Category Archives: Operating Systems

Operating System information

Windows 7 – OK, so it doesn’t suck.

July kept me insanely busy.  My daughter underwent extensive surgery at the end of June and had some complications.  She is fine now and recovering well, but the month of July is an insane blur.  In any case, I’m back in the game now and intend on posting lots of new content here.

I picked up a little Asus EEPC 1001PXB for 75 bucks on EBay and it arrived the other day.  Nice little netbook: 10.1″ screen, 6-cell LIPO battery, dual core Atom N450, 2 gigs RAM.  Previous owner sold it cheap because the hard drive had failed.  I replaced the bad drive with a 40 gig OWC Extreme SSD and installed Ubuntu 11 (Natty Narwhal); it’s surprisingly responsive.  Cold boot to usable system in a couple of seconds; sweet!

Those of you who know me are all too familiar with my disdain for Windows.  I’m a grizzled old MCSE from back in the day, and know Windows quite well inside and out.  At one time I was quite proficient with the Win32 API, and made quite a decent living developing custom Windows applications with C++ and Delphi.  I switched from Windows to Mac in 2006 after buying an Intel Mac Pro, and eliminated all things Windows from my home in 2007.  It has been a blissful migration, and I really haven’t missed the platform.

I recently dove wholeheartedly into digital electronics and Microcontrollers; the topics have been on my interest list for quite some time.  After working with the Arduino platform for a couple of months, I decided to dive into straight AVR development.  I really like the platform.  I recently ran into a couple of tools that I wanted to try which are Windows only – specifically the Atmel AVR development suite and the 4D Systems 4GL IDE.  Rather than delving into the ball of pain which is XP, I decided to give Windows 7 a go.

Short review?  It doesn’t suck.

Installing Keyspan USB/Serial Converter Firmware in Debian Squeeze

Purchased a four-port Keyspan USB/Serial converter to drive various RS232 serial devices via my home automation controller. Conveniently enough, Debian no longer includes the firmware for these devices due to licensing concerns (see DFSG). As of the time this article was written, the firmware was not included in the firmware-nonfree package available via apt. Fortunately, the files *ARE* included in the standard Linux kernel, and can be easily fetched and installed via git.

mh@misterhouse: mh $ aptitude install git-core
mh@misterhouse: mh $ mkdir firmware && cd firmware
mh@misterhouse: firmware $ git clone git://
mh@misterhouse: firmware $ sudo mkdir /lib/firmware/keyspan
mh@misterhouse: firmware $ sudo cp linux-firmware/keyspan/* /lib/firmware/keyspan/

Simply unplugging and re-inserting the device should then allow the driver to find the firmware and properly initialize the adapter.