Building a New Home PC

I’ve been planning to build a new home PC that could handle most of the needs nowadays, i.e. torrents, watching movies, and playing games. I’d like to compartmentalize work into the laptop and nowhere else. The PC that will be staying at home will be for backup of the files on the laptop but will not be used primarily for work. So because of this, I needed the PC to be not so power-hungry but good enough to handle some form of work.

HTPC builders recommend mostly an i5 for those who want an all-around-er for the home but that would seem a bit too much power for my needs. A little more future-proof perhaps but I don’t see myself as a gamer so I thought I’d stick to being practical. So I got the Asus E35M1-M by mistake. I actually asked the purchasing office to get me the Pro but they only had this instead. Goodbye USB3.0. (deep sigh)

Still, it wasn’t really bad. I’ll try to find the other components I need. So far, I have the Asus Fusion board, 8 Gb of RAM and 1 Tb Hard Drive. I’m still contemplating on whether to get an ITX for better stowage in the living room or an mATX for better ventilation as the Asus E35M1-M doesn’t include a fan. They also say that ‘generic’ power supplies will be enough for this kind of setup but I’m not that sure… but I’ll look into it.

Linux is calling again

I’ve always had this affinity for Linux. I just don’t know why. Maybe it’s because of the great ambition — to be able to have the choice of what you want with your PC and not be forced to choose from A or B. And it’s been great! Despite the setback of having big, bulky distributions such as Ubuntu, there are those that keep every good working PC alive today like CrunchBang or DamnSmallLinux or even Puppy Linux! So now, I’m trying to get my feet wet, yet again, by playing around with Linux distributions. Good thing my office machine is on Windows 7 and has a virtual machine installed.

I’ve enjoyed Ubuntu for quite some time and I’m part of the group that enjoys the eyecandy that Unity desktop offers. Yet I’m also pining for the sacrificed performance because of the same. It has definitely become a competitor between Windows and OS X but at the price of being really big and bloated. Still, I find it admirable that It has come so far from its early lean beginnings. And it is really fortunate that we have relatively lightweight versions for it: Xubuntu and Lubuntu. So that’s great news!

I tried to fire up Puppy Linux on my  machine and somehow, it doesn’t have the feel I wasn’t looking for. Simple, yes, but not clean and as refined as I would like it to be. It’s a big splash of colors and confusion in my eyes. I’m sure that’s pretty fix-able with a color scheme but that’s just it — I can’t seem to find where to adjust or change it! Oh well…


Right now, I’m downloading JoliCloud OS and Xubuntu to try out. I hope all goes well with these two distributions. I’m actually planning on using one of these for a PC I’ve been dreaming of donating to our parish in my hometown. Hope that happens soon enough. 🙂

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS log-in problem

I’ve upgraded my office PC to 12.04 LTS yesterday and all was well.

Being one of the more ‘over-eager’ adopters of Ubuntu, I went ahead with a “forced” update to 12.04 LTS (LTS updates usually come in only during the ‘point release’ of a new Ubuntu version) and look what it has gotten me: I can’t log-in! 

The machine boots fine but when it gets to the log-in splash screen, I select the correct user and enter the correct password but only flashes a black screen with something written momentarily and then goes back to the log-in screen. It does that so fast I couldn’t see the error it’s putting out or indicating. Ugh!

So far, it looks like I’m not the only one with the problem. Could you help us, please?

Many thanks,


Getting GRUB back after a Windows Reinstall

Windows can sometimes be a pain. It’s a good thing Linux is out there. Unfortunately, when Windows messes up (which is often), it takes Linux with it sometimes. boo…

XP was getting really slow at the office. So I jumped the gun and decided to shoot it in between the eyes (figuratively speaking of course) and had to reinstall it. I have a dual-boot machine which has Ubuntu on the other side by the way. And after the reinstall, XP assumed that it was the only thing in existence… Superiority complex? (doh)

So I had to get back my Ubuntu! I want it back coz it’s pretty! Besides, I want to discover what’s 9.10 is all about. heehee… Fortunately, The How-To Geek comes to the rescue. The following is just a reworded version:

First, boot from a Live CD. Run Terminal and type the following:

sudo grub

grub starts here and you type the following inside grub:

find boot/grub/stage1 

#(this’ll show you what to type in the next line. It basically searches where grub was installed in the ‘old’ system.)

root (hd0,0) 

#(assuming that grub is in hd0,0. change this according to the location with the find command)

setup (hd0)

Then restart your system without the LiveCD. DONE! 😀

Webcam and Voice Chat with a Jackalope

Now that I have Ubuntu 9.04 running at home, enabling webcam and voice chat becomes my next problem.

First off, the Ubuntu install process was funny. The PC wouldn’t load the Install screen or even run Ubuntu from the flash drive. But then I read somewhere (if you posted the solution/trick, thank you so much!) that after the initial splash screen, during a ‘no-read’ state of the flash drive, just pull it out for a second or two and then put it back in the USB slot. And amazingly, it worked! Haha… quirky little Jackalope!

After some reading, Pidgin doesn’t seem to be the perfect candidate for the webcam and voice chat feature. So I downloaded Kopete instead. After some more Google-ing, it (voice + webcam) only works on Google Talk accounts! My cousin uses Yahoo! Blech!

So now, that’s my big problem… how could I get Yahoo Messenger webcam and voice chat capabilities on Ubuntu 9.04? My Google powers are running out. So is my patience. 😛 Not really… just getting really frustrated over this small issue. Wonder if VirtualBox is the answer.