Ubuntu on an HP Compaq dx2300 Microtower

My new desktop at varsity is, as described in the title, an HP Compaq dx2300 Microtower. First thing I did when I got access to it was, of course, to install Linux - Ubuntu 8.10 in this case. It’s a pretty nice machine (although not particularly high-spec) and pretty much everything worked straight away from install. The graphics card is Intel, so I’m not going to be doing any serious gameplaying (this is a work computer, anyway) but it runs Compiz pretty well. Being a desktop, suspend and hibernate aren’t terribly important, but as it happens they work fine.

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HSDPA modem and custom routing

So, for my Christmas present to myself I got a Huawei E220 HSDPA modem - it’s one of the Vodafone-branded ones, but I reflashed it with the generic firmware. Anyway, it’s an awesome thing to have for a geek like me - I can be connected to the Internet at broadband speeds almost anywhere in the city. It’s particularly useful when I’m on campus, so I can avoid the dog-slow UCT internet connection.

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XRandR – finally, simple monitor configuration for Linux

The most recent Linux distribution releases - Ubuntu 7.10, Fedora 8 and so on - are now shipping with version 1.2 of the XRandR extension for the X server. This allows the user to dynamically change resolutions, refresh rates, and - this is the really impressive thing - switch monitors on and off on the fly. All of this, without ever having to edit xorg.conf, or restart the X server, or reboot. This was one of the major things that the Linux desktop lacked compared to other major operating systems.

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