Archive for July, 2009

Ubuntu frustrations

July 27, 2009

I posted the other day that I am evaluating Ubuntu. The experience so far hasn’t been good. Ubuntu 9.04 comes with Firefox 3 so I decided to try and update this to Firefox 3.5. I couldn’t find Firefox 3.5 under Add/Remove Programs so I launched Firefox 3 to see if it had a Check For Updates feature. I couldn’t find such a feature so I went to the Mozilla website to download Firefox 3.5. The Mozilla website recognised that I was using a Linux based operating system. I downloaded Firefox 3.5 expecting the downloaded file to be some kind of installer but instead it was a compressed archive file. The Readme.txt file contained no useful information. I am sure I could extract the files to a folder and run an executable and that would launch Firefox 3.5 but that would leave Firefox 3 installed on my machine probably as my default browser. Rather than waste anymore time trying to get Firefox 3.5 installed I decided to use Firefox 3 to visit the BBC iPlayer website. Firefox informed me that plugins were missing. I opted to install the missing plugins. I was presented with 3 Flash Player plugins. Why three!?! I tried every one yet none of them would install. This is insane, hugely frustrating and a complete waste of time. I will try to persevere but my initial impression is it isn’t ready for prime time.

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Ubuntu and Microsoft VirtualPC 2007 / Sun VirtualBox

July 23, 2009

As a CTO I am constantly keeping an eye on technology. I have heard a lot of good things about Ubuntu for a little while now. I recently tried to install Ubuntu 9.04 in a Microsoft VirtualPC 2007 (build 6.0.192.0) Virtual Machine. After a bit of reading up on the internet I managed to get it installed by modifying the boot loader but no matter what I did I could not get the networking to work with Microsoft VirtualPC 2007.

Tonight I gave up trying to get it to work in Microsoft VirtualPC 2007 and installed Sun VirtualBox. Sun VirtualBox 3.0.2 (free but non Open Source version) installed easily and without issue on Windows Vista SP2. Once VirtualBox was installed I installed Ubuntu 9.04 in a Virtual Machine without any issues. VirtualBox is as simple to use as Microsoft Virtual PC 2007.

My initial impression is that Ubuntu has a simple clean user interface. Impressed with what I have seen so far I decided to install it on an old NEC PowerMate VL4 PC (integrated NIC, video and sound). Again Ubuntu seemed to install without issue.

Why am I making such a big deal about successfully installing a Linux distribution well it is because previous distributions I have tried over the years have all met with failure (mostly) or a tortuous process to install.

Over the next few weeks I will try and use Ubuntu on a day to day basis.

Internet Explorer 6 will not die

July 6, 2009

Looking at the web browser usage statistics reported by Coremetrics across our retailers Internet Explorer 6 usage (16%) is greater than that of FireFox 3 usage (15%). In fact Internet Explorer 6 usage is greater than that of, Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer 8 combined.

According to Wikipedia, Internet Explorer 6 was launched on 27th August 2001. The technology is nearly 8 years old! Why people do not upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer or install another web browser I will never understand. Modern web browsers provide a far superior experience and are much safer.

Web developers everywhere wish that Internet Explorer 6 would just die so they no longer have to develop ugly hacks.

eCommera wins second retailer outside of the UK

July 6, 2009

We have just won a deal to power the ecommerce website for a Norwegian retailer. We now have retailers in four countries.

Samsung NC10 died

July 6, 2009

A few weeks ago my Samsung NC10 died. I called the support line and they arranged for UPS to pick it up. Three days later it was returned with a new motherboard. All seems to be well so far.