Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Joel Test

This is one of those articles that every IT specialist, developers in particular, has to read and understand. The Joel Test is a method created by Joel Spolsky to measure how good a software team is. I'm not a big fan of Joel, but this jewel is precious.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Fedora Core 3: The digging continues

I spent some more time with FC3 and there is nothing fancy to report except that I installed apt-get command line tool. It smoothly updated my system and allowed me to install all the software I wanted.

Being a BSDi administrator for few years, apt-get is definitely one tool that would've saved me tons of trial-and-errors for installing updates and software on BSDi. Sendmail mail server was one of those beasts that you couldn't cage easily. It was the most famous mail server back in mid nineties, maybe still is, and it had lots of security vulnerabilities that required constant patching. You would get source code then that needed to be compiled with the required modules manually added. Apt-get is a relief that only few in this world would highly appreciate.

due to copyright issues, Fedora doesn't have an mp3 codecs or DVD players installed by default. Using apt-get, of course :I installed Xine, a cool tool for playing DVDs. I watched Garfield with my baby girl and it was a smooth and entertaining ride

One thing I couldn't make work was the Checkpoint VPN client which would allow me to link to our work network. Not a high priority though.

i-mate ROM update, Agony of e740

It was a moment of mixed-feelings few days ago when I had a little chat with a workmate. He told me an interesting thing about his i-mate mobile phone. He downloaded a ROM update, from, that brings the latest i-mate OS to his old one. It gives him few interesting features only available in the latest version of i-mate, PDA2K. He showed me the on-the-fly screen orientation change from portrait to landscape which is very interesting.

I felt happy for him, but also felt sad for myself as this incident reminded me of the agony of owning a piece of crap called Toshiba e740 PDA. I bought the e740 in Gitex 2002 and it was trouble from day one. I kept my hopes up and sent it to Toshiba repair centers in Dubai, and Abu Dhabi several times and kept updating the ROM whenever Toshiba released one. However, I lost complete interest when Toshiba refused to release a ROM upgrade for it to run Pocket PC 2003. The online community users of e740, me included, wrote a petition with no avail. Look at this site for a brief.

I honestly don't trust any pocket pc based mobile phone or PDA. I had my Palm V for years and it was like a rock. I think I still have it somewhere. I remember reading two full eBooks on it; The Monk and the Riddle, and The New New Thing. FYI, Palm V display is monochrome. Imagine !!

I'm quite happy with my Symbian based Nokia 6600. Nonetheless, the new i-mate JAM worth a look.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Fedora Core 3 : Let the Digging Begin

I spared an hour today to make my Fedora C3 work with dual monitors. Couldn't do it :(
The configuration app asks for X windows restart but nothing happens after the restart. The external monitor shows the stuff but the laptop LCD is dead black

I keep encountering an annoying bug that doesn't allow me to log out of GNOME. The X windows halts and I have to go to a command shell, ctrl+alt+Fn where n is 1-12, and kill X.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Back to Linux

It's been months since I last worked on Linux. My new job, eBanking software architect, had eaten me alive since March 2004. I managed to squeeze few hours last night to install Fedora Core 3 on my HP comapq nx9010 laptop, my work laptop. I had a bad start;thankfully ended well. Details below

I started repartitioning my 30GB hard disk using Partition Magic 8. I remember how frustrated I was last year when I used it on an NTFS disk. I failed to do it due to the infamous error 983 . The most proposed solution of running chkdsk /f failed then. Not this time thank god. I got the error and it put me off. I was about to give up. Anyways, the command worked and the hard disk got repartitioned. I have now 10 GB free. It's time to install Fedora Core 3.

I tested the DVD copy of FC2 few weeks ago and my laptop failed to boot from it. This time I downloaded the CD iso images. The installation progressed very smoothly. It detected all the hardware including my Linksys WiFi PC card. I selected the desktop edition and added few more packages. Then I run the up2date tool which took till morning to install all the required updates. The system is neat and runs with a moderate speed. I won't judge it now. Let me finish installing all my stuff first then we'll see.

Today I checked in the office and it booted up fine. I checked my email using FireFox accessing Outlook Web Access of our Exchange 2003 server. I also hooked my portable 60 GB USB2 hard drive and it got detected. Mounting the NTFS partition, my winxp drive, didn't work. It seems the code required to access NTFS is not in the kernel. I found this and I'll check it out later.

I use dual monitor in the office for wider desktop space. If you do a lot of web development, you definitely need a lot of real estate on your computer desktop. Fedora has a configuration application to configure Dual Head. I tried it and it didn’t work. I’ll try to spend more time to make this work, if it works :)

I tried editing some conf files and I couldn't find my beloved editor PICO. I used it heavily in my previous job setting up and maintaining our Linux based DNS, Mail, and web servers. I'll share those experiences one day. Anyways I got the PINE RPM and pico is up and running.

I have tons of stuff to experiment on my newly configured Linux Laptop. First of all would be installing and using Eclipse IDE and Mono to do some .Net development on Linux.

I also want to do some work on Virtual Machines. I use VMware on my WinXP heavily. Time to try it on Linux and maybe try some other Open source VMs.

I have an project to tweak and deliver for beta testing this weekend. That’s a week of VS.Net work and no Linux stuff. My annual vacation starts next week so I’ll have all the time in the world to work on Fedora, it’s 3 weeks actually :(