Monday, June 21, 2010

Fixing Wireless Updated

Reader llenchikk left a comment stating that installing linux-backports-modules-wireless-lucid-generic would fix the wireless problem but for me it didn't. First I uninstalled the self compiled modules via 'make uninstall' and then I installed the backports package and rebooted but the wireless behaved as after the clean install. Even scanning is not possible.

Thanks to reader bash0 the current compat-wireless does compile again. He/She figured out a bug in one of the scripts and provided a fix in the comments of article Fixing wireless:

To solve that, you'll have to change one line in scripts/ It is written:
if [ $SUBLEVEL -lt 32 ]; then

I changed it to
if [ $SUBLEVEL -le 32 ]; then

It works for me and now I enjoy the latest bleeding edge driver. Thank you bash0.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Internal microphone workaround

I found a workaround for the internal microphone. The problem is that the current driver sees the microphone as a stereo device, so you have to make it mono. After the workaround it's usable but it has a lot of background noise.

1. Install pulseaudio volume control
sudo apt-get install pavucontrol
2.  Open it
Applications -> Sound & Video -> PulseAudio volume control 
3. Goto tab  'Input Devices' and select 'Hardware Input Devices' from the Show control at the bottom.

4. Unlock the stereo channels by clicking on on lock icon

5. Adjust one channel to zero and the other to 90% to 100%


1. Install Skype

2. Go to Skype's Options -> Sound Devices and uncheck 'Allow Skype to automatically adjust mixer levels'

3. Hit apply and make a test call

Kernel update 2.6.32-22

Today I've checked the ubuntu updates again and... voila there was a new kernel. So I downloaded the current compat-wireless to prepare for my wireless fix and I updated.

Wireless was still not working , so I compiled compat-wireless bleeding edge: compat-wireless-2010-05-05. Works. Interesting is that two finger scrolling works now on the mousepad. But honestly I fiddled so much around to have this working that I don't know now if it's because of my workarounds or the new kernel.

Is this working for you guys now? Please tell me.

Chromium doesn't drain battery

Well, as I said I filed a bug but soon I learned that I didn't think of the possibility that one of my extensions could be the reason. And so it was. My beloved google mail checker 'Google Mail Checker Plus" was the trouble. Since I uninstalled it chrome is running fine. I posted a report at the developer's forum.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chromium drains battery

I love google's chrome browser and since I found a corresponding extension to all my firefox addons I really switched to chrome. So I'm using it on my netbook, too. But recently I found out that chrome causes way too much CPU wake ups. I used powertop for the analysis rather than the battery applet's Processor information.

Idling, with chromium running, one page open (my blog):

And now compare with firefox. Also idling with only my blog opened:

As you can see firefox doesn't even appear in the list of processes waking up the CPU when idling. The CPU stays in the C4 state for 97.2% of the time, which is quite decent. But chromium wakes up the CPU 217 times per second and makes more CPU load balancing necessary, too. All in all it makes the CPU staying in C4 state 77.3 % of the time, only, which is very bad.

Well, that means that I'll be using firefox again. I guess I'll file a bug about that.

Well, as I said I filed a bug but soon I learned that I didn't think of the possibility that one of my extensions could be the reason. And so it was. My beloved google mail checker 'Google Mail Checker Plus" was the trouble. Since I uninstalled it chrome is running fine.

Latest compat-wireless works again

As reader Cliff Wells mentioned in his comment to the article Fixing wireless my solution works again with the current compat-wireless bleeding edge sources compat-wireless-2010-04-12 and the lucid kernel 2.6.32-21.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Panning screen at 1024x768

Sometimes I encountered the problem that I had a dialog on the screen which was too large for the display's native 1024x600 resolution. In windows the EeePC tools offer a panning mode that switches to a virtual 1024x768 resolution where the visible section of the screen follows the mouse pointer. So I thought it must be possible to do the same with xrandr. Some playing around with xrandr was a success. Searching for solutions of others led me to a convenience script:


function pan-mode {
echo `xrandr --prop | grep "current"`

function pan-enable {
echo Enabling VGA output
xrandr --output LVDS1 --panning 1024x768
function pan-disable {
echo Disabling VGA output
xrandr --output LVDS1 --panning 1024x600

### MAIN ###
case $1 in 
on)  pan-enable ;;
off) pan-disable ;;
status)  pan-mode ;;
*)   echo "*usage: $0 on|off|status"    ;;
Create an executable shell script in the bin dir:
  1. gedit ~/bin/panning (then paste the script into the file and save)
  2. chmod a+x ~/bin/panning
Now you can switch with panning on or panning off in the console.

If you want to make the panning default create or edit the file ~/.xprofile and add the following line to it:
xrandr --output LVDS1 --panning 1024x768
Next time you reboot or restart X the screen will be in panning mode.

Window Buttons to the right side

After install of lucid I thought c'mon give it a try with the left hand window buttons but now I have enough. I just can't get used to it. Some search led me to a nice page with screenshots of all needed steps. But it's so easy that for somebody who hasn't just started with ubuntu doesn't need such instructions. It boils down to some metacity settings:

  1. Fire up gconf-editor via ALT-F2
  2. Navigate to apps->metacity->general
  3. Change the value of button_layout to :maximize,minimize,close

In other words: just move the colon from the right side of the button names to left side.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Basic ubuntu improvements

In all my linux installations I usually do some 'hacks'

Standard dir for user scripts

Usually I create a bin directory in my home dir and I add this dir to the PATH.

  1. create the bin dir:
    mkdir ~/bin
  2. Edit the environment:
    sudo gedit /etc/environment  
  3. find the line export PATH... and add ':$HOME/bin' to the end of that line
  4. reboot
Now the shell will look for executable in the user's bin dir. So that is the place where you can move executable scripts and the like.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wireless speed tests

In the comments to my post sruchris said:
Using the wifi on my 1001p, I'm only getting 1Mb/s download. When I use the wired connection, I get 5Mb/s.
So I tried a little speed testing by myself. As I have no server machine, NAS or the like in my home network I used a test FTP server of my ISP. I used a 72 Mb file. The 1001p downloaded at 2.0 Mb/s. My Thinkpad T61 notebook using b/g wireless had about same. When using ethernet the 1001p does 3.8 Mb/s and the notebook 4.2 Mb/s.

I think that's not so bad. My wireless router is a Linksys WRT54G and due to my old cables I still have 100 Mbit ethernet.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Installing skype

Was super easy. I just downloaded it from skype:

Install by double clicking it in nautilus. Cam and audio worked out of the box. If there wouldn't be the internal microphone issue it would be 100% perfect.

Fixing wireless

Next big obstacle to overcome is the wireless driver. After some research I learned about three paths to follow:
  1. Waiting for lucid final
  2. Using the windows driver via ndiswrapper
  3. Compiling a ath9k driver from compat-wireless
Option one is not really an option as I want to have wireles now. The ndiswrapper solution might work well but I guess not as efficient as a native driver. The missing native driver support was already mentioned in a launchpad bug entry. So my first shot is compiling the driver by myself. Hey, it's linux and the source is with you. Actually it was quite easy. I got all information from

Get the current source tarball:

Unpack it somewhere in your home dir:
tar xvfj compat-wireless-2.6.tar.bz2

Change into the source dir, for example:
cd compat-wireless-*

Select the ath9k driver and compile it:
./scripts/driver-select ath9k

Install the driver:
sudo make install

Unload the old drivers and load the new one:
sudo make unload
sudo make wlunload
sudo make btunload
sudo modprobe ath9k

That's it. The only drawback is that you always have to do that again after installing a new kernel image.

Note: kernel 2.6.32-22 and compat-wireless-2010-05-05 works.

Fixing brightness controls

The brightness controls via Fn+F5 and Fn+F6 doesn't work properly. It's more like unpredictably cycling through various levels instead of going from brighter to darker or vice versa. The issue has already been reported:

I added "acpi_osi=Linux" to the kernel options and it worked for me. Although dimming when idle doesn't work and the on screen notification doesn't work either.

So I added the also "acpi_backlight=vendor" to the kernel options and now everything works. Auto dimming and notification, too.
  1. sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
  2. find the line starting with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT
  3. add "acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor" to the options
  4. sudo update-grub2
  5. reboot

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Installing lucid

Lucid looks so nice that I cannot resist and just decided to install it although it obviously won't work out of the box. The installation itself went very smooth. ASUS thankfully partitioned the disk in two visible partitions and one invisible which probably contains the recovery system. Then I shrunk the empty visible partition by 4 GB and created a swap partition in that space. I still think about installing 2 GB RAM, so I thought 4 GB swap might be good. So my partition table looks like this:
Number Start End Size Type File system Flags
1 32.3kB 85.9GB 85.9GB primary ntfs boot
2 85.9GB 149GB 62.7GB primary ext4
4 149GB 153GB 3999MB primary linux-swap(v1)
3 153GB 160GB 7345MB primary fat32 hidden, lba
Installing from the USB pen drive was quite fast. After reboot it came everything was the same as in the live system. So still no wireless and unpredictable brightness controls. But beautiful.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Booting lucid beta1

I prepared one of my 4 GB USB pen drives with the lucid-beta1 image. For that I downloaded the latest beta1 image:

To make a bootable USB pen drive I used the free windows software Linux Live USB Creator. It has quite a colorful UI but it is easy to use.

  1. Insert your FAT foirmatted USB drive and choose it. ATTENTION! it will be deleted.
  2. Click ISO and choose your downloaded lucid image. It will later prompt you that it is an unsupported image but it will work anyway.
  3. I didn't use any persistent storage.
  4. I checked format the stick and unchecked the windows direct launch option as I don't need that.
  5. Hit the flash and it starts working
Now reboot with the stick inserted into USB and go into the bios by hitting F2 when the machine starts up again. Goto the boot options and disable these options: boot->boot_booster and boot->boot_settings->quiet_boot. In the boot drive options make the USB drive the first device. F10 to save and exit. Now the ubuntu boot manger should come up.

Very helpful was this thread on the ubuntu forums: