Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Install a TTF Font, Microsoft Core Fonts & Ubuntu Font

To Install a TTF Font
Step 1:
Prepare your files
YouFont is a good place to start, there are countless free font site out there. Feel free to leave a link in the comments section of your favourites. If the font is compressed (tar, zip, rar, etc) uncompress it (right click>Extract Here). Fonts should end in the extension .ttf for this guide to work.

Step 2: Now make a directory for your custom ttf fonts
in a terminal type:
sudo mkdir /usr/share/fonts/truetype/custom

Step 3: Put the ttf font into the folder your created
In a terminal type:
sudo nautilus

This will bring up a nautilus window
go to /usr/share/fonts/truetype/custom
Copy your fonts into this folder

Step 4: Rebuild your font cache
In a terminal type:
sudo fc-cache -f -v

To install the free Microsoft core fonts and increase compatibility in OpenOffice
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

Install the Ubuntu title font, used to create the blog's header and logo
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install ttf-ubuntu-title

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Aircraft Manager: Save Battery By Turning Off WiFi and Bluetooth

This guide in for Ubuntu 8.04 & 8.10, for Ubuntu 9.04 use this guide

One of the sacrifices I had to make when choosing to install Ubuntu 8.10 was that there would be no way to turn off WiFi and/or Bluetooth. The battery would drain faster from keeping them powered, even when not in use.

Dell released Aircraft Manager, a program for turning these devices off, in lpia form, for Ubuntu 8.04 when the Mini was first shipped. Seeing how I was not running an lpia system, I was hesitant to install the package. Recently it was brought to my attention that there is a Aircraft Manager.deb usable in both i386 and lpia systems.

Download the Aircraft Manager .deb

Once installed, you can find Aircraft Manager in System>Preferences, under the title Airplane Mode

It allows you to turn off WifFi, Bluetooth, or both
Screenshot-Airplane Mode

And you can also put the Mini into Airplane Mode for safe usage while flying
Screenshot-Airplane Mode-1
Since someone asked:
The reason flights ban laptops is that they emit radio waves. All wireless devices do, and the navigation and flight control computers on airplanes are designed to sense even very weak signals coming from far away. Radio waves with just the right power and frequency can, in theory, introduce errors in computing equipment.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Over the next couple of days many of you will be receiving your Mini 9s and finding your way to my blog. I want to welcome you, www.ubuntumini.com was created as a resource for people who wanted to install Ubuntu on their Dell Mini.

This website is not about running Mini OS, the pre-installed Dell version of Ubuntu. The pre-installed version is based on the Low Power on Intel Architecture (lpia). While I find lpia to be interesting technology and look forward to using it in the future, I don't yet find it suitable for everyday use. If you have questions about your pre-installed version of Ubuntu, you can look for answers on Dell's website or try posting the question in our Mini 9 Google Group.

This blog is about installing a running Ubuntu i386 architecture on your Mini. There are tutorials on how to create a LiveUSB stick, partitioning and installing Ubuntu, setting up Ubuntu Netbook Remix, enabling media playback, customizing Firefox for netbooks and much more. Please read the Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex on the Dell Mini 9 overview article for info on installing Ubuntu on your Mini 9. Once you've decided on try Ubuntu, the Ubuntu User guides will help you get everything setup and customized.

Ubuntu is an amazing operating system but it is not magic, it doesn't just work. It requires a commitment to learning a different way of doing things. Problems will come up and it is important to remember Linux not Windows or OSX. The articles cover the major hardware problems that come up during installation, the comment sections offer insight on where other users have had problems. We also have a Google Group with over 150 users who are great about helping out. Besides my blog and the Google group, The Official Ubuntu Forums have millions of users and articles that can walk you through many software problems.


Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Speed Up Your System and Save Your Hard Drive: Disable Tracker

Tracker is a tool designed to extract information and metadata about your personal files so that it can be searched easily and quickly. When using Tracker, you no longer have to remember where you've left your files. To locate a file you only need to remember something about it, such as a word in the document or the artist of the song. Traditional searching, by name and location, is also supported.

Tracker is turned on in Ubuntu by default. I personally turn it off because it uses up system resources that I don't want to spare and I don't keep a lot of data on my Mini. Other users have concerns with Tracker's wear and tear on their system drives. The Mini 9 ships with a solid-state hard drive that has a finite number of erase/write cycles that the flash memory can tolerate. There are also users who disable Tracker because they feel it is not a very good indexing program.

While I don't need an indexing program on my Mini, I have been testing Tracker on my desktop. I find that it works well.

But whatever your reason, disabling Tracker is easy.

To Stop Tracker From Loading on Start Up:
Under System>Preferences>Sessions
Screenshot-Sessions Preferences
Uncheck both Tracker and Tracker Applet

To Disable Indexing:
Under System>Preferences>Search and Indexing
Screenshot-Tracker Preferences
Uncheck both enable indexing and enable watching

Changes will take effect next time you restart your PC.

Remove Tracker
If you prefer you can chose to remove Tracker from your system:
In a terminal type
sudo apt-get remove tracker tracker-search-tool tracker-utils

For more information about solid-state hard drives.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reboot or Shutdown Ubuntu Safely When Your System Freezes

Just like any operating system, Ubuntu can freeze up and crash. This does not mean there is something wrong with your system, it just happens. You just need to safely reboot or shut down your machine, in attempt to keep data loss or damage to a minimum.

To safely reboot or shut down Linux when your system freezes use the magic SysRq keys. The magic SysRq keys are a key combination which allows you to perform various low level commands regardless of the system's state. This should prevent a fsck from being required on reboot; it also gives some programs a chance to save emergency backups of unsaved work. You should never just cut the power or remove the battery when your system freezes, these actions can cause unnecessary data loss or the file system to become corrupted.

On most Linux system as well as when using Ubuntu the magic SysRq keys are the Alt and PrintScreen keys. When your system stalls first give your Mini 9 a second to catch up, remember it's a sub $400 netbook and not a super computer. If your computer is frozen and you are unable to regain control of the system:

1. Hold down the Alt and Printscreen keys
2. Enter these keys: R E I S U B, you do not need to capitalize the letters and shift should not be held down
3. The keystrokes should be entered a few seconds apart, 2-4 seconds, allowing for each process to end before starting the next.

REISUB allows you to:
R - unRaw (take control of keyboard back from X),
E - tErminate (send SIGTERM to all processes, allowing them to terminate gracefully),
I - kIll (send SIGKILL to all processes, forcing them to terminate immediately),
S - Sync (flush data to disk),
U- Unmount (remount all filesystems read-only),
B - reBoot.

You can replace B with O to shutdown the system.

This article was researched using the Magic SysRq Wikipedia page.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Change Your User Password

A member of our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google group, thawk, posted asking how to change his user password in Ubuntu. I didn't know, so I checked Ubuntu's Official Documentation, Ubuntu's Community Documentation and Google search. None of them offered much help, I only found complex solutions. Thankfully another Google group member, Ronald Schouten, was able to point me in the right direction. Hopefully other Ubuntu users will find this helpful.

First Go to System>Preferences>About Me

This will bring up the About User Menu, select Change Password in the upper right corner of the window.
Screenshot-About User

Enter your old password and click the Authenticate button.
Screenshot-Change password

Enter your new password twice and select Change password.
Screenshot-Change password-2

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.