Friday, July 22, 2005

APC (American Power Conversion)

For those who don't know, APC is a well-known manufacturer of power-protection equipement, such as UPSs and Surge protectors. An UPS is like a surge protector (protects your equpment from "too much electricity" (spikes, surges), but it has a battery pack that protect equipment in case of drop of voltage (brownout) or power outages.

I had to deal with APC support yesterday. In fact, I was a troubleshooting an issue for about une week by e-mail and I called them yesterday.

Here is my opinion about APC:

1- They make very good hardware, although I think that Powerware is offering UPSs that have more features (their 9000-serie).
2- I love their live support on their web site. It is probably the thing that makes me buy APC. I can chat directly with a sales rep before buying.
3- I don't like their software. I use Apcupsd on my Linux servers, for a reason. APC's software, PowerChute, will not install on a Linux server without having X installed. I don't install X on my server, I don't need a graphical interface on my servers. And Apcupsd gives me a lot more control. On Windows, I install PowerChute, as I don't want to install + configure cygwim to make Apcupsd work. The thing I hate about this software is that it has 3 components: server, console and agent. They recommend installing all 3 components, but not use the agent. The problem is that there are settings in the agent that are not in the server/console mix and vice-versa. Btw, Powerware's free software seems to be amazing.

APC's Web Site
Powerware's Web Site
Cyberpower's Web Site
Tripplite's Web site

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Other Linux Distro?

So, I don't really like Fedora Core 4 up to now. Very slow and a little too buggy. Still haven't found out how to get my second monitor to work, but I'd already like to try another linux distribution. I downloaded the Debian Netinstall iso and Ubuntu DVD. I tried the live-cd part of Ubuntu. Nice, sleek, full of packages available easily, including proprietary software (Wow... Acrobat Reader 7). It seems to be more stable than Fedora, but I only tried it live for about 30 minutes. I wonder if I should backup my Fedora installation before replacing it by Ubuntu. Or maybe Debian? I'm still not sure. I'd like to have something that just works. I can sometimes hate Windows, but Windows XP on my laptop just works and is stable. I just hope Linux on the desktop could be like it is on my servers. But is a different game. On servers, I run no graphical interface and no complex (or new) hardware. The setup on my servers are a lot more simple than what I want it to be on my laptop. Well, I won't be doing that today, so I'll keep you informed.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Fedora Core 4 on my laptop

I had a bit of spare time at the office this week, so I decided to install (definitevely) linux on my laptop. I decided to go with Fedora Core 4, as I'm more familiar with Red Hat. I managed to get to a fully functionnal setup within a few days. The only thing I haven't worked out yet is getting my external display to work. I have a 17" external monitor which adds a little of workspace.

I replaced Outlook with Evolution and its Exchange connector. I was already using Firefox for internet browsing and Thunderbird for my personal e-mail and newsgroups (via Gmane). XMMS instead of Winamp and all other little gadgets (archive manager, etc.) have their equivalents on Linux. I bought Driverloader to be able to use Windows driver for my integrated wireless network card. All of this works pretty well.

I do have a few complaint, though. It is slow. Slower than Windows :(. And I have stability problems. Of course, Fedora is bleeding edge, but... Evolution tends to crash (Evolution-Storage) and is a lot, lot slower thant Outlook, even with regular IMAP accounts. I use the multiple option destops, and when I put Thunderbird on, say, desktop 5, I get back to my main desktop, I hear the sound of a new message coming in, so I go back to desktop 5 to find my Thunderbird not responding. Also, I can't make the Eclipse CVS plugin work and one menu is broken (this one apparently has been fixed and there will be a new rpm soon.

PS: while I was writing this article, I discoverd that there are shortcut keys for Firefox plugin Foxytunes. CTRL+right arrow: next song. CTRL+left arrow: previous song. CTRL+up/down arrows manages the volume level. Neat :)!