Archive for April, 2010

brasero complains of missing cdda2wav in Ubuntu Lucid

In Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) if you try to use Brasero to do a straight 1:1 copy of an audio disc, it will complain of missing ‘cdda2wav’.

cdda2wav is provided by icedax; you can install icedax using Synaptic or the following command:

sudo apt-get install icedax

However, you’ll still get a warning. This time brasero will tell you that something is missing, but it will not say what it is.

This is reported to Launchpad, against brasero, as bug #592626: brasero can’t copy audio cd (useless error message).

If you’re willing and able, I would encourage you to stop by the Launchpad site above and lend a hand towards getting this resolved. If you’re not able to do that, and just want to get things working, I actually suggest using k3b. As long as you don’t mind all the kde dependencies, it’s a great program.

Install k3b using Synaptic, or the command line: sudo apt-get install k3b

UPDATE: According to Launchpad’s bug report, this has been fixed since brasero 2.32.0-0ubuntu2.2. Users who continue to experience an issue should make sure they’ve updated, and then file new bug reports.


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Why aren’t you backing up your data?

Would you only ever have one house key? Car key?

Would you only get one picture of your child? Your spouse?

Then why would you not treat your computer data the same way?

Being a computer technician, I can’t tell you how many times (a day!) I hear “Will this affect my data/hard drive/information/etc…” You know who I always hear that from? People who don’t have backups.

If you’ve ever lost an important file because of a system crash, hard drive failure, or mistakenly deleted it, or even worse — suffered at the hands of a theft or destruction from a computer virus or malware, then you’ve likely already learned this very important lesson (rather painfully, no doubt).

If you’re working on something that is so important you’re worried about it, why wouldn’t you keep a second copy of it?

I’ll tell you exactly why: Because it takes time and effort.

But for something so important, there really are very simple (and inexpensive) solutions.

You could burn a CD or DVD. CDs only hold about 700MB of data, and most people have far more than that. Dividing up folders and folders of pictures and music over 700MB CDs is frustrating at best. Download movies? Most won’t even fit on a 700MB CD. There’s DVDs, sure. However, one of the biggest drawbacks to optical media is their shelf life (5 years or so, often times much less). Optical media degrades with exposure to light, heat, and may warp if stored vertically. Rewritable media has an even shorter shelf life, as every write cycles “burns” the disc and degrades it further. That leaves you with a very real possibility that when you go to reach for your data, it won’t be there.

You could use an external hard drive. External hard drives are just as inexpensive (per MB/GB) as optical media (sometimes more so), and have a longer shelf life. They are a great backup destination for large amounts of data, and can be backed up to quickly and easily. Unfortunately, magnetic media can’t be exposed or stored near strong electrical or magnetic fields. They are also fragile while powered on, they too do degrade over time, and can sometimes fail without warning. You could spend some money on a RAID array and have a nearly fail-safe solution… but it doesn’t protect against fire or theft.

You could backup to a flash drive. Unfortunately flash drives are actually the smallest capacity and the highest cost of any removable media. They are great for carrying around a small amount of data (some files back and forth from work, for example), but as a backup solution, they are impractical.

I prefer the set-it-and-forget-it approach of online backups, and I really encourage you to try the same.

Online backups charge you a small fee (usually monthly or yearly) and store your files on a remote server in case of a disaster. All you need is a reasonably fast internet connection. Storage and retrieval are limited to the speed of your internet connection, but this really takes the effort out of it. Backups are done routinely in the background and happen automatically. If disaster ever strikes in the form of a lost file, you simply connect to the online service and re-download your file.

So here’s a few suggested services and the last pricing structure I recall them having and my thoughts on each:

CrashPlan (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Cost: Free if you’re backing up to an external drive or a friends computer (even off site); $59/yr for one computer or $100/yr for all your computers to back up to their storage center (“CrashPlan Central”).

Pros: Inexpensive, unlimited storage space. Easy to use application. Supports local destinations for rapid backups and restores. Supports encryption. Cross-platform. Data de-duplication reduces upload size on changed files.

Cons: Requires payment for the service term up front. Minor display issues related to GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS under Linux. Some features require additional “CrashPlan Pro” license.

My thoughts: If you’re a Linux user this is the service for you. Slightly cheaper than Mozy for a single computer for the year; much cheaper for multiple computers.

Mozy (Windows, Mac)

Cost: Free for the first 2GB of storage; $5/mo per computer for unlimited.

Pros: Inexpensive for a few PCs. Easy to use application. Option to display icons on files to show what is backed up and what is pending. Easy to use options. The option to order restore DVDs is available for disaster recovery, but it is expensive.

Cons: No plans for a linux client. Slow transfer speed.

My thoughts: For Windows-only users this is a great service. Automatic monthly payments make the cost easy to budget.

JungleDisk (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Cost: $2-5 per month and $0.15 per GB. Transfer rates apply with storage on Amazon S3, or no transfer fee with storage on Rackspace.

Pros: The price structure is fair — pay for what you use. A very reliable infrastructure in the two providers. Encryption. Multiple datacenters to assure your data is safe. They’ve been around for a while. Inexpensive for small amounts of data. Data de-duplication reduces storage space, cost, and upload size.

Cons: Can get expensive with large amounts of data. The application is somewhat confusing at first.

My thoughts: Another good cross-platform provider. Although a bit more costly than CrashPlan or Mozy, the thought of multiple data centers is appealing to those with mission-critical data.

Symform (Windows, Mac, Linux [Beta])

Cost: First 10GB free, $0.15/GB/Month each additional (or free if you contribute)

Pros: Generous amounts of free space, and no limits on the amount of space you can earn if you contribute storage. Contribution is not required. Interface is simple, and setup is easy. Support can be paid by contributing space as well.

Cons: No option yet to select files to exclude, or for single file restores. Contributing requires setting up port forwarding.

My thoughts: Symform is a good, spacious alternative to other backup providers, and especially appealing for users who have space to contribute.

Bottom line: There really are no “perfect fit” backup solutions, but the best practice is to use one or more different methods and keep at least one at a second location (“off-site”). Worst case, your home could burn to the ground or be broken into, and your optical discs and external hard drives would be forever gone. Online backups do alleviate that fear, but rely on an internet connection to recover your data. I’ve found it best to keep one backup copy on an external hard drive (for accessing large amounts of data quickly) and use an online provider for worst-case recovery (the backup hard drive crashes, or fire or theft claims the backup). It’s all about how valuable your data is to you.

Comments and feedback are welcome, as always.

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Java issues with Ubuntu Lucid

Some users may notice that certain Java apps do not work properly / as expetected in Ubuntu Linux. Insofar as I can tell the issue is caused by all 3 java plugins being installed at the same time.

Several users have noticed the issue resolved by uninstalling all Java plugins except for the Sun Java plugin.

To do so, open Synaptic Package Manager and search for (and uninstall) the following packages.

  • icedtea-6-jre-cacao
  • icedtea6-plugin
  • openjdk-6-* (all packages beginning with ‘openjdk-6-‘)


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Getting junglediskdesktop to run correctly on startup with Gnome

If you’re a jungledisk user on linux, and you put junglediskdesktop in your Startup Applications you may receive unusual errors when you log in.

Such errors are:

  • The jungledisk tray icon does not appear
  • The jungledisk window floats and cannot be closed
  • The jungledisk app gives unusual errors

The problem appears to be that there’s a race condition where junglediskdesktop starts before Gnome is ready to handle it as a tray app.


  • Create a text file with gedit (or your editor of choice)
  • In the file, enter these two lines:
sleep 3 && /usr/local/bin/junglediskdesktop

You’ll need to make your new script executable, so at a terminal do:

chmod +x filename

Now, in startup applications, use your new script instead of junglediskdesktop.

What this script does:

It ‘sleeps’ for 3 seconds before starting the junglediskdesktop application.

Doing that allows Gnome to be ready to handle junglediskdesktop correctly.


It’s my opinion that this is an issue with junglediskdesktop itself (not waiting for Gnome to be ready) rather than an issue with the Gnome itself.

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How To Install Lexmark Z2400, 3600-4600, 5600-6600, 4900, 5000 in Ubuntu Lucid

Recently Lexmark published drivers for many of its all-in-one printer/scanner/faxes. Here’s how to get them working on Lucid (NOT Karmic). I’ve tested this on a X5650 on Lucid, 32-bit. It should work for X5070 Series, X7600 Series, X6600 Series, X5600 Series, Z2400 Series, X4900 Series, X4600 Series, and X3600 Series as well.

1. Download and Extract the Lexmark Driver Installation Script

Here is the driver file for the printers listed above:

Based on the comments, you might also find it here:

After the file has completed downloading, extract the script to your home folder. You can do this by double-clicking the file. Then click the Extract button near the top of the new window. On the left select your home folder (it will be your user name). Then click the Extract button at the bottom. Then click Quit at the prompt.

2. Install the Drivers and Printer

The easiest way I have found to do this is to switch to root in the terminal, and then run the script from there. For some reason if you don’t do this the script will keep asking for the root password, but it will not accept it.

Go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal. In the terminal type:

sudo sh

Then type:


Follow the instructions in the prompt, making sure not to plug in the printer until instructed. Most likely you will end up with two printers installed, but thats ok. During the installation you will install the printer and Ubuntu will also detect it. Most likely the one Ubuntu detected and installed will work.

Once the installation has finished, you can close the terminal window.

3. Test

You should now test to see if your printer works (or to see which out of the two installed works). Go to System > Administration > Printing. Right-click one of the printers you just installed. Push the Print Test Page button. If it does not print, try the other installed printer. One of them should work.

Scanning should work automatically now. Go to Applications > Graphics > Simple Scan. Try to scan something, and it should show up.

Based on [April 22, 2010]
[Edited for updates and formatting]

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Windows Vista Service Pack 2 – Error referring to Knowledge Base Article 967752

Windows Vista users attempting to upgrade to Service Pack 2 may receive the following message:


One or more drivers might be incompatible.
MSDSM – Please read Microsoft Knowledge Base article: 967752

Apparently MS sent down an Automatic Update that, if applied before installing SP2, will give you this error (Wish I knew which one it was…). Following the KB article is helpless, as the patch only applies to Server 2008. Best thing to do is actually just ignore it and continue… worked fine for me.

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Fix for choppy, stuttering, skipping, popping sounds and video with TS-L462C CD ROM burner

This post (April 4th, 2010) in the Dell Community Forums pins it down to a bad firmware.

I’ve had the above problem for several months and the only way it seemed to go away was to disable the cd player. Finally, I think I figured out what was wrong–I had flashed the burner with the latest firmware-ver 07-and I had nothing but stuttering since-I tried all the other recs-reinstall IDE controllers, make sure things are DMA, renistall sound drivers etc, even completely overhauling the OS but no go. So for those in same boat, here’s a definite way I fixed it:

1. keep a cd in the drive at all times or

2. upgrade the firmware w/ samsung (which is the maker of the burner) firmware:
dl this: (which is the firmware upgrade app)

then this firmware (it’s in Korean, just choose the TG00):

then run the app w/ -nocheck option to disable the “not compatible” message and flash away.

When you’re done, you should have full functioning cd rom/burner w/o the stuttering/choppiness. If you crossflash, you’ll prolly invalidate your cdrom warrenty, but dell 07 firmware breaks your system anyways, so pick your poison…

You can download the firmware from Samsung ODD directly.


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Broadcom BCM4328 wireless problem in Ubuntu

This thread on Ubuntu forums describes fixes for issues surrounding the Broadcom BCM4328 card:

1) Uninstall and reinstall the STA driver (in System > Administration > Hardware Drivers)

2) Install the b43-fwcutter package via Synaptic or apt-get (using a wired connection)

3) Run the following two commands in a terminal:

sudo rmmod ssb
sudo modprobe wl

You might also try the steps listed in my other post regarding Ubuntu Karmic and Broadcom Wireless BCM4312 rev 01, and BCM4318 [Airforce One 54g] in Ubuntu Natty.

Comments / feedback regarding this are welcome.

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Printing pages in reverse order in Ubuntu

Retrieved from this thread April 4th, 2010:

To set pages to print in reverse order (if you can’t change it via System > Administration > Printing)

Go to /etc/cups/ppd and edit the .ppd file of your printer. Add the following line:

*DefaultOutputOrder: Reverse

That should take care of it.

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Hidden trick to exit windows explorer

This trick comes from here (April 4th 2010).

You can cause explorer.exe to exit on a Windows machine (XP, not known if it works in Vista or 7) using a simple trick.

  1. Click the start menu, then the shutdown button.
  2. Hold CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT and click the Cancel button.

Explorer now exits, leaving all other programs running.

To restart explorer, do this:

  1. Press CTRL-SHIFT-ESC to start windows task manager.
  2. Click File -> New Task (Run)
  3. Type explorer and hit enter.

Though it’s a bit late for April Fools, I’m sure this would make for a good prank nonetheless. This is also great for kiosk machines where you don’t want users having access to the start menu or task switcher.

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