Monday, July 22, 2013

Emergency Flip-Flop Fix

This plastic bread tie can save your broken flip-flop
It's happened to everyone. You're out enjoying the summer with friends and family at the beach or park. Suddenly, with an awkward stumble, your cheap flip-flops break and you are left shoeless or spend the day repeatedly reassembling them and hoping they don't come apart (again.)

I recently learned a very clever trick for a quick and sturdy repair.

Find a plastic bread tie, the square, flat type with a hole and slit. They are commonly found on breads, rolls and buns.
Slide the button through the slit in the bread tie

Push the strap button through the hole and then, on the bottom of the shoe, slide on the bread tie through the slit. Position the flat plastic piece so it prevents the button from pulling out through the hole.

This simple repair should last a long time, at least until you can grab another pair of those cheap flip-flops.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Look Back at Ubuntu 5.10: Breezy Badger

What were you doing in October, 2005?

The original Ubuntu 5.10 CD set
as shipped by Canonical
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was speeding towards Mars and clean up had just begun following Hurricane Katrina. A new Disneyland had opened in Hong Kong. A relatively new Linux upstart company called Canonical released Ubuntu 5.10, codenamed 'Breezy Badger'.

Breezy was the third release following 'Warty Warthog' (4.10; October, 2004) and Hoary Hedgehog (5.04). Ubuntu was built on the shoulders of Debian, but designed to be easy to use and updated regularly.

Live CDs were a new idea at this time. Knoppix had been loading a fully functional OS, complete with hardware detection (hurray!) for a while, but it was not designed to be installed on your system. It was Ubuntu who brought Live CDs to the masses.

In those early days, the Live CD and the Install CD were on separate disks. I came upon my old CDs (ordered free from Canonical in those days) and popped the 'Breezy' Live CD into my Asus netbook.

It still booted fine and hardware mostly worked. It didn't find either my wired or wireless connection and screen resolution was stubbornly stuck at 800 x 600, despite instructing it to use 1024 x 768. Both of these issues could probably have been fixed with a boot code or driver search. Mostly, it worked fine and fast. With system requirements of 2 GB hard drive space and 128 MB RAM, that isn't surprising.

Old Gnome 2.12.1 had that retro-looking blocky style and Ubuntu was experimenting with the brown theme which it would be well known for later. Compiz and it's whiz bang features for window compositing were still under development by Novell.

Many of us have ridden this Ubuntu train for many years. Sometimes we like the direction Canonical takes, sometimes we don't, but we usually can still customize our boxes to our liking. You can't help but smile as you look at how far we have come and yet how little has changed.

Here's some screenshots of Ubuntu 5.10 and some familiar apps as they appeared in 2005. Enjoy the trip down memory lane.

The Install CD and Live CD were separate
Early distros required a Linux boot floppy for installation.
Knoppix brought us on-the-fly hardware detection and setup.

Breezy boot screen.
Add your boot perimeters here.

The Breezy Desktop

Hardware support was sketchy in those days and Ubuntu began compiling their Hardware Database Collection.

Gnome 2.12.1 System Menu

Computer window

File System

A simple 'Add/Remove Programs' simplified software installation.

Synaptic looks familiar

If brown doesn't suit you,
you can change it in Theme Preferences

OpenOffice Writer was becoming a viable alternative to MS Word.
Breezy included OO 2.0 Beta 2

Calc could replace Excel for most tasks.

Firefox browser and Ubuntu home page.
It seems they have kept the promises they made all those years ago.

Firefox was gaining popularity with the public.
Breezy sported version 1.07 by default.

Gimp 2.2 provided a free image editing tool which rivaled Photoshop.

AisleRiot Solitaire hasn't changed much.

System Monitor shows the light footprint of those early applications.