Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CIS(theta) 2011-2012 - Natty to the rescue! - Meeting II

What was discussed:
We talked about getting VTI plus YouTubes and Slideshares working on the Student Stations.
We decided to update 4 PCs as a test bed for the 64bit Desktop Edition of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwahl.
Some of the art work in 429 are redundant so will need to change our display case.

What was accomplished:
(1) Swapped art work from hallway display case. We added Fish and Sombrero plus a Public Service Announcement poster about why you should take AP Computer Sceince. We retrieved Chess and Balcony.

(2) Downloaded, burned and installed Ubuntu 11.04 LTS Desktop on 4 Student Stations that are not currently being used by the Computing classes (Computer Math, AP Computer Science, Calculus Research Lab). We got WINE plus VTI and Chrome with the VLC plugin working. We had dependency problems with Chrome until we installed Chromium. The Unity Desktop is not so different from Gnome aside from iPod like icons on the side of the screen. A few things are rearranged, such as "Connect to Server" and "System Tools," but Ubuntu is still very usable.

(3) Got Flash and WINE working on the remaining 20 Linux Boxes which are still running 32bit Ubuntu 10.10. UPDATE: Flash and WINE work on all 24 stations. Just go to Ubuntu Software Center and search for "wine" and "flashplugin."

(4) I can see reinstalling the Teacher Station and the Student Stations identically using 64bit Natty. We can do a plain vanilla install from the live CD, enable ethernet and printing as well as disabling the screensaver (students can login without passwd, teacher cannot). Then we add WINE + VTI for everyone. Also, we install the flashplugin for all so we can all open edmodo posts from youtube and slideshare (pastebin does not need flash). Only the Teacher Station needs JRE for jmol in SAGE and to work properly. Also, only the Teacher Station needs VLC if we install handbrake or need to play DVDs. The VLC plugin for Chrome plays *.mp4 files fine in a browser. I will need Chrome (eSchool) and SmartNotebook (pen app) on the Teacher Station too. UPDATE: the 64bit stations need to have Chromium installed first, then Chrome.

(5) We didn't get to try JRE yet. Only the Teacher Station needs JRE, however, as I need it for and jmol in SAGE. I'm following my favorite CS maxim: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Otherwise, you may have to RTFM (Read The Fraking Manual) or you my FUBAR (Fraked Up Beyond All Repair) your install and run into serveral SNAFUs (Situation Normal, All Fraked Up)! In other words, I'm not installing stuff on every station if I don't need too! So, we are using an online SAGE server, and the students can use the Tachyon ray tracer instead of jmol and JRE. Also, I only installed JDK, openSSH and vsftp on the APCS servers. I may install a local SAGE server, we'll see. Last year, I installed SAGE on every station since the online servers were so slow. So far this year, the online servers are fine. The only other reason to install SAGE locally is to make use of the @parallel SAGE decorator on our quadcores. UPDATE: JRE works fine, just install the amd64 version and follow the instructions at using the self-extracting *.bin file and sylbolic links in /home/userid/.mozilla!

What we are researching I (look what this school did in the 80s and 90s): 

Today's Topic:
CIS(theta) 2011-2012 - Natty to the rescue! - Meeting II

Today's Attendance:
CIS(theta) 2011-2012: GeorgeA, GrahamS, KennyK, LucasE

Today's Reading:
Chapter 1 Building Parallel Programs (BPP) using clusters and parallelJava

Well, that's all folks, enjoy!

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