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Android USB tethering and Debian awesomeness

February 11, 2011 6 comments

Today the wireless network of my company was weird. I kept losing signal or simply losing connection. Ive never used my HTC Desire for tethering before but this time I had to.

I had my doubts that it would work out of the box, but it does.

  • Connect your Android device
  • set it to USB Tethering
  • debian will recognize it and connect over usb0.
  • enjoy.

My setup:

Debian 6 sqeeze

HTC Desire with Android 2.2

Thinkpad Edge 13″ (Intel) [Conexant CX20582 (Pebble)] Headphone Problem solved

February 10, 2011 2 comments

I am running  Debian Squeeze on my Thinkpad Edge. One of the problems I was having, was that sound was still coming out of the internal speakers after plugging in my headphones.

Add this line to the end of /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

options snd-hda-intel model="olpc-xo-1_5"

Then reload the module with

# alsa force-reload

That should do the trick!

Debian “Squeeze” on a 64bit machine

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Note: Command with $ means as user. # means as root.

Waited a long time for the latest release of Debian. This distribution grew on me and after trying many different this is the one I’ve used the most.

This is the first time tho, that I install any distribution on an amd64 architecture. I was really looking forward to this but unluckily I haven’t had the best experience.

Installation

I used the net installer from Debian. A small ~150Mb ISO image with the core system only. As you select your packages it will download them as needed,  which is really good, since you will only download and install the packages you actually need.

My first issue was that my Thinkpad uses non-free firmware for the WLAN adapter. because of this the installer could not connect over WiFi. I had to connect my Ethernet cable to have connectivity.

With that sorted out I finished the installation. Reboot and everything went ok. Gnome Desktop started.

Now to the real problems

WLAN Adapter

This wasn’t too much of a problem. I just ran:

$lspci
to find out what adapter my laptop has. It showed:
03:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Centrino Wireless-N 100
quick google to see what driver is needed and:
# apt-get install name of driver
in my case was firmware-iwlwifi. Follow this simple instructions to get this done.

If you do an
# ifconfig wlan0 up
and get some error about SCIOCSIFFLAG, just reload the module of your driver or reboot :P.

The Flash and Chrome issue

It turns out that Flash 10.2 “square” supports native 64 bit systems. Sounds great!

I downloaded the 64 bit version of Chrome. The integrated flash version was kinda outdated so I decided to go for the 10.2 (for the native 64 bit support). For some reason I couldn’t find the 64 bit version of flash from the adobe website. I looked everywhere!! I started Google-ing until I found some nice guy that pointed to a 64 bit version of libflashplayer.so. 32 bit versions won’t be found by Chrome.

Find here the plugin I installed.

to install:

$ tar xzvf flashplayer_square_p2_64bit_linux_092710.tar.gz
# mv libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

Start Chrome. Should work. In Chrome’s address bar type about:plugins to see what flash plugins is enabled.

With this sorted out there where 3 more issues I wanted to solve right away.

Dropbox

For this one, Download the source, not the .deb since this one is i386.

Unpack the source and go to the folder.

Run:
$./configure
This will show you all dependencies you might be missing.
Use Synaptic to download all these dependencies. If configure is successfull go ahead and
$ make
$ make check (optional)
# make install

Worked for me.

Skype
This one was also tricky. Skype’s support is really poor. I followed the instructions given by a guy in a forum:

Devian says:
April 30, 2009 at 8:01 pm
dont “force” ur debian amd64 to install a 32bit package
What we need to do is get this file http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-static
Now we move the contents of the file to let’s say /opt/Skype
Create a script to launch skype
vi /usr/bin/skype
and put this into the script:

#!/bin/bash
cd /opt/Skype
./skype

then give permissions
chmod +x /usr/bin/skype
Now we need to copy the launcher from skype directory to the apps directoy
cp /opt/Skype/skype.desktop /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop
and modify the file
vi /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop
and change from this

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Skype
Comment=Skype Internet Telephony
Exec=skype
Icon=skype.png
Terminal=0
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Categories=Network;Application;

to this

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Skype
Comment=Skype Internet Telephony
Exec=skype
Icon=/opt/Skype/icons/SkypeBlue_48x48.png
Terminal=0
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Categories=Network;Application;

now we need to install some packages
apt-get install ia32-libs ia32-libs-gtk
and thats it u can have skype working
i’ve install skype in my Debian Lenny amd64 it works perfect

It does work great :).

Last but not least… Thunderbird
This one I did on my own. After the previous experiences with the other applications. Still tried to use the i386 available from http://www.mozilla.org with no luck.
So I started browsing their ftp server and came across this. It is called Miramar. I guess it is the name of the project of thunderbird 64 bits.

UPDATE: I am using Ice Dove, Thunderbird’s open source version since Miramar didn’t allow me to install Enigmail. Ice Dove works perfectly.

 

 

I hope i helped a little. I like Debian. But this search for 64bit packages is getting kinda annoying. hope it is just now when i still have some dependencies missing.

1 week living on the Edge (13)

October 30, 2010 1 comment

Yet another review on the Thinkpad Edge 13.

Overview
Unpacking
Box contents
Outside
Connection Slots
Performance
Battery life and Power Management
Price
Conclusio

I’ve been using the Thinkpad Edge 13 for a week now. It has been a great experience. I was looking for a light yet powerful laptop to take with me everywhere I go.

I bought a netbook a while ago but the lack of power was kind of annoying sometimes. These days you want things to be fast and snappy and having to give up performance for mobility was not what I wanted. The netbook is great and it was very cheap since I bought it in Taiwan in one of my trips but other than office and some web-browsing, I couldn’t really do much else.

I needed something that could handle running Virtual Machines and still have tons of browser tabs open.  Where I could edit my documents and also do some programming.

I started looking for a small notebook. A friend of mine suggested the Thinkpad Edge 13 (among others like the Dell Vostro). I went through the specs and found this one:

 



Overview:

 

  • Processor: Intel Core i3 u380 @1,33GHz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • HD: 500GB
  • Intel Graphics integrated (1366×768 max res)
  • Webcam
  • Windows 7 Pro 64bits
  • 6 cell Li-Ion battery
  • 13 inch screen

Pretty much what I had in mind. I thought about having independent Graphics chip but I do my gaming on my desktop 🙂

It also does not have a DVD drive, but hey, when was the last time you put a disk on your laptop?

 



Unpacking:

 

When I got the box I was surprised how light it was. I liked also the fact that you don’t get any junk like prospects or other propaganda. Just the warranty and a Quick-start guide.


Box contents:

  • The laptop: I bought it thinking I would get the glossy one. But I got the nice matte version.
  • Battery
  • Charger: Is very small and light. Like my Netbook’s. This is very important since I always carry the charger with me as well.
  • Warranty info

 



Outside:

 


Very nice looking. It looks quite elegant yet robust.

  • The build quality is great.
  • The keyboard feels awesome.
  • The touch-pad and the buttons fell very good too.

 



Connection slots:

 

  • 3x USB (1x powered)
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • Card-reader
  • eSATA
  • Speaker/mic combo socket
  • Power

 



Performance:

 

I didn’t do any performance tests or anything. I will describe only how it felt while in normal (normal for me) use.

It feels like I expected. Boots fast, pretty snappy when working and it doesn’t slow down when having a lot of things open. I had 2 VMs working (1 linux and 1 winxp, 1gb RAM assigned to each one) and they where running some tasks. In the winxp i was running log2timeline and in the Ubuntu VM I was testing some other tools (I’m experimenting a little with forensic tools). In the host PC (Win7 Pro) I had a bunch of tabs open (like I usually do), pdf’s and other docs and felt absolutely no hiccups. everything worked pretty smooth. I did set it to High Performance tho (read below)

 



Battery life and power management:

 

The battery is very good. It has 6 cells which gives around 4 hours on the default settings and normal workload (docs and browsing). It is a lot since the default power settings the performance and brightness of the screen are set above average (around 70%).

It recharges pretty fast too. It takes little over an hour to get to 98% and 1 more to get to 100%.

It offers a lot of customization options for power settings.

 



Price

 

At the time of writing (30th October2010) I paid 800€. It is the most expensive version of the Thinkpad Edge 13. It is worth it.

 



Conclusio

 

It does everything I hoped it would do. It lets me run my VMs without crippling the host. I can work without issue and very fast.

13 inch lets me stay mobile too and I still get a nice 1366×768 resolution (widescreen). I don’t miss my 15″ laptop one bit.

1 week is not a lot of time. But I felt like writing this now. I was impressed by the build quality. The keyboard and the nice screen. It looks good, elegant and robust.

Performance is quite good and for the price I think excellent.

If you can’t afford a more expensive x300 or any other Thinkpad, this is good choice.

Centi!