LightZone on a netbook

Just a note (uhmm, from 4 years ago) about running LightZone on a netbook running Jaunty. Note that LightZone is back with version 4.1 (http://lightzoneproject.org/).

Automatically turn on the radio

I use my netbook mostly for playing music or the radio, using Banshee and the browser, e.g. Last.fm. I’d like to be able to turn on the radio with minimal fuss in the mornings. Here’s how I set it up so that it starts BBC Radio 4, i.e. I just press the power button and the rest is automatic.

  1. Set Ubuntu to auto-login
  2. Go to “Startup applications…” and add the command google-chrome --app=http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/bbc_radio_fourfm
  3. Bob’s your uncle

This assumes that the Google Chrome browser is installed. Other browsers should work similarly.

Upgrade to Ubuntu 11.10 on Acer netbook

I tried to upgrade my Acer Aspire One (AOA150) from Natty to Oneiric, but failed. So, I did a fresh install instead.

Upgrade experience: All seemed fine at first, but somehow the screen went black during the upgrade process and would not come back at all. There seemed to be some activity, so perhaps the upgrade was proceeding fine, but I had no way to tell. So I forced the computer to shut down, downloaded Ubuntu to a USB stick and started a fresh install.

Fresh install: Proceeded without a hitch. Obviously, everything on the computer was wiped out. This would have been a disaster on my main computer, but for the netbook it is fine because there is nothing personal on it, anyway. Only copying the music back onto it will take a bit of time.

Things to do after install: A couple of things to make it work the way I want it to…

Installing Google Chrome (not Chromium):
Download chrome installer, then…
sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_i386.deb
sudo apt-get -f install

…the latter to resolve some dependency issues with the browser.

Skype:
Installed skype from the software centre, but microphone wouldn’t work. Sound recorder could record fine, however.
To fix this, I installed pavucontrol, and changed the input to 10 on one side and 90 on the other (after unlocking the left and right channels).
This is explained here: help.ubuntu.com/community/SkypeTroubleshooting

Most built-in mics are mono. The default setting on the Input Control is to lock the R&L channel together. By reading the mono mic as stereo, PulseAudio cancels the input. Click on the middle button on the upper right of the control panel to unlock the R&L channel. Move either the left or right channel to 10 leaving the other channel about 90.

Autologin to 2D:
When setting Ubuntu to automatically login as a user, it defaults to Unity (normal, i.e. with compiz and “3D”). To speed things up, I want it to autologin to Unity-2D. Here’s how:
In the file /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, change
user-session=ubuntu to user-session=ubuntu-2d
.. as explained here: askubuntu.com/…/how-to-default-to-unity-2d-on-auto-login

Network:
Luckily the netbook is hooked up to the network by wire, otherwise connecting to wifi would require a password (very annoying when wanting to use autologin). I set wireless to NOT connect automatically.

Final note: I like that in the touchpad settings I can now set it to two finger-scrolling.

Partitions

Since it is always a bit of a headache getting the partitions right when upgrading, I am noting down here my partition setup for future reference – though it might change. I’m dual-booting with Ubuntu and Windows 7.

Partitions 500 GB hard disk /dev/sda (Master Boot Record)

  • DellUtility /dev/sda1 (41 MB, Hidden W95 FAT16 (LBA) (0x1e))
  • RECOVERY /dev/sda2 (16 GB, HPFS/NTFS (0x07))
  • OS (Win7) /dev/sda3 (107 GB, HPFS/NTFS (0x07))
  • 377 GB Extended /dev/sda4 (W95 Ext d (LBA) (0x0f))
    • Stuff /dev/sda5 mounted at /media/Stuff (268 GB, HPFS/NTFS (0x07))
    • 10 GB Filesystem /dev/sda6 mounted at /home (10 GB, Linux Ext4 (0x83))
    • 8.2 GB Swap Space /dev/sda7 (8.2 GB, Linux swap (0x82))
    • 90 GB Filesystem /dev/sda8 mounted at / (90 GB, Linux Ext4 (0x83))

Lucid Lynx

am a bit late, but have now installed Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx 64-bit (on a dell Studio 1747).

The installation went without a hitch, here are the major things I had to do afterwards. Actually, nothing major, mind you.

Wireless network: install required wired network, and then activating the Broadcom STA proprietary wireless driver ( > System > Administration > Hardware drivers)

Sound: No sound would play through the headphones. Solved by adding the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
options snd-hda-intel model=dell-m6
See also: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HdaIntelSoundHowto

…other issues and notes later.

MeeGo

Note to self:
Installed MeeGo on Acer netbook. Works fine.

Installed fluendo gstreamer stuff for MP3

http://forum.meego.com/showthread.php?p=1762#post1762

Mounting FAT32 partition automatically at boot

In Gutsy, all my partitions would be mounted automatically at boot. At the time I was thinking that I want that for my FAT32 partition, which I store most files on, but not for my NTFS (windows) partition, which I generally don’t need access to.

After installing Hardy, things have changed around and neither of those two partitions are mounted automatically. They mount when I choose them in the “Places” menu. That is good for the NTFS partition, but quite annoying with the FAT32 partition, as I have photos, music files, wallpapers, etc on there. Which means, to play a song I first have to click on the drive to mount it and then load the media player (banshee, or…). Also, my wallpaper doesn’t show up until I have clicked on (i.e. mounted) the partition.

So, after some searching, I found some instructions about how to edit the /etc/fstab file. This page here is quite useful among others: http://www.tuxfiles.org/linuxhelp/fstab.html

It seems that the fstab file has changed somewhat with Hardy, and the changes seem pretty difficult to understand for a newbie like me, but I decided to try it out following the somewhat older instructions. This is what I have done:

  • backup fstab: sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.backup
  • make a directory to mount the partition in: sudo mkdir /media/fat-partition
  • find out about my partitions: sudo fdisk -l
  • edit fstab: sudo gedit /etc/fstab
    …added the line: /dev/sda3 /media/fat-partition vfat defaults,nosuid,nodev 0 0
  • save and reboot

…I am writing this just before the reboot, so lets see what happens…

UPDATE: at first it seemed to work… but then it didn’t. I have postponed solving this issue until after the Intrepid Ibex upgrade. Perhaps it won’t even be there anymore.