Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I pose this question after a short but frustrating search for software.
Not software for me. Software for a Windows user I know.
The frustration I encountered happened while I was searching for a free online radio station ripper.

In Linux we have StreamTuner and StreamRipper.
Tune in a station, click record and save as much of the audio you want.
But doing a search for a free Windows app that does the same thing is an exercise in futility.

Oh sure, they say it's free. Free to try for 30 days. Free to try but limited functions until you buy.
Or you get that free version that will then impregnate your computer with more spyware then radio stations it will tune in. Every piece of software had some kind of catch to it. That catch being money.
You either paid up front for it or you install some piece of crap that was paid for by advertisers in the back alley that will spy on you in the hope of selling you something with the constant ad barrage you will unleash on your computer.

Now I'm not condemning all free software titles for Microsoft. There are several excellent programs available for Windows users. One of my favorites from day one is Irfanview. I like it so much that I have it installed in my Linux pc using Wine. Winamp was also a favorite of mine back when I was using Windows. And there are others that are just as good. Just not that many in a variety of categories.

Why can't free software for Windows be like that found in Linux. Open source software abounds in the Linux community but seems very stifled in the Windows community. I assume the motivation for money is what drives the Windows software writers while the Open Source community looks at the development of software as helping the community and fellow users.

I guess that me using Linux for so long has changed my attitude about software. I have nothing against developing and marketing software for profit. But there also needs to be an equivalent number of software titles available for free with no crippling or attaching hidden strings to it.
Why aren't there that many open source software titles for Microsoft users?

End of rant. Have a nice day!

BTW....... I am in no way condoning illegal downloading or theft of music. Unfortunately some people and forums feel that recording an online radio stream is illegal. I don't see it that way. They pay the fees to play the music and stream it to your computer. Recording it for your later listening pleasure is considered fair use. If it wasn't then all those cassette recorders and vcr's would have been illegal from day one. Of course a certain big company ( S***) sees it differently now that they don't produce vcr's.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hope for Intel Motherboards Using Ubuntu 10.4 ?

A friend of mine has some computers that have Intel motherboards and he also has a Toshiba laptop.
For the past several releases of Ubuntu, he has not been able to use or install Ubuntu on these computers. Either he got a boot error or had video problems.

But he contacted me recently and said he just tried the 10.4 Alpha release of Ubuntu. He was happy to report that both Intel based pc's and the Toshiba booted up and he was able to use them in Live mode.
His remarks were something to the effect that as long as they don't muck something up between now and the final release he will be able to update his pc's and laptop.

So let's keep our fingers crossed and hope the development team stays on track and gets some of these older bugs fixed and not introduce new ones or break something along the way. The final release is scheduled for sometime in April and that date is rapidly approaching. Especially when you have a whole OS to upgrade. My best regards to everyone who is associated with this project and keeping my fingers crossed that nothing that is working now isn't broken in the final release.

Until then I'll just play around with some 64 bit distros.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Risen From The Ashes Like The Phoenix

Wow! What a way to start the New Year.
Started out in ashes but ended up like the rise of the Phoenix.
Day after New Years I turned on my computer. It powered on then off. Turned it on again. Powered off.

Time to troubleshoot it. First thing I did was disconnect all my drives, Ram and video card.
Tried powering it on. Few seconds later it powered off. Only thing left is the power plug on the motherboard for the cpu. Disconnected the connector and turned on the computer.
Powered on and cpu and case fans spun up and continued spinning. Hmmm??
Turned it off, disconnected the power supply and did voltage tests on it. Tested good.
That meant either the motherboard or cpu was shorted out.

To old to update it. It was a cheap closeout combo I bought online about 3 years ago.
A micro-atx motherboard with a 3.0 Ghz single core AMD Sempron cpu and 512 Megs of DDR Ram.
It was only a matter of time until it died. Unfortunately it happened right after the holidays.
Made a few phone calls to get a loaner until I could order new parts. Here's where the story really begins.

Got a loaner motherboard and cpu. I was using an AMD setup. This was an Intel based motherboard with a 3.0 Ghz Dual Core cpu and 512 Megs of DDR2 Ram. What's going to happen to my Linux install or the XP I have installed on a small slave drive that I use when helping people still using XP?
Time to find out.

I picked up the loaner board. I must make a note here that the heatsink mounts on Intel cpu's is very cheesy and cheap. Reason I say this is because the heatsink had been removed and I had to redo the heatsink thermal compound then mount the heatsink. Put the loaner board in my case and fired it up.
Booted into Linux and held my breath.

Linux starts it's normal boot up routine but just before it boots in to the desktop it sits on the splash screen. Uh-Oh! But another 30 seconds later it finishes the boot and there is my desktop. I check everything out including the network card. It all works!
No downloading drivers or uninstalling old ones. Linux reconfigured itself during the boot to use the new hardware it found. Amazing.

For fun I restarted and booted from the grub menu into XP. That didn't fair to well.
Blue screened with a Unexpected Kernel Mode Trap. Oh well! I didn't expect anything less. LMAO!!
No big loss. Going to eventually run XP in Virtual Box anyway.
So I reboot back into Linux.

Meanwhile I ordered a new Asus AM3 socket mobo, AMD 2.8 Ghz Dual Core cpu and 2 Gigs of DDR3 1333 Ram. It arrived yesterday and I installed it last night. That meant removing the Intel board and installing a new AMD board with a dual core cpu. How will Linux fair with this 2nd change in under a week?

Got everything installed and powered it up. Linux boots up and gets to the last part of the splash screen before the desktop. Sits there for about 20 seconds and there is my desktop and all my software.
Totally amazing. What's more amazing is that it found the 7.0 surround sound audio chip and network adapter chip both of which are built into the motherboard. And for once my 5.1 surround sound speakers work properly in Linux.

Again I had to do nothing for all my hardware to be installed or configured. No installing drivers, no reinstalling OS, no nothing other then boot up and get ready to use it.
As for the new hardware performance?
Fast!!! As in extreme speed.
When I originally bought the AM3 socket mobo I had plans to possibly update to a quad core later in the year. Forget that! This dual core is more then sufficient.

The only thing I will need to upgrade is my power supply. I have 2 brand new Sata hard drives waiting to be installed but my power supply only has 2 Sata power connectors on it which are already in use. I looked at the price of IDE to Sata power adapters but the price of 4 of them including shipping is about 35% of a new good quality 600 watt power supply. It's not the price of the cables that they get you on. It's the S&H charges that kill you.

So from the ashes the Phoenix has risen. It's my new pc that is now flying with jet engines instead of propellers.
I plan to do some stress testing on the new hardware by trying some video conversions and rendering some Blender 3D scenes.

Catch you later if I don't overshoot this page.
It turned out to be a Happy New Year after all.