Write at haste repent at leisure

I wrote a quick blog post last night, where I learned a lesson – don’t write to a syndicated blog late at night after a long day.

I’ve corrected the post now, where I remarked I’d untarred a tarball to the root, which I know isn’t best practice but its what I did in the early hours of the morning on a pre-production system where I know the contents of that tarball.

So apologies to anyone that this offended – such as the first comment I received (which was so rude I’m not submitting it). My post is apparently so bad it’s to be featured on a site known as ubuntunoobs.com.

I was wondering what this was, what its about and why its being used as a threat to those giving their time to try and make open source software, particularly Ubuntu that little bit better. Then I realised that I’m too busy doing that to care.

If this sounds like sour grapes, it isn’t, after all to err is after all human but to forgive is divine.

Posted in Computing, Ubuntu | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Firefox 3.x hanging on Aspire One

On my Aspire One, which is running UNR, Firefox hangs for a few seconds then resumes. Its annoying and becomes more frequent over time, especially with page loads.

I’ve commented on this before, and it seems that sqlite3 when combined with an SSD is the culprit. I disabled phishing protection (yes, careful, dragons, blah) a few weeks ago but the problem resurfaced recently. Then I realised that history is stored the same way and defaults to holding 90 days of history. The file places.sqlite had grown very large.

So I’ve disabled it too and deleted all the *.sqlite files in my Firefox profile and the hangs have stopped.

Posted in Ubuntu | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Experimenting with Ubuntu Netbook Remix

I have an Acer Aspire One, which I’m quite fond of. It’s surprisingly versatile or at least it is once I removed Linpus Linux Lite from it. I’ve nothing against Linpus, it has a purpose and most people are happy with it.

Arch Linux has been happily installed on it for several months now but thanks to a combination of curiosity, brand loyalty and the magic that is partimage ((I have a 16 Gb stick which boots System Rescue CD. Then I can happily create images using partimage.)) I decided to give Ubuntu Netbook Remix a bash.

So I grabbed the USB image (1 Gb) and a copy of Imagewriter (not 1 Gb), plugged it in, rebooted and left the rest to the gods of ACPI implementation if it would boot.

That turned out to be a mute point as its a text install which after warning that your hard disk is about to be overwritten proceeded to copy files across and there I left it to run.

Now a sensible person who is working full time, contributing to Ubuntu, training in the gym and studying at the OU would utilise this time productively. I played Call of Duty World at War on the PS3 instead (DougieWougie if you’re interested). I got through a two full HQ games and it was done so I guess that it takes between 20 and 30 minutes to copy across.

Well the boot screen looks cool, boots reasonably quickly too – not as quick as Arch but quick enough. A few questions (language, time zone, keyboard setup, account name, password and if automatic login is required) and we’re up and running. Well after a minute or so but this is the initial boot so that’s to be expected.

I like the interface. Well the first thing everyone checks is their wireless and I’m pleased to say it works out of the box which is a first for me with Linux and a real plus over Arch which was a pain in the backside because of a DHCP bug. The screen resolution is right and the fonts look very crisp.

This only leaves power management to worry about – suspend works, so does resume (even Network Manager re-establishes a connection).

OK I’m off to have a play. This has been the most painless install I’ve ever done. Congratulations to the UDR team.

Posted in Ubuntu | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Internet documentation for Jaunty – help!

Documentation string freeze is rapidly approaching (March 26th) and I’ve not managed to get as much feedback on NetworkManager as I would have liked in order to make some really useful documentation.

Connection is one of those things that if a new user hits it, it can be a major problem – especially when so much help is available on the Internet! This often results in frustrated users who can only look to the little blue circle with the question mark.

The thing is though, I’m to blame too. I know how to troubleshoot networking problems, so it’s unlikely that I approach the problem from the same aspect as a newcomer, so might be answering a question that no-one asked!

With only two of NetworkManager’s currently supported connections – the documentation is lacking in three areas: VPN, DSL and the one I’m most worried about, Mobile Internet. I’d also love to reach more of a consensus on how to document dial-up connections.

So, now I’ve got a feed to Planet Ubuntu, I can hit a much wider audience and who are likely to have overcome any issues they encountered.

I need your experiences connecting using NM:

  • Which of NM’s connection types do you use?
  • Was it detected automatically?
  • Did you need to take any steps that are not apparent from the interface – such as installing extra packages or manually configuring options?
Posted in Ubuntu | Tagged , , | 11 Comments


I got approved for Ubuntu Membership tonight! Actually feels quite rewarding – I know giving time to OSS should be an altruistic thing but it is nice to be recognised.

For anyone who is thinking of applying, they really should.  Its quite nerve racking – not being sure what’ll be looked at.  It really didn’t help my nerves after the first guy up tonight was declined.

So what’s needed?  Well, prep your wiki page and make sure that you have testimonials or better still members at the meeting to support your application.  Make sure you’ve a visible contribution and then off you go.

You introduce yourself and a board of four or five people ask you a couple of questions, they each vote and they tell you there and then.  If you’re successful then you get a message saying your added to the Launchpad team.

I then joined the flood of bloke in #ubuntu-irc getting the IRC cloaks (You need two registered nicknames grouped – I discovered tonight that my alternative is too long and the server ignores the last character), adding my Planet Ubuntu feed, applying for a little rank picture on the forums and trying (even though it takes up to two days) your new email address!

Of course this is now going to hit Planet Ubuntu, so I apologise to everyone there, who are members and know this already.  Still happy though…

Posted in Psychology, Ubuntu | Tagged | 6 Comments

Acer Aspire One

Checking me server logs (as you do), I’ve seen a lot of hits from people searching for information of the Aspire One – looking for information on enabling the right click menu and editing the panels.xml file.

I don’t have the vanilla install of Linpus Linux Lite (nothing wrong with it – I just prefer Arch) but I thought I’d mention that anything I did encounter while using it is available on my Wiki:

Posted in Computing | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Acer Aspire One

Install Arch Linux on an Aspire One

I recently decided to reinstall a perfectly good install of Arch on my Aspire One because someone said they couldn’t get it to work. I don’t know why this install was more troublesome than the last but it was. I’m not taking any credit here – this information is available on the Arch Wiki, its more to jog my memory for next time. Continue reading

Posted in Computing, Linux | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Replacing Linpus Linux Lite on the Acer Aspire One

I love my Aspire One but have come to be less impressed by the Linpus distro installed. So at the weekend I decided to try Arch Linux, which as a long time Slackware fan I had heard worked well and had good documentation.

Its all up and running and other than two quirks, the guide on Arch Wiki is spot on.

As I said, I came across two quirks – the install image used kernel 2.6.26, which detects the r8196 module for the network but for some reason will not answer a dhcp request after reboot (only after reboot) – so replace it with 2.26.27 before reboot. You’ll need to anyway because the Atheros wireless chipset in the Aspire One is supported OOB on the more recent kernel.

The second is well documented, that ext2 partitions on SD are corrupted on suspend. I opted for an XFS partition though and have not had any issues.

The only things I haven’t got working are suspend to RAM and the WiFi light (although the switch works). Neither of these is a show-stopper because I’ve got boot time down to under 18 seconds which is only a few seconds more than resume from RAM.

I’d also advise binning dhcpd and using wicd – which integrates well with XFCE and being a daemon means WiFi is up before you’ve got a desktop.

Really impressed with Arch, a distro I haven’t used before. It’s from the minimalist camp and allows a tailored installation with little or no cruft. Its documentation is fantastic (I have seen a few ideas that I intend to implement in Ubuntu!).

Posted in Computing, Linux | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Add an XFCE menu to the Aspire One panel

Acer have made some alterations to the xfce4-panel, you probably noticed that you can’t right click and add launchers.

Edit: For anyone who came here to find out how to enable the “advanced menu” or XFCE menu on right click – Open your documents, click “File->Terminal” and type “xfce-setting-show” or just “xfce-se” then hit tab. Click “Desktop->Behaviour” and then tick “Show desktop menu on right click”.

I have a workaround but haven’t worked out why yet. Open a terminal (from a Thunar window if you haven’t enable the right click on the desktop). Now if you look in .config/xfce4/panel there is your standard xml file to layout the panel. If you alter this, on relaunching the panel it overwrites it with the default.

The odd thing is that the un-patched panel is still there, and works as normal (look in /usr/bin – there are two panels, one renamed xfce4-panel.old). Well for some reason that I haven’t fathomed, if you kill the running panel then alter the config then run xfce4-panel.old then restart it the xml config is not overwritten.

Here’s a screenshot:



Posted in Computing | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Stanford-Binet IQ Test

Did you know that the Stanford-Binet IQ test, when first translated to English in 1908 by Henry H Goddard, the scale used very different definitions to those used today?

Currently in its fith revision, the system uses ten groupings but the 1908 translation’s first three classifications were: 0 to 20 – Idiot; 20 to 49 – Imbecile; 50 to 69 – Moron (the average IQ being around 100).

Also, believe it or not mental retardation and learning difficulties were referred to as the spectacularly offensive “Feeble Minded“.

Posted in Psychology | Tagged , | Comments Off on Stanford-Binet IQ Test