19 September 2008

Dual Booting XP/Ubuntu and Keeping Them Synced

I've wanted to post this for a while. I know it sounds bad, but a lot of folks have been asking me how did I set up my dual boot system with WinXP and Ubuntu. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone. First having this guide out there and to also have people start reading my blog.

I'll start by assuming you have a clean hard drive and are starting from scratch. I'll post later on how to install a dual boot with WinXP already installed.

First boot up with your WinXP disk. Using the WinXP partition manager create two partitions. The first partition as NTFS, name it WinXP OS, and have it about 10 Gigs. Install your WinXP OS here. After installation, do not download any updates. Immediately after install run your defrag 3 times after you set your Virtual Memory to 0. I don't know why it's the number 3, but a smarter man than I recommended this.

Reboot your PC with your Ubuntu Live disk. There, use the Partition Manager to cut up the rest of your Hard Drive into 3 more partitions. The Second Partition as Ext3, primary, and about 10-20 Gigs. The third will be your swap. (RAM x 2 = Swap Partition size for me) and the fourth and hopefully largest will be NTFS. I label this one Programs.

After doing this Install Ubuntu using the Ext3 partition in the manual install mode.
Make sure you right click Ext3 and make sure you label it (./) not root or anything else.

Now, what's great about Ubuntu is it reads and writes to NTFS. With this in mind you can always keep your Thunderbird Mail folders in sync with both your WinXP and your Ubuntu.

Now, go back to your WinXP via Grub and set your min and max virtual memory. Again I use RAM x 2 = Virtual Memory. (This helps a lot with fragmentation) Then download ALL your updates. It's a lot, so if you have a slow connection and trust your pc to not lock up, go play a round of golf.

After you get back from your 18, go ahead and take a shower, clean your clubs, inventory your balls, or whatever it is you want to do. Now, I am pretty sure you have a ton programs you want to install. This is where your second NTFS partition comes into play. I named mine, Programs. Make sure you always do a manual install of every piece of software you install, and also make sure it is installed on this second NTFS partition.

Now, to keep your email synced. Install the latest version of Thunderbird. Go ahead and set up your accounts as normal. DO NOT AUTO DOWNLOAD ANY MAIL! Just set up your accounts. Now. This is the important part, make sure you have all hidden folders able to be viewed. If you don't want to do this in WinXP, go ahead and boot into Ubuntu and do this. Use your file manager to copy your email folder from your WinXP OS partition and place it into your Programs partition. The path will be something like this:

Documents and Settings > (Your WinXP Profile Name) > Application Data > Thunderbird > Profiles > (bunch of letters).default > Mail

Copy (do not Cut) the Mail folder and place it anywhere you want in your Programs Partition, but remember where you placed it.

Now, go into your WinXP Thunderbird and go to account settings and the Server Settings to each email account you have on there and change the path to
“Program/Mail/(and that particular mail account's name.)”

It's best to use Browse in order to do this.

Go to Ubuntu, download Thunderbird, set up your email accounts, and have Thunderbird look into the exact same folders as you set up in WinXP.

You can also do the same thing as all the above for your Newsgroups as well.

Now, this is a huge warning. If you have an anti-virus program in WinXP like AVG, it will only scan emails that are coming in whilst in WinXP. All emails downloaded in Ubuntu will not be scanned. Thus, if you're not sure about an email whilst in Ubuntu, delete that email from your system immediately before returning to WinXP.

The quick and dirty way of syncing your Lightning (Calender) is to use the Google Provider extension. Also, using the Foxmarks in Firefox to help you sync your bookmarks in either WinXP or Ubuntu.

Now, you can download your emails until your heart's delight. If you download and read them in Ubuntu, they'll registered as downloaded and read in WinXP, or vise versa. Have fun.

Now, for my office suite (Open Office.org). To sync my data with this program I first never save documents in my Linux partition for one. Another cool thing I love is the Google Docs extension for Open Office.org. Using this I can load and save my documents to Google Docs and not worry about if my local drive or storage becomes corrupted at any time.

Bottom line is if you have any data that you wish to access, do not save it on your Linux partition. If you keep it on an NTFS or FAT file system you'll be able to access it in any OS you have currently booted.

06 September 2008

Golf and Life.

Golf. What a wonderful sport. If you ever want to see how someone is, play a round of golf with them. It's such a personal sport. It definitely shows someone for who they are, not only to themselves, but everyone around them. Golf is like life itself. If you look at it from a far it's a simple concept, but when in the midst of playing the game, it becomes more complicated than any sport in the world. It has more rules than any sport I know. How is the game supposed to be played? You take a ball that is supposed to be built within guidelines set by a governing body. You take fourteen clubs, in which these too are governed by the same body for conformity. In fact, every piece of equipment is governed by this body in order not to give an unfair advantage to any player. With this in mind, you take said ball and place it on said tee in order to strike it towards a hole with your choice of one of the said fourteen clubs. The idea is to place this small ball into a hole that is sometimes hundreds of yards away in the least amount of strikes as possible. A quite simple concept, but one of the hardest things to do in almost any sport. You have no opponents that can get in your way or physically touch you to impede your process. In fact, your only opponent is yourself. If you win or lose it's your own fault.

Yes, there are obstacles in your way between you and the hole. There's sand, water, hazards, uneven ground, and plethora of many different acts of nature that can be imagined to impede a player. It's how you handle these that separates a player from a cheater.

I find that those that cheat on the course cheat in life. I find those that blame their clubs, the course, or even other players never blame themselves for their short falling in life. I find that those that play by the rules live with in the rules in life. I find that those that are imaginative on their shots are imaginative in their life and career. I find that those that go for it go for it as well with their life.

I know how I play. I know who I am. Do you wonder how you play? Do you wonder who you are? If you want, we can find out together. Tee up.

25 March 2008

Video Games and the News

Video Games and the News

It seems we all need a boogie man. Back in the 70s and early 80s it seems the thing that was ruining our children's lives was Dungeons and Dragons. In fact, they had made a movie about the situation starring Tom Hanks as the unfortunate young man who thought his character was who he really is. This was a total shame really. I don't have extensive knowledge of the D&D culture, but through my travels I have met a lot of folks that are very heavily into role playing. Not one of them I can say is a delinquent in any sort of the term. Maybe a bit nerdy and hard to follow when they talk about their experiences with their role playing game of choice, but all in all, would never even hurt a fly. Not one was a Devil worshiper, not one a drug addict, and not one a drunk. In fact, the ones I have met use the game in order to escape from their particular lives for an hour or so a week. I played myself when I was in Iraq and Diego Garcia. I knew little about the games, and knew less on how to play them, but it was great to be somewhere else in my mind for a while. I honestly think it's a better choice of entertainment than turning on the boob tube and letting your mind rot.

Why was this little hobby so demonized? I don't know, but it seems the media has a way of trying to blame the ills of our youth to something besides the parents or the individual that caused whatever atrocity that has fallen that particular week. The society in the US has turned into the "not my fault" society. No one is a drunk anymore, they have a disease called alcoholism. No one is a thug anymore, they are disenfranchised youths. It seems everyone is a victim of society now these days. To be honest, I don't buy it.

I believe we are all in charge of our destiny. If you don't like what's going on around you, where you are in life, and how others see you, the only person that can change this is you. To blame others is a sign of weakness and selfishness.

Now, let's look at what's really going on in life. Historically crime is down. Especially violent crime. If you look at the hows and whys of this it seems that video games have played a large part in this. The simple fact of this is, little Johny and little Suzy are busy playing Halo instead of out on the streets trying to figure out things to do. You can't shoot someone if you have a two handed controller in your mitts, and your busy using your mind to solve complex problems while trying to play detective to figure out what is going on in the story line. Video games have come a long way from pong. School shootings are way down. School stabbings and fights have dropped even further, and the media ignores these simple facts.

But one may ask why is it every month or so there is a horrific school shooting on the news? The reason is simple, times have changed folks. You can blame CNN. News is more prolific today than it was ten to even twenty years ago. As soon as something stupid happens, and it is deemed that millions of viewers will change their channels to CNN, Fox News, or what have you, that will garner more advertising dollars, then it will be shown as soon as possible. Technology has made the world's information instantaneous. This isn't a bad thing. The news corporations have a right to do what they do. But remember, you have the right not to watch. There is no law anywhere that forces an individual to watch TV.

There's a rule in writing, that even I know. Write what you know. This I believe should be a rule in our personal life, only comment on what you know. Awhile back there was a news segment on Fox News that talked about a sex scene in a video game called Mass Effect. The first thing asked to some doctor was, "Have you even played the game?" With no surprise the lady said, "No!" as if it were the end of the world for her to play a video game. For me, she lost all credibility and became just another talking head in my opinion. She commented on something she didn't know, but worse, she tried to come across as an expert. I do remember a few years back, there was a hack for a sex scene in one of the Grand Theft Auto games. The news corporations preyed on the fact that most folks don't know what a hack is. Just so you know, a hack is a piece of code written by someone other than the individual who originally programmed the game or software to have the game or software do something it wasn't intended on doing. A virus would be considered a hack.

Now, if you are a parent, I implore you to sit down with your children while they play the games. I am pretty sure you will be entertained, have some fun, bond with your children, and may even play the games. My parents did that with me and my brothers. Even to this day my brothers go home on the weekends and play games with my parents on a Xbox 360. Even my brother's wife gets in on the action.

Here's a quote now that wasn't from me, but my grandfather who was NYPD.

"You should be happy your boys play games. It keeps them off the street."

24 February 2008

Chris Pirillo and His Dog Mac

Well, I bit and watched all 25 plus minutes of Chris Pirillo's new video on YouTube. I would say it wasn't as interesting as I had hoped. The video should be below for your viewing pleasure.

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

I don't see what is to be argued over. As much as one would want to say a Mac is a Mac it is simply not true. A Mac is just preferred hardware bought by Apple to implement it's own OS. This way of building and programming for a PC with a finite number of hardware helps simplify the stability of the OS and it's applications. Smart, but not the begin all, end all. The real difference between a Mac and any other PC is just the OS. To be technical, a Mac is a PC. Remember, "PC" stands for Personal Computer. "PC" has little to no reference to it's Operating System (OS).

To let it be known, I have not yet used Vista or Mac extensively. My uncle uses Mac and is a very strong supporter of this hardware and software. He has his reasons for this and I see them clearly. I on the other hand love to mess around a lot with my PC and tweak it until I can do anything I can dream of with it. For me Mac is not the route I wished to take to accomplish this.

Early in the video Chris Pirillo states that Linux isn't ready yet. I disagree with this statement totally. Just like Windows or Mac OS, you need to sit down with it and learn the system. Linux can and does just as much as both those OSes plus more due to how it is built, but it does have a slightly steeper learning curve. This learning curve is quickly being brought down by the Linux community such as the folks at Ubuntu. In fact, for a lot of folks that have used Linux for more years than their Windows years, they find the learning curve for Windows to be quite high for some of the more advanced functions. Such as ipconfig in the command line. In fact, almost all command line options in WinXP are a pain in the neck unless you know to use "Run" and implement "cmd". All Linux Distros I have seen and tested so far all have a Terminal GUI icon just ready for a quick click.

I am not sure how much experience Mr. Pirillo has with Linux, but to dismiss it all together and not really including it in the old Mac vs. PC routine is not the way to be totally informative.

The point of all of this is I expect more from Chris Pirillo on subjects such as these. Not one time in the whole video did he give examples of what the differences are in the two OSes. It would have been nice to see his opinion on the ease of use, or steps taken to implement simple or complex tasks that even he himself must use every day in his line of work. Please, just don't give statements and no examples to help emphasis exactly what you are ranting or raving about.

I feel very sorry for Kat. She was brought on the show to help in some way, but due to Chris continually cutting her off and not really giving a good direction on what was supposed to be discussed is really a shame. You could hear in the poor woman's voice that she had a lot of great professional insight to add for both Mac and Windows use, but was unable to deliver. Her eventual confusion on what to do when Chris's ADHD kicked in and he decided to go get a trophy CD signed by one of the main developers of Vista was proof of the lack of direction for the discussion.

Yes, he seems a bit young, and has all the charisma of a true PC geek, but he needs to learn to calm down. In a few of his videos you can either hear his wife telling him to keep it down or even see her on the tape giving it her best not to slap him silly. She must be a great woman and a saint to be with Chris. As a consumer I only have to put up with him if I chose to, but this poor soul lives with him on a 24 hour a day basis. I am pretty sure Chris would agree with me.

"Hearing someone is not the same as listening. Remember, you hear noise, but listen to music."

19 February 2008

Black History Month and Other Craziness

Well, it's Black History Month, and also the shortest month in the year, but for me it's just another day, week, month, and year here in Manila. Thank God! If you want to know what I am getting at, please proceed to Google Calendars and check out all the public Calendars dealing with a specialty and minority group days, weeks, and months. It's crazy. A term like Black History, Hispanic History, Women's History, People with Mass Amounts of Boogers History, and so on and so forth is an affront to the individuals being described and the word "history" itself.

I understand things like this are not only to make individual groups feel better about themselves and feel uplifted, but make a bunch of old farts feel better about themselves for allowing such groups to be overlooked in the first place. It's a game of guilt in my opinion. To make one group feel guilty for something they haven't done that others did and to make another group feel like they are special for a day, week, month, or whatever. It's stupid. First of all, if you need the government or the masses to create a day, month, year, or whatever for your skin color, place of ancestry, medical condition, or whatever makes you "different" from the rest of society you need to go outside and find a way to end yourself as soon as possible. The only person that can make you happy is...(wait for it)....YOU! If you can't make yourself happy no one can.

Second, if you consider yourself a label of some sort you have just limited yourself. It's funny when folks like Dave Chappelle talk about "blacks", "whites", and other skin colors, but in the long run these labels are nothing more than CRAP! It's great when the government wants to talk about equality, but when the first thing they ask you on their forms is sex and race. It's just stupid. The best thing we can do is put other and fill in HUMAN or just our names. I am not a white male, I'm a human named Jason Dorfler. No one else is like me. If everyone who looked somewhat like me was just like me in thoughts and likes, well this would be one boring world.

Third in this rant is the fact the deciding parties love to use the word "history" in their description of these special days. That's a bunch of CRAP as well. History is not modular. History is an all encompassing chain of cause and effect that reaches to all things in the universe. "History" belongs to everyone. "History" is not the sole property of any individual group or creed. If you don't think so, try to figure out what the heck is going on in the Middle East right now. One thing caused another, and it has a lot more to do than Jews and Muslims not liking one another. For something interesting look up why Iraq uses Daylight Saving Time.

I really don't think this subject needs any further digging. We all have our opinions and thoughts on the subject. Take time and think why CRAP like this persists. Things like this only divide us further as humans and takes our time and effort away from things that would be a little more productive, like finding the cure for cancer.

Now for my morning quote: "Today is a great day, yesterday was just okay."

02 February 2008

Linux, Windows, and Computer Politics.

There's a lot of things going on in the world of computers and software. Being someone who has to use his computer every day for work, and has the privilege to use the same machinery for my enjoyment and pleasure, I don't see the issue some folks have with MSFT.

I do have some issues with MSFT's OS products. For me it tries to be a little too much for what I want and need it for in some areas and not enough in others, but it still works for some purposes that I have yet to find a replacement for. What they do include in the OS, for example, IE7, WinMedia Player, so and so forth, are nice. They do exactly what they say they do. Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes a little more than what I need. I'd give examples of my needs and wants, but these are my preferences and opinions. Someone else may feel these included softwares are exactly perfect for themselves and their family. It's not my duty, nor position, to dictate to others how they should run their lives, much less their computers.

A few years ago many companies brought MSFT to court over their inclusion of many of the softwares that were included with the Windows OS package. Their position was that these inclusions were an unfair way of trying to monopolize the software industries that each of these particular companies were representing. My opinion on this is as such:

It's like Dunlop suing Ford for including tires on their cars that are from a different company, and "not allowing" car customers from choosing what tires they want. Another great example would be Sony suing Ford for including AC Delco radios and forcing customers to use such a product without the option of Sony's Xplosion products.

It's just stupid. The tires, radio, and whatever part you can replace in the car are included by the manufacturer so that the customer can enjoy their ride off the lot. If they want to upgrade their individual parts, they can uninstall such parts and replace them with the product of their choice.

Now with this in mind, let's say IE7 was the tires. I can always install another Web Client. I personally use
FireFox. Why, b/c it does exactly what I want it to do due to the ability to add extensions of all kinds that makes not only my internet experience better, but my computing and work experience much easier and fun. They have an extension for everything. They even have an extension for monitoring my router without me having to open up a new browser or tab to log into my router's settings and status. With download helper I can put my favorite YouTube videos on my HDD and watch them at my leisure. There's just so much to do and so much to learn with FireFox, it brings the fun back into the internet.

Now, let's say WinMedia Player is your radio. Heck, there's so many softwares out there that can replace this one software it's almost ridiculous. Here's a few I recommend for someone to try on the Window's platform; VLC, MPlayer, and WinAmp just to name a few. Many of these players can play more video and audio types than WinMedia Player and iTunes combined. Very nice.

Now, Outlook Express is also nice, but there are so many other products out there for Mail Clients that just blow Outlook right out of the water. I personally use ThunderBird. Again, at first, it will not have many options for an individual to do much with this particular email client, but this also being a Mozilla product, it too has extensions. It even has a calendar extension called Lightning that has just as many options and more due to more extensions that can fully replace Outlook as your email client.

These are just a few of the great softwares you can use to replace your MSFT products that come pre-installed on Windows to replace or augment your user experience. A great place to get started with looking into MSFT software alternatives is here. This is just a few. I also recommend AVG and SpyBot to help secure your Windows OS.

Now, if you are just tired of Windows, or you just want something fresh and new, I recommend trying Ubuntu. It is a Linux Distribution that is easy to use and very stable. I personally love it. (In fact I am using Ubuntu right now to write this blog.) All the alternative softwares I have stated above are all included with Ubuntu or able to be installed with a few simple clicks. Ubuntu is not for everyone however. There are a few things that may be far too complicated for some folks to do or have time to deal with. I recommend researching as much as you can before installing this software, but if you want to just play around with it to see if it is something you may want to try there is what is called a Live CD version you can download. Just download the iso (image of the cd or dvd), burn the image to your disk, and just reboot your PC with this in your disk drive. Nothing will be installed on your PC at all. Every bit of the Ubuntu OS will be installed on your ram, thus never touching your Hard Drive. Now, if you like it, you can install it right from the Live CD session. I highly recommend doing a dual boot system with Windows and Ubuntu so if you get stuck, you can always use Windows to help in an emergency or just to play around. Setting up a dual boot maybe a little too complicated for some people, so make sure you do your research before trying.

Remember, however, MSFT is as big as it is not due to illegal tactics, or any other reason but one. It put out a great product which we as consumers bought and implemented in our lives. There is nothing wrong with this. If you do not like MSFT, do something about it. No matter how much you sue, complain, and do nothing, changes nothing. Vote with your wallet, buy alternative products, or use alternative products. That's what's so great about being in a free capitalist nation. We have the choice to buy and use what we want. If you don't like something, don't buy it. If you don't buy it, the company will either change it's products, tactics, or whatever it is about the company you don't like to win you back as a customer, or it will simply just go the way of the Dodo.

I personally like a lot of MSFT's products. I buy them, I use them, I implement them. But I also like Ubuntu and Linux. I also support, use, and implement these products as well. There are many folks that will disagree with me on my views of MSFT. Many of these folks are deep in the Linux community. I am not here to try to change their minds and views. That is their right to have those views, but I have the right to have mine.

Now for my morning quote:
"I am good, but I can always be better. Be better today."

23 January 2008

First Post

Hello all,

As you can tell, if you have found my little blog, this is my first post. As I can tell, most first post blogs are the worst of any blog set by any poster.
So I will keep this short and get this one out of the way.

My name is Jason Dorfler. As of right now I reside more or less in Manila Philippines. I work as a CIO of a start up hotel management company. With this noted, please do not feel this is a great place in order to find insider information in my company, my competitors, or partners. This is just a place for me to post my thoughts and feelings on things I observe and witness through my traveling and adventures.

Just for further insight on my mindset and where my views come from, I am a vet, I was a contractor in Iraq, and I have worn many hats in my life. Now, let it be known now, these are my thoughts and views. No one is perfect. I may be way off base and many may not agree with me. If you disagree with me, please feel free to respond to my further posts. If you are just going to be rude, please feel free to find another blog. Thank you.

I think I will start ending my posts with sayings I usually tell myself as I look myself in the mirror before work.

"Everyone gets what they deserve, especially me."