Category Archives: old

Installing ubuntu from a USB drive

Got an old computer? Installing ubuntu on an old PC is a great way to recycle and breath in new life to old systems. However, what if the old PC’s optical drive is busted? This is even harder if you have a laptop since optical drives for laptops is harder to find and expensive. Well, no worries. As long as the computer can boot from a USB external drive (I was surprised that an old Dell laptop from 2004 can do this), you’re in for a treat!

You need a running windows/linux system (can be the same system you’re planning to install ubuntu to) and a USB flash drive. Download the ISO of ubuntu, and UNetbootin. Make sure there is enough space on the flash drive for the ISO. Install and run UNetbootin. Select the ISO and the target flash drive, and let it run. It will make the flash drive bootable, containing the ISO. After it finishes, reboot, go to the BIOS and set the computer to boot from a USB device, plug-in the USB flash drive (if you haven’t done it), and you’ll be greeted by the standard ubuntu installation. What’s the treat? The install process is much faster than using a CD simply due to the faster read rate of USB flash drives. You’ll be up and running in no time. Neato.


Time Maching Hints/Tips

Time Machine is Apple’s backup utility included in Mac OS X Leopard. It has a straight forward setup and automatically works. Still, there are several tips I found on the web while searching a way to move my old Time Machine backup from an external hard-drive to my new drobo. I found 2 blog posts that are quite useful.
1. From Ryan Block’s blog: a tip to save some space on your Time Machine drive. By default, Time Machine backs up everything on you Mac. There is an option to exclude certain folders/drives, and Ryan has a list of certain things that Time Machine can skip to save some space, things that are easily recoverable from other sources.

2. From Stephen Foskett’s blog: Time Machine is great, but what if you want to upgrade your Time Machine drive to a newer/larger drive? There is an option to change disk in system preferences, but it doesn’t move your old backup. This tip uses Disk Utility to “restore” the old Time Machine drive to the new one. One note, make sure you don’t need anything on the new drive, since I can only make this work if I check Erase Destination option.