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Category: i-tech

06/30/11 11:04 - ID#54600

Random Linux Thought

I kind of like being on Linux, now that my wireless is functioning. It's a lot of heartache but somehow it gives you more power over what's going on in the recesses of your computer. It's as if you have found that you can split open a blackbox and are able to look at the virtual software connections and wires that make your computer tick.

Linux = 85% pain + 5% revelations + 10% knowledge everyday.

I just have to decide if the 15% of useful stuff is worth the 85% pain...
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Permalink: Random_Linux_Thought.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/30/11 11:06

Category: i-tech

06/29/11 05:17 - ID#54598

Slicker Google Interface

Google search... evolving right under your noses (or in front of your noses, as the case may be).

And (e:Paul). Hee Hee. Someone was spying on i2. ;-)
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Permalink: Slicker_Google_Interface.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/29/11 05:17

Category: linux

06/29/11 09:26 - ID#54597

Faster boot times on Crunchbang

Some stuff you can do for a faster boot time on Crunchbang.

1. Enable autologin.
Open the terminal and type

gksu gdmsetup

You will need to enter your administrator password. Go to the "Security" tab and check "Enable Automatic Login".

2. Decrease grub menu timeout.
Edit the /etc/default/grub file and change the grub option menu timeout to 1 or 0

GRUB_TIMEOUT=1 (or even 0).

Additional random but useful notes that might be helpful to people struggling with existential queries on Crunchbang:
a) Prevent Iceweasel from weaseling in.
I like Google Chrome beta on my OS. But uninstalling the default Chromium compulsorily installs something called iceweasel. One way around this is to install the iceweasel-dummy package to avoid installing iceweasel when you remove chromium. Apparently, there is some java dependency on this neverending it's-either-chromium-or-iceweasel vicious cycle on crunchbang. What a mess.

b) To check if JRE (Java Runtime Environment) successfully installed on your laptop, type the following at the terminal:

find / -iname java -print 2>/dev/null

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Permalink: Faster_boot_times_on_Crunchbang.html
Words: 165
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/29/11 03:15

Category: linux

06/29/11 08:43 - ID#54596

Compiling RTL8191SEvB drivers on Crunchbang and Debian

With my new found "Su" power, I compiled the RTL8191SEvB wireless driver in Crunchbang and am documenting all the (as it turns out, rather minor) hurdles and leaps here. The good news is if I can do it, you can surely do it too. I am pretty much the lowest of the lowest common denominators when it comes to dealing with linux. And no, I am not being humble. Linux and I haven't found much common grounds for camaraderie yet. However, we tolerate each other because we simply have to. The alternatives are even more hideous and strewn with frustrations.

0. Get the driver from the Realtek site at this Get both RTL8192SE and RTL8191SE-VA2 if you are doubtful of what to get.
Special Note: Pay attention to which version of the driver you are downloading. First check your kernel version with:

uname -r

Then pick either
--> Linux driver for kernel 2.6.34 (and earlier) or
--> Linux driver for kernel 2.6.35 (and later)
depending on what version came up with uname -r. I am telling you based on my bitter experiences that you will end up wasting a ton of time if you download the wrong version.

1. Crunchbang has a problem with su and can't really switch you into Su root mode unless you do this: At the terminal type:

sudo su

followed by


The system should now ask you for a new root user password. Enter something that you will remember. You are set with a Su command to go into root mode like in regular debian.

2. Type the make command at the terminal:


If you have a vanilla no-frills crunchbang installation "make" is sure to complain with:
make: *** /lib/modules/2.6.32-5-amd64/build: No such file or directory. Stop.
make: *** [all] Error 2

2a. It's whining about the lack of kernel headers so install the kernel headers:

apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.32-5-amd64

(...which makes you wonder why the kernel was headless to begin with. Perhaps to save space. Perhaps to add to your vexation. Who knows.)

Note: If you want to install these headers manually, these are the files you need from the debian repository:
  • linux-headers-2.6.32-5-common_2.6.32-31_amd64.deb
  • linux-kbuild-2.6.32_2.6.32-1_amd64.deb
  • gcc-4.3_4.3.5-4_amd64.deb
  • gcc-4.3-base_4.3.5-4_amd64.deb
  • cpp-4.3_4.3.5-4_amd64
  • linux-headers-2.6.32-5-amd64_2.6.32-31_amd64.deb
  • linux-headers-2.6-amd64_2.6.32+29_amd64.deb

In that order.

3. You can then go ahead and issue the make command again:


. A ton of mumbo-jumbo will scroll across your terminal but most of it will be orderly except this line:

/rtl8192se_linux_2.6.0019.1207.2010/HAL/rtl8192/rtl8192s/r8192S_firmware.c:722: warning: format ‘%d’ expects type ‘int’, but argument 3 has type ‘long unsigned int’

Some not-very-consequential warning. I am told it could be because of the carelessly or poorly written code for the driver. Which is also claimed as the reason (by debian overlords in the #debian channel on the server) why it was not included in the native Debian kernel and is only scheduled for inclusion in the 3.0 version after some squabbling or quality checks or both... or none. Again, who knows what's going on the dark recesses of kernel-developers minds.

4. Assuming, there are no other warnings and errors (there were none in mine), issue the make install command:

make install

Another scroll of messages where linux will enter and exit various directory locations will follow. Hopefully these entries and exits will pass without incident. If there is some permission error, you probably don't have Su power. See step 1. Sudo doesn't cut it for the whiny RTL8191SEvB driver.

5. Finally. SHUT DOWN completely and reboot. Hopefully you will be able to see your wireless networks now. If not, you have probably wasted your time reading these instructions and it's time to go and read the other zillion forum posts about this difficult wireless driver on the rest of the net. Even if none of them end up helping you, they would have, at the very least, taken a shot at helping build some character - which you will need for putting up with no wireless in a laptop.

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Permalink: Compiling_RTL8191SEvB_drivers_on_Crunchbang_and_Debian.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/17/11 11:25

Category: i-tech

06/28/11 11:19 - ID#54595

Boat Browser!

I just installed a browser on my Android phone that makes me shout with glee about how fast my phone has suddenly become...

The Boat Browser is here!!

I am never going back to any other browser on my phone ever! You need to check the boat browser out if you haven't already!!! ===> I have MISSED all this amazing snappiness! I don't know how the boat browser does it, but it does. It makes everything go REALLY fast and its interface is SO intuitive and non-clumsy, it makes every other android browser out there look paleolithic and clumsy and gargantuan (in a bad way).
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Permalink: Boat_Browser_.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/28/11 11:24

Category: linux

06/27/11 10:48 - ID#54588

System76 == Ubuntu. Dissatisfied Review.

After much heartache, I have finally given up trying to make other worthy linux distros work on my crappy System76 Pangolin "Performance" PanP7 laptop. In short, there is no other OS apart from Ubuntu that can work with the hideous combination of obscure hardware that System76 has piled on the Pangolin Performance laptop.

All Debian: Wireless doesn't work. Because the Realtek RTL8191SEvB driver is not included in the kernel.

All Slax: Same problem as above

All ArchLinux: Ethernet doesn't work. Because the JMicron ethernet driver is not included in the kernel.

All Fedora: Either the wireless doesn't work or ATI throws a fit somewhere down the line.

Many modified Ubuntus: Either ethernet or wireless doesn't work. Naturally, the most useless and obscure of hardware drivers (JMicron and Realtek RTL8191SEvB) are the first to go in any modification because the sane systems don't have them. Except, of course the Pangolin Performance - the crappy prison/refugee-home laptop from System76 where all obscure laptop hardware come to roost.

Ubuntu from minimal CD (mini.iso): Doesn't work because the ethernet card JMicron driver is not on the mini.iso and it refuses to budge after a while. Pity. This was one way to cut the ubuntu bloat.

Ubuntu itself: Patchy performance on EVERYTHING. a) Because ubuntu is just a nickname for crappy and b) Because ubuntu (crappy) + Pangolin Performance PanP7 (uber-obscure) makes for a crappy obscure experience that does not have a common ground in solutions found on the net for any problem. The list of frustrations go on and on with ubuntu. Java doesn't function properly. Proprietary technology doesn't compile well. R-packages don't work.

Which leaves me with...

Super OS: Also an ubuntu modification but with every imaginable proprietary software bundled in. Around 400+MB more than standard Ubuntu. And this is where I have thrown in my lot for now. Atleast, I am still seeing my ethernet card, wireless networks and camera. Java is installed and so are a zillion small proprietary bits that make everything tick for a normal person. And yes, I am on the Unity shell and it's a resource hog, but System76's obscure hardware formula leaves me with no other choice. The baseline RAM consumption is around 2GB without anything else running. Its a disaster in terms of minimalism. But ATLEAST, I don't need to waste time looking at the endless forum posts of blind leading the blind for the minutest problem in the world.

As I said, stay away from System76. Unless they realize that linux is not just Ubuntu, their laptops will be obscure and not play well with anything other than Ubuntu. This is a problem because Ubuntu is definitely not the definitive linux and has several other worthy competitors who have thought about things much more carefully and deliver wonderful solutions.

All of which I can't now enjoy. Screw you, System76. You have put me in bloaty Ubuntu prison.

EDIT: I managed to put Fedora 15 on the Pangolin System76 system without ATI software and terrible graphics. However, the wireless performance is WORSE than TERRIBLE. Unless you are right next to a really strong wireless signal, forget connecting reliably to any wireless network.

The bottomline is AVOID System76. Their hardware is obscure and does not play well with anything except Ubuntu. Even on Ubuntu the wretched Pangolin System76 laptop has problems. For a company that drums on and on about "lnux friendliness", Pangolin PanP7 is a total disaster for many linux distros and everyday connectivity.

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Permalink: System76_Ubuntu_Dissatisfied_Review_.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 11/09/11 08:14

Category: linux

06/26/11 08:59 - ID#54587

RTL8191SEvB - worst linux support ever

If you want to run linux and are getting a laptop, and see this wireless card listed in the specs:

Realtek RTL8191SEvB

Run. Run as far as you can from any laptop that has this wireless card.

The Realtek RTL8191SEvB wireless card has SO MANY troubles with linux that it's a shame that it was ever included as a wireless option for any laptop. Only Ubuntu works with the RTL8191SEvB and that too, in a patchy sporadic way. NONE of the other linux distros include the driver to the RTL8191SEvB. What is worse is it throws a ZILLION errors when you try to compile it from the driver posted on the Realtek website.

RTL8191SEvB is quite plainly the WORST-SUPPORTED wireless card EVER on linux. There is NO support and all advice on the internet about how to get it working is useless, time-wasting and has a ZERO success rate.

I hate you System76, for putting the RTL8191SEvB wireless card on Pangolin Performance. I hate you because only Ubuntu has patchy support for this card and I am pretty much bound to the sucky OS if I ever want wireless working even half-decently. For all your linux-centric philosophy, putting the RTL8191SEvB wireless card on your Pangolin Performance PanP5 COMPLETELY traps your users into Ubuntu - which is just as much of a resource-hog as the worst windows. You are a ludicrous snobbish company. Your customer support maybe fast and responsive but NOT helpful AT ALL when it comes to RTL8191SEvB installation on linux distros other than Ubuntu.

Stay away from realtek RTL8191SEvB. For good measure, also stay away from System76.

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Permalink: RTL8191SEvB_worst_linux_support_ever.html
Words: 278
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/29/11 08:44

Category: buffalo

06/26/11 12:11 - ID#54581

Buffalo Desobration 2011

A bunch of us trooped ALL the way to the outer harbour to get on the grand balloons but there was nothing but a couple port-a-potties on site.

I decided not to shoot them and instead, got these cool shots of just how desolate it is out there.

(e:Paul) and I got a complementary cross-phone android shot at the desolate shore. See the companion shot at: (e:paul,54567)

We got some cheese and cream puffs in the city hall reception later.
But I am fairly sure this is not how things were managed and run back at the Pan American Exposition of 1901 - which this event was supposed to emulate.

The citibration people had a twitter account and a whole webpage and several announcement avenues but they never took the effort of either scheduling an alternative rain-date or even announcing the cancellation of the balloon event till it was almost 6 PM and we were already there. If you have been a resident of Buffalo for any length of time, you know how unpredictable our weather can be. Look at how those trees were being almost being flattened to the ground at the outer harbour.


Not anticipating weather-related issues is so very odd, especially when you are planning to launch wind-dependent balloons at one of the windiest spot in the city and especially, when you knew that there was a thunderstorm on the forecast for the region on the balloon-launch day more than a week ahead.

Badly done, Citybration.
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Permalink: Buffalo_Desobration_2011.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/26/11 12:15

Category: e:strip

06/26/11 11:40 - ID#54578

The Garden at 24

This Bergamot plant in (e:PMT)'s back garden makes really excellent Earl Grey tea.
It's quite unlike any Earl Grey I have ever had. The flavour is sharp and if made without any other tea and steeped for around 5 minutes, completely takes away any residual tiredness and has the capacity to defog your brain.

I didn't quite get the money-shot of the other visitor to the garden ((e:Paul,54519)) but here he is, hiding away and chomping in the herb patch.

I can't wait to see if (e:PMT) will be able to set up a stall at the Elmwood Saturday Market from what ends up growing out of these beds!
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Permalink: The_Garden_at_24.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/26/11 11:40

Category: eating in

06/26/11 11:27 - ID#54576

The Pumpkin from 24

It's only slightly dried up. It has gone into the oven for roasting now.
I am planning to make a pumpkin and lentil soup like this one:
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Permalink: The_Pumpkin_from_24.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/26/11 11:28



New Site Wide Comments

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...