Category Archives: Technology and Society

Time To Dig Out The Shutters?

I’ve been keeping an eye on that disturbance in the Atlantic for a few days, but it’s starting to look like there’s a chance of a hurricane here early next week. The models are all showing it curving to the north off the coast, and missing Florida, but the models aren’t to be trusted this far out. I may have to shutter up on Sunday.

[Update early afternoon]

This morning’s model runs have it heading across the top of the greater Antilles, and then tearing up through the Bahamas. Except for GFDL, which has it heading right up the Florida east coast, starting in northern Palm Beach County, and then right up to the Cape, four and a half days from now (i.e., late Monday). Despite my earlier musings on the palliative effects on space policy from a Kennedy Center hurricane, I hope it’s wrong.

Firefox Problem

I tend to have a couple dozen tabs (in multiple instances) of Firefox running at any given time. But I’ve noticed (at least in Windows) that sometimes the program will start to saturate the CPU, and take forever to reload a site, or even to switch from one tab to another. When I shut down the program, the CPU usage goes from a hundred percent to a few percent. But when I reload it, with all previous tabs restored, it shoots back up to a hundred. I suspect that it’s just one of the tabs that’s causing the problem, but the Windows task manager can’t provide any insight, because it’s happening inside the application.

It would be really nice if the Firefox folks would put in a diagnostic tool that would tell which open tab, or tabs, was causing the problem, so that one could just close that one without having to kill the whole program. It’s really made it almost unusable until I can figure out which one it is. Or just start over, but keeping them open is my way of bookmarking items for later blogging.

One Less Thing To Worry About?

Is the Yellowstone caldera fizzling out?

This adds to suggestions that the plume has disconnected from its heat source in the Earth’s core. If this is true, it means the plume could be dying – and that the sequence of mega-eruptions could come to an end. “If it doesn’t have clear source, as it rises eventually the plume will die out,” says Schutt.

Let’s hope so. A Yellowstone explosion could be a civilization-ending event, and there’s not much we can do to prevent it, at least with current technology.

New Fedora Laptop Issue

OK, when we last left our intrepid laptop, it couldn’t install Fedora. Following advice in comments there, I tried a live version of Ubuntu, and it had no problem, other than telling me that it didn’t have an open-source driver for the WLAN. Then I tried Fedora again. It hung up as it did before, but I went away and ignored it, and when I came back after a while, it had finally booted into the installer. Apparently I just hadn’t been patient enough the last time.

Now, after selecting languages, it gives me a message saying “No driver found” It tells me that there is no driver for this installation for the device, and asks me if I want to install manually, or if I have a disk. When I try installing manually, it gives me a drop-down list of every driver for every device known to Linus. The only problem is that it doesn’t tell me what device is causing the heartburn.

Any suggestions? I’m guessing that it might be the wireless, because of the message on Ubuntu, but who knows?

[Update a few minutes later]

The exact (cryptic) message is “Unable to find device type needed for this installation type.”

Huh?

It’s Healed!

Miraculously (and mysteriously), my internal wireless adaptor started working yesterday. Unfortunately, that gives me one less excuse to return the laptop.

I still have to figure out what to do about Linux. Also, I’m unimpressed with Vista so far. Last night, the machine crawled almost to a halt. It’s a 2 GHz Turion with three gigs of RAM. It took forever for task manager to load, and it provided no information as to which process was causing the problem, but the CPU was saturated. I couldn’t even shut down applications, or the computer itself. I eventually had to just power it down. It’s been OK since I rebooted into safe mode, and then rebooted again, but I have no idea what was going on.

It’s Always Something

Well, I got what I thought was a good deal on a laptop.

Two problems (well, three, one of which is caused by the other). First, the integrated WLAN adaptor doesn’t seem to work. That’s an annoyance, but I have a USB adaptor. More seriously, it doesn’t seem to accept Linux. When I tried to do a Fedora 9 install, it hung on one of the devices. It didn’t occur to me to check to see if it was compatible with Linux–I had just assumed that it had evolved to the point where that wasn’t an issue any more. So I’m considering returning, but not sure how to avoid the problem in the future.

Oh, the third problem? It comes with Vista installed. I hadn’t cared when I thought that it would running Linux most of the time, but now it’s an issue.

It’s Always Something

Well, I got what I thought was a good deal on a laptop.

Two problems (well, three, one of which is caused by the other). First, the integrated WLAN adaptor doesn’t seem to work. That’s an annoyance, but I have a USB adaptor. More seriously, it doesn’t seem to accept Linux. When I tried to do a Fedora 9 install, it hung on one of the devices. It didn’t occur to me to check to see if it was compatible with Linux–I had just assumed that it had evolved to the point where that wasn’t an issue any more. So I’m considering returning, but not sure how to avoid the problem in the future.

Oh, the third problem? It comes with Vista installed. I hadn’t cared when I thought that it would running Linux most of the time, but now it’s an issue.