• OK, I think the new server is tested enough for now. Time for lunch. And, I think, a walk. #
  • Odd: I just watched 2 people tossing things over the edge of the roof of an office building in the distance for several minutes. #
  • I’ve just turned off our oldest internet-facing server. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it went back to 2001 – almost as old as IE6! #

Fedora LogoA few days ago, my Linux desktop at work popped up a message saying that Fedora 11 was available, and asking whether I wanted to upgrade automatically. Well, I didn’t have time to deal with it then, and in the past when I’ve upgraded Fedora (either from a CD or from a downloaded image), it’s been a big production, what with running the installer, rebooting, installing updates, updating third-party repositories, and finally rebooting again after all the updates are installed.

So I put it off for a few days.

Today I decided to try it.

The automatic upgrade program is called preupgrade, presumably because it downloads everything you need in order to prepare for the upgrade. It downloads everything while your system is up and running, then sets it up so that when you reboot, it will launch the installer. It installs everything, makes the changes, then reboots into the newly upgraded system.

And then it’s done.

It’s network aware, and works through yum, so it will actually take into account both third-party repositories and anything that’s been updated since the new release. It actually went out to livna.org RPM Fusion and picked up the appropriate NVIDIA display drivers.

Download while you work. Reboot. Wait. Done.

The only snafu I ran into was that it removed my copy of the Flash plugin, but I think I was using the experimental 64-bit one anyway, so it’s not terribly surprising.

I get the impression that Ubuntu has had a similarly smooth upgrade process for a while. And after my experiences moving from Fedora 9 to Fedora 10, I was seriously considering jumping ship. (Hazards of living on the bleeding edge.) But it looks like I won’t have to.

Now I just have to find time to play around and see what’s new!

Update: I’ve run into one snafu: xkb error popups every time I wake the computer from suspend. Resetting the keyboard worked.

I have now updated this blog (and Speed Force) to WordPress 2.7 Final — using the built-in updater. It takes a while, but it’s entirely automated once I tell it “Install” and enter my FTP info.

The built-in plugin installer is very convenient as well.

The Flash 10 upload bug is fixed!

As with Speed Force, I’ve dropped the plugin I was using for avatars in favor of the built-in feature. It still generates Wavatars for those of you who leave your email address but don’t have Gravatars, but it seems to generate them differently, so you get a new and different monster.

All my plugins work as far as I can tell, but there are a couple of glitches:

WP-Super-Cache doesn’t seem to be deleting expired pages on schedule. And the spot for the convenient clear-cache-now buttons for that and WP Widget Cache doesn’t exist anymore, so if I do need to clear them out I need to go to the plugin’s settings page — which is what I had to do until a month ago anyway, so no big deal.

Also, Twitter Tools doesn’t seem to be able to pre-check the “Notify Twitter about this post” checkbox. But the important stuff works.

I’m still getting used to the new admin layout, but the only thing that really bugs me is there doesn’t seem to be a quick way to get to scheduled posts from the dashboard.

Other than that, so far so good. As always, let me know if anything seems broken.

Last month I finally got around to a major rebuild of my computer, something I’d been meaning to do since May when I traced some display problems to the motherboard*. I finally bit the bullet when I started seeing signs of disk errors, and dragged the machine into the present day. (64-bit, dual-core, 2 GB RAM, SATA drive, faster everything.)

Then I discovered that some of the display problems actually were the fault of the monitor.

So I went out and bought a new monitor while Fedora was installing, and I took the opportunity to go widescreen.

My criteria were simple: The resolution and physical size both had to be as big or bigger than the old one (17″, 1280×1024), and it had to be under $300. That meant at minimum a 22″ display at 1680×1050, and I found a Hannspree 229HBP for about $190.

There was a Dell right next to it, same size & resolution and comparable specs, and the Best Buy employee had been talking both of them up. The Dell was on sale for $290. I asked what the difference was. He thought about it for a few seconds. “Well, this one [the Hannspree] does run a little bit hotter. But mostly it’s just the name.” Thank you, Best Buy employee whose name I’ve forgotten, for helping me save $100.

The biggest difference, aside from actually having room to show both the toolbox and document windows on GIMP, is that I don’t maximize windows anymore. Not that I maximized apps that often before, not counting the stuck-in-low-res period. I’ll occasionally run a video or slideshow fullscreen, but the only program I regularly maximize is my email client, and that’s because I can put it in three-column mode (Folder tree on the left, mailbox listing in the middle, message content on the right).

Something to watch out for: At first I left the monitor off-center, because there wasn’t enough room on my desk for it. I figured as long as I worked mostly on the right part of the screen I’d be fine. But I ended up having neck problems shortly afterward, and Katie suggested I check the placement of the monitor. I shifted things around so I could center it, then set it on top of an Amazon box to raise it a couple of inches, and the sore neck cleared up.

I’ve only run into two problems (not counting the placement): There’s one dead pixel, but it’s off in a corner so that it’s not really an issue. I almost didn’t notice it at first when I was still setting things up, because the default GNOME layout has a Mac-style ever-present menu bar, and it falls right on the edge. Usually it ends up either on the edge of a window border or lost in the wallpaper noise.

The other problem: the built-in speakers pretty much suck, but I had external speakers already, so again: no big deal.

* It stopped displaying any resolution past 1024×768. I could tell it wasn’t the monitor because it was perfectly happy to show another computer at 1280×1024. And not the drivers or OS because I had the same problem booting from a LiveCD. And not the video card because plugging in another one didn’t solve it. This was particularly frustrating since it was an LCD monitor, so running at less than native resolution made everything blurry. Still, I put off replacing the mobo for months since it’s such a pain to do.

My desktop computer has been a bit flaky for a few months now. Well, more than that. There’s the problem where it won’t display anything in plain-text mode, but that’s not really a big deal. It was when it stopped running anything higher than 1024×768 that I started getting annoyed.

That turned out, oddly enough, to not be the video card. And not the monitor, since I could display higher resolution from the Windows box perfectly fine. And not my OS, since running a live CD had the same problem.

So I figured it was a motherboard issue. Fine, I’ll upgrade. Eventually. Wait ~4 months, and I’m starting to notice data errors on the hard drive. Great.

You know that old saying about how any project requires at least 3 trips to the hardware store? It applies to computers, too.

I finally got around to looking for a decent mobo/CPU/RAM combo, and a new hard drive. Ordered online. Arrived yesterday. Ran backup last night.

Today I dismantled everything, hampered by the fact that I could not find the box that has all the case components (faceplates so I could remove the ZIP drive which I haven’t used in 3 years, etc.), though I did eventually find the screws. After I installed the motherboard, I started plugging in connectors… only to discover that the power supply didn’t have the right kind of connector.

Off to Fry’s to get a new power supply, after stopping at storage to see if I could find that box with faceplates and stuff. No luck, and power supplies are astonishingly expensive, though I found one that fit my specs and was on sale and had a rebate, so that worked out. (Some of them are 1000-watt monstrosities that cost as much as a cheap computer, and in the words of another customer, “look like they should be in a Chevy.”)

Came back, hooked everything up, moved it back into the bedroom to hook everything up…and couldn’t go into the BIOS to set the boot device. After messing around a bit, determined that the text-mode problem, at least, actually was the monitor. So I’m borrowing Katie’s monitor while I install an actual 64-bit OS. Once it’s at the point where I can let it sit for a while, I’m going to run out to Best Buy for a new monitor. I suspect the resolution problem is different, but at this point I’m no longer inclined to suffer through it.

Still, it’s worth the upgrade (assuming, of course, that everything continues to work once I close up the case), since the old system was single-core, 32-bit, and ran on an IDE drive, and the new system is dual-core, 64-bit, will have more memory, a faster bus, a SATA drive, etc. This should be much faster.

Once it’s done, anyway.

Originally posted at LiveJournal.

Current Mood: šŸ˜”frustrated