Geek Stuff Home PC Personal

Fixed Fading Issue for HP2605 (again)

About a month ago I ran out of black toner (124A if your shopping for replacement cartridges) and was thinking about getting rid of the printer.  I have not used it as much over the last year or so.  However, I decided to keep the printer to print worksheets for Boy Scout merit badges and maybe a few resumes if needed.  I stopped by Staples and purchased my replacement cartridge, and once again I have fading on the right side of the paper.  This time issue was with the black toner cartridge.

Going through all the cleaning steps did not help, the problem was the optical box at stated in a previous post.  This is the second time I’ve had to clean the mirrors in the optical box.  The printer works well and I’m sure I’ll keep it for another year or two, but I’m not sure if I want to continue putting total faith in HP printers.  Maybe I’ll spend some time over the next few months researching for an excellent laser printer that works with Apple Print (print from my iOS device) or maybe ditch the whole thing and be more green.

Here are some before and after pictures.  Merit badge found on

Home PC LinuxMint Sager Windows 7

Installed Linux Mint 8 64bit

Back on February 1st 2010, I said I was going to wait on installing Linux again on my new Sager NP8690.  Well that didn’t last too long.  Over the past weekend I ran Symantec Ghost to backup my hard drive, downloaded and installed openSuSE 11.2 64bit.  Installation went well, I installed KDE and Gnome desktop environments.  However openSuSE 11.2 ran a little sluggish.  Although openSuSE was my first Linux distro, I can’t see myself running a distro that doesn’t thrill me.  I have a lot of respect for the openSuSE developers and I think they have a fine product.  I reinstalled the backup image and move to Linux Mint 8.

With Linux Mint 8 64bit, the installation was easy as always.  What I really like the most was having everything work as soon as installation was complete.  Of course I had to install the Nvidia drivers to enable Desktop Effects.  After rebooting the PC, I was able to log onto Facebook and run Farmville, Fishville, and Happy Aquarium.  I also watched the Avatar movie preview at, and watch the Mac Ads.  I also watched a few video clips on Youtube, clips from my Video folder, and listen to MP3s.

Although I can connect to my television set using HDMI, I am unable to get the resolution correct.  Also I cannot play Blu-Ray movies (Star Trek) in Linux Mint.  I did read there are some hack I can run, but to be honest I would rather have a player already installed or a codex available for VLC.  I wouldn’t mind paying for a native application from Corel who sell WinDVD, an application that work well from my perspective.

I plan on running Windows 7 Ultimate and Linux Mint 8 in parallel for many of my applications.   Although I use IMAP for my Google account, I’m not sure I want to check e-mail on both OSs. I still may set it up, but I need to decide which OS for my primary e-mail.

Home PC Personal Sager Thunderbird Ubuntu Windows 7 xoticpc

Setting up New Notebook Computer with Windows 7 I mean Ubuntu I mean Windows 7

Well I finally received my new notebook on Tuesday January 26.  I wanted to use my bootable BartPE USB jump drive to image the HDD before starting the first boot into Windows 7.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the correct drivers in the BartPE image for the NIC or the AHCI controller.  Even with this small issue, I enjoyed the nice color contrast on the 15.6″ widescreen at 1920×1080 with the glossy display.  I’ve seen displays exactly like mine at retail stores. Usually the displays are all gunked up with fingerprints and grime from shoppers.

I like the simple look of the case – flat black all around except for the small silver Sager logo centered on the lid.  There are only 2 stickers by the keyboard (HDMI and Intel Corei7) which does not give the computer a junked up look.  The chiclet keyboard, which has a number pad on the right) took no time to get use to.  Also there is little give in the center with normal pressure.

I booted into Windows 7 Ultimate and completed the mini setup wizard.  I am happy to report no bloatware installed.  Just the following applications:

  • Microsoft Office 2007 Standard 25 day trial (removed since I already own a copy of Office 2007 Professional)
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Blue-Ray player

Windows 7 recognized my wireless network and I installed the 64bit drivers for my HP 2605dn Color Laserjet network printer.  Test pages printed without problems so now it was time to customize the screen by installing the Star Wars and Pittsburgh Steelers Desktop Themes I made awhile ago.

On Wednesday I installed Ubuntu 9.10 64bit – removing Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit.  Ubuntu recognized everything except for the Nvidia card, but the Hardware Detection manager found the correct drivers for me and suggested which one to install.  Desktop effects and Compiz were enabled and finally have the cool 3D spinning cube, wobble windows, and all the special effects I could want on my notebook.  To finish up I installed the latest codecs for my multimedia files, Flash for Firefox and Virtualbox OSE.  But soon I started to have some problems.

VirtualBox OSE installed correctly.  I created a vm, installed Windows 7 and rebooted the vm as needed.  The performance was extremely slow.  WHAT??  This is a Core i7 with 6GB of 1333MHz RAM and a high-end Nvidia card with 1GB of dedicated RAM.  After shutting down the vm I verified I had my settings correct and tried agin.  Booting into the vm was extremely painful.  I do not have this issue at work on my Intel P4 3.4GHz with 2GB of RAM.  Since it was late I went to sleep to figure out what to do tomorrow.  When I got home from work the next day I booted the system and logged into Facebook to catch up with some friends.  While I was playing Farmville the session rebooted.  That was strange.  So I logged in again and went back to Facebook and the session rebooted again.  After logging in a third time I googled for a reason Ubuntu 9.10 64bit would randomly reboot the session.  Within three minutes it rebooted my session again.

Now I am extreamly upset with the system.  I fired off an e-mail to a buddy of mine, reinstalled my Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit CD and rebooted.  I spent the next several hours rebulding my PC.  Windows 7 installed within 20 minutes, spent the next 30 minutes running the drivers CD (the user interface was awesome – good job to the folks who designed it), and the rest of the time spent installing Office 2007 Professional, Thunderbird 3 (with all the addons I like), Firefox 3.6, Filezilla 3.3.1, Quicktime, VLC, Google Earth, Picasa, Skype, Trillian 4.1, and a few other applications.

I really wanted to run Ubuntu on my new notebook, but the 64bit seems too unstable.  Maybe I should have installed the 32bit version instead.  Either way, I am happy now with Windows 7.  I might at a later date install Ubuntu 10.04 or Linux Mint 9 on a second partition and have a dual-boot system.

I purchased Star Trek on Blu-Ray over the weekend and enjoyed watching the movie.  The picture looked great but the sound from the computer speakers was difficult to hear with the fans running.  I was able to connect the computer to my HDMI input for the TV, but the audio was not available.  I might be missing a setting for HDMI.

I have two issues with this notebook – battery and bluetooth.  For the battery you will get one hour out of it.  You will not be playing games, watching a movie, or reading at the local coffee shop unless you have p power outlet near by.  A two-hour battery should be the bare minimum for any notebook in my opinion.  Everytime the computer sleeps or reboots the bluetooth is off.  There is no option to leave it on in the Phoenix BIOS.  I don’t think any notebook PC I’ve ever used from HP, IBM, or Dell had bluetooth off with each boot.

I also purchased a Swiss Gear IBEX backpack to carry the computer and other stuff.  The bag is made of good materials and holds everything well.  I did read about a few people having problems with the zippers.  Out of the two bags at the store, only one had zippers that moved easily.

Besides these few issues with the hardware (battery life and bluetooth), I really like this computer.  It is fast, Windows 7 works great, Ubuntu 9.10 64bit worked well the first day (maybe a different distro for me in the future), cool options available, and a sweet screen as well.

Sager NP8690
Screen raised
Chiclet keyboard
DVI, e-sata, USB, audio input/output and express card
Power, HDMI, GB NIC, 2 USB, lock
DVD / Blu-Ray, card reader, 1394 firewire, USB, and modem
Screen closed with power supply
Home PC Personal Ubuntu Windows 7

New Notebook Ordered

Yesterday I ordered my new notebook from  I was originally going to purchase the Serval Professional from, but I wanted to look to see if there was a better PC or if it was on sale.  I soon learned Clevo manufactures the notebook I wanted and provides this notebook to retailers who re-brand the units as their own.  So I searched the Internet for W860CU (one of the models Clevo builds) and started reading posts about their products  and posts about different resellers who deal with them.

So I checked out several on-line retailers and discovered that I can get the same notebook PC (from what I can tell by looking at pictures) with more options than what System76 offered.  So I customized the PC (see below) and compared to what I was going to order from System76.  The price difference, $1.00 US. Like most of us, I want the best value I can get for my money.  System76 just didn’t offer me everything I wanted: Blue-ray player, 3 year labor warranty, and upgraded thermal compound.

There was an option to purchase the PC with no OS, but I wanted to purchase Windows 7 from Newegg at a later date.  Now I can have either a dual boot system or create a VM from within Ubuntu.

When the PC arrives, I plan on backing up the HDD first then wiping it our for Ubutnu 9.10.  I will install Windows 7 Ultimate as a VM.  As I stated before I am really starting to like Windows 7 at work.  I have the Enterprise version installed on three PC and found it to be reliable.

  • 15.6” FHD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1920×1080) Super Clear Glare Type Screen
  • Standard Dead Pixel Policy
  • Intel® Core™ i7-820QM, 1.73-3.06GHz, (45nm, 8MB L3 cache)
  • IC Diamond Thermal Compound – CPU + GPU
  • nVidia GeForce GTX 280M 1,024MB PCI-Express GDDR3 DX10 (User Upgradeable)
  • 6,144MB DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (Requires Vista 64-Bit to utilize Full 4GB)
  • Standard Finish
  • 2X Blue-Ray Read/8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive
  • 320GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 – 16MB Cache)
  • Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RS)
  • Internal Bluetooth + EDR
  • Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5300 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi Link
  • Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
  • Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio – Included
  • Basic Black Business Case – Included
  • 11.1V Smart Li-Polymer battery pack 3800mAh, 42.18Wh
  • Integrated Fingerprint Reader
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD’s
  • 3 Year Labor* 1 Year Parts Warranty Lifetime -24/7 DOMESTIC Based- Toll Free Telephone Tech Support (Labor Warranty through Xotic PC)
  • Includes FREE Shipping Both Ways for Warranty Repairs


I just received an e-mail that my PC has shipped.

Home PC Ubuntu

Upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10

Well it turned out I had some free time on October 31st. I decided to use Update Manger (as I’ve done in the past) to migrate from 9.04 to 9.10.  Well that was a mistake.  First off, it took forever since everyone was upgrading at the same time.  I was not too happy about that, but it was my fault.

After the wonderful process was complete, I noticed several things that didn’t work:

  • Sound card was non-existent (never had that problem with any Linux distro)
  • Ubuntu would not start in the new Linux 2.6.31 kernel
  • Boot time was almost 90 seconds (I thought it was suppose to be faster)

Needless to say I was disappointed.  Although I had a backup image of my home partition, I figured it was time to back it up into a new folder and wipe the / partition and rebuild from scratch.  So November 1st at 12:00PM after the backup completed, I booted off the Ubuntu CD I downloaded using Vuze.  Within about 30 minutes or so, I wasn’t watching the clock too closely, I was able to get a fresh install of Ubuntu 9.10 up and running.

Much better!!  Everything worked as it should this time.  And the nice thing, I alny had to install a few things to get all the multimedia up and running.  I can play MP3s, my videos I saved from YouTube, watching the Mac commericals on the Apple web site, and watched movie trailers on Quicktime’s web site (2 good ways to verify Quicktime is working.)

I used the Application Software Center to install Filezilla, Thunderbird, and a few other applications.  All my e-mail was present and connected to my 2 accounts with almost no problems.  I had to remove Lightning and Gmail Calendar and then install them from the Application Center.  Now I have access to my Google Calendar.

Last night I installed Picasa some Microsoft Core fonts, Stellarium, and dvdrip.  I didn’t have time to try them out, but I’m sure they’ll work just fine. I also installed bootchart, and my boot time is longer than the previous OS version.  The PC now takes 64 seconds to boot, what happened to boot times becoming faster?

Do I plan on updating my Ubuntu 9.04 PC at work?  No.  I heard but still need to confirm, there are issues with Samba server with Windows 7 clients.  I have 2 Windows 7 clients that connect to my Ubuntu PC’s share for PST and document storage.  Plus, since the Update Manager process was a bad experience, I would prefer to rebuild from scratch.  But then that means I have to redo the Samba server, ensure I get everything setup correctly, install ssh server, install NX again, and all the other stuff I customised.  I think I will wait for the next LTS.


Here is the latest bootchart from my PC.  69 seconds.


Home PC Software Ubuntu

BT Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop – Server

Today I tried to download the iso files for Ubuntu 9.10.  Needless to say it was taking hours.  At one point my computer said it would take 2 days to complete!  OK, time to switch to a Bit Torrent. (I am running Vuze on my home PC.)  I found the BT files for Ubtunu 9.10 Desktop and Server.  I had both iso files under 10 minutes. 

Some people might quit their session once the files are downloaded.  Not me, I’m keeping the feed going until I get home from work.  Tonight I will stop at the store, pickup a stack of CDRs and burn the iso files.  Since I have a lot on my plate this week, I might not get to try them out until Sunday November 1st.


Home PC

New Model Line?

I plan on purchasing a System 76 Serval Professional notebook at the end of October.  Why am I waiting?  First my birthday is at he end of the month.  Second, I have to interview for my job. That’s a story for a later time.

So having some hopes that everything goes well, I stopped by System 76 to look over the Serval notebook. Oh my, the amount of available options have changed to almost nothing.  This tells me to wait and see if the new Core i7 will be available.  The only negative thing I see about getting a Core i7, I might not be able to afford it.

As of today I can get the Serval with the following for $1843.00

  • Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) 64 Bit Linux (Looking forward to Ubuntu 9.10.  The beta CD I downloaded works well on my PCs at work.)
  • 15.4″ WSXGA+ Super Clear Glossy LCD (1680 x 1050) (I wish they still offered the better screen Widescreen WUXGA 1920×1200)
  • Core 2 Duo T9900 3.06 GHz 1066 MHz FSB 6 MB L2 (35 Watt)
  • 4 GB – DDR3 1066 MHZ – 2 DIMM
  • 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA II
  • CD-RW / DVD-RW
  • Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 – 802.11A/B/G/N Up to 450 Mbps
  • Bluetooth
  • 1 Yr. Ltd. Warranty and 1 Yr. Technical Support

The hard part is waiting. Wish I had a Flux Capacitor in my Subaru.

E-mail Evolution Home PC Thunderbird

Moved from Evolution to Thunderbird

About 2 weeks ago I migrated all my e-mail from Evolution to Mozilla Thunderbird. The process itself was not difficult. I made the switch because Evolution is too slow for my PC. I also like the option to change the themes in Thurderbird just like Firefox. The current theme I am running for Thurderbird (and Firefox) is Silvermel 1.1.2.

I configured Thunderbird for 2 e-mail accounts as I had with Evolution. My Gmail account is set as default. One thing when setting up multiple accounts from two different servers, be sure to specify your SMTP server for each individual account. For example, after setting up Gmail, I added the second ISP account using the Wizard. When I went back into the ISP account, I noticed my outgoing SMTP server was configured for Gmail. You can check your setting for each account under the menu bar Edit, Account Settings.

So now my accounts are ready, but now I want to migrate my e-mails, contacts, and calendar entries to Thunderbird. I found at Make Tech Easier by Damien.

I install Lightning 0.9 Calendar add-on.  This add-on will give you a PIM system which allows you to manage you daily schedule.  It nice and works well, but I use Google Calendar.  So I installed Provider for Google Calendar 0.5.2.  This add-on allows you to read and write to your Google Calendar.  please note, the Lightning add-on is required.  You will need your Private ICAL address from Google to make this add-on work.  Since I also like to have the US Holidays too, I created a separate Google calendar in Thurnderbird called US Holidays and used the Google public address

One thing that I could not get from Evolution for some reason was my list of birthdays and special dates.  This was one of those things that I never got around to importing into Google Calendar.  Since I still have Windows XP with Office 2007 on my other HDD, I rebooted into XP and exported my Outlook calendar to a csv file.  After importing the csv file into Google Calendar I opened Thunderbird and verified all my entries were available.  For one reason or another I had to reset the occurrence from “Does not Repeat” to “Yearly”.  More than likely I goofed the original entry way back when.

Everything looks great and is working correctly. But I like to sign my e-mails with signatures for different occasions. Some are funny (at least to me) and some have my personal information. To get this function I installed Quicktext. It’s easy to use and I created about 8 different signatures for my Gmail and ISP accounts. After you compose your message just click on the dropdown above the e-mail body field and choose your signature.

When I receive a message from one of my accounts, Thunderbird has its native popup, which works well but it doesn’t fall in-line with my Ubuntu popup notification. I found this cool addon (which is still under development) called Mozilla Notification Extensions 0.1.2. Be sure to read the “More about this add-on” section.  Once this is installed, turn off the Thunderbird popup notification and restart Thunderbird.

I left Evolution on my PC, but removed the Evolution Alarm Notifier and gmail cal I found several months ago (which allows Evolution to work better with Google Calendar) from Startup Applications.  So far I’ve been pleased with this migration. What I might want to look at is what would it take to migrate my Thunderbird setup to a USB to Windows XP or another Linux distro.

E-mail Home PC Office 2007

Outlook 2007 and the picture placeholder

Over the last few months, my wife was getting frustrated with Outlook 2007 (part of Microsoft Outlook 2007 with SP2.)   She subscribes to a few websites which offer coupons to print to help save on the grocery bills.  These e-mails are HTML enabled, and have lots of pretty pictures.  I know most of the smart people out there say “Yikes! Don’t view HTML enabled messages.”, but to be honest I like them myself.  And I know this isn’t the best security, but if you are not on my “safe-list”, then your HTML or rich text messages are set to plain text. or the HTML code is not displayed.

Now, back to her problem which became my problem.  None of the Rich Text or HTML messages were being displayed.  So I started searching the Internet and found several post regarding this issue.  Most of them suggested I run regedit and look for where Outlook was keeping the temp files and delete them.  Th reason is the temp directory is full.  Make sense to me;  how many times have you gone into a temp folder to see a ton of old Office documents that were never deleted after working on those documents.  Still the problem remained.

I figured, hey maybe Office got messed up and maybe I should repair it.  So then I logged into my account in Windows XP and checked my settings and found no problems.  I then said, to myself; “self, let’s check the registry settings on my account and compare them to  the Mrs.”  I could not find anything wrong or different when comparing the registry settings between the two accounts.  I even went as far as opening each message, clicking on the Microsoft logo in the upper left corner, click the editor button, scrolled down to Display e-mail content, and removing the check mark next to “Show Picture placeholder.” So after running through these tasks and from posts I found, nothing worked.

So after dealing with this problem, I decided to make it easy on myself by creating a new local account in Windows XP, migrating all documents, favorites, pictures, mp3, videos, and PST files.  Afterwards Outlook behaved correctly and all the messages were displayed the way the should be. Her old account is disabled so I can go back and look for what was causing this issue.  Because you know I will see this again from another family member or friend.

I know, some of you will say install Thunderbird, or say wipe out XP and give her an account in Linux.  But she is not ready for a major change.  Maybe when we replace the old family PC.  What I might do is setup and account for her so she can start to learn Ubuntu Linux and compare it to Windows 7 when it is released in late October.

Home PC Ubuntu

Reinstall Ubuntu 9.04

On Saturday May 30th, I woke up and decided to backup my /home folders to the external USB hard drive and wipe out and reinstall Ubuntu 9.04 so I can experience the ext4 file system.  Since I know this is a long process on my home PC, I started at 12:00 noon.

I ran Evolution first, caught my mail and ran the backup command located under File from the menu bar.   After closing Evolution, I ran rsync -avh /home/ /media/New Volume/backup 05-30-2009 to backup 28.3 GB of data.  After 8.5 hours, I was ready to rebuild.  While working on this task, I watched the Pittsburgh Penguins play against the Detroit Red Wings for game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  Go Pens (even though they lost)!

Since I have to share my PC with my family, and some people are afraid of Linux, I had to use the Windows XP Restore CD that came with my Dell Dimension 8200.  I booted off the CD, ran Recovery Console and ran fixmbr and fixboot.  This resets the MBR (Master Boot Record) back to a state of Windows only, no other operating systems available.  Then of course I booted into Windows XP to verify the family can continue to use the PC.

I then booted off my new Ubutnu 9.04 CD that arrived a few weeks ago, and proceeded to install onto the second hard drive.  In order to have ext4 as my file system, I had to select it from the drop down menu, and of course format each partition that would use ext4.  The total install time on my PC was under 30 minutes.  Heck, you can’t get a pizza under 30 minutes anymore, so I was very pleased.

The update manager started shortly after I logged onto the system for the first time.  Afterwards, I rebooted and installed the NVIDIA GForce video card.  Of course the cool Compiz 3-D effects didn’t work…and I was sad.  However, everything else worked like a champ.  I was on-line (because I downloaded my updates) and installed my HP Color LaserJet 2605dn network printer.

I also brought over the following folders

  • .purple
  • .mozilla
  • .skype
  • .fonts

Starting Evolution and having it reinstall everything from the backup I ran worked the way it should.  All of my mail filter, addressbooks, mail folders, and the two different mail accounts were there.  Since everything was working I closed Evolution.

I stared Pidgin and enter one of my AIM accounts and then closed the application.  I copied the .purple folder into my home directory so the rest of my accounts and other settings were available when I started Pidgin again.  I also ran Firefox and Skype to copied over there respective hidden folders too.

I then followed the directions from “The Perfect Desktop – Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)”  submitted by Falko Timme.  I picked almost all the same options as Falko, but some I didn’t want or feel a need for a this time.  Falko’s directions were easy to follow, and I had my system back up to specs in no time. Ii tested this by watching the Mac ads to verify Quicktime was working with Firefox, watching the local videos with  wmv, mov, wma, avi extensions, and I was able to play a DVD with no problems.  Of course my mp3’s and other sounds worked, but something was still out of place.

I forgot to add my Desktop Themes from a post I read a few weeks back called “9 Great Gnome Themes with Ubuntu Repositories.”  François Vogelweith is the author of the themes and they are great!  I really enjoy having them on my PC.  Currently I am running Wild Shine.

I also went to  to download some templates to see if I can get OpenOffice to work better for me so I don’t have to rely on Office 2007.

So now by boot time has decreased from 33 seconds to 21 23 seconds.  The best I saw on my PC before I added everything was 19 seconds.  I am uploading my bootchart into my shared files.

I’m glad the re-installation worked as well as it did.  I’ve been in the boat of “crap, everything is broke and I can’t recover because the Moon was not aligned with Saturn during the initial backup command”