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= 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: and the instructions on patching and compiling kernels from here: 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 (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:

DAW Notes

  • First, after installing Ubuntu studio or Jack and all the other stuff, you need to add yourself to the audio group (System > Administration > Users and Groups > Manage Groups > audio (check all the users you want to add).

Modifying and switching between desktop interfaces in Lucid (10.4)

I previously discussed how to create some space on the top menu bar on the Netbook remix desktop interface. In the latest iteration, the Netbook Remix comes with a locked down tool bar.

These are my first notes on how to fix this.

First of all, a description can be found here:

Restoring/Replacing the Bios on an Acer Aspire One [6]

Just after a flawless new install of Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope), I ran into a pretty serious problem with my Acer Aspire One Netbook: the BIOS became corrupt. When this happens your computer is bricked: it cannot do anything—spin the CD or hard-drive, load a USB key, or even boot. Well not quite bricked, in my case the fan was working. Fortunately, while the problem is serious, the solution is really quite easy.

Installing Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) on Aspire One

Ubuntu, one of the more popular and user friendly Linux installations, has an awkward release schedule. They release in late October (the x.10 release) and late April (the x.04 release). In late October I have essays to mark and need to prepare for the annual conference and meeting of the Text Encoding Initiative. In late April, I have final exams and essays to mark, and need to prepare for going to the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo.

A wise and moderate person would wait to install the newest version of an open source operating system if the release came at a period of high professional demands; but I’m neither wise nor moderate; and installing a new operating system gives some thrills that help break up the monotony of marking.

In this case, with the latest release (9.04 Jaunty Jacaklope), the thrill of installing a new operating system, with what used to be its inevitable mess-ups and desperate attempts at recovery is almost completely gone.

Importing Email from Evolution to Thunderbird

How to import Evolution files into Thunderbird.

Installing Ubuntu (8.10 Intrepid Ibex) on Acer Aspire One Netbook

I was able to buy a new Netbook unexpectedly, the latest fad and fashion accessory in my set. In Lethbridge, at a bricks and mortar retail joint, you can get them for around CAD$500 (I don’t believe in this Internet business, so don’t shop there. Also, when I want to buy something, I want it in my hand now!). After some comparison shopping, review reading, and looking for Ubuntu case studies, I settled on the Acer Aspire One. I like Acer computers, which I think are very good value for the money, and the Acer One looked like a nice compromise between cost and features.

Handy Linux Commands

This is a personal list of commands I need to look up periodically.

Using the M-Audio Audiophile USB Digital Audio Interface with Linux [10]

A guide to setting up the M-Audio Audiophile USB Digital-Analogue Interface/Sound Card for use with Linux, ALSA, and JACK to enable relatively high quality voice recording.

How to save PDF forms without buying proprietary software such as Adobe Acrobat [3]

Portable Document Format forms are a fact of life. Many government and university agencies use them, so I am filling them out all the time. An extremely annoying thing about them, however, is that Adobe does not allow users of its free reader software to save form content electronically…

Lost in Logout Land: Running Scripts on Login and Logout (Partially Solved but Interesting Anyway)

Every time I log on to one of my various computers, I update my basic file directories. Every time I log out, I back them up to a central server, which is itself updated six times a day. The issue for me is that this all happens by hand. Every time I log on to a new computer, I need to manually run an update script. Every time I log out, I run the backup script. What I’d really like is a script that automatically synchronises each computer with the central server the moment I log on, and updates the central server again the moment I log off.

Enable root access to Ubuntu via ssh

This is a well known security risk: root is a well known username and if somebody gets your root password, they can commit all sorts of (automated, even) havoc on your system. But some applications simply need root access (e.g. rsback). In such cases, here’s how you ensure it is turned on.

Unlocking the Samsung YP-K3J for use with as a USB Mass Storage Device with OGG Vorbis Support [85]

This entry explains how I patched my new Samsung YP-K3JAB digital audio player so that it worked with Linux, acquired the ability to play Vorbis (i.e. OGG) file formats, and gained a few extra features not found outside of the Korean versions of the device.


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