Ubuntu 10.04 OEM Install Option is now F4 + Altnerate CD

September 8, 2010

So you can’t find the OEM install option on the 10.04 CD? I found it! I’m attempting to help a non-profit that many of you probably know in Portland and for once found a real reason to use. It did take me quite a bit of searching.

1. Burn alternate 10.04, 10.04.1, etc. to a CD
2. Select English or your choice of languages after booting the CD
3. Press F4 on your keyboard
4. You know have the option to select OEM Install
5. Select Install Ubuntu from the menu- and continue through the alternate install process

Penguin Air (1352)

September 4, 2010

Category Specification
Processor Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 / 1.4 GHz
Screen 13.3″ WXGA Glare type (1366 x 768) 16:9
Wireless 802.11N Atheros Wifi
Webcam Built-in 1.3 Mega Pixel Camera
Memory Supports (1) DDR2
Standard Warranty 1 Year Limited Warranty
Card Reader SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard
Optical Drive Optional
Graphics Intel GMA 4500MHD
Audio HD Audio, Realtek ALC888S-VC2-GR
Ports Internal Microphone x 1
Monitor (VGA) : 15 pin D-Sub x 1
HDMI : 1
USB 2.0 : 2
MIC-in : 1
Headphone out : 1
LAN jack (RJ45) : 1
Battery Li-ion 4 cell
Dimensions 330 x 224 x 26 mm
Weight JUST 3.09 lbs (with a 4-cell battery)

think@think-penguin:~$ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Memory Controller Hub (rev 07)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 4 (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev 93)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation ICH9M-E LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation ICH9M/M-E SATA AHCI Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 03)
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet
03:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR928X Wireless Network Adapter

Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1 53G 8.9G 42G 18% /

think@think-penguin:~$ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 1979 948 1030 0 159 386
-/+ buffers/cache: 402 1577
Swap: 2379 0 2379

think@think-penguin:~$ uname -a
Linux think-penguin 2.6.32-24-generic #41-Ubuntu SMP Thu Aug 19 01:12:52 UTC 2010 i686 GNU/Linux

think@think-penguin:~$ glxinfo | grep rendering
direct rendering: Yes

think@think-penguin:~$ glxgears
3010 frames in 5.0 seconds
2429 frames in 5.0 seconds
2382 frames in 5.0 seconds
2299 frames in 5.0 seconds
2270 frames in 5.0 seconds
2422 frames in 5.0 seconds
2927 frames in 5.0 seconds

Suspend to ram with 3d acceleration supported? YES!!!! Awesome battery life and the system can even handle HD content…

Web cam. Just press fn+f6 key to enable.

Wifi. Just press the fn+f8 key to turn on/off.

I tested every component above and they work as well as every other component on this laptop including: esata, usb, ethernet, svga output, mic, microphone input, and headphones, and the buttons to turn these on/off where applicable. The whole laptop works flawlessly out of the box. You can either use the shipping disc (Ubuntu 10.04) or a stock Ubuntu 10.04 from Canonical with this laptop and still get full support for the hardware. While I haven’t tested any other distribution the hardware is supported by free drivers and firmware. GNewSense should even have full support for it in the near future. As far as I can tell the BIOS is the only thing here that is non-free. You get a BIG Tux though when you turn it on. Read the rest of this entry »

Staples Virus Removal Fraud

September 9, 2009

Have you ever wondered how Staples can charge just $90 for a virus removal when a typical scan takes hours and most virus/spyware removals take multiple scans with different applications these days? Even then most tools fail.

I have a really simple explanation. Actual virus removals never happen. Staples outlines below the process to remove viruses and spyware from customers computers and the process fails miserably every single time. So what do Staples techs do in practice? They charge customers a low fee for a virus removal and then upsell when the removal fails. So instead of getting $90 customers get charged $100 for up to 10GB of data to be backed up, $100 for an OS installation, and $30 per software title that needs to be reloaded. Now- that is assuming the customers have made recovery discs. If they haven’t it is another $40. What is worse the non-tech employees are trained to bring computers in for diagnostics- which adds another $70 to the bill. I have no problem charging customers allot for service- but being dishonest about the charges really bugs me. Then they also attempt to sell you the same program (Norton) that didn’t pick up the vriuses in the first place.

Here is the evidence to prove it:

Microsoft propaganda handed out to Staples employees.

September 6, 2009

Microsoft propaganda handed out to Staples employees.

I thought I’d post these images of Microsoft’s propaganda they’ve been distributing to Staples employees.

Numerous lies like greater compatibility than GNU/Linux-when most of the older hardware won’t work with MS Windows Vista. GNU/Linux is compatible with more hardware than any operating system in history. It may not work with some of the latest and greatest-but for the most part it works better. I don’t spend 3 hours fiddling with installing my printer drivers. I plug it in- and it just appears as an option in whatever program I need to print with.

The learning curve for GNU/Linux is generally not as high as it is for MS Windows Vista. Unlike what they claim MS Vista and MS Office 2007 software which customers would buy if they got Vista is more cumbersome, has a reduced feature set, is slow, lacks important features like PDF support, and so on.

GNU/Linux has better support generally than MS Windows. GNU/Linux supports stuff out of the box whereas with MS Windows users hand to install lots of bloated software, drivers, and waste time figuring out how to use it. GNU/Linux on the other hand can generally be had without such support headaches. Once you’re introduced to shut down, applications menu, saving in different formats, and exporting to PDF it is just simpler.

Getting devices to work in MS Windows can require modification/and or troubleshooting. Hardware rarely works out of the box.

Microsoft want’s you to believe that GNU/Linux netbooks have a higher return rate. The fact is that some manufacturers screwed up their GNU/Linux introductions to customers and their particular return rates were higher. Overall GNU/Linux is on part with MS Windows.

S37S problems playing commercial dvds in ubuntu 8.04 solution

January 4, 2009

In order to play DVDs In Ubuntu 8.04 on the S37S notebook you need to set the DVD drive’s region (it appears).

Option 1: Purchase PowerDVD Canonical’s store, install, and then use it to set the DVD’s region. You can purchase this at

s37s sound volume very low when at full blast 8.04 & 8.10 solution

January 4, 2009

A patch was provided on the uptstreamed bug which resolves the issue. The issue seems to be that the 82801H (8086:284b) is really a rebranded mitac card but the driver doesn’t pick this up properly. This patch is included in Ubuntu now, but you have to append the following to your /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base:

options snd-hda-intel model=mitac

For those on older Ubuntu versions like Hardy, you’ll need to hand-patch your alsa-driver to gain the support. See the upstream bug at https://bugtrack.alsa-project.org/alsa-bug/view.php?id=3886 for details.

iPlayer, DRM, & OS Neutrality with BBC’s Head of Digital Media Technolog Anthony Rose

December 22, 2008

In your blog you wrote that the BBC “launched [the] BBC iPlayer back in  Dec 2007” followed with “But if you wanted to download our TV  programmes, well, that was PC only”. This leads me to wonder if you even  understand what a PC is. GNU/Linux operating systems run on different architectures. Like MS Windows runs on the PC so does GNU/Linux. It may even refer to a modern Mac today. Prior to this the iPlayer was not available for any PC operating system except MS Windows. Given this can you clarify what you meant?

Hi, thanks for giving me the opportunity to respond.

“PC only –> “Windows only” Re. the “But if you wanted to download our TV programmes, well, that was PC only” line in my blog, you’re absolutely right – that was a typo on my part – I did of course mean “Windows only”.

The second issue I came across in statements you have made recently was the iPlayer now being platform neutral. The iPlayer is clearly not platform neutral. The iPlayer depends on Adobe Air. Adobe Air  uses a restrictive license that prevents its inclusion or use on different platforms. The license does not allow you to modify the installer or distribute other related dependent files. While there may only be three well known operating systems today Toshiba is planning to support Solaris as early as 2009. Do you then plan to rewrite the iPlayer for Solaris or GNewSense which do not have Adobe Air support?

“Platform neutral” vs. “Cross-platform” I think you’ll agree that over the past 18 months we’ve made significant progress on making iPlayer cross platform, meaning that it works on a wide variety of platforms. We’ve gone from being Windows-only to now being accessible on the large number of platforms and devices shown at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/where_to_get_iplayer/

But you’d like us to go further, and not just have iPlayer available on these platforms, but also to make it open, in that end users, not just the BBC, can port it to additional platforms of their choice.

We’d love to be able to do this, and for some content (images, podcasts) we already do so. However, for video content where the BBC Trust and rights holders require content protection, it’s not currently in our power to be able to go that far, no matter how much we’d like to.

I think it’s safe to say that the heart of the disagreement between where we are today with iPlayer available on a wide variety of platforms and where you (and for that matter me too) would like us to be comes down to the requirement that we use DRM.

You mentioned that the BBC press office article on me suggested that I support DRM. That’s actually not the case. I’m here to deliver the best possible user proposition subject to the constraints that we need to live within. Back in 2001 music labels made their content available with a strict DRM requirement. Since my company wished to build a licensed music store, we had to abide by those terms. Cut to 2007 and much music is now available DRM-free – a huge improvement on the position in 2001.

Similarly, the BBC Trust has mandated a 7/30/7 day license window, and that requires DRM, whether I like it or not. Were this constraint to be removed, and rights holder agreements allow it, then of course we would love to embrace a DRM-free content deliver method – it would make our lives so much easier and provide for a better user proposition. But we have to work within the rules imposed on us.

In cases where ‘infinite availability’ is allowed, and rights holders allow, we do make our content available without DRM – e.g. radio podcasts (which, per my blog, we plan to make available for download in iPlayer Desktop, DRM-free of course).

Today we support a variety of DRM solutions including Microsoft, Adobe and OMA DRM, with others being evaluated. Yes, it is DRM, and like you we’d prefer that DRM wasn’t required. But until we’re in a world where we’re allowed to offer video without time restrictions the best we can do is to support a range of solutions that allows playback on as wide a variety of platforms as possible subject to available solutions.

The third problem I saw with the release of the Adobe Air iPlayer for other operating systems is that it doesn’t resolve the concerns of users over DRM. The BBC has made a number of contradictory moves in relation to DRM. A while back it was discovered that the iPlayer for the iPod for instance had no DRM. How can you justify releasing a player for free or open source platform with DRM and do the reverse for a non-free and restrictive device like the iPod?

In your blog you claim that DRM is neccessary. How can you make such claims when the iPlayer for the iPod contains no DRM? In your blog you explain some of the problems with releasing non-DRM content by putting the issue aside and blaming the BBC Trust and the industry. As far as I can tell nothing says that DRM must be used to restrict content for 7 or 30 days. Based on these requirements even an open source player could written to drop stored content after 7 or 30 days. While this may not prevent people from keeping content longer neither does DRM in practice. What DRM does is make it more cumbersome for legitimate users to access the content in ways protected under the law.

DRM-free content for iPod The 7/30/7 rights restriction imposed on us requires us to use DRM for Downloads – it’s the only way to disable content after it’s been downloaded.

On the other hand, for streaming the rights window is enforced by simply not making the stream available after the rights window has ended.

Accordingly, for streaming we do not currently need to use DRM, and indeed we make broadcast TV and radio programmes available as an unencrypted stream, and have been doing so for decades.

For on-demand, we make our content available for streaming using RTMP, RTSP, Real, Windows streaming and other means to support a wide variety of supported playback devices.

And, yes, it is possible to record those streams – you can freely record TV and radio broadcasts, for years it’s been possible to use various means to rip on-demand radio streams, it’s possible to crack Windows DRM, and it’s possible to use various programmes to rip our RTMP and iPhone streams.

Does the ability to rip our streams or crack the DRM we use make it right, or imply that the possibility of doing so implies that this is a legitimate use case. No. It simply means that some small percent of the population has circumvented a protection mechanism or delivery mechanism that we’ve been required to use to support playback on a given device.

Some people claim that the fact that DRM can be cracked means that the whole thing is pointless, and we may as well simply make all our content available in the clear. But consider this: We’ve all seen videos of thieves breaking into a car in 60s or less. We all know that it’s easy to pick any common lock. And yet we still lock our cars and our house doors when we go to sleep at night. Sure, a small percent of people have the skills to open that lock, but that doesn’t prevent us using the lock because it works 99.9…% of the time.

I anticipated this line of discussion, and I tried to pick up some of the above in my blog, but clearly this is going to be an ongoing debate.

We feel that we’ve made huge strides to being platform-neutral, but recognize that this is a journey, not a destination. We know that iPlayer Desktop doesn’t work on some Linux platforms. It also doesn’t work on all Mac and Windows platforms. In some cases that’s because of early release bugs, in other cases the issue is more difficult to resolve.

We’d love to get feedback and community expertise on the most widely used Linux and other platforms to support, so we can focus our efforts on getting iPlayer streaming and downloading working there. And, yes, to the extent that we’re allowed to make our content available in a fully open manner, we’d love to do that too.

Let me know how I can help.


Better battery life on the ASUS S37S Notebook in Ubuntu 8.04

December 19, 2008

1. Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal

2. sudo dpkg-reconfigure gnome-applets

3. Select Yes when prompted

4. Right click on the top panel and select Add to panel..

5. Select CPU Freequency Scaling Monitor from the list and click Add

6. Left click on the new applet and select Powersave

While I am unsure what effect this will have on the battery in Ubuntu other operating systems have gotten a 40 minuet boost with CPU freequency enabled. You may also want to get a 9 cell battery for this laptop given its short battery life. From my understanding this is available for the S37S.

Asus S37S Webcam Support in Ubuntu 8.04 & 8.10

December 18, 2008

Ubuntu 8.10 does not support the Asus S37S webcam. In order to get it working you need to follow the below directions or take it to a computer shop that will support it (since you have found this page already provide them these directions too so they know what to do).

1. Confirm you have the same webcam on your Asus S37S notebook. If you open up a terminal window by going to Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal and typing “lsusb” and hitting enter you should get a line with the following:

Bus 007 Device 003: ID 05e3:0503 Genesys Logic, Inc.

2. If you don’t then this won’t work. If you do then you’ll need to download the driver manually.


Note: I tested the gl860_2.6.27b.tgz driver with Ubuntu 8.10 and found that it worked. I tested the gl860_2.6.26e.tgz with Ubuntu 8.04 and found that it worked. I tested the gl860_2.6.27b.tgz driver with Ubuntu 8.04 and found that it failed during the installation.

3. Extract gl860_2.6.27b.tgz and open a terminal window from Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal

Go to the directory where you extracted the files to. For instance “cd ~/nvgl” without the quotes if you extracted the files to your home directory (/home/user).

4. Type “./install” and hit enter

When prompted to use the wizard (We have to set a driver flavour: use wizard [y]  /  choose yourself [anything else]) hit enter for yes.

5. When prompted to make a choice on the version (Please make your choice) enter “a” without the quotes and hit enter.

6. Applications -> Add/Remove…

7. Under All Available Applications search for “Cheese”.

8. Check the box to install and hit apply.

9. Once installed go to Applications -> Graphics -> Cheese Webcam Booth

10. If no error message appears wait a few seconds for the image to appear on screen of you! If it appears then the install worked.

11. Go back to the terminal window Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal and enter “sudo nano /etc/modules”. You will be prompted for your administrator password.

12. Add “gl860” to the bottom of the list and hit the control key (Ctrl) and x keys simlitainisiously to save and exit. When prompted to save hit y, then hit enter.

Your computer will now load the webcam driver every time the system boots.

Add an auto incriment field to an OpenOffice 2.4 & 3.1 document on Ubuntu 8.04, 8.10, 9.04, 9.10

October 27, 2008

Ubuntu 8.04 includes OpenOffice 2.4. It is however missing some packages we need. Here is how to install the package we need:

1. System -> Administration -> Sysnaptic Package Manager

2. Settings -> Repositories

3. Select the Updates tab and check “Recommended updates (hardy updates)”

4. Edit -> Reload Package Information

5. Edit -> Search

6. Search for “openoffice.org-evolution”

7. Click on the openoffice.org-evolution package and select “Mark for Installation”

8. Click “Mark” when prompted for marking additional required changes

9. Edit -> Apply Marked Changes

10. When changes have successfully been applied click Close.

11. File -> Quit

Before following directions at the linked address users should be aware that OpenOffice.org Word Processor in Ubuntu is the same as OpenOffice.org 2.x Writer.

12. Applications -> Office -> OpenOffice.org Spreadsheet

13. In cell A1 enter 1001 or whatever number you would like to start the range with

14. Move the cursor to the right corner of the cell, you will get a cross

15. Hold down the mouse and drag the cursor down until you have enough numbers

16. File -> Save As

17. Enter a file name and select ODF Spreadsheet

18. Open or create a document that you would like to insert the auto-incrementing number

19. Insert -> Fields -> Other

20. Select the Database tab

21. Select Mail merge fields

22. Click Browse…

23. Select the ODF spreadsheet file you just created and saved

24. Click on the + sign for the new database that was added

25. Click on the sheet

26. Click on the number

27. Click Insert

28. File -> Print

29. Answer yes to “Your document contains address database fields. Do you want to print a form letter?”

30. Click ok

31. Click ok for the mail merge

32. Select the printer and click ok, or select print to file to test it (you can then open the file you created and see the auto incrimented numbers in your document)