Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Fri 20th Oct, 2006

Brace yourself, the laptop is coming

Things I'm doing in preparation for the laptop:

1. I never thought I'd do it, but I'm really starting to consider decomissioning 'Tangram', my main home machine up until now. Not only is it hard to justify having two machines to work on, let alone stupid to even consider trying to share mail on them, but it's bits won't go to waste anyway. With a bit of jiggery-pokery I can move its two 250GB disks into something like a Thecus N2100, but it (too) has a thriving community installing Linux on it. And it saves me having to buy two disk enclosures for something like a NSLU-2, as well as having to secure them somehow to stop them leaping off a desk at a crucial moment, as hardware seems inevitably to do. The Athlon 3200 processor can go back into Media, the MythTV machine, with a suitable cooling solution (I've found that heat pipe coolers don't work very well when the pipe is vertical). I can Ghost Kate's computer and move it onto what remains of Tangram, keeping her machine (Ludos) for its original purpose: Windows games. That way she doesn't have to use a computer whose fans produce a teeth-grinding phaser sound of combined fan hums.

2. Reading up on setting up wireless networks for absolute beginners. This starts with downloading the manual for the bundled Belkin wireless router ($33 US through Belkin but $88 Australian through Dell? And you only get the $100 'cash back' voucher if you pay for the modem? I smell a rort here... But maybe, to borrow the words of Bubs, that's not one of the 99 ways they aim to rip me off...). So far I haven't found any guide that isn't router-specific and that covers more than the simple "Don't use unencrypted connections, set your ESSID to something that can't be easily guessed, and get 802.11g" instructions. Oh well. I know I lose some geek cred by saying this, but it's manual-reading time.

3. Working out my plan for installing Linux (hopefully Fedora Core 6 will be fresh off the press when it arrives). Finding out what I have to do to set up the Intel 3945 wireless (which looks like it requires a firmware driver like the 2200 did on the Inspiron 9300 that work allowed me to use last LCA), the screen (easy: it seems the work on the 915resolution utility has also included adding a "ForceBIOS" option to the xorg.conf file to set it permanently), and power management (which seems to be handled pretty well in Fedora Core 5 now).

4. Plans to blog about this and put a new page up for Linux On Laptops to index.

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