Monday, November 5, 2007

OLED TVs entering the market

The long waited OLED TVs from Sony, previously only available in Japan, might see American stores by the end of the year. Although I was hoping they would come to Norway soon, this is still a good thing, as it will probably be available in more countries soon after the Americans get it.

So now we must just wait and see, and keep our expectations up for this new technology with much improved color reproduction, image quality and power usage. We can also expect to have TVs even thinner than the flat-screen TVs we currently have, as the TV in the article is 3mm thick!

Source: DailyTech

Fixing long boot-time with black screen in Gutsy

After I installed Gutsy, I noticed that my the boot-time was considerably longer than other with Gutsy. We were talking a couple of minutes of waiting after I turned it on. So I checked around for a solution, and found one. Here is what you need to do:

  1. First we take backup of one of the files with this command in the terminal:
    # sudo cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.lst.original
  2. Now in the terminal, run the following command:
    # sudo gedit /etc/usplash.conf
  3. Edit the file's content to:
    # Usplash configuration file
  4. Save it, exit the text editor, and run the following command:
    # sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
  5. Find this section in the text file:
    ## additional options to use with the default boot option, but not with the
    ## alternatives
    ## e.g. defoptions=vga=791 resume=/dev/hda5
    # defoptions=quiet splash
  6. Add defoptions=vga=791 at the end, making the section look like this:
    ## additional options to use with the default boot option, but not with the
    ## alternatives
    ## e.g. defoptions=vga=791 resume=/dev/hda5
    # defoptions=quiet splash
  7. Save the file and exit the text editor.
  8. Now run the following command in the terminal(notice the ` are grave accents):
    # sudo update-initramfs -u -k `uname -r`
This should fix the boot screen, and also result in a much faster boot.

Credits to malcam for his post on ubuntuforums explaining this.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pidgin through proxy in Windows

If you are looking for instructions for Linux, go here.

If you're at a place where your favorite IM protocol is blocked, this might help you use it anyway. The IM software I'll be setting it up with is Pidgin, which is open source and supports many different protocols.

Here is how you do it:

  • First you need to download and install Tor:
    1. Download Tor here.

    2. Run the installer, and choose to install only Tor and Vidalia when asked. (You can use the other programs for anonymous web-surfing and alike, but I won't cover that in this guide)

    3. At the end of the installation process choose to run the installed components.

    4. Dont close the black cmd window when it appears.

    5. Tor is now installed, but you will have to start Vidalia manually before trying to connect to your account through Tor in pidgin.

  • Then download and install pidgin:
    1. Download pidgin from here.

    2. Install it. The installations should be pretty straight forward.

  • Do this when you create your account to connect through Tor:
    1. Go to the "Advanced" tab.

    2. Under "Proxy Options" and "Proxy type", choose "SOCKS 5".

    3. In the "Host" field fill in "".

    4. In the "Port" field fill in "9050".
Now whenever you connect to one of the accounts set up, they will connect through Tor. Remember, connecting through Tor will take longer than logging in normally, so be patient. Also remember to start Vidalia, and let Tor get some time to connect before logging in.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pidgin through proxy in Linux

If you are looking for instructions for Windows, go here.

First of all, this also works if you are using Gaim.

Have you ever been to a place(school, work etc.) where you were unable to use your IM software because of some administrator that blocked it. Well, I have, and I have also found a way around it. I am using Pidgin as my IM program, which supports many different IM protocols.

Here is how you do it:

  • First you need to download Tor from the terminal:
    For Ubuntu:
    # sudo apt-get install tor
    Visit tor's website to get packages for your ditribution. Although, you should have tor in your package system.

  • Now you just need to configure pidgin to connect through Tor:

  • Whenever you create a new account in pidgin, go to the "Advanced" tab.

  • Under "Proxy Options" and "Proxy type", you choose "SOCKS 5".

  • In the "Host" field type in "", and set the "Port" to "9050".

This should work with most of the IM protocols, although I haven't tested all of them. The login time will probably also be a while longer than normal, but just be patient

Getting 3D acceleration on my Asus A6Va in Ubuntu 7.10

A few days after the release of Ubuntu's new version, Gutsy Gibbon(7.10), I decided to do a fresh install on my laptop.

Everything was auto detected during the installation, and I was instantly able to use it properly. There was only one thing missing, namely 3D acceleration. Without it I could not use the integrated compiz-fusion, nor play any 3D games.

At first I tried to use the restricted drivers manager which comes with Ubuntu, but after reboot I got just a blank screen and unresponsive keys. I then rebooted it again, and this time the X-server started, but it was using the initial drivers without the 3D acceleration.

Secondly I tried the newest ATI drivers that you download from the AMD site. When I installed those and rebooted I got a kind of light show on my screen when I booted. It looked really cool, but it didn't make the computer more usable.

Now I have managed to get the 3D acceleration working, and the solution I present here might also work for other with different computers or ATI graphic cards and the same problems as me.

Here is how I did it:

  1. I had to download an older driver from ATI's archive. For my computer, an Asus A6Va with ATI Mobility Radeon x700, I had to use the 8.39.4 driver.

  2. The file was saved to my ~/download directory.

  3. I then had to make the file executable:
    # sudo chmod u+x ~/download/

  4. Ran the installer as root:
    # sudo ~/download/

  5. And followed the instructions, choosing "Install Driver" and "Automatic".

  6. Now you got two options, either reboot your computer(which is easiest), or load the module and restart your X-server.

  7. To load the module, you have to run the following in the terminal:
    # sudo modprobe fglrx

  8. Then just hit Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to restart your X-server.

With this driver, the desktop effects were still not working. To get them working I just ran:
  1. # sudo apt-get install xserver-xgl

  2. And restarted the X-server

I really hope this helps others in similar situations getting the most out of their ATI graphics cards in Ubuntu.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What to do when your linux system hangs

If you ever experience your whole linux system locking up, there are a few ways to try to fix it without having to cut the power.

First, you can try to restart the X-server, using the key combination Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. This is the best thing to do, if it works. The only thing it will do, is shut down the X-server, killing all applications currently running in it. The good thing is, it will only take a couple of seconds before it is started again, and you can log on.

Second, if the X-server restart does not work, you could try the good old Ctrl+Alt+Delete. That tries to restart your system as if you pushed the restart button within the X-server, or ran "reboot" from the console. Although this rarely works, I believe it to be worthy of a try.

When all the other options fail, and your system seems to be unresponsive to all key combinations you try, there is one a bit complicated one left to try. If you hold down the Alt and the PrintScreen/SysRq button while typing "REISUB", you would also restart your system properly, shutting for example your harddisks down without any data loss. This seems to work almost every time, although sometimes its just totally dead.

The last resort would be to cut the power, holding the power-on button on your computer in for a few seconds until the computer shuts down. This is not advised though, as it could mess up your harddisks if they are written to at the time it shuts down.

The Neo 1973 linux cellphone

A friend of mine just told me about a new cellphone coming up, and that it would be using Linux as its operating system. Like the Linux fan I am, I just had to check it out.

He pointed me to the OpenMoko website, and I was quite surprised. My first impression was that it looked very fancy, and the design looked very thorough. The front consisted of a 2.8" touchscreen, and as far as I could see, there were no buttons. The design of the actual image on the screen on their main page I thought was a bit ugly, but since this is a Linux operating system, it's gonna be very customizable. Specifications showed integrated GPS and Bluetooth, as well as a Micro SD slot.

The phone is currently in phase 1, which means that it's only usable for developers. You can still order it from them, but you would have limited usability, and you would have to use the terminal to use certain functions, and write specific commands for even the most basic tasks.

When the phone enters phase 2 in December, there will be several improvements, and the producers will have had time to get feedback from those who bought it in phase 1. A list of the different phases can be found here.

The price for the phase 1 version is 350$. This is very cheap, but it also is not completely usable yet, so the price for the phase 2 version will be about 450$. The main thing I think is keeping the price down, is the operating system, as it is free and Open Source.

Linux is well known for its community of developers, and getting programs you currently find running on computers with Linux installed on openmoko, does not require a lot of reprogramming. This means that probably a little while after the phone has been released, there will start to come more and more programs which you can downloads completely free for this phone.

I myself really think this is gonna be a great phone, and if I don't hear a lot of bad criticism, I think I'm gonna buy one myself. I'm just hoping it gets available on stores here in Norway, so I don't have to order it from abroad.