Older blog entries for richdawe (starting at number 149)

More problems with Ubuntu 10.04 on Samsung N510

My main laptop's hard disk died at the weekend, so I started migrating all my data to my Samsung N510 netbook (thank goodness for backups). Unfortunately, I hit this Ubuntu 10.04 bug, which meant my netbook was crashing sporadically when I ran lots of programs -- firefox and thunderbird simultaneously:

Bug #539482: Page allocation failures on Dell E5500

I tried installing mainline 2.6.34 kernel builds, as described by the Ubuntu Wiki Kernel/MainlineBuilds page. The 2.6.34 kernel seemed to hang the netbook hard.

Instead, I decided to try a backport of the Ubuntu Maverick kernel, as mentioned on Ubuntu Updates Lucid kernel page. I installed the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kernel-ppa/ppa
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install linux-image-generic-lts-backport-maverick linux-headers-generic-lts-backport-maverick

The current backport kernel is 2.6.35-19-generic.

The boot process appeared to hang, so I disabled the boot splash screen, by editing /etc/default/grub:


and then ran sudo update-grub.

I also had to build the module for the wireless chipset -- Realtek 8192 PCI wireless -- because the built-in wireless driver in 2.6.35 does not appear to work with my WPA-enabled access point. That is a story for another blog post... In the meantime, I have seen reports that switching the access point from WPA+WPA2 to just WPA mode helps.

Syndicated 2010-08-30 09:45:44 from richdawe

Upgrading to Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04 - no title bar or window decorations

I upgraded from UNR 9.04 to 10.04 the other day, and found that the window decorations such as the title bar and close/maximize/minimize had disappeared from all windows (even in "GNOME" log-in sessions).

My particular problem seemed to be caused by saved GNOME session state. I've attached a suggested resolution to Launchpad bug #576696.

Syndicated 2010-05-19 07:26:34 from richdawe

Slow scrolling in Firefox on Fedora 12 - workaround

After upgrading to Fedora 12, I found that scrolling in Firefox was painfully slow. I'm using the Nouveau driver with a Geforce Go 5700 chip in my old 3.2 GHz Athlon64 laptop. Scrolling seemed to peg the CPU usage at 100% and render the computer unusable for the duration of the (very slow) scrolling.

Disabling "smooth scrolling" in the general section of the preferences seems to have fixed this.

Syndicated 2010-02-05 11:45:12 (Updated 2010-02-05 11:46:09) from richdawe

Mac OS X firewall vs. DHCP

I've been having some issues with Mac OS X not being able to configure itself with DHCP. It looks like the firewall was blocking DHCP responses. Quick solution was to turn off the firewall. Longer-term solution may be that I need to reinstall configd and mDNSResponder from the latest Mac OS X update, so that they are signed correctly, so that the firewall trusts them again.

Syndicated 2009-06-09 10:36:44 from richdawe

Looking for a contractor for Professional Services

I work in the Professional Services team at Message Systems, where I have fun designing and developing custom integrations of our e-mail software platform to fulfil the needs and requirements of various clients.

We're looking for someone for a six-month contract in the Bristol area:

From the full job specification:

The Message Systems engineering team is looking for a highly motivated Professional Services Engineer to help build custom solutions on top of our best-of-breed messaging platform. You will work closely with our internationally-renowned engineering team to deliver solutions to our customers.

The projects range from carrier-class deployments to support millions of messages per day to mass-market enterprise appliances used by Fortune 500 companies.

Please see the full job specification for details of how to apply.

Syndicated 2009-05-20 03:12:34 (Updated 2009-05-20 03:15:42) from richdawe

Macbook Pro overheating

It appears reinstalling Mac OS X Leopard has done something to the default fan settings on my work MBP. I've had problems today with the GPU overheating (triggered by several minutes of Spotlight indexing things). I've installed smcFanControl2 and cranked the default fan speed up to 3,000 rpm. This seems to be keeping the GPU temperature under control.

Syndicated 2009-03-17 12:17:14 from richdawe

FileVault ate my home directory

Yesterday I upgraded my work Macbook Pro from OS X Tiger 10.4 to Leopad 10.5.6. It was not an entirely smooth experience. After upgrading to Leopard, it all appeared to work fine -- everything seemd intact. I ran the software updates tool, and it downloaded some updates. I needed to reboot.

I use FileVault to encrypt my home directory, to protect all the confidential data on it. When you reboot/shutdown the laptop under OS X 10.4 Tiger, it asks you whether you want it to free up space occupied by deleted files within the encrypted image. You can "Skip" or "Continue".

After installing the updates and rebooting, I elected to "Skip". When the laptop came back up, I could not log in to my account. I rebooted with the OS X 10.5 Leopard install DVD (hint: press Apple-C at start-up to boot off DVD), ran Disk Utility and tried to repair the encrypted .sparseimage in my home directory. No luck.

I ended up re-installing OS X 10.5 Leopard from scratch. Fortunately I had a backup on my Linux box (encrypted with encfs).

Couple of lessons learnt:

  1. Set up an administrator account that does not use FileVault. All the help articles I've seen assume that you can actually log into your Mac under an admin account and run Disk Utility. I wasn't able to because my account was the only administrator account.

  2. Don't use the "Skip" option with FileVault. NB: It appears they removed it in OS X 10.5 Leopard.

Syndicated 2009-03-14 14:20:26 from richdawe

File::ExtAttr 1.09

AKA the "reduce the CPAN Testers FAIL results" release.

I also fixed a minor bug on Solaris, and documented a difference in the handling of empty attribute values on Mac OS X 10.4 vs. 10.5. See File::ExtAttr on CPAN soon.


1.09 2009-03-07

    - (richdawe) Add note to README about needing to install
                 package that provides the headers <attr/attributes.h>
                 and <attr/xattr.h>.

    - (richdawe) Fix RT #31970: "OS X: setfattr fails to set empty value".
                 According to the CPAN Testers results, this works
                 on Mac OS X 10.5.

                 Skip the "empty" tests on Mac OS X 10.4 and earlier.
                 Document issue.

    - (richdawe) Fix #34394: "Test suite should skip on filesystems
                 with no xattr support when run non-interactively"
                 on Linux.

                 When run interactively, it will suggest what you need
                 to do, to get the test suite to pass.

    - (richdawe) Fix RT #37889: "Crash when operating on a closed file handle
                 on Solaris". This was due to using an uninitialised
                 directory handle.

Syndicated 2009-03-07 10:42:32 from richdawe

Fedora 9 vs. VMware-server 1.0.8

VMware-server 1.0.8 seems to barf on the GTK+ theme files shipped with Fedora 9. I'm using Clearlooks. You can force VMware-server to use the system GTK+ libraries:

vmware &

On my F9 x86_64 install, I needed to install a few i386 packages first, before VMware start. VMware-server is an i386 program, so you need these i386 packages to be installed for it to be able to use the system GTK+ libraries:

yum -y install glib2.i386 gtk2.i386

Syndicated 2009-03-03 08:39:29 from richdawe

Linksys wireless gear vs. Xbox 360

I've been trying recently to connect a wired LAN printer and my Xbox 360 to the wireless LAN in our house. This proved trickier than I expected.

First off I wanted to connect my old Linksys WRT54GS v2 wireless access point to the existing wireless network, so that I could hook my printer up to it. The wireless network is using WPA-PSK authentication. I reflash the WRT54GS with OpenWrt, version 8.09 RC1. I didn't find OpenWrt very friendly, but I managed to get it to join the wireless network. Unfortunately there seemed to be some problem with bridging -- the wired and wireless networks were not connected.

Eventually I gave up and switched to DD-WRT, which worked much better. I set it up into Client Bridged mode, and it just worked.

The next task was to connect my Xbox 360 to the wireless network. I bought the wireless adapter, but I found it would not connect to my wireless router, a Linksys WAG325N. Apparently this is a known issue. The recommended fix is to downgrade to version 1.00.06 of the firmware, which unfortunately did not work for me. I upgraded the router to the latest firmware, v1.00.12, and made sure my Xbox had the latest updates. Still no joy.

I read reports that the Xbox 360 worked fine with the WRT54GS, so I wondered if I could create a second wireless network just for my Xbox. Fortunately I discovered that DD-WRT has a repeater mode and a repeater bridge mode. In repeater bridge mode, you create a virtual wireless network with a new SSID, and then traffic is bridged between the real wireless network and your new "virtual" wireless network. The virtual wireless network is a real wireless network to all intents and purposes.

After some poking around the DD-WRT GUI, I had it all configured and it works! (Note: I skipped the nvram set wl_ssid="" step -- you don't need that for Repeater Bridged mode.) The path for traffic from my Xbox to the internet is now something like this:

Xbox <--> WLAN 2 <--> WRT54GS Access-Point <--> WLAN 1 <--> WAG325N router <--> internet

DD-WRT is pretty sweet. I've only scratched the surface of its features.

Syndicated 2009-02-18 11:27:46 from richdawe

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