Checking Computer Specs With No Operating System

After my previous post about checking computer specs in Linux somebody asked an interesting question: how do you check your computer’s specifications if you don’t actually have any operating system to check them with?

In my opinion the easiest way to do this would be to download a disk image of a live CD for a lightweight Linux distribution, such as my favourite: ArchLinux. Once you’ve burned it to a disc you can put it in your computer and boot directly from the disc. ArchLinux is light and fast and will allow you to log in as root with command line access, where you will be able to run the commands I talked about in my other post to find your computer specs even for a computer with no OS or in other cases, for example where you don’t have permission to check with the current OS. If you’re not familiar with Linux don’t worry, follow the on-screen instructions and just type the commands I described. When you’re done checking you can turn off the computer and take out the CD and things will be just as they were before.

The End of a Great Blog

To my great dismay, K. Mandla has decided to discontinue K.Mandla’s blog of Linux experiences.

K.Mandla's blog of Linux experiencesI first came across it when it was mentioned in a post on another blog I was looking at, which challenged readers to try to use their computers without the Graphical User Interface for just a day! I accepted the challenge and after using Arch Linux for the first time and reading around on K. Mandla’s blog for a while I learned a lot about powerful and efficient ways of using the computer and giving use to low-end hardware. K. Mandla talked about things like  lessism vs minimalism and maximalism, a word that might better describe his idea of minimalism, and I agree.

His blog was a great resource for people who keep things light and get the most out of the technology they have. It has a huge list of software and a wiki too. He used to post very regularly, about once a day, but although the site is still online, he won’t be making any more additions. This was without a doubt my favourite blog, probably the only blog I actually read. I’m not sure I’ll ever write that much on here, I haven’t even written anything for the last 4 months or so, but I somehow hope I can carry on what K. Mandla started and share my useful ideas and information with you.

“Be kind to one another. We’re all we’ve got.” —K.Mandla

Checking Computer Specs in Linux

Note: automated script downloadable at the bottom of this post!

Something you always want to do on a computer, even if only once, is to check its hardware specifications, that is:

  • how much RAM do I have?
  • how much hard disk space do I have?
  • how “fast” is my CPU?
  • how much RAM does my graphics card have?

Of course most modern GNU/Linux desktop environments like Ubuntu usually come with some kind of graphical tool to find this information. GNOME’s System Monitor program should provide at least some of what you’re looking for. The information here is more for when you’re staring at a blinking cursor on a black screen trying to remember what the command was to show information about the CPU, RAM or Graphics Card.

This is the third time I’ve had to go on an internet search quest to remind myself how to do this in a Linux terminal. To save myself the trouble in the future, I’m writing down the commands here and if anyone else finds it useful then that’s great, and a second bird is figuratively killed!
Continue reading

A Game With No Pictures

You can look down on the idea of it all you want but command-line games have their place. Not only are there situations where you need them but in a way, not having any graphics sometimes allows them to focus on other aspects of gameplay that makes them better. I was installing a new operating system on my computer today but I messed up somewhere and ended up with no Desktop Environment. Imagine turning on your computer one day and where you usually get:

“Hi, welcome to your computer [insert lots of fancy graphics and stuff], please pick who you want to log in as and I’ll give you a desktop with buttons and icons that will show you programs in little windows and let you click on things to do stuff.”

you now instead get this: Continue reading

3 Minute Brownies

I think I need to apologise for my recent quietness, I was working on 2 big projects which I learned a lot from, maybe even things that I’ll post about here for the geekier people following my blog to read, and (maybe more importantly) so that if I ever need to remember something cool/useful that I learnt doing this, I can read to remember it.

One really nice but unrelated thing that I learned during my hiatus was how to make 3 minute brownies in a cup! The Anonymous internet were on an information sharing spree and this was one of the things being shared. My family and I have really enjoyed this so I hope you will too. Here’s the picture I got with all you need to know:

Recipe by Pictures: 3min Brownies

To save this from being a somewhat redundant post where no value is added I’d like to mention that you should not be shy when adding the oil/milk unless you like dry brownies and that if you are preparing more than 1 cup you might like to increase the time on the microwave or do them one cup at a time otherwise you end up with a cup of un-baked chocolate goo, which is arguably not such a bad thing… I have yet to test if the cocoa can be safely substituted with Milo. If you don’t have any cocoa you can use Milo. I have tested this and the result is a bit strange but I think you can still call it a brownie.