Tag Archives: ubuntu

Slipped Clutch; Blew Transmission

Haha!  Oh, how I love breaking things.  It’s a how-to for fixing them.

I didn’t like the fact that I had a drive without a name (officially it was named “disk” and when it was mounted it appeared as “160 GB Disk” or some such).  I wanted to give it a name.

I opened GParted, unmounted the drive, and renamed it:

  1. System —> Administration —> Partition Editor
  2. You will be asked to enter your password
  3. Select the drive from the drop-down at the right of the button bar within the GParted
  4. Be sure you have selected the correct drive or you can really screw things up
  5. Right-click on the partition/drive in question (below the button bar) and choose Unmount
  6. Again, right-click on the partition/drive in question (below the button bar) and this time choose Label
  7. Name the drive whatever you want
  8. Close GParted

This worked wonders.  However, it breaks anything formerly linked to objects on that drive/partition.  This should come as no surprise.  It may come as a bit of a shock that you’ll have to open the hood to fix a couple of these.

I decided the easiest way to remount the drive was to merely reboot.  You may be able to choose the new drive by its new name from your Places menu, but it probably won’t hurt anything to go ahead and reboot as I did.

Now, I use Transmission for BitTorrents.  My BT download folder was located on that newly renamed drive.  When I subsequently opened Transmission it was a little lost, understandably.  So I told Transmission where the download folder was now located.

It basically ignored me.  I mean, in all the places one would care to look Transmission said it was going to use the new location, but when I opened the log file (Help —> Message Log) it was throwing errors which related to the old location (specifically to it not being found).

A little research told me that this information was kept in a file:

  • /home/[username]/.config/transmission/settings.json

I opened that file in a text editor (choose any you’d like) and changed all occurances of the former path to the new path.  Yours might look something like this:

  • OLD: “/media/disk/DownloadFolder”
  • NEW: “/media/TorrentDrive/DownloadFolder”

Sounds basic enough, yes?

Well, it will cause a new kind of havoc.  This is the correct solution, but before you do that (or like me after you’ve done that a few times) you will want to do one other thing:

  1. Copy your current torrent files by right-clicking on /home/[username]/.config/transmission/torrents
  2. Paste a copy of this folder some place safe—I chose my desktop
  3. Remove all torrents from Transmission by right-clicking each or all of them and choosing “Remove
  4. Close Transmission
  5. The Important Step: Now go back and perform the editing steps to change the path as mentioned above
  6. Open Transmission
  7. Some of your torrents may reload themselves, but toss all of the torrent files from the copy we made in step 2 into Transmission (drag and drop works nicely)—the duplicates will not be reloaded
  8. I manually told Transmission to Start and Verify Local Data, but it will likely do both all on its own

Hope you find this time-saving.


Dell Joins (One of) My Movement(s)

It’s hard to believe that I have two concurrent movements under my wings, but what can I say?  I started Luxagraphia years ago and have even written a manifesto.  More recently I began advocating Linux for Anybody and encouraged others to join along.

Dell has, unbeknownst to me, joined along.  Maybe it’s just ego, but I would have liked an e-mail or a phone call, just a little “hey, we thought you should know” but oh, well.

Dell has been selling a tiny laptop among a line of small laptops (so called netbooks) all of which come with the option of being outfitted by the manufacturer with Ubuntu 8.04—a line of laptops starting at about $250.  They are branded as Inspirons carrying the model signatures Mini 9 (8.5 inch display), Mini 10 (10 inch), and Mini 12 (12 inch).  (The 10 and 12 start about $300.)

You can read an interesting article (with a great comment thread) here.  The claim by Dell is that these Ubuntu installed netbooks are accounting for fully one-third of their total netbook sales in the US.  (The Mini 10 and Mini 12 are too new to be included in these statistics, and Dell is currently only offering Ubuntu as an option to their US market.)

As they say: a walk will give us a run.  Thanks, Dell.

Happy hunting, you crazy squirrels.


Ubuntu Sends a Print-Job to WindowsLand

Another of the more basic computing needs is the ability to print to a shared printer.  Now if you are running all Ubuntu systems, that’s certainly a boon for you.  But what happens if you have that old, clunky Windows box you are using as a sort of private server for your music hard drive and your printer?  You will want to set your Ubuntu machine up to print through the Windows shared printer, that’s what.

I’m going to assume you have shared your Windows printer.  You will need some information from that machine, so have it handy (see my article concerning remotely accessing a Windows machine here).

Open your Ubuntu printers dialog:

  • System (menu) —> Administration —> Printing

Now prepare a new printer:

  • New —> Printer

On the New Server dialog under Select Connection choose Windows Printer via SAMBA.  On the left the SAMBA area will appear.  In the “smb://” text field I was successful by entering serverIP/printerShareName (for instance “”).  It ought to work also using serverName/printerShareName.  (You can find the share name for your printer on the Sharing tab of the Properties dialog for the printer in question on your Windows machine.)

NOTE: Do not use spaces in your share names; it can only cause trouble.

Neither the “Browse” nor the “Verify” buttons worked for me.  You, I suspect, may safely ignore them.  Instead, once you have entered the information for the server and printer share, click on the “Forward” button.

Now we get to an area that may be more familiar feeling.  Under “Select printer from database” find your specific brand under “Makes” (mine was an HP).  Then click the “Forward” button.

Now locate your specific model under “Model“.  Once you have done so a list of potential drivers will appear under “Drivers“.  Prefer the one listed as “(recommended)” (there ought to be one).

This is the last page of the New Printer dialog.  This is information largely for your benefit and not something Ubuntu or Windows needs to get along.  The Printer Name (short name) field should auto-fill.  You may leave it alone.  The (optional) Description field may be used to give the printer some name you like to call it (Old Mr. Crappy or Sweet Dumpster Laserjet or anything else that strikes your fancy).  The Location field is for if you want to say something like “The printer in the kitchen” or “Pass the printer on the left-hand side”.  Click the “Apply” button and you are ready to send a test page to the printer from your Ubuntu machine.

Happy hunting, you crazy campers.


Well, that worked for a few days and then, for reasons obscure to me, it stopped working. I had to go back and re-create the print queue on my Ubuntu machine this time using the printer port. So now my entry looks more like this:


So, either:



Ok, now you can have some happy hunting.


Linux and the Visually Impared: the Sequel

If you enjoyed learning how to transform a single application in Ubuntu into a nagative image of itself (read: reversing all the colors), then you’ll love to read about this newest accidental discovery of mine.

Read the original article here.

I have now discovered that you can make the entire Ubuntu system go negative by using the shortcut super-m (windows-m).

Apparently I mash my fingers all over the keyboard when I type.  Probably due to my frenetic nature.  No grace at all.  Really makes one wonder how I can create such fine and delicate pieces of art.


Trillian Wine Update

If you enjoyed my post on running Trillian under Wine on Ubuntu 8.04, you ought to really enjoy this post on running it under Ubuntu 8.10 and migrating your information over from your old machine/installation.

I have now confirmed that this will also work in Ubuntu 8.10. I saw no difference.

Also, it may be useful to know how easily one can migrate Trillian from one Ubuntu to another (and this may also work for moving Trillian from one Wine installation to another, irregarding the host OS).

Merely take the folder located at /home/[username]/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Trillian (get the entire Trillian folder), and move that into the same location on the new system (replace [username] with your actual username, of course).

I did the installation first and added nothing to Trillian, just clicking next to get through the installation. Then I closed Trillian, deleted the newly created Trillian folder, and replaced it with the old Trillian folder I just migrated. When I started Trillian again, I had everything—histories, passwords, &c.

Happy hunting.


The Quirks of 7zip Under Ubuntu

From time to time it becomes desirable to un-rar archives.  I mean, making archives is fun and all, but you’ve just got to go for broke once in a while and take something out of an archive.  On Windows and Apple Macs I use 7zip a lot.  Under Synaptic you will find a Unix version listed as p7zip.

Open Synaptic: System (menu) —> Administration —> Synaptic Package Manager

Click on the “Search” button and use 7zip as your search term.  There will be four results.  I installed all three of the p7zip items (p7zip, p7zip-full, & p7zip-rar).  You may do so by clicking each item’s box (to its left) and selecting “Mark for Installation” (if they already have a green box they are already installed).  Then click the “Apply” button and Synaptic will install these packages.

At this point you now have added 7zip functionality to the built-in Ubuntu Archive Manager.  Right-clicking a file or folder will allow you to create an archive as a 7z file, and double-clicking an archive file will allow you to dive into it and pull out any files you might need.

With one critical exception: Archive Manager cannot deal with multiple-file archives.  In this case you will have to head to the command line.  If you are less  comfortable you may find this form useful.  It will allow you to enter some information about the file and then hand you the exact line of code required.  However, the code required is simple enough, so let me just show you an example.

Open a terminal: Applications (menu) —> Accessories —> Terminal

To locate your archive three commands will come in handy: pwd, ls, & cd.  The first will print your current location: pwd.  The second will list the contents of the current location: ls.  And the third will allow you to change directories into a directory (folder) listed from ls: cd.  When using cd it is followed by a space and then the name of the folder into which you wish to change: cd Desktop.  If you type cd by itself you will be returned to your home directory (/home/[username]).  Using these commands, navigate into the folder with the archive you wish to open.

Once you have cd into the correct directory, you can get to using the unarchiving command.  For regular (single-file archives) your code would look something like this:

7z x [yourFileName].7z -o/home/[username]/Desktop

The parts in [brackets] are to be replaced by the name of the archive file and by your username.  So it might look like this when you run it:

7z x myArchive.7z -o/home/jimbo/Desktop

For the multiple-file archives, they usually un-rar out of the lowest numbered file (note the change in the file extension from the previous example):

7z x myArchive.r00 -o/home/[username]/Desktop

However, sometimes the lowest numbered file won’t be the correct one.  If the lowest numbered file yields a much smaller file or a dysfunctional file, look in the list to see if one of the files ends in .rar and use that one instead.

7z x myArchive.rar -o/home/[username]/Desktop

Happy hunting.


Linux and the Visually Impared

I stumbed upon a rather interesting built-in feature on my Linux box.

Opera for the Visually Impared
Opera for the Visually Impared

All of the colors—images, text areas, icons, &c—have been inverted.  Perhaps you’d like to see your Opera perform like this?  Or any other application on your computer?

This would be great for folks with visual difficulties relating to color perceptions (like color-blindness).  I’m not clear whether this is something particular to Ubuntu, Gnome, or Compiz, but it is easy to toggle on and off.

Merely hit super-n (Windows-n) on the application in question.  In the example above I have done this in Opera, but I tested it in Thunderbird, AbiWord, Terminator, and (oddly enough) a remote session (where it effected all the visuals for the remote system through the RDP connection).

Mac has some similar functionality.  If you use ctrl-opt-apple-8 the OS will invert the colors too.  The difference is the Mac version applies across the entire desktop (background, doc, &c), but the Ubuntu version is application specific.

Happy hunting.


Trillian Comes to Ubuntu Thanks to a Little Wine

Well, I have installed my first Windows application using Wine.  Wine is a sort of Windows emulation layer for Linux distributions.  It allows one to run Windows applications within Linux (there is a version for the Mac OS also).

To install Wine in Ubuntu 8.04 pull up Synaptic (System —> Administration —> Synaptic Package Manager) and search for Wine.  Mark it for installation by right-clicking on the box before the name and then click the “Apply” button.

I chose to work with the one application for Windows I actually enjoy and would not like to be long without: Trillian Pro.  (It’s a multi-protocol chat client which the right combination of bells and whistles.)

I downloaded the Trillian installer onto my Ubuntu desktop and, giving it a right-click, I chose Open with “Wine Windows Program Loader”.  Wine started up the installer and, for all practical intents and purposes, the installer ran seamlessly as it would have running on Windows.  There were some issues with it being a little on the slow side but I attributed that to the Wine layer (latency perhaps?).

Once installed, you are taken directly into the setup area.  This too ran through without issues (excluding the aforementioned sluggishness).  I was able to enter account information for Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and ICQ.  Once the program started I was able to begin configuring the application to my liking.

Here is where the small troubles began.  There are certain areas within the Preferences dialog for Trillian which will crash the application if an attempt is made to enter them.  The Message Windows area and the File Transfers area will certainly crash Trillian if one should click on their icons in the Preferences dialog.  Avoid doing so except to test my claim.


You will want to ensure that you close out of the application and restart it after setting your passwords and preferences.  If Trillian should crash before you have done so all these changes will be lost.  So, make your preferences changes and then immediately close Trillian.  When you re-open Trillian you may feel free to test my claims above without fear that your passwords or preferences will revert to the defaults (or whatever was saved at the last clean close).

Finally, the menus behave a little sadly running this way.  The Trillian menu, for instance, opens as expected; however, as you mouse around it will vanish if a reset to the menu display is called upon.  For example, if you mouse over Set Status (which flies out) and then move to Connections the entire menu will go home and need to be called again.  Same thing will happen if you click on Trillian and then mouse over View.  Annoying but not a disaster.

Mostly it works but there are some issues.  There are a number of issues which were reported over at Wine’s site.  I am happy to continue testing where possible.

I hope this helps.


Opera mailto Thunderbird

Well, I wanted my Opera to use Thunderbird for mailto links.  Even though I have changed the System —> Preferences —> Preferred Applications in Ubuntu Opera was not recognizing Thunderbird as the default mail client.  So it goes.

I had some difficulty tracking down the file to point Opera to but here it is.  In Opera open Tools —> Preferences and choose the Advanced tab.  From the menu on the left select Programs.  Under Protocols on the right find mailto and click the “Edit” button.

When this dialog appears you’ll want to click the “Open with other application” radio button.  If you are running 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) like I am, you should be able to enter /usr/bin/thunderbird to the left of the “Choose” button.  Then click “Ok” and “Ok” to get out.

Now your mailto links should spawn a Thunderbird mail window.


Add Opera to Ubuntu’s Update Manager (Synaptic)

One of the nice bits about running a version of Linux which supports a robust package management system is that the operating system itself can manage your updates.  This means that not only does your operating system seek out and alert you to updates for itself, but it can also alert you to newly available versions of your favorite software—and then, at your command, run that update.

It works smoothly concerning the software that comes installed on your system when you first create it.  That pretty much goes without saying.  It’s expected.  But I run Opera and I had to install Opera on Ubuntu 8.04 in order to do so. (I’ve used this same method up to and including 12.04.)

You’ll want to have a terminal open for a couple of lines of code.  You can open a terminal by navigating to Applications —> Accessories —> Terminal.  There are only two (one if you already have Opera installed) and you can just copy and paste them into the terminal window.

Ok, let’s ask Synaptic to manage any new updates that come down for Opera.  Open Synaptic (System —> Administration —> Synaptic Package Manager).  You will be asked for your password.

Navigate to Settings —> Repositories —> Third-Party Software and click the “Add” button.  Enter this line in the “APT Line:” text box:

deb http://deb.opera.com/opera/ stable non-free

Then click the “Add Source” button and the “Close” button twice.  (The second dialog is just letting you know that you have made a repository change.)

This tells Synaptic where to seek out updates for Opera.  (These are Opera updates, mind you.  They give those over to the cats at Debian.  Debian uses etch squeeze as the present stable version, and Ubuntu can use the Debian packages for Opera just fine.  For more about Debian and squeeze see Debian.)

You’ll need to add the public key.

(There is a line of code for adding the key on the below-linked-page.  This works in some versions of Ubuntu but not in others.  See my comments below if you would like to use the line of code.  Otherwise just follow the instructions in the next paragraphs for adding the key manually.)

Go here and copy the entire block of code near the bottom of the page (including both lines with several dashes which represent the BEGIN and END statements for the key).  Save this text into an empty file some place easy to find, like your desktop.  To create an empty file on your desktop, merely right-click on the desktop and choose Create Document —> Empty File.  Name it whatever makes it easy for you to find it and just paste those lines of text directly into the document.  Save the file.  (After you import the key you may delete this file.)

Let’s import that key.  (See the note at bottom of post.)

Go back to Synaptic and navigate to Settings —> Repositories —> Authentication and click the “Import Key File…” button.  Find the file you just saved with the key in it and click “OK” to import the key and then the “Close” button which follows.

Now, when you click the “Reload” button in the Synaptic Package Manger you will not get a key verification error.

Installing Opera is a one line command operation:

sudo apt-get install opera

(You will be asked for your password.)

From now on, when you run your updates by navigating to System —> Administration —> Update Manager it should seek out any new updates for Opera in addition to any updates otherwise ready for your system.

Thanks to my friends over at MyOpera who helped to make this happen.  Of course, thanks to all those Debian contributors for doing all the heavy lifting.


The key changes annually and so you will need to revisit the above page to get the new key each year.