Monday, September 25, 2006


I decided to upgrade my work desktop PC to Ubuntu's Dapper Drake release over the weekend - left it going from an ssh login from home. I'd been meaning to do it for ages but work kept getting in the way, so I decided as I was around the flat for a few hours cleaning, why not just leave it running and do the large downloads over the weekend when it won't matter to the company.

Dapper Drake has been out since June, and having seen how many updates were still being made to fix problems, I had avoided it for a few weeks; but now it seemed stable enough and the teething problems looked like they'd mostly been ironed out.

I only had two problems post ugprade:

  1. I couldn't log in graphically via the gnome (gdm) login screen.
    Ok, a pretty serious problem, but only the one.. ssh remote login or via the text virtual terminals (eg. via Ctrl+Alt+F1) worked just fine but it just behaved like I'd got the password wrong but without any errors or pause. I knew I could type it ok, so I did a google and checked the logs for the Xserver, syslog, and auth (in /var/log).
    I had this odd error:

    Execution of PostLogin script returned > 0. Aborting.

    It had been working fine before, and I'd completely forgotten Synergy had an entry in the script to restart it as the user after the as-root version on startup. I couldn't see why it would fail, unless some libraries had broken in the upgrade or been removed or changed configuration; but I disabled synergy and lo and behold, it worked! I could log in again. I tried rebuilding synergy before running it again, but it seemed to not need new binaries installing (from what I could catch of the speedily-flying-by build output).

  2. My sudo sessions weren't being reset as they used to. This problem was due to a customisation I'd made to the last one involving /etc/sudoers and using fcron and sudo -k to manage my sudo session timeouts every day rather than the default-installed anacron (which clash according to the package dependencies). That was easily fixed once I realised it had removed fcron in favour of anacron again.

So now I have a fully working Dapper that looks just - well, dapper! (excuse the pun). No config appears broken yet, but it did mess with my window titlebar - the colours. It's got rounded edges, looks a little cuter.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cycling Commuter

Ever since I moved up to London I had wondered if cycling to work was a realistic possibility. My landlord had said he thought it might take around 45minutes to get into the city. Which isn't far off what it takes via the tube door-to-door, if I walk to the station (10mins). I haven't really been doing enough exercise since I moved, the walk to the tube isn't long enough to count and I haven't got round to playing badminton again regularly.

Yesterday I took the plunge, as my travelcard had just expired it provided a good opportunity to try it out and save some money at the same time. I quite enjoyed it. Well, the cycling outside the city anyway. Once you get over London Bridge it's not so nice; solid traffic, more fumes and traffic dust/pollution (huh - fat use the congestion charge is). I haven't had any big worries about getting run over yet; I've been keeping my eyes open and looking behind me plenty as I move around/vehicles come up on me in busy areas.

I bust my old helmet last year by accidentally dropping a car wheel on it (a lightweight alloy one too!). Shows how little you can trust the polystyrene affairs for any real clash with something larger than yourself, but they should be ok for basic knock/falling off protection. So I went shopping yesterday at lunchtime to the Evan's cycles at London Bridge and got a new one. I'd not really found any I was that keen on at the local Halfords a few weeks ago when I went to look.

I decided to do it again today and I think I enjoyed it even more, as I knew how long it was going to take I didn't push myself so hard. I left a bit earlier and there were some almost pleasant moments on the more southern part of the journey on the A3, particularly around Clapham Common. Yesterday I didn't know if the estimate was wildly out or not so I made more of an effort; although I didn't take the fastest route through the city, so it ended up taking the same time today.

We will see how long I keep it up for; it's easiy enough to buy another travelcard if I get too annoyed or the weather starts being regularly unpleasant enough.