Taking a break from Mumbuntu blog posts. I mentioned this on the latest epsiode of the Ubuntu Podcast that we released yesterday. I see Fab from Linux Outlaws has blogged about his geekbox.

I have this tin box.

The contents are very useful to me.


  • 32GB USB stick
  • 3G Dongle – with 4GB Micro SDHC card installed in the side for extra storage
  • USB Bluetooth Dongle – In case I am on a machine that has no bluetooth and want to sync stuff to my phone
  • Numerous Micro SDHC cards – that I had kicking around from old phones etc. More storage!
  • USB Micro SDHC adapter – for connecting all those Micro SDHC cards

The general idea being that I can walk up to pretty much any computer and use it without touching the installed OS. With this setup I don’t want or need to install Ubuntu onto the local machine, I want everything to run off the USB stick.

The 32GB USB stick has Ubuntu installed onto it. This was installed by booting off standard Ubuntu 9.10 CD, plugging in the stick and going through the standard Ubuntu installer. Key things I did that might be interesting include:-

  • Use UUID in the /etc/fstab (which is the default) – not use device names such as /dev/sda1 so nothing gets confused about which partition I am booting from
  • Configure a small (1GB) amount of swap space on the USB stick – so I don’t get Out of Memory errors on low spec machines
  • Enabled encryption of my home directory – so I am less worried if I lose the stick
  • Installed Dropbox – to ensure my data is synced to other machines. No, not Ubuntu One. I use Windows, OSX and Linux and want my files synced over all three
  • Installed Chromium – because I like it
  • Configured Tomboy to store notes in my Dropbox so they are in sync
  • Installed Firestarter so I can turn the laptop into an impromptu access point / internet gateway
  • Install Prey so I might have some chance of getting the stick back if someone boots it up
  • Installed ClamTK/ClamAV anti-virus software so I can scan the hard disks in a machine I’m booted on (if required)

You might like to get one too, or indeed you may already have one. Tell me about it in the comments below. I’d also be interested to hear how I could improve this setup.

1 Comment

12 thoughts on “Geekbox”

  1. Popey you might want to instal BitDefender for Linux on. It covers more generic viruses than clamav can. Ideal for those MS machines refusing to boot due to viruses.

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