I love the new Goowy

Afew months ago, I posted some information about Goowy. Mark Cuban had mentioned it on his blog. I liked the interface then, but they were not offering that much other than 1Gig e-mail which I already had plenty of anyway. It looks like they improved it a lot!

Apparently, Mark liked it so much that he invested in them. After seeing the enhancements, I can understand why. They are now also offering 1 GB free space that you can access from anywhere. They also offer a GAIM like Instant Messenger interface. You can also import your contacts there (they support up-to 1000) either using a CSV file or from other common web based e-mail accounts.

Unfortunately, there is not a Linux version of Macromedia Flash Player v.8, so I could not use it from my Ubuntu installation. They also do not yet offer pop3 access. So, there is still room to enhance but it's a much better site now!


Welcome Mathieu!

I am pleased to announce that my linux guru, Mathieu Wache, has accepted my invitation to join to as a contributor. In fact, I would like to soo more of my friends join to this blog and share their experiences. Who knows, maybe someone out there will benefit from entries we post here. Peace!

Digg in?

Ever since Google started their "News Site", I've been using it as my home-page. I customized it a little bit, increased the number of news in Tech/Science, Sports, Business etc... It's a good short-cut to check for technology news.

Yet, it's not enough. Too many things happen in the tech world everyday (thanks god!). is many people's favorite but I never like the interface. So, I was pretty excited when I heard about "digg". A lot of last minute technology news from all over the world. So far, 'I'm lovin' it".

Don't forget to check "Digg spy" to get a sense of updates...


Ubuntu Install

A few weeks ago, Mathieu, a friend of mine from work, gave me a "original" Ubuntu CDs and I promised myself to dump my Fedora Core 4 & test Ubuntu instead. Unfortunately, I was very busy and I even forgot where I put the CD.

Finally, last week, I downloaded Ubuntu Breezy Badger 5.10 (meaning 2005 / October release). Unfortunately, installation did not finish. I kept on getting installation failures about some "initrd-tools".

As I see it, it is good that things do not work and it gives me a chance to do some research and learn while trying to fix it... Some people in Ubuntuforums suggested that they burnt their CD images with lower speeds and it worked but that did not sound right to me. Plus, it did not work for some other people. Yet, they might have a point...

So, I found the CDs Mathieu had given to me and tried to install it on the PCs. It worked like a charm on both. Setup was a breeze :)

To be able to use Synaptic Package Manager to get updates, I had to enter my proxy into Settings > Preferences > Network.

Then, I decided to update my Ubuntu to the latest test version: Dapper Drake 6.06 (it will be released in June). The problem I usually faced with Fedora was that if I wanted to upgrade, let's say, from Core 3 to Core 4, cleanest way was to dump the previous version and install the new version from scratch.

As Ubuntu is based on Debian Technology, it does a much better job in handling such issues. Unfortunately my first attempt was unsuccesful.

Then, I wanted to see how the latest Beta was and as someone suggested edited my sources.list file which is like yum repositories of Fedora in Ubuntu World:

sudo sed -i -e "s/breezy/dapper/" /etc/apt/sources.list

Then ran the following commands
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

I did not pay attention to any messages and just rebooted when finished and all hell broke loose. X-Server would just not start! I googled to see if anyone else had the same issue and sure enough many people had seen similar issues. Unfortunately, none of the fixes suggested worked:
  • sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
After spending a few hours and trying every trick I could find, I gave up & reinstalled Breezey Badger from scratch.

I mentioned my experience to Mathieu, and we tried it together on my pc at work. We first needed to enable proxy by entering the following in a terminal window:
export http_proxy=

I actually used my old entry in this blog about configuring yum to make the change permenant :)

Then we manually edited /etc/apt/sources.list and replaced "breezy" with "dapper".

Then we ran:
  • sudo apt-get update
and we realized that we had missed one entry in the sources.list that was pointing to Breezy Badger 5.10 CD. After removing it, things worked out smoothly. Then, we ran the dist-upgrade:
  • sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
Upgrade took about 30mins. Once it was finished, I noticed the changes on the screen. New icons are amazingly cute and bright. I loved the new interface!

The very first thing I wanted to do after I got the new OS was to access my mp3s on my Windows 2003 R2 server. This was surprisingly easy:

Clicked to Places > Connect to Server and just entered the hostname, sharename, username and password. In fact, I noticed that the shortcut that automatically got created on the desktop was still available after reboot, I just needed to enter my password to the key-ring.

So, now that I had access to my mp3s, I wanted to play them. As I knew from Fedora, there are licensing issues and official release does not have the necessary codecs etc.

How-to docs were readily available in Ubuntu Wiki > Multimedia section.
By enabling the multiverse and universe repositories and installing the gstreamer0.8-mad packages:
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly (for Dapper Draker 6.06 only)
I was supposed to be done. As expected, when I clicked on mp3s, Totem Launched without complaining but I heard no sound.

I ran lspci to check if system detected my sound card and it showed
0000:05:0e.0 Multimedia audio controller: Creative Labs SB Audigy LS
This reminded me of my "No Sound on Fedora Core 3" entry last year :) I was then able to solve that problem using alsamixer. When I googled for ubuntu sound problems, I saw that some people had solved that problems via alsamixer too.

So, I launched it and started to play with it. I found out that I had to increase the volume level for "Analog Front" channel.

All issues behind, I am quite happy right now. The next is to play DivX, DVD etc. I need to find something like PowerDVD in linux...


Open Command Prompt Here

On my XP box, when I browse to a folder where I need to open a command prompt, I just right click and have the option "Command Prompt Here'. That's available because I installed Windows XP Power Toys, which includes "Open Command Window Here" (aka cmdhere) toy.

It's possible to do the same on Windows 2003 and you can do it too:
  1. Open regedt32 and navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Folder\shell folder.
  2. Add a new key called “Command Prompt“
  3. Modify the default custom string to read “Open Command Window Here“
  4. Add a new key to this folder called “command“
  5. Modify the default custom string to read: Cmd.exe /k pushd %L
  6. Changes will take effect immediately

Or just copy the lines below to a text file and rename it as something like "cmdhere.reg". Then, when you click (or double click) it, you will have the option to import it...

------ Include all lines below this line -----
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="Open CMD Here"

@="cmd.exe /k pushd %L"
------ Include all lines above this line -----


Me Gusta Muive Muive

If I remember correctly, that means something like "I want to move it move it" :) I guess it well describes the game I want to mention here:

There is a little red square that you can move with your mouse. You should not touch any of the blue squares or black space. Can you do it for 18secs ?


Can not Install SyncToy...

We were seeing some issues with the hard drive on my wife's pc recently so, I ordered two Maxtor 300GB Hard drives from Tiger Direct last week.

It turned out to be a very timely order! To my surprise, I lost two hard drives out of four on my two HP XW6000 PCs the very same weekend. Luckily, I was checking the Event Viewer and noticed "dsk" alerts like:

"The driver has detected that device \Device\Harddisk0\DR0 has predicted that it will fail. Immediately back up your data and replace your hard disk drive. A failure may be imminent."

I was able to back up all my data before they totally crashed :) So, I installed new drives on my PCs. One XP and one Windows 2003. I tend to use my own scripts & robocopy for back up but wanted to install Microsoft's SyncToy 1.2 on my XP box. Guess what? I could not...

During SyncToy installation, I got the message below:

This setup requires the .NET Framework version 1.1.4322. Please install the .NET Framework and run this setup again. The .NET Framework can be obtained from the web. Would you like to do it now? Yes Button No Button

Yes Button will lead you to From here you have the choice of 3 .NET Framework versions to choose from as of this writing, among Service Packs, SDKs, Compact Framework, Redistributable for Windows 2003, and others. And nowhere does it mention version 1.1.4322, which is required according to the message mentioned above.

Because I installed everything from scratch, Windows update installed .NET Framework 2.0.50727 on my machine and it appears that it is not backward compatible. What a shame!

I downloaded .NET Framework 1.1 from Microsoft but it would not install. I googled and it looks like there are others who had the same issue. I liked the blog entry from Haidong Ji, who has a good blog called Ji Village News. You can read his story here...

So, I guess I will keep on using Robocopy :)


Rosetta Stone for SysAdmins

My friend, Nageen "Bad-Boy" Panchani sent this link:
You can choose from a number of OSes including FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris and a bunch of other *nix flavors, and you will get a nice table which tells you what the command is for a specific task in each OS.