LUGs or Linux User Groups have come to form a vital part of the Linux community. Most areas or county?s will have a user group where anyone can join to give there advice about Linux or to try to get help about different things. User groups and free to join and are run by the LUGMaster, to find out the nearest lug to you visit http://www.lug.org.uk/.
The groups will normally have a meet once a month where sometimes demonstrations can take place or a less formal meet happens. You get to meet a wide range of people from all different ages with very different backgrounds but all with a common interest of learning about Linux. LUGs maybe a more geeky side to Linux however if you do have an interest in Linux join up and you might find people in the same position as you.
The user groups normally have projects that members can join into, our local LUG has been looking at wireless WANs though this is beyond me financially and logically I have learnt a lot about wireless ways and what benefits they can bring. Some LUGs are a lot more active then others, this normally depends on the motivation in the group and the number of members, my local LUG happens to be active thus can be a very useful service when trying to work things out in Linux. The LUGs main ways of communication apart from the meets are over IRC and mailing lists.
All hard disks have to have partitions on to hold any sort of data, different operating system require you to have different partitions. Windows generally uses either a FAT32 partition type or NTFS. If you have a pc with windows on the chances are that you only have 1 partition on. For Linux we're going to have to make some changes to your partition table and introduce 2-3 new partitions.
Don't worry if this all sounds complicated, the newest distributions especially SuSE has tried to make partitions as easy as possible, it comes with a utility built into YaST (SuSEs installation program) which automatically resizes your main fat32 partition to fit Windows and Linux on along with any other small changes which need to be made. If you feel more comfortable controlling how much space exactly to give each operating system I suggest you use a program like Partition Magic rather then Fdisk.
I'm not going to go into great detail on how to use these programs but I will mention what you need to do with these programs. Depending on how big your hard drive is will depend on how much space you want to allocate for Linux. I normally go for around 10gbs as my root partition for Linux as this gives me plenty of space to work with. You can install Linux on a number of different partition types the most common being EXT2/EXT3.
The newer distributions will use EXT3 and the older EXT2. Though the differences between the partitions do not concern us, it does not make a major difference which you choose. Once you have your main Linux root partition you will need a swap partition. It took me a while to get my head round this concept but swap partitions come in very handy and speed up day to day tasks a lot. Swap partitions originally came from the days when ram was very expensive so the idea of using your hard drive to substitute ram came about. Windows uses a similar technique known as virtual memory.
Your swap partition doesn?t need to be over big, a minimum of 128mbs and a maximum of around 500mbs. Generally the less ram you have the bigger the swap partition you need. If you have a large enough hard drive and space isn?t a big issue it doesn't harm having a bigger swap partition but there is no need to over do it. Finally if your hard drive is bigger then 8gbs and the Linux partition isn?t the first on the drive then you may need to make a boot partition if you intend to duel boot with windows. Boot partitions have to be the first partition on the drive as need only be a maximum of 50mbs formatted to EXT2.
This makes it easier for installing any boot managers needed to duel boot the system. Without one you may find when you reboot your pc after installation only windows will boot and the only way you will be able to access Linux is with a boot disk. The exact principles behind how partitions work is not really relevant for using Linux. The general idea is that Windows uses either FAT16, FAT32 or NTFS partitions and Linux uses EXT2, EXT3, REISER and SWAP. All these can easily be created using Partition Magic or Linux Fdisk.
Our recent article - 21 Ways To Develop Cancer has caused quite a stir with a number of sceptics and people with first hand experience with electro magnetic radiation (EMR). A number of comments suggested we talk about how to avoid EMR where possible. Certain people are more sensitive to EMR than others, in a similar sort of way to how pollen effects only certain people. The effects of EMR can be as simple as headaches to life threatening cancer. It is impossible to cut out EMR from our daily lives however we can minimise our exposure to it, with the help from Safe Living Technologies and the guest writer of the previous article - Martin Weatherall I have compiled this list of advice to minimise exposure.
- Avoid living near a mobile phone masts or radio/TV transmitters.
- Avoid using cordless phones, especially DECT phones as these transmit radiation even when not in use.
- Avoid using wireless baby monitors or wireless security systems, where possible hard wire them in.
- Where possible do not use wireless routers - use CAT5 cable.
- Where possible use your mobile phone on hands free but without a Bluetooth headset. Aviod using a mobile phone in your car without an external antenna as the radio waves will be reflected back at you from the metal chassis. If your phone has poor signal in the car an external antenna should improve your call quality too.
- Only use a mobile phone or cordless phone for emergency calls only, use a corded phone for all regular conversations. Avoid using a mobile phone if pregnant and do not allow a child under 16 to use a mobile phone at all.
- Try not to keep your mobile phone in the same pocket all the time, if possible keep it away from the body in a bag or on a desk. Otherwise rotate it around the body.
- Avoid using the Microwave, it doesn't do anything good for your food anyway and will flood adjacent rooms with radiation.
- Minimise the number of electronic devices around your bed, this can include lights, alarm clocks, telephones, extension cords and electric blankets. Battery operated devices such as an alarm clock are good replacements.
- Make sure you don't sleep near your fuse box or distribution box.
- Avoid living near or under high voltage power lines. The same goes for electric sub-stations and transformers.
- Avoid all unnecessary exposure to x-rays and CT scans.
- Drive cars that have low electro magnetic fields.
- Make sure electronic devices are grounded (this is not such a problem in the UK as we have three pronged plugs unlike the rest of Europe and America).
- Avoid using a dimmer switch in the house as these emit high magnetic fields and cause dirty electricity.
This article from Safe Living Technologies provides a lot more detail about how to cut down your exposure to EMR.
According to the sun newspaper this morning the band hearsay are to split up. Hearsay were formed out of the hit tv show on ITV which formed the band, soon after they were launched they had to number 1s but since then they have gone down hill and the band formed from their runners up, liberty X are now doing better then them. Though liberty X have had a show start they have come up on top and have scored a number of top10 hits.
Quoted in the Sun newspaper, the band blamed public hostility and the rigours of music industry life for the break-up. This news comes less then 2 years after the band was formed. Trouble started when member Kym Marsh left in February this year, and there was controversy over her replacement. Band member Danny has not made things better, he was quoted in the Sun saying: "Hear'Say was a phenomenon at the time and people have seen us grow and evolve into pop stars. "We were just cleaners and waiters. It's been hard work and the pressure has got too much. "Two months ago we were held up by a gunman and the next day people thought we had made it up as a publicity stunt." Though exact reasons for the bands unsuccessful time is unknown but is probably due to a number of reasons.
The band have not made any proper announcement yet but after todays story somthing will have to be said.
You may of heard about LAN parties before, whether its your friends talking about them or from a website but what really is a LAN party? And what do they involve? Well to start with LAN stands for Local Area Network, which for non computer literate people means getting computers and plugging them into each other then getting them to communicate with each other. Once you have some friends and all your computers connected you clearly need some games, some popular titles include HalfLife, Unreal and Quake though there are many other great multiplayer games out there. (post on the gaming forum if you want more help with any games)
People then sit playing games for a couple of days without sleeping and taking massive amounts of cafeen and alcohol. Now you may think why not just do all this online? Well for starters over a network the lag time is practically nothing so people on faster connections wont have a massive advantage over you, secondary LAN parties turn into big social events. In the case of the I series people from all over the UK and Europe meet up at Newbury every 3-4 months and play full on battles with each other for a wide range of games. Though this does come at a price ? entrance is around ?80 however this does guarantee you a decent network connection and the chance to play with almost 1000 other people all on one site.
However not everyone can afford vast amounts of money going round the country to different events so people quite often arrange there own mini LANs of around 15-20 people gathered in some cheap hall some where in the middle of no where. This you can see from the picture below.
Picture submitted by ga.
The hardware is important at all LANs, each person is going to need to bring a pc that they are happy with playing games on, it helps if its already setup with a network card. After that your going to need a switch or a hub and a lot of cables and plenty of power for all those computers! (a shower helps too for all those sweaty players)
Any big quake fans will know that this weekend its Quakecon in America which is now in its 7th year. This is a big chance to meet people you may have played with online before or to talk to the developers of the game. LAN parties maybe an excuse for geeks to show off their latest graphics card rather then their latest car but they are turning into multi million pound businesses so someone must be doing something right!
For more information check out these links: