Big Switch 5: Unplugged

So now I had all the software installed and working correctly I could catch up with work, and just get used to using Linux on a day to day basis. I also had the security of a fully functional Windows installation to fall back on, should everything go wrong, or should I have forgotten to copy something across.

But up until now, I’d only been using a Wired connection. The built-in wireless on my Thinkpad R51e didn’t work with Ubuntu, and a few attempts to fix it were not rewarded with success. I decided to wait until I had a weekend free to sort it all out. In the interim, if I needed wireless, I had a Buffalo Airport PCMCIA card which worked perfectly when I plugged it in.

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Twisted Logic

I was walking back from the supermarket yesterday and saw a guy relieving himself against a fence. OK, so it was broad daylight, and its not an altogether uncommon phenomenon here. However … the fence was a chicken wire fence, and it separated him from a busy road – the one I was walking along. Everything was out on display.
He still had his shoulders hunched against the prying eyes  behind him though …

Big Switch 4: Softly Softly

Now we’ve got the box booting correctly its time to install some useful pieces of software, and fix a couple of things that don’t work quite right out of the box. Your mileage may vary with this section, as some of the software choices are personal.

OK first golden rule of any Linux install, update all the existing software. As Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, which is based on Debian (uh, that’s enough …), then we use:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

… and go away and get a coffee, ‘cos on a 47 kbyte connection this takes a while. Actually make that a coffee, a visit to the gym and lunch.

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Sorry Sir, your phone is broken

jeepney-icon.jpgSo, if you’ve been following along, you’ll remember that the villain of the last piece, Smart Telecommunications — wait, let me try that again — “Smart” Telecommunications, have a sub-standard internet service. I also have my mobile phone account with them, which could come under the category of having all your eggs in one basket.

3G, doesn’t work. That’s pretty much it. For the first three months I was here, whenever I was at home, I couldn’t make or receive calls, or send or receive SMS. If I stepped out of the building and into a different cell zone, everything was usually dandy, but at home, where I spend most of my time, nothing. I spent two months complaining several times a week at their office and over the phone. However both these approaches were fraught with difficulty – in their offices the 3G signal was perfect, of course, and to complain from home … well its pretty hard if your phone doesn’t work. My girlfriend’s phone (also a Smart subscription) also didn’t work in my apartment despite both phones having a 5-bar signal.

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Big Switch 3: Tweaking and Troubleshooting

OK, so we did the research and installed the chosen distribution in the last part. Now we’re going to fix some of the problems.

As I mentioned before, this Thinkpad R51e doesn’t play nice with Linux. I tried several distributions on it, and none of them worked perfectly out of the box, leading me to believe that Lenovo had slipped some non-standard hardware in there.

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