Archive for May, 2008

ASUS Computer Company – Support

May 31st, 2008 No comments

This is a big “Thank You” to ASUStek computer company.

Last Thursday, on the way to buy another external HD, I was showing a SQL programmer Ubuntu and during the process, my disk drive tray was used and pushed back in. I didn’t notice anything at the time, but later, I couldn’t get it to open again.

I was on my way to the computer store to get a mini firewire to regular firewire cable for my next purchase of a firewireaudio converter and the notebook external HD, so I told them about my problem. They sell ASUS computers, but don’t service them, they told me everything goes back to ASUS. The sales person had an amazing swiss army knife with the right screw driver and so he was able to extract the drive and open it. A consultation with a co-worker led to a diagnosis that it had jumped off the rails. I was given a number to call and I phoned from the store. A quick cell phone call to the support person and my new drive was on the way. They cross ship the drive to you, then you send back the old one.

I received the drive on Wed. morning, a little less than a week later. I had to work and so didn’t unpack it until Friday night. After examining it carefully, I realized I would have to move a mounting bracket off the old drive on to the new one. I have done that now, but I tried to carefully slide it in and was not able to get it all the way in. I don’t want to force it and possibly break my new drive, so I plan to go back to the computer store and see if they will help again.

I will have to ship the old drive back within 14 days, so I have to try to do this today. There is so much for me to do right now, but I really appreciate the 2 year warrantee support from ASUStek. I could have shipped the whole computer back and not had this problem — but I am using it with no drive now and I need to keep it. I am glad they gave me the option, but I will need a little help to re-install.

One other topic that I brought up before is the unique Visa install that ASUS packages with their notebooks. When I visited FreeGeek, the individual assisting me pointed out that most Vista installs do not place themselves on a tidy partition and automatically leave a D: data drive for Ubuntu to be installed on. Usually, Windows will take the whole drive and I would have had to go into Drive Manager in windows to create that partition. The ASUS install also creates a small FAT drive partition that I think is for backup data. It shows that ASUS has tweaked Vista to make it more useful to the end user. I still may use Vista for something, so I am keeping it on the notebook for now.

I am using Ubuntu Hardy on the notebook to type this and have a couple of issues I will try to post about later. I am going to try to use Ubuntu for multi-media, but I could really use more help.


Thurs. Jun 5, 2008

The ASUStek support recognized that the front black plastic optical drive cover was different on the model of computer than on the drive they sent me. The telephone support tech told me to pop the plastic cover off my old drive and fit it on the new one. I was a bit worried about breaking the plastic tabs, but they assured me that I could do it easily. That turned out to be the case, and I was able to switch the plastic cover without any problem.  Then the drive slid in easily. It works well now and I consider the repair a success.

I had to open up the case on the old, broken drive, as it was jammed open and I had to close it to fit it in the shipping box.  Next, I moved a little metal tab so I could move the tray past the tab on the rail and close it.  I did not replace the plastic front, but carefully wrapped it in the bubble wrap with the drive and placed both pieces in the cardboard box. After preparing it for shipping, I sent it Canada Post to the ASUS Computer Canada address that I get from the customer representative. I hope that it gets there in time for the warrantee to still be valid. They say if they don’t receive it within 14 days they will charge for the new part, but I hope they give me a little more time because I had to phone to get the address and I had trouble with the plastic part on the optical drive.

I am very happy with the support I received from ASUS and I would recommend this computer to anyone. A two year warrantee at no extra charge beats Apple, as I had to pay over $300. for an extended service contract.  I also notice complaints about other Windows custom installs that install “crapware”, but I think the ASUS install is quite sleek and automatically partitions the drive.

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Environmentally Friendly CD?

May 28th, 2008 3 comments

Now I am getting closer to producing the book, I have to try to find the most environmentally friendly CD production process. All CDs and DVDs are made of virgin plastic because recycled plastic always has too much risk of impurities. Any impurity in the disk plastic will result in the laser skipping over that part or returning an error to the reader.

I was unable to find any company that is using a different process to manufacture disks so far, but packaging has come a long way since the plastic jewel case. Many CD/DVD duplication companies have taken the lead in reducing their environmental impact. I am listing my top picks for now and will continue to research until I have to finalize production.

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MMS is committed to reducing its environmental footprint.When you have your CD manufactured by MMS, you are purchasing products and services from a company that is doing its utmost to reduce its environmental impact.

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Oasis logo

Oasis Disk Manufacturing is probably the best known manufacturer of independent music projects in the US. They have a great reputation in the industry and were one of the first to supply cardboard sleeves instead of jewel cases.


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Categories: Uncategorized

Is Human Impact on the Earth Over Rated?

May 13th, 2008 2 comments

A friend sent me this link and I have to consider that the scientists may have a point. We know that the world was very much warmer climatically during the era of the dinosaurs and very much colder during ice ages, without any human intervention.

However, at this point in my life, I have to question the source of funding for these scientists before I attach much weight to their findings.

Wikipedia Global Warming states,

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations”[1] via the greenhouse effect.”

My project is about the impact of humanity on the earth. I believe that we can reduce our impact without seriously reducing our living standard if we do it in a thoughtful, directed way. Eventually, we can change society enough that we will be able to minimize our impact on the planet. It is happening now, and will continue to grow and spread because it make sense in a practical way.

No one is going to convince me that it is better to throw stuff in a landfill than re-use or recycle it.
This is an attempt to maintain the status quo. Buy things, break them and throw them away. Things are made more breakable and less fixable to speed up the consumerism process.

Check this out

Watch the film.

I don’t want to live to buy.

As far as the global warming problem — certainly geology and the earth have natural cycles, but anyone who argues against using a motorcycle instead of a car, or a gasoline van instead of a propane van should be put in a closed garage with one running for a while and see how long it takes before someone has to drag them out.

The earth is a closed system — we have to consider that.

The poisons that would kill you when concentrated in a closed space, such as a garage, are still being released by all the millions of cars on the road. We are still breathing toxins in a diluted form and the increased carbon in the atmosphere is having an effect on the life on our planet and on the climate of the planet itself.

Categories: Uncategorized

Word Press Anti-Spam on Comments

May 2nd, 2008 No comments

Yesterday I found that my  Word Press anti-spam filter, Akismet,  had classified a comment made in German as Spam. I apologize to any one who has made a legitimate comment and had it deleted as I did not realize that would happen. The rest of the comments were spam and contained gibberish, ads and strange messages that did not make sense with quotes from the blog included. Akismet has deleted 58 comments as spam and the four that were there today were definitely produced by bots who are programmed to search for open blogs and post their ad links.

I will continue to leave the postings open and use the spam filter, but I promise to check it more often for potential legit. comments. Please fee free to post again.


Why did you break a computer that was working perfectly?

May 2nd, 2008 No comments

One of my sons asked this question when I was first installing Ubuntu on my notebook. I told him that I wanted it to work even better than it already did. Vista was working perfectly, but I wanted to have the choice of running Ubuntu.
I felt that the previous system was great. I had the dual boot working and both OS functioned well, but the disk partitioning issues had to be solved, so it is better to do it now before I start really using the computer. My first choice is still to repair the install that I already have so, I brought out the Super Grub Disk. It was a bit of a disappointment as I was not able to boot from it even though my system is configured to boot from CD/DVD. I will investigate this further.

So back to the Ubuntu install disk and this time I chose “Repair a broken system”.


It went through the configuration just fine, then it got to the partition management. I looked at the partitions and they were all correct looking. The one at the end is the extra swap partition that I converted to an ordinary drive before and the Free Geek volunteer had advised me to get the system working before I tried to merge it with the other, larger drive. I decided that the first problem was that I needed to make one the boot drive as they were all set to data drive. The system could not boot without a boot drive.


The next screen told me one of my problems, there was no root drive specified. I had changed it to \boot not \ . The boot designation is for the purpose of setting a separate partition for the boot mechanism only, said the help. It seems like a good idea if you had a desktop or mainframe with several different OS on it, then when you upgraded or re-installed, your boot system would still work. Not practical for me though, I am not advanced enough to make this work and once I get this system running, I will upgrade the Ubuntu to Hardy Heron, but not right away. I don’t think that will affect my boot system if it is an upgrade. I am of the opinion that an operating system has to mature before the software catches up to it. As a power user, I desire stability and reliable performance over nifty tricks. I do hear that Hardy is faster though …


I set the correct partition to the \ designation and I changed the large partition to my \home.


Not Yet. Back to the drawing board.

I was able to satisfy the system that I did want it to boot from the partition that has Ubuntu installed and I continued on to try booting.





I diagnose that it is a problem with designating the partition as \home. Perhaps if I go back and change it to an ordinary drive everything will work. The Grub bootloader is not the problem as Ubuntu tries to boot and Vista does boot. Vista still works perfectly, by the way, using the second entry on the Grub menu. My Free Geek helper and I decided that it is a specially formulated Asus Vista install and I will talk about it later — after I get this working.

I hope I can get this finished up soon. It is May already and I have so much work to do.



Free Geek Visit

May 1st, 2008 No comments

The Free Geek workshop had to be entered through the rear door after hours, but I had contacted them finally through IRC chat. Of course, I should have known … to be fair, they did call me back after I left a message on their new phone system. Windows Free Wednesday is a time for volunteers to help Ubuntu users who have trouble with their computers. I was happy to scrawl my name on the whiteboard and get in line

Free Geek Logo

As I waited, I looked at the stacks of old computer parts and at the cart of monitors all displaying a bright test pattern. These items could be sold in the computer thrift store or given to a needy charity. Volunteers can earn computers by helping around the shop and you don’t have to be experienced to start. The helpful Free Geek people here tonight were experienced Ubuntu users and they started installing the latest version on one computer, helping sync a Palm device with another and then, it was my turn.

I quickly logged in to the internet and called up my blog. All of the information was there with screenshots to explain what was wrong with my computer. I did not ask if I could put his name on my blog, so I won’t, but he immediately started brainstorming with me on how to remove the Ubuntu Studio kernel from the unwanted partition. We considered the Synaptic route, but we did not know which kernel to delete. He told me that we could just re-partition using the Ubuntu install disk as a “Live” boot. I had brought the bootable Gparted disk to manage the partitions, but we couldn’t get the keyboard to respond properly. Every time we typed it was random characters even after we tried to configure the system. I should have gotten pictures of this, but I already had enough stuff to carry. Back to the Gutsy install disk, and it was easy to get the partition manager running from the Ubuntu OS on the disk. After a few small problems we were able to re-partition the system. The swap drive is increased in size as the volunteer explained to me that GiB are just a little larger than GB and the same protocol is now used for MiB (MB) and KiB (KB) as it is more accurate. It is true that memory sticks come in 512MB not 500, but I don’t really understand the mathematics. At any rate, the partition was successful and these size issues were explained to me as well because when I set the size of the swap drive I had been confused by the MiB and had made it very small.

Ubuntu partition

This was the end result, a nice tidy organized partition system. Just what I wanted, but it won’t boot. As we had changed the partitions around, the Grub boot loader could not longer boot from the partition number that was previously the root directory with the Ubuntu OS. Now I have two choices, either reinstall Ubuntu and loose all my data (not much really, just screenshots and bookmarks) or try to fix the bootloader and point it in the right direction.

I’d like to try to fix it, but we ran out of time at the shop and had to leave. After thanking the Free Geek personnel, I tied everything back on my bike and rode off. I will look at the Super Grub disk on Thu. and see what it can do.