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Free Geek Visit

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.

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