Archive for the 'Systems' Category

Strange mail from Bruce walker


I recently put a Laptop for sale in a local community web page. Within about an hour I received the following mail:

From: bruce walker
subject: inquiry for laptop

dear seller,
i am interested i purchasing the item advertised by you online……….i would like to know the full working condition of the item.i am alright with the price and i would like to know your payment get back to me as soon as possible because i really need the item very urgently.have a nice day.
business regard.
bruce walker

Strange, huh? I had posted details about the product and myself, but this mail quotes nothing, not my name, not even the brand of the laptop. Bruce wants to buy this “item”?

Well, I decided this must be a bot of some kind, and and judging by the spelling mistakes a bad one, so I didn’t reply. I did however do a search on Bruce’s email address and some quotes from the inquiry, but google had nothing for me. Am I really the first one to report this? If you have seen a similar message, let me know in the comments.


OpenSuse 10.3 on Lenovo T60p (FireGL VL5250)


Background: About a year or two ago I replaced all Linux at home with Mac OS X. But since a few months I have a Lenovo T60p from work, which mainly runs Windows XP. It happened that the german c’t magazine recently came with a DVD of OpenSuse 10.3, and one day away from home (and my Macs) in some lonely hotel room I got bored and installed it. Everything worked just fine, but the laptop’s graphic card did not. It is an ATI, and I slightly remembered that they have a closed source driver for Linux, that needs to be installed somehow on top of any distribution that only ships software that is open source.

So my first step was to google for this topic, and I ended up on a page that explains how to install the ATI driver on Suse Linux. I followed Stefan Dirsch’s simple steps and ended up with the ATI driver in version 8.41.7 directly from the ATI Repository. Great. Only it still didn’t work.

Turns out that in the Change Log of the ati-fglrxG01-kmp-… package it is noted that the support for FireGL cards was “temporarily removed” one previous version ago. So what next? I found another page that describes how to install a previous version of the ati driver manually. It explicitly mentioned 8.40.4 but I was not sure for which graphic card that is. When I was browsing the ati pages, I could not find the Mobility VL5250 that I actually have. I selected something similar, and ended up with the version 8.35.5 download. That however is not helpful, as it support up to Xorg 7.1, but not the 7.2 that is in OpenSuse 10.3.

When I selected one of the Radeon cards, I finally found the right download of the ATI driver in version 8.40.4, and then I could follow Vichar Bhatt’s instructions to the end. The display now shows 1680 x 1050 with 16.7 Mio colors. Great. It wasn’t excatly straight forward, but I got it working. Thanks, y’all.

Switching easy with Harmony


I retired my XP laptop some months ago, and still consider myself in the switching-to-Mac process. Not every application is required every day, so some things / topics to investigate just pop up after some time.

Today was such a day, when I had to add a new activity to my Logitech Harmony 525 remote control. Last time I programmed it was on Windows. Turns out that the Harmony application has all the settings web based, and a Mac version is available. It knew who I was when I connected the remote, I added the new activity (playing wii, which requires to switch to another input on the receiver) and finished wondering why not every application could switch so easily.

Well, some do. I keep using the google apps (mail, reader, spreadsheets) from both Macs and PCs. Great new world. Thanks y’all.

USB2 speed tests in Parallels and Boot Camp


In this post I’m documenting my findings of a windows application running in Parallels accessing a USB2 external disk drive. I compared this setup to various other alternative disk locations. I first explain a little bit of the background and the 2 test that I did in each scenario, then show the results and discuss them.

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