Archive for March, 2010

The first things I changed in compizconfig-settings-manager (CCSM) in Fedora

  • Turned off “Static Application Switcher” and turned on “Application Switcher”
    Affects what you see when you ALT-TAB
  • Made sure Expo was turned on
    (Keystroke: WIN-E)
  • Turned off “Snapping Windows” (annoys me, personally)
  • Turned on “Shift Switcher” – This caused some conflicts in keybindings so I chose Resolve Conflicts and Disable Zoom Windows and Disable Exit Expo.
    Keystroke: WIN-TAB


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Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference

Originally posted here, this pocket guidewas written on Ubuntu Linux 8.04, but contains information that still applies to current Ubuntu releases. A must read for any new Ubuntu user.

Download Locations: 1 2 3 4


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Getting all the “extra” screensavers in Fedora Linux

Fedora (and Ubuntu) Linux users looking for more screensavers should install the package xscreensaver-gl-extra via their favorite package manager:


Use yumex, or via command line:
sudo yum install xscreensaver-gl-extra


Use Synaptic, or via command line:
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver-gl-extra

Here’s the package description:

This package contains the rest of the 3D (OpenGL) screen saver
modules from the xscreensaver collection. This package is used
by both xscreensaver and gnome-screensaver.

This is the set of GL screensavers not shipped by default with
xscreensaver-gl: antinspect, gleidescope, glknots, atunnel, blinkbox,
bubble3d, circuit, cubestorm, glsnake, jigglypuff, lavalite, lockward,
mirrorblog, moebius, boebiusgears, molecule, morph3d, pipes, polyhedra,
polytopes, pulsar, queens, sierpinski3d, spheremonics, stonerview,
superquadrics, topblock, voronoi endgame, engine, flipflop, flipscreen3d,
flurry, flyingtoasters, gears, gflux, antmaze, atlantis, blocktube, boing,
bouncingcow, boxed, cage, carousel, crackberg, cube21, cubenetic, dangerball,
extrusion, fliptext, glforestfire, glhanoi, glplanet, juggler3d, klein, lament,
menger, noof, pinion, providence, rubik, sballs, sproingies, staris, starwars,
tangram, timetunnel.

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Remove Windows Thumbs.db, desktop.ini, BBThumbs.dat, etc. in Ubuntu using find

You can quickly and easily remove Windows and BlackBerry thumbnail index files using a few simple terminal commands.

find /path/to/directory -name "Thumbs.db" -delete
find /path/to/directory -name "desktop.ini" -delete
find /path/to/directory -name "AlbumArt*" -delete
find /path/to/directory -name "BBThumbs.dat" -delete

You can expand on this to remove any file name or mask.

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Leave a comment process excessively consumes CPU

Reposted from the original bug report at launchpad (Retrieved March 15th 2010)

Once in a while, a process called “” starts consuming all my system resources, with CPU usage between 90-100%, my 2GB main memory AND my complete swap partition used up completely, making the system unresponsive to a degree that even single keystrokes need up to a minute to get interpreted by the system.

A forum post indicates that Adobe Reader 8 is the source of the problem. It claims that installing the “lsb” package will solve the problem. I can now confirm this does not fix the problem. Instead, the acroread process itself will now turn out to be the resource hog (no process is listed anymore by ‘top’ though).

Two known workarounds:
1) uninstall package acroread
2) when slowdown starts, either killall -KILL (package lsb not installed) or killall -KILL acroread (package lsb installed).

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Ubuntu Karmic and Broadcom Wireless BCM4312 rev 01

If you’re having an issue where wireless connections are not available to you through network manager, or no networks show up, this method may resolve it for you. Note that this may work with other wireless cards as well.

First, identify your wireless card. At a terminal, type:

lspci | grep Broadcom

Look for output similar to the following:

03:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g (rev 01)

If your card matches, or you’re attempting this against another card, continue by making sure your system is completely up-to-date. Use Synaptic or Update Manager. (Both in System > Administration)

Next install the package linux-backports-modules-karmic. You will need a working wired connection for this.
At a terminal:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-karmic

Try rebooting. If that doesn’t help at this point, continue by blacklisting a few modules:

sudo echo "blacklist ssb" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-ssb.conf
sudo echo "blacklist wl" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-wl.conf

Reboot and test.

Note: If you want to roll-back the blacklisting at a future point, here’s the steps:

sudo echo "" > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-ssb.conf
sudo echo "" > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-wl.conf

(or simply delete the files)

I’m reposting from this site, where I originally found this fix. The site is very slow to load for me most days when I really need to refer back to it, as I’m sure others would love to as well, so I’m reposting here with some clarification and clean-up.

You might also want to read another post regarding Broadcom BCM4328 wireless problem in Ubuntu.

Did this work for you? Please leave your feedback in the comments.

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Flash does not respond to user input (Ubuntu 64-bit, Adobe Flash, Compiz)

You will find that if you are running the 64-bit version of Ubuntu and installed flashplugin-installer or flashplugin-nonfree, that flash controls in Firefox do not work when Compiz is enabled. To fix this, install Adobe’s 64-bit flash plugin.  Credit goes to (March 14th, 2010) for the solution that worked for me:

sudo apt-get remove flashplugin-installer flashplugin-nonfree mozilla-plugin-gnash
cd /tmp
tar xf
sudo mv /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

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Ubuntu Karmic post-install Guide

Ubuntu Post-Installation Guide v9.10

Note: Unless otherwise specified, packages are installed/uninstalled using
System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.
Repositories are updated in
(System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager > Settings > Repositories)
(System > Administration > Software Sources)

> Third Party Software (for Jaunty) or
> Other Software (karmic).

Java, Flash Player

By default, openjdk-6-jre is the Java VM used on Ubuntu. This is because OpenJRE is actively developed, while Sun’s Java VM is not. Also, by default, Flash is not installed. To install Sun’s Java VM (which can be successfully installed alongside OpenJRE) as well as Flash Player, install: ubuntu-restricted-extras

Medibuntu (DVD, MP3 and WMA support, etc)

Additional codec support (MP3, WMA, etc) is provided by the non-free-codec in the Medibuntu repository. (See for information) Running the following lines in a terminal will install the correct Medibuntu repository as well as the required keyring to authenticate packages:

sudo wget  -cs).list
--output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list &&
sudo apt-get -q update &&
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring &&
sudo apt-get -q update


Following that, install the following packages:
libdvdcss2 (Allows to read encrypted DVDs)
non-free-codecs (Additional codecs)


On supported video chipsets and with the correct video drivers, Compiz can enable a variety of visual effects. If Compiz is supported on your system, it can be enabled via System > Preferences > Appearances > Visual Effects and settings the level to Normal or higher. If compiz is enabled, it is recommended to install compizconfig-settings-manager

Other Useful Programs

The following packages are useful, and installation is encouraged:

–sound and video:
(music management application which also supports a wide range of MP3 players)

While empathy is the new default IM client, pidgin is recommended for facebook users. Empathy, at the present time, does not have the same level of facebook
support that pidgin has). install:
pidgin and pidgin-facebookchat

–system tools:
gnome-format (a tool to easily format removable memory cards)

fglrx-amdcccle – Catalyst Control Center for ATI graphics cards
nvidia-settings – Tool for configuring the NVIDIA graphics driver
nautilus-wallpaper – Adds ‘Set as wallpaper’ to right-click menu
nautilus-image-converter – Adds ‘Rotate’ and ‘Scale’ image commands
to right-click menu


A free Virtual Machine system.

virtualbox-ose is available directly from Synaptic, but does not support USB device pass-through (allows the VM to communicate with USB devices). Sun’s VirtualBox 3.0 does support USB device pass-through easily.

See for instructions on how to add the VirtualBox repository to your system. After adding that repository, you can install the virtualbox-3.0 package.

Be sure to give yourself access to VirtualBox using System > Administration > Users and Groups
and give yourself User Privileges to ‘Use VirtualBox’

Intel microcode update

Systems with Intel CPUs should install the intel-microcode package. This provides an updated microcode to the processor at boot-time which can address processor errors and lock-ups.

Broadcom wireless issues

Systems with broadcom wireless cards which are detected but do not show any wireless networks should install the b43-fwcutter package. This provides an updated firmware for the card which fixes numerous issues. This would have to be installed using a wired network.

Dropbox on Ubuntu

Add the repository line for your Ubuntu distribution and install the nautilus-dropbox package (Reference:

Other Software

It is strongly recommended to use software that is distributed in the repositories. If you need to install a program from another source, the .DEB format is the best choice. This installs the program and adds a listing in Synaptic for easily unisntalling the program when you want to.

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The tools of the tech (or) “What’s in your toolbag?”

From one tech to… anyone interested, here’s my take on those “Computer repair” toolkits: JUNK. It’s a bunch of things you’ll never use, in one package, with a pricetag on it.

Here’s what’s in my toolbag, sorted in what I feel is the order of importance:

Most important:

  • Portable ESD mat / wriststrap / grounding cord (A must!)
  • A #1 philips screwdriver (Laptops)
  • A #0 philips screwdriver (small screws — laptop optical drives, some small sub-assemblies)
  • A #2 philips screwdriver — at least 6″ or longer (For desktops cases and “tool” jokes.)
  • A 1/8″ flat screwdriver (laptop CPU sockets)
  • A 3/16″ and a 5mm hex driver (for VGA / serial / etc port standoffs.)
  • Torx driver, various sizes but usually T5, T10, T15, T18, T20 (Various models). I have a tool similiar to this one, and it’s served me well.
  • Thermal paste (cheap stuff is better than nothing) along with alcohol pads for cleaning.
  • A paper clip, for opening optical drives
  • A bootable USB stick loaded with diagnostic software. 2GB ought to do it, depending on what you’re using.


  • Pliers (regular, long nose, bent)
  • Wirecutters (For cutting zip-ties and wire harnesses)
  • Plastic tool, such as this one (Great for prying apart stubborn case clips without damage) – Guitar picks are also known to work well.
  • Power supply tester. I have this one, and it’s wonderful.
  • The under $5 magnetizer that will save your sanity. Some screwdrivers are sold pre-magnetized, but often lose their charge after a short time. Plus, with this, you can magnetize any tool.
  • Spare screws, and this really high-tech container to keep them sorted.
  • A toothbrush (Awesome for cleaning laptop heatsinks, recessed switches, speaker grilles, and countless other things)
  • A small scratch awl for removing rubber bumpers, screw covers, and the like.

Optional, but useful:

  • A cheap set of headphones or earbuds for testing sound issues. A small, functional, microphone is also good for testing mic issues, though they are rare. You could get a headset and combine the functions, just make sure it has separate input and output jacks.
  • A Linux live CD or USB stick, again for diagnostic testing. Most Linux distros will fit comfortably on a 2GB stick.
  • Another, blank, USB stick for moving drivers, software downloads, etc, when necessary. 4GB is a good, comfortable size for this stick.

And lastly, my thoughts on a few other items:

  • Cans of compressed air, while useful, are often “borrowed” and become an added expense and encumbrance in field use. For bench use, however, they are invaluable.
  • A Dremel. I’m kidding… what would you use a Dremel for on a computer, anyway?

Have any suggestions for a tech toolbag, or something you’ve found useful (or not), or a question about something I posted (or left out)? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

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Does anyone actively use IPv6 (i.e., intentionally use it on connections and prefer to have it)?

I’ve heard a few things about IPv6 that are good:

  • The address space is large enough that “private” IPs/subnets are practically unnecessary

… and some that are very, very bad:

  • Windows Vista and 7 come with IPv6 enabled by default, but most firewall software doesn’t handle IPv6, making essentially an un-firewalled connection to the internet.

… and some that indicate it’s still underdeveloped:

  • While OSes support IPv6, ISPs are being very slow to adapt the technology. Most ISPs will not even support an IPv6-only connection at this time.

Any thoughts?

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