Yet Another Ubuntu User

This afternoon, when I was trying to stitch 69 photos together to
produce a 360 degrees + 180 degrees full panorama of my room. My
neighbor Maria, a Swedish girl knocked at my door. When I opened it,
she told me her laptop had been seriously messed up due to a virus or
Trojan. Just as I was starting to search for solution in my head and
think about something related to anti-virus software, she said
something, which kinda surprised me: … So I think I want to
install Ubuntu

I’m of course very happy about that, and maybe I should not have been
that unprepared for this demand, but I really hadn’t expected a girl,
whose study has hardly anything to do with computer science, to ask
voluntarily for Ubuntu. Probably I underestimate how easy it could be
to let people accept Linux.

After backed up all the personal data, we started and the whole
process went smoothly on her old laptop(she said she got it in 2002).
I haven’t done such clean install for a long time. So when I clean up
the whole disk and made 3 new partition (/, /home and swap), I forgot
something important which leaded us to problem afterwards. Well,
until now I can not recall if I have had any chance to set the flag of
the new partition I created manually in the step of partitioning. So
you may guess what problem we ran into later. The laptop could not
boot to hard disk. But the system was able to enter by firstly
booting to Ubuntu CD and then selecting “boot to hard disk”. I just
know something wrong with the MBR, so I dumped the first 512 byte of
her disk, open it by Emacs in hex mode. When I found out the byte at
0000:01be, which is the beginning of the partition table part and
determines if the partition is bootable, is “00″ instead of “80″, I
realized where the problem came from and how easy I could have it
avoided. For safety reason, I didn’t modify the binary file and
“dd” it back but installed GParted to fix this issue. After all,
it works quite nicely and she is also happy with the new, faster,
virus-free system. So in this floor, out of 11 people, we have so far
(at least) 3 Ubuntu users, sounds great!

Back to the beginning about the panorama thing. I started to use
Hugin recently and found it really easy to use to produce some
panoramas, and I had already made some photos which turned out to
be very impressive. So I decided to made a full view of my dorm
today. I used my cheap Canon Powershot A610 to accomplish this job,
which I guess is too inaccurate to achieve a good result, although I
used a simple tripod. Because theoretically the smaller the space you
want to shoot, the more accuracy your equipment should provide you.
So after a long calculation by CPU, I ended up with a photo full of
bloopers, much worse that those I took before from outside.

OK, let’s call it a day here and I plan to write a tutorial of Hugin
in case someone may also get interested in it. And shamelessly I
attached the unsuccessful panorama photo here in a reduced size (so the
bloopers are not that obvious ;b)


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