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O Brother

... Where Art Thou?

Time for my first computer problems update in the States since May!

Thanks to all who have helped with previous ones, which I posted on:

Here's my fortnightly update:

  • 1. Desperately Seeking Drivers: I ended up reinstalling WinXP from a 2002 volume license CD and then upgrading using an SP2 volume license CD from 2004 or 2005. Everything works fine now, driver-wise. I cannot say for sure why this is so, but for me, Windows works better in general when you install the previous version and then upgrade (WinXP Pro original, then WinXP Pro with Service Pack 2; Win2K and then WinXP; even NT4 and then Win2K) than when you use Windows Update or install the new OS from scratch.

  • 2. Burned DVD-Rs failing data validation: It might just be the media. I bought a spindle of 8x Number brand DVD+Rs that seem to get a lot of errors on the 8x DVD+R drive on Hirilonde (my Dell Inspiron 6000). The 8x Kailong DVD+Rs that my uncle's driver picked up for me seem much better. I've stopped doing validation on the 8x drive, but everything copied onto the Kailong discs seems to copy back off with no CRC errors. Any idea why Nero would fail validation even though the CRC passes?
    The Plextor 4x DVD-R internal drive on Laurelin (a desktop PC, one of two COMPAQ Presario SR1010NX systems) seems to have much fewer errors. The DVDs in there are generics that burn at 4x tops. taiji_jian has recommended that I burn at 2x in the 4x drive and 4x in the 8x drive, which sounds sensible, but I'm not sure how to make Nero force the speed. I've never gotten errors on 2x recordings in the 4x drive, when Nero auto-selects 2x.

  • 3. Crashes on shutdown: After the reinstall of WinXP SP2, shutdown is much cleaner. However, I have tracked down a few culprits that seem to be prone to "overnight bluescreening": BitTorrent clients (BitLord more so than Azureus), Macromedia Studio 8 apps (especially Dreamweaver and Fireworks), and possibly Mozilla 1.7.x. Firefox crashes a lot, even after I quit using Tabbrowser Extensions, but it seems to do so more when I have Mozilla open too, and the threshhold for frequent crashes seems to be a number of tabs that is greater than 5 and less than my usualy number (20-25).

Now for the new questions...

Firefox crashiness

What do you all know to be applications incompatible with Firefox? I run Firefox on all of my systems, and post complaints of its instability, and I invariably get one of two replies:

Dual-booting Windows 2000 and Ubuntu Linux on a ThinkPad A31p

I finally got Ubuntu Linux (Dapper Drake) installed on Finrod (an Athlon Thunderbird 1GHz with 32Mb on-board video RAM, purchased spring 2002), and it looks great! I have only have 1024x768 resolution, but it's a lot better than the 640x480 I was getting on Telperion (a 2.8GHz Celeron with about 8Mb on-board video RAM, purchased spring 2004). Now I'd like to try it on Numerramar, a ThinkPad A31p (1.7GHz Pentium IV with 512Mb RAM and 32Mb ATI Radeon video card, purchased spring 2002). I currently have it set up to boot Win2K only, but I have a 9Gb partition set aside for Ubuntu and a 1Gb partition set aside for swap. What's the quickest and most reliable way to set up dual-booting? Is there a simple, safe way to lay down a new MBR with GRUB?

CUPS revisited

Now that I have Ubuntu up and running and Anduril (my NetBSD firewall) is gone, the first thing I'd like to do is set up the ability to:

  • 1. SSH into Finrod (full Ubuntu Dapper Drake installation), and later Numerramar (compact Ubuntu Dapper Drake installation) and Telperion (whatever works on that godforsaken COMPAQ - Gentoo, Knoppix, SUSE, OtherLinux, Desmondix Magnetic Distro, anything)

  • 2. Print, print, printprintprint! What is the best way to do this using an Ubuntu box as the primary print server, and sharing print capabilities between Windows XP and Ubuntu systems? You name the Windows software I need, and I'll install it.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 17th, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)
Firefox crashes vs. JVM crashes, Talkback reports
I don't think it's the JVM, but then again, I occasionally have BitTorrent and especially Azureus crashes. My other Java apps - Eclipse, JAlbum, WEKA - almost never crash when Firefox does, nor does Mozilla.

I do use Talkback and always send reports, but I haven't looked any up. I'll try that - thanks.

(Deleted comment)
Jul. 17th, 2006 11:37 pm (UTC)
SSH into Ubuntu
Thanks - I'll look into all of those. My problem is still just how to route SSH from dynamic DNS to local NAT address (e.g., telperion.homelinux.org -> [someCoxCommunicationsIP:somePort] -> []

Jul. 18th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)
Instead of trying BitLord (adware + bitcomet code == ugh), maybe you should try μTorrent?

Alternatively, if it turns out that the overnight problem is related to the JVM, then μTorrent should also solve that...
Jul. 18th, 2006 01:03 am (UTC)
Hrm, I'm able to ignore all the ads pretty easily, and SpyBot and AdAware don't complain about BitLord AFAIK. But I'll give μTorrent a try. Thanks!

Jul. 18th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC)
Regarding Firefox:
Remove Talkback. That eliminated all crashes Firefox outright on my system; before then, it not only crashed regularly, but occasionally caused Blue Screens of Death.

The same treatment worked for Mozilla. I'm not about to enable Talkback for SeaMonkey to find out whether it's necessary for SeaMonkey.

Jul. 18th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
Removing Talkback
Hrm, interesting idea. I'll try it. I thought Talkback only ran on crashes, like DrWatson?

Jul. 18th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
Re: Removing Talkback
I think it's the hooks for Talkback that are destabilizing.

In any case, 95%+ of the Firefox crashes took out Talkback as well; they had no chance to be reported.
Jul. 19th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
I just noticed my advisor (Bui N. Thang) published a paper "A 2.5 Approximation Algorithm for the Multi-Via Assignment Problem" with someone named W. Hsu in 1992, wonder if that was you ?
Jul. 19th, 2006 02:00 am (UTC)
Nope, different W. Hsu
There's at least one other in CS who gets cited on CiteSeer.

In 1992 I was a third-year undergrad at Johns Hopkins, and was just writing my first papers (on virus detection using approximate and randomized string matching, and on EM applied to protein secondary fold prediction).

BTW, martinsamuel says he met you and came to your talk. Good job!

Jul. 19th, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
You can use CUPS for sharing printing task. I have a laser printer connects to a Debian box and uses CUPS. All my other computers (nix & win) share that printer. There is no special software needed on the client ! You can install printer in Windows via normal Add Printer method and if you want even more advanced printing capability, install the driver for that printer for Windows.

Never used Ubuntu before but as long as it's a Linux system capable of running Cups, it should be fine.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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