Friday 31 October 2008

RIP Feisty - welcome to the world Intrepid

ok - here's a point for debate.
End-of-life for feisty = 19th October.
Intrepid Launch = 30th October
one option offered to feisty users on is to update to intrepid
I think, therefore, that either

  • feisty end-of-life was premature.

  • the advice isn't ideal.

pedantic? maybe.

I'm sure the ubuntu fanboys will say so.

Thursday 30 October 2008


George Farris has created a .deb package for the new pitivi release. Pitivi is a very easy to use video editor based on GStreamer.

it installed (with a sensible warning about over-riding the package in the official repos) flawlessly with gdebi.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Scott Sigler - podcast novelist

This guy deserves recognition as an internet pioneer.



Scott Sigler was one of the first (if not THE first) unpublished authors to distribute his work in audio form for "free" on the internet, under a creative commons type license.

I have listened to several of his books... namely "Eathcore", "Ancestor" and "Infected".

I would recommend them to anyone who isn't offended by language and violence. You can get them from his site or

"Infected" has been published as a paper novel, and can be purchased from amazon or high street stores... it is currently being considered for a film.

So buy infected if you wish, buy PLEASE pre-order the sequel "Contagious" which is to be released on the 30th December 2008.

How cool would it be for a podcast novelist to be the number one bestseller on the hardback fiction list?

In my opinion, very cool indeed. This is how art should be marketed in the internet age. Give your stuff away in one form, accept donations if it is any good, and charge for it in other formats. Much better than allowing editors to dictate what we get to consume.

If you agree, please buy the book.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Holiday Highlight.

My wife has fallen for another man.

It's been a while since she looked at me like this!

Friday 10 October 2008

Radio free Ubuntu Laptop.

Travelling transatlantic tomorrow (yippee!!), and one issue I needed to address is how to turn off my wireless card for the flight (to save battery life and/or stop the plane crashing.. you decide which;)

Here's how it's done -
Turn the thing off -
~$ sudo iwconfig wlan0 txpower off

And back on again-
~$ sudo iwconfig wlan0 txpower on


BTW - bluetooth services are disabled on this laptop... I have no need for it.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Capitalism and what it can learn from Open Source

What a mess the world economy is in.

Banks are falling left, right and centre, and governments (i.e. tax payers) around the world are propping them up.
Part of the problem is the way that there is no working regulation of banks.

No-one has been keeping an eye on what they are up to... and how could they?
As I see it, banks do not exchange their trading information with governments, regulators, competitors, shareholders, or customers.

They are totally "closed-source". This has got to change.

Freedom of information legislation needs to be extended to these institutions, I can see no other way.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Advent 9112 headphones

My laptop is an Advent 9112

With Ubuntu, the soundcard (Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03) - has issues.

In particular, pluging in the headphones doesn't mute the main speakers.

The solution add the following lines at the bottom of /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base

#I have modified this file on TODAY's Date to get headphones working options snd-hda-intel model=mitac
then restart alsa.
sudo /etc/init.d/alsa restart

Me a spammer??

Oh dear.

This morning I got an email from telling me that my blog has been flagged by their automated spam filter, and therefore my blog has been blocked because of a "violation of their terms of use".

My blog is in quarantine and in 20 days this blog may be destroyed!!

anyway, I think the issue may be that I put my httpd.conf file text in the last posting, and this contains some html markup. So I have changed all the > symbols to &gt; and the < symbols to <

(yes it did take an age to type the above sentence, and I have had to go through captcha hell to post this!) please don't kill my blog!

Monday 6 October 2008

httpd.conf improvement

I noticed today that apache2 on my laptop was executing files in
but not in

anyway, turns out I had configured it incorrectly :(
originally I had added my local cgi-bin as a directory (useful for a directory of scripts in an odd place)
My old httpd.conf file
<VirtualHost *>
ServerName testhost
DocumentRoot /home/neil/ircwebsite
<Directory /home/neil/ircwebsite/cgi-bin>
Options ExecCGI
SetHandler cgi-script

but a ScriptAlias is shorter and works for cgi-bin AND all child folders therein
<VirtualHost *>
ServerName testhost
DocumentRoot /home/neil/ircwebsite
ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /home/neil/ircwebsite/cgi-bin/

Saturday 4 October 2008

Intrepid's improved handling of video

As I posted yesterday, I have moved over to intrepid.
I have noticed a few major improvements over hardy (for me, on my hardware), but a MAJOR improvement is the way that video is handled in windows that are being moved. It just works. Perfectly.

Here's an example - I have totem playing the big buck bunny, and mplayer showing a home movie of the family in Italy. Rotate the cube... and it's no problem!

Flipping cool.
( BTW - I did a sanity check and confirm this isn't/wasn't the behaviour on the same machine in Hardy.)

video on intrepid

The Gnome devs bible part 1.

The sermon on the mount.

"Blessed are the cheese-makers.
for they shall enable the webcams"

not to be taken literally, of course
it refers to all V4linux apps.

(with apologies to Jesus AND monty python)

Big Buck Bunny

alan looks like big buck bunny
I listen to a great podcast called "the linux link tech show" which is mainly about flatulence and mythtv.

One of the less verbose hosts of the show has a striking resemblence to the bunny in the open source movie Big Buck Bunny.

I mention this because I want to upload my first picture to this already infamous blog of mine, so here, with a quick flick of the gimp is the proof.....

rough hack to fix that sudo path issue

remembered how I got the script "~/bin/bright" to be on sudo's path.

# ln -s ~/bin/bright /usr/bin/bright

a bit of a cheat, but it works dandy.
BTW - here is that script.

#! /bin/bash
echo 100 > /proc/acpi/video/GFX0/DD02/brightness

why do I need it? because my brightness buttons don't work unless I disable ACPI :(

Friday 3 October 2008

Did I forget a something?

I don't want to get caught out again by forgetting to install that killer app.

So what packages did I have installed on hardy?
#dpkg --get-selections > hardy_installed

and now I'm in intrepid?
#dpkg --get-selections > intrepid_installed

so what did I miss?
#diff intrepid_installed hardy_installed > apt-get_wish_list


Taking the plunge into intrepid ibex

I have a memory like a sieve, and constantly find myself googling for solutions to problems I have previously solved. So I decided to start a blog when I manage something I know I'll forget.

Today I am moving my laptop os from ubuntu hardy over to ubuntu intrepid, so there's never going to be a better time to begin?

My laptop is an Advent 9112 - bought early 2008.
Like most users I have a love/hate relationship with this machine.

setup with 4 primary partitions on it's 150GB drive.
rough allocations are
/dev/sda4 ext3 /home 100GB
/dev/sda1 ext3 / 22GB
/dev/sda3 ext3 not mounted 22GB
and the rest is swap

on sda3 I have ubuntu 8.04 (hardy heron) 64 bit - my main OS for 5 whole months!
on sda1 I have ubuntu 8.10 (intrepid ibex) 64 bit alpha 5, updated to wherever this release is today (beta 1?)

today, I finally decided that the intrepid is to become my main OS, so I have added "neil" as a user, and am currently migrating all my settings.

clearly it would be easier and maybe wiser to wait for a "dist upgrade" on the sda3 OS, but I am impatient for a couple of reasons.
1. intrepid appears to handle my wireless card much better than gutsy. Using WICD 1.5.3 the network connection is good enough for mythtv viewing - not the case on this machine since I moved to the 64 bit version of 8.04 (therein lies another story).
2. why the hell not? This machine has nothing critical on it.

One thing I love about linux is the consistency of design where settings and data are stored in the users home folder. firefox (and all it's plugins) pan newsreader, pidgin, xchat, thunderbird etc all moved accross seemlessly.
So too did all my desktop settings.

I do some web development, so I needed
#apt-get install apache2
and of course the settings for apache2 are buried within the system so I mounted the SDA3 partition and did
#sudo cp -av /media/disk/etc/apache2/ /etc/apache2/
#sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
and instantly my local sites are all working as before - hurrah.

now I need to remember how to get sudo to play ball with the scripts in my ~/bin directory which require root permissions to work.
when I do... I'm gonna blog it here, lest I forget again.

BTW - when SDA3 is redundant... I'm going to put arch linux on it, see what all the fuss is about.