Archive for MacBook Pro

new laptop with ubuntu 14.04

Posted in Linux, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , on August 14, 2014 by xi'an

Screenshot 2014-05-31 21:55:55As I was getting worried about the chances of survival of my current laptop (bought in emergency upon my return from Kyoto!), I decided to use some available grant money to buy a new laptop without stepping through the emergency square. Thanks to my local computer engineer, Thomas, I found a local dealer selling light laptops with an already installed Ubuntu 14.04… And qwerty (UK) keyboards. Even though the previous move to Kubuntu 12.04 had been seamless, a failed attempt to switch a Mac to Ubuntu a few months later left me wary about buying a computer first and testing later whether or not it was truly Linux compatible. I am therefore quite happy with the switch and grateful to Thomas for the suggestion. I managed to re-compile my current papers and to run my current R codes, plus connect by wireless and read photos from my camera, hence validating the basic operations I primarily require from a computer! And reinstalled KDE. (I am still having difficulties with the size of the fonts in Firefox though. Which do not seem coherent from a tab to the next.) Enough to sacrifice a new sticker to cover the brand on its cover….

en route to Australia

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on July 10, 2012 by xi'an

Despite the very long flights and the two transfers in Singapore and Brisbane, I found the trip to Australia only moderately tiring! Maybe because I managed to sleep for close to 8 hours on the first leg. Maybe because of the (great) facility of my new and cheap Compaq to keep running for a whole leg of seven hours without exhausting the battery (that I reloaded in Singapore). Maybe because I am finally getting used to twelve hour flights after my round trip to Kyoto last week. Maybe because having five breakfasts (my favourite meal!) in two days is a good enough reward. I even watched a movie, The Hunger Games, in two parts: one half before landing in Singapore and the other half over Bali. It is a terrible movie, with poor acting and even worse scenario. Plus, it has a rather lame ending, since the structure of the Orwellian society where those games take place is not at all perturbed by the actions of the characters since they were manipulated till the very end. However. the lame plot had some interesting game theory implications: in a game where all adversaries have to be eliminated, does it make sense to make temporary alliances? And then I suddenly remembered having read a blog about this, a few months ago!

The only painful part of the trip actually was to travel with two laptops, as I am not trusting the Compaq to stand the whole visit to Australia, nor the newly installed Macbook to be sufficiently stable. (I even took an external hard-drive to make daily security backups and to keep both laptops attuned…) I also wish my daughter had not “borrowed” my Canon point-and-shoot camera as there were particularly nice views when we landed both in Singapore and in Brisbane. Travelling with my (wife’s) Nikon J1 is not exactly as easy (more about this later!). And I do not think I can take it running, although I will obviously give it a try.

I now hope it won’t take me too long to get on Australian time(s) and look very much forward the interactions being an AMSI Lecturer can induce!

precise pangolin (Ubuntu 12.04)

Posted in R, Travel with tags , , , , on July 3, 2012 by xi'an

Following the crash of my hard drive right before leaving Kyoto, I bought a cheap Compaq Presario CQ57 to reinstall Ubuntu 12.04 over the weekend (and have a laptop available before leaving for Australia…)  It took about one hour to install from the DVD and everything seems to be working out of the box. The only part where I wasted time was the partition as I kept the original Windows 7 as dual boot, in case I recover my Macbook Pro early enough (and can get rid of this as a safety backup)… I had to remove one of the four partitions found on the computer to create unallocated space for the three Linux partitions (swat, / and /home, which took a while sine I had to do it under Windows 7 (which went for ever to update revisions I was not the slightest interested in…)

I wrote the above yesterday night and, this morning, Gilles Barés, computer wizz (and fantastic photographer!) manages to recover the contents of my hard-drive by reading it on another Macbook with Ubuntu on it… As it happens, there was nothing wrong with the hard-drive in the end, “simply” the motherboard was doing funny things..! I thus have now a new operational Macbook Pro with Ubuntu 12.04! Plus this backup Compaq I may leave at home for emergencies…

A further update a day later (07/04)is that AppleCare eventually accepted to handle my Macbook (after forcing me to reinstall an Apple OS on the disk!) and found that the issue was the cable connecting the motherboard to the hard-drive. This is repaired and I thus hope to take my old laptop with me to Australia in three days!

Mechanical mishaps [coincidences]

Posted in University life with tags , on March 25, 2011 by xi'an

Following my computer incidents of the past two weeks, one of my colleagues in Paris-Dauphine, Olivier, got exactly the same sequence of troubles: the day I got my Macbook Air back, the hinges of his broke, then as he was getting ready to get it back, the videocard of his Macbook Pro died. An interesting row of coincidences, even though we bought both of our two computers at about the same time (as my son, unimpressed, pointed out).

A new series of mishaps

Posted in Kids, R, University life with tags , , , , , on March 13, 2011 by xi'an

Following the slight difficulties of last week, I had a hard week on the computer front: indeed, on Monday, I received my 2007 macbook from the repair shop, with a new video card, courtesy of Apple. Unfortunately, this started a series of problems. First, the old macbook stopped recognizing the NVIDIA video and, while it worked under VESA, the system got unstable to the point that I had no choice but to install Maverick Meerkat (Ubuntu 10.10) to make it work again… This proved rather unsuccessful in that the new installment is periodically login me out, especially when I am under Firefox or Acrobat… (Most items are working, though, including the bluetooth Apple mouse… Anyway, Pierre kindly offered to take a look over the weekend.) This was not the end of my worries, though, as I stupidly typed sudo chown xian on my new macbook while on / (when I thought I was on /home/xian). This was very very s.t.u.p.i.d. (I committed this major error during Pierre’s talk two days ago, while typing my post on SMC²!) and it also ruined the whole system, despite a manual attempt at recreating the ownership of the system directories… This also ended in a reinstallation of Maverick Meerkat from the start, which surprisingly did not produce the same outcome as the first time, with hardly anything working. Even under the minimal Ubuntu configuration. So this morning I once again started from scratch, using the whole disk and letting the installation CD make all the decisions. Except for the sound (!), everything seems to be working now. Including the webcam as shown above. (Once I installed Isight.) Then tonight, the hinge of the macbook Air I keep at home (and often borrowed by my daughter) broke, a frequent problem with macbook air‘s as I brought one from the department to the repair shop on Monday in exchange for my repaired macbook… And to make the day complete, this morning a neighbouring car kindly pointed out to me a flat tire on my car! I am glad I recovered my bike with a new axis earlier this week…

A series of mechanical mishaps

Posted in Running with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2011 by xi'an

The past week saw the coincidence of a series of mechanical problems on the home front:

  • I was diagnosed with a meniscus tear after an MRI, presumably due to years of jogging although it only started to feel painful after Adap’skiii…. This was treated by an cortisone injection in the knee (addressing the inflammation hopefully for a few years but not the tear).
  • My bike back-wheel axis broke, which means I biked back home with the brake on! Good training! (And it does not hurt the knee!) Changing this wheel will cost me the equivalent of a full tank of gas, i.e. at least forty round trips to my office…
  • My Macbook video card broke down on Monday night, meaning truly no access to the data even with an external screen. (I wonder if this is yet another effect of the Philadelphia tea party!) Fortunately, this was right after my weekend backup so only a day of work on the Jaynes‘ slides is inaccessible. Fortunately too, the newer Macbook was already equipped with Kubuntu 10.10 and the switch was easy, except for having to use a mouse for the first time in ten years! As reported in this earlier post, the system works almost perfectly, with only the microphone and the wireless mouse not operational… If I could use the touch-pad for cut&paste, it would be perfect. Anyway, I should get my 2007 Macbook early this week with a new video card, courtesy of Apple despite the warranty having run out!
  • My radio stopped broadcasting the national public radio on Saturday evening for about half an hour. I found only the next day that this was due to an incredible…series of coincidences and accidents at the national public radio that stopped all broadcasting for half an hour! Nothing related with my own radio then.
  • My car thermometer started giving impossibly low temperatures, by a factor of -10⁰C or so… This is a very minor bug and an interesting calibration problem: I will try to check whether the discrepancy is reliable enough to build a correcting function!

Disas-tea-R at dawn

Posted in Linux, R, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by xi'an

This was bound to happen sooner or later, given my addiction to tea and sleepless nights, so I eventually managed to spill a cup of tea over my Mac… I had been working for a few hours in my hotel room in Philadelphia, completing an ABC paper with Jean-Michel Marin and Robin Ryder. We had been running experiments in R with Jean-Michel over the past days and I wanted to check some details with him about some graphs he sent me, so we got into a Skype conversation. At the same time, I was running an alternative R code to compare with his, and starting a new ‘Og entry about a current campaign against road accidents. And drinking my fifth or sixth cuppa of the morning. I suddenly realised dawn had come and stood up to raise the blinds next to my desk. Completely forgetting about the earphones on my head. The obvious then occurred: the earphone cord stretched, pulling the teacup over and I turned back to see the keyboard covered with tea… Disaster! I tipped the computer over and grabbed the hotel hairdryer to try to dry it as quickly as possible (apologies to the next room neighbour!). Contrary to all advices, I did not turn the Mac off but kept running the R program instead to add to the heat of the dryer. In retrospect this was quite silly and I am lucky to get out with only two keys not working!

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