Never thought I’d have to publish this on my personal blog but I’d like to draw attention to the license:

For any CC work that you use from this site, please use the following attribution:

This work by Dougie Richardson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. Based on a work at, permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

I chanced upon a site earlier (not linking to it – as I see no need to further their hits) where my post has been lifted verbatim and reprinted as the owner’s – with my name and as a link right at the end.  It’s not asking much that if anything helps you, redistribute it under the same terms and give credit where it’s due.

Certainly don’t want to see someone else’s name attached at the top!

Huawei E1550 on Ubuntu

Update: I’ve rewritten this article for 10.04.1, please post comments there and not here!

Update: You no longer need to install udev-extras in Ubuntu 10.04.

I picked up a Huawei E1550 pre-pay mobile broadband dongle, £39.99 with 3 Mobile including 3Gb usage (note it’s not the device they’re picturing).

I’m on a course next month so that’ll do fine, I have no reception at home and am not away enough to warrant a contract.

It appears to identify itself as USB storage, to install drivers on Windows then flip-flops to a modem.  Nice idea, terrible implementation, even in Windows where it installs drivers every time you use a different USB port (it’s often wise to try such devices in Windows – so you don’t chase your tail with a faulty device).  Pretty sure it’s the autorun program that’s flipping the device.

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Watch TV with VLC and a Freecom DVB-T Stick

One of the things I need my Aspire One to do is watch TV.  When you’re away, it’s nice to be able to watch a little TV.  I bought a Freecom DVB-T USB stick years ago and have always had success under Linux.  It’s small, sensitive and selective.

I was surprised, especially on Ubuntu, how easy it was to setup.

My netbook runs Arch, so I installed it on that and my Dell 1545 running Ubuntu 9.04.
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Replacing Firefox

I am a heavy web user.  Everything from webmail to banking, if I can do it on-line I will.

So when I’m away from home (which is common) I like to have connectivity.  With WiFi access and mobile broadband what to connect to is straightforward.  As I like to travel light, I prefer to use a netbook and as they are typically lower specification, you quickly become aware of software bloat.

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SSAFA, awards and royalty…

Lisa's Award
Lisa's Award

Just got back from London from the SSAFA Forces Help annual general meeting, where my wife Lisa won “Service Volunteer of the Year 2008/09”.

SSAFA is a charity that helps serving and former servicemen and women, their families and dependents.  Dealing with a wide range of issues, from bereavement to housing and even adoption.

Lisa has been an in-service volunteer for a couple of years and has recently been appointed as volunteer coordinator in Wattisham, as the previous co-ordinator’s husband has been posted.  She has been very heavily involved in fund-raising over the last year, giving up her time at the Wattisham Triathlon (which she is now training to take part in), open days and every event I can think of in the area over the last few years.  Running monthly bingo nights and having taken part in several courses, she is very enthusiastic and I’ve hardly seen her this year!  Lets not forget that we have three children between seven and twelve, how she does charity work, cycles every night and keeps an immaculately clean house I will never know.  Certainly don’t know how she fits this around a Foundation Degree in Youth Justice

Continue reading “SSAFA, awards and royalty…”

YAMP (Yet another Mono post)

Many, many people have strong opinions on Mono, but whatever your stance what is the impact on a Jaunty install of removing it?

Well, for the most part it seems not very much.  I did “sudo apt-get autoremove mono-common” and aptitude promptly (after confirmation) removed 37 packages, for the most part these are associated to the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI), only two packages are actually applications – Tomboy and F-Spot.

Now, I quite like Tomboy but use Wiki’s much more often for notes and snippets – which comes with the added benefit of being available across multiple machines.  F-Spot I don’t use at all – it crashes regularly when importing images from my camera (an HP330) and in honesty I don’t really need anything more than folders an thumbnails to organise images – which Nautilus provides.

I hope this doesn’t provoke arguments from either Mono camp because that’s not the intention of this post, its just to emphasize that if you like Mono then well that’s great but if you don’t care for the technology or the politics surrounding it then you can un-install it with little impact – providing you don’t want Tomboy or F-Spot.

This might not hold true for Karmic and beyond of course.

As said in the Simpsons:

Maude: Well, you may be a bit cautious. What’s wrong with that? Some people like chunky peanut butter, some like smooth!

Ned: Mmm-hmm, and some people just steer clear of that whole hornet’s nest! I’ll stick with just plain white bread, thank you very much, maybe with a …

All but Flanders: “… glass of water on the side for dippin’!” ((Thanks SNPP –

Dell Inspiron 1545

If you’re on the lookout for an off the shelf laptop that runs Ubuntu, I picked up a Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop from Tescos yesterday – dual T3400, 2Gb RAM, Intel GMA graphics, Broadcom BCM4312 wireless, a nice matt black finish.  Not bad for £349.00.  Installed Jaunty  without issue and all the hardware works out of the box (although the Broadcom uses proprietry drivers).

USB wireless mouse and Jaunty

If you’re struggling to work out why your USB wireless mouse is registering the scroll wheel and the clicks but not the movement – it appears that movement draws more current. I just spent ten minutes farting about with a cheap Sigma mouse that I have and realised after I gave the thing a quick charge.

You would think that being an avionics technician I would think of these things first…