Thursday, July 29, 2010

Updating the un-updatable

In my post on the relative easy of updating Linux I used Ubuntu's graphical Update Manager to do the work.

Of course, in Linux/Unix you can always do this from the command line. In Debian based systems the relative commands are:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

The first line compares the packages available online with those installed on your machine, and the second line upgrades the packages that aren't current. Easy, huh?

Except that sometimes you get messages like this:

The following packages have been kept back:
  linux-generic linux-headers-generic linux-image-generic

This is more or less a are you sure you want to do this now? message. You'll note that the kernel is involved here, so you're going to have to reboot the machine once the packages are installed.

All right, I'll reboot, so what do I have to do? Well, it turns out the the packages can be explicitly installed:

sudo apt-get install linux-generic linux-headers-generic linux-image-generic

This will take care of everything. Just remember to reboot the computer to get the new kernel up and running.

Monday, July 26, 2010

This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse

Since time began, classes at the University of Kansas have ended with the sound of a steam whistle which tooted for five seconds at 50 minutes past the hour.

As a budget cutting measure, the steam whistle, Tootie-Toot (never heard that name when I was there), now only sounds for 2.5 seconds.

The 2.5 second version is at the end of this clip:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Update Log

I've spent most of July out of town/state/country, so I haven't been very diligent about updating all the computers. Today, though, I took a stab at it:

I. Windows Vista

We have a Windows Vista desktop. It's slated to be upgraded to Linux after Child2 moves files off of it to the new Macbook. For now, though, it runs several programs that said child uses, e.g. Photoshop, and has a full set of browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) that I use to judge how new web pages look to the masses.

OK, here's everything I needed to do to update that machine:

  • Update Virus Definitions: We have McAfee installed, primarily because we bought this machine before I knew about Microsoft's Windows Security Essentials. It's not smart enough to know that it should autoupdate virus definitions if the computer's been off a long time, it just gives you a Dire Warning of Impending Doom.
  • Update Firefox
  • Update Thunderbird
  • Update Google Chrome
  • Update Safari: This one popped up on its own, offering updates to both Safari and iTunes.
  • Check Flash Version: Up to date
  • Perform Microsoft Updates: At least these were done in the background, all I had to do was reboot.
  • Reboot: Note that three (3) programs asked for permission to reboot: Windows itself, Apple's Safari/iTunes, and McAfee
  • Run Virus Scan: otherwise it wouldn't do it until late tonight.

II. Mac OS X

This is my work laptop.

  • Run Software Update
  • Run Microsoft Autoupdate: to check if any Office components needed to be updated.
  • Update Firefox
  • Update Thunderbird
  • Update Google Chrome
  • Check Flash Version
  • Check for updates to Aqua Emacs
  • Run sudo port upgrade: to check for updates to Macports programs.
  • Virus check: I'm required to run a virus checker by the powers that be, never mind that the next Mac virus in the wild will be the first I'm aware of. Fortunately, on the Mac McAfee is smart enough to do all its work in the background, without the warnings.
  • Reboot to take care of the system updates

III. Linux machines

  • System > Administration > Update Manager > Check > Install Updates: then wait a bit
  • Reboot: to activate the new kernel

Now. Will some one please remind me how much easier it is to run Windows or Mac OS X as opposed to Linux? Because sometimes I forget.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why People Don't Read History

It's just not believable.

Stolen from a comment in Contrary Brin.

I've been on vacation. More actual Linux stuff this weekend, I hope.