Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 laptop experience

In short, it's great OS for home use. However, it's lack of driver or software support for lastest external peripheral. In other word, software written by hardware vendor are mostly for Windows but not for Linux. For example, Creative or Asus external soundcard/headphone that comes with software and driver are only for Windows. This is why I want to keep Windows XP and run Ubuntu along side using Wubi.

Below is the list of point where you might want to consider using Ubuntu 10.04 as part of day-2-day, especially you're a Windows XP user.

1. It boots/shutdown faster than Window Xp - My wifi start connected almost instantly after log in and I can start surfing right away. While XP needs to wait for all the service to load up (antivirus, firewall, intel wifi, etc). The same goes for shutting down.

2. Chrome (Chromium), Firefox, Adobe Flash player is in the Ubuntu software center. Therefore, there's no need to search around in the Internet for software. This also raised a good point on the software center feature where you have less chance to download malicious software that harm your computer. However, in XP, there is always a need to search on the Internet for software.

3. Media plays well. VLC media player works well for both video (plus subtitle) and audio. Rhythmbox also plays well for audio but not my preferred choice. Anyway, I still like Winamp in Windows because of the interface and feature (the classic one, simple and easy). Unfortunately, they don't create a version for Ubuntu.

4. Office application comes free and works well too. Open office(for word/office document), Tomboy (for taking note, works better if setting the shortcut for open and edit note), Goldendict (dictionary software that works much better than the Ubuntu default, however dictionary file does not come free), Abiword (for simple text edit with spell check). They all comes free and easy to find in software center.

5. File sharing client (Vuse) for download is my preferred choice for managing torrent download. If you're using Vuse in Windows and probably you can do the same in Ubuntu. There are slight user interface changed between the two but they all perform the same.

6. Bluetooth support (bonus point). My bluetooth headphone works well with Ubuntu. It just the bluetooth USB dongle was unstable. I switched to Windows to test it out (This is why I want to keep XP) and same thing happened (Service not found, sometime worked sometime doesnt')

The list above are the features I used most for my day-2-day and I find Ubuntu 10.04 is easily to use and help me to perform my task. Beside that, I hope the vendor keeps release driver support for Window XP instead just Windows Vista/7, therefore I don't need to spend a dime to upgrade XP and still able to enjoy those computer peripheral (e.g. mp3 player, webcam, etc).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ubuntu Netbook 10.10 on Samsung NF310 experience

Ubuntu Netbook 10.10 is slow on Samsung NF310 netbook. My advise is not to install it at this point of time until a better release or driver support (wifi not working on start). I have spent some time (including downloading the ISO) to get it install from USB stick using Wubi (install Ubuntu in windows 7 starter and skip the disk partition process) but faced a lot of problems.

First, Wubi keeps downloading the disk ISO file when installing although I already have the file. Later, I found out that the ISO file has to keep together with wubi in the same folder in order to skip the download.

After that, wubi skip the windows installation and only allow for live cd or full installation. Then, I found out is the USB stick that make it behave this way. So, I copied the files to the windows local disk and run it again.

Next, I forgot the desktop environment has to be Ubuntu Netbook. This caused Wubi keeps trying to download the desktop AMD 64bit version. A quick search on the internet, I found a guide from how-to geek website and follow the steps from there.

Finally, I got it installed but just to found out that:

1. The user interface experience is so slow. Switching menu and open application is slow. Wifi is not working until I need a LAN cable to get the latest driver update from internet (It's the same experience when I started out using Ubuntu version 8.04 and it's a nightmare). Then later, my keyboard is not working at all and I couldn't type anything (only my touchpad is working). Function keys are not working also and this including adjusting the screen brightness
2. The good side is, I like the new menu, side bar and the search application function. The menu and windows effects are nice but it was slow to really enjoy it.

Later, I got it uninstall from my machine and went back to windows 7 starter. Nevertheless, it's a good start from Ubuntu to have a Netbook version and probably they will have a great release before windows 7 starter support ends. Until then, my advise is to wait for another one or two release before try again.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Potential problem by storing number into varchar/string field

The analyst came out a specification document and wanted to store a list of master data into a permanent temporary table and then use it to generate a report. The temp table structure already there and used by others. Thus, no change on data type on each of the fields. In the end, the analyst end up has to store number into varchar field.

But there is an potential problem:

1. Numerical setting. The number store in the varchar field in this format 0.00; however there is possibility the server setting for decimal as 0,00 (in Europe). Therefore, when converting the varchar (which the number is stored) to numerical using TO_NUMBER (for calculation), the sql will failed due the system unable to recognize the decimal.

2. A non numerical value can be store in the same field, which leads potential problem/issue raised in future. (e.g. TO_NUMBER failed again)

In short,  store only number to number fields. If not, make sure NO non numerical data and number store in the same field. Or converter the non numerical to some numbers for representation. Example, blank string stored as 0.