Middle Mouse Scrolling in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | No Comments »

For this release, Ubuntu switched away from hal/udev  and went back to the old xorg configuration (I like this much better). There have been improvements and changes to the xorg.conf since we last used it (8.10 wow that’s been a long time!)  so now instead of putting everything in one giant /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and risking a single typo from breaking your x-server, we can put files in xorg.conf.d . This splits up configuration files so they can be more easily organised.

Here are the steps to get the middle-mouse scrolling again in Ubuntu 10.04, the Lucid Lynx. This should work for just about every thinkpad, and this same procedure will work in any Linux operating system using the xorg.conf.d method (if the /usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d/ folder doesn’t exist, then your distro is probably not using this method).

Begin by opening a terminal, and editing/creating the configuration file:
sudo gedit /usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-thinkpad.conf

Now, paste in the following contents:
Section "InputClass"
Identifier "Trackpoint Wheel Emulation"
MatchProduct "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint|DualPoint Stick|Synaptics Inc. Composite TouchPad / TrackPoint|ThinkPad USB Keyboard with TrackPoint"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
Option "EmulateWheel" "true"
Option "EmulateWheelButton" "2"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "false"
Option "XAxisMapping" "6 7"
Option "YAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "EmulateWheelTimeout" "200"

you’ll probably want to delete and re-type all of those quotation marks, I don’t trust wordpress’ “code” tags to keep those straight. Then you’re ready to save and close the file. A quick restart of X (reboot your computer, or ctrl-alt-backspace if you enabled that in System > Preferences > Keyboard > Layouts > Options > Key Sequence to Kill the X Server > check the box. )

The line “EmulateWheelTimeout” is not absolutely necessary, but it does help prevent things from being randomly pasted everywhere whenever you try to scroll (for some reason people think it is funny to automatically map middlemouse to “paste”).

Sources: http://www.eastwoodzhao.com/thinkpad-middle-button-scroll-ubuntu-linux-10-04-lucid-lynx/
http://blog.aliencam.net/articles/ubuntu-9-04-setup-guide/ (yes, I just cited myself.)


Wacom CPL Config in Karmic

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | No Comments »

to stylus > tool buttons > then set “button 2” to “right” and “button 3” to middle.

The wacom control panel setup in Ubuntu 9.10 is, of course, different from what it was in 9.04, moving closer to what it was in 8.10…

anyway, wacomcpl is a very useful tool for changing settings and recalibrating your wacom tablet, and the “touch” is miscalibrated by default with a karmic install, so this is necessary to get much use of “touch”.

start by installing wacomcpl:
sudo apt-get install wacom-tool

now, create the wacom configuration file:

sudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/wacom.fdi

and paste in the following content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!-- -*- SGML -*- -->
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
<match key="input.x11_driver" contains="wacom">
<match key="input.x11_options.Type" contains="stylus">
<merge key="info.product" type="string">stylus</merge>
<match key="input.x11_options.Type" contains="eraser">
<merge key="info.product" type="string">eraser</merge>
<match key="input.x11_options.Type" contains="touch">
<merge key="info.product" type="string">touch</merge>

save and close, reboot your computer, and run wacomcpl by hitting alt-f2 and entering “wacomcpl”. From here you can change settings or calibrate as you wish.

Now, I like the button on the side of the stylus to be right-click, so go to stylus > tool buttons > then set “button 2” to “right” and “button 3” to middle.

sorry if this isn’t as coherent, wrote this entry really quick as a response to a comment. let me know if anything needs clarification, or if it doesn’t work.

Raw Configuration Logs 1

Posted in Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | 3 Comments »

I was very disappointed in my post release schedule for the previous version of Ubuntu (9.04 Jaunty). I didn’t get most of my posts done until 3 or 4 months after the OS had been out… I vow not to do that again. Part of the way I’m going to do this is to post my raw daily configuration logs. Seasoned linux users, and even some novices, should be able to follow these if they really need to get something done, but now nobody will have to wait for me to get my act together and write a real post.

Here is what I have done as of 3:00PM on Saturday, Oct 31, 2009 (approaching 24 hours after I started the install).

Programs Installed:


deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
install the key (hightlight, right-click, use fireGPG to import the key)


CTRL-ALT-Backspace: ————–

Select “System”->”Preferences”->”Keyboard”
Select the “Layouts” tab and click on the “Layout Options” button.
Select “Key sequence to kill the X server” and enable “Control + Alt + Backspace”.

Gnome-Do: ———————–
open do (win-space), click arrow key in top right> preferences
General > check “start Gnome Do at Login” and “Hide Window on First Launch (quiet mode)”.
Appearence > Theme > select “mini”
Plugins > select (addtionally to the defaults) “files and folders”


system>preferences>appearence>interface check “show icons in menus”

system>preferences>appearence>fonts select “best contrast” rendering

system>preferences>appearence>fonts >details change “resolution: 96” to “72 dpi”

right-click on panel >properties>size> change 24px to 19 px.


sudo apt-get install window-picker-applet maximus
startup applicatoins: “maximus -m”
add “window picker” to panel
right-click window picker (the lines on the left) preferences, uncheck “show windows from all workspaces”.
in “startup applications, edit “maximus” and change the command to be “maximus -m”

remove bottom panel remove menu bar, add main menu, trash bin, cpu frequency monitor, workspace switcher, remove firefox and help shortcut icons

sudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/mouse-wheel.fdi
paste in and remove the spaces after the < : < match key="info.product" string="TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint">
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheel" type="string">true< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelButton" type="string">2< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.YAxisMapping" type="string">4 5< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.ZAxsisMapping" type="string"> 4 5< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.XAxisMapping" type="string">6 7< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.Emulate3Buttons" type="string">true< /merge>
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelTimeout" type="string">200< /merge>
< /match>



adblock plus (select the default filter)

about:config broswer.search.openintab > true
middemouse.paste > false

right-click, uncheck “bookmarks tookbar”

Restored Items:

encryption keys (just drag into seahorse program)

FSPOT RESTORE:———————————————
restore “photos” folder
overwrite the ~/.config/fspot folder (that has the fspot.db in it)

To Do:

investigate AppArmor Firefox (ubuntu technichal overview)
try: http://tpctl.sourceforge.net/configure-trackpoint.html

Ubuntu Setup Guide Part IX.Shortcut keys

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | No Comments »

This is a really short section, and should be put in the “customizing Gnome’s Look & Feel” area.

The Gnome “Keyboard Shortcuts” editor does not always work, for example, you cannot set any Super+___ shortcut keys using that, so unfortunately, we must once again use the Compiz Commands Plugin.

Open “compiz control settings manager” (if you don’t already have it installed do: sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager)

click the “Commands” plugin (it should be at the very top) and enable it if it is not already enabled.

Now in the “Commands” tab, enter whatever command you want to launch (pick any unused number, it does not matter which)

Now, switch to the “Key Bindings” tab. Here is where you will record what key combination you want to launch the command. Click the word “Disabled” then check the “Enabled” checkbox on the window that comes up. Once you click “Grab Key Combination,” the next key combination you press will be recorded.

The combinations that I have set both launch an open terminal window, but since I have two different terminal profiles (one with a transparent background, and another with green text on black background for high-contrast), I want one shortcut to launch each profile.

In the “Key Bindings” I have “XF86Launch1” (ThinkVantage button) as “Command 0” and “Super_L+Tab” (windows key+ tab) as “Command 2”.

In “Command” I have Command 0 set to:
gnome-terminal --window-with-profile=Terminal
(the word “Terminal” being the name of my high-contrast terminal profile)
and Command 1 is set to:
gnome-terminal --window-with-profile=Transparent
(“Transparent” is the name of my transparent profile)

That’s all, as soon as you close out of CompizConfig the settings should take place.

Setting the Windows (Super) Key to open the Main Menu:

If you want the Windows (or Super) key to open the main menu, you can set it up, but the problem with this is once the shortcut key is set, you can’t use any other shortcuts with the Super key (I use it for lots of things already, so when I realized this, I had to disable it).

For this one, you actually have to use the gnome “Keyboard Shortcuts” editor (correct me if I’m wrong please). So, first (and only!) step is to open that up (System> Preferences> (Input>) Keyboard Shortcuts)
Under the “Desktop” header, find “Show the Panel’s Main Menu” click on the “Alt+F1” on the right, then hit the Super key.

Unfortunately, this removes the alt-f1 shortcut that many people are used to… I don’t know how to have both set at the same time.


UPDATE: 08.29.2009 I have moved this into the “customizing Gnome’s Look and feel” post in the full setup guide.

Mathematica 7.0+ in Linux >2.6.27

Posted in Guides, Life in General, Linux, Lists, Ubuntu by aliencam | 3 Comments »

There is a major usability problem in Mathematica 7.0.0 in any linux distros using a kernel newer than version 2.6.27.  This includes Jaunty, and it will be any other new distros.  The problem is on Mathematica’s end, but Wolfram has offered a fix for the issue.

If you are using Mathematica 7.0.1, then you do not need this fix. ASU only offers 7.0.0 to us though…

First, download the following files to your desktop:





Now, open a terminal and enter the following commands (a $ means a new command, don’t actually type that..)

$ cd ~/Desktop

$ sudo mv ./libML32i3.so /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Libraries/Linux/

$ sudo mv ./libML32i3.so /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Libraries/Linux-x86-64

$ sudo mv ./libML64i3.so /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Libraries/Linux-x86-64

$ unzip ./JLink.zip

$ sudo mv /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Links/JLink /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Links/JLink-bak

$ sudo mv ./JLink /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Links/

Thats it, now Mathematica runs nicely!

Source: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1136142

Installing Firefox 3.5 In Ubuntu (completely)

Posted in Guides, Linux, Ubuntu by aliencam | 3 Comments »

Firefox 3.5 came out a few days ago, and I always want to have the most updated version of everything. It won’t be in the Ubuntu repositories until 9.10 is released.

First step is from Lifehacker, it downloads and unpacks the file from the firefox website.

Open a terminal window and enter:
wget -O - http://releases.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/3.5/linux-i686/en-US/firefox-3.5.tar.bz2 | tar xj -C ~

Now, this shouldn’t overwrite firefox 3.0, but we need to move it to the mozilla folder, so use the following command:

mv ~/firefox/ ~/.mozilla/firefox3.5/

Now, make a symbolic link to firefox 3.5 in the equivalent of a “programs” folder (/usr/bin in Ubuntu):
sudo ln -s ~/.mozilla/firefox3.5/firefox /usr/bin/firefox-3.5

NOTE: you may only have one version of firefox open at one time. To open Firefox 3.5, you must completely close all other versions of firefox.

Now to set the firefox icon to the new firefox program (when opening in gnome-do and if you make a panel shortcut) open your home folder, hit ctrl-h (to show hidden files), go to .mozilla/firefox-3.5, right-click on the “firefox” in there, go to “properties” then left-click on the icon (top left corner). Now go to Pixmaps on the left (or /usr/share/pixmaps) and select firefox-3.0.png.

Now, there are a few ways to set up a shortcut to open firefox. One of the easiest is to add it to the program menu. Open the menu and go to System > Preferences > (Display >) Main Menu. Now open the “Internet” section (in the left column), and create a “New Item” with name: Firefox 3.5, command: firefox-3.5, and once again, the icon should be /usr/share/pixmaps/firefox-3.0.png.

Another method is, if you use gnome-do, just open it (alt-space) and when you start typing “firefox,” hit the down arrow and select “Firefox 3.5” (I think this only shows up after a restart, or if you add the firefox 3.5 menu item above).

Firefox 3.5 has some interesting quirks though. Flash will not work for it unless you copy your plugins into it.

In Ubuntu though, you need to copy plugins for multiple locations. Use this set of commands to copy all the plugins:
cp /usr/lib/flashplugin-installer/libflashplayer.so ~/.mozilla/firefox3.5/plugins/ && cp /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/* ~/.mozilla/firefox3.5/plugins/

you also need to disable the strange middle-mouse behavior in 3.5. go to about:config in firefox, click the “I’ll be careful I promise!”, and go to: middlemouse.contentLoadURL and if it is true, double-click on it to make it false.

the only thing I have yet to figure out is why all the fonts in firefox 3.5 seem to be blurry, while 3.0 was perfect… To me it is like the difference between subpixel smoothing and high contrast font rendering modes… see the screenshots below. (left is non-blurry firefox 3.0, right is blurry firefox 3.5)

UPDATE: There were a few forum topics about this issue, but nobody had a definitive solution. Many possible solutions, but many of them were kind of strange, and many did not work.

Here is what worked for me:

open a terminal, and this first step is a backup just in case the next step messes up your system’s fonts.

sudo cp /etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf /home/$USERNAME/Desktop/
sudo cp /etc/fonts/conf.d/10-no-sub-pixel.conf /home/$USERNAME/Desktop/

Now, the files were just copied to your desktop, here are the next two commands:
sudo ln -s /etc/fonts/conf.available/10-hinting-medium.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d/.
sudo ln -s /etc/fonts/conf.available/10-sub-pixel-rgb.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d/.

And finally, you need to reset fontconfig:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig

Once this finishes, restart Firefox to see the new fixed font rendering engine! You should also restart your computer to ensure that removing those files did not do any harm. If you restart and you can still see text, then you are okay to:
sudo rm /home/$USERNAME/Desktop/10-hinting-slight.conf /home/$USERNAME/Desktop/10-no-sub-pixel.conf

Now you are finished!

Ubuntu Setup Guide VIII. Wacom Tablet Config & Rotation

Posted in Linux by aliencam | 7 Comments »

The tablet on the X61t is amazing. Unfortunately, not everything works out of the box. This guide goes through setting up most of the tablet-related things on the x61t.

what doesn’t work:  wacom cpl and all of it’s configurations, screen rotation, touch (kind of works, but it needs the wacomcpl configurations that don’t work), the “eraser” button, the rotation hotkey,

First thing you need to do is make sure you have wacom-tools and xserver-xorg-input-wacom installed:

sudo apt-get install wacom-tools xserver-xorg-input-wacom

Now, we run into a roadblock.  Ubuntu 9.04 does something strange with the names of each device, so if you go and try to use any of the utilities that were just installed (wacomcpl and xset wacom being just a few of what is included in the above), it can’t find the actual input devices.  In order to remedy this, we need to install a short script from the Ubuntu forums.

Open a root text editor (alt-f2 then enter “gksu gedit”, or type that into a terminal) and paste in the following content:

# wacom-names script by Roger E. Critchlow, Jr. (4-12-09)
# modified by gali98/Favux (4-14-09)
# Obtained/shortened by aliencam (aliencam.net) from:
# http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=7068115#post7068115
#! /bin/sh
## find any wacom devices
for udi in `hal-find-by-property --key input.x11_driver --string wacom`
type=`hal-get-property --udi $udi --key input.x11_options.Type`
## rewrite the names that the Xserver will use
hal-set-property --udi $udi --key info.product --string $type

Now save it in /etc/init.d/ as “wacom-names”

Close gedit, and in a terminal, enter:

sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/wacom-names

now you must make sure the file is at /etc/init.d/wacom-names before you do the next step, otherwise you’ll have problems booting, and could run into some other fun issues. Do this by actually going to the file explorer  (Places > Computer > Filesystem)  and looking for the file “wacom-names” in /etc/init.d.   (or type find /etc/init.d/wacom-names into a terminal and make sure it returns “/etc/init.d/wacom-tools” )

One more check, and “ls -l /etc/init.d/wacom-names” in a terminal should return “-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 508 2009-06-27 00:50 /etc/init.d/wacom-names”    (with a different date and time of course)

Now, back in the terminal, the following line sets the script to run after HAL, but before X, meaning that before X even sees the devices, they are correctly named:
sudo update-rc.d wacom-names start 27 2 3 4 5 .

then it should return something similar to:

update-rc.d: warning: /etc/init.d/wacom-names missing LSB information
update-rc.d: see <http://wiki.debian.org/LSBInitScripts>
Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/wacom-names ...
/etc/rc2.d/S27wacom-names -> ../init.d/wacom-names
/etc/rc3.d/S27wacom-names -> ../init.d/wacom-names
/etc/rc4.d/S27wacom-names -> ../init.d/wacom-names
/etc/rc5.d/S27wacom-names -> ../init.d/wacom-names

the “Missing LSB information” line is nothing to worry about for these purposes.  LSB Information is a line in the file that is supposed to say what the dependencies for the file are, making sure that it is executed in the correct order. We added it to run in S27 in levels 2, 3, 4, and 5, so it should be fine. I wonder though if this will slow down boot time (this will be analyzed and addressed if necessary in one of the next sections) (UPDATE: it does not seem to adversely affect boot times.)

After restarting the computer, test this by entering “xsetwacom list” into a terminal, it should list the available wacom devices now. You can then use the “wacomcpl” (wacom control panel) to configure the tablet devices.

One thing I noticed was that after enabling the script, kerneloops reports a kernel bug every reboot and every time I resume from suspend/hibernate. It doesn’t seem to cause any real problems, but I would like to find out what is going wrong and how to fix it.

if you need to remove this script from startup, simply enter this command into the terminal:
sudo update-rc.d -f wacom-names remove

then delete the actual file with this command:
sudo rm /etc/init.d/wacom-names

SOURCES for wacom-names guide:

Once you have the devices renamed properly configure touch by pressing alt-F2, and entering “wacomcpl”. You then need to click the “touch” device in the list, and select “Calibrate”. Then press the center of the pink selected box (first in the top left corner, then the bottom right) and it will recalibrate the touch device.

You also probably want to set the button on the stylus to be right-click, and the back button to be middle. To do this, in wacomcpl go to the “stylus” device, click “tool buttons”, and change “Button 2” to “right”. Then hit “Okay” and close wacomcpl.

Keeping Configuration After Reboot

Now, if you have a problem loosing the calibration every time you restart the computer (I do), the following steps will save your configuration between reboots.

first, you need to edit the .xinitrc file in your home directory. Open a terminal and enter:
gedit ~/.xinitrc

Now, put a # before the line “. /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc” Save, and close. Now, you need to set this file to run on startup. Open System > Preferences > Startup Applications, and create a “New” entry.

Name it something you will remember, I chose “Wacom Config”
The command should be:
sh /home/$USERNAME/.xinitrc
and for a comment, I put “Sets wacom tablet configuration on boot.”

Now, just configure your wacom tablet settings as normal with wacomcpl (see above) and the settings will be saved.

UPDATE: (July 26, 2009) A recent update fixed the problem that was making this necessary.  If you did this fix and all of the sudden your configuration stopped working, just go into the System> Preferences > Startup Applications  and disable or delete the .xinitrc launcher that was created (the wacom configuration setting).

Screen Rotation Script

Screen rotation is one of the things I am most asked about with the X61t. Unfortunately, you can’t use the standard display control panel to rotate the screen because then the tablet input will not be rotated. Fortunately, this is a very easy fix once you have applied the wacom-names script (detailed above in this guide.)

This particular script rotates the screen clockwise 90 degrees every time you run it, so if you want the screen to be facing the right, you will have to run it three times, left is just once, inverted is twice, and four times to get it back to normal. I chose not to do an automatic rotation script because those use CPU cycles, and significantly decrease battery life. If you want automatic screen rotation see https://help.ubuntu.com/community/X61T#Setup%20Automatic%20Screen%20Rotation

First, create a new file for the rotate script in your home directory:
gedit ~/.rotate

Now, paste the following content into the empty rotate file, then save and close gedit:

#Screen Rotation Script by aliencam (http://aliencam.net)
#This script will only work if your Xserver has the correct tablet device names
#follow the guide on http://blog.aliencam.net/articles/ubuntu-9-04-setup-guide/
#! /bin/sh

orientation=`xrandr -q | grep “LVDS”| awk ‘{print $4}’ | sed ‘s/[^A-Za-z]//g’`
if [ “$orientation” = “normal” ]; then
/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation right
xsetwacom set stylus rotate CW

if [ “$orientation” = “right” ]; then
/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation inverted
xsetwacom set stylus rotate 3
if [ “$orientation” = “inverted” ]; then
/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation left
xsetwacom set stylus rotate CCW
if [ “$orientation” = “left” ]; then
/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation normal
xsetwacom set stylus rotate

/usr/bin/X11/xrandr –orientation normal
xsetwacom set stylus rotate


If you want the code formatted correctly (wordpress removes all my tabs and whitespace!) download the file here: http://cameronkopas.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/rotate.txt into your home directory, and rename it from “rotate.txt” to “.rotate” (the “.” before the filename makes it a hidden file)

Now, we have to  make the file executable:

chmod +x ~/.rotate

At this point, you are ready to run the script. You can execute it by clicking on it in your home folder, but since we made it hidden it is more likely that you want to set a shortcut to execute the file. In the past, I have had a button on the panel at the top that I could click to rotate the screen, but now I realize that it would be much better (and space-conserving) to simply use the rotate screen button on the tablet itself.

If you still want to have a button on the panel, right click on an empty space, select “Add to panel” (you might have to move something to get empty space) then add a “Custom Application Launcher”, making the command “/home/$USERNAME/.rotate”

To set one of the tablet hardware buttons to be a shortcut key, you first have to find out it’s keycode. To do this, open a terminal and launch the program “xev”

Then move your mouse over to close the window that it spawns, but don’t close it yet. When your mouse is in position, press the tablet rotate button and you should get something like the following:
KeyPress event, serial 32, synthetic NO, window 0x4a00001,
root 0xaa, subw 0x0, time 1510919, (164,-20), root:(611,29),
state 0x0, keycode 199 (keysym 0x0, NoSymbol), same_screen YES,
XLookupString gives 0 bytes:
XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes:
XFilterEvent returns: False

In there you can see “keycode 199” remember this or write it down, then you can close the box that xev spawned. (if yours does not show a keycode, type the command “setkeycodes 6c 199”. see Here for the rest of the tablet buttons, and Here for other keys entirely.

At this point, you need to create an xmodmap file in your home directory, and set your computer to use that xmodmap file:
touch ~/.Xmodmap
xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap

Now, edit the file by entering “gedit ~/.Xmodmap” into a terminal to include the keys you want to map in the following format:
keycode < keycode> = < keysym>

So in my case, I want to map keycode 199 to the keysum XF86LaunchB (I’m saving LaunchA for later)
keycode 199 = XF86LaunchB

then save and close the file. You will have to restart X (haven’t gotten to setting that hotkey yet) so for now, logout and log back in, or restart the computer. You will then be asked which Xmodmap file you want to load, select the one you just created, press “load”, “do not ask me this again”, and then “okay”.


Now to actually set that key to launch the rotate script, you should already have compiz config settings manager installed (sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager if you don’t already). Open that in System > Preferences > (Display >) Compiz Config Settings Manager.

Within CompizConfig, click on “Commands” (should be top left) then go to the “Key Bindings” tab. Click on the word “Disabled” next to “Run Command 1” (I’m saving command 0 for later) then check the “Enabled” box. Now you need to click on “Grab Key Combination” and press the rotate screen button (it should then read XF86LaunchB). Now you can hit okay and go to the “Commands” tab.

In “Command Line 1” enter the command for the rotate script:

Now check the “enable commands” box over in the left column, hit back, close compizconfig, and have fun with your new calibrated tablet with ondemand screen rotation!!!

SOURCES for rotation and hotkeys:
rotation script framework: http://wiki.control-d.com/index.php?title=Ubuntu_Intrepid_Ibex_(8.10)_on_a_Toshiba_Protege_M400#Rotating_the_screen
Tablet Hardware Buttons: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Tablet_Hardware_Buttons
Thinkpad Special Keys: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_get_special_keys_to_work#Gnome.2Fmetacity

Ubuntu Setup Guide Part VII: Pidgin

Posted in Guides, Linux, Lists, Ubuntu by aliencam | 5 Comments »

Customizing Pidgin Settings:
if you use any instant messaging program, you will want to setup Pidgin to work with all of your accounts. It may be ugly and awkward to use at first, but once you change it’s settings it is actually very stable, quick, and it works perfectly for me.

When you first open Pidgin, you will need to add an account, just click “add”, then select the type of account it is, and enter your information. You can add as many accounts of any type as you like to pidgin, and it combines them all very well. Make sure you check the “remember password” option, or you will have to log into each account every time you start pidgin.

Once you finish that, go to Tools > Plugins, and enable the following plugins:

  • Buddy Notes
  • Buddy State Notification
  • Contact Availability Prediction
  • Log Reader
  • Psychic Mode
  • Timestamp
  • Pidgin-Encryption

You’ll also want to download the pidgin-facebookchat plugin from http://code.google.com/p/pidgin-facebookchat/  in order to be able to chat on facebook without actually logging onto the website.  (I don’t think I have actually typed in facebook.com in months, I chat through pidgin, reply to messaes via email or SMS, and update my status vis Twitter.)  To download the latest version, go to the website, and download the .deb file in the top right corner of the page. Then just install it by double-clicking on it.   Then restart Pidgin, and go back into the account manager (ctrl-a) and add the facebook account.

Now, go to Tools > Preferences and uncheck “show IMs and chats in tabbed windows”.  Then, select “None” in Smiley Themes.  Under “Logging” change “Log Format” to HTML.

If you have previous log files, you can copy those from your backup into /home/USERNAME/.purple/logs  andthey will work even if previous logs are from deadAIM, Trillian, and other AIM clients.

Finally, there are way too many libnotify alerts with all my accounts enabled, so go into File > Plugins,  scroll down to libnotify, and uncheck “Buddy Signs on”.

Ubuntu Setup Guide Part VI. Customizing Gnome's Look & Feel

Posted in Guides, Linux, Lists, Ubuntu by aliencam | 3 Comments »

I don’t really like the way Ubuntu’s default Gnome setup looks. Primarily because I have my tablet, which has a small 12.1 inch screen. I also like to change the theme. Since I have such a small screen, I will do almost anything to increase how much information I can see at the same time (short of getting a laptop with a bigger screen, or an external monitor, of course.) So, many of these tips are inspired or taken from Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

To illustrate the changes I make, here are before and after screenshots of my computer’s look.

Original Final

First step is to install window picker applet: a window picker in your title bar that also has a window close button, and maximus: a program that removes the title bar (the bar with the maximize, minimize, and close buttons) or “un-decorates” maximized windows.

sudo apt-get install window-picker-applet maximus

now the default behavior of maximus is to force all window to be maximized, to change this, add the argument “-m” when running it. It automatically runs on boot, so to change this, go to System > Preferences > Startup Applications, find “Maximus Window Management” in the list, choose it, and click “edit”. Then, change the command to “maximus -m”.

Now, you need to add the window-picker-applet to your Gnome Panel in order to be able to close the open window easily. Right-click on the top middle part of the top Gnome Panel (the bar at the top of the screen), go to “Add To Panel” and add “Window Picker”.

Removing Useless Panel Things:
Remove the following panel applets by right-clicking on them and selecting “Remove From Panel”:

  • User Switcher Applet (top right corner) (also remove the seperator [line] to the left of it).
  • Menu Bar (top left corner, its the equivelent of the “start menu”
  • The three shortcuts next to the menu bar (Firefox, Mail, and Help)  (if you are using Gnome-do, you don’t need them)

Now, remove the ENTIRE BOTTOM PANEL by right-clicking in a blank area, and selecting “Delete this panel”

Add the following panel applets to the top panel in this order (left to right) If you don’t know what the applets you already have on the panel are called, then just remove all the applets and start from a blank top panel.

  1. Main Menu
  2. Drawer (optional: use this if you want some program shortcuts in the menu bar still.)
  3. Window Picker
  4. CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor (go to Preferences and set this to be the icon to take up less space)
  5. Notification Area
  6. Indicator Applet
  7. Volume Control
  8. Workplace Switcher
  9. Clock
  10. Trash
  11. Shut Down

You should configure the clock by adding your location (right-click > preferences > location) and removing the date so it is smaller.  This way you get the date on mouseover, and the weather to the left of the clock at all times.

You also may want to shrink or grow the panel size by a few pixels, the icons in window-picker are cut off a bit at the default 24 pixels, if that  bothers you increase it to 26,  but you can actually decrease it all the way to 23 px and it still be usable.

Now, to change Ubuntu to a darker colour theme (I don’t like my screen to burn my eyes), right-click on the desktop (get to the desktop by hitting crl-alt-d now), go to properties, and “change Desktop Bakcground”, then you can go to the “Themes” tab and select Dust.  I also go to the “Fonts” tab, and change the font rendering to “Best Contrast” instead of “subpixel smoothing”.

Removing Menu Items

When I installed all those programs, I also installed all of the suggested programs.  These ensure that more features of the programs will work, and more smoothly, but it also clutters up my programs menu with a bunch of stuff that I will never use, things like dolphin and konsole are unnecessary when you are using Gnome.

Unfortunately, editing the Gnome menu is not as easy as it is in Windows (this has to be one of the only things I think windows does wayy better)  You must use the slow and clunky and buggy Menu Editor program. (significantly improved from the last version, but still not great)

Click your new Menu Button (top left corner) go to System > Preferences > Main Menu.

Now you can go through, reorganize, and remove the icons you don’t want.

Here is a list of changes I made in no particular order:

  • move cellwriter from Universal Access to Acessories (drag to copy, then uncheck in the original location)
  • In Accessories, uncheck kwrite
  • In graphics, uncheck Hugin Batch Stitcher (its a terminal app used by the panorama creator…)
  • Move Bluefish Editor from Programming to Office (drag to copy, then uncheck in the original location)
  • Move Fusion-Icon from System Tools to Accessories (drag to copy, then uncheck in the original location)
  • In System Tools, uncheck Dolphin and Konsole
  • Uncheck everything in “Other” (this is all repeated in the Preferences menu)
  • In Preferences, Create the following new menus: “Display”, and “Input”.
  • Move “Appearance”, “Compiz Config Settings Manager”, “Main Menu”, “QT4 Settings”, “Screensaver”, and “Windows” from Preferences  into Preferences > Display  (you have to drag it to the display folder in the left sidebar, then uncheck the originals)
  • Move “Ketboard”, “Keyboard Shortcuts”, “Mouse”,  “On Board” and “On Board Settings (check these), and “SCIM Input Method Setup” from Preferences in to Preferences > Input. (you have to drag it to the display folder in the left sidebar, then uncheck the originals)


Ubuntu Setup Guide Part V. Installing Software

Posted in Guides, Linux, Lists, Ubuntu by aliencam | 2 Comments »

I install lots of software that I use nearly every day. Here is a list of what I am installing from the start:

(*) gnome-do
(*) crossover office (PAID SOFTWARE) [Microsoft Office 2008, Vector Magic]
(*) crossover games (PAID SOFTWARE)
(*) dropbox
(*) opera
(*) banshee
(*) gpodder (needs python-gpod to work with iPods)
pulse audio volume control (pavu-control)
compiz fusion icon
(*) Mathematica 7
compiz control settings manager (ccsm)
xflux (see my guide on installing this)
citrix (see my guide on installing this)

Those programs prefixed with (*) should NOT be installed from the Ubuntu repositories. Either they are not in the repos, or I don’t like the version in the repos.

In order to do this, some custom repositories (Launchpad PPAs) must be added. See the following section for how to install software from Launchpad PPAs.

If you want to install most of these at once, you can use the following command:
$ sudo apt-get install gcolor2 gscan2pdf hugin inkscape ktorrent nicotine bluefish dvdrip pavucontrol vlc fusion-icon compizconfig-settings-manager powertop gparted kerneloops gthumb subversion bootchart ntfsprogs hfsprogs wacom-tools xournal cellwriter

Installing Software from a Launchpad PPA.

In order to do this, open System > Administration > Software Sources > Third Party Software and “Add” the following lines:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/banshee-team/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/banshee-team/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

Once you do this, click close, but not refresh (if you do refresh you will get an error, just ignore that until you complete the next step.)

Now for the tricky part of adding custom PPAs — adding the public keys. What you will need to do from the launchpad PPA page is follow these instructions:

On each Launchpad PPA Page will be a line of text similar to the following:

“This repository is signed with 1024R/6E80C6B7 OpenPGP key. Follow these instructions for installing packages from this PPA. ”

To install the key, click the link that the numbers are linked, and then again click the “Key ID” link on the next page (another set of numbers). Now you will be at the public key page. From here, copy-paste everything from
into a new text document (make it on your desktop, it doesn’t matter where really). Then save this document with any name, close the text editor, then open back up System > Administration > Software Sources, go to the “Authentication” tab, click “import key file” then select the file you created. Once you do this you are okay to delete the file.

Now you are ready to install the program from synaptic, or apt-get.

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