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That Fresh Taste

Third reason to be cheerful? Continuing on the topic of computers, mine is back up and running properly! I mentioned in my last post that I'd discovered that the solution to some hardware faults is to strip the guts out of the PC and clean the dust and mould off the case interior and every component.

Mould might seem like an odd issue, but these are the tropics and we have just come out of the wet season; moisture is abundant and PCs have plenty of nooks and crannies for it to gather in. Although my case is well ventilated with lots of big-ass fans, I try to teardown / rebuild it every six months, twelve at the outside. Only a couple of rooms in our house are air conditioned, and the computer room isn't one of them.

I've got a dual-boot setup of Windows XP SP3 for gaming and Linux Mint 8 for everything else. I went with Mint instead of Ubuntu 9.10 on Andrew Hilton's recommendation, and I like its user interface and the fact that it encrypts your home directory, which Ubuntu doesn't do natively.

I have to give mad props to Simon at work. A few weeks ago, our ADSL modem, which had been acting flaky for around a month, suddenly packed it in. We called Telstra, but as the modem was out of warranty we were looking at $100 for a replacement. I was bitching about it to Paul when Simon, who sits next to him, told me that he'd upgraded to ADSL2+, leaving his old ADSL modem redundant and he was willing to give it to me. That night, Vickie and I were back online!

The great bit is that Simon's Dlink modem/router combines our old setup – a Speedtouch modem connected via Ethernet to a Netgear four-port network router with wireless – into one piece of hardware! It's neatened our computer room up and cut our power bill a bit! Oddly enough, it doesn't like being plugged into the same power circuit with a desk fan we're using, but that's easily fixed.

Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed from the Links sidebar, I've finally succumbed to the lure of Web 2.0 and now have a Twitter account. Send me a tweet if you have one too!

Things aren't perfect, of course. I was tempted this morning to blow Mint away and install Ubuntu 9.10. The two main programs I use – the Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird e-mail client – are a little older than the most current, which Ubuntu uses. The most jarring difference is between Thunderbird 3, on Ubuntu, and 2, on Mint – TB3 has a raft of new features that I find myself missing. I'm sure TB3 will debut on Mint eventually, but I'd prefer it sooner than later. Also, although I solved the sound conundrum, I still have to figure out both how to get my microphone working and how to tell Mint about my network printer.

I'd also like to upgrade the version of Movable Type powering both this blog and Vickie's. I'm now at least two version points behind the most current and I want to see what features I'm missing out on. Of course, it's been yonks since I set Movable Type up on Marcus' server and I can't remember how I did it at the time. I'll have to do some investigation.

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Comments

I won't be tweeting any time soon. I have too many social networks to keep track of already, 4 at last count.

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