Category Archives: Techie Stuffs

Some techie stuffs related post, in my attempt to understand binary (ha ha). I hope some day I can write some tutorials too.

Finally Ubuntu

It took me quite a while to decide what operating system to install with my Acer Aspire X1930. It is a relatively cost-efficient machine that I decided to purchase last Friday. The box contains only the desktop, a mouse and a keyboard (no monitor included nor a Microsoft Windows operating system). I got it at eXtra for only SR1,149.

The specification is not highend: Intel Pentium CPU G630 at 2.7GHz (core duo), 2GiB DDR3, and 250GB of hard disk capacity, but compared to my other desktop PC (Compaq Presario SR10302) that I had been using since 2006, this one is a better rig.

The machine has only FreeDOS installed, which eventually reduced the cost of the unit by few hundred Saudi Riyals. I wanted it that way anyway as even if there is a Windows operating system installed, it would only be a ‘Starter’ or ‘Home Edition’ that I will not be satisfied. Same goes with Microsoft Office suite, it will only be an evaluation version that would require code purchase to unlock full version.

Of course I have no intention to stare on a black screen with with texts performing DOS commands, choosing an operating system to install though is a challenge. I was actually choosing between Windows 8, Windows 7, and for sentimental reasons – Windows XP.

After much contemplation and soul searching (ha ha), I decided to install a Linux operating system (Ubuntu). I could have partitioned the hard drive to accommodate both Ubuntu and a Windows (to which up to now I am still undecided which Windows version), but what the heck I decided to just have the Ubuntu. As of now, I still do not have regrets, but thinks I am really enjoying my new OS.

Finally Ubuntu

Slept past 2:00 AM last night, I mean today morning (or whatever), finally deciding to have a Linux operating system installed.

I think I am really getting alienated with Microsoft. Looking back, it had been a long way since my serious relationships with Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Millenium, XP and Vista, until I switched to Mac OSX in 2009. (Though technically, I still have Windows XP on the Compaq Presario metioned on earlier on this post, as well as I still have Windows 7 installed on my Macbook Pro but I do not want it to count as I am not using it, or to be more accurate I am using Windows 7 only when I need to access certain programs on SAP or certain features on SharePoint and Outlook).

Anyways, last night I felt as if I am wearing a ‘geek hat’ again doing all those DOS commands that I had long forgotten, in addition to learning new lines of codes and commands for Linux. And yeah, I slept past 2:00AM last night, I mean today morning (or whatever), finally deciding to have a Linux operating system installed.

And so today I finally entered a relationship with Ubuntu (12.04), with all the open source programs and applications that I can freely install, as such I do not need to wear my ‘pirate hat’ (I mean install “evaluation versions” of applications that I usually tend to forget to uninstall).

Disclosure: I have discovered an old photo of my past fling with Ubuntu (10.10), captured more than two years ago, but I swear I was still immature then and felt I was not still ready.

Ubuntu 10.10

Ubuntu 10.10 in 2010 blossomed into a sleek and stunning Ubuntu 12.04 in 2012


Directory Service

Early Wednesday morning last week, I had to file a leave of absence as Sophie is sick with fever, Joyce can not be absent as she has something urgent to attend. We were thinking Sophie would feel better come Saturday for her class but on the contrary come Friday Rinojo got sick himself too. Thus on Saturday it was Joyce turn to be absent from work. I can not be absent as I am loaded on Saturdays with reports and I have a couple of meeting schedules to attend.

Today Sunday however, Rinojo is still not feeling well (and Sophie too), I was asked by Joyce if it is possible that I file another leave. Hesitant that I am, I conceded. I informed my boss about this small family emergency that he understood. I however volunteered to continue my usual work online.

And today, I was able to finish a simple web application containing the directory of our organization. I did the coding at home while watching over the two kids.

Support Services Directory

Looks good on MacBook, iPhone simulator and iPad.

This was actually inspired after a meeting with IT team last Saturday. They were actually simply asking for the contact information from our organization as they are developing a University-wide directory. The issue however is that there are too many phone numbers that ideally would want to limit having a central phone number similar to a helpdesk. I explained however that it is quite difficult to implement within our organization due to that fact that we have various service providers.

Anyhow, I presented to the IT team some of my works as well as my planned projects, thereafter inquired any possible assistance they can accord. I explained to them that I am developing these webapps using open source materials and free services available on the net.

I am glad they appreciated my works and is supportive of my plans. Though I am not very optimistic that I can be given resources (e.g. hosting for my works, database access), I am however contented having my works acknowledged.

After the meeting, the following day, I was given names of some apps for me to look at, including iStanford, Duke Mobile and TTU Mobile. After downloading the apps, I find it very interesting. But I am more interested to find out if the University would follow developing these kinds of apps with information accessible to the public. Because as per my own experience, some of the apps that I developed were not supported due to “privacy concerns”. I will be a curious spectator.

Anyhow, I was introduced to another technology (blackboard) where the above mentioned apps were built, and apparently where the University is gearing to build its own apps. Hmm, I hope I can learn how to use blackboard in the coming weeks.

I was given a link to blackboard, though I can not access it as it requires login credentials (to which the University has an account). I should ask for login credentials and that I hope IT will grant for my access.

Ghost, War Horse and OS X

Friday morning before noon, I became busy with my Macbook Pro as it suddenly froze. When I tried to reboot, it always got stuck and won’t get past the loading screen. I tried to reboot it for several times to no avail. I even tried to boot on Windows 7 (as this machine is capable of dual boot) but it also hangs and won’t booth.

Good thing I have the installation disk, and having the iPad handy (though I also have an old reliable PC with Windows XP) I managed to consult the internet. As expected a huge resource of information can be obtained from google. I can read similar case of Mac not booting as early as 2006 to the most recent in 2012.

Mac OS X installation

Installing Mac OS X, following instructions from iPad.

After completing the installation from the DVD installer, I was asked to update to the latest version of ‘Snow Leopard’. I am thinking of trying ‘Lion’ though my primary objective is to keep my machine running as soon as possible as I have a busy day the following day (first day of the week with weekly reports to be submitted). Aside from the learning experience (performing the maintenance myself), again I decided to fix it myself as it will render me virtually useless incapable of performing work without it should a technician take it away. I am prepared for a long Friday anyway. It took me about 6 hours — including lunch and coffee break :) to fix the machine.

Updating to the latest version of Snow Leopard

Updating to the latest version of Snow Leopard.

I was at first worried I will not be able to fix or restore the system worried of the important documents and files that I have not backed up yet. It was a pleasant surprise though that after several failed attempts, assessment, research, I succeeded in reinstalling the operating system and with few more clicks, the machine is back to normal. I really liked how easy it is to restore a Mac OS X operating system. I never have to reinstall other third party (previously installed) softwares. It simply worked perfectly fine (except to some programs that requires the latest version of the operating system, to which I mentioned that I updated) as soon as the system boots.

To relax myself, I decided to watch “War Horse” which is by the way a nice movie. I am expecting it to be boring good for wasting time, but it turned out to be entertaining. Perhaps watching movie on the cinema is not comparable to watching the movie on a television (with all the distractions), thus I believe I enjoyed the movie — about a horse. Incidentally I also watched “MI4: Ghost Protocol” a couple of days ago, it is also entertaining though in my opinion the movie is a bit overrated.

Mac OS X for the win!

Fleet Management Information System

I had been coding for almost a week for the past several days. I am currently working on a fleet management information system for our leased vehicles. I volunteered the concept of this project to my boss last week, to which he readily appreciated and would want us to present to our Director, thus I need to take extra effort to present something already functional (sans the validations and layers of security, that I need to implement further on). The current version is for demonstration purposes. I am anticipating inquiries and possible revisions for salient functions anyway.

Fleet Management System

Fleet Management Information System for Leased Vehicles

The idea of this system occurred to me last month, when an issue was raised on a meeting on how to monitor the maintenance of our leased vehicles. This system would address the issue, aside from other features relevant to managing the fleet.

There would be five major elements of this system, which are the ‘vehicle information’, ‘user information’, ‘maintenance information’, ‘accident record’ and ‘traffic violation record’, with respective roles and access credentials for management, consultants, service providers and vehicle owners/users.

A Quick Glance at the Systems

A quick glance at the system.

I made the system clean and straightforward, with the primary goal of providing information quick and easy. No fancy graphics to make the system load fast, as this is a web based application.

The point of attention though is to make this system user friendly and scalable. This early, I am already receiving request to add other functions… this of course will be subject to further development, I just want to set up the backbone at the moment, and add modules as necessary.

Meantime, I am developing this system as the current method we are using is ‘excel-based’, ha ha. I hope that our IT Department picks up this project, to have an official version of this fleet management information system *wink*.

Of WordPress and tumblr…

WordPress and tumblr

WordPress trying to emulate tumblr. lol.

My last post here was last week. I was amused today when I noticed the unfamiliar landing page of WordPress (not sure if this change is recent). Anyhow, this new feature (again I am not sure it is a new feature indeed) immediately reminded of tumblr. Though based on my personal bias, I do not like tumblr — or should I say, I prefer the ‘hardcore’ blogging style of WordPress than the ‘easy-go-lucky’ approach at tumblr.

I have my own account at tumblr that I registered two years ago, that I failed to maintain. Curiously I revisited my site and revealed that my last post was still on October 2010. I should say, I still post here at WordPress, and I am confident to say this account is still active.

While I understand that WordPress is trying to compete with other blogging sites, including incorporating networking and social media elements such as that found on tumblr, I just lol’d imagining an old grandfather wearing some fancy hiphop dress in an attempt to look cool like his adolescent grandson. lol.

Though of course, in the real word I further understand that WordPress needs to reinvent itself in order to gain more ‘market share’. Perhaps I may find this “quickie” useful on my other posts (not to mention that I have had made similar quick posts previously). In any case, I wish WordPress success, and I will always be a loyal fan, thankful having it as medium chronicling my lucid intervals.

Anyhow, I will now post my original thoughts prior to noticing what was mentioned above…

Facebook and Poker

Weekend with Facebook and Poker

The photo above illustrates how I spent my weekend (some Facebook, and some more poker — though most of the time I am busy coding for another web application that I am currently working on).

Interestingly with the iPad, I was able to play Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker, which I was not able to do for I think about 2 years already, as this game (site) was restricted here in Saudi Arabia. I would just want to wish, the government will not also ban this game on iPad. I do not play FarmVille, CityVille, CastleVille “or any other ShitVille” (he he), though I love to play poker — and I only play with free chips (I have never purchased any chips before nor I have any intention of buying chips).

Facebook's Texas HoldEm Poker

Access to Facebook's Texas HoldEm Poker is restricted here

The above image is how the web browser looks like, upon accessing Facebook’s Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker web application.