I fixed yesterday’s problems with the machine locking up every time I tried to burn a DVD by opening up the case and reseating all the cards and cables. Yeah!
Last night I worked on setting up a new computer for the flying club’s ops center. The old one started freezing up and dying about a month ago, and so I took it home to work on, and then never had time to work on it because of the move. Even after reseating everything and cleaning, it still freezes up after a few minutes of operation – it continues to work and the screen refreshes, but it no longer responds to the keyboard and mouse. A club member donated a machine which was even slower than the original (400MHz versus 550MHz) and has less ram (384Mb versus 512Mb). But it’s adequate. I installed Morphix Linux on it, which probably isn’t the best choice but it uses XFCE4 as its user interface unlike most small Linuxes that use IceWM or Blackbox or Fluxbox, which look like somebody with really bad colour sense and latent depression tried to copy the worst features of Windows 95. XFCE4 uses a Mac OS X-like application dock, and uses bright pastel shades so that it looks like something out of this century. The ~/Desktop/Autostart directory contains a script to start up Firefox with a special home page with some links that I find useful.
I stripped the stuff that users shouldn’t be doing off the menu bar, and set it up in /etc/init.d/xstart so that when a user logs out, the user’s home directory is blown away and re-copied from a read-only file system “safe”, and the display starts again. That way nobody has to worry about any of their web cookies, passwords or other cruft being left behind. And because it’s Linux, I don’t have to worry about them installing stuff or getting viruses or spyware.