Monthly Archives: October 2007

Redesigned again, new toys and multiple monitors

So, as those not reading via one of the planets will be aware, I’ve rolled out the fourth (or is it fifth?) new theme for this site since May 2007. I’m definitely more pleased with this one than any of its predecessors, and intend to stick with it for a good while.

In other news, I blew £160 on new technology for my desk this week: specifically, a new 4GB USB pendrive to replace my ailing 256mb one, a 250GB external hard disk for my backups, and best of all, a 19 inch TFT monitor to act as a second screen for my laptop.

All of the above were very reasonably priced over at Dabs, and the £100 inc delivery cost of the monitor in particular came as a very pleasant surprise.

This is the first time I’ve given multiple monitors a serious go under Linux (specifically Kubuntu), and KDE certainly puts Windows (at least up to and including XP) into the shade here: a taskbar on each monitor? Yes, it can do that. Separate background images per monitor (without silly hacks involving stitching image files together)? Yes. Only show the buttons for the windows on this monitor on this monitor’s taskbar? Certainly, sir.

It’s only been two days, but I’m already wondering how I ever managed without a secondary screen. It certainly made finishing the new theme for this site a lot easier.

Greetings from Gutsy

Last week, the beta version of Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon was released, so I decided to blow away the slightly messy installation of Feisty on my laptop, and make a clean start with the new OS.

It’s a beta, of course, so I wasn’t expecting an entirely smooth ride. I didn’t entirely anticipate the installation crashing out or freezing repeatedly, and thus rendering my laptop unbootable, but I suppose I should know by now that my hardware isn’t particularly Linux compatible.

Anyway, with much help from Andrew and Martin, I finally got the text-mode installer to boot using the VGA compatibility cheat codes, and 20 minutes later, I rebooted into Gutsy.

First impressions were good – the inclusion of ntfs-3g by default is a boon for users like me with NTFS partitions who dual-boot Windows, and the graphics are all a bit shinier. We were very impressed with the speed at which my laptop suspended to RAM, too, though sadly it still doesn’t manage to resume.

I’ll be making a serious effort to use Ubuntu more over the next couple of months – for nearly everything I do on my computer these days, I reckon it’s just as good or better than Windows XP, though undoubtedly still rough around certain edges.

I’ll let you know how I get on. I suppose I should update the somewhat dated LaptopTestingTeam wiki page for my laptop, too.