Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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All entries tagged Tech Life. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of this list.

:: 327 words

tech-life

The gist of it is: it wasn’t as annoying as I had been led to expect. Frankly, I think it’s better than XP, but I might be blinded by the fact that it’s very pretty. Visually it’s a step up from XP the same way XP was a step up from ‘95. The XP box at work seems so bland to me now. The file manager (Explorer) is very nice, I like the functionality of being able to navigate the address bar by mouse click (though I never used this back in Ubuntu) and the ability to sort files even in thumbnail view.

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:: 367 words

tech-life

Just a bit of an indulgence. There was a warehouse sale at the office building from Tuesday to Friday. Like every single time I would make a big purchase I waffled undecisively between buying and not buying a laptop for the first four days, only to succumb at the very last minute when a model with an insane price became available. On 7:30pm of the last day of the sale, I picked up an Acer Aspire 4920 unit with the following specs:

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:: 226 words

tech-life

Because I’m a sucker for trying out alternative software, I installed and tried out the latest release of the Opera web browser, Opera 9.5, for a bit more than a week. Opera is neat and all, but I don’t see any features that are so awesome that they can’t be done in Firefox (with some extensions maybe). My favorite feature is I guess the Speed Dial page; where opening a new tab displays a customizable table of common websites you visit.

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meta tech-life

I added an iGoogle Gadget that allows me to post from iGoogle. Neat huh? But I’m not sure if it’s okay to trust the gadget with my blog account details…

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tech-life

An alpha release was just announced for Open Office 3. Being an Ubuntu user, Open Office is really the only sane choice I have for an office suite. At work I’m using Microsoft Office 2007. Among the office suite applications, I’m most of a power user for the spreadsheet applications. Here’s my side-by-side comparison of Excel and oOo Calc:

Microsoft Excel 2007 on Windows XP:

  • Looks really pretty.
  • Loads up quickly.
  • Proprietary and expensive.
  • Not available for Linux.

OpenOffice Calc 2.4.1 on Ubuntu:

  • Feature-rich – has some features that excel does not.
  • I can have a sandwich in the time it’s loading.
  • Free as in speech, and as in beer too!
  • Usability issues, such as inconveniently prompting a dialog box on every delete. (This is logged in their database as bug # 9392. There’s a workaround, but hopefully it will be fixed by default in Open Office 3)
  • Autofilter feature is immature compared to Excel, not enough options for filtering.
  • It can open a password-protected XLS correctly (prompting me for the password), but it can’t save it back with the password.
  • I was going to complain about the UI, but now that I’ve thought better of it, it’s no worse than other GTK/Linux apps.

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:: 151 words

tech-life

Seriously. Having to hit an extra key just to use “Home” or “End”? For some reason, PrintScreen and CapsLock keys are higher priority than Home and End, meaning you don’t need to use “Fn” to access them. Do people not use Ctrl+Shift+Home and Ctrl+Shift+End all the time? I’m sure a lot of developers do. Whenever I’m on this laptop and need to use Home or End, I mentally pronounce “Fn” as a seven-letter word starting with “F” and ending with “ing”.

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:: 34 words

tech-life

I wanted to test out multiply’s uploader, so here you go Edit 9 years later: Sadly, Multiply is no longer up. Also, weird how back then Facebook wasn’t popular yet for photo sharing. .

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tech-life

After finding out that KDE4 was already available for Kubuntu 7.10, the nice screenshots of the new Oxygen theme and hints of a revamped panel and widget system appealed to my inner geek envy, so I decided to install and give it a whirl.

KDE4 Screenshot

My quick impression, after 15 minutes of usage:

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:: 166 words

tech-life

I’m not sure why I keep trying to get the Ubuntu + XP dual boot thing working. I don’t really need it, I can do most of the things I want to do in XP. And I can’t really play games in Ubuntu (I don’t really want to bother with all the crap Wine puts you through). Still, every so often I’m hit with some sort of geek envy where I just want to have an Ubuntu installation handy so I can try out some cool stuff like Compiz or whatnot.

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:: 268 words

tech-life

_ “Robert suggested we create Facebook accounts, I think in an effort to establish that we were “down” with whatever “new jives” the kids were flexing on the mean streets. I refused. Gabriel buckled, and the bullshit that ensued verified my initial assessment: that maintaining Facebook would quickly constitute another job. Of which I already have several.”_ — Tycho, Penny-Arcade I never really bought into social networking (because I am of course antisocial) But lo and behold!

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:: 297 words

tech-life

Amazingly, I went more than two whole months using only Ubuntu at home since one of my RAM sticks got busted and Windows refused to boot. Luckily, I have a dual boot computer, with Ubuntu as my alternative OS. Ubuntu is pretty awesome. As a Windows replacement, it does most of the things you need without much problem. It has two distinct advantages over Windows: The Debian package distribution mechanism is just great.

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:: 241 words

hardware tech-life

I bought a new phone yesterday. At the recommendation of my brother, I got one from the Nokia N-series, the Nokia N73. As a relatively recent smartphone release, it cost quite a chunk of cash. I was having second thoughts for a while, because I’m almost never comfortable parting with a significant amount of cash. If I’m going to spend more than a week’s salary on something, it better provide me with a decent amount of entertainment

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:: 106 words

tech-life

My computer died last night, refusing to boot. Ubuntu would complain of being unable to read the root filesystem. Windows XP would say that there’s a corrupted DLL. I immediately arranged to borrow both an Ubuntu LiveCD and a Windows XP install disk the next day to help check the problem. When I got home today, the computer had been miraculously fixed. My brother said he’d been using it no problem.

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tech-life

I’m going to try out a new feed aggregator for a while – NewsHutch. Don’t get me wrong, Bloglines is nice and all, but one gets tired of the UI after a while. NewsHutch looks… nice. And don’t get me started on Google Reader… that one is slow as molasses. (I added it to my Google Customized Homepage though, maybe that makes it better)

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tech-life

Since I’m going back to work starting on Saturday, I thought I’d try to look for ways to improve my productivity at work. I’ve downloaded a few utilities that I can try at work to see if it can improve my workflow. The first one is SlickRun. Basically it’s a Start -> Run replacement – press a predefined hotkey and a small command line tool appears where I can type shortcut-like commands.

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tech-life

I upgraded my Kubuntu Linux installation to Edgy Eft during the Christmas break. Some notes: Why can’t there be a one-click install? You know, some pop-up alert bubble in the corner saying “A new version of Kubuntu is available.” I don’t see why the user needs to edit the sources.list file, do the apt-get stuff, etc., when all of this can basically be automated away. Except for one thing, I can do everything I need to do using Kubuntu instead of using Windows.

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hardware tech-life

new monitor Originally uploaded by zroytang . As promised, a picture. That desk used to hold an entire monitor! Now it has my wallet, a watch, a couple of flash drives, a landline, a cellphone and a whole bunch of wires!

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hardware tech-life

I wish I had a camera right now so I could post a picture of it, but yeah, I now have a brand-new 19-inch widescreen LCD monitor on my desk. Wow, I have so much space! Both physical space and desktop space! I came home at past 12 midnight last night and was so sleepy I would have immediately went into a catatonic sleep had my brother not brought home and installed this new monitor.

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tech-life

QUALCOMM Press Center – QUALCOMM Launches Project in Collaboration with Mozilla Foundation to Develop Open Source Version of Eudora Email Program –link Wow. Eudora was my email client of choice back in the day, when webapps were still so much crappier. I suppose they realized so many people had switched to using either GMail or Thunderbird, that they had to do something to make their product relevant. My favorite thing about Eudora was that their client would have a stats page; it literally tracks the amount of time you spend reading and writing email, the average amount of mail you get daily, etc.

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Roy Tang is a:

roytang.net is a personal site; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.