Tag: space

Meet My Media Center: Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy Linux thing to build a home media center. I’ve used various Linux distributions for various projects, and they all have their strengths. If you’re a noob to the wonderful world of Linux, I’d recommend you start out with one of the many Ubuntu varieties. They have multiple versions for whatever environment and look you prefer. If you’re the type who likes things to ‘just work,’ aka the Mac type, Ubuntu (Gnome) is for you. Love getting buried in the details and customizing every nook and cranny of your workspace, Kubuntu (KDE) is your new best friend. Linux built for the classroom computer lab is dubbed Edubuntu (Gnome). Wanting to test Linux on an old machine before replacing the OS on your main box isn’t a crime, but you may want to choose Xubuntu (XFCE) or Lubuntu (LXDE). You can even run this stuff on your Android phone or TV.They also have derivatives for multimedia production, Ubuntu Studio (Gnome), and even Mythbuntu for building that home theater MythTV PC you’ve always wanted. Last but definitely not least, if you’ve got a rack that needs new life breathed into it, try the Ubuntu Server Edition.

We’ll be discussing the Ubuntu Desktop 64-bit Edition 12.04 primarily using the Gnome Desktop Environment in the post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other variations.

Let’s discuss installation. The Ubuntu installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and only a couple areas foul folks up.

  • You’ll need to get your hands on an Ubuntu install image. You can download one directly, via torrent, or if you have a spare USB thumb drive and a buddy who already has Ubuntu installed, have them make you a USB install stick.
  • Insert the install disc/usb stick and boot up the machine.
  • Select ‘Install Ubuntu’ and hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select Language for Ubuntu.
  • Where are you? Pick the Region and the closest City in your time zone, and click ‘Forward’
  • Keyboard Layout. The ‘Suggested option’ is generally perfect, click ‘Forward’
  • Select ‘Specify partitions manually’ and click ‘Forward’
  • HEAD’S UP!! Okay, this can totally hose your machine if you don’t pay attention and know what you’re doing. Make sure you know which hard drive you want to use for your Linux installation, otherwise you’re going to wipe out your music/movie/photo/game collection, your Windows partitions, etc. If you’re wanting to toss Windows out the, uh, window, this will overwrite those partitions if you choose. Just make sure you backup anything you want to keep on another drive, disc, server, etc.
  • That said, pick the drive/partition you want to install Ubuntu on and ‘Delete partition.’ To scrap the whole drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu, choose ‘New partition table’ and click ‘Forward’
  • Now you have ‘free space’ on that particular drive/partition. Select the ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
    For the first new partition (swap), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Primary’
    ‘New partition size in megabytes’ as a general rule, needs to equal twice the amount of RAM on your machine. If you have 2GB of RAM, you’ll want 4GB of swap space. (1GB = 1024MB)
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ needs to be ‘swap area’ and click ‘OK
    You’ll notice that your swap space partition now appears on your partition table screen.
  • Select the remaining ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
  • For this partition (root or /), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Logical’
    To use all the remaining space, leave the ‘New partition size…’ as it is. If you plan to have separate partitions for your settings (/home) or the like, choose the size to fit your preference.
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ should be set to either Btrfs or EXT4, I prefer the latter
    ‘Mount point’ should be set to ‘/’ unless you’re planning to have separate partitions for your settings etc. If you choose the latter select the mount point to preference. Click ‘OK
    You’ll now notice that ‘free space’ is all gone and we’re ready to click ‘Forward’
  • You’ll see the last Warning about the partitions and a general summary of your install options selected thus far. Take this time to check again to make sure you haven’t selected the wrong drive/partition etc. Once you’re sure that all is well, click on ‘Install’
  • Now you get to tell Ubuntu what to name everything. When you’ve got that all filled out, click ‘Forward’
  • Now is a great time to go grab your beverage of choice and relax for a bit. Don’t get too comfortable though, this won’t take long.
  • Installation Complete! Yee-Haw! Click on ‘Restart Now’
  • Remove the CD/USB installer and hit the ‘enter’ key like it says

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

~matt

Ubuntu 9.10 (Install)

I’ve had several folks send emails asking about what parts that I’d build into a machine, what themes are in use in my screenshots, and what programs I’d recommend for a new Linux user. As one who favors the ‘work smarter’ over the ‘work harder’ method, I thought I’d post this info over the next few posts, rather than sending a 32 page email to them all.

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy new Linux thing. I’ve used various Linux distributions for various projects, and they all have their strengths. If you’re a noob to the wonderful world of Linux, I’d recommend you start out with one of the many Ubuntu varieties. They have multiple versions for whatever environment and look you prefer. If you’re the type who likes things to ‘just work,’ aka the Mac type, Ubuntu (Gnome) is for you. Love getting buried in the details and customizing every nook and cranny of your workspace, Kubuntu (KDE) is your new best friend. Linux built for the classroom computer lab is dubbed Edubuntu (Gnome). Wanting to test Linux on an old machine before replacing the OS on your main box isn’t a crime, but you may want to choose Xubuntu (XFCE). You can even run this stuff on your phone/PDA/netbook with the Ubuntu Netbook edition. They also have derivatives for multimedia production, Ubuntu Studio (Gnome), and even Mythbuntu for building that home theater MythTV PC you’ve always wanted. Last but definitely not least, if you’ve got a rack that needs new life breathed into it, try the Ubuntu Server Edition.

We’ll be discussing primarily the Ubuntu Desktop Edition primarily using the Gnome Desktop Environment in the post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other variations.

Let’s discuss installation. The Ubuntu installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and only a couple areas foul folks up.

  • You’ll need to get your hands on an Ubuntu install image. You can download one directly, via torrent, via wubi, or if you have a spare USB thumb drive and a buddy who already has Ubuntu installed, have them make you a USB install stick.
  • Insert the install disc/usb stick and boot up the machine.
  • Select Language for Installer. If you want to read everything in English, like I do, just hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select ‘Install Ubuntu’ and hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select Language for Ubuntu. Again, I read English, just click ‘Forward’
  • Where are you? Pick the Region and the closest City in your time zone, and click ‘Forward’
  • Keyboard Layout. The ‘Suggested option’ is generally perfect, click ‘Forward’
  • Select ‘Specify partitions manually’ and click ‘Forward’
  • HEAD’S UP!! Okay, this can totally hose your machine if you don’t pay attention and know what you’re doing. Make sure you know which hard drive you want to use for your Linux installation, otherwise you’re going to wipe out your music/movie/photo/game collection, your Windows partitions, etc. If you’re wanting to toss Windows out the, uh, window, this will overwrite those partitions if you choose. Just make sure you backup anything you want to keep on another drive, disc, server, etc.
  • That said, pick the drive/partition you want to install Ubuntu on and ‘Delete partition.’ To scrap the whole drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu, choose ‘New partition table’ and click ‘Forward’
  • Now you have ‘free space’ on that particular drive/partition. Select the ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
    For the first new partition (swap), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Primary’
    ‘New partition size in megabytes’ as a general rule, needs to equal twice the amount of RAM on your machine. If you have 2GB of RAM, you’ll want 4GB of swap space. (1GB = 1024MB)
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ needs to be ‘swap area’ and click ‘OK
    You’ll notice that your swap space partition now appears on your partition table screen.
  • Select the remaining ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
  • For this partition (root or /), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Logical’
    To use all the remaining space, leave the ‘New partition size…’ as it is. If you plan to have separate partitions for your settings (/home) or the like, choose the size to fit your preference.
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ should be set to either Ext4 or ReiserFS, I prefer the latter
    ‘Mount point’ should be set to ‘/’ unless you’re planning to have separate partitions for your settings etc. If you choose the latter select the mount point to preference. Click ‘OK
    You’ll now notice that ‘free space’ is all gone and we’re ready to click ‘Forward’
  • Now you get to tell Ubuntu what to name everything. When you’ve got that all filled out, click ‘Forward’
  • You’ll see the last Warning about the partitions and a general summary of your install options selected thus far. Take this time to check again to make sure you haven’t selected the wrong drive/partition etc. Once you’re sure that all is well, click on ‘Install’
  • Now is a great time to go grab your beverage of choice and relax for a bit. Don’t get too comfortable though, this won’t take long.
  • Installation Complete! Yee-Haw! Click on ‘Restart Now’
  • Remove the CD/USB installer and hit the ‘enter’ key like it says

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

Man in the Middle

As I was walking down the stairwell of the building I work in, I looked out through the large windows that let light into the otherwise dark stairwell.  I do this everyday as I go to the ground floor to eat lunch or to leave for home.  As I was looking out I was struck by the rather obvious observation that I could see only so far in all directions.  From my personal perspective I seem to be in the middle of everything.  Sounds awfully arrogant to me, too.  Man has been on this track for perhaps all our years in existence.  We all used to visualize, what is now the Middle East, pardon the pun, as the center of the world.  Then our world, planet Earth, as the center of our solar system.  Our solar system as the center of our galaxy.  Of course our galaxy is the center of the universe.  Hmmm.  Ok, so we’ve come a long way since those days, right?  We live our lives in a perceived 3D space.  We can see and understand a couple dimensions in either direction from the third that we currently reside.  We can theorize the existence of, say, ten dimensions, of which we really only can take measurement of, say, five.  Leaving us where?  In the middle, of course.

So are we truly in the middle, or is this just another obstacle of perception that we have yet to overcome?  Makes me wonder.  Is that perhaps where all the legends, myths, stories, and concepts of heaven, hell, angels, demons, spiritual planes, alien life forms, alternate realities, stem from?  Perhaps. So what of all this crazy talk?  I find it interesting that the ancient accounts of visitation of angels/demons/spirits resemble so much the more modern accounts of visitation of UFOs, extra-terrestrial beings, etc.  Perhaps they are the same thing.  Perhaps they are merely daydreams, hallucinations, or the like.  Perhaps they are a clever excuse to support or validate one or another viewpoint.  Perhaps…Perhaps.

What about this concept of other life forms living right here with us.  Hidden from view due to our inability to see beyond the boundaries of dimension or space.  Thomas Carlyle, speaking of other stars or solar systems, once said, “A sad spectacle. If they be inhabited, what a scope for misery and folly. If they be not inhabited, what a waste of space.”  A similar statement was made known via a line in Contact, a film based on the novel of the same name by Carl Sagan.  I’m not sure if there are or aren’t other life forms in our known or unknown space or dimension, but it would be extremely fascinating if there were.

Let’s bounce out another notch.  Who says that our universe is just that, a ‘uni’ verse.  Perhaps it is one of many in a multiversal system.  If that is true, would every universe play by the same fundamental rules, or would they all exist independent of one another.  Or we could knock it down a few notches.  What about the microscopic world that was unknown until fairly recent history?  What happens when we find more and more tiny worlds within our own?  You see where this is going.  We can image or propose theory about level outside our current range of vision, yet we can quite get there yet.  Is there a starting point or an ending point, or do the levels go on infinitely in both directions?  If there is a point at which the to divergent levels find an end, where are we in relation to them?  Are we truly in the middle, or are we as far off the midpoint of that spectrum as we are from being the center of the known universe?  So many questions, so many possible answers.

While we’re out here on this tangent, let’s go back to our comfortable three dimensional space for a bit.  We’re born, into human bodies, surrounded by other humans, and grow up learning human things.  We seem to feel that we’re in the middle here as well.  Bigger than a squirrel, smaller than a grizzly bear.  We can put people on the moon, yet a virus can still conquer a continent.  I wonder if other organisms feel the same way.  If we were all born into a wolf bodies, surrounded by other wolves, and grew up learning wolf things, would we feel that we were in the middle as well?  Or as an ant, or a virus, or a tree, etc.  Are we truly the only life form that finds themselves in this position, or have we simply not yet learned enough about everything else around us to even ask such a question?

Perhaps it’s the feeling of being in the middle that gives us the motivation to press out in all directions in search of the yet unknown.  That isn’t such a bad thing I guess, even if we find out just how much off center we really are in the process.

Whatcha Runnin’ Man? (New to Linux)

I’ve had several folks send emails asking about what parts that I’d build into a machine, what themes are in use in my screenshots, and what programs I’d recommend for a new Linux user. As one who favors the ‘work smarter’ over the ‘work harder’ method, I thought I’d post this info over the next few posts, rather than sending a 32 page email to them all.

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy new Linux thing. I’ve used various Linux distributions for various projects, and they all have their strengths. If you’re a noob to the wonderful world of Linux, I’d recommend you start out with one of the many Ubuntu varieties. They have multiple versions for whatever environment and look you prefer. If you’re the type who likes things to ‘just work,’ aka the Mac type, Ubuntu (Gnome) is for you. Love getting buried in the details and customizing every nook and cranny of your workspace, Kubuntu (KDE) is your new best friend. Linux built for the classroom computer lab is dubbed Edubuntu (Gnome). Wanting to test Linux on an old machine before replacing the OS on your main box isn’t a crime, but you may want to choose Xubuntu (XFCE). You can even run this stuff on your phone/PDA/netbook with the Ubuntu Netbook edition. They also have derivatives for multimedia production, Ubuntu Studio (Gnome), and even Mythbuntu for building that home theater MythTV PC you’ve always wanted. Last but definitely not least, if you’ve got a rack that needs new life breathed into it, try the Ubuntu Server Edition.

We’ll be discussing primarily the Ubuntu Desktop Edition primarily using the Gnome Desktop Environment in the post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other variations.

Let’s discuss installation. The Ubuntu installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and only a couple areas foul folks up.

  • You’ll need to get your hands on an Ubuntu install image. You can download one directly, via torrent, via wubi, or if you have a spare USB thumb drive and a buddy who already has Ubuntu installed, have them make you a USB install stick.
  • Insert the install disc/usb stick and boot up the machine.
  • Select Language for Installer. If you want to read everything in English, like I do, just hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select ‘Install Ubuntu’ and hit the ‘enter’ key.
  • Select Language for Ubuntu. Again, I read English, just click ‘Forward’
  • Where are you? Pick the Region and the closest City in your time zone, and click ‘Forward’
  • Keyboard Layout. The ‘Suggested option’ is generally perfect, click ‘Forward’
  • Select ‘Specify partitions manually’ and click ‘Forward’
  • HEAD’S UP!! Okay, this can totally hose your machine if you don’t pay attention and know what you’re doing. Make sure you know which hard drive you want to use for your Linux installation, otherwise you’re going to wipe out your music/movie/photo/game collection, your Windows partitions, etc. If you’re wanting to toss Windows out the, uh, window, this will overwrite those partitions if you choose. Just make sure you backup anything you want to keep on another drive, disc, server, etc.
  • That said, pick the drive/partition you want to install Ubuntu on and ‘Delete partition.’ To scrap the whole drive and use the whole drive for Ubuntu, choose ‘New partition table’ and click ‘Forward’
  • Now you have ‘free space’ on that particular drive/partition. Select the ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
    For the first new partition (swap), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Primary’
    ‘New partition size in megabytes’ as a general rule, needs to equal twice the amount of RAM on your machine. If you have 2GB of RAM, you’ll want 4GB of swap space. (1GB = 1024MB)
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ needs to be ‘swap area’ and click ‘OK
    You’ll notice that your swap space partition now appears on your partition table screen.
  • Select the remaining ‘free space’ and click ‘New partition’
  • Create a new partition.
  • For this partition (root or /), you’ll want to make sure that the ‘Type for the new partition’ is set as ‘Logical’
    To use all the remaining space, leave the ‘New partition size…’ as it is. If you plan to have separate partitions for your settings (/home) or the like, choose the size to fit your preference.
    ‘Location for the new partition’ should be set to ‘Beginning’
    ‘Use as’ should be set to either Ext3 or ReiserFS, I prefer the latter
    ‘Mount point’ should be set to ‘/’ unless you’re planning to have separate partitions for your settings etc. If you choose the latter select the mount point to preference. Click ‘OK
    You’ll now notice that ‘free space’ is all gone and we’re ready to click ‘Forward’
  • Now you get to tell Ubuntu what to name everything. When you’ve got that all filled out, click ‘Forward’
  • You’ll see the last Warning about the partitions and a general summary of your install options selected thus far. Take this time to check again to make sure you haven’t selected the wrong drive/partition etc. Once you’re sure that all is well, click on ‘Install’
  • Now is a great time to go grab your beverage of choice and relax for a bit. Don’t get too comfortable though, this won’t take long.
  • Installation Complete! Yee-Haw! Click on ‘Restart Now’
  • Remove the CD/USB installer and hit the ‘enter’ key like it says

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.

Whatcha Runnin’ Man? (Hardware Recommendations)

I’ve had several folks send emails asking about what parts that I’d build into a machine, what themes are in use in my screenshots, and what programs I’d recommend for a new Linux user.  As one who favors the ‘work smarter’ over the ‘work harder’ method, I thought I’d post this info over the next few posts, rather than sending a 32 page email to them all.

Lets start off with some quick hardware preferences and recommendations.

  • Nvidia is preferred over ATI for my gpu (graphics card)
    This is based on less than positive experiences with ATI drivers in both Linux and Windows environments.  Nvidia has never let me down, and especially for Linux machines, their driver support is unparalleled.
  • AMD is preferred over Intel for my cpu (processor)
    Despite my horrible experiences with ATI, my fondness of AMD (ATI’s daddy) grows by the day.  The price point for AMD over Intel is fantastic.  Also AMD is the ‘little man’ of the two and I enjoy supporting the low man on the totem pole, however their popularity, along with Linux is growing.  AMD chipsets have supported 64bit for generations at lower prices than the 32bit Intel alternatives.
  • Hiper is hands down my favorite psu (power supply)
    This fairly young company has gained my respect and love after real world tests in rack and box units.  I’ve accepted nothing less than their brand in the past several machines that I’ve built for myself and others.  Simply put, they spank the competition in performance and price.
  • The rest is less brand dependent.  Just check out the specifications and read all the user reviews that you can find.  Just because they have a badge of honor and a whole batch of pie charts on their own web site stating that they’re the best thing since the breakup of the Spice Girls, doesn’t mean that their product functions practically in the wild.
  • Desktop beats laptop.
    Don’t go throwing your laptop down the garbage chute, this is my personal preference.  I dig laptops as much as the next cat, but I can build two desktops for what you paid for one laptop with comparable components.  They might call it a frugal choice where you’re from, but in my neighborhood, we called it being a cheapskate.  If you’re going to play video games released lately, the odds of being able to build a laptop to handle the recommended system requirements and having it cost less than a car are slim.  A decent desktop gaming machine can easily be built on the cheap.
  • Dual Flat Screen monitors beat the pants off of Single CRT monitor.
    No matter what you do with your machine, more visual real estate is always better.  In this day and age it’s almost a necessity to have at least two flat screen monitors to remain functional and efficient.  Whether you’re a gamer, a visual designer, coder, administrator, or a little old granny watching Matlock reruns on the net, more is definitely more.  Not to mention that due to recent advances, the pricing for a couple of 22″+ monitors can’t be beat.
  • Once you know, you newegg.  Enough said.

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the ideas shared in this post.