Tag Archives: upgrade

Out with the old tech, in with the…slightly less old.

I finally removed the floppy disk drive from my desktop. I don’t know why it took me so long, except that it wasn’t in the way of anything. Living with a small, inquisitive child means either making hardware changes at night or keeping the work brief, and timing it so that he still has enough metaphorical spoons to keep his hands to himself.

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Find the missing Windows 8.1 update on a Dell

We’re finally replacing the ancient Windows XP machine at home, and for various reasons went with a Dell Inspiron running Windows 8. In part I wanted to familiarize myself with the new operating system. It’s…a significant change, though Katie’s found it easier to adjust by thinking of it like a phone/tablet interface (which makes sense, because really, that’s what it’s designed for).

I wanted to upgrade it to Windows 8.1 before we really started transferring files* or installing applications in earnest, and was dismayed to find that…

  • You can only upgrade through the Windows Store. (There’s no stand-alone installer you can download.)
  • There was no sign of it in the store, or indication of where in the store I should look, or whether it was being hidden due to some incompatibility.

After running Windows Update again (no help), looking around for other settings and updates such as drivers, trying the compatibility tester, and digging around online for a while, I finally found a solution** that worked for me:

  1. Open Control Panel, then go to Programs/View Installed Updates and uninstall update KB 2871389, the update that makes the Windows 8.1 update appear in the store. Reboot.
  2. Download KB 2871389 from Microsoft’s website instead and run the installer. Reboot.
  3. Open the Windows Store, go to Settings/App updates, and check for new updates. It won’t show up here, but…
  4. After you close the app updates screen, the far left of the store should have a giant, full-height/width entry for the Windows 8.1 update.

If it’s available, you can’t miss it. If it’s not, you can’t find it. It’s incredibly frustrating.

*And it turns out I should have done this in the other order, because the 8.1 version of Windows Easy Transfer drops support for XP and Vista, as well as transferring over the network. Just in time for the final get-off-of-XP push. REALLY, Microsoft? Here’s hoping it doesn’t have some stupid thing that blocks plain old file transfers…

** Update: The tech support forum at commweb-ps3.us.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/19538336.aspx appears to be gone now. I figured that would happen eventually, which is part of why I write up troubleshooting posts like this in the first place.

New Look for WordPress 3.0

WordPress has been making a big deal out of their new default theme, Twenty-Ten, released with WordPress 3.0. Meanwhile, I’ve been watching this site get more and more cluttered, and I keep having to tweak the existing theme to be able to deal with new WordPress features like nested comments, custom menus, etc.

Last week I had to replace the theme’s comment form (fortunately with something simpler) because it didn’t interact quite right with WordPress 3.0.

What the heck. I haven’t changed the look since 2007, so I might as well give it a shot.

I’ve switched over to Twenty-Ten, using one of my own photos for the banner. It’s a view from Modjeska Grade Road, taken last January.

Modjeska Grade View

I’m not quite happy with it yet, but I’m not sure what I want to do next.

My main goals for the new layout are:

  • Move the last of the customizations out of the theme and into plugins (so that I can easily switch to another theme if I want to).
  • Keep the new page uncluttered and relatively fast-loading (which is why I haven’t added everything back to the sidebar).

I have had to make a couple of adjustments to the theme itself. Twenty-Ten insists on showing excerpts instead of complete posts for archives, categories and searches, so I had to go in and modify that. I also added a couple of bits to the stylesheet: alternating comment backgrounds, tweaks to the old Twitter digests, etc. Still, I’m making a point of keeping those changes minimal and grouped together.

I’m also trying out WP-Minify, which should make scripts and styles load a lot faster, or at least the ones hosted locally. Unfortunately there are still a lot of remote scripts for things like Google Analytics, the Share This buttons, and the Link Within thumbnails. Some of them might work. I’ll have to experiment.

So, things are in a bit of flux. Please let me know if you find something that doesn’t work, or miss something that used to be here, by doing one of the following:

  • Leave a comment on this post.
  • Use the contact form.
  • Email me at kelson – at – pobox – dot – com.


Out with the Old

  • OK, I think the new server is tested enough for now. Time for lunch. And, I think, a walk. #
  • Odd: I just watched 2 people tossing things over the edge of the roof of an office building in the distance for several minutes. #
  • I’ve just turned off our oldest internet-facing server. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it went back to 2001 – almost as old as IE6! #

Impressed by Smooth Fedora 11 Upgrade

Fedora LogoA few days ago, my Linux desktop at work popped up a message saying that Fedora 11 was available, and asking whether I wanted to upgrade automatically. Well, I didn’t have time to deal with it then, and in the past when I’ve upgraded Fedora (either from a CD or from a downloaded image), it’s been a big production, what with running the installer, rebooting, installing updates, updating third-party repositories, and finally rebooting again after all the updates are installed.

So I put it off for a few days.

Today I decided to try it.

The automatic upgrade program is called preupgrade, presumably because it downloads everything you need in order to prepare for the upgrade. It downloads everything while your system is up and running, then sets it up so that when you reboot, it will launch the installer. It installs everything, makes the changes, then reboots into the newly upgraded system.

And then it’s done.

It’s network aware, and works through yum, so it will actually take into account both third-party repositories and anything that’s been updated since the new release. It actually went out to livna.org RPM Fusion and picked up the appropriate NVIDIA display drivers.

Download while you work. Reboot. Wait. Done.

The only snafu I ran into was that it removed my copy of the Flash plugin, but I think I was using the experimental 64-bit one anyway, so it’s not terribly surprising.

I get the impression that Ubuntu has had a similarly smooth upgrade process for a while. And after my experiences moving from Fedora 9 to Fedora 10, I was seriously considering jumping ship. (Hazards of living on the bleeding edge.) But it looks like I won’t have to.

Now I just have to find time to play around and see what’s new!

Update: I’ve run into one snafu: xkb error popups every time I wake the computer from suspend. Resetting the keyboard worked.