Poland and U.S.

25 10 2010

Today I’ve bumped into an article at CNN.com about shrinking role of U.S. in Poland. Its author briefly presents what seemed obvious to me (and other people in Poland). Nevertheless, the article is worth reading to get to know the point of view of an American.

Enjoy reading.

U.S. role in Poland shrinking





Remove spaces at the end of line

25 06 2010

Recently someone asked me to apply formatting to a document. I copied the content to a new document in OpenOffice Writer (without the original formatting). The original document was created with MS Word and contained trailing spaces at the end of almost each line. The document had over 20 pages so it would take pretty much time to get rid of them manually. There’s a simpler method.

Delete all spaces in few clicks

  1. In OpenOffice Writer click Edit > Find & Replace (or press CTRL+F).
  2. Click More Options. The dialog should extend with additional settings.
  3. Select Regular expressions.
  4. In the field Search for enter:' $'

    (space and dollar sign without quotes).

  5. Make sure that Replace with is empty (no characters including whitespaces).
  6. Click Replace All.
  7. Done.

More reading

Information concerning regular expressions in OpenOffice Writer.





Could not open location – Ubuntu bookmarks

15 05 2010

I don’t use places bookmarks in Ubuntu very often but I do sometimes. Recently I noticed, that those bookmarks that pointed to an FTP location did not start. I was given such a message:

Could not open location - screenshot

Reason

I did some research and found out that the file pointed by the bookmark really wasn’t there.
piotr@lenovo:/usr/lib/firefox$ ls -al
total 84
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 2010-04-30 22:28 .
drwxr-xr-x 254 root root 73728 2010-05-15 15:42 ..
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2010-05-04 00:37 plugins

and that was probably because of “new” version of Firefox (3.5+).
piotr@lenovo:/usr/lib$ ls -d firefox*
firefox firefox-3.6.3 firefox-addons
piotr@lenovo:/usr/lib$

In a quest for the solution

I tried typical things people probably do in such situations. I reinstalled firefox; I changed the default Web browser in System -> Preferences -> Preferred Applications. Nothing helped.

Solved!

Finally I found the solution and because it was not easy to find with google I decided to put it here.

First I needed to run gconf-editor (ALT+F2 and type “gconf-editor” without quotes). Then I found a key:
/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/ftp/command
gconf-editor screenshot

I changed the “command” key’s value to:
/usr/bin/firefox "%s"
(TIP: use “which firefox” to find the location of application’s binary file). It worked. But I changed it again to:
/usr/bin/nautilus "%s"
and now I’ve got the default behavior for FTP bookmarks.

Hope it helps.





Lucid Lynx is here

15 05 2010

The latest Ubuntu release 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) became available this April. I couldn’t refrain from installing it as soon as I’ve got it burnt on my CD. After couple of days I decided to share my experience.

Installation

First change I’ve noticed is the possibility to choose whether to run a liveCD version or start an installation. In previous versions, as far as I remember, Ubuntu used to boot the liveCD first. Than user could start installation process with a shortcut on the desktop.

Installation process itself looks very similar comparing to the previous release. All colors and outfit in general looks differently though. Again it took about 10 minutes to find all partitions on my disk (see Krotchety Koala) but I was already aware of it and I waited with patience.

After a reboot the system booted with no errors. Luckily.

“Start fast with Ubuntu”. Really?

Just after the installation it used to take about 6:30 minutes to boot from pressing the ON button to the login screen. I don’t have to admit it was far too much — especially that this Ubuntu release had been promoted as being faster than ever.

After doing some google research I found a very useful tool for linux. It’s called BootChart and can be easily downloaded and installed from Ubuntu’s repos.
sudo apt-get install bootchart
A chart generated with this tool helped me to locate the problem of slow booting. It was caused by fsck.vfat which meant that my Windows partition (FAT32) was scanned on each boot. Having struggled with partitions with the previous Ubuntu release I just did the same thing I had done before. I changed 1 to 0 in the last column of that partition’s entry in /etc/fstab which prevents the disk from being checked every time I boot the machine.

The next boot — and what a nice surprise. It took around 30 secs from power on to login screen. Good enough 🙂

Ubuntu One

Starting from Lucid Lynx the Ubuntu users have an on-line music store integrated directly in rhythmbox. First of all, I didn’t like that player but I decided to give it a chance. I imported my small collection of mp3s and played some of them. It simply worked. Than I browsed some music from Ubuntu One. At first glance I was impressed of the number of tracks available. I thought it would be just few songs and nothing interesting to me but I found something for me too. I decided to spend 0,99EUR for a song. I picked one up and went directly to checkout. I choose PayPal as a method of payment, because I have an PayPal account already. I went through checkout process — it’s nothing but a typical on-line store. I entered my PayPal credentials and got a screen where I could select a credit card and delivery address. I knew the latter is not necessary in that kind of transactions but I tried to change the address though. I gave up when the country selector stuck with Hungary and when I tried to change it to Poland it moved me back to the screen I mentioned above. Strange, I thought, and decided to continue without address change. I clicked continue and… I’ve got a blank screen with only a header above but no information whether the transaction succeeded or not! I looked for the track I had been about to buy but it where nowhere there. I re-run the process — picked up the same song, entered PayPal credentials, changed delivery address (this time with success!) and arrived to the same blank page.
Confused, with no song bought and uncertain about my PayPal account, I looked again at rhythmbox. Than I realized that my first good impression faded away and I don’t really its behavior. I like when a music player hides in the tray while minimized and when it pops up and hides when I click once on its icon in the tray. I closed the rhythmbox and run audacious which plays still my favorite on-line radio as I type now.

Conclusion

I like Ubuntu. I really do. I write such bitter words not to fright you away. I really think the Lucid Lynx release brings some new air to Ubuntu and that the projects move into the right direction. There is, however, still a lot of work to do but I hope it’s worth waiting. And by now I use and I will use Lucid Lynx… at least until Maverick Meerkat is out.





Running business in Poland

19 01 2010

I like languages. I mean–I like reading about different languages, writing systems etc. I like very much digging into words’ meanings and finding their origins. That’s why I found Omniglot.

Recently a new article was published on that Web site: Tales from Eastern Europe. It’s written by an American who runs his translation company in Poland. It’s really interesting for me to see how my country is perceived by foreigners. And may by interesting for you too.





Karmic Koala

26 11 2009

In my previous post I was blaming Karmic Koala for being the most buggy Ubuntu since I remember (which means Hoary 5.04). After three weeks of using the newest stable Ubuntu Linux I feel much less irritated than I was just after the system installation. See what changed.

Solutions

In my previous post I wrote about problems with sound and booting. Both are now (more or less) solved.

First problem was occurring during the system boot. I found a workaround but it made booting last longer and required user’s (my) attention. I didn’t give up searching and I’ve finally bumped into another idea. I simply disabled fsck on my fat32 partition and miraculously Karmic started to boot like Jaunty with no “one or more mounts…” error.

The second issue was related to the sound system. One day I googled this thread on UbuntuForums.org. Other posts on other fora suggested purging PulseAudio. I read some more about PulseAudio and decided to give it a chance. I followed the steps described in the tutorial and sound, miraculously again, seemed to work correctly. At least openarena works fine. Great!

Conslusions

Ubuntu is said to be a Linux distribution for everyone. That means it should simple as possible. I don’t consider myself being a Linux guru – I’m a regular experienced user but I encountered problems which I couldn’t resolve just like that. People starting their adventure with Linux would never jump them over. It’s sad because I would really like to make Linux (most likely in form of Ubuntu) more popular. But what would I say to someone who sees Ubuntu – “the best distro for beginners” – causing irritation?

Appendix

To disable fsck on fat32 partition in Linux one should change the latest column (6th) in /etc/fstab from 1 to 0.

# /windows was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=3440-10F6 /windows vfat utf8,umask=007,gid=46 0 0





Krotchety Koala

2 11 2009

On 29th October 2009 the newest version of Ubuntu linux (9.10 Karmic Koala) was released. Being a big fan of this distro I installed it on the same day. I didn’t play with RC because I prefer stability in day-to-day work. I expected that this release would follow the straight path that would lead the distro to the bright future. The RC version of Ubuntu 9.10 was issued on the same day the Windows 7 was, so I considered those two OSes as equal competitors. Was I wrong?

Few words on Win7

Couple of days before the final release of Karmic Koala I got Win7 RC DVD. The minor issue was that the license keys were really hard to be found. Finally, I found one (on official MS website!) through Google search (Bing didn’t help). But after that everything went surprisingly well. I don’t know Vista so I compared 7 to XP. I found several things which ensured me that MS went into right direction with Win7. The setup was much easier than the XP’s one. Win7 run smoothly on my VirtualBox being installed on external USB HDD. Of course, none of its graphical fireworks was enabled but without Aero I could work on quite an old laptop I have. It wasn’t the speed-demon but I was surprised it worked after all.

Kapricious Koala

Few days later I downloaded and installed Ubuntu 9.10. I had known it had quite a lot of important changes (ext4 by default, grub2 etc.). From previous releases of Ubuntu I was used to not to expect any troubles.

First problem arise during installation. The step before partitioning (“Checking disk” as far as I remember) took so much time that I rebooted the machine, unplugged external USB disk and retried. I thought that was a problem. I was wrong. Even without the external drive that step also took a hell of time (7-10 min? don’t remember but too much!). Finally, the image of disk partitions showed up. Here’s how my disk was organized:
/dev/sda1 fat32 mounted as /windows
/dev/sda5 ext3 mounted as /
/dev/sda6 ext3 mounted as /home
+ swap
+ IBM/Lenovo hidden fat32 partition

Since my very first time experience with Ubuntu I keep a separated partition for my /home. I decided to format root partition as ext4 and keep /home as ext3. Than the installation went without any problems.

Shutdown. Plug external USB HDD. Reboot.

First whoops!. During system startup I’ve got “One or more of the mounts listed in /etc/fstab/ cannot yet be mounted” error. I was stunned. Anything like this never happened before.

Shutdown. Unplug USB HDD. Reboot.

The same situation. I entered the recovery console and find out that my root partition has ext3 (not ext4) file system. Hmm… I thought maybe the new FS is buggy.

Reinstall. Againg waiting for “Checking disks”. Set ext3 for root. This time I kept external HDD plugged. Finally, I found that it didn’t cause any problem.

Reboot.

Again: “One or more mounts…”. What the hell? Asking google. I didn’t find solution but a workaround that works. I enter the recovery console and mount partitions manually:
mount -n -o remount,rw /dev/sda5
mount /dev/sda6

And CTRL+D. Ubuntu boots up.

I installed the soft I want/need/like. No surprises here.

Than I wanted to find out the new UXA mode for Intel GPU. I run OpenArena. Wow! It really goes at full speed… but… hey dude where’s my sound!? It turned out that some applications have problem with sound. In my case it looks as follow:

  • When I start the application from gnome menu the sound in the intro sometime is normal, sometimes sounds like “grkrgrg”, sometime disappears completely
  • Moving mouse very fast over menu positions turns the sound into “grkrgrg” mode 😉
  • During the game sometimes the sound acts as above. Sometimes come back to normal… sometimes not.
  • When I start the application from terminal (simply typing openarena) the sound lags sometimes.

Sometimes the sound disappears completely and I have to restart pulseaudio daemon. It’s really annoying.

Conclusion

I wanted to put in this article my opinion about changes that the Karmic Koala brings to Ubuntu. But I won’t do that. Maybe with 10.4 I’ll write something about Ubuntu One, Ubuntu Software Center and other changes.

I was promised to get faster boot (not the case if I have to enter recovery console and mount partition manually) and new graphic driver mode (true but with sound issues).

For now, I’m quite disappointed with this release but I won’t go back to Jaunty. I really like Ubuntu and a week ago I would suggest it for everyone. Now, I wouldn’t.

References

Laptop I have:
Lenovo 3000 C100
CPU: Celeron M 1600
RAM: 2 GB
GPU: Intel i915