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Loving Linux: Reason #384

The 7 year old boot drive in my Linux box crapped out, so I decided to remove it and boot from the secondary (better) drive. If you're clever, you can reassign mounts in /etc/fstab, update /etc/lilo.conf, run lilo -r /dev/sdxxx, and boot without problems from the new drive. I'm not that clever, so ... read more →

Fixing Fonts in Opera on Ubuntu

Do your fonts in Opera 9.5 look "fuzzy" or "pixelly" on Ubuntu? Mine did, until I added a .fonts.conf file in my home directory. Just copy and paste the XML from this post on my.opera.com to your ~/.fonts.conf file to get corrected font rendering. ... read more →

FuseSMB, Localhost, and You

FuseSMB is a handy network automounting tool for Linux. It basically works like the Network Neighborhood in Windows, allowing you to browse directories shared by other computers on the network. It uses the Samba (CIFS/SMB) protocol, so it picks up shares from Windows, Mac, or Linux machines…... read more →

Linux on ThinkPad X40

Why Linux As long as I don't run any major background apps such as Desktop Search or Anti-Virus, WinXP works pretty well on my circa 2004 ThinkPad X40. My company uses Exchange server with Outlook for all corporate communication and scheduling, and the Thinkpad + XP works as a fine client for t... read more →

Replacing a Balky HP Scanner

Well, only a week after I "repaired" my old HP All-in-One, it started to make some impressive grinding noises that only stopped when I shut it off. Rather than spend more time on 5 year old hardware, I threw it out the window and bought a new faster and quieter HP Photosmart C5280. I chos... read more →

Repairing a Balky HP Scanner

I have an older HP PSC 2110 all-in-one Printer-Copier-Scanner connected to my Linux box. The printer and scanner functions are shared with all of the computers on the network, including the Windows machines. (SaneTwain is best way to connect a Windows client to a shared Linux scanner). Tonight I w... read more →

Zen of Linux

A few months ago, I decided it was time to replace the aging distro on my Linux box. So I fired up VirtualBox and tried out a bunch of them. I was looking for an elegant, high performance distro without any bloat. After trying dozens of distros, I found three that were really interesting: ZenWal... read more →

Improving Debian/Ubuntu Fonts

I shouldn't say "improving", as font settings are very subjective. However, compared to Windows and OS X, the default font settings in most recent Debian-based Linux distros (such as Ubuntu) just look wrong to me. I've found two main reasons for this: Most Debian Xorg configurat... read more →

Linux DST Change

As you probably know, thanks to the morons in Washington, Daylight Savings Time has been meaninglessly changed this year. If you have some Linux boxes running a distro older than a couple of years, you'll likely need to manually update the time zone data. Luckily, Linux-Watch.com has a nice and... read more →

Linux Server Power Usage

Using my handy new Kill-A-Watt power usage meter, today I found that my main linux server at home (spock) consumes an average of 90 watts. That's a machine that is on 24/7. And the SGI monitor attached to it consumes 6 watts when it is off. The server I have in the garage monitoring two motion... read more →

Scanning to PDF

For some reason, it never occurred to me that the perfect way to store a set of scanned documents is in a PDF file. As a card-carrying nerd, bitmaps (TIFFs) of scanned pages always worked well enough. But when my non-technical attorney stuffed a bunch of papers in a machine scanner and emailed me... read more →

Opera Rules Linux Too

After Firefox again failed to build on my Linux box, I thought I'd never find a stable, compatible, full-featured web browser for Linux. Mozilla had the feature set covered, and the truetype Xft patch made it look nice, but performance was unusably slow. Konqueror is always interesting, but l... read more →

Installing libupnp on Linux

Most Linux UPnP media servers require the libupnp library. However, the install script for libupnp is incomplete and not well documented, so here are some more complete install steps. Although libupnp-1.3.1 was just released, I couldn't get it to compile, so I use the older libupnp-1.2.1a vers... read more →

SSH Hacker Attacks

If you run SSH to allow secure remote logins to your server, you've probably noticed a big increase in unauthorized attempted logins. My main Linux box at home has been "under attack" nearly every day for the past 9 or 10 months. There is an article over on whitedust.net describing ... read more →

Still Impressed with Mandrake 10

I'm still impressed with the Mandrake 10 Linux distro (now known as Mandriva). Previously, an install of Mandrake 10 brought an ancient K6-233 back to life for me as a security camera capture system. Alas, the summer heat finally fried the CPU in the K6. I grabbed (yet another) old machine fr... read more →

WinTV-D Chips

I have a WinTV-D HDTV tuner card that I bought several years ago when I was experimenting with HDTV reception at my house. I no longer use it, but I decided to throw it in my Linux box. Eventually, I'll see if I can get it to work. Until then, here are the chips on the card for reference: Cone... read more →

MPlayer silent/stdout Patch

As the kitchen sink of media players (along with Xine and VLC), MPlayer [mplayer, mplayersilent] could be the ultimate audio helper app on Linux, as it can convert from nearly any media format to any other format. But unfortunately, because it has no true "silent" output option and can... read more →

Troubles with Tulip

As I was experimenting with music server software, I noticed something odd with the network config on my Linux box. syslog was constantly reporting this error: eth0: PNIC2 transmit timed out, status e4660000, CSR6/7 e0406002 / effffbff CSR12 000000c8, resetting… Uh, hmm. Rebooted the Linux b... read more →

Del^?^?^? Backspace in XTerm VIM

Having trouble with the Backspace or Delete key when using vi or vim in XTerm? Does pressing the Backspace key echo the characters ^? instead of deleting the charater in front of the cursor? Just edit your .Xdefaults file and change or add these lines to make the keys work as you would expect them... read more →

Using DHCPD with Bind

Both Bind (named) and dhcpd can be tricky to configure. And it would seem to be natural that getting them to talk to each other for dynamic DNS updates would be convoluted. I know I thought so, and so did Matt, who provides his config files to help hapless hackers like me. In reality, if you have ... read more →

mplayer Plays it All

This evening, I was trying to play a bittorrent of (insert_random_video_here) on Windows XP, and Windows Media Player 10 puked on the file. It wouldn't give me any clue as to why it wouldn't play, wouldn't let me view the file's properties, nothing. I had to open the file in files... read more →

Mandrake RPM for Motion

For some reason, the latest Mandrake RPM available for Motion is version 3.0.7. There are a lot of nice improvements in the most recent version, so I used the .spec file included in the latest motion build and made a Mandrake RPM. You can download it here: motion-3.1.17-1mdk.i586.rpm In this RPM, M... read more →

Browsing Small and Fast with Dillo

I just downloaded and compiled Dillo, a sweet little browser that bridges the gap between the tiny and efficient text-based Lynx and heavyweight browsers like Firefox and the sluggish beast Mozilla. Dillo is a lot like a desktop version of a Palm Browser - tight, fast, memory efficient… and sh... read more →

BlueZ not Blues with Linux Bluetooth

Because of an apparent bug in the Widcomm WinXP Bluetooth drivers, I decided to try enabling Bluetooth in Linux to give the Tapwave Zodiac wireless internet access. Linux Bluetooth works great! Bluetooth success in Linux is a result of the BlueZ driver project, which is conveniently included with t... read more →

Saved by the RIP Linux Rescue System (again)

If you've ever built your own Linux kernel, or installed a hard drive controller card in a Linux box, you know how easy it is to have an "accident" that will prevent the OS from booting completely. Thankfully, Kent Robotti has created an excellent recovery distro called RIP ('R... read more →

Mandrake 10.1 - Great Linux Distro

I haven't installed a new linux distro since Mandrake 7.0. And why bother? With autoconf and such, it's relatively easy to download and compile your own apps. Even building a new kernel isn't too much of a hassle, and since I built 2.4.20, I've had no real need to update anything. ... read more →