Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wooden Wallpaper

This Wallpaper was from a proposed Ibex Ibex Theme that was never used.


I was looking for a background to compliment the brown tones of Ubuntu 9.10 Human theme. I really like this wallpaper, it makes the brownish theme look good.

Download the Ibex Wallpaper by willwill100

You can Find more of willwill100 artwork on his DeviantArt Page

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fix A Stuck Pixel

My two month old Vostro A90 recently suffered from three stuck white pixels. Stuck pixels, unlike dead pixels, are fixable. A dead pixel is when all three sub-pixels are permanently off, producing a permanently black pixel. A stuck pixel has one of more sub-pixels always on or always off displaying a white, green, blue or red color.

If your pixel is displaying a color this guide will help you fix it without having to resort to rubbing it back to life.

Before You Can Fix The Stuck Pixel:
Make sure your monitor will not shut off due to inactivity and that your computer sleep function is disabled.

You can find these settings under System>Preference>Power Management
power managment

Also turn off your Screensaver.

You can find these settings under System>Preference>Screensaver

Go to

deadpixel page
- click launch application to begin the fix

A pop window will appear.
screen fix popup
- hit F11 key to set the window in fullscreen mode (on the mini9/vostro a90 F11 is the Fn+z keys)

Allow the program to run for 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the severity of the problem and the number of stuck pixels. I ran the program for about 20 minutes and all three pixels became unstuck.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Flash Player 10.1 Beta 2 is Released

Adobe has just released Flayer Player 10.1 Beta 2 for 32-bit Linux Machines. I'm enjoying the improvements over the Ubuntu repository version and the 10.1 Beta that was released back in mid-November. Flash is still far from prefect, but at least it's getting better.

- To install Flash Player 10.1 Beta 2 in Linux:
First remove your current version of flash
If you are using the Ubuntu repository version of Flash
in a terminal:
sudo apt-get purge flashplugin-installer

- If you are using the Flash Player 10.1 Beta
rm ~/.mozilla/plugins/

- Download Flash 10.1 Beta 2

- Untar flashplayer10_1_p2_linux_121709.tar.gz
tar -zxvf flashplayer10_1_p2_linux_121709.tar.gz

- Then create a plugin folder in the .mozilla configuration folder
mkdir ~/.mozilla/plugins
(you can skip this step if your are upgrading from the 10.1 Beta guide I wrote)

- Point the terminal into the newly decompressed file
cd ~/install_flash_player_10_linux

- Install the flash player 10.1 Beta 2 plugin
mv ~/.mozilla/plugins

- To remove Flash Player 10.1 Beta 2 and reinstall Ubuntu's repository version of flash
rm -r ~/.mozilla/plugins
sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Manage Your Torrents Remotely With Transmission's Web Client

This guide will show you how to use Transmission's web client to manage your torrents from another PC. Perfect for when you want to set a movie, TV show or album to download for when you get home.

On Your Home Computer/Server:
- This is the PC you will be using to download torrents/running Transmission (host).
01- transmission
- Open Transmission, you can find it under Applications>Internet.

02- enable web client
- Access the Web tab via Edit>Preferences
- Click the Enable web client box- Use listening port 9091
- Check the Use authentication box
- Create a user name and secure/strong password. For help refer to this article on making a strong password and/or test your password's strength
- Click the Open Web Client box to test out your setup

03- logging in local
- Log on using your user name and password

04- local host ui test
- If you can see this screen you are done with the first part of the guide
- Any torrents you have currently running should be displayed.

Open Port 9091 To Allow Outside Access:
For this guide to work you will need to forward 9091. For help refer to Because of all the different routers and firmware it is impossible for me to write a definitive guide.

05- port forwarding on tomato
- On my Tomato powered router, you will notice there is a simple fort forwarding tab.
- From there I just have to have to add my computer local IP address and port I want forwarded

To find your computer's local IP address for port forwarding,
in a terminal:
sudo ifconfig
06 - local ip address
- You want to find the connection you are using. eth0 is your wired connection, wireless should be wlan0 or eth1, but it may be another device in Linux depending on your wireless card.
- Your Local IP address is listed after inet address:
* You only need to do this part of the guide on your host computer and router.

Access Transmission from Another PC:
Once you have enabled the web client and forwarded your listening port, you can manage your home computer/server torrents from any PC connected to the internet.

You will use this url to access Transmissions Web Client:
http://YOUR EXTERNAL IP ADDRESS:9091/transmission/web/

- Replace the YOUR EXTERNAL IP ADDRESS with your actually numerical external IP address.
To find your external IP Address:

From The Web Client You Can Easily:
webui add torrent
- Add torrents...

webui remove torrent
- Remove torrents

webui right click
- Pause, resume, delete, verify and inspect via right click.

I had the transmission web client working and then it stopped!
  • Three things could be going wrong:
  • Your home computer is not currently running Transmission, you have to keep transmission open and your PC on for it to work.
  • Your External IP address has changed, use to check that it hasn't.
  • Your computer's local IP address has changed. I recommend using a static IP address for your host machine. To check your local ip address run ifconfig in a terminal.
Does this guide work on the Mac, Debian, Suse, Puppy, Fedora, Arch, Gentoo, OpenBSD, FreeBSD or Solaris version of Transmission?
  • Yes the guide isn't operating system specific and will work on many different Linux distributions and Macintosh OSX. On other Linux distros you might have to run the ifconfig command as root. For finding your local IP address on a Mac use this IP Address Mac Guide.
Do I have to use Ubuntu, Firefox or Linux to manage my torrents?
  • The guide was written with Ubuntu, Debian and Firefox in mind, but to manage your torrents remotely you can use any browser on any operating system.
How do I forward my port with X brand router, it isn't on the list you linked to!
  • I can't help you, unless you want to pay me for my time. Try looking it up on

Happy Torrenting!

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Minitube: YouTube Without Flash

Minitube is a native YouTube client that does not require the Flash Player. It's currently in a "Technology Preview" release but has come a long way since I first started using it a couple months back. Minitube aims to create a new TV-like experience by allowing you to type in a keyword and have an endless video stream of content play.


I like using Minitube to watch or listen to videos while I work in Firefox. It's much lighter on resources than flash in Firefox/Chrome and I no longer have to worry about my browser crashing and losing data because I want to check out a link my buddy sent me or listen to Jermaine Stewart.

To install Minitube in Kamric or higher,
in a terminal type:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:neversfelde/ppa
- to add the Minintube PPA and GPG Key

sudo apt-get update
- to update your repository

sudo apt-get install minitube phonon-backend-gstreamer
- to install Minitube and the photon backend to gstreamer

If you are using Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope or older you must add the Minitube PPA manually.

If your having problem with video playback, make sure you've installed the necessary codecs.
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
- will take of of all your codec problems.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aircraft Manager: Turn WiFi & Bluetooth On/Off

Aircraft Manager is a program for turning Bluetooth & WiFi off and on. It also enables an "Airplane Mode" that shuts off radio signals allowing you to use your Mini/Vostro safely when flying. Not only is the program great for when your flying and want to use your Mini (or not send the plane towards the ground), but turning off these services while not in use will significantly increase battery life.

Dell released a version of Aircraft Manager when the Mini was first shipped but it stopped working after Ubuntu 8.10. I tried to email the maintainer for the aircraft manager package but never received a response. I thought Aircraft Manager was dead until one of the Ubuntu Mini Google group members Jitender decided to fix the problem himself and repackage Aircraft Manager to work in later versions of Ubuntu.

You can find the Aircraft Manager Packages in Jitender's Launchpad Personal Package Archives (PPA)

If you are using Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala or later you can add Jitender's PPA by
in a terminal type:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:opensource-subakutty/ppa
- this will automatically add the PPA and GPG key to your sources
sudo apt-get update
- to update your sources
sudo apt-get install aircraft-manager
- to install aircraft-manager

For older versions of Ubuntu you will have to manually add the PPA
- refer to Jitender's Launchpad PPA for help

Once installed, you can find Aircraft Manager in System>Preferences, under Airplane Mode, or by running /usr/bin/aircraft-manager
wifi and bluetooth toogles
- It allows you to turn off WiFi (wireless), Bluetooth, or both

Airplane Mode checkbox
- And you can also put the Mini into Airplane Mode for safe usage while flying. Turning on Airplane Mode will prevent the battery from charging. In order to charge the battery, Airplane Mode must be disabled.

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 and cause every to go crashing into the ground, water, my house.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Required Viewing: Revolution OS

Revolution OS is a 2001 documentary film which traces the twenty-year history of GNU, Linux, open source, and the free software movement.

Directed by J. T. S. Moore, the film features interviews with prominent hackers and entrepreneurs including Richard Stallman, Michael Tiemann, Linus Torvalds, Larry Augustin, Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, Frank Hecker and Brian Behlendorf.

I've embedded the complete movie below, you can find the trailer here.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Darkish Human GTK Theme

I spent a very long time making this theme, I hope you like it. I wanted something a bit lighter than my Dark Human Theme.

darkish human desktop

darkish human widget factory

Darkish Human is based on the Ubuntu Human-Murrine color scheme by Kenneth Wimer & Conn O'Griofa.

You can download it via, don't forget to rate it while you're there.

Theme uses:

To install these dependencies
in a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install gtk2-engines-murrine gnome-brave-icon-theme

You can find the Dusk of Ubuntu wallpaper used here.

To install the Darkish Human GTK theme:
Appearance Preferences
- Go to System>Preferences>Appearance.
- Click install and select the Darkish Human.tar.bz2

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Maximus and Chromium

I know I said I wasn't supporting Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the site for Karmic but this fix is pretty important so I'll bend the rules a bit.

Ubuntu Netbook Remix users are installing Chromium and finding that maximus doesn't work properly. Chromium instances are not being created or launching maximized.

- Chromium by default uses a slick interface that doesn't use a title bar (compact boarders). This is what is inhibiting maximus. To fix this you need to tell Chromium to use system title bar and borders.

Click the wrench and select Options.
- in the options menu under the Personal Stuff tab
- check the Use system title bar and borders box

Due to the Mini's screen size you may not be able to see the option on the bottom of the window. It's directly below the Use GTK Theme button. You may not be able to see it but you should be able to click it. Depending on your personal setup you should be able to move the window by using you mouse while holding the alt key. Try turning off compiz or disabling y-constraint.

This also works for Google Chrome, but big boys and girls use Chromium. Now we just have to bug the Chromium developers to show netbooks some love and allow for the Options menu to be properly resized and moved when used on a small screen.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chromium is Now Complete

Chromium the open source web browser on which Google Chrome is based is finally complete. When I first wrote about Chromium back in July, I found it to be a very fast and capable browser, but it lacked the features I needed to be productive on the web. Since then Chromium has finally reached the maturity level to compete with other major browsers, it now features:
- native GTK theming
- flash playback
- bookmark sync (through your google account)
- extensions

Extensions - Chromium

It will only be a matter of time until we see the most popular features of Firefox, Opera and other browsers make their way to Chromium via extensions. Until then I'll just enjoy Chromium's fast startup time and rendering engine.

For those not yet running Chromium installing the ppa is incredible simple in Ubuntu 9.10.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chromium-daily/ppa
- to automatically add the Chromium PPA and GPG Key
sudo apt-get update
- update your sources
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser
- install the browser and it's dependencies

If you running an older version of Ubuntu use this guide to manually install the Chromium Daily Build PPA.

sudo apt-get chromium-browser installs the chromium-codecs-ffmpeg package by default. This package contains only the free ogg, vorbis and theora codecs needed for the HTML5 audio/video tags. If you want to install the free ogg, vorbis, theora codecs, as well as, the non-free H.264, MP3 and AAC codecs install the chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-nonfree package.

In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-nonfree
- to install the browser and non-free codec together
sudo apt-get install chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-nonfree
- to install the non-free repository after installing the Chromium browser.

You may be asking why I'm writing about Chromium when Google just announced Google Chrome Beta for Linux? I prefer to support Chromium because it is open source software and receives features before Google Chrome. The only real difference between the two browsers is the non-free codecs, and installing them in Chromium is easy. If you're not ready to take the Chromium plunge, you can install the Google Chrome browser by clicking here, n00b.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Remove The Ubuntu/Gnome Login Sound

I have already written about removing the gdm drum login sound in Karmic's new GDM, this guide will show you how to remove Ubuntu/Gnome desktop login sound. The volume and length of the login sound can be embarrassing when you try to power on your Mini or Vostro in public.

To remove the Ubuntu/Gnome login sound
go to System>Preferences>Startup Applications.
Ubuntu Startup Applications Preferences
- and uncheck the Gnome Login Sound Box.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Hack Karmic's GDM Login Part 2

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala included an rewrite of the GDM, the graphic login manager. The GDM was rewritten to speed up boot times, but in the process removed all the customization users were accustomed to. The first hack the Karmic GDM article  showed you how to access the gnome-control-center in order to configuring the theme, color, font and background. This article will address the two other major flaws with the new GDM; displaying a user lists and the loud drum sound.

The new GDM's default behavior displays user's login information, compromising the basic security of the system by giving away half the login information. To remove the user list from the GDM,

in a terminal type:
sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type Boolean --set /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/disable_user_list True

- The GDM menu without the user list

The second issue is with the GDM login sound. The the system-ready.ogg drum sound is loud and annoying.

In previous releases you could easily disable login sounds by unchecking a box, 9.10's GDM does not offer a reprieve from the audio assault on everyone in close proximity. If you don't want the drum sound played,

in a terminal type:
cd /usr/share/sounds/ubuntu/stereo
- this takes you to the folder where the sound files are stored
sudo rm system-ready.ogg
- this will remove the system-ready.ogg

The ability to skin your GDM in future Ubuntu editions may never return but at least we can take back some of our freedom from the draconian system implemented in Karmic.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day of Ubuntu Wallpapers

- Dawn of Ubuntu

- Noon of Ubuntu

- Dusk of Ubuntu

- Midnight of Ubuntu

I found these wallpapers via Dylan McCall's PPA. Dylan has taken the Dawn of Ubuntu wallpaper that used to ship with Ubuntu and created an animated desktop background. The background changes according to the time. You can download Day of Ubuntu .deb here or install his PPA.

I'm not a fan of transitional wallpapers so I download the source and extracted the wallpapers. If you just want the wallpapers, you can download them here.

Dawn of Ubuntu has been a personal favorite of mine since Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn, it's nice to have noon, dusk and midnight added to my rotation.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
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Friday, December 4, 2009

One Month Later

If the 14 new articles didn't tip you off, it goes without saying: I'm back. After getting back to Chicago, I was really busted up and writing helped get me through those very painful weeks. The good news is that my clavicle is healing properly and quickly. Full movement has returned to my left arm and the pain is very minor. I should be 100% in about 4 more weeks.

The guides for installing Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala were a bit late, but I think I have a valid excuse. I want to thank all of you who waited patiently and wished me well. Keep reading and tell some friends.

Karmic is the best Ubuntu release since Ubuntu 8.04 and the improvements to the Intel driver stack make it mark a huge improvement over 8.10 and 9.04. The Broadcom driver installer, not the actual driver, is a bit wonky but the fix is incredibly simple. Everything else works out of the box and novice users should feel comfortable installing Ubuntu 9.10 on their Dell Mini/Vostro.

The site has received a bit of an overhaul. I'm not just focusing on the the Dell Mini 9, I also am writing about the Vostro A90 and the Dell Mini 10v. I rearranged the site and hopefully it's easier to use. The user guides and search function are now the most prominent thing on the page. I am also done with experimenting with colors, sorry about the orange and brown mess that was up for a while. It's strictly black and orange from now on. I did change the font but no one noticed so I doubt it's an issue. Your feedback is always welcome.

The donations have been going well and I'd like to thank everyone who has given money. I was able to buy some gear for the site. I picked up a Vostro A90, Super Talent FEM32GFDL 32GB SSD, LITE-ON Esau208-96 External Slim DVD/CD Burner and a new keyboard to replace the damaged one on my Dell Mini 9. The last thing on my list is a Dell Mini 10v, I'm already 60 dollars towards that goal and with the post holiday deals Dell does I should have one around February.

I am also looking for contributors, if you'd like to help edit articles or write for the site drop me a line. If you have a Mini 10v that would be a huge plus but you don't need to be an expert Linux user.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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