19
Nov 12

A heart-felt goodbye

So, it finally happened. I had to throw out Ubuntu from a laptop and install Windows instead. My girlfriends laptop.

My girlfriend has a ASUS Zenbook ux32vd laptop. Don’t buy ASUS Zenbooks by the way: The marketing claims the laptop to be a top-of-the-line high-quality top-notch product but the reality is that it’s just what it looks like: a cheap knockoff product. The ASUS Zenbook is shitty both in build quality and Linux compatibility. This post will focus on the latter quality aspect of the zenbook.

At first, she really liked Ubuntu 12.04 even though she had to get used to it a bit first. Unity was pretty and usable. The quality, the usability, the user interface design wonder that is GNOME, was quickly appreciated. They’ve done it well on that front. Nobody beats GNOME’s user interfaces. They know their shit.

Everything’s FAST. Booting is fast, chromium is fast, Google Docs (sorry Libre/Open/ZealotsOffice, you suck too much) is fast, Chromium is fast. Everything’s so delicious-looking, responsive, and fast.

There’s no need for clunky virus protection, or getting harassed by “plz update me” popups from various apps, or fearing that she by accident installs some McAfee malware while installing Adobe Reader malware. Yes I say malware because those two really are malicious. The first is piggybacking on the second which allows other malware to further infect the machine.

But then the issues started. Whenever she’d turn on the laptop, there was an 80% chance that the screen was black. It’s a known issue but nobody knows whoever’s responsible and everybody who’s able to fix the problem is pointing at “THAT GUY” over there.

Chromium started crashing constantly. The fan just revved up to full RPM and never stopped (even though the laptop was idling). No solutions for both problems. She started being ashamed of her laptop, really regretting the expensive purchase, begging for a new one, envying all the lucky problem-free Mac users. Something had to be done.

Just like that, I backed up her home folder, wiped the entire disk, installed Windows 7. Even though the initial setup takes a little longer than Ubuntu (messing in command line to modify the system to use all hardware VS double-clicking ten installers to install drivers), the system works perfectly now. And it’s pretty. Too bad she lost out on the awesome GNOME UI.

Errata: It turned out that the cache SSD in the laptop was broken and unleashed all kinds of hell on the laptop. Yes, this little 24GB thing is what Ubuntu was installed on.


15
Nov 12

Printers

Fuck everything about printers. And printing.


26
Oct 12

Ubuntu 12.10 sucks horse cock

Ubuntu 12.10 is released. Acting like the happy big fucking idiot I am I decide to upgrade within a month after its release. I don’t know why I just have to ruin a perfectly fine system whose quirks I’ve finally learned to live with for an upgrade to newer Ubuntu, despite that it never fails to piss me off by being broken in dozens of quirky little ways, each a little different than last time.

Each of these many small problems is just a bit too small to warrant a post on it’s own but big enough that they end up being very distracting to me.

Binary nVidia Drivers

You can’t just install the drivers from a GUI anymore. They’ve removed that feature. You have to install the nvidia-current-updates package. But wait. If you do that, your Ubuntu machine is fucked. You have to first install the linux-headers-generic package. Because … I don’t know why and I don’t care why. It took me a good hour to figure this quirk out.

Update 06-11-12: Guess what happens when the Linux kernel version is bumped through an update? The driver stops working! Why? Because the linux-headers package is not updated together with the kernel. You see, they’re not listed as a dependency (even though it IS a dependency for the driver to work) so fuck you.

Also, completely by accident, I found out that there IS a GUI option to select proprietary drivers. I just wish somebody would have told me before.Screenshot of package source stuff selection thing

CompizConfig Settings Manager

I like to use the Compiz Put plugin. It’s a small plugin which can put a window to any place on the screen without resizing it. It’s feature is almost similar to the Grid plugin except I happen to think it’s nicer. I can press CTRL+ALT+ any key on my numpad to put a window to the corresponding placement on the screen. When I configure this in CCSM it turns out that not only does CTRL+ALT+NUM_5 center my currently selected window, but it also toggles maximization of that window.

Who the fuck uses CTRL+ALT+NUM_5 for maximizing a window? CCSM doesn’t inform me of the overlap in keybindings before I disabled then re-enabled the Put plugin in an effort to narrow down which fucking plugin caused this weird behavior. It turns out that was under General Options.

Once in a while, though, Compiz crashes and drops all my keybindings and customization. Just like that. Even after I’ve saved my settings, shut down the computer, booted it up again, it can decide to crash and drop my settings on a whim.

I tried making a backup of my compiz settings but when I search my home directory for anything compiz-related I get back a bunch of… everything other than what I’m looking for!

 

New Window

 

Each time I initiate a new application window, be it a browser, music player or terminal, the windows title bar is overlapped by the weird status/menu bar that Ubuntu has gotten since the change to the Unity interface. To move a window from there using the mouse I have to hit the hidden underneath window decoration that’s only four pixels visible. Since I’ve played a lot of shooters needing high-precision mouse aiming back in my day, it’s not so hard to hit it but I really have to concentrate to make it happen.

 

 

EDIT: Turns out this one was my own fault. I had disabled the Compiz “Place Window” plugin while trying to figure out which plugin was interfering with my above mentioned Put keyboard shortcuts.

Chromium Create Application Shortcuts…

… has stopped working, for some reason. I can see the .desktop files for my corporate webmail being created on the desktop but they are not clickable. On the odd chance out that a separate icon appears in the dash, it’s not usable and just blinks for a while then dies. What happened?

libMTP still outdated

I wrote a post not long ago about how libmtp for some odd reason could not help me doing the simple task of transferring files from my smartphone to my laptop using an USB cable. This was actually one of the reasons I wanted to upgrade: So that I didn’t get a fucking error every time I plugged in my insanely popular smartphone into a supposedly user-friendly operating system. Well the error’s still there and I still can’t copy a file from a phone to a laptop using a USB cable.

There’s probably more, but all this long ranting is proving to be therapeutic to my frustrations so this is all for now.


17
Oct 12

Ubuntu and MTP devices

The future is awesome, right?

Almost all USB-enabled devices nowadays use MTP to communicate with any computer device connected to their MicroUSB port. I like this. I really like this. It means that all my devices use the same cable for charging and transferring files. How awesome is that? I have MicroUSB cables laying around all over the house just in case I need to charge or transfer something right then&there.

This is the future kiddos. You won’t understand how awesome this shit is unless you personally have had to deal with the good old days where every company had a different charger and data transfer cable for each and every model of their phone.

Most phones didn’t have 3.5″ Jack plugs even! I still have a SonyEricsson phone from around 2008 that requires you to connect an ugly bulky.. thing.. to the phone before you can listen to music on it: Thereby making the device absolutely useless for that specific purpose.

Ugly SonyEricsson audio adapter

Is That A SonyEricsson Data/Charger-To-Audio-Jack Adapter In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Gone are the horrible days of incompatibility, gone are the pains of having to install special drivers from 150-megabyte install files from vendors slow support download websites just to transfer files! Say HELLO to a new age of Universal Serial Bus and the awesome connect-anything-anywhere AWESOMENESS!

NO WAIT! FUCK YOU

You can’t connect this device to your installed most recent version of Ubuntu! What the hell were you thinking? libmtp doesn’t recognize this specific devices Device ID and therefore there’s NO FUCKING CHANCE IN HELL you are allowed to mount it without downloading some fucking shady unproven code from some fucking repository and compiling it on your system and fucking up your software managements neat little arrangement here.

I’ve had this happen to me two times now. First with my Sansa ClipZip mp3 player and now with my Galaxy SIII phone. I require no fancy features from any of them, just simple file transfer.

Why can’t I have a simple fucking file transfer?

A strange sense of defeat washes over me as I … remember that it’s easier to send the files out to the fucking INTERNET and download them from there than to make a simple file transfer using a USB cable.

Welcome to the future!


14
May 12

Ubuntu 12.04 sucks donkey balls

I’ve installed Ubuntu 12.04 and have been running it on my awesome Thinkpad T520 laptop (Ubuntu Compatible even! A status I would revoke immediatly. Half of the hardware and features of the laptop are not supported in Ubuntu) since it was released. While I haven’t had any of the serious issues regarding the graphics card, Nvidia Optimus support in Ubuntu, or just general problems booting the damn thing from my SSD… I’ve been getting a lot of inconsistencies compared to the previous versions.

At first I opted to upgrade. I thought, everybody’s saying how well it works and whatnot. The upgrade process worked flawlessly, but I was missing a bunch of advertised features somehow. No privacy controls in the settings manager, my personal keyboard shortcuts meshed badly with the preinstalled ones, got crash reports all over the place. No big deal, I thought, my experience tells me anything short of a completely clean install will lead to disastrous results. I did a clean install, hoping it would give me a clean, neat, delicious LTS experience.

Oh how was I wrong. The first thing I do, is open the default Music Library/Multimedia Player app now changed for like the third time (seriously whats up with the flipflop guys? Just pick one and commit already!) which crashed. Then I got a bunch of crash reports. Then I tried to see what the crash was about. The crash reporter crashed. Crash crash crash.

It’s become better since I stopped trying out so many different things on my system. But at least once a day, I have to send a crash report to the Ubuntu dev team.

All flash videos have smurfs in them. I don’t remember when I last saw a Youtube video without smurfs in them. People on the net say something about Adobe stopping Linux flash development, but why the fuck did they push out a LAST version with a giant gaping bug in it?

If there’s a reason to dump proprietary shitty flash and replace it with open source alternatives, this is a perfect example of it! I really hope the world can get rid of Flash so we, on Ubuntu powered systems, won’t have to deal with the same shitty security flaws as the poor daily Windows users have had to put up with.

Did you know that at least half of infections on Windows happen because of unpatched Adobe software? I just pulled that number out of my ass, but I know it’s not too far from the truth.

Here’s for hoping the Ubuntu team pull their heads out of their asses and focus on the stability and reliability of Ubuntu instead of chasing after new features. At least this once.

PS. I won’t use Debian or Linux Mint or whatever. Ubuntu is, sadly, the least shitty Linux distribution out there. That’s why I keep using it even though I’m unhappy with some parts of it. In general, it’s a pretty good system which I like a lot, and I’m willing to put up with a lot of shit to keep using it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t serve shit back.


10
May 12

I fucking hate locales, fuck backwards compatibility, i want UTF-8 on everything *NOW*

If you’ve installed Debian or Ubuntu recently you’ve probably come accross this annoying error that spams every single fucking command you run:

perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
LANGUAGE = (unset),
LC_ALL = (unset),
LC_PAPER = "en_DK.UTF-8",
LC_ADDRESS = "en_DK.UTF-8",
LC_MONETARY = "en_DK.UTF-8",
LC_NUMERIC = "en_DK.UTF-8",
LC_TELEPHONE = "en_DK.UTF-8",
LC_IDENTIFICATION = "en_DK.UTF-8",
LC_MEASUREMENT = "en_DK.UTF-8",
LC_TIME = "en_DK.UTF-8",
LC_NAME = "en_DK.UTF-8",
LANG = "en_US.UTF-8"
are supported and installed on your system.
perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale ("C").

Googling for a fix, you get a lot of well-meaning people telling you to run dpkg-reconfigure locales or to install a bunch of packages (I want LESS shit to be annoyed at, not MORE), but none of the fixes really work. Except one. I’m writing this post because right now I’m working on a server and I can’t find the one fucking fix that worked for me.

This is a fucking bug and it’s annoying like fuck. It’s right up there with the blinking banner ad that tells you you’re the 1 millionth winner of some shit contest you never entered.


16
Mar 12

Got Outlook Web App Premium for Chromium/Chrome on Ubuntu working!

TL;DR: Skip the next few paragraphs until you see “The Fix”

What a shitty title, but you had to find my post somehow. At my work, we use Exchange for internal mail and calendar stuff, which is fine. In pastimes, I’d use IMAP clients like Evolution or Thunderbird to connect to our exchange server, and do mail like that… but as time went on I grew tired of how sloppy those mail clients are. I can’t pinpoint the exact grudge I have against them, except that it’s just multiple usability issues which ended up pissing me off and moving me to use Outlook Web Access, also known as OWA.

Being the techie guy that I am, I like to use bleeding-edge whatever of as much as possible. Chromium beta channel for Ubuntu, then. This fix works for any version of chromium/chrome on Ubuntu, so don’t worry. Anyway, the problem with this is that Microsoft only supports a heavily nerfed version of Outlook Web Access (they call it Lite) for Chromium on Ubuntu. For a long time I was OK with that: The bells and whistles of the Deluxe version were too much for me.. so I coped. But with time, it got to the point where that annoyed me as well.

The Outlook Web Access Lite client doesn’t make use of any kind of scripting or advanced features anywhere it matters! It’s all plain HTML for that client. You can’t select multiple mails at once (one click per email) or anything like that. EXCEPT: When someone sends you a file that Outlook recognizes. I’m specifically thinking about attached mail files sent from other Outlook clients. Then you’re in for a fucking treat. Web access suddenly FORGETS that it’s a dumb html web interface and employs advanced techniques intended to make it as fucking hard as possible for you to just get the plain file and let you view the message headers: No no no, that would be too much to expect. You’re supposed to view the file as an Email, in Outlook Web Access Lite. What fucking cuntface decided to make that mandatory? It is in no way possible to download the email file to your computer. Fuck that shit. If I’m forced to use fancy features anyhow, I’m gonna want to use them all at once. Which leads me to…

The Fix

Go to http://ip.nixy.dk?useragent and copy the second line to your favourite text editor. It shoud look something like this:

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/535.11 (KHTML, like Gecko) Ubuntu/11.10 Chromium/17.0.963.79 Chrome/17.0.963.79 Safari/535.11

Now change the part that says (X11; Linux x86_64) to be (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) and delete Ubuntu/11.10 (this could be different depending on what version of Ubuntu you’re running. Just delete it, for good measure)

Now go find yourself a User Agent Spoofer for your Chromium. I use this one, seing as it’s the first thing to come up in a google search. Go to the settings screen for the extension. Enter your custom User Agent in the list of Custom User Agents, and add your Outlook Web Access to the Permanent Spoof list.

You’re done! Go play with your fancy OWA. 🙂


15
Mar 12

nginx is actually quite good

I don’t know why, but I stumbled across an “nginx vs lighttpd” page … and remembered, oh yeah, i fucking love nginx. Meanwhile, lightly is alianating it’s users by some developer refusing to implement the most basic of features (separate error logging by vhost) because it’s “too hard” and refuses to do so for future versions, too.

Well, fuck lighttpd. nginx is awesomer.


15
Feb 12

MediaWiki upload features lacking

For a wiki software, MediaWiki is absurdly well-designed and polished. No wonder: it is THE wiki software of the internet. Everything just works – and works well.

With one exception: The upload features are, to say the least, lacking.

You are able to upload one file at a time, on a page entirely separate from the document you are editing.

It’s not possible to install any clever ajazy “Upload Image” button on the edit page. Oh wikia has one  (Special:MiniUpload), and has published the source code for it, but it looks like it’ll need some work before it can be used on a non-wikia mediawiki.

There is UploadWizard but it’s so wholly obsessed with DONATE FILES and CHOOSE LICENSE that I can’t use it in a corporate environment. Also I’m far from skilled enough to understand the php code needed to remove the superfluous elements of the extension.

What’s left is MultiUpload… I gues that’ll have to do.