DAK Video

My fellow Kellogg blogger, MBA Dutchie, posted up a DAK II summary that he spent a hell of a lot more time writing than I did. Wonderfully, he linked to a video summary of the weekend that the current students did (above).

The video:

  • Was shown to us at the end of the weekend
  • Was put together by someone with a good camera, iMovie and a lot of time on their hands
  • Is maybe a little narcissistic
    • But what the hell
  • Has a Journey song in
    • Journey rules

Restoring GRUB on Ubuntu

Possibly the only useful article on the previous incarnation of this blog was this on, detailing how to pull GRUB back up under Ubuntu. This was written with reference to Ubuntu 4, which I was hooked on like a turbot.

There are many standard ways of reinstalling GRUB – most involve using a Linux rescue floppy (which noone creates) or a Linux Live CD, like Knoppix. Once you have yourself a prompt, you should be able to do this:

# grub
grub> root (hd0,0)
grub> setup (hd0)
grub> quit

… and that’s it. However, you’ll find that you grub will spit back at you “Filesystem type unknown, using whole disk” and you won’t be able to do anything else.

The best way of doing this in a normal distribution is to run:

# grub-install /dev/hda

… but that craps out in Ubuntu, giving you these lines:

/sbin/grub-install: line 429: /dev/null: Permission denied
/sbin/grub-install: line 431: /dev/null: Permission denied

Hungsquirrel puts us on the straight and narrow with this convolved but brilliant solution, slightly modified by me:

  • Boot up your Ubuntu install CD
  • Wait until your install CD has detected your drives – it will be just about to partition your system
  • Switch to console 2 by ctrl+alt+F2
  • Hit enter to activate the console
  • # mkdir mounted
  • # mount /dev/ide/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/part5 mounted
  • # chroot mounted /bin/bash
  • # grub-install /dev/hda

Remember to substitute the /dev/ide/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/part5 for whatever the location of your root drive is. For example, if your booting from hd1,3 (physical drive 1, partition 3) then use /dev/ide/host0/bus0/target1/lun0/part3. Most people will be booting from physical drive 0 somewhere. If you’re not sure where you’re booting from, the quickest way is to note it from the pre-partitioning setup screen in Ubuntu install.

When this reinstalls Grub, since it reads the menu.lst file directly from your root drive, your Grub menu will come back up exactly as you left it.

Hungsquirrel post

Ubuntu Feisty and the Dell Latitude C600

Ubuntu works amazingly well with this trusty old Dell model. There are, however, two pains in the ass – one for each cheek.

  • The mouse freezes briefly all the time
  • The display resolution is incorrect by default

Firstly – the mouse freezes. Linux has a component called “powernowd” which throttles up and down the CPU depending on the requirement – you can see it working by adding the “CPU frequency scaling monitor” to the Gnome taskbar. You’ll notice the the mouse freezes occur when the CPU changes speed – how annoying! (I suspect the whole system freezes for a moment rather than just the mouse, but the mouse is what you’ll notice.) As far as I can tell, there’s no way to fix this functionality so it works and doesn’t freeze, so you’ll need to uninstall powernowd to get the computer working smoothly.

  • Open up the terminal
  • Type “sudo aptitude remove powernowd”
  • Say goodbye to some of your battery life and some very cool functionality.

Secondly, if you have one of the wonderful high resolution displays (1400×1080), it won’t work correctly. It’s pretty easy to fix.

  • Boot into the horrible looking wrong resolution
  • Crack open a terminal
  • Type “sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf”

Add the Sync / Refresh lines into the Monitor section so it looks like this:

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Generic Monitor"
Option "DPMS"
HorizSync 28-70
VertRefresh 43-60

Then add the full resolution into each of the modes, so they all look like this:

SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1400x1050" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

That’s it – now save and reboot, and you should be working in full resolution. Hurrah!

Ubuntu Feisty and the Dell 2005FPW

Ubuntu Feisty, despite being wonderful in almost every way, doesn’t automatically detect and deal with the Dell 2005FPW 20″ widescreen monitor that a few of you may have. The solution is fairly simple.

  • Boot into the horrible looking wrong resolution
  • Crack open a terminal
  • Type “sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf”

This will get you into the configuration file which controls the display. We need to add a few lines which tell Ubuntu exactly how to handle this monitor.

Replace the Monitor section with this:

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "DELL 2005FPW"
UseModes "16:10"
HorizSync 30.0 - 83.0
VertRefresh 56.0 - 75.0
Option "DPMS"

Change each of the “modes” sections to include the default resolution, which is 1680×1050.

Modes "1680x1050" "1280x1024" "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600" "720x400" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 4

Finally, add the modeline itself to tell Ubuntu how to handle the monitor. This goes right at the end.

Section "Modes"
Identifier "16:10"
ModeLine "1680x1050" 146.2 1680 1784 1968 2256 1050 1051 1054 1087 -hsync -vsync

That’s it – now save and reboot, and you should be working in full resolution. Hurrah!

WordPress 403 Error

As seems to be a common theme, I was getting a 403 error when trying to change the name of this blog. The solution was in this thread – it was the mod_security module of Apache getting in the way, and adding these lines to Apache:

SecFilterEngine Off
SecFilterScanPOST Off

… disabled mod_security for my domain, and let me change the blog name. Personally, I removed them afterwards – I like having mod_security enabled.

DAK II at Kellogg


I’ve recently come back from the DAK II event for admitted students to Kellogg. It was just freaking awesome. I think I realise now why I got into some schools and not others – the canny buggers in Adcom just knew where I’d feel comfortable.

I intially applied to Kellogg because I had a lovely chat with someone from admissions at a Forte event in London (yes, the one that’s supposed to be for women.)

  • Over the course of the weekend, I met a whole bunch of people who were
    • Interesting
    • Friendly
    • Clever
  • I drank
  • I socialised
  • I discussed theology
  • I talked about work
  • I learned about analysis
  • I learned about strategy
  • I convinced someone to come to Kellogg
  • I lost my jacket

MBA Books

Here are the most awesome books I used to prep me for my MBA application. I’ve left out the dross – I heartily recommend these.

  • MBA Admissions Strategy by AV Gordon (ISBN 0-335-21890-3) – A good general WTF orientation which will give you the straight dope.
  • Great Application Essays for Business School by Paul Bodine (ISBN 0-07-145299-0) – Has a shedload of actual example essays that worked for whichever lucky bugger got in.
  • GMAT 800 by Kaplan (ISBN 0-7432-6528-9) – If you’re clever and English is your first language, forget the normal GMAT prep books – they’re too easy. This one isn’t. In fact, it’s an absolute bastard set of questions which are harder than what you’ll see on the GMAT itself. If you can ream this book, you can be fairly confident of a decent GMAT score when you get in.