New Computer

I have a new computer. Specifically, I have one of the new metallic iMacs from Apple, the 20″ one. (Wait long enough, and that link will point to the newer versions, but for now, it’s the one I have.) It arrived Tuesday morning.

It’s really nice. Big, bright, clear screen, really fast processor (2.4GHz), enormous hard drive (750Gb), nice keyboard and mouse; the hardware is great. I took it out of the box, connected up, plugged in, and put a DVD in to enjoy the show. Box opening to use: five minutes, if that.

Of course, I want to run Ubuntu Linux on it, so that wasn’t the end. Next, I had to download and burn four live CDs from Ubuntu, to find one that worked with my machine and booted it. Then I partitioned the hard disk, reinstalled MacOS X, and restarted again. Next, start from the Ubuntu CD, and install. I had to use the Gutsy Gibbon Tribe 5 testing release, because the 07.04 stable release doesn’t seem to work with this machine. (This isn’t surprising, because the machine is newer.) At this point, it wouldn’t boot into Linux, so I had to poke around on the web a bit to find rEFIt, which I installed, and which worked flawlessly first time.

So, at this point I had two working systems, and I copied my Linux files over from the tarball I’d made on my external USB drive. In the process, I discovered that USB 2.0 is about twenty times faster than USB 1.1. I knew it was faster, but I hadn’t realised it was that much so.

Moving data to the Mac side was held up by the fact that my old machine was not working at all well in Target Disk mode, so in the end I copied everything to the USB external drive, and then copied it on to the new machine. My photos took about four hours to copy onto the disk, and about fifteen minutes to come off again. The old computer only has USB 1.1…

A couple of pieces of software I use a lot weren’t in the Ubuntu repositories, so I briefly pointed Synaptic at the Debian repositories to get them. Then I had fun and games trying to get Japanese input working. The software was easy, but I ended up having to set environment variables in /etc/environment. Still, all working now.

Thus, all told and including sleep and teaching, it took a bit less than 36 hours from delivery to fully-functional. That’s still, I think, fairly fast, given what I needed to do.

And if you understood everything in this post, I am afraid that you are indisputably a geek.