sábado, 20 de febrero de 2016

Experimenting with Hardware

My desktop work station is an aging AMD system that I bought maybe four or five years ago.  With 2GB of RAM and a 250GB HD, it has been working and helping me despite KDE 4 seems to be way to heavy.

The other desktop computer in my house, a 500GB HD, 4GB RAM failed...Again!  Since I bought it, this system has been acting up, prompting me to send it to the repair shop at least once a year.

I am not sure what the problem was but, encouraged by my successful migration to Linux, I decided to venture-- for the first time-- into the unexplored world of hardware.

So, I opened the two boxes to put into my faithful AMD desktop some additional goodies, courtesy of the problematic box: a 2GB RAM, a new DVD writer, and (of course), a second HD.


The black box ready for transplant

For someone who has never opened a desktop to mess up with real hardware, the project was way too ambitious.

Yes, I can admit I was worried.  Perhaps my Swiss Army knife knows more about computer hardware than I do.

So, armed with the Swiss Army knife, a vague idea of what I wanted, and a million doubts, I started the operation.

Fortunately, the components were similar.  Nothing showed resistance.

Nevertheless, when I put back the power, screen, mouse, and keyboard cables, I was literally afraid.  I pushed the power button as if it were the detonator of a bomb.

The computer turned on with absolute disregard of my fears.  After pretty much the same lines that Linux shows upon start, my familiar GRUB2 greeted me, asking if I wanted to boot Mageia, PCLinuxOS, OpenMandriva, or Windows XP (the OS that I haven't booted in maybe three years).

I chose Mageia and the OS worked normally... only it felt snappier.  I checked and the additional 2GB of RAM were recognized.

I tested the optical media unit and it was working.  And the files on the other hard drive were accessible, too.

Despite all of my fears, my first hardware operation was a complete success!

Of course, in full honesty, Isay that Linux made it easy.  I cannot imagine doing the same and then hunting for drivers, licenses, and what not ....

I wonder if Windows XP will be able to boot at all now...

UPDATE:  PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva also boot normally.  Windows XP also started normally, but failed to see the second hard drive.

lunes, 15 de febrero de 2016

Playing on OpenMandriva LX 2014.2

I reinstalled OpenMandriva LX 2014.2 today.  Last time I did, I had some problems updating: many packages were not found but, even so, I proceeded with the upgrading.

The OS was working perfectly except for the performance of games on Steam.

Today, I followed what I learned yesterday and, when I hit the first problem, I stopped the update and deleted all the repos. Then, I retrieved them again (they were marked as phosphorous 2014.0, which I believe was the previous version), but the update went on smoothly and I got the most recent packages, like Firefox 44.

With that, my problems with Steam disappeared: the games that I play are working perfectly now, yay!

But the best part is that I can now play Never Alone Kisima Ingitshuna, one of the most beautiful and enlightening games I have seen.  As the official site states about the game:


"Inspired by the rich art and imagery of Alaska Native cultures, Never Alone brings the atmospheric and compelling world of Iñupiaq stories alive."

As you play, you can learn about Alaska Native cultures, which is simply AMAZING.



domingo, 14 de febrero de 2016

Sound problems in Mageia 5

Long time ago, I experienced a problem with the sound in Mageia 5. Some videos would play without sound after I applied an update.

Back then, I discovered the problem was caused because ffmpeg had been updated but, I never found out why, the tainted repository did not pick up the correct package, so I was using the common ffmpeg package, not the tainted version that allows me to play sound for the videos.

I fixed the problem but forgot to write how I did it.

Last week, the same problem hit my Mageia install.  On my laptop, I fixed it the painful way: I located the package and the dependencies online and installed them one by one.

However, I remembered that was not the way I had fixed the situation before.  

It was quite simple.  All you have to do is open Mageia control center and delete all repos.  Then, you retrieve them again and, voila!  You will see that the tainted ffmpeg version is available.