Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On wifi

Does everyone remember the last post I made where I said I'd be posting more now, and my next post would be on changing my OS from Windows to something most likely Ubuntu based?  Well, at least one of those things was right (though I will be posting more now).  I just completed what turned out to be a monumental task. 

I ended up installing 3 different OSs multiple times, trying so many supposed fixes it made my head spin, and considering giving Windows 8 Developer Preview a try before I settled on a solution that, at least for now, works.

The problem wasn't the OSs themselves.  On the contrary, they all looked and ran great.  The problem ( and the bane of many a Linux user's existence) was my wifi card.  Linux is notorious for it's bad wifi support.  That could be due to closed, proprietary drivers that are mostly written for windows.  This situation is slowly becoming better, with the development of better kernel support, and chip manufacturer Broadcom releasing an open source wifi driver for some of their chipsets last year.

Obviously, it could still stand some improvement.  That, or my wifi card hates me.  Using the Broadcom driver didn't work for my card, though it should have.  Nor did NDISwrapper with the windows driver I pulled off the disk that came with the card.  I even tried the B43 driver that comes standard with Linux, and B43FWcutter, which is supposed to splice your specific wifi card firmware into the driver.  None of it worked with either version of Linux Mint I tried, or Ubuntu.  I was considering Arch Linux or just going back to Windows in general, when I found an old Linksys router I brought back from Germany with me.  The power supply for it wasn't dual voltage and it fried when I plugged it in, but I never got to test if the router still worked.  I ended up just getting a new N router.

In any case, I decided to see if it still worked, so I plugged it in....success!  It still worked.  That gave me an idea.

I decided to try out a ROM replacement for the router.  These usually expand the capabilities of routers over those equipped with their stock ROMs, and two of the most well known, Tomato and DD-WRT, are free.

I decided to run with DD-WRT and see what happens.  After going through the very detailed how-to, my router had a new ROM on it.  I then found a how-to for configuring it as a client to another router and blam! I had connectivity through this old router to my gateway router.

I attached to my desktop (which is now running the newest Ubuntu) and it worked like a charm.  It'll be a great stopgap until I can get a wifi card for that computer that I know will run on Linux.

I can't wait to put Wine on it and try a couple of the Windows games I have, and see how they perform (if I can get them to work of course.  I also want to try putting Arch on my netbook now.

That's all I got for now.  See you next time.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Hey all! This post, I'm going to take some time to talk about Linux. It's everywhere. It runs servers for major web sites from Google to Facebook and beyond. Some heavily modified flavor of it probably runs your smartphone, your tablet, or your e-book reader. It runs the New York Stock Exchange. It powers the majority of the worlds most powerful computers. It's embedded in devices you wouldn't even think of. And it continues to grow today.

While it might not dominate the desktop or laptop markets, thanks in no small part to Redmond and Cupertino, it does seem to be slowly gaining ground in that department, and has been for some time. This is in part thanks to the ease of installation of most major Linux distributions, as well as major improvements in ease of use, features, and driver development. The most successful of these being Ubuntu Linux by Canonical.

It's the distro I've been using almost primarily for the last seven months on the netbook I got for Christmas last year, and it's been my primary OS in general since my main computer got boxed up in my move back to the States. And I have to say, it's currently number one for a reason. It's got great device support right out of the box, it's easy to use and install new software, and, some would argue, it looks slick with it's new Unity interface.

While it's a great all around desktop, it leaves something to be desired for a nerd like me. So, awhile ago, I went hunting for another distribution to try (and possibly use for a fast, lightweight HTPC install). What I found was Arch Linux.

Arch Linux is a very bare-bones Linux distribution, and it's not for the technically feint of heart. With it's text-based installer, and no GUI default install, it leaves a lot to be desired as far as ease of use goes. But that not what Arch Linux is about. It's about teaching how Linux works to those with some experience and a lot of curiosity about the inner workings of the kernel. With it's documentation and community to help you along the way, Arch Linux is a great way to become an old hand at manually tweaking Linux to run just the way you want it to.

Until recently, my main computer has been boxed away. It's up and running now, and I think it's ready for an OS swap out. I'm going to be putting Ubuntu on it primarily (possibly Kubuntu or Ubuntu Studio or Linux Mint), and installing Arch on it as a backup. I also want to put Arch on my netbook. Afterward, I'm planning to do how-to's on both distros.

That's all for now! Come back soon, and you should see some updates on my progress.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Hey everyone.  I haven't posted on here in a while, mostly for personal reasons.  I think I'm ready to start blogging again, though.  Hopefully, I'll be alittle more vigilant about posting thos time around.  Thos blog started our with an attempt to document the upgrade of my computer, and quickly unwound from there.  I'm not quite sure if this blog will have a specific topic, or if it will stay the generalized computer/tech blog it had been turning in to.  I guess I'll find out in the long run.  I hope you're there to find out with me.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Modding and streaming

I've gotten a little into modding software lately. From modding the OS on my phone, to modding my desktop (see picture):

I blurred the calendar skin shown on the left, lower middle
of the screen, but it shows items from my Google calendar.

I think it's kind of cool to do, because you can make your OS/desktop look exactly the way you want it to. There are some risks involved (you could wreck your OS if you're not careful), but I've found that I had to do a lot of poking around help forums to get my knowhow.

The same thing happened recently when I was trying to get streaming to work to my PS3 using Tversity. That's why I'm going to publish a couple of howtos on doing these things. Look for them soon! I'll be going pver how to use Rainmeter to customize your desktop, and how to install custom visual styles for Windows 7. I'll also go through installing and setting up Tversity to stream your media (including some MKV files). Lastly, I'll swing back to modding, this time for Android phones.

Before I even start this series, I have a disclaimer to put out. I don't claim to have comprehensive knowledge on any of these topics. My howtos will by no means be an end-all-be-all, for the topics discussed. They will be based on my direct expirience, and you should keep this in mind when following these howtos. That's why I will also be listing my sources. Should your expirience differ from mine, you can hopefully find what's wrong, along with a potential solution.

Like I said, stay posted for more.


In my last blog post, I mentioned my new Android based phone, the Moto Cliq.  I've been looking into the different aspects of android (App programming, custom roms, rooting, that sort of stuff)  and I'd be interested if anyone could point me in the direction of where I could learn more beginner level type stuff.  I've signed up at a couple of phone modding forums, but they all seem to be filled with people who are lightyears ahead of my knowledge base, or people who knew almost nothing about computers or phones.  I've already also taken a look at Google's Android developement how to, and it appears that they assume that you already know a good deal about programming in Java (their preferred method of devlopement for the masses is in a Java based IDE).  So, if anyone out there can point me in the right direction for learning how to build a custom Android flavor, or how to program in Java/make Apps, I would be much obliged.  More later about my Android based escapades as they happen.

Posted via my Moto Cliq

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quick update

Since my last post, not that much has happened. I've installed a SSD in machine; an OCZ Vertex, in the 30 GB variety. That gives my rig these current stats:

Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P motherboard.

Intel Q8400 2.66 GHz proc

Asus EAH5850 Radeon 5850 Videocard

6 GB 800 Mhz DDR2 ram

30 GB OCZ Vertex SSD

Various other harddrives I have thrown in.

It doesn't do to bad on framerates for Crysis now. I'll post some benchmark numbers soon. I haven't had time to do much lately because of different other life aspects, and my phone. I've had an android based phone for the last couple months, so I've been poking around that. I'll include a longer post on that as well when I can. I realize I've been kind of neglecting to post for a while, but I think I'll post a little more often now on. Till next time!

Posted via my Moto Cliq

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Well, I'm home now.  After getting back, one of the first things I did besides sleep (jetlag sucks, btw) was check my mail.  Sure enough, there was a package there for me.  It was the memory I ordered.

Now, for those of you who might not know, RAM is your memory, and the more of it you have in your system, the better.  Well, as you may have read in an earlier post, I only had two Gigs of RAM, due to a speed discrepency I found between some of the sticks I had, it was limiting my overclocking potential for my CPU.  Unfortunately, even after the fix, I was still limited two Gigs of still-not-quite-that-fast RAM.  So I ended up ordering 4 Gigs of 1066 MHz RAM (DDR2).  Now its in my system, and it's better than ever.

Next up I have planned an even better upgrade.  I will be going from Win 7 RC to Win 7 Home Preimium.  On a solid state drive!  An OCZ Vertex 30 Gig SSD.  It's only big enough to hold the OS  and maybe one or two programs, but it should improve my initial load time dramatically.  I already have the drive (it's the part I was waiting for in the mail), and now I'm waiting on the OS, which hasn't shipped yet.  I'll post again when I'm ready for the upgrade.