anonymous tech woman

Yet another woman in technology blog. I'm actually a developer who uses a variety of Java and database technologies on a variety of platforms.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Radeon Graphics cards and Suse Linux

I discovered that Radeon Graphics cards are not support in natively in Suse Linux therefore I had to go to the ATI Technologies site and download the Linux drivers. Firstly I found out what version of Xorg I was using by typing "Xorg -version" and then download both the installer and the appropriate driver. The site has instructions on how to install the driver and I just followed those.

Once I installed the driver I had to play around to ensure I had the right screen resolution and refresh rate. I tried using sax2 but this didn't help so then I edited the xorg.config file in /etc/X11/.

First I backed up the file and then found the section:
Section "Modes"
Identifier "Modes"
Modeline "1024x768" 92.05 1024 1088 1200 1376 768 769 772 806
Modeline "800x600" 55.22 800 840 928 1056 600 601 604 630

I hashed out the modes I didn't want and typed xmode xmode -x1152 -y864 -r60 into a terminal and copied and pasted this line in the file.

Resulting in something like this:
Section "Modes"
Identifier "Modes[0]"
#Modeline "1024x768" 92.05 1024 1088 1200 1376 768 769 772 806
#Modeline "800x600" 55.22 800 840 928 1056 600 601 604 630
Modeline "1152x864" 78.22 1152 864 928 1056 600 601 604 630

I then restarted X using "ctrl","alt" and "backspace" which caused my system to crash. Therefore I had to type "startx" to get back into kde.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Suse Linux and Netgear Wireless Routers

Before I started a new job I got a copy of Suse Linux 10.0 and installed it. I have a Netgear WGR614 wireless router with usb adaptors to connect to the internet. However I set it up and didn't bother setting following the instructions properly so now I have just spent a day setting it up again. (I say day in the lose sense as I have been doing other things in between.)

I discovered these on the web Suse Professional 9.x , ndiswrapper setup information and the troubleshooting section from ndiswrapper and wireless networking . Following these pages I have set up my wireless connection.

The main thing that you need to ensure you have before you start them is:
1. Your Suse Linux DVD/CDs
2. Your windows driver for your adaptor
3. The login information for your router
4. Another computer with access to the internet
5. Ensure that all your firewalls on the individual PCs (apart from the one on the router) are disabled.

I tried to uninstall and reinstall a newer version of ndiswrapper but this is a waste of time.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ant Is Easy

Today I finally put some effort in and wrote some Ant build files from scatch. The first was a dummy and the next was a real one to check a database connection. To summarise Apache Ant is simply a J2EE build tool that allows you to compile and run numerous Java classes include JUnit classes. It is basically a Java version of make used in C and C++. Recruiters make a big deal of the fact that if you develop in Java you should be able to use Ant so it's a skill worth learning, and like most things in Java a simple one. The tool can be downloaded here. The tutorials I used where from and from the Ant manual.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Internet Explorer Enters the 21st Century

I started using Opera in the winter of 2000/2001. I was fed up of using IE because I was at work and happened to use the web to find a lot of information and found the clutter of opening up a new IE window annoying. I heard of this new browser so I downloaded it and discovered that it was fast and had tabbed browsing. More importantly the interface was nice and user friendly, and it had the advantage of having an integrated email client.

My workmates where impressed however some of my friends' were not. They complained about the advertising box and as soon as Firefox came out they started using that because you didn't have to pay to get it advert free. I found that pages didn't load as fast in Firefox but as more websites looked correct in Firefox than Opera, and I could view more sites in it I started using it more and more until it became my browser of choice on both operating systems I use.

However both browsers had the problem that some site owners decided to ban people from their site because they didn't use IE or Netscape 4. This obviously made logical sense to them but if you are a business why would you ban a customer if they asked for something that was easy to fix? In this case all the sites had to do was ensure their content was on text pages. The BBC website was one of the sites that adhered to this simple accessibility principle but as usual Microsoft, who have a habit of copying other companies technologies/ideas, decided to do this with their site. This prevented you from using windows update if you didn't use IE. This practice was forced to come to an end due to the Disability Discrimination laws making it clearly illegal to prevent people with disabilities i.e. those who used text readers from accessing your site. However not a lot of businesses realised that the practice had always been illegal in the UK.

In 2004/5 there were lots of scares about security holes in IE and so more and more people started using Firefox. However Opera lost out mainly due to it's advertising box on it's free edition, so late in '05 Opera decided to give away it's browser without the ads. (I personally think this is too late in the PC market.)

Firefox is currently at version 1.5 and has a lot of useful add-ons. These include search engine extensions for Dictionaries and Wikiapedia, adblockers, RSS readers and viewers for pages in IE both as a tab and outside Firefox.

However today I decided it was time to see what the new IE 7 looked like. I downloaded it which involved the tedious process of allowing Microsoft to check my operating system was a registered copy, and then let them scan my computer for malware. After a reboot I opened up some familiar sites and noticed something eerie.

Yes Microsoft has copied Firefox. The browsers look very similar in appearance.

What is worse Microsoft has even copied the Firefox idea of allowing extensions such as the Google Search Engine and Wikiapedia to be made for it and having an integrated RSS.

However Microsoft as usual ensures all the defaults go to Microsoft sites i.e. MSN for search and the only RSS channel is a blog on Microsoft.

The major problem is that sites don't render correctly in the browser including blogger so I will not be rushing out to install this browser on my home computer.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I was sitting at work today contemplating that I haven't really done anything that shows that I have the knowledge that I say I have, so I looked at getting certified in different things such as Java and Oracle. As I don't have the money to spend on lots of training courses, I did a quick google search into self-learning. I only looked at Oracle because Java self-learning resources are plentiful.

To self-learn Java you start at the Sun website, continue through websites such as Java Ranch, stumble across the Bruce Eckel books and then go through sites such as the Apache software Foundation to download and get the information you want. There are also the forums at the Sun website, Java Ranch and assorted mailing list archives for Apache Group software that you can use to post questions. If you do google searches you can get access to mailing list archives however a good mailing list archive for a lot of various technologies is hosted at MARC .

To find out about self-teaching Oracle is a bit harder as you get discover lots of information on training courses that you can go on which you must pay for. However I came across one or two articles, which were mostly out of date, giving information on what steps you could take to obtain evaluation/developers copies of Oracle and cheap training material from. One good article is So You Want to Become an Oracle DBA?

Anyway I downloaded my Oracle database and then decided that I would get an up uptodate copy of the JDK. Apparently I'm out of luck because I keep getting a fatal exception when I click on the download link on my firefox browser. I have however copied the link into IE and then pasted it back into firefox. This makes no sense I know but it works.