December 20, 2010

Electron Monger Ants

It never occurred to me when ants were found in my roommate's laptop occasionally, that these little creatures have an attraction to electrical equipments.

Now I am facing issues with ants covering up my laptop charger node, even if there is no supply.
Also, some of the days I find ants crawling beneath my laptop, and going inside the case. These occurrences were too many that I finally decided to Google search this phenomenon.

After a couple of unsuccessful keywords, I got the answer from Wiki answers and Yahoo Answers that indeed some variety of ants are attracted to source of electricity. But it is in fact the magnetic fields surrounding these equipments that somehow simulate them.

The wiring in my building is not even earthed properly, so all devices connected to the power supply continuously emanate an AC charge, attracting huge crowds of ants to these power outlets, even when the plugs are switched off.

Now, I have no other go than cleaning up all devices before connecting to my laptop and regularly warding off the hordes of ants from my room. Sheesh, what a mess.

December 04, 2010

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade

Nowadays Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux Distros out there. It provides all kinds of features that Windows and Mac provide , free of cost. And, compared to other distros and early generation Linux, Ubuntu has taken the concept of hassle free OS to a new level.

They are forever catching up with the latest in technology and new designs by having a very fast and reliable release cycle of 6 months. That means, every 6 months, you get a newer version of Ubuntu, boasting new and improved features, UI and bug fixes. Exciting , isn’t it.

Unfortunately that also means that you might have to do a distro upgrade operation every 6 months or so. For some users, this can be very troublesome as they would have already installed a whole lots of apps and packages. For this reason, many users don’t opt for this change. But what if you desperately need that latest feature or compatibility woes trouble you in your current distro? Then you are forced to make that move.

There are two ways to make that upgrade. If you have good internet connection , you can opt to upgrade your distribution directly, without harming your data files. Another option is to buy/order or download a fresh iso image of the latest Ubuntu and install OVER your current installation. The latter is time consuming especially to restore your installed apps manually. But the former too is not such a great idea as per my personal experience.

Being Ubuntu, you would be having APT ( Advanced Packaging Tool ) installed in your machine. Use
apt-get dist-upgrade
to directly initiate the upgradation to a higher version of OS ( if available). Last time I did this, many of my application configurations got corrupted and crashed. There were some known dependency issues between consecutive versions, which are not visible to the user while initiating the upgrade. At the end, I had to opt for a fresh install. You can try out this for yourself. If it works fine, then its good. Else, read on.

If you want to do a fresh install , then there are a couple of steps to save your currently installed app list ( because remembering, choosing and installing them is the toughest phase ) to a file and automatically reinstall the same list after a fresh OS install. The following are the steps for it:

1) dpkg --get-selections > ./backup.log
2) Save the file to some other device
3) Do a fresh install of latest version of OS
4) dpkg –-set-selections < ./backup.log
5) dselect
6) Use “i” to install all the apps