Sniffly, Snowy, All Installed

Today, for some reason, I got me a bad case of the sniffles. I think it was maybe a very brief early wake-up a few hours after I finally got to sleep. But it may have something to do with dust in the new apartment. I’ve been busy and haven’t done much sweeping or mopping since we moved in, and maybe there’s enough dust to set me off, since, on leaving the house, I suddenly was okay.

Between the beginning of the first class of the day, and its end about 35 minutes later — it’s the first week and students are still class-shopping, and I don’t really want to teach a full class to a group whose going to be half different by the next class, especially since I have a long, heavy, tiring semester ahead of me — it started to snow big, fat, heavy flakes. If it keeps up till my next class, I snap a few shots of it on the way. It’s quite pretty.
The day before my birthday, I went PC-shopping with Lime. The computer I gave her a few years ago — my old IBM Thinkpad, bought at the end of 2001 — has taken to humming and whirring something awful, and the laptop’s casing is messed up too — I banged it around a little too much during my 2004 trip to India. With the new wireless network I’ve set up in our home, it came time for her to have a more recent PC, something with built-in wireless and less of a chainsaw sound.dv2000Well, while shopping, it became quickly apparent that she was far less interested than I was in looking at PCs, and after we discarded a few different models, including some lower-priced but ddecent-looking IBM Thinkpads of a newer generation, I suggested the HP Pavilion dv2000 to her. What do you know, but she made a counter-suggestion: she wanted me to get it for myself so she could inherit my one-year-old Compaq Presario V2000. She prefers it for its wider screen, for the fact that she knows the PC already, and for the fact that it’s simple and stripped down: the built-in webcam and microphones and all the other bells and whistles on the HP Pavilion dv2000 seemed to put her off a little, in fact. But I think the fact I was so very excited just looking at new PCs made her feel like I should be the one getting a new one, instead of her with her lack of interest. And the fact it was the day before my birthday didn’t hurt, either.

So I spent some of my birthday, and much of the days following, configuring the new laptop (and the rest of my free time mostly fiddling with it and backing up files on the Presario that’s about to become Lime’s). I’ve got basically everything working that can be made to work, except for a small and very fixable issue with the headphone jack and speaker audio, a very challenging (to me) issue involved in getting the built-in microphones to work — something related to ALSA drivers. Even the little Quickplay partition is working, or at least it is when I’m logged into Windows.

There are a few upgrades left to do, though. I need to pick up a couple of spare 12-cell batteries for when I travel, and I also want to upgrade the hard disc to the maximum of 120 gigs, instead of the 80 gigs it came with. (I couldn’t upgrade on the spot, but the service center will install it for me if I buy myself a disc.) That means, of course, that I shall once again be reinstalling, but next time, I want to make sure it’s a shorter, less arduous process. (If I could make myself a disc that would do the whole process for me, I would, but I don’t know how.)

ubuntu_logoSo I think before I do any upgrading, I’ll first document the installation process, so that the tinkering that was necessary to make the system work (beyond what worked out of the box) is all right there, laid out step-by-step for me to use the next time… and so other users can also refer to it, should they have any of the same issues, or should a newbie need to install an Ubuntu Linux/Windows XP dual boot like I did.

So my next post is going to be very boring, but useful to a few people. (I think I’ll crosspost it to the ubuntuforums site as well.)

Those looking for more interesting posts, well, come back in a week or two!

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