Month: March 2009

IE Tester

I saw this link on a new IE Tester.  It looks like a really great idea.  I only looked at it quickly, but I think it only runs on Windows.  My big problem is that I don’t normally use Windows period and don’t have access to any version of IE.

Here are the links for the IE Tester:

Another option: run IE in Wine.  You can have multiple Wine homes in which you could load multiple versions of IE.  I know I have seen tutorials for loading IE6 in Wine, and I think just recently some tutorials for IE7 popped up.

Grub Boot Error

If you have any suggestions, please post a comment!

I have an old computer with an Abit VP6 motherboard.  I attempted to install Xubuntu 8.10 on it, but it does not want to boot.  It stops at “grub loading stage 1.5”.

I initially thought it had to do with the fact that I installed an SATA controller and started using an SATA drive as my OS drive (the only drive in the system because my IDE drive failed).  I thought that maybe the BIOS did not support booting off the drive, but it is at least getting to grub.  I don’t have grub installed on anything else that is bootable when the CD is not in the drive.

I have tried reinstalling Grub using these instructions, but that did not help.

Update: I installed Xubuntu 8.04 on the same machine, and installs and boots with no problem.  (My wireless card doesn’t work and the video driver needs work.)  So, I am pretty sure this isn’t a hardware issue.

Update: I posted a question to the forum here.

Sprinkler Project

We are planning to put some sprinklers in, and I wanted to try to use my computer as the controller rather than buy one.  But, I need some help.  Please comment if you have any expertise in this area or any tips.

This article is very similar to what I want to do:

Acacia Projects — Sprinkler Controller

First of all, I am not exactly sure how the “24 VAC Plug Pack” comes into play.  I am assuming that the valve needs more power than what the card produces, and the plug pack gives it that boost, but where do you purchase one?  I am assuming that you need one for each station.

I think I found where they were talking about buying the board from:

One of the problems that I might have is that my computer is on the opposite side of the house from where I might want to place the valves.  I thought about using Ethernet to get the signal closer to the valves and place the card nearer to the valves.  This product looked helpful:

Ether I/O 24R

I found a couple of other examples, but they didn’t have quite enough detail for me:

Embedded Linux Router Hacked for Sprinkler Controller

This link does seem to have more detail:

Sprinkler control with embedded…

They mention using the USB Bit Whacker board.  I think I found where I could buy it: SparkFun Electronics.

Skype Problems on Ubuntu 8.10

I have been having trouble getting Skype to work.  If anyone has any ideas, please post a comment.  I at least have it working, but the microphone is quiet.  Also, at this point, I only get output on the left speaker.

One thing that helped was going into the System > Preferences > Sessions and changing the Skype command from “skype” to “padsp skype”.

Here are some articles that I have looked at and tried:

Installing Office 2007 on Ubuntu

Here is a little script that I put together that installs Office 2007 for me.

Now, this script makes the following assumptions:

  • I already have a directory created called wine in my home directory.
  • I want Office installed in a separate directory/wineprefix
  • I have the Office CD mounted already at /media/cdrom0
  • I have winetricks in my path (which winetricks = /usr/local/bin/winetricks)

Also, just for information, here is my setup

  • Ubuntu 8.10
  • Wine version 1.1.16
  • I believe I installed Wine with apt-get using the repository at
export WINEPREFIX=$HOME/wine/office2007

winetricks msxml3 dotnet20 gdiplus riched20 riched30 vcrun2005sp1 allfonts ie6
winetricks vista
wine /media/cdrom0/setup.exe
winetricks winxp

I hope it helps.