Turning the Toshiba Z830 into a Ubuntu Ultrabook

EDIT: Here are some tweaks if you install 12.04 (Precise Pangolin). Since I will have to do a fair amount of traveling in the next year I was in need of upgrading my trusted workhorse of Toshiba Qosmio F60 to a more portable option that will be easier on the shoulders during long travels. After doing some research into which of the major manufacturers offer the best support for a Linux based Operating System it came down to a final two: the Intel i7 variants of Samsung Series 9 and the Toshiba Z830. Thanks to these sites for some useful content: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/HardwareSupport/ http://www.linlap.com/wiki/toshiba+portege+z830-10f http://blog.stevenocchipinti.com/2011/12/toshiba-portege-z830.html http://www.bestultrabooks.co/ In the end it came down to Toshiba having full-size VGA, HDMI and Ethernet connectors at the rear of the unit (no need for carrying adapters) and getting a very decent price rebate for the Toshiba. The first and only task in the included Windows 7 OS was to create a recovery USB drive using the Toshiba included utility (on the desktop). You need a 12GB USB stick (found out the hard way after buying an 8GB version with the unit on advice of the sales guy). After booting from a USB stick created from the Ubuntu 11.10 ISO (http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download) with Ubuntu Bootdisk Creator (or alternatively UnetBootin) I opted to wipe the whole SSD drive. If you are not sure that you want to stick with Ubuntu it might be safer to try running from USB or dual-boot. Note: you need to use the USB3…

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Using Blackboard Collaborate (Elluminate) on Ubuntu

Like it or not (personally I am in the second category) Blackboard Collaborate or Elluminate (as it is still more commonly referred to) is something you have a hard time avoiding if you work in online education. I discovered that I have audio issues on some Ubuntu Linux machines and found the following to fix the issues. 1) Install alsa-aoss apt-get install alsa-oss 2) Save the Elluminate Java Webstard (.JNLP) file to a local folder - DO NOT OPEN IN BROWSER 3) Launch Elluminate using this command (in the folder you saved the JNLP) aoss javaws meeting.jnlp Thanks go to all people involved in this forum thread: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1081899 EDIT: 1) This assumes you are already running Sun (Oracle) Java JRE not the default OpenJDK as apparently Blackboard Collaborate does not play nice with the default OpenJDK. I have described the install on 11.10 here. 2) Make sure you have updated the alternatives for javaws (install only sets the java alternatives). update-alternatives --config javaws    

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Ubuntu – create manual application launcher (Unity)

With every new release of Ubuntu I am becoming more resigned to the fact that the effort to revert back to the Ubuntu Classic (Gnome 2) interface is getting harder and sooner or later I will have to bite the bullet and learn to live with the ugly and more cumbersome Unity interface (specially since Gnome 3 seems to be even worse). One of the first issues I found is that there seems to be no easy way to manually add programs to the "Launcher" (as well as to the applications list). After some digging everything seems to be still via .desktop files in /usr/share/applications/ 1) Create the desktop file vim /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop 2) Copy the following into the file (Note: adjust application name and path) [Desktop Entry] Version=1.0 Type=Application Terminal=false StartupNotify=true Icon=/path/to/application/icon.xpm Name=Eclipse Comment=Programming IDE Exec=env UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0 /path/to/application/eclipse Categories=Application;Development; 3) Update the desktop database update-desktop-database UPDATE: According to this article: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2011/11/ubuntu-desktop-designers-clarify-on-configurability/ the Ubuntu developers have confirmed some more reconfigurability in future releases.

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Installing Java6 JDK on Ubuntu 11.10

UPDATE: To install on 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) you need a different PPA. Since sun-java6-jdk has been removed from the default Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) repositories you need to add a PPA repository (unless you want to install by hand) sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ferramroberto/java sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jdk sun-java6-plugin

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Back up Google Apps Mail using getmail4 + IMAP

Just a quick note on how to configure backups of Google Apps email to a local machine. Install getmail apt-get install getmail4 create config directory Create a subdirectory in users home folder (and change permissions) mkdir .getmail touch .getmail create config file Create a file such as .getmail/username.gmail [retriever] type = SimpleIMAPSSLRetriever server = imap.gmail.com username = username@domain.tld password = password mailboxes = ("[Gmail]/All Mail",) [destination] type = Maildir path = /path/to/storage/directory/ [options] # print messages about each action (verbose = 2) # Other options: # 0 prints only warnings and errors # 1 prints messages about retrieving and deleting messages only verbose = 1 message_log = ~/.getmail/gmail.log create data directories for storage Create 3 sub-directories in your designated data directory mkdir cur new tmp run getmail getmail -r username.gmail Whilst this is more a 'note to self' rather than actual documentation - maybe it's of use to somebody. Thanks go to Matt Cutts: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/backup-gmail-in-linux-with-getmail/ for the start.

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Running your business (mostly) on Open Source Software

The release of the latest Ubuntu Version has been seen by a number of commentators as the most end-user friendly yet and signals another milestone in the readiness of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for more widespread (and business) use. As a long-term user of a number of different Operating Systems and as SME Owner for the last 15 years I have overseen the gradual replacement of a number of proprietary software solutions with FOSS Alternatives. With the beginning of the new financial year however, we are planning to go another step further and are starting to change our default Operating System to Ubuntu (from MS Windows). It is worth pointing out that I don't have an issue with paying for software (after all we are partly in the software development business). We also happily pay quite a number of SaaS suppliers for their services (see list below) and support. My main issue is why I should pay license fees for standard software (i.e. Office Productivity Tools) when there is so many excellent community developed products out there that do the same (in some instances better, in some instances just adequate) job ? It is hard enough running a small business in the current climate. One major benefit of changing over to a web-based (FOSS) approach to our back-end systems has been the ability to operate from anywhere. This has dramatically increased productivity for myself as well as staff being able to work from home more often. This is…

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Installing Ubuntu: Extending the HP Touchpad

As one of those who grabbed a HP Touchpad at the recent firesale (after announcing the killing of the product line) I did it as in full knowledge that this device in it's current form is of limited use and (highly) unlikely to have lots of additional applications created for it. After casually using it for a few nights of use I am personally not surprised that HP decided to ditch this product. Compared to the current Tablet leaders the Touchpad is miles behind both Android and iOS and HP would have had to spend  serious money to even get close to the current functionality of the competition. And you can take a bet that both of these will not remain static. I was actually hoping that WebOS can be a serious competitor to the current duopoly, but after using this thing I have to say that it is not even close. However I still think the AUD149 I spent for the 32GB model are actually well spent. Since WebOS has always been a very open platform built on a Linux base I knew it would not be a major effort to run other Open Source OS's on this device. There is already a whole bunch of people working on a full Android port (see TouchDroid and XDA Devs). But since I already have an Android Tab (Samsung Galaxy Tab 7'') I am more interested in other alternatives at this stage. As a current Ubuntu user I started looking around and after comparing…

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Upgrade to Firefox 4 on Ubuntu 10.04

Since some older hardware (Toshiba Satellite A300 for example) has issues with the current version of Grub as well as the newer Kernel I still need to run 10.04 on some machines. However since the 10.04 Repository still uses Firefox 3.6 you need to add a PPA repo to upgrade to Firefox 4. Either go to Ubuntu Software Center > Software Sources and click the 'Other Software' tab. Press 'Add' and enter ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable After adding the PPA you will be prompted to update your sources. Once done you can head to System > Administration > Update Manager to perform an upgrade Alternatively you can do this via Terminal (Applications > Terminal). add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable apt-get update apt-get upgrade

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Install Handbrake on Ubuntu

Note: this has been verified to work on 11.04 (Natty), 11.10 (Oneiric) & 12.04 (Precise) To convert a DVD and make it viewable on your mobile device Handbrake seems to be the most useful tool I have discovered so far. Since it is not part of the default Ubuntu Repositories here is the installation process. The first step is to insure libdvdcss2 is installed sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk

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VoIP client for Ubuntu II

After upgrading to Ubuntu 11 (Natty) I did some further research on VoIP clients (SIP) for Ubuntu Linux as XLite seems horribly out of date now. I came across QuteCom (formerly WengoPhone) and from first testing it seems to work quite well. The install is easy as it's part of the Ubuntu Community Software (Universe) and that means it can be installed via apt-get, Software Center or Synaptic. So far the early testing has been very positive and the interface seems quite workable as well as having a number of other instant messaging options available.

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