popup screen to protect certain applications that use shared files etc. but unless you know what you are doing and the consequences, which could potentially be far reaching if you don't know what the system will be used for. It's best to leave this alone except as mentionned for very specific uses.

Tweaks - Optional Tweaks
In here you can specify tweaks that mean you don't have to do as much on first boot into your new O/S. Things like specifying that the control panel should default to classic mode (very useful), or that the IE Phishing filter should be disabled (why are you using IE anyway?) etc. There are quite a few things in here and it's worth a look

Unattended - Install without your intervention
All the options in this section are used to make your life easier. You can specify your product key, skip activation, set your language settings, set up the Administrator User, name your PC (Not that useful in a corporate environment) and a few other bits.

You should take a look at most of the options with the possible exception of the Component removal and Tweaks. If you know enough that you are going to integrate additional installers onto your disc you should know to ignore creating the bootable ISO as you will have to do that later yourself.

Once you've completed all your modifications, you can hit apply and it will update the copy of the Vista installation files (see NOTE 1 above)

THIS STEP DOES NOT CREATE THE ISO. Do not press exit if you want to create a bootable ISO image.

Click on the next button and you will be presented with an additional screen. This will let you create your ISO image OR burn directly to DVD. I recommend creating the ISO.
On this screen there is also the option to split the image if its very large or possibly to make it fit on CDs if you don't have a DVD ROM in your target device. I haven't used this option yet so can't guid you on its use.

Once you are happy with the name of your new disc/disc image (defaults to VistaLite even though it might be a bit bigger) hit Make ISO or Burn. In the case of Make ISO it will ask you for the output path.

NOTE 3: Do Not Integrate all drivers if you want to install it on a Dell Latitude 131L, I'm still working on what is actually required to install Vista on this without it BSODing regarding the graphics card.

Friday, April 24, 2009

American Idiot (Politician)

Seriously though, where the hell do they get these people AND WHY ARE THEY RUNNING THE COUNTRY?

Youtube Linkage

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Piracy - Garrrr

Okay, this is going to be a bit of a rant, I need to get this off my chest before I go on the rampage. I'm not in any way condoning the practise of copying media that you do not own but


I think the image below expresses my feelings appropriately:

Peer-to-peer networking is a useful tool, it is not the exclusive realm of the "Pirate", [oh fuck, I can't even say pirate. - ed] Lets try it again
It's not the realm of the person that wants to copy files across the network (internet/LAN) that they do not hold copyright licenses for.

In my opinion, the judgment in the case was incorrect, they are merely providing an information repository that does not in any way contain copyrighted files.
The decision to find them guilty in this case was incredibly poor judgment, take this for example.
You burn a DVD containing several MP3 files for your "Friend", you post it to him/her but forget to put enough postage on it. The post office holds it and tell your "Friend" to come and collect it.
Are they in breach of copyright? Of course not. The same should have applied to PirateBay.

Next on my list, "Downloading films is stealing" trailers on every bloody DVD that you BUY.

How mentally retarded are these people? They are effectively encouraging people not to buy films if they put these ridiculous trailers at the start of every film that in some cases you can't skip through. I bought your bloody DVD now fuck off and let me watch it. You don't get these stupid messages on pirate DVDs!

And Another Thing, when your message goes
You Wouldn't steal a Purse
You Wouldn't steal a Car
You bloody well would if you could download it off the internet as IT'S NOT STEALING

Downloading ALL your media from the internet should be ENCOURAGED, the Record Companies/Movie Studios/Rights Holders could make even MORE money if they distributed it via the internet, think about it. No packaging costs, no delivery costs (You, yes you in the back, shut up about bandwidth, it's something I'll come to in another post), quicker delivery times.
My "proposal" goes like this.

No DRM on the media (as its stupid and retarded and an inconvenience and useless, did I mention it was stupid?) - Saves people the inconvenience of having to rip/extract/convert to all their different media players. By extension don't pick a dumb (not open) file type - I'm looking at you WMV/M4P etc.

People pay a monthly subscription to download a limited/unlimited amount, categorised by the bandwidth consumed, NOT the quantity of items DL'ed. You want to download the unlimited amount? pay more, you only want a few movies/songs a month, a lower tariff for you.

New Releases - Available online at the same time as DVD release

I think that this will work (i.e. be profitable) for a few reasons
1. The Content Delivery Mechanism already exists and is a mature technology
2. The absence of DRM encourages people to use it as they KNOW it will work on "their" device be it a set top box, and iPod, a Zune, a PSP etc etc
3. Yes, you will get people on the "unlimited" plan ripping the arse out of it (you could establish a "fair usage" case but don't dare call it an "unlimited" plan) BUT by the same criteria the majority of users will play fair. Some of them will probably download an incredible amount in the first 2-3 months but after that will only download a limited selectio, if for example they only download files every 2 months THIS IS FREE MONEY.

So to sum up
Peer To Peer networking == Good and can be profitable for the "studios"
Peer To Peer networking != Piracy
Copyright Infringement != Theft
Copyright Infringement != Piracy
Piracy == Stealing Shit on The High Seas

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Installing Debian and KDE 4.2 - EPIC FAIL

Installed Debian 5.0.0 Testing from NetInstall CD
Assigned Static IP in our subnet
Used the entire 1st disk with guided partitioning and all files in one partition (Don't Judge me I just wanted it to work!)
Added a temp user as if it worked I wanted to have "MY" home directory under subversion
Told Aptitude to use
so that it can get to the internet via ISA Proxy server
Decided not to participate in Package Usage Contest
Deselected the Desktop Environment Option
Installed GRUB to MBR when prompted
Logged in after reboot
aptitude install sudo nano jed vim
aptitude install ntlmaps
Added the unstable Repos to /etc/apt/sources.list
aptitude update
aptitude -t squeeze upgrade
(This command appeared to access the unstable repo so didn't do what I told it to.)

aptitude -t squeeze dist-upgrade
aptitude -t unstable upgrade
aptitude -t unstable dist-upgrade
aptitude -t unstable install xserver-xorg
aptitude -t unstable install kdebase-runtime-bin-kde4
aptitude -t unstable install kde4
(accepted Solution relating to gnome and libnautilus)
Set the root password for mySQL
Set the default Domain for SAMBA

Rebooted, KDM started and was able to login, initial login was slightly longer but assumed this was down to the kde config doing it's magic and setting up the initial config files that would be missing for each user.
Shut down
Added in graphics card (dual head so on-board graphics DISABLED)
Start up, KDE starts fine, login - Hangs on KDE Splash screen


What I want to know is why it didn't do what my current install of Kubuntu and KDE4 does... and just bloody worked when I added the extra card in.


See my latest post on Kubuntu 9.04 with dual monitors. Silly Daniel.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I've started twittering again (tweeting is it?) and have found it to be a. quite useful and b. good fun.

It's (in my mind anyway) similar to a broadcast email, except that it's targetted at people who actually "want" to pay attention to you (followers).

All the tweets with the exception of a direct message end up in your timeline, so you can see a conversation flowing along, if only there was a way to tie replies back to actual tweets rather than just a reply to someone (@user) that would make it a bit easier to follow a conversation between people that you may not follow rather than hopping back through their timeline.

I find it's a pretty good way to expand your circle of friends and meet new and interesting people. If they aren't interesting DON'T FOLLOW THEM!

There are some exceptions, Stephen Fry is Quite Interesting but a twit-flooder, i.e. your timeline could potentially be just Stephen.

EDIT: Silly Me, I forgot to put my twitter name here, it's danmcl0703

Blog Changes

I'll be playing about with this blog over the next few weeks/months...

I'm specifically going to be playing with AdSense and the blog layout itself.I'm also going to be posting more, things that make me laugh, things that I need to remember (the basic initial premise of this blog) and anything else that I want really.

So if you don't like it you don't have to read it, but I would really like it if you did!