Third time is a charm: Mdv Spring 2008.1 is in full swing.


Since the start of this week I have been struggling with the installation of the latest Mandriva release which I have just finished downloading via torrent. I even posted a passing comment about it in the unofficial Mandriva Users board. Since I have already gone through two succeeding installations that failed, I stated that if the third time didnt push through then I would really consider looking at another distro for Lala (my laptop).

The first failed installation has something to do with a recurring error in the wifi prism54 loading that made it impossible to login. I don’t have the exact error with me but it has something to do with the eth0 not being in a final state, and the IRQ channels might be too busy. The second attempt wherein I tried to only install the bare minimum of X package borked the whole X installation. I installed Mdv again yesterday and this time just selected the KDE installation. If this one is also going to fail then I wouldn’t waste my time manually choosing the packages to be installed. I left the installation running while we had our dinner. When I came back the installation was already showing the root account and user configuration window.

At the final configuration screen, I opted to just configure the ethernet connection and setting it to start at boot but not at that specific point. I just want Lala to boot up and then I would configure the wireless card using ndiswrapper since I already have the Fujitsu provided drivers in a CDRW. Taking the installation DVD out of the drive bay, I crossed my fingers for the first reboot.

For the remainder of the boot sequence, I was pretty much holding my breath until I got to the KDM screen. I entered my user account and waited for KDE to kick in. The good news is that everything seems to be ok but it was taking quite long for the KDE startup sequence to complete. I think I waited around 5 minutes which is not good. I noticed that KDE has started by default a lot of daemons that starts in the taskbar How very MS-like so the first task was to remove them one by one until only the clock and the network applet remained in the status bar area. I don’t really understand why I did that since I plan on replacing KDE with XFCE4, my new favorite desktop that replaced fluxbox.

I put in the CDRW disc and copied wireless card Windows driver in /tmp. Weird thing is that ark is not able to extract the file so I ended up doing a manual unzip operation in the command line. This is not a good start but I can live with it. I proceeded to configure the wireless card using the network applet. The package manager asked for the DVD installation media since it needs to fetch the ndiswrapper package so I swapped in the DVD+RW in the drive and let the urpmi front-end do its thing. After a minute I was asked to locate the Windows driver’s INF file so I navigated to the /tmp directory. After a few default choices, I was shown the Wifi access points in my area which listed only my wireless router ( I live in a pretty low-tech neighborhood. 😀 ). After a few test, I was greeted with a message that my network has been properly configured.

Hurray! But still I have no connection. A quick ifconfig command later and I saw that I have a wlan0 device but it doesnt have an IP. I just issued a quick dhclient wlan0 and voila: a wlan0 device with an attached IP address! I took advantage of the situation and downloaded the latest packages in the Internet as well as Krusader and XFCE4. Everything finished at around 12AM so I made sure everything was finished and halted the machine.

Tonight I booted up Lala and pressed the escape key to see the bootup messages in the background. In the network start phase, there was an error in the “Set Encode” portion of the wifi loading so I was pretty disappointed. I logged in using the XFCE4 session and was inside my desktop in less than a minute after I entered my username and password. My biggest prize was waiting inside: the top XFCE4 panel has the network applet and it is showing 3 out of 4 bars. My laptop is connected automatically to my wireless router! SUCCESS!

I am now writing this post using my spanking new Mdv installation. I am still amazed that Mandriva is consistent in getting the middle trackpad buttons working while I am struggling to do it in Windows. I just need a NAS server and everything should be set for the file coordination between Lala and Leo (my desktop Archlinux installation).

I am happy even if I am already sleepy due to lack of enough rest. Anybody who wants a copy of the latest Mandrake DVD (Free Edition), let me know but you will have to meet me in Robinson’s Pioneer during office days. 🙂



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Just venting.

I think I am nearing the “warning” levels of my stress tolerance. I am now easily affected by the inconsideration of everyday strangers. I haven’t been awake for more than 4 hours and my temper already flared with:

  • The jeepney driver who stopped in the middle of the road, checked out the “prospective” passenger in the sidewalk, and then start again when I was overtaking his vehicle and directly in line with his vehicle. This is one of the reasons why I hate driving. This person needs to be hit by a “driving for dummies” bat.
  • In a tight two lane street (the breaker of a floodway circuit) that already have a lot of vehicles parked smatteringly on each side, a pedicab driver stopped in the middle, and then exhanged a long bantering with a pedestrian who he has just passed by. Here is your stupid and inconsiderate sign, and a generous amount of honking as a bonus.
  • The elevator going up to the office floor only has a few passengers since it is still early. I normally go to the back since I dismount at the next to the top floor being serviced by the elevators but since this time I was near the door. In the floor before my stop, a female rider carrying 3 bags: a typical oversized female handbag, a paper bag, and a laptop backpack, alighted. The problem was that the backpack was only slung using one of the straps so it was dangling and it hit me. Since the woman was from the same company as I am (we are occupying that floor also), I just smiled and raised my right hand in a typical open-palm pinoy fashion to sign “no worries, everything is alright”. Then the frigging woman (I refuse to call her a lady), stopped when she was out of the elevator door, and gave me the evil eye. Here is your stupid and inconsiderate sign, if you have been careful to make sure you carry your belongings securely then your heavy laptop bag won’t have dangled and hit me. And I don’t care if you are a manager, you deserve to be hit by a large etiquette bat in the head.
  • The Indian support engineer handling my ticket that got redirected to the India support team (WHY oh WHY?). My tickets are usually handled by the Manila server team who are much more competent at this. Even with me painstakingly exerting every effort to make my ticket description as detailed and complete as possible, the engineer had the gall to send me an email with this thinly veiled ultimatum:

    After reviewing the ticket, it has been determined that some information will have to be verified from you before we proceed with your request. Please refer to the questions/clarifications below:
    1) Managers approval required
    2) Kindly let us know in which project id needs to be created

    or reply to this email with your answer/s on or before <28-05-2008>.

    Your reply is very important to us as we aim to provide quality services through better management of tickets. Please note that failure to provide the information needed on or before the date mentioned above may result in ticket closure.

    Why am I mad? Because I have attached the approval in the original ticket, all of the details are already in the description, and I created the ticket yesterday (>>May 28, 2008< <) at 7PM (GMT+2), received the reply at 9:45PM (GMT+2). Apologies to all of my friends in the support business but this one needs to be bashed by a big “reading comprehension” bat.

As they say in the street: Ang aga-aga, pinapainit nyo ang ulo ko! (It’s still early and you are already testing my patience!)

File system consistency check you all. 🙁

Goosefraba… Goosefraba…

Now I feel better.


Why I am leaning towards the MSI Wind

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The news bombardment on the ultraportable front is pretty fierce with a new Eee killer competitor being announced weekly. I am still waiting for the Acer version to come out but my choices right now are between the MSI Wind and Eee PC 901. The HP mini-note comes a distant third because it does not have the latest power-conscious chip (Intel Atom or Via Isaiah) so battery life can barely squeezed to 3 hours.

MSI has just released two beta prototypes to lucky Taiwanese press and has published a copy of the review. If I am going by that user review then the only drawbacks currently known is the jutting card reader, and the slight heating up of the trackpad since it is placed near or on top of the hard disk drive. I am not counting the decision of equipping it with a normal HDD instead of a SSD drive since like the review says, I treat my laptop as a precious thing. I don’t think I have even dropped my 3Kg laptop anyway.

Shipping date and price is still unannounced and has taken down the pre-order page for it but the Wind was priced at US$610. Hopefully the real price will be lower but unless Eee 901 has a great feature up its sleeves then the Wind is going to win in blowing my money away. 🙂


First entry to enter the morning rush top ten

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Wife just called that my entry for today’s topic (personal mantras) got the top spot. But it probably is for the 6th position since it was read at 7:30am. My entry: the universal truth, shit happens

Growing Old and Growing Up


The Philippine Linux User Group (PLUG) mailing list currently has a thread that (according to the is 44 replies strong. The thread started about a query on how to increase one’s technical portfolio (I assume for job interviews, but it is still too early to trust my memory) but, in typical internet forum style, morphed into opinions and lamentations that the PLUG lists are getting boring and losing the old hands.

Various comments were put forward but the reasons that stuck with me were that (1) the usability state of Linux has evolved that solutions to majority of technical issues are just a Google away, and (2) the old posters have moved on to the pressing need of their real life.

I don’t see myself much of a contributor but I have been a member of the list for more than five years and I am not posting as much as did. I don’t even police the lists anymore but I have always attributed that to the reduction of the number of PLUG mailing lists, the members sharing the policing responsibility, and the members actually knowing better than to post off-topic questions. The last two signifies that the PLUG mailing list members have grown up and the new members are savvy enough to respect proper list netiquette or they are afraid to post, whichever you want to believe in. 😀

People might not grow up proportionally to the rate they are growing old but they will grow up nonetheless even if they don’t realize it. The PLUG thread sparked an eureka moment, I am growing up. I just noticed that I now often sign my blog comments using my nickname instead of just “ramfree17”, and if left unchecked I am using proper capitalization on those comments which is a far cry from the “all low-caps” rule that I was imposing when I was younger 😉 . The downside if it can be called that is that I am losing some of my idealism in favor of pragmatism. I was always in favor of pragmatism since childhood but I guess right now the pragmatic part of me is consuming more of the idealistic share.

An email reply jokingly contributed that the “golden years” of PLUG might have already passed but it is time for the new blood to step up. Whenever I hear the term “golden years” I remember this snippet from Mary Schmich’s essay “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” (made popular as Baz Luhrman’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”):

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.


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