Archive for ‘May, 2008’

SysInternals goes online……

datePosted on 12:31, May 30th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

SysInternals is probably the one set of tools that every Windows support person knows about. It is a collection of fantastic utilities that allows you to troubleshoot just about any problem under windows. It is so good that Microsoft decided to buy the company right out and I have to admit that they’ve done a very good job in maintaining them and making them available for free. Recently they’ve gone one step further and added the ability to run the utils via the network without having to download them. This is good news for anyone using a recovery boot CD (like BART or something similar). All you need to do now is open windows explorer and go to \\\ to get live access to the latest version of SysInternal tools. Ofcourse there is also the standard bundle that gives you a copy of all the utils in one easy zip file.

Glide OS 3.0 Webtop syncs with you Desktop now

datePosted on 12:16, May 30th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

For those of you who haven’t tried it, you should really head over to and create an account. It’s an excellent Webtop that provides a widerange of application plus 5GB of online storage for free (there are also commercial accounts for a small fee). Not only do they have one of the cleanest interfaces out there, they’ve also developed a cross platform application called glide that allows you to sync your webtop with your physical desktop machine. This is really useful specially if you’re in a situation where you use windows and linux at work and osx or something else at home. The glide application can sync all your online data between the different platforms.

And now for a little food for thought…..

datePosted on 16:05, May 21st, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Tim Robins’ Keynote speech at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters). I missed this event at this years NAB, but I think it’s very much worth a listen. Tim really lays it out nicely. Complete in three parts in order.

Truly a once in a life time opportunity

datePosted on 10:47, May 21st, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

ROTFL….Next….Metallica doing “Say you say me” to the video of “Enter Sandman”……hehehehe

Install Fedora Core 9.0 on a 1GB USB Stick

datePosted on 13:40, May 19th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

I wanted to install the AccessGrid 3.1 collaborative software under FC9.0 earlier on and discovered that the machine didn’t have a CD or DVD. It did however have a newer mobo that allows for USB booting, so I searched around and found Fedora liveusb-creator. What a beauty, the fedora guys make it really simple to get Fedora live CD stuffed onto a USB stick. All you need is the software, a 1GB+ stick and a windows machine. Here is the process:

  1. Select either to Use existing Live CD or Download Fedora.
  2. Set the Target Device to point to your USB flash drive.
  3. Move the Persistent Overlay slider to set the capacity to use for the persistent image. I was able to manually push the slider by clicking on it and using the cursor keys to change the size by single MB’s rather than the jumping default style. This lets you to allocate extra space on your USB stick, allowing you to save files and make modifications to your live operating system that will persist after you reboot. This essentially lets you carry your own personalized Fedora with you at all times, but only works with Fedora 9 right now.
  4. Click Create Live USB to begin the creation process.

Sit back and watch the progress bar, there is also helpful messages in the little window. Once everything is done “safely” remove your USB Stick and use it to boot into Fedora Core 9. Don’t forget that you might have to change your boot device in BIOS to the USB key (or sometimes just pressing ESC during BIOS boot gets you to a boot menu).

Yeah, that’s why the OLPC team sold their soul to MS….right? Get ready for OLPC running Windows XO. Because there aren’t enough lemmings out there. This must be Bill G’s wildest dream, an army of illiterate starving kids who’ll program the next version of Winblows for food and water…..brilliant.

I’m not quite done with all the install and optimization steps, but I thought I start this entry so that I won’t forget what I’ve done. There are quite a number of steps involved. I’ve installed it on a Asus 701 4GB model using a 16 GB class 6 SDHC card. Hopefully this will help others as well. You will need a physical copy of the Ubuntu 8.04 CD, so download it and burn it with your favorite burning software. You will also need a USB DVD/CD reader, I used a old plextor external drive I had lying around. So here we go:

  1. Get the USB DVD hooked up to one of the USB ports on the Eee, doesn’t matter which.
  2. Stick the boot CD in the DVD and turn everything on.
  3. Press ESC on the Eee during BIOS load to turn on custom boot screen.
  4. On the screen that follows choose your USB DVD drive and let Ubuntu boot.
  5. Get Ubuntu installed. Be mindful of the following:
    1. I did a custom partition scheme on /dev/sdc
    2. I created three partitions:
      1. /dev/sdc1 (8000 MB) is formatted ext3 and mounted on /
      2. /dev/sdc2 (8000 MB) is formatted ext3 and is not mounted on anything
      3. /dev/sdc3 (~430 MB) is formatted swap and is for swap
    3. IMPORTANT: On the screen that says “Ready to Install” you HAVE TO click the advanced… button and change the location of the bootloader to /dev/sdc (which is the SDHC card).
  6. Go and get coffee and/or have lunch/dinner. Writing to SD memory card is slow.
  7. IMPORTANT: When prompted to Reboot at the end….DON’T. Press Ctrl-Alt-F2 to switch to one of the virtual terminals (you can use Ctrl-Alt-F6 to get back) and sudo to change the file /boot/grub/menu.lst so that all lines refering to (hd1,0) or (hd2,0) are changed to (hd0,0). Save the file.
  8. IMPORTANT: sudo and edit the file /etc/rc.local and add this before “exit 0”: hal-set-property --udi $(hal-device | grep info.udi | grep storage_serial_USB2 | sed -e 's/.*org/\/org/' -e "s/'.*//") --key storage.removable --bool falseThis will prevent gnome-keyring to segfault. This happens when the Root device is on a removable media. Without this your gnome session will hang after the first reboot.
  9. Now you can switch back to graphical install screen (Ctrl-Alt-F6) and tell the installer to reboot.
  10. Hopefully you did not screw anything up :-) and you’ll get to the gnome desktop.
  11. More than likely you will get a dumb Battery error. Ignore it and move on. If your Network card is not working turn the machine off and do this:
    1. Disconnect the power cable
    2. Take off the Battery
    3. Put the Battery back on
    4. Plugin the power cable
    5. Boot up the machine and make sure you press ESC to get to boot menu…..choose Ubuntu.
  12. Hopefully now the Network is working (Wireless will not be working at this point….later).
  13. Do all the updates.
  14. Reboot.
  15. Note that ubuntu does not shut down the Eee properly. Shutting down your Eee will make the screen go entirely blank, but does not cut the power, and you will have to force it to fully shutdown by holding the power button.

    Sudo and add the following line:rmmod snd-hda-intelto the end of the /etc/default/halt script in order to make the Eee shutdown completely.

  16. Sudo and edit /etc/init.d/rc file, look for CONCURRENCY=none and change it to:
    CONCURRENCY=shellConcurrent boot allows Ubuntu to take full advantage of dual-core processors, as well as processors that with hyperthread or multithread, e.g. Pentium III or higher.
  17. To reduce drive writes sudo and set the ‘noatime’ or ‘relatime’ mount options in the /etc/fstab file. Look for the ‘defaults’ section and add ‘defaults,noatime’.
    UUID=57480a3f-e7db-4a5e-9fca-7df45f5a7d9d / ext2 defaults,noatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1
  18. To further reduce drive writes sudo and put data that is not needed on a tmpfs, which is written to memory. Below is an example:
    tmpfs /var/log tmpfs defaults 0 0
    tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults 0 0
    tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults 0 0
    tmpfs /var/log/apt tmpfs defaults 0 0

    You will lose the data in these areas after a reboot. Data in /tmp is not a big deal, though you may want logs longer than that.
  19. If you did create a swap partition and want to make sure the EeePC does not use it, you can sudo and add the following line to the end of the /etc/sysctl.conf file:
  20. You can also have a look at the AUFS (Another Union File System) instructions that will make your SDHC card read only (with options to unlock it from grub menu). If you choose this option you probably want to skip step 18 (or undo it by deleting the appropriate lines in /etc/fstab).
  21. Download this superscript into your account and change it’s permissions to execute it as regular user (The script will sudo when needed).
    chmod 755 ./
    DO NOT USE ON EEEPC900/901. Hopefully the site won’t go down but just in case it does here is the content of the script (use at your own risk):
    echo "************************************"
    echo "*** Ubuntu 8.04 LTS RiceeeyTweak ***"
    echo "*** version 0.5 ***"
    echo "*** ***"
    echo "************************************"
    echo "thanks to"
    echo "thanks to"
    echo "thanks to"
    echo "thanks to"
    echo "thanks to Bombela"
    echo "************************************"
    echo "** Gnome settings"
    echo "* Setting font sizes"
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/desktop_font --type string "Sans 8"
    gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/document_font_name --type string "Sans 8"
    gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/font_name --type string "Sans 8"
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/general/titlebar_font --type string "Sans Bold 8"
    gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/monospace_font_name --type string "Monospace 8"
    echo "* Smaller toolbars icons only"
    gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/toolbar_style --type string "icons"
    echo "* Disabling UI sounds"
    gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/sound/event_sounds --type bool 0
    echo "* Fixing mute key"
    gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/sound/default_mixer_tracks --type list --list-type string "[PCM]"
    echo "* Fullscreen with -F11"
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/window_keybindings/toggle_fullscreen --type string "F11"
    echo "* Setting suspend when closing lid, blank screen"
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/actions/sleep_type_battery --type string "suspend"
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/actions/sleep_type_ac --type string "suspend"
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/buttons/lid_battery --type string "suspend"
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/buttons/lid_ac --type string "blank"
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/timeout/sleep_computer_ac --type int 0
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/timeout/sleep_computer_battery --type int 300
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/timeout/sleep_display_ac --type int 300
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/timeout/sleep_display_battery --type int 60
    echo "* Don't display battery warning"
    gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-power-manager/notify/low_capacity --type bool 0
    echo "* Unconstraining windows to the top of the screen"
    gconftool-2 --type bool --set /apps/compiz/plugins/move/allscreens/options/constrain_y 0
    echo "Gnome settings done."
    echo "** Installing ACPI modules"
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y -f build-essential module-assistant eeepc-acpi-source --force-yes
    sudo m-a a-i eeepc-acpi
    echo "Done"
    echo "** Building Eee Overclocking Driver"
    wget ""
    tar xvzf eeepc-linux-0.2.tar.gz
    cd eeepc-linux/module
    sudo cp eee.ko /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/
    cd ../../
    echo "Done"
    echo "** Installing Modules and Driver"
    echo "*Unblacklisting i2c-i801 module"
    sed 's/blacklist i2c_i801/#blacklist i2c_i801/' blacklist.tmp
    sudo mv blacklist.tmp /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
    sudo chown root:root /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
    echo "Done"
    echo "*Updating /etc/modules"
    sudo cp /etc/modules modules.tmp
    sudo chmod 777 modules.tmp
    echo "eeepc-acpi" >> modules.tmp
    echo "i2c-i801" >> modules.tmp
    echo "eee" >> modules.tmp
    sudo chmod 644 modules.tmp
    sudo mv modules.tmp /etc/modules
    sudo chown root:root /etc/modules
    echo "Done"
    echo "**Installing Overclock Utilities"
    wget ""
    wget ""
    wget ""
    sudo mv /usr/bin
    sudo chown root:root /usr/bin/
    sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/
    sudo mv /usr/bin
    sudo chown root:root /usr/bin/
    sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/
    mv Overclock.desktop ~/Desktop
    echo "Done"
    echo "** Installing OSD"
    sudo dpkg -i eee-osd_2.1-0eeeXubuntu1_i386.deb
    echo "Done"
    echo "** Configuring Sound"
    echo "options snd-hda-intel model=3stack-dig" > snd-hda-intel.tmp
    sudo mv snd-hda-intel.tmp /etc/modprobe.d/snd-hda-intel
    sudo chown root:root /etc/modprobe.d/snd-hda-intel
    echo "Done"
    echo "** Fixing Shutdown Problem"
    sudo sed 's/#! \/bin\/sh/#! \/bin\/sh\n\n##Riceeey Eee shutdown fix\n\nrmmod snd-hda-intel\n/' halt.tmp
    sudo mv halt.tmp /etc/init.d/halt
    sudo chown root:root /etc/init.d/halt
    sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/halt
    echo "Done"
    echo "** Adjusting Disk atime"
    sudo sed 's/relatime/noatime/' fstab.tmp
    sudo mv fstab.tmp /etc/fstab
    sudo chown root:root /etc/fstab
    echo "Done"
    echo "** Installing WLAN"
    wget ''
    tar zxf madwifi-hal-
    cd madwifi-hal-
    make clean
    sudo make install
    cd ../
    echo "Done"
    echo "All relevant drivers are now installed - hopefully!"
    echo "If you have any troubles please refer back to"
    echo "Please reboot now"
  22. Well, reboot and marvel at your handywork a bit.
  23. To squeeze even a bit more from the boot process sudo and edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add the following to the end of the kernel lines (after the “quiet” and “splash” options) for Ubuntu:

Custom Date Display for OSX

datePosted on 15:55, May 17th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Came across this tip today and I thought it might be useful to some of you out there. OSX, as great as it is, has always had this (atleast) one shortcoming for me. The stupid date display in the menubar. Why did they decide to hide the actual date/day of the week is beyond me. Yes, you can go and grab Magical, I know…..But that’s yet another program that needs to be loaded. There is a simpler solution. Follow the steps below and you can prettify your date display too :-).

  1. In System Preferences, open International and go to the Formats tab.
  2. Next to Dates, click the Customize button. Arrange your date in the format you want to appear on your menubar. I just simply grabbed the full format. Select the entire date format and copy it to your clipboard (Cmd+A, Cmd+C). Hit OK.
  3. Now back in the formats screen, hit the Customize button next to Times. Choose the “Medium” format. Make sure you do this to the Medium format, I tried the other ones (Short and Long) and it did not work (at least under Leopard 10.5.2). Paste the date format on your clipboard next to the time format, and hit OK. I pasted mine inside a set of square brackets in front, you can customize the extra characters to your liking.
  4. You should see the changes on your menubar immediately. If you end up with double day of the week display, in System Preferences, go to Date and Time, and uncheck “Show the day of the week.”

Enjoy :-).

Stop Motion Graffiti

datePosted on 14:13, May 14th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

MOTU–It’s simply stunning….Here is the non-embed link. Lots more background info on the production here.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Vista Network Blues…Repeated network disconnect

datePosted on 16:15, May 7th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

A lot of people seem to be running into weird network problems with Vista (MS’s latest abortion). The symptoms might include:

– Windows messenger issues (disconnects, slowness)
– Large network file copies get interrupted or are slowwwww
– Network file transfers that seem to hang for no reason
– Network ghosts turning on/off the network subsystem
– Routers having issues that lead to router reboot
– Outlook having synchronization issues

A possible solution is turning off auto-tuning. You see Vista being Vista, wants to always be in control, even when it gets on the network with others. MS has built a new feature into it’s network stack that allows Vista to auto-tune the size of the send/receive windows…..why would you want to do this by default when half the worlds firewalls discard non-standard packet sizes is a mystery (apparently only known to MS ppl). So guess what happens when the firewall downstream of you decides that your packets are “non-standard”……it drops them, along with your connection. So how do you fix this, simple, you do what MS should have done before they shipped you the abortion called Vista, you disable it. Here is how:

1) Get a command prompt in administrator mode. To do this go to Start/All Programs/Accessories and RIGHT CLICK on command prompt’s icon and choose “Run as Administrator”. On the next prompt press “Continue”.
2) Make sure the Title of the newly opened command prompt window says “Administrator: Command Prompt”, if not go back to 1).
3) Now type the following into the command prompt window. This will disable autotuning.
netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled
4) You should get a OK. in the command prompt window. REBOOT NOW.
5) If you need to turn it back on (why?) do the 1) and 2) and issue the following command
netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal
To check the status of this dumb setting (before or after you change it) do 1) and 2) and type the following command
netsh int tcp show global
Of course you could always reboot, format and install Linux and save your sanity and time :-)