Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I have finally decided my laptop is configured to my liking.

1.8GHz AMD Turion 64x2
160GB hdd (10GB - ArchLinux (ext4), 10GB - ext4 /home for Arch, 10GB - Ubuntu, 17GB - /home for Ubuntu, the rest to Vista)
Nvidia 7150m chipset

Basically, I installed Arch because I was tired of semi-laggy performance for graphics and lots of extra services running in Ubuntu. I decided to go with openbox, and from there I found a nice system tray replacement, panel, dock and found a nice dzen script for battery display (I modified it a tiny bit to suit my needs).

I plan on getting rid of Ubuntu entirely, and removing the old /home, but I'm waiting until I'm sure I have all the config files, fonts, cups settings, etc. that I need copied over before doing so. After all...disk usage isn't bad for a pretty much complete system. Also, if I decide I don't need it anymore, I will also dispose of Vista, but I see no reason to yet, as the space isn't required. Sure, I never use it, but why throw away what you paid money for if it works, right?
[lswest@lswest-laptop:~]% df -h [19:48:10 on 09-02-04]
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda8 9.7G 3.6G 5.7G 39% /
/dev/sda9 9.2G 1.3G 7.4G 15% /home

The apps I decided on using are trayer for a system tray (top right), cairo-dock for a dock, tint2-svn for the panel, and a dzen2 script off the archlinux for the battery display. All the running system is configured through config files (save for cairo-dock), and battery life (managed by laptop-mode-tools with custom config files) gives me about 2 hours and 15 minutes of battery life, which is roughly 10 minutes more than Ubuntu gave me with slightly tweaked system settings. The wallpaper is a custom one that I call "Electric". I may or may not release this one, I haven't released any for a while. Also, I use xcompmgr for the transparencies.

Ultimately, I'm satisfied with this setup, it boots quickly, is responsive, and looks nice as well. Not only that, it also still hooks up to the beamers (projectors) at school, and (almost) all my keyboard shortcuts are fully functional. Only thing I have to figure out are my media keys, they seem to not be working properly in openbox yet.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

That itch to disassemble is back!

Well, on Sunday I was sitting at home and this urge came over me to take something apart (it's been a while since that happened, used to be too busy to do so), and all I really had on-hand that I hadn't yet taken apart and re-assembled was my old, broken iPod Mini (broken in the sense that the battery holds roughly 5 seconds of charge). First I had to heat the glue at the top and bottom with a hair dryer, then I pried them off (using a thin screwdriver and my fingernail to bend the side away), unhook the bottom metal plate (held in place using tension in the tags), disconnected the click-wheel, unscrewed it from the top metal plate, and pushed it out. I even took pictures!
Quick note: the parts were lying on a Lufthansa clipboard, thus the funny colors.

Another slightly off-topic note. The article for Full Circle Magazine I wrote (Command & Conquer, filling in for Robert Clipsham) was released in issue 21 yesterday: