Tips: GRUB

GrubGRUB is one of the most common used bootloader on linux.
So, when using linux, and you’re a bit interesting in ‘what’s under the hood’,  it’s the first thing you want to learn about.

When you turn on your computer, the bios will start the bootstrap procedure from the primary boot-device.
(If you’re planning to run a LiveCD, you might make that your CD/DVD-rom drive) 😉
A bootstrap is in fact nothing else than having a small program, so that this can load a bigger one.
That’s the thing GRUB does, in short!
What you should remember, is that it’s important, and you would not like to break it.
If you do, you’ll render your hardisk unbootable.

So the first thing you want to do, is back up your MBR!
Why not just GRUB?
The MBR is a 512-byte segment, the first sector, on your harddisk.
GRUB takes 446 bytes, the partition table takes 66 bytes
and the 2 remaining bytes are for a signature.
You might want to keep these 3 intact.

Continue reading Tips: GRUB

40th International 100 km Kadee Dodentocht!

dodentochtTomorrow starts the 40th edition of the “Dodentocht” (translatable as death-march).
I’m not planning on joining the festivity’s, as I have to work, but there is someone I know that will participate.
My very own mother will be walking the whole thing.
I know she’ll walk the whole thing, even if that means a near-death experience.
I just know because she’s too stubborn to give up on herself. 😉
But that’s not the only thing… she just love to walk.
Her boots were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do…

So now that I’ve said I’m proud of her, there is another nice thing that’s quite neat on this walk-event.
They have this tracking system on their site that’s quite awesome.
It’s probably not the first tracking system that you’ve seen, but this is for a walk-event with nearly 10 000 participants.
I wonder how they’ll keep the data up to date!

I wish all the participants all the best and a lot of fun, especially my mother 😉
If you’re reading this, and you’ll be there I hope you’ll also cheer a little when my mom passes by…. (she’ll like it) 🙂

Edit: She did the whole tour and won a pineapple!

The problem of starting linux

engine_startI was recently reading a discussion on the release of Windows 7.
The article went into detail when it came to the different versions that will be sold. There will be 7.
In the comment-section, I noted quite a lot of people arguing that this is too much to choose from for home users.
Well then, let’s take those people’s vision and apply it to the world of Linux.

Let’s go on a journey with someone eager to start using Linux (without a live cd).

Let’s say this is one of the wonderfull people informing themselves before they actually start doing something.
Then this user would trigger a search query on his favorite search engine for the value Linux. is probably the first link that will be hit, as the first result has a 42% chance of getting selected.

On he/she’ll be learning a little on the principles of linux and the GNU licence.
After a bit of reading, she’ll know how wonderful linux is and appreciate the idea of openness.

As our imaginary person has a simple old spare computer that can be used to testdrive linux, he/she is convinced and ready to download her own copy.
But there is the first problem: Which linux distribution?

Continue reading The problem of starting linux

Keypad not working in Ubuntu 9.04

numkeyjpgAfter I installed Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) I noted that my keypad didn’t work anymore.
I never searched to fix this bug as I’m not using it that often. (The top-row number are far more efficient to use)
My first laptop (dell latitude d820) made me learn how to work without the numeric part. Afterwards, this was not such a bad thing. Typing without using the keypad makes typing much quicker. You should give it a try some day!

But now my girlfriend wanted to use my computer to do some internet banking, which uses quite a lot of numeric digits to get authorized, and thus I have to fix it.
It seems like this is a problem in
This bug has already been registered on Launchpad with the number #197589.
The quick work around is disabling the “Pointer can be controlled using the keypad”-option in your keyboard settings.
Or just disable it by hitting “Ctrl + Alt + Num Lock”
There, that solved the problem… not that hard, but handy to know 😉

No more struggling with repository’s

reposearchAs everyone already knows, you should take a backup before changing something in Ubunut/linux.
But as we all forget sometimes, we’re off on a quest to find the standard file.
For example, the /etc/apt/sources.list file is one the most wanted files on the internet.
People tend to add repository’s, change the servers, clean out the unwanted stuff and most of all: break it!
I still remember the horror I brought to myself in the old days…
Now I can always fall back to my .back files 😉

Apparently I wasn’t the only one that noted the load of requests on the forums.
On the blog, the admin published a very neat source.list generator for Ubuntu.
It let’s you select not only your county, branch, and other basic repository items, but also includes third-pary repo’s such as Skype and Virtualbox.

I’m sure this tool will prevent a lot of people losing way too much time on searching for the right repository’s.

My first Elder Dragon Highlander

Ok, I recently discovered this awesome unofficial Magic The Gathering format.
For those who don’t know Magic The Gathering: It’s an awesome (but expensive) trading-card game.
Usually when you play Magic, you use a Deck of 60 cards.
And you can use each (non-land) card up to 4 times.

An EDH Deck consists out of 100 cards and each (non-land) card should have a unique (english) card-name.
So you can’t use the same card twice.
In this format, I can play longer with the same deck, without getting the routine-feeling.
Continue reading My first Elder Dragon Highlander

Weird requests on the website

I was looking at the stats for and I was a bit surprised to see these easy attempts to compromise data from the website.
There were several 404 errors returned on files with names such as:

  • /packet.mdb
  • /
  • /shop.rar
  • /
  • /site.rar
  • /web.rar
  • /
  • /
  • /www.rar
  • /tomdb.mdb
  • /shop.mdb
  • /shoes.rar
  • /wwwroot.rar
  • /HSH.mdb
  • /
  • /HYTop.mdb

Continue reading Weird requests on the website

Jaunty Release-Party Ghent 09/05

I’m glad to announce:

On the 9th of may, there will be a Jaunty release party in Ghent! (free entrance)

First Promo Poster

The goal(s):

  • to provide general information on Ubuntu, Linux & FOSS, and show them you don’t need to be a pro to start using it
  • guiding people trough the sea of alternatives for proprietary software such as MS Office, Live Messenger, Photoshop, Publisher, Windows Media Player, Picture managers,…
  • help people getting Ubuntu installed on their laptop if they bring one along
  • show each-other nice tweaks you’ve got up your sleeves or admire the work of others
  • demo’s on how to use Ubuntu in an efficient way
  • introducing people to the Ubuntu-be LoCo-team! Let them know what we do, how they benefit & help.
  • hand out Ubuntu cd’s Continue reading Jaunty Release-Party Ghent 09/05