Fixing QJackCtl

A really brief note on how to fix a problem with qjackctl not starting jackd. If you don’t understand this, then it isn’t relevant for you.

The problem: QJackCtl can’t start the JACK server

Was having trouble with QJackctl (a daemon for running Jack, connection software required for media production software within Ubuntu):

1) D-BUS: JACK server could not be started. Read the rest of this entry »


Problems with Cisco Anyconnect on Ubuntu 14.04 (Breaks Internet Connections)

This blog is about resolving an issue I had after installing Cisco Anyconnect, the U of L’s VPN client.

This is an aide memoire for me, but might be useful to others. The information comes from, with the first being most useful for this particular case:


Problems with Cisco Anyconnect on Ubuntu 14.04 (Breaks Internet Connections)

This blog is about resolving an issue I had after installing Cisco Anyconnect, the U of L’s VPN client.

This is an aide memoire for me, but might be useful to others. The information comes from, with the first being most useful for this particular case:


Mounting University of Lethbridge “P” and “W” drives under Linux

Here’s how to find the “P” and “W” drives at the University of Lethbridge.

“P” drives

Your “P” drive is the windows share that represents your standard network desktop (i.e. the thing you see if you log into a classroom or other computer on campus).

Read the rest of this entry »

Recovering encrypted drives

I’ve been disappointed in Ubuntu for several years now, since they switched to the Unity desktop. And for a number of years, my notebook has been chewing up processor power for the simplest of tasks, something I believe may have to do with the fact that I encrypted my home drive during the last install.

I have a couple of serious deadlines coming up and I can’t afford to work on a computer that freezes for a minute or so everytime I try to add a new reference to Zotero or access Chrome.

So time to update the system. Here were the tasks I saw before me:

  1. Backup my files on the system (that will be /home, /var/www, and a dump of all the SQL)
  2. Install a new system, reformating /home and /var and copying the files from my backups.

To make the backups, I did two things: I backed the files up using scp to an online repository; and I copied all my /home files to /var/www, with the idea that I could leave this directory unmounted during installation, then mount it and copy all the files back to the new /home.

Of course things went wrong:

  1. Using scp I forgot to set the archive option. This meant that all my original date, ownership, and group metadata was lost (replaced by the current datestamp and the username I used to access the backup directory). This is a serious issue, since the files go back 15+ years, though it is less serious than having them all vaporised. In practice, however, this is best used as a backup backup.
  2. Despite my careful checking of notes, I ended up reformating my original /var drive rather than my original /home. This meant that instead of my backups, I had the original, encrypted drive preserved. So I deleted this second backup, but preserved the originals instead.

Unfortunately, this also meant that the problem that started all this also remained: the files were on an encrypted drive, and, worse, one that was now unmounted and unconnected to any files system. If I couldn’t find the hex passkey, all the data would be lost.

Fortunately, after many years of crashing computers, I have learned to keep passwords and the like when I’m told to. And so a quick look in my online backups found the file encryptionPassKey (this is more secure and less useful than it sounds: the file was in the encrypted file system, which means it would be safe should somebody try to crack my drive, but also useless to me if I needed to find it in order to unlock same drive; this is why it is a good idea to back things up twice!).

Mounting and extracting the information was simple from there on following the instructions here

  1. create a new mount point for your home directory, e.g. sudo mkdir /mnt/oldhome
  2. find and mount the partition with the encrypted drive to this location. This means the file .Private. you do this using ecryptfs-recover-private (which you may need to install first).
    1. if you don’t know where the file is, run sudo ecryptfs-recover-private with no options; it will scan your drives for .Private files.
    2. if you do know where the .Private file is, you can specify it directly (e.g. sudo ecryptfs-recover-private /mnt/oldhome/dan/.ecryptfs/.Private
  3. Follow the instructions. You may or may not be asked for your key. You may or may not be asked for the password you used to log in to the system you are currently working on. In my case, I was asked the second.
  4. The drive is mounted read only.

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MySQL cheatsheet

Some reminders about basic dump and restore for MySQL.

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Installing Zotero in Ubuntu

See the excellent post here.

http://anterotesis.com/wordpress/2011/11/installing-zotero-standalone-on-ubuntu-11-10/

To install the .desktop, I used the application launcher under system>preferences>main menu.


set date and time from commandzone

As the title suggests


Change date using touch

#!/bin/sh
for i in *; do
  touch -r "$i" -d "-1 years" "$i"
done

Fixing Touchpad in Aspire One

In my Natty install, my trackpad suddenly stopped working. Apparently this has something to do with a mixup between gconf and the hardware. To fix it, follow the instructions here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xserver-xorg-input-synaptics/+bug/549727/comments/103 Read the rest of this entry »

Pimping the Samsung Galaxy S I-896 (Rogers): Gaining Root Access, Updating Android, Unlocking, and Fixing the GPS. [2]

Warning: The following involves major interventions into the operating system of your computing device. If things go wrong, you may end up destroying your device, voiding your warranty, and who knows what else. If you cannot afford to destroy your device, stop now.

These notes are intended for my own use and they are not intended as a recommendation for others as to any course of action. I also make no warranties as to the effectiveness or currency of these steps. These are personal notes that worked for me when they were used on my device. I can’t guarantee them under any other circumstances and can’t help you if you end up with a different result.

Always backup before trying to hack anything.

Be especially careful with these notes: I’m mixing various sources and working from memory at times

A little while ago, I bought a Samsung Galaxy S. I’ve used smart phones for years, beginning with the old Palm Treo and more recently a Nokia E71. But there has been a revolution in smart devices in the last year or two with tablet-like cell phones and I found I wasn’t getting the kind of connectivity and interoperability I needed from the Nokia. So an Android machine it is. I’m a Rogers subscriber (though counting the days until Canada’s wireless market becomes competitive and I can leave them), so the Galaxy S looked like my best best. Read the rest of this entry »

Rooting and updating a Samsung Galaxy S I-896 (Rogers)

Warning: The following involves major interventions into the operating system of your computing device. If things go wrong, you may end up destroying your device, voiding your warranty, and who knows what else. If you cannot afford to destroy your device, stop now.

These notes are intended for my own use and they are not intended as a recommendation for others as to any course of action. I also make no warranties as to the effectiveness or currency of these steps. These are personal notes that worked for me when they were written on my device. I can’t guarantee them under any other circumstances and can’t help you if you end up with a different result.

Always backup before trying to hack anything.

Seriously: pay attention to the above warnings.

These are the steps I took to root, update, and unlock my phone. There are various methods out there, but I found this one worked for me.

  1. I backed up everything I could think of to my SD Card (everything is available in the market, and all of them work more or less the same way and automatically):
    1. APNs (intenet protocol info) using APN Backup and Restore
    2. SMS Backup and Restor
    3. Call Logs Backup and Restore
    4. general app backup using Astro
  2. Following the excellent instructions here I rooted my phone.
    1. note that z4mod takes a scary amount of time to work (3-4 minutes) and it looks like it has seized control of your phone. But in the end it seems to do the job.
    2. I did seem able to get the SuperOneClick1.7 method to work. I could install the software but nothing seemed to happen—it hung up at a chmod command, suggesting it wasn’t working. Although given how long z4mod took, I was maybe just too impatient.
  3. Next I used the free version of ROM manager (available in market) to update my android
    1. Fire-up ROM Manager, go to settings, and then select at the top of the screen “Flash ClorkworkMod Recovery.” You will be asked to identify your phone. Select “Galaxy S Captivate.” See http://forum.xda-developers.com/wiki/index.php?title=Samsung_Galaxy_S/SGH-I896. Got the ROM file from here Basic instructions on how to use clockworkmod available here
    2. First time I did it, it looked like everything was set up properly, I followed the instructions, but when it rebooted, I got a “could not find /sdcard/update error” on both clicks. Chose “reboot into system.”
    3. Finally figured it out (Caution: this is from memory):
      1. After you’ve Selected the “Flash ClockWorkMod Recovery” select the second option, Reboot into Recovery”
      2. Phone Reboots
      3. When you are asked, select find .zip file
      4. Go to SD Card and find the .zip file you downloaded. You will be given a list of options most of which are no. Select the one that isn’t.
    4. it’ll reboot again. This time select “from update.zip” It then gives you some garbage and then reboots. It goes quickly through the Rogers screen but takes almost forever at the second Galaxy S screen. But when you are done it is a Froyo phone. The new phone is much faster and has some new apps. It seems to reboot more slowly though.

Modify grub menu in grub2

Recent versions of Ubuntu no longer have the old menu.lst. Now the file is regenerated each time you run update-grub.

If you need to modify simple stuff in the menu (like turning off quiet boot) you can change common lines by editing the following file and running sudo update-grub afterwards: /etc/default/grub.


Setting pulse to localhost before launching program

On some Acer computers, the inbuilt microphone doesn’t work with Ubuntu out of the box. For programs like Skype this means that you need to use headphone.

One solution that sometimes works is to start the program with Pulse working from a local host using the following command:

/bin/sh -c "PULSE_SERVER=127.0.0.1 program-name"

Ubuntu 10.10 Meerkat on an Acer One 521 (AO521) [2]

I have a new Acer One 521. These are some notes on the installation of the latest (10.10) version of Ubuntu.

  1. The computer came with BIOS rev 1.06: websites warned that the 1.06 bios caused unresolvable problems with the track pad and keyboard, and this was my experience as well. I got a link to the 1.08 rev BIOS from an Acer Customer Service Rep. And followed their instructions for flashing the BIOS. Ubuntu installed fine after that, though with the problems others have noted about the battery monitor (which doesn’t recognise when the computer is running off battery—see below).
  2. Soon after I installed Ubuntu, I was given the option of activating the proprietary driver for the graphics card. I did this, but then had all sorts of problems with menus. I tried deactivating it, but the computer hung and, when I tried a hard reboot, had a fatal error that hung it up during loading. I had to reinstall Ubuntu.
  3. On the second install, I ignored the graphics card driver, and everything has been working well except the battery indicator.
  4. Using the patch found here: http://www.uluga.ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=10126099&postcount=14 and the instructions on patching and compiling kernels from here: http://www.question-defense.com/2010/09/26/how-to-recompile-your-ubuntu-10-10-kernel-for-patching-or-to-add-support-for-a-specific-device I patched and recompiled the kernel. I didn’t remove any options from the Kernel, since I don’t know my machine well enough yet. There was one error in the patching instructions: QD (which is actually the extension that is to be appended to the kernel version) in the fakeroot command should be lowercase.
  5. Everything worked as expected (though there were other small issues with the instructions (see my discussion here). When the patching was finished and I rebooted, there were minor changes in appearance (the appearance had changed to a custom profile) and I’m not 100% sure I got the latest kernel. But the battery metre was working and recognised being on or off AC.
  6. The speaker/headphone doesn’t switch on a stock install. To fix this, you need to modify /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf by adding the following line at the end: options snd-hda-intel model=thinkpad. See http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-1549086.html (October 28th post by Keibee). This is Ubuntu Bug 637040.
  7. The Netbook edition interface seems to ignore Nautilus (the Gnome file manager). Its own file manager (Mutter) isn’t particularly flexible for finding things like hidden files and the like (as far as I can see at least). To add Nautilus to the interface, you can call up a terminal (alt+f2 for a run box doesn’t seem to work), type nautilus at the the prompt and once it opens, go to the launcher on the left, right click on the Nautilus icon and select “Keep in Launcher.”
  8. Microphone does work: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-laptop-and-netbook-25/mic-issue-with-acer-aspire-one-10-in-ubuntu-unr-729158/#post4087237

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