Update Wicd on Ubuntu Hardy …

Recently when I accepted the update of Wicd on my system, I was annoyed to find that my Wicd tray icon no longer loaded with login.
Here is what has happened…

In a previous post I wrote:

In GNOME, to get the tray icon to automatically appear at boot, go to System > Preferences > Sessions. In the “Startup Programs” tab, click the “New” button. Give it a name (”Wicd” works fine). For the command, enter “/opt/wicd/tray.py”.

That command (/opt/wicd/tray.py) is now obsolete. Here is the new command:

wicd-client

So with that knowledge everything was ok and the update was a welcomed thing as it brought new features and a more streamlined GUI. I just wished that they would have mentioned somehow the change with the tray icon.

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HP Pavilion dv5 and Linux …

I bought a brand new machine about a week ago and had it shipped to Australia which is where I was going to meet up with it. It’s a HP Pavilion dv5 series with all the trimmings. I will first talk a little on my initial impressions on the machine and the build quality etc, and then I will talk about my experience with loading Ubuntu Hardy 8.04, Kubuntu Hardy 8.04.1, PCLinuxOS 2007, Vixta Linux, Ubuntu Gutsy 7.10 and Xubuntu 8.04.1.

My initial thought when opening the lid of the laptop was “WOW”. Its a beautiful machine with a nice silver and black face. It was not an overly heavy machine even though its a 15.4″ screen and the thickness is also acceptable.

This model packs a high-end AMD X2 CPU, with a 250 GB HDD and 3 GB of RAM plus a nice ATI graphics card with 512MB dedicated RAM (goes past 1GB of RAM with Hypermemory) for all your graphical needs. When I turned the machine on and went through the Vista setup and arrived at the HP personalization wizard I was struck with the thought that someone went through a lot of trouble to make this machine seem very personal to the owner.

After performing all the initial setup steps I began taking a closer look at the build of the machine itself. Overall its ok even though there are some things that would seriously bother me if I had to work on this machine.

SUPER-HIGH-gloss-exterior
Yes, it may look pretty … as long as no one is touching it … otherwise it turns into a mirage of smears, smudges and dust all combined. This is very, very annoying, for me at least, as I constantly am aware of the dust attracted to the machine just by static alone, and then every single finger mark just adds to the build-up of visible body oils on the laptop. Give me a non-gloss exterior any day please — oh and a matte screen as well so I can use the bloody thing in the daytime — ha!

Plastics Quality
The plastics are pretty acceptable all around however the sides of the machine seem much less refined than the top palmrest area. The palmrest also forms a “lip” over the sides in some places which is can be bothersome. I would really like to have seen HP put a better quality material on the sides of this machine as it is quiet deplorable for such a nice item overall.

Optical Drive
It is such a cracking annoyance to get the drive ejected without actually bending your head around and making sure you really press the eject button with a good bit of force. Why oh why can’t they figure something out here!? I thought it would be super to have a hotkey function for ejecting the drive .. something like what Mac’s have.

Wifi button
In this model the wireless button is a touch button. I would much rather have a simple but imho more functional button like in previous models. It was simply too hard to know if the wireless was turned on or not.

Battery Life
It was totally not cool. In Vista the battery lasted for about 1 hour. Even though it is a 4 cell battery it should have given a bit more, or it should have been shipped with a 6 cell at least.

Screen Lid
I closed the lid and tested out applying some pressure to it. Well … it was very saggy … or maybe it felt that way because I am used to the Thinkpad which actually gets stronger with applied pressure. But yeah … it was scary to see the lid give way like that — VERY scary!

Overall Conclusion:
The HP Pavilion dv5 is a sleek-looking, high-powered and well-priced … umm… laptop. (I was thinking “toy”, but that’s a bit extreme – ha)
Its got a lot going for it, except real quality of materials throughout and of actual build. This makes it not a laptop that I would personally use — even if given one for free I would try to sell it or swap it for something a little less showy and a lot more durable.

I will post again about Linux on this machine… laterz

External USB2.0 Hard Drive …

I got an External Hard Drive enclosure the other day which connects via a USB2.0 cable. The device was working fine except when I would want to copy data to the Hard Drive. Copying data FROM the Hard Drive worked perfectly which really puzzled me.

I tried the device in both Linux and Windows and had the same issue. I tried a few Hard Drives and still no difference.

Then, when in Linux, I opened a Terminal and did dmesg to view the latest happening on new hardware being found. I could see where the entry was for the external Hard Drive being plugged in and I could see that it looked fine. So I decided to repeat the action which triggered the Hard Drive freeze-up when trying to copy data TO the drive. Sure enough an entry appeared in the Terminal after doing dmesg again.

I Googled the output line and read through about 3 pages of forum posts until I read one guy saying that for him it was just a matter of a faulty USB cable. So … with my symbolic fingers crossed … I swapped the USB cable and tried to copy data to the Hard Drive …. IT WORKED!!!! I could not believe it.

But yes, it was a simple matter of changing the USB cable. 🙂