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Kudos to Dell on making it easy to add parts - Dimension 9200

November 01, 2007 at 11:11 AM | categories: Home Computers | View Comments

I bought a Dell Dimension 9200 with a Quad Core processor. It hasn’t helped a lot but I’m reserving judgment on that until I get a second hard drive into the box. I’m suspecting that things are more I/O bound. Anyway, I didn’t want to pay what Dell wanted for a DVD R/W drive instead of a DVD drive so I got the box with just a DVD drive. I tried buying a DVD R/W drive at Target but the connections are wrong for my box. So I ordered a DVD R/W drive from NewEgg. I thought I was getting a deal because the drive had free shipping but as an OEM model, it didn’t come with a cable … and it turns out that SATA drives use individual cables (meaning they run directly from each drive to a port on the motherboard) instead of the IDE cables I’m used to. So I had to pop for a cable for $6. Got the right side of the case off easily without tools but couldn’t figure out how I was going to put screws into the left side of the drive - the left side is riveted to the rest of the case and is clearly not meant to come off. Got it and working with Ubuntu without too much trouble. Had to enable the drive in the BIOS but that was the only issue. After browsing for info, I came across Removing and Installing Parts: Dell Dimension 9200 Service Manual

Turns out that you can remove the 3 screws screwed into the back of the blank faceplate for the 5 1/4″ drive, put them into the drive you’re installing and then slide it into the case. Very, very neat. Gotta get my camera hooked up to the box so I can show you. This was the nicest design that I’ve seen in a while.

Ubuntu Linux, SimpleShare NAS, and NFS

June 27, 2007 at 06:06 AM | categories: Home Computers | View Comments

Had an upgrade to Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon go badly. Now I’m digging out from under. Part of what was lost was my /etc directory getting scrambled so I couldn’t read my old /etc/fstab entry. Been fighting to remember how things worked to mount my SimpleShare for backup and access to my ripped CDs. I finally found this article on Ubuntu Linux, SimpleShare NAS, and NFS which includes this key part:

mediaserver:/shares/SimplePool/Photos/ /mnt/photos nfs rsize=8192,wsize=8192,timeo=14,intr

It still didn’t work for me, though. Was getting “can’t read superblock” which was a little scary after not being able to boot due to Grub error 17 or the system just not coming up. Found the solution on LinuxQuestions: try using the -o nolock option from the nfs mount command. So the command is now:

mediaserver:/shares/SimplePool/Photos/ /mnt/photos nfs rsize=8192,wsize=8192,timeo=14,intr,nolock

and everything seems to be working well. Well, with NFS, anyway.

HowTo Mount NTFS Filesystem Partition Read Write Access

June 27, 2007 at 06:06 AM | categories: Home Computers, Ubuntu | View Comments

Found this article on HowTo Mount NTFS Filesystem Partition Read Write Access very helpful as I continue to dig out from under the Feisty Fawn -> Gutsy Gibbon explosion … er, upgrade. The key thing here is the ability to mount the files so that they’re readable and writeable by an ordinary user. I am in the process of moving photos and music off my second NTFS-formatted drive. I may reformat it as ext3 or I may not but I want to know that I’ve got copies on my first NTFS-formatted drive (which is split with an ext3 partition) and my SimpleShare NFS NAS. Also am putting copies on a DVD to take to work. Last step is to have a USB drive capable of backing up the SimpleShare and taking that to the office. DVDs hold a lot of pictures but CDs ripped in FLAC format take a lot of space.

How to change the root password on Ubuntu

June 13, 2007 at 06:06 AM | categories: Home Computers | View Comments

This is one of the things I meant to investigate. I know I have a password and can use sudo to do almost anything … but what’s root’s password? How to change the root password on Ubuntu was one of those “duh” moments but I’m glad to have this as a prompt to change the password. You should, too.

Pointer to Reviews of Dell computers with Ubuntu Feisty Fawn preinstalled - XPS 410n, E1505n

June 08, 2007 at 06:06 AM | categories: Home Computers | View Comments

I’ve been waiting for people to start getting and reviewing their Dell machines with Ubuntu before ordering mine. There’s a nice article on the Ubuntu Forums:Review of Dell XPS 410n with Ubuntu Feisty preinstalled. Also good coverage of the Dell E1505n laptop. I’m not ready to convert my 4-year-old Inspiron laptop over to Ubuntu because of suspend/hibernate and wireless issues but it sounds better with more modern machines. Maybe if Dell or HP or Lenovo comes out with a backlit LED screen like Apple’s I’ll be ready to switch. Also liked the tips on wireless with Ubuntu here.