Posts Tagged ‘omgawsum’

Happy Equestrian New Year (And: Thank You, Lauren Faust & MLP:FiM Team)

October 10th, 2012 No comments

Dear Lauren Faust,

Two years ago today aired the series premiere of this show you created: a show that would forever unite millions of fans – both men and women, adults and children alike, myself included – and change their lives for the better. From the inspirational characters to the wonderful artistry, from its excellent musical numbers (thanks Daniel Ingram) to the brilliant voice acting work all around, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has touched the hearts of so many, so quickly. And I your fan, cannot thank you enough.

To be honest, if two years ago you’d have told me I’d today be a fan of My Little Pony, I’d probably have laughed and made some snide, sarcastic retort. But since then, these colorful and playful bunch of magic ponies have stolen this geek’s heart.

I must admit feel a bit like Twilight Sparkle in the “Winter Wrap Up” episode: I can’t draw or do anything artistic at all; I am not imaginative enough to make fanfiction; and I won’t even dare to attempt a Pony Music Video or any such feat, since it would probably just be a waste of bandwidth. So how do I be a productive brony? I hope in lieu of anything fancy or creative, these words will suffice to demonstrate some iota of that gratitude.

In closing: Thank you, Lauren Faust. And thank you to the wonderful team of artists, voice actors, musicians, and other staff behind My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It’s been an absolutely fantastic first two seasons, and I eagerly await many more. (Oh, lest I forget, and thank you to all the creative fans who make the wait pass by with amazing art, videos, stories, and other media!)

If you would please, a brohoof!

(Pinkie Pie brohoof)

Aleedye’s Brohoof by ~MacchiatoJolt on DeviantArt (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Peter Gordon

ThinkPad T500: Initial Fedora Report – Marvelous!

September 14th, 2009 3 comments

Well, after receiving my ThinkPad T500, I set about tweaking the pre-installed Windows Vista, and spent most of the weekend attempting to get it dual-booting Vista and Fedora nicely. For better or worse, neither Fedora’s GRUB nor Windows’ BCD bootloader would accept booting the other OS properly. I came to realize that I hadn’t used or needed to use Windows in over 5 years (even the server at work is CentOS), so It’s highly unlikely that I will need it in the foreseeable future. Just in case though, I can always run it in a VM. So, after burning the Product Recovery Discs, I wiped it all and installed Fedora on this wonderful machine. 🙂

I configured it with 4 partitions:

  1. /boot (about 500 MB)
  2. Swap (about 5 GB)
  3. / (FS root, about 35 GB)
  4. /home (the remaining ~210 GB)

As far as the hardware goes, everything appears to work out of the (quite literal) box. The processor’s throttling is automatically handled by cpuspeed and ACPI. The LCD was automatically detected at the appropriate resolution (WSXGA+, 1680×1050) and DPI (129), and graphics (integrated Intel GMA X4500HD) work very well – 3D, Compiz, and everything. Virtualization extensions (so-called “VT”) were disabled in the BIOS by default for whatever reason, but enabling them took only a few seconds and KVM works wonderfully (running an Ubuntu 9.04 virtual machine for a Linux class).

The TrackPoint(tm) and TouchPad both work splendidly, although the TrackPoint does take a lot of practice to get comfortable with. I’m tempted to disable the touchpad in the BIOS, since I don’t actually use it for pointing (and I often erroneously swipe it with my palm while using the so-called “nipple mouse” of the TrackPoint); but I do use it for the scrolling, so I’ve not yet found a happy medium. Suggestions appreciated.

The hard disk (Western Digital WDC WD2500BEVS-0) and DVD burner drive (HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-U20N) are surprisingly speedy. I’ve already burned two copies of the Fedora 11 LiveCD and several data discs (backups) with no problems. The Bluetooth works well, and I can easily send and receive files to and from my phone through the included Bluetooth stack. The wifi  (Intel WiFi Link 5300 [AGN]) works beautifully with the included iwlagn driver, enabled by default. Also, NetworkManager makes connectivity trivial. (Thanks, devs!)

The firewire and PC Card slot also seem to work – they are autodetected and drivers loaded. However, as I have no firewire- or PC Card-based devices, I cannot verify their functionality.

I have come to quickly love the GNOME Power Manager stack. According to it, the battery on a full charge should last me about 5 hours. It keeps track of how much charge the battery has, how quickly I’m consuming or charging it depending on if I am plugged into AC power, etc. It even shows me a graph of my recent power history! Wonderful little tool. With the help of Intel’s fantastic PowerTOP utility, I’ve increased that computed estimate to nearly 6 hours. (!)

With regards to multimedia, things worked beautifully without me even trying. The built-in webcam works perfectly with Cheese, and the built-in sound works for both playback (surprisingly loud at maximum volume!) and recording (not fantastic quality, but it’s very good at eliminating surrounding static and other noises). I can’t wait to try video-calling someone with the recent Empathy enhancements!

All of the hotkeys – brightness-switching, volume control, playback/navigation, etc.) work as expected, and ACPI (with GNOME Power Manager) even automatically suspends when I close the lid – wonderful!

I’ve also noticed that the machine stays colder in Fedora than it ever did while running the preinstalled Windows. Maybe this is only subjective though, as I never checked the actual temperatures in Windows. Or perhaps Linux/Fedora is better at staying in deeper C-states for longer intervals. In either case, I can work with it directly on my lap quite comfortably.

One of the main reasons I decided upon the T-series instead of a similar R-series laptop was weight. Even with the battery installed, it is only about 5.5 pounds. (That’s about 2.5 kilograms for the rest of the world who use a less-insane system of measurements.) This is quite comfortable to carry with me around school and work without tiring my shoulder.

The only thing which I’ve been unable to test, aside from the firewire and PC card slots, is the dual-screen capability. According to the included manual, it should be capable of using the DisplayPort interface to attach a secondary screen (such as a projector) and automatically resize appropriately, with [Fn]+[Spacebar]. I suppose that if this does not yet already Just Work(tm), it will be fixed by the time I need to worry about actually using it though.

Overall, I love this laptop, and am extremely happy with my purchase decision. In fact, the only qualm I have with this wonderful computer is that it’s not yet decorated! Oh great lazyweb, doe anyone know where I can get stickers for GNOME, Fedora, Linux/Tux, et al., to adorn it with? 😀

Also: A huge THANK YOU to all of the developers who helped make my first Linux-on-a-laptop experience an absolutely wonderful one. I love it when things work so simply and effectively!

My First Laptop: A ThinkPad

August 24th, 2009 3 comments

Another summer has passed me by, and I still haven’t learned how to ride a bike nor how to swim properly. Alas, I suppose I’ll get to these eventually. I have kept one of my resolutions though. I finally splurged and bought myself a ThinkPad (specifically, a T500). I decided upon the following specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8400 (2.26GHz 1066MHz 3MBL2) 25W
  • Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic (Will be used only to verify hardware functionality. Fedora will replace it thereafter.)
  • 15.4″ WSXGA+ TFT, w/ CCFL Backlight (137 DPI…sweet.)
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator x4500HD with vPro
  • 4 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1067MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)
  • UltraNav (TrackPoint and TouchPad)
  • 250 GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
  • DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer, Ultrabay Slim (Serial ATA)
  • Integrated Bluetooth PAN
  • Intel WiFi Link 5300 (AGN) with My WiFi Technology
  • 9 cell Li-Ion Battery
  • 4 Year On Site Upgrade with 4 Year ThinkPad Protection

Thankfully, I found an excellent discount through the CPP (Contractor Purchase Program) which cut the cost from nearly $2,200 to just $1,400 (including shipping and taxes, state fees, et al.) – a savings of 40%! The 4-year protection plan was about 30% of the final cost. Well worth it, though.

As it is, this will be a life-safer, as I’ve been having a lot of intermittent hardware issues on my desktop: I get seemingly-random WiFi disconnects; DVD-burning often fails for no discernible reason, and my hard drive is on its last legs, so to speak. (In fact, just today I saw another 12 sectors go bad and need to be reallocated…its count is now at 177. The manufacturer maximum is 188!) – I’m all anxious and impatient now!

So, in the span of one month, I’ve spent almost $4,000 (tuition/registration fees, books/supplies, and ThinkPad). I think that’s quite enough for a while. 😮

Categories: Fedora, Life, Technology Tags: , ,

Leonidas: On the Brink of Release

June 9th, 2009 2 comments

With Fedora 11 (“Leonidas”) released earlier today and Rawhide looking to the future, I find myself instead looking back at what has made Leonidas such an excellent release.

With over 50 new features in this release (more than any previous release, I’ve been told!), it would seem logical that this staggering amount of new improvements would leave us with many majors bugs and issues yet to resolved – the more features we add, the less manpower/resources we can expend on each individually, right?

Wrong. With so many test days and an amazing Quality Assurance team, we’ve hammered, smashed, pounded, banged, and kicked this release into a uniquely rich and stable Fedora experience.

One of my favorite features of this release is Presto. Though not enabled by default, Presto allows users to use so-called DeltaRPMs to update the packages installed on their system. That is, instead of downloading the whole new updated packages, only the changes between the installed version and the update need be downloaded. Especially for large packages (such as some game data and or those who are on a slower or pay-per-usage internet connection, this can be a very hefty savings both in time and cost. I used it immediately after installed Leonidas, and it saved me quite a bit on the initial updating:

Size of all updates downloaded from Presto-enabled repositories: 14M
Size of updates that would have been downloaded if Presto wasn't enabled: 128M
This is a savings of 89 percent

Win! The DRI2/KMS support has also been updated heavily and now works out of the proverbial box, at least for a large portion of Intel and AMD/ATi hardware. (This allows a proper composited desktop with 3-D and all. By default. VERY awesome.)

Another excellent feature is that the installation now defaults to using the Ext4 filesystem where applicable. I must admit, I was a bit afraid of actively using this when I was first reading about it, due to all of the reports of data corruption people have experienced; but it seems those issues are long-since fixed, as I’d been using Ext4 for my root partition since Fedora 10. With Leonidas, I took the plunge and upgraded my /home partition (via Anaconda) from Ext3 to Ext4, and have yet to notice a problem. (For those wishing to do similar – and even for those not – I would still highly recommend keeping proper backups Just In CaseTM)

Finally, while I could pinpoint each and every feature and how I feel it’s improved Fedora, suffice it to say that I don’t have adequate time to type out such a long rave. However, as much as these individual features improve Fedora on their own, it is their conglomeration which impacts us the most – the way things are so well-integrated and work properly “out of the box” (so to speak), the way that we as a community of many actively support all of this so well, the way we as a community so diverse handle bugs and packaging, the beautiful artwork and the amazing work of the Release Engineering team to distribute this blend of creativity so readily.

I’d like to rehash those last few points: It’s the wonderful combination of the efforts of you countless contributors and users which makes Fedora so great. Thank you all. Keep up the impressive work. I can’t wait for what’s to come in Fedora 12+!

Epiphany & WebKitGTK+: And so it begins…

May 31st, 2009 1 comment

I just noticed that a few hours ago, Matthias Clasen committed Epiphany 2.27.2 to Fedora’s CVS and in the process switched the build to using WebKitGTK+. instead of Gecko/XULrunner. This means that, once the switch is flipped for rawhide to start composing from the F-12 tree, Epiphany will be using WebKitGTK+ by default. Epic win. Many thanks, Matthias – you’re also added to my ever-growing “I owe drinks to these people” list. 🙂

I’m…geekin’ out!

May 8th, 2009 No comments

Right, so I just got back from seeing the premier showing of the recent Star Trek film at the GardenWalk IMAX with a bunch of friends, and I’m completely geeking out. Yes, there were some plot flaws in it (such as the way Kirk defeated the Klingons in the “Kobayashi Maru” exam) but it was meant to be a bit of an alternate history, and I was thoroughly impressed with the movie as a whole. The actors played their roles amazingly well, but I especially liked McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg)  and Spock (Zachary Quinto).

I was also quite pleased in that, as the limelights dimmed for the movie to begin, at least two other people in the theater joined me in shouting Qapla’! (Klingonese: “success”). There were no Klingons in this film, but that made it no less fun!

On the other hand, I do apologize that schoolwork has taken up most of my free time recently, and will continue do so until the end of the semester (two more weeks), and because of this I’ve not been very active on the Fedora front. However, I hope to change that once classes let out for the summer. 🙂