New server specifications

Energy Costs a lot these days. Running server at home is has advantages like access to some of my data from anywhere in the world and disadvantages like constant use of a lot of electricity. These server is currently powered by a very hungry setup:
CPU: Celeron D345 (3.06Ghz 256K 533FSB Socket 478)
Motherboard: Intel D865GVHZL
RAM: 1Gb DDR333
HDD: 2x320Gb Seagate 7200.10

Now progress moves ahead not only in terms of pure performance of the system but also energy consumption. So I’m thinking of the ways to cut at least some of my electricity bill by upgrading my server. There are many choices and the slower CPU you choose the better it gets. But I still want something fast (don’t ask me why). Today I have looked around and found a few “interesting” options. One of them is:

Motherboard: MSI K9AGM2-FIH – 75$
CPU: AMD 64 X2 4800+ 65nm (Brisbane) – 105$
RAM: OCZ Platinum Revision-2 2Gb PC6400 DDR2 800MHz – 65$
Case: Antec NSK4480 – 73$.
Total: 318$

Now the question is is it worth upgrading and spending SO much money but benefit from it only three years down the road in terms of monetary savings? Unfortunately environment looses for now, as the cost of the system is more than I can get back. Now if only I can sell my current server to someone…

Time to buy Blue-Ray player…

Today’s announcement of the dollar parity for SONY PlayStation products is great incentive for Canadians to buy a Blue Ray player. For me there is even bigger reason to get one of those. This reason is the first ever Queen Blue-Ray (and HD-DVD) release of We Will Rock You Live in Montreal concert which was originally filmed on 35mm (while everybody else were using 16mm). This week I have unfortunately missed a movie theater premier of this concert (which happened on Wednesday, October 17th at 7pm in most major movieplexes, like Colossus nearby). The problem now is that even if I get the PS3, my 34″ CRT HDTV can show only 1/2 resolution of Blue Ray (540p).

On the side note, this concert could have been amazing on IMAX screen with IMAX sound, especially after being passed through IMAX DMR.

64bit All the Way!

Finally I’ve seen the future… I was hesitating to install 64bit Kubuntu Linux for a long time, thinking that I will have a lot of problems with different things I use daily and that I will not gain much anyway. I was wrong!. I had to install 64 bit Kubuntu 7.10 at work and noticed dramatic speed improvement, close to saying a full “Wow”. On Friday I’ve rushed home backed-up my files and installed Kubuntu 7.10 RC1 on my home machine equipped with Intel Core2Duo E6600. Speed improvement is definitely terrific.

Right now I will describe just two things that I have done to make my life under Kubuntu 7.10 AMD64 better:

  • Install Flash Player 9
  • Run Skype 1.4
  • Make Firefox play all online videos like Apple Trailers and GetMac Adds

Now if you are interested, then let’s proceed, though most of the stuff is quite obvious,
though there might be “better” approaches, I’ve done the following :

Enable Mutiverse, Universe and Restricted repositories in Synaptic or Adept!

To install install Adobe Flash Player 9 you need to

  1. Install (I’ve used Synaptic):
    nspluginwrapper
    flashplugin-nonfree
    (both from Gutsy Multiverse).
  2. Now run
    sudo nspluginwrapper -i /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so
  3. Done

To install Skype 1.4:

  1. Install all official packages (that have Ubuntu icon next to them) that contain “lib32″. Also install “ia32-libs”
  2. Download static version of Skype (currently 1.4.0.118)
  3. Run one at a time:

    sudo -s
    cd /opt
    tar jxvf /home/surge/skype_static-1.4.0.118.tar.bz2 #that's where I downloaded my Skype
    ln -sf skype_static-1.4.0.118/ skype
    mkdir bin
    cd bin
    ln -sf /opt/skype/skype . #that's dot at the end

    You can create a link to this binary from your desktop or any other panel… (once I try a better /faster way I will post it here).
  4. Done

Now to make all Videos play all the way it much easier:

  1. Install all packages that start with “gstreamer0.10″ but don’t end with gdb or dev.
  2. Install “totem” and “totem-mozilla”
  3. Done

That’s all. Once I try to run Wine with 32bit windows applications and other fun stuff I will post it on this website or on Ubuntu forum (but post a link on my blog). I’ve also found out that my WordPress theme does not like code tags and is not very friendly with long command strings….

Queen + Paul Rodgers Concert Photos Redux

I’m a big fan of Digital SLR photography. One of the advantages over compact P&S is that all SLR let you shoot in RAW. Raw allows you get get better results not only today but in also in the future. This is the case with my photo shooting session of Queen + Paul Rodgers concert back in March 16, 2006. Originally all photos were processed with Canon Digital Photos Professional. DPP converts RAWs into Jpeg but preserves all CMOS noise for high ISOs and can’t recover highlights without manually tweaking the curve. Yesterday I had finally found time to process all the photos again but now with Bibble Pro, which did help to automate quite a few things. The results are much better.

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20060316-222229

Thanks to Noise Ninja built into Bibble all images are almost noise free even though they are all ISO1600. In the future with advent of better image processing techniques it will be possible to batch re-process all the images again and get even better results. Again all photos are on Flickr and in my Gallery.

Hot Indian Summer

“It’s over, it’s over, it’s all over now”… Yesterday we have reached a temperature of 31 degrees Celsius and today we returned back to more normal Octoberish 15C… This is my tenth year in Canada and I don’t remember such hot weather… in fact I’m pretty sure it never happened while I’m in Canada. So the Turkey Day was very hot and I wanted to capture some of the Ontario Fall Colors. The result is in my Gallery and on Flickr.

20071008-131517

20071008-132526

20071008-130907

What’s more I have Geotagged all photos from Barbados and Turkey Day on Flickr…

What to expect in Ubuntu 7.10?

Only three weeks separate us from the final release of the next version of the Ubuntu distribution which some of you know I’m using almost exclusively on every computer I own (except my PowerBook G4). Just last week beta 1 was released, but don’t panic, beta 1 is really not beta 1 in Windows world, it is almost final release candidate. :) I have tried LiveCD myself and I think it should be quite a good release. Today thanks to Distrowatch, I have found a good overview of the upcoming features and improvements. What’s the main conclusion? Finally Visual Effects are available in the distribution by default and laptops get better battery life.

Wait is almost over…