Intel Ultrabook tweaks on Ubuntu 12.04

After upgrading my Toshiba Z830 Ultrabook to 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) I noticed that the ability to control the screen back-light was not working using the Toshiba Fn F6/F7 keys. Thanks to http://www.linlap.com/wiki/acer+aspire+s3 the solution was found quite quickly. sudo vim /etc/default/grub This will open the grub configuration file. (Grub is the initial boot selection software) To be able to dim the screen brightness, You've got to modify the line: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="" to these two lines: pcie_aspm=force GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="quiet splash pcie_aspm=force i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.lvds_downclock=1 acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor elevator=noop" Another neat tip: intel-gpu-tools can be used to control brightness from the commandline. # will set brightness at 50% intel_backlight 50 EDIT [2012-08-24]: to avoid issues on resume you need to add a script to the sudo vim /etc/pm/sleep.d/20_wakeup Add the following: #!/bin/bash case "$1" in suspend|hibernate) #do nothing ;; resume|thaw) echo 7 > /sys/class/backlight/toshiba/brightness ;; *) exit 1 ;; esac exit 0 Mark the file as executable sudo chmod +x /etc/pm/sleep.d/20_wakeup

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Disable the Guest account from Ubuntu Login Screen

Having a guest account might be useful on a home computer, but it's generally not what I want enabled on a notebook. To disable the default Guest account you need to edit lightdm.conf and add a line (allow-guest=false). sudo vim /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf [SeatDefaults] greeter-session=unity-greeter user-session=ubuntu allow-guest=false Tested in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin & Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

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Ideal OS for EEE PC – REVISITED

As a follow-up on a very old post I thought it's worth providing an update. Despite it's age (& only costing $350 at the time) my little Asus EEE PC 900 it is still a useful device. It has turned out as one of the better IT investments in my lifetime. However it's not (and was never) the fastest kid on the block and recent OS upgrades have become increasingly resource hungry. With the recent Ubuntu 12.04 LTS upgrade I was in the process of upgrading a few other notebooks and noticed that the release schedule for some of the Ubuntu variants (Kubuntu, Xubuntu & Lubuntu) has been brought in line with the main OS branch. So while waiting for the installs on the other machines to finish I thought about updating the EEEPC as well. I tried Xubuntu at first, but did not like the interface (and the default apps pre-installed) and there were hardly any performance gains. But installing Lubuntu was a different story. I am very impressed by the LXDE desktop environment and the UI performance. The responsiveness of the UI is remarkably better than other desktop managers on a small netbook. And you still get the underlying strengths of the Ubuntu (Debian) based package management in it's latest revision. That means most applications come packaged and there's PPA's for the rest. Looks Lubuntu's the new favourite. Hat tip to the Lubuntu maintainers and LXDE developers - excellent work in producing a no-frills but very functional, decent looking & usable…

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Installing Java6 JDK on Ubuntu 12.04

UPDATE: [01-May-2012] It appears that this PPA repo is currently broken (does not allow to get GPG key and has unmet dependencies on x84_64). It appears that the install on i386 systems does work anyway if you ignore the GPG key error, but I wouldn't install in that case as PPA installs are security risk enough without GPG errors. UPDATE: [11-May-2012] The reason the PPA does not work is that it has been disabled by Ubuntu due to a licensing issue with (not hard to guess) Oracle. Flexion.org have however created a script (hosted on Github) to allow the automated update of Java 6 for those who still require it as a dependency. wget https://github.com/flexiondotorg/oab-java6/raw/0.2.1/oab-java6.sh -O oab-java6.sh chmod +x oab-java6.sh sudo ./oab-java6.sh Hat tip to Martin Wimpress from Flexion ! UPDATE: [07-Aug-2012] Thanks to a comment from Pierre-Yves Langlois this seems to be the best method (uses the latest version of the Flexion script from Github rather than the version referenced above) sudo apt-get purge sun-java* #You need to do that if you want the mozilla plugin to work without conflict with java7 for instance. mkdir ~/src cd ~/src git clone https://github.com/flexiondotorg/oab-java6.git cd ~/src/oab-java6 sudo ./oab-java.sh Then when its finished, install java: sudo apt-get install sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-jre sun-java6-bin sun-java6-jdk You can follow the installation process with: tail -f ~/src/oab-java6/oab-java.sh.log Note: If you do not need Java 6 it's much safer to stick to the current Oracle Java 7 release. This is an update to the Java6 install on 11.10 since…

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Darktable – Photo Management under Ubuntu

Whilst I am by no means a photographer I do end up taking quite a few photos (these days pretty much exclusively on my phone) and the management of these photos can be a pain. So far I have never found an program worth the pain over plain old file management. But having stumbled across Darktable (http://darktable.org/) I think I might have found a worthwile package. Install on Ubuntu: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pmjdebruijn/darktable-release sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install darktable

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Bulk converting Office documents to PDF

When you need to convert multiple documents to PDF for distribution (or from one Office format to another) there are a few utilities around. The most workable I found is the UNOCONV utility which is build on top of LibreOffice / OpenOffice. This uses the OpenOffice conversion facilities rather than a simple PDF print driver. On Ubuntu it can be installed via Software Center or via apt-get from the core repositories. sudo apt-get install unoconv Combined with the -exec option of the Unix find command this makes conversion of whole directory structures a breeze. #find all Word Documents and convert to PDF find . -name "*.doc*" -exec unoconv -f pdf {} \; #find all Powerpoint Documents and convert to PDF find . -name "*.ppt*" -exec unoconv -f pdf {} \; To show all the possible conversion formats you can use: unoconv --show The following list of document formats are currently available: bib - BibTeX [.bib] doc - Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP [.doc] doc6 - Microsoft Word 6.0 [.doc] doc95 - Microsoft Word 95 [.doc] docbook - DocBook [.xml] html - HTML Document (OpenOffice.org Writer) [.html] odt - ODF Text Document [.odt] ott - Open Document Text [.ott] ooxml - Microsoft Office Open XML [.xml] pdf - Portable Document Format [.pdf] rtf - Rich Text Format [.rtf] latex - LaTeX 2e [.ltx] sdw - StarWriter 5.0 [.sdw] sdw4 - StarWriter 4.0 [.sdw] sdw3 - StarWriter 3.0 [.sdw] stw - Open Office.org 1.0 Text Document Template [.stw] sxw - Open Office.org 1.0 Text…

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Installing Samsung Multifunction Printer – Ubuntu 11.10

Getting Multifunction Printers to scan under Linux can be a bit of a pain. The Samsung SCX-3400 I had to install recently was no exception. Here are the necessary steps I had to perform: Ignore all Samsung Provided CD's and downloads. They do not work under Oneiric Ocelot (11.10) Add Samsung Unified Driver repository http://www.bchemnet.com/suldr/smfpv3.html Install Samsung drivers and libsane-extras Edit sane configuration files vim /etc/apt/sources.list #add the Samsung Unified Driver Repo deb http://www.bchemnet.com/suldr/ debian extra wget http://www.bchemnet.com/suldr/suldr.gpg apt-key add suldr.gpg apt-get update apt-get install samsungmfp-data samsungmfp-driver samsungmfp-network samsungmfp-scanner samsungmfp-configurator-data samsungmfp-configurator-qt4 libsane-extras The following sane config files need to be modified (add lines) /etc/sane.d/xerox_mfp.conf # Samsung SCX-3400 usb 0x04e8 0x344f /lib/udev/rules.d/40-libsane.rules # Samsung SCX-3400 ATTRS{idVendor}=="04e8", ATTRS{idProduct}=="344f", ENV{libsane_matched}="yes" The entries above are for the SCX-3400 model. To find the USB ID's for other models use sane-find-scanner Thanks to the following Ubuntu Forum participants for providing some the tips: http://forum.ubuntuusers.de/topic/installation-samsung-scx/

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Connecting to Cisco Small Business VPN from Ubuntu

Connecting to IPSec VPN gateways has always been one of the more painful things to do. Unfortunately Cisco is not helping by being extremely sluggish on making their utilities available on most recent OS revisions (you can't even get their QuickVPN client to work properly on 64bit Win7 yet). Operating System support outside of Windows seems to be pretty much non-existent (see https://supportforums.cisco.com/thread/2040595). Shame on you Cisco ! Option 1 - running QuickVPN under using wine Download the QuickVPN client http://www.cisco.com/cisco/software/type.html?mdfid=282414013&flowid=787 Install using wine wine setup.exe Copy the QuickVPN Client Certificate to the QuickVPN program folder and run cp RVS4000_Client.pem ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Cisco\ Small\ Business/QuickVPN\ Client/ cd ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Cisco\ Small\ Business/QuickVPN\ Client/ wine VPNClient.exe Option 2 - vpnc connection apt-get install vpnc openconnect  network-manager-vpnc  network-manager-openconnect Theoretically it should be possible to connect to the Cisco Small Business Routers using vpnc (& openconnect). However there is ZERO information from Cisco as to the settings and the QuickVPN utility seems to use some non-standard authentication and handshake mechanisms. I would love to hear from anybody who was able to connect using native (and standard) Linux VPN utilities rather than the wine hack above.

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Android 4.0 screenshot functionality on Galaxy Nexus

One of the features I missed since the good old Android 1.5 days was the ability to take screen-shots on the device. Prior to Android 4 (ICS) the only workable way to create screen-shots was to connect via USB cable and use the Android SDK to make remote screen-shots. On Android 4.0 all you have to do is press Volume Down Key + Power Key down at the same time and hold.  You should hear the camera click (if audio is on) and Android will show a notification that the screenshot was saved on your device and you can now upload or transfer to your favourite service.

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