Ubuntu tales #1: Taming a Dell Precision M4500

May 2, 2011

Its been over a month since I acquired a high performance mobile workstation: The Dell Precision M4500 which came with a Quad-Core Intel i7-940XM (with 8GB RAM) processor and a NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M (1GB dedicated memory) graphics card.

As a whimsical believer of, “Opportunities don’t knock twice, .a.k.a. Now or never”, I resolved to switch over to an open source working environment by installing the Ubuntu 10.10 distro (Maverick Meerkat). Now this ran into some serious difficulties given the non-standard graphics card and the initial set of proprietary drivers supplied by Ubuntu, but a Google search soon provided a non-elegant but effective solution. Initially, the internal microphone and touchpad (detected as a PS2 mouse) were not working as they should be but a recent update (Ubuntu 11.04) seems to have solved these problems. I still have to check if the large screen monitor plugged on my docking station works seamlessly as the 10.10 distro seemed buggy (one needs to define the Xorg.conf…).


A bloggy home page!

February 5, 2010

Among all the diverse events around our globe, here is a picture of a colleague’s field site where he was studying the architectural properties of the genus Nepenthes somewhere in the Brunei rainforest which now resembles a potential rice-field (due to state interests)…rumours even talk of a possible oil-field…

Below, is this other place near a field site at Kudremukh, Western Ghats, India where I had been along with François Munoz sometime in early 2008. We can see forest clumps which closely resemble what are known as “Shola” forests. But these are not the true high altitude Shola forests which are mainly influenced by the humid-forest/dry-savannah interactions. Here, it appears to be more of a “recent past” human intervention and the open areas had signs of having undergone a fire regime less than a year ago. We also noticed a big group of abandoned cows happily munching away in this Swiss-like landscape. By the way, old cows are regularly abandoned in India (in cities and villages alike) because a majority of Indians don’t eat them as they are considered sacred by the Hindus. I wonder how the Americans ever got hold of the “Holy Cow” concept!…