I’ve used Dell laptops for a while and when I was looking for a new one about a month ago I was interested in a Dell Vostro as I’d read good things. One of the good things I’d read was that you could order it without all the crapware that comes installed on most machines these days.
So I brought a Vostro 1400 and was pretty pleased with it. One of the first things I did was *wipe all the partitions* on the drive and set it up to dual boot between Windows Vista and Ubuntu – with a nice big partition to store my data. This could then be accessed from both Vista and Ubuntu – ideal.
Compiz is a 3D desktop environment (that used to be called Beryl) that can be a very nice place to work. I’m a sucker for eye-candy, true, but even with most of it switched off the result can be a pleasant, and maybe even more productive, place to be. There are literally hundreds of videos on YouTube to give you an idea of what Compiz looks like – see here. One of the most noticeable effects is the ‘wobbly windows’. This give the windows some ‘flexibility’ and also gives the desktop some ‘friction’ The effect is quite stunning, especially as the contents of the windows update while they are being dragged.
OK, that looks nice but it’s not really that useful – one thing that is useful though is the desktop ‘cube’ effect. Your desktop can have up to 16 faces that are rotated in 3D. Now, I must admit that I also have dual monitors, so I have a lot of ‘desktop real estate’ already, but having the ability to have different ‘cube faces’ with work tasks grouped on them is great. I very rarely press Alt-Tab any more (even though the 3D application switcher effect is quite nice also) because my applications don’t stack on top of each other very often – they’re on different cube faces. I’ve also got my mouse setup so that if I rotate the mouse wheel while at the edge of the screen the cube rotates. This makes quickly switching between different applications very fast.
I’ve got a total of 3 VPS’s from different providers now and I’ve been trying to decide the best way to back them all up. Plus I’ve got about 7GB of documents, photos and videos on my home PC and if everything could be backed up to the same place then even better.
Spent a little while trying to get WinPE2 (Vista) to boot via PXE from a linux server and thought it could be useful to someone. We already had our Red Hat stuff booting from there and it seemed like a good idea to keep it in one place!
Some of the stuff could be useful for booting via PXE from a Windows box too
Windows XP was used for WAIK stuff
Fedora Core 6 was used for PXE Server
Both running on VMWare Server along with a blank VMWare machine as the PXE client
* Note – there’s a bug in RHEL5 that’s stop’s the tftpd.remap file working. Not sure how many versions this affects
Now we’re going to install mysql and apache and make a few changes so that they run OK in limited memory. I’m going to use the package manager to install them. You can compile and install them from source to get exactly what you want but be prepared to update them manually as bug and vulnerabilities are fixed.
Now we’re updated to Gutsy it’s time to secure our system a little
First a firewall. Linux comes with a command called iptables for setting up firewall rules. It can be fairly complicated to use but we only want to do something nice and simple so we can just write the rules by hand.