Thursday, January 19, 2006

Installing Ubuntu to an external USB drive - A Howto

Thru painful experience and sleepless nights, I finally figure out how to install Ubuntu or any kind of Lux distro to an external USB drive.
The key idea is to modify the mini ramdisk to start USB support module during the boot sequence.

Here it is:

1) Install from CD
2) After installation, leave CD in drive and reboot with the parameter rescue
3) Pick your language and country
4) Wait for hardware detection to complete(was quite long on my system, seemed stuck for a while)
5) hostname: Ubuntu
6) Device to mount as root file system: /dev/discs/disc1/part1 (this may be different on your system. I have a boot partition in part1)
7) My system appears stuck here with a blue screen saying "Ubuntu Installer rescue mode"
my system was not stuck but I still needed to type Ctrl-AltF2

From here it is slightly different for mkinitramfs (Breezy) as opposed to mkinitrd (Hoary):
A. edit /etc/mkinitramfs/modules to add the following:

(nano didn't seem to come with Breezy, so use vim)

B. make the new image file:
mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd_usb.img /lib/modules/

so for me that was
mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd_usb.img /lib/modules/2.6.12-9-386

You will likely need to edit your grub.conf file.

title Ubuntu Breezy (2.6.12-9-386) USB
root (hd1,6)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.12-9-386 root=/dev/sda1 ro quiet splash
initrd /initrd_usb.img

Restart and enjoy the fruit

I need to add some more info:
When you can't seem to boot th external USB because of the order of your USB drive is different from machine to machine, follow this step:
I installed linux on my laptop with the root HDD of GRUB set to hd1. This may not be the case if you switch to another machine. It could be hd0 or hd2 for example.
So when you get the error message from GRUB saying that it cannot find the boot sector, "Do not panic".
All you need to do is to press the "E" key to enter editor mode in GRUB and modify the "root" parameter from (hd1,0) to something like (hdx,0) where "x" is the actuall HDD contaning the boot partition.
I hope it helps solving you all's problems with different hardware structure.

Google Talk and discuess open federation

Google just announced open federation for Google talk.
What it means:
""Open federation" is technical jargon for when people on different services can talk to each other. For example, email is a federated system. You might have a .edu address and I have a Gmail address, but you and I can still exchange email. The same for the phone: there's nothing that prevents Cingular users from talking to Sprint users.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with many IM and Internet voice calling services today. You can only talk to people on the particular service you have an account on (so you need an account on every service to talk to everybody, which is pretty cumbersome). With open federation, you get to choose your service provider and you can talk to people on any other federated service (and vice versa).

In addition to the Google Talk service, many other companies, universities, and corporations support open federation today. This means you can now talk to millions of users around the world all with a single account on the service provider of your choice.

More detail at

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Go Longhorns!!!

Last night was a great night for y'all Texans...
I gathered a couple of guys at work to a local bar and watched the game there. When we arrived the place was packed and we had to sat outside. But all the TVs were big and we all had a clear sight of view.
The entire game was amazing. I mean I have never scream like this since the US got into the 8 best world soccer teams in 2002. My friends in CA called me before the game and talked all kind of trash about TX and the Longhorns. Well, we all know they "were" the underdog... Until the 3rd quarter I picked the damn phone and called them but none answered. hehehe... I understand dudes, losers...
Anyway, longhorns is the best team in the NCAA and the Longhorns have "Forever" Young!!! We don't want Reggie, that guy was so proud of himself and his shitty Heisman trophy. We don't care for Matt Leinart because that loser can't keep his head cool beyoung the Longhorns' defense.
Does anyone want to order a replica trophy for the Trojans? Or better: does any player in the SC want to do commercial for Trojan(TM)?