Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Comment Responses and The Many Differences Between Private Sector and Public Sector Employment

Earlier today I got an email from the Middle School Spanish Teacher explaining that her student computers (Edubuntu Feisty LTSP setup) weren't working and wondering if I could take a look at the problem. The first thing I noticed in turning on the server was the fact a horrible rattling noise assuredly coming from a fan or some other spinning device. Opening the box up I noticed a couple of wires had fallen beneath the fan shield and were the cause of the noise. A couple of seconds later the box was up and running perfect....except that there was no picture on the monitor.

I pulled the VGA cord out of the server, plugged in a different monitor and it lit right up. What could be the problem? I restarted the computer, verified that it was fine and switched back to the original monitor. No luck. I power cycled the monitor to no avail before the solution hit me.

Can you think of what it could be? The monitor is not broken btw. Pretty puzzling right?

Apparently some kid had flipped open the front flap on the monitor and changed the "contrast" and "brightness" settings so that the screen was completely black. I tried resetting the monitor but for some reason that didn't work and it was only after I manually upped both the contrast and brightness that the screen came back to life.

Just one little story illustrating the many little differences between tech support in a public school and tech support in the private sector (I'm assuming most adults don't intentionally screw with the brightness and contrast levels of their monitors until no picture at all is showing). Good Times.

So I also thought I'd take the time to post a little response I wrote up to some of the comments on last week's post about Xubuntu (still loving it btw, just got Win2k running on Virtualbox on a P4 2GHz test machine).

Apparently someone linked to the post because the 7 comments I got exceeded my previous comment total by about.....6. Here's my response to the various things people had to say:

"Thanks for all the replies fellas. I've got a quick couple of minutes before my 7th graders show up to learn Google Sites (super sweet new addition to Apps BTW) but so far Xubuntu is doing great on the quad core Dell. (Now we'll see how it does with 8 cores!)

Flash is very reliable BTW, not a problem so far except that it's slow on the clients which I've posted about. This does get a little better if "hardware acceleration" is turned off in the settings though.

I like Ubuntu for lots of reasons, but most of them are described in slide 7 of my presentation on

I haven't tried PCLinuxOS, but from everything I've read Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE are the big three in terms of hardware compatibility and ease of use. I owe it to myself to try it out in any case.

I did try puppy and deli and a couple of others while I was debating the merits of Ubuntu and actually wrote about it in the previous post here:

I guess I should elaborate a bit on what I did and didn't like about each of the other distributions. Better yet, I'll post on EXACTLY what I need out of a distro and maybe someone can prescribe me the perfect one.

Fluxbuntu sounds good BTW. I'm definitely going to check that out for my stand alone machines. News coming soon...

Cheers! -joe"

Cheers! -joe

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