Office computers

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Office computers

Post by chombee » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:01 pm

I gave up on trying to print at the forest today, it was easier to walk to my office, print it illicitly, walk back. I really could have done with Infoseed actually, but didn't feel comfortable going in there with the Infoseed regulars disappeared and Frank & friends using the place.

The office is totally fucked again computers-wise and it'll be several hours of work to get it back into shape, probably a one-man lone quest for some poor bastard, and probably only for it all to happen again.

We really need something like the Infoseed/Forest shared office space thing we were talking about. We need an office/meeting space that has some sort of collective vibe going, so we can have a collective of geeks who are in and out of there regularly and have an interest in keeping the technology working and the space tidy, and we avoid one-man crusades by me or Duncan to fix everything, or Blue and Bill to clean everything.

Are we going to do all the work below to fix the current office, it's a weekend or a day at least worth of work for one or two people, or shall we make a move on new collective office/meeting space instead, and try to get some others on board to help us?

I don't use the office much so I don't tend to know how well everything is working, but here is what I was able to see today that needs doing:

* The blue computer is fucked to the point of being almost useless. I couldn't even open up a PDF. Photoshop is not worth all this digital hell. Digihell. I say: forget Windows, run Ubuntu only. It may also need a new hard drive.

I know people like photoshop and accept that it's the best graphics tool, but maybe to save trouble with everything else we will just have to learn to use Linux graphics programs and make do.

I can think of two other possibilities right now. Get a mac. There's no space for it in the current office, but perhaps we could do with a third computer if we're moving the office. Macs don't crash and degrade and cause hell like Windows, and it seems you can get Photoshop for mac. So we would have two PCs running Ubuntu and one Mac with Photoshop. We have the jukebox Mac already, but it's doing a good job where it is, so I'd propose buying a new one. There was a thread on some list I read recently about where to buy cheap macs. I can dig it up if people like this idea.

Or, I've heard that Pixel, which costs money but runs on Linux, is good, perhaps a Photoshop equal. Is it true? If it is, should we just buy it?

* The grey computer currently has no working mouse. We need to buy a new mouse. If you have a chance somebody just go out and buy one from one of the shops near the forest. When I have time I'll try to concentrate on the other computer fixing tasks that aren't so easy. I hope it is only the mouse that's broken, and not some part of the computer, but the only way to find out is to buy a new mouse. To be safe, get a PS2 mouse, not a USB mouse. USB mice sometimes make problems.

Aside from that, I think there are no problems with the grey computer? i.e. Ubuntu continues to work fine and the computer has not broken. I suggest wiping Windows off it and freeing up more space for Ubuntu.

* The printer/copier. I don't know if it will work 100% with Ubuntu. There does seem to be a driver, so we can try. I would prefer not to have to tackle this alone, any help? I have heard people are having problems just photocopying with it anyway, so maybe we should save ourselves some trouble and just buy a new one? If we do, make sure it's Linux-compatible, please don't just buy a random printer and leave us trapped with Windows forever.

* Networking: if we run Ubuntu only on both computers, then it will be no trouble to get the two networked together and filesharing.

* Printer sharing: if we run Ubuntu, and can get the printer to work 100% with one Ubuntu computer, then it should be a small step to get it printing from both computers.

* The Internet connection. I don't know what the problem with it is. I want to rip everything out, all servers, routers, modems, and replace them with one linux-inside modem-router. I seem to recall Duncan said he had bought us one of these. Where is it? Can we have it or shall we buy another one?

* In general, the office seems to be a bad environment for the computers. It's such a mess. People are drinking at the computers all the time, drinks getting left near them, spills. This just makes things break and creates mountains of computer-fixing work. I'd like the computers to have their own space with a nice big tidy desk and no junk around them, have another desk somewhere else for people to eat and drink at.

Rant over.

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Post by Jimmy Bastard » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:29 pm

Hey I was talking to Jonathon (Prior, husband to Erika) last night.
He is currently undetaking a PHD, one of the perks on offer, is free printing including colour.
Keep it in mind if we have the odd one-off big printing job, I think he would be happy to oblige, every now and again.
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Post by Gaz » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:51 pm

I agree with Sean.

The office is dead for we have killed it.

Can't do anything in there anymore.

I think we were getting close to a solution the other night though...
the more you think, the more you stink

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Post by ravanwin » Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:03 pm

yes. they are f'd. can we just scrap them all. buy a good networking system that all us with laptops can sign into and therefore print / acess files in the office even when we are away. i can't find anything on either computer anymore.

further. the office is a disgrace.

we are closing the cafe on sept. 30th. let's overhall the fucker.

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Post by Shannon » Mon Sep 10, 2007 2:37 pm

As Sean says, the grey computer is not fucked. I stole a mouse from Infoseed and I'm typing on it this very second. I will return the mouse when I am done, so we still need to find a new one.

I would really like to see us buy a new, Linux compatible photocopier. It can live in the new, small working office on the ground floor, or upstairs in the new, Action/workshops room. Maybe the photocopier we have now would work better if it wasn't being used and abused by so many different people who don't really know how to use it?

I don't think we need a Mac, but I don't use Photoshop. Anybody?

Yes - let's fix the router-internet-death problem. (Although it has been pretty good lately...)

I hate you ultra-office.

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Post by chombee » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:47 pm

I think the mess with all the files has three causes:

1. The new hard drive in Blue died just after Duncan had backed up all the files from the old hard drive and restored them onto the new one, and now we're dumped back with the old hard drive. This was just unlucky.
2. We were running both Windows and Ubuntu on Blue and people were using both, and I was adding links from Ubuntu to Windows files. Confusing. To make it worse, we were running not one but two different copies of Windows XP on Blue, one on the old hard drive and one on the new hard drive. Each of these three operating systems had its own store of files on Blue.
3. Everyone uses the same user account on each computer and everyone just dumps all their important files on the desktop and in My Documents alongside random downloads and crap that we don't need. It's a huge mess.


1. Perhaps we need some sort of server or network file storage to make automated backups. This is just a dream right now though, once we have some actual usable computers maybe then we can worry about backups. In the meantime, I urge everyone to keep personal copies of their important forest files or upload them to the bb, don't just save them to the office and assume they're safe. They aren't.

2. We should not dual-boot any computers. Pick one operating system and stick with it.

3. Maybe we should not have any general 'forest' or 'guest' account, but instead make everyone create their own account with their own password and login and logout of the office computers to use them. This will keep things tidier and more sane. And if we're going to have an office that's shared with other groups, we might want it so that they can't access our files. We just create a 'guest' account for them to use, and have all the guest file erased every night or something. Maybe it's expecting too much asking people to login?

Perhaps we should be thinking about some thin-client sort of setup where the user accounts are stored on a server rather than on the individual office machines, so if you save a file in your account on Blue then later login to Grey the file is there, it's in your account rather than on Blue or Grey. This just adds more hardware into the mix though and makes setting it up more complicated, and the server becomes a single-point of failure that takes down the whole office if it breaks, so it needs to be reliable and backups of the server would need to be made.

I dunno. Geeks, post your ideas for a new office setup. Tom from Infoseed would be helpful here, as he'd solved all these problems with the setup he created for Infoseed. If we're going to setup a new office we should definitely try to get him onboard.

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Post by chombee » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:50 pm

We can recover two working PCs from what we have in the office. They're decent spec hardware, so don't throw them away. Blue just needs a new hard drive and Ubuntu installed. Grey just needs a new mouse. Once that's done we can setup filesharing between them, and allow laptops to login too.

I think we need a new printer, and possibly buy a refurb mac to run photoshop, but we don't need to scrap the two office PCs.

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