In our last episode,

I asked if there was any conceivable scenario in which my recurring

laptop battery problems were software, rather than hardware related. To

a man, everyone who chimed in was of the opinion my ancient NiCad power

cell had given up the ghost. AlanGeek summed it up most succintly:

“If this is a very old laptop (I’ve forgotten just offhand how old it

is) the battery could well be past its prime. As batteries age, they

can suffer from reduced capacity, or if that’s not the case, the

internal resistance goes up to the point where they are no longer

capable of delivering sufficient current to meet the laptop’s needs,

causing the effective voltage of the battery under load to drop lower

than the laptop needs. In either case, it’s probably due to be replaced

or otherwise given up on. Treat it as a portable rather than a mobile,

kinda like the laptop my father-in-law bought, which actually had no

battery, nor place to install one. Only ran on AC. ??? I don’t quite

get it, other than that it was really cheap, which I guess served his


Okay, so I have a portable rather than a mobile PC. If I can find a

replacement battery cheap (read: free), I’ll dip my toes in the

hardware-upgrade waters. Until then, it’s time to move on the next

phase of my laptop’s evolution: Ruby on Rails dev box. Now, I’ve toyed with rails a bit on my Windows XP PC, and its scripts (and a free trial of MySQLFront) have made my first Ruby exercise

rather painless. That said, I’m betting that my sheer ignorance of the

Linux command line (and no comparable Linux-based MySQL GUI, as far as

I know) is going to make a parallel Linux effort quite cumbersome.

Bear in mind, I’ve never added anything to the OS outside the

Synaptic Package Manager, which is GUI based. I’ve used it to install

pretty much every Ruby component I could find, but I’ve been hesitant

to start running command-line scripts on my Linux machine simply

because I don’t know what will happen.

Before I tie myself in knots, is there any particular configuration

that someone might recommend for my Ubuntu box before I start tossing

out Ruby scripts? I’m willing to go so far as to rebuild the whole

machine and set up a separate dev partition, if that’s the right course

(mind you, I’d rather not go

this route if its unnecessary). Mostly I need to know how best to set

up a MySQL instance on this machine, and if there’s a clean way to

administer it via the GUI, rather than blindly building tables from the

command line (I haven’t written SQL queries in five years, and those

were ugly).

And yes, that is n00b you smell.

Keep up with the Trivia Geek’s ongoing Wacky Linux Adventures with the wackylinux tag. If it doesn’t say wackylinux, it’s not really a wacky Linux adventure.