Friday, March 23, 2007

Speed Tweak Recant and Apology

Thanks to the various communities I am a part of, I've been taught better than that little Speed Tweak I posted earlier.

Apparently it's bad practice and can break stuff and, in my case at least, the performance gain was due to the fact that I formed my /etc/nsswitch.conf files incorrectly out of ignorance, having it check for hostnames via wins before looking at the hosts file. It seems that by assigning it to, it began resolving it from memory.

I had no idea when I made that change that the computer would be checking for it's OWN hostname everytime it went to run a program. Seems like a strange practice...

So, by correctly forming my /etc/nsswitch.conf with files at the beginning, I'm still experiencing a noticeable speed boost, but this wouldn't help anyone who didn't bugger up their /etc/nsswitch.conf file in the first place.

I'm sorry for advocating a bad practice. I was simply excited that it seemed to work for me.

Code Monkey

AHHHH!!!!! I can't get this song out of my head!

Not that I think inflicting you all with it will help me at all, I'm just sadistic.

May contain strong language, depending on how strong you rank "god damned".

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

True Diversity - Jono Bacon


Today things are different. We are really seeing true diversity. When I am on the road, I meet hundreds of different people who contribute to free software in so many different ways. I have met hardcore kernel hackers, application developers, documentation writers, artists, journalists, musicians, testers, advocates, event organisers, bug triagers, trainers, translators and more. Many of these people come from different walks of life, have different opinions, different experiences, different skills and get their switches flipped in different ways. There is one distinctive connection though - they believe in free software. Although the ferocity of this belief varies greatly between different groups of people, the key point to remember is that freedom and free software connects us all. We are all fighting for the same thing.

We have the opportunity to do such amazing things and to touch peoples lives in different ways, and this never ceases to inspire and hearten me about the incredible community we are all part of. In our community we conduct our work in the way people should conduct their work - we believe in equality and merit, we believe in giving people a chance to do great things, and we do it together, not as individuals, but as a combined entity. It really is a direct connection between ability and outcome - if you are good, no matter what your age, experience, gender, race, income, political orientation or otherwise, you can do incredible things from your computer and have thousands or even millions of people experience it. It is the greatest game in the world; nevermind Second Life, nevermind video games - our game has real implications and opportunities for real people.


-Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager

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Ubuntu Speed Tweak - /etc/hosts

It's come to my attention that this is bad practice.

For those of you using Ubuntu, though likely not applicable ONLY those using Ubuntu, this little tweak gives your application load time a HUGE boost--that is, it makes application load times noticeably shorter.

<disclaimer>I have no idea why this works</disclaimer>

Edit your “/etc/hosts” file:

$ sudo gedit /etc/hosts

You should see something like this: localhost martin-laptop
(and if your in Feisty, some lines about IPV6

Now, add the following: localhost martin-laptop martin-laptop
(Replace “martin-laptop” with your hostname)

Save. Should work instantly, or sometimes on reboot.

Read at Martin Albisetti's blog (via the Ubuntu Planet RSS feed).

To be perfectly honest, I didn't even notice I was taking a performance hit because the sorts of load times I got before this tweak were comparable to load times I've been used to expecting on Windows for a long time.

Friday, March 16, 2007

SystemImager HOWTO Updated - Some Big News (for me, anyhow)

I've update my HOWTO Install SystemImager from source on Ubuntu Edgy page, and it works like a charm now.

Some updates

I've come in over Spring Break so I can get some work done with the Ubuntu workstations. I have motivation to wrap everything here up into a nice neat well-documented package soon (more on this later), so I'm coming in even though I can't put this time on my time sheet.

It's amazing how much faster work progresses when I'm not interrupted every few minutes. Plus, I've had the liberty of working in the classroom in more than one-period windows. I've got one room set up and imaged using SystemImager, and another on the way (it takes a while to image a 31 workstations with 2 GB images via Unicast on a 100Mbps network).

It's pretty nice...but destined to end on Monday when all the distractions come back.

I've smoothed out a few rough spots in the imaging process, all the sorts of things that needed to be trialed and errored out, and now I'm going to work on getting the iTALC suite set up and configured for the one classroom I've got imaged.

The Big News

The big news, and the motivation for my wanting to get everything wrapped up and well-documented, is that my last working for Bloomington High School North is April 20th. I've received an offer I can't refuse to work at Canterbury School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, about three hours away.

I have loved my job here at Bloomington High School North, and the community I've served. The only thing I haven't loved is the pay, which is not nearly enough for me to start my life with. I've been looking for other employment for a while now, though I've been apprehensive of exchanging a job I love with inadequate pay for a job I hate with adequate pay. I've not been happy with the prospect of having to stop working with the Ubuntu community that I've sort of immersed myself in, or the prospect of no longer working in education.

With my new job as Senior Tech Specialist at Canterbury School I can continue to work in the field that I love, with the community I've grown to love, while receiving enough pay to actually start my life. The job description seemed to have my name already written on it when I first read it, it was uncanny.

I am very sad to leave North, which has been my home for almost a decade now; to leave my friends and family to move to a completely new city and sort of start over. At the same time, though, I'm excited to be taking the next step in my life, and am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead. It's been a long time coming.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Printer Setup

I added a page on Printer Setup to our Image Definition. The only really remarkable part of it is the issue we're having with our brand new HP LaserJet P3005n printers.

For some reason, everything prints out of them just fine except for OpenOffice.Org.

The Test Page is fine, printing from Gedit or Firefox is fine. Everything is fine, it seems, except for OpenOffice.Org - the one application that will most be used to print to it.

Everything is printed badly aligned, so far up the page that the first line of a Writer document is cut off at the top, even though the Print Preview shows it looking properly aligned.

For what it's worth, it even prints fine using OpenOffice.Org on a Windows XP box...

Does anyone out there have a clue as to what might be my issue here?

Monday, March 05, 2007

iTALC HOWTO updated

Tobias has mentioned one final package I needed to have before the build that, now that I've got it running, has all the major functionality working (a few annoying bugs still plague the less necessary functionality, but he's been made aware of them).

I've edited the HOWTO to reflect everything to this point.

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