An omnibus of tech posts by s Futurologist on software development
Monday, 16 March 2009
Keyboards identifying their keymap
Every time I buy a Dell laptop, or run an Ubuntu live CD I find I am running with the wrong keyboard map file, which means it defaults to US layout typically (why do we all have different locations for punctuation keys anyway!?)
So my USB keyboard is detected I can see form /var/log/messages:
input: Dell Dell USB Keyboard as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.1/usb2/2-2/2-2.1/2-2.1:1.0/input/input14
kernel: [ 9575.364318] input,hidraw0: USB HID v1.10 Keyboard [Dell Dell USB Keyboard] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-2.1
kernel: [ 9575.375861] input: Dell Dell USB Keyboard as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.1/usb2/2-2/2-2.1/2-2.1:1.1/input/input15
ubuntu kernel: [ 9575.404288] input,hidraw1: USB HID v1.10 Device [Dell Dell USB Keyboard] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-2.1
(Seems to detect it twice, USB1.1 and USB2.0)
So as it already has the name string "Dell Dell USB Keyboard", would it be any harder to also encode "en" in that? (or "en_US" etc)
Now we all just need to unify on one standard keyboard layout, probably adopting the international US one with some adaptation to add Alt+Number for every currency (rather than having £
. Also with good sized Enter and Space keys, and my small keyboard layout
if on a portable.
Labels: Keyboards, Ubuntu
Monday, 9 March 2009
Return Royal Junk Mail back to them
Royal Direct Mail
is at it again.. but this time I've got an idea.. if it comes together it could be quite comic:
The DMA "Your Choice
" scheme is ineffective, and why should we have to register that we didn't want junk mail in the first place? Not least because they will write to you 2 or 3 times to get you to reconfirm you don't want junk mail, and then like TPS and DMA lists it will expire after 3 years. Door-to-door
is what Royal Mail like to call their marketing scheme. I couldn't find the Yell, Thomson Local and BT opt-out, that would have saved another 8KG of junk mail per year.
Imagine if for every piece of unaddressed junk mail that Royal Mail pushes through letter boxes around the country, just 10% of us returned it to them in the red boxes they place around the streets? Rather than me paying the council refuse collectors to take it all way, Royal Mail would have to cover the costs, and it might just bump the price up sufficiently for them to call of their junk mail programme.
If you don't have any "Return To Sender" stickers, you could always just forward it back to them. See how they appreciate arriving and having a mound of junk mail to wade through each day like the rest of us!
Royal Mail Group Ltd
148 Old Street
Labels: DataProtection, JunkMail, UK
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Ubuntu gnome memory wastage
While looking into other Ubuntu performance issues and Compiz crash I noticed just how many wasteful processes are running by default. Feels like I'm back on a Windows machine!
seahorse-agent (can't get rid due to ubuntu-desktop dep)
evolution-alarm (succeeded in removing!)
gvfsd-smb-browse (can't get rid due to ubuntu-desktop dep)
bluetooth-applet (succeeded in removing!)
compiz-decorator (succeeded in removing!)
b43 (runs regardless of if the Wireless is enabled, so enable/disable must be a software switch)
bonobo-activation-server (can't get rid due to ubuntu-desktop dep)
I wish I could remove samba, I don't have any Windows machines on my network I need to transfer files to, but ubuntu-desktop has a dep on it.
Even with my internal wireless disabled (Fn+F2) I still see the b43 driver task running and taking up memory.
It's no wonder with all this running it takes 4 secs to load Firefox3 on a 1.6Ghz CPU with 1.5GB ram. It should be up in less than a second. OpenOffice Writer is even worse, around 8 seconds.
# apt-get --purge remove evolution
^ It isn't mentioned, but the tasks are all still running, so another reboot is necessary (another Windows reminder..)
# apt-get --purge remove gnome-screensaver
Why is a screensaver running all the time anyway? The system could run the process from a gnome timer when it needs to start.
Let's see how it goes with this lot removed, I'll be tempted to install Xubuntu (XFCE desktop) if performance is still hogged!
Labels: GNU+Linux, Performance, Ubuntu
Remove Compiz from Ubuntu
If like me you're running one of the recent Ubuntu releases (8.04 LTS) you'll still be experiencing the unfixed bugs in Compiz Desktop Effects, for me this results in Totem and Xine crashes
, taking out the whole machine (power switch restart).
So as no official fixes have been made (even though its LTS!), disable and removing compiz is the workaround:
Right click on the desktop, select "Change Desktop Background".
Click "Visual Effects", click the "none" option.
Then issue these commands to remove the Compiz packages:
# apt-get --purge remove compiz compiz-core
^ It doesn't tell you, but compiz is actually still running, so you will need to reboot to benefit.
Tip: Want to track down that rogue process in the "top" or "ps aux" output? Track it back to the package it came from, so you can unisntall it:
# dpkg -S /usr/bin/compiz-decorator
Laptop is quicker, and no more video playback crashes (yet!) ;).
Labels: GNU+Linux, Performance, Ubuntu
Remove Bluetooth from Ubuntu
If like me you are running on a laptop or desktop without Bluetooth, you'll notice that Ubuntu is still running around 1.5MB of Bluetooth packages, wasting drive space and memory at run time.
We could could ignore the disk space loss, but the fact that it stays resident after it sees no bluetooth hardware connected is far from ideal. It would have been trivial for them to exit the daemon when it found no hardware connected, so its probably just sloppy QA (or lack of any QA again..) that let this one slip into a release. Should anyone plug in a USB bluetooth adapter, HAL should then swawn the daemon etc.
So simply disable and uninstall/remove bluetooth from Ubuntu.
# apt-get --purge remove bluez-utils bluez-gnome
The --purge removes the installer files from your drive, recovering the space again ;)
Labels: GNU+Linux, Performance, Ubuntu
Monday, 2 March 2009
Ubuntu USB NTFS filesystem bugs
Seeing as I need to transfer >4GB files between computers running GNU+Linux as well as Mac and Windows I'm stuck with the only option of NTFS filesystem on that USB stick. The problem is how poor Ubuntu support is (well it even has support now, so things have moved on
a lot in the last few years).
Windows causes a lot of problems, because it does not unmount filesystems which are not in use, so if a friend pulls out hte USB stick without going through the "Safely Remove" (or the duplicate "Edject" menu item on Vista) Ubuntu will refuse to mount it. With an error as follows:
How Ubuntu developers expect average users to achieve this I have no idea. Ubuntu should fix the process to be simple and clear as follows:
- External drive icons are visible on Desktop.
- If one fails to mount due to this NTFS flag, the user should be prompted to check it and then mount.
- Context menu on each drive icon should offer "Safely remove" as well as "Scan for errors" and "Format".
So let's get Ubuntu right, and fix the "unfriendlyness" it suffers :)
p.s. Also Ubuntu shouldn't copy files and directories with excluded Windows characters, like ":", because the user will only arrive at their friend's house and find that their friend who is stuck using Windows can't access the files.
p.p.s. Windows no-longer unmounts drives when shutting down, so if you take out your USB stick formatted NTFS from a machine that is off you will find it also won't mount on Ubuntu.
Labels: GNU+Linux, Ubuntu
Panasonic TX37LZD81 TV runs GNU+Linux!
Wow, I saw the software license screen on my Panasonic TX37LZD81 TV shows it is built on top of lots of GNU+Linux components, there is even the download link: http://www.am-linux.jp/dl/EUIDTV6/
Sources are provided for autofs, dhcpcd, findutils, glibc, linux, mount, mtd, netkit, nettools, procps and sash on that link above :)Mobiles
run GNU+Linux too.
Labels: GNU+Linux, TV
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