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Whilst my friend Joe has been having fun taking apart his TV, I’ve been trying to make a rather brocken laptop useful in some way. I took it off someone thinking that just the screen was broke and I could use my monitor to make it quite a useful stationary machine. No such luck! The hard drive was also brocken.

Now, here’s the interesting bit, you would expect my live cds to work fine, even though the hard drive is broke. No, my ubuntu cd fails, so does DSL, but a gparted disk and a puppy disk boot into X fine. It would seem that the live cds panic if they see a disk, but it doesn’t work properly. Actually removing the hard disk seems to have solved that problem, l and Ubuntu boots.

But, we’re not sorted yet. My main use for any machine is the internet. Ubuntu live CD gets the internet fine over ethernet, but i have no wired access upstairs (where I want to use the machine) and the wireless is being a pain. I guess I could mess with the wireles a bit, but it needs yucky proprietary drivers and any changes I make won’t we saved.

So, I want some way to have a persistent system. I’ve tried using a usb stick, but to no avail. It doesn’t help that parted freaks out when it sees my disks and refusing to deal with it properly. (It sees no filesystem, even when there is one, and says my disk is a quarter of its actual size).

Lastly, I attempted using pxe – I was quite surprised to find that the laptop supports this out of the box. After finally getting to grips with how pxe linux works, I managed to get a kernel booted. However, the filesystem is supposed to be carried over nfs, but it just would not happen. It might help if I had a direct ethernet connection between the two machines, but I need a new ethernet card for that.

So, I’ve put the project to one side for now. Hopefully, sometime this week I’ll be able to get hold of Joes old pc (before he obliterates it like his TV) and then I’ll have more hardware to work with.

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I’ve done a bit with wine the last few days. I tried to get a few of my windows to run for myself, albeit not very successfully – mainly because I don’t really need them anyway.

Then, yesterday, I was given the task of getting WoW and the Orange box to work on a friends Kubuntu install ( 😦 my only convert). Annoyingly, the problem was not really wine, but a bug in the drivers of the intel graphics card..

I fixed this by editing some WoW graphics options, the opengl one (of course), but the biggest improvement seemed to be this tweak, despite the fact that it is designed for ATI cards. (Although, tbh I tried most of the things further up that page as well.)

As for the Orange Box, after much fustration, I found that I could get counterstrike and team fortress to work by using a “Launch Option” that reduced the version of Direct X that was used (to 7.0 for these games).

Thing is though, it seemed to take me ages to fix, much longer than I thought it would. Especially, as I didn’t manage to get all of the Orange Box to work (in particular Portal), I felt little sense of achievement. Perhaps this is just the nature of fixing things: if something is broke (especially after following application specific tutorials in the case of wine), then the problem is likely to be something you wouldn’t expect, and is by its nature hard to find.

Hmmmmmm, I wonder if anyone will understand the above, I hardly do myself :D. *Sigh* I guess thats what happens when you let your thoughts stew in your mind for a day. I guess the thing with writing stuff down is you need to do it whilst the thoughts are still fresh in your mind.