Ubuntu Fast Flash Issue

I was horsing around with the Google+ Hangout function last week. In installing the required Google / Flash plugins via Ubuntu Update Manager, I managed to cripple my system.

I wiped Flash off of my machine, did a fresh install…the whole works. To no avail. The bug (and fix) were strange enough to warrant a write-up.

First, the symptoms were strange. Any Flash video would run super fast…triple speed. While watching Cubs replays in fast forward was sort of amusing, I couldn’t get audio to work either. All media was wonky, including streaming audio. I tried to play an MP3 from my hard drive…playback was nonfunctional. That sort of led me to the solution:

ubuntu audio problem

I disabled the HDMI audio function, restarted Firefox, and that was that.

Why audio settings would spawn that sort of malfunction is beyond me. I am going to submit a bug report on this guy…too strange to let slip.

Ubuntu Natty Netbook Review

I have had Natty on my Mini 9 for a few days. It runs like a top.

natty narwhal on a dell mini 9 netbook

Solid state HD equates to a sub double digit boot time…be sure to configure compiz via:

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

That is about it. Plus 1. I would rattle on about 11.04, but I already have a few posts back. Besides, I have bigger fish to fry. Namely, Gannon…

ocarina of time gannon
bring it, gannon

I’m in my 30s, and just now getting around to beating Ocarina of Time. Katie and Man-Dawg are watching the Bachelor (or Bachelorette; no effing idea) downstairs…here goes nothing

Makeshift Linux Heads-Up Display

Per my last post, I began upgrading my Dell Mini 9 last night…from Ubuntu 10.10 to 11.04. Well, at some point, it tossed a fit about not being able to snag a package, and hung on a dialogue box all night. No worries…I’ll finish this install on the way to work.

ubuntu linux netbook on my silverado dashboard
check the speedometer...

Who said netbooks are passe? Looks like that guy was designed to ride on the dash of a Silverado if you ask me.

For the record, I was not doing 110 MPH by the MSU campus. I have an issue with my speedometer. I was doing 90 MPH, tops.

My install was a success for the record. I will see if all functions are fully functional soon, and put together a post.

Ubuntu Natty Netbook

As my primary notebook has proven that can run several terminals, a Firefox tab or four, Eclipse, and the Arduino IDE simultaneously without shitting the bed, it is time for my netbook to follow suit.

Q: What suit?
A: The Ubuntu 11.04 suit…you know, Natty Narwhal?
Q: I don’t know cards. This is cards, with the suit thing, right?
A: Busted. No idea…very unsure of the spelling of ‘suit’ too FWIW

ubuntu natty
natty nar

Tune in tomorrow to see how it all ends up. Wear a suit.

Compiz Error in Ubuntu Natty

For the most part, I have had good luck with Compiz, Unity, and Ubuntu 11.04 in general. I have said it before, but worth a repost…if you do a vanilla install of Ubuntu, the first thing you should do is get the Compiz configuration tool…I’ll even spell it out.

1) Open a terminal window (Ctrl+Alt+t)
2) Run this command: sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
3) Hit enter…done. Nothing to it.

Anyhow, I have seen the following bug a few times…so I finally snagged a screenshot:

compiz fail
wobbly fail

It appears that the workspace switcher and wobbly windows have some sort of issue with one another. I don’t see this when I use keyboard shortcuts, and I have been employing those nearly extensively to pop around. Super Key+S (Windows key / Apple key) to open the switcher…or bypassed with Ctrl+Alt+left or Ctrl+Alt+up for instance. It works slickly, once you spend some time poking around.

I suppose it would be prudent for me to enter this bug into the Ubuntu QA system…I am not in the mood to search for duplicate tickets. I do that crap all day at work…enough is enough.

Drop me a comment if you have seen this one in action. Or, if you have any workspace suggestions, send that over too.

Verizon Wifi Tether…Droid + Ubuntu

The internets have been abuzz with talk of further stifling of Android tethering. Regardless of what will come of this, I would recommend getting a setup in place. May as well…you paid for the device. Am I right?

My breaking point came with continued poor results from the wireless connection at work. Enough was enough. After trying several mean with which to tether, I think I have found one that is suitable for my needs.

droid 2 verizon tether
scrubbed MAC / IP

My hardware is simple…mid-line Dell Studio Notebook running Ubuntu 11.04…Droid 2, rooted, running Fro-Yo. Verizon with data plan…unlimited, if that is still the case. Connection…check

droid verizon tether
swantron = my connection

I played around with several apps, but have found that Barnacle Wifi Tether from the Android Market does the trick quite nicely. I have dumped several gigs through 3G, and it is decently fast. Haven’t had to reboot, or do anything wonky to this point. I have had two clients connected simultaneously, and it seems to be chugging along. You must configure the security settings, as this puppy lets it rip wide open out of the box.

Grab the app from the Market before Google folds to Verizon. If you need any help rooting your phone, holler at me as well.

Ubuntu Natty Narwhal Features

I’ve had some time to poke around under the hood of Ubuntu 11.04, a.k.a. Natty Narwhal. I still am struggling to spell ‘narwhal’ for the record, but I’ll share some of my first thoughts. After all, sharing is caring. Write that down.

I’ll put the most obvious thing on the table first…they Apple-ed the crap out of this distro. Take a look at this screen shot, and tell me it doesn’t look an awful lot like OSX, with the bottom ‘stuff’ dumped on the left-hand side: (click to enlarge)

natty narwhal
thanks mr. narhwal

The good news is that like Leopard, Narwhal is usable. The same cannot be said for Ubuntu’s first foray into this new territory with Unity. Their last attempt was in 10.10 Netbook Edition, which was horrible to say the least. The UI was attempting to mix desktop features with mobile phone-like buttons, and it was a joke. Pretty much junk…I reverted my Mini 9 to the 10.10 Desktop Edition, and jumped back on the Gnome bandwagon. Well, to their credit, Ubuntu has polished the thing up.

From what I can gather, Unity sits over Compiz…sort of like a plugin. I snagged the Compiz configuration tool via a CLI and messed around with the settings. The snap-to-side function that came stock with this was a pain in my ass, so I reverted it to my beloved ‘wobble windows’ It was sort of odd to have the options bar integrated with the top bar at first, but when I change gears and use multiple windows, I am liking the move.

The window switcher function pans out and shows you four workspaces…see below (click to enlarge)

window switcher ubuntu
window switcher is switchy

So basically, I am writing this post in one area, have Eclipse up in another, and have two CLI sessions live in their own spots. With the integrated file bar, the Gimp is far less cluttered…which is awesome. The taskbar slider function is a bit spotty still. I have taken Compiz down running my Arduino IDE (trying to set a temp file up as a taskbar item…it puked) but now have it configured and snappy. I would chalk that up to a training issue, rather than a show stopper.

At the end of the day, I give it a surprisingly positive review. I was very satisfied with the last few long term support versions of Ubuntu, and hesitant to make the switch after the whole fiasco with Unity last time. You can switch back to Gnome, but I have no plans on doing so.

* Linux distro. Give me terminal or give me death.
* Firefox 4. Much improved.
* Update manager. Keeps me current without much hassle.
* Interesting UI. Make sure you download the Compiz manager to tweak things.
* Free.99. Can’t beat the price

* Ubuntu’s slant. Not bad, but they are steering us toward their cloud services and apps.
* Not Linux-y. Feels like a Win7/OSX hybrid at times.
* Rushed to market. Unity is in need of some refinement.

At the end of the day, I am sticking with this distro. It will only improve. When the new Gnome drops, I’ll make the call as where to head, but this is it for the time being.