Tala Ko

Archive for September 2008

Well, MS can’t be all bad, can it?
clipped from newsinfo.inquirer.net
The laboratory is using Microsoft Vista, but Dunleavy promised the school that when he visits the village again next year, he would bring along a Microsoft Version 7
What was then a small school in a depressed village began to change
He gave us fund for school supplies, school uniforms and for the contributions so that the parents won’t be spending anymore
Dunleavy provided 160 scholarship grants, but this has now increased to 200. He extended the program to high school students
also provided financial support to address the malnutrition problem in Gadgaran.
the school’s dropout rate went down to zero, the academic performance of the pupils greatly improved, and there were no cutting of classes and unnecessary absences among the pupils
for every amount that Dunleavy donates, Microsoft, as a policy to its donor employees, matches this.
Mathematics, Science, Arts, and Entertainment and Communications sections, which were all painted in
the four colors of the Microsoft logo.
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DUDE.
clipped from www.dailymail.co.uk

Pictured: The punk rock turtle with a bright green mohawk

punk turtle
Shell shocked: The Mary River Turtle is having a Green Day, but his hairdo is just algae growing on his head

punk turtle
The Mary River Turtle has become a popular figure with Australian environmentalists who say the endangered creature is being further threatened by Queensland State Government’s plans to build a dam on the river.
It is one of the more unusual species of turtles as it breathes through lung-like structures in its tail and needs shallow water to survive.

punk turtle
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I’ve decided to take what I’ve learned and put it into a tutorial. But just so you know, these things aren’t new. I’m just compiling information from other sources and presenting them here for other Wind users’ benefit. A more apt title for this post would be “How I Got Ubuntu 8.04.1 Running on the MSI Wind U100.”

These instructions are for setting up an Ubuntu-only system, plus guides for getting the wireless and webcam to work. If you got Windows on your Wind and want to keep it, I suggest you search for a dual-boot guide first.

Anyway, let’s go:

Read the rest of this entry »

These look almost as cool as the Star Wars ones.
clipped from studenthacks.org

http://studenthacks.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/sushi.jpg
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This is officially the first Tala Ko blog post written on my netbook. :)

While I’m not wireless at the moment, I did manage to compile drivers for the wireless card using this guide. I was a little apprehensive at first, because I don’t often use the command line. I was afraid that I was going to break something. But after reading related forum posts (I <3 the Ubuntu community), I was reassured, and I dove into the command line just… under ten minutes ago!

I know the wifi’s working because it detected three wireless networks within the building – none of them offering free access, hence the gray LAN cable twisting near my toes.

I think I’ll now download Cheese, to see if I can get the webcam working. :)

I was thinking of getting Smart Bro Prepaid, but the feedback hasn’t been all that great. Wonder how my roommate and I should get Internet access once we’ve moved out of our relatives’ homes.

Other Tala: our office IT department is thinking of enforcing its policy that Internet Explorer be the only browser in use. :( I’m thinking, though, that our department can get some exceptions. As the web developing team, it should make sense that we get to use as many different browsers as possible, to make sure that our work is accessible to as many people as possible.

In any case, IT won’t crack down without hearing from the folks at the office first. Poor guys.

Pardon the corny title. :) Yesterday, I was able to buy an MSI Wind U100 with some money from a savings account that my dad started when I was smaller (thanks, Dad). I needed to be more mobile, and he agreed that a laptop would be a good investment.

I’ve named it Teacup, after the ones in “Train Man,” by Hitori Nakano. My desktop PC is named Stella, after the abandoned theater in “The Thief Lord,” by Cornelia Funke. Just felt like sharing.

I’d done research before going to the store. But even if I already knew what I wanted, I let the clerk go through the motions. They didn’t have it in pink or red. I don’t really love pink or red; I just wanted the chassis to be different from the usual black or white units.

I asked for the OS-less Wind, of course; no use paying extra for Windows XP when I was just going to delete it. I did, however, accept their offer to install, at no extra cost, a trial version of XP, just so I could try out all the hardware’s bells and whistles.

Once at home, I’d determined that all the bells were ringing and the whistles whistling within about fifteen minutes. Five, if Trixi and I hadn’t been goofing around in front of the webcam.

I soon reached for a GNU/Linux installer.

I downloaded the Puppy Linux ISO first, because it was only 88Mb large. The MSI Wind doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive, so I decided to try UNetbootin to turn my USB Stick into a LiveUSB. The tool’s amazing. :D It’s quick, and it works.

Puppy Linux didn’t detect my screen settings properly, though. :/ After asking at the forums, I still didn’t learn the proper configurations, and then one poster finally said that Puppy probably didn’t support my screen. :(

Back to Ubuntu, then. I downloaded the ISO from an Indonesian mirror and got it intact on the first try, within a few hours! The first time I ever downloaded the ISO, I chose the Taiwanese mirror, because it was geographically nearer. But it took a whole day, and quite a few tries (so, a few days) before I could get a good ISO. :p

UNetbootin again (I feel really sorry for my USB stick. But now that I have a laptop, it should now get some rest from all my PortableApping.). Ubuntu detected my screen settings right away, so I didn’t hesitate to click on “Install.” Planned partitions with the help of the trusty Psychocat tutorials and this byte calculator.

(Teacup, not Stella, is my first Ubuntu-only system. Will probably convert the desktop, too, once Intrepid Ibex is out.)

Installation took minutes, no hiccups at all. So, that’s it. I now have an MSI Wind running Ubuntu! :)

There’s still a lot left to do, like configure for wireless and install updates and codecs. Will let you know how that goes, of course. But in the meantime, I’ve got a busy day ahead. I’m taking the Wind and going sailing into Project Land. :)

“In Uruguay the parents wait for the kids to go to bed so they can use the laptops. So you saw people move to rural communities… so their kids could take advantage of [the laptops]. In Rwanda the families brought electricity to the schools so that the kids could keep using the laptops.”

I find that really cool. Yay for OLPC!

clipped from news.zdnet.com
described the response of some commercial laptop makers to the OLPC project
some of the companies have taken this as just a market to compete in — and compete in a very vicious way and that’s unfortunate, because we’re not trying to take market share and make profit or knock anybody else out,
While skeptics claimed the laptops would be sold or stolen by their young owners, it seems they have been converting truants into school-lovers and encouraging kids to brush up their reading and writing
if it was in a remote place, the people would say the kids only show up for school half the time. And that just changes. Now you have basically… more than 100 percent attendance. Because they come on weekends, they come early to school and they stay late
The families start to take education seriously. One of our students — when OLPC was just getting started–did a project in rural Costa Rica, and 70 percent of the parents entered vocational education using the computer at night after the kids
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So, society – specifically, a perceived lack of support from parents and teachers – is to blame. That doesn’t surprise me, but the study and its results do add fuel to the fire.
clipped from www.sciencedaily.com
New research by a team that includes vocational psychologists at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) indicates that the self-confidence instilled by parents and teachers is more important for young girls learning math and science than their initial interest.
more attention should be given to building confidence in their abilities early in their education
Many young students, particularly girls, see math and science as difficult, and don’t take any more classes than they have to, not realizing they are cutting themselves off from lucrative opportunities in college and careers.
Both boys and girls perceived that teachers thought boys were stronger at math and science. For boys this represented a support, while for girls it acted as a barrier.
it’s perception, more than reality, that affects the person’s academic and career choice
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… not that we didn’t know that already. But it’s nice to have scientific proof.
clipped from news.bbc.co.uk
Musical tastes and personality type are closely related, according to a study of more than 36,000 people from around the world.
“One of the most surprising things is the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal. They’re both creative and at ease but not outgoing.
“The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and of being a danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things.”
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I’m writing this post from Google Chrome. Can I just say how happy I am, that although it probably resembles Vista more, the title/tab bar reminds me of Ubuntu? *sniff*

I first read about Chrome this morning, when a co-worker brought it up. I had a lot of fun reading the comic (learned a lot, too), but to be honest, just doing my usual online activities and seeing how FAAAST everything is seems to have blown my geekery out the window. It’s like when our battered family couch was reupholstered this summer – the new look and feel just gave family couch time that extra zing, even though we knew that the same old squishy cushions were inside.

Except, based on what I’ve learned from the comic, Google Chrome doesn’t have the same old squishy cushions inside. More like, they decided to take the couch apart, find out why (besides shifting butts) it needed reupholstering in the first place, and build it from the ground up, all the way to the woven blanket my mom throws over the pillows. This foam will last longer, is just as soft, and won’t start to sag in the middle, they’re telling me.

So it’s fast, more efficient, safer from crashes, and prettier. I want to know now, what about my extensions? :( For instance, ever since I started using AdBlock Plus a few years ago, browsing hasn’t been the same. That’s one of the reasons I was so happy to finally be free of Internet Explorer (more on that later) at work. No matter how pretty and comfy this new couch is, if it doesn’t have room for Mom’s sewing kit, Dad’s can of Pringles, and my brother’s security blanket, we’re not really going to enjoy it.

Till then, I’m going back to Firefox.

And, speaking of Firefox, I wrote before that once we got our new computers in, I’d no longer need to run apps off my USB stick. I remember thinking as I booted my unit for the first time on Monday, “First thing I’m gonna do is install Firefox, the GIMP, and Pidgin.” I’d already downloaded the .exe’s the previous week, in anticipation of this golden moment that I’d be back in FOSS’s arms.

Then, I found out that IT had done something that prevented me from installing programs. I was a guest user in my own computer. (-_-‘) Apparently, any desire to do more customization than changing the wallpaper had to be cleared with them and scheduled.

I don’t know how they do computers in your office, but for me, this was just wack. I cast my USB stick an apologetic look and proceeded to fire up FirefoxPortable.

I got a prompt saying that I was attempting to run it off a disk in read-only mode. Did I want to un-write-protect my USB stick, or would I be fine copying FirefoxPortable to the Desktop and running it from there? I blinked. Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

But as IE begrudgingly unhooked its claws and slunk off into the Unused Desktop Shortcuts folder, where it belonged, my feeling of relief was mixed with annoyance. Why did I have to resort to such a workaround? Couldn’t I be trusted not to break anything?

(The answer, of course, was no. I haven’t been at the office six months, so IT doesn’t know me or how much fun I find all this geekery.)

So, of course, I had to wait till I got home to try out the Chrome.

Another hiccup caused by this no-installing-by-yourself policy is that they forgot to install a PDF reader. Anytime I get a PDF now, I have to upload it to Google Docs or convert it with Zamzar.

This reminds me of the height of the liquids ban at airports, when one lady’s baby nearly died of dehydration because some idiot wouldn’t let her take the baby’s formula on the plane. To loosely quote Banksy, somebody save me from the people who’re trying to save me.

Yes, yes, I know. To compare my situation to that is a bit of an exagerration. I must behave. I’d even go so far as to remind myself that the Bible tells me to submit to appointed authorities.

It’s just… I’m so used to having such freedom with computers that every wall I come up against – first Webwasher, and now this no-installing thing – feels like a huge injustice. :(

Hang on, now I remember something that’s a little more serious. I found a bar311 virus in my USB stick (I’m not going to point any fingers, but I know where the stick’s been). AVG didn’t find it, but ClamWinPortable did (so it’s a win for ClamWin. Hehe). I couldn’t manually remove it, and the cleaner I’d downloaded off the web wouldn’t work, either – all because I’m not allowed to edit the computer’s registry.

I decided not to tell IT, because they look pretty busy. Anyway, ClamWin told me that the virus wasn’t in the computer’s hard drive; it was just in my USB disk. So I waited till I got home (again), hooked up my Stella Baby to my relatives’ peripherals, and manually deleted the infernal files while in Ubuntu. When I opened up my USB disk at work this morning, bar311.exe was no longer a process listed in the Task Manager. (Another win for FOSS.)

*sigh*

I know, I can’t always get what I want… without having to resort to some kinda workaround.

=*=

Other stuff: I’m teaching myself more stuff and can’t wait till I can mess around some more with MODx. :D