Tech geeky update

August 17, 2012

Well, I’ve been indulging in some geeky stuff lately, so I thought I’d share just a bit of it with you.

Droid grocery list update. Had a breakthrough since the last time I mentioned this – I think I talked about the approach of trying to take the App Studio iMenu control, taking away its absolute position, and putting it inside a classic HTML table layout. This turned out to be easier than I thought – the iMenu control doesn’t have absolute position hard-wired into it, it’s just a couple of css directives. I love my new droid grocery list and have been using it instead of the iPhone version ever since:

I’m looking forward to doing something else with this hybrid approach to developing for Droid, but not just yet. Part of the problem is that the Eclypse’s keyboard isn’t as spiffy as it looks. It’s great for text entry, but there’s no navigation buttons, so you still have to tap on the screen to work with the GUI. Very quiet sigh.

My new geek project has to do with my old Toshiba Satellite M70 notebook computer that I got back in 2006; soon after I started doing Nanowriye writing. It’s been bogging down more and more, and I’ve been using the Acer Aspire One notebook more and more as an everyday around-the-house laptop, but I didn’t want to consign the Satellite to tech oblivion, especially since it has a few good features – great big comfy keyboard, wide bright screen, S-video out port. On the con side, the hard drive is none too roomy, (58 gigs,) the onboard RAM is limited to 512 megs, and 1.6 gigahertz Intel CPU.

So, I’d been thinking about what I wanted to do with it. I copied all the important personal data off the hard drive, figuring that I’d want to pave over the hard drive and reinstall something fresh, be careful about installing anything that could slow it down. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to stick with windows XP or try Xubuntu.

And then inspiration hit – I’d try both! Dual-boot that puppy.

Getting started was the hardest part. I found the Toshiba restore DVD, and spent hours fooling around with USB sticks and BIOS settings because I thought the optical drive wasn’t up to booting off. And the BIOS was somehow stuck in some weird display mode that showed up neither on the attached LCD or the S-video out. (I’m wondering if my S-video cable might need to get replaced, actually.) Once I got the display stuff sorted out, it became clear that the BIOS wouldn’t support booting off USB – even after I tried a BIOS update, which made it almost impossible to hit the setup key in time. But booting off the optical drive didn’t turn out to be a problem.

I’ve got the basic Ubuntu install done, though I’ll need to go and upload patches and software updates to both OSes soon. The hard drive is partitioned more or less like this:

20 gigs – windows C drive, NTFS, (co-mounted on Ubuntu as /windows/c)
10 gigs – Ubuntu file system root, EXT4
2 gigs – Ubuntu swap partition
26 gigs – FAT32 partition, E drive on windows, /share on Ubuntu. All documents and media files, particularly those that can be used on both operating systems.


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