Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making Kde4/Qt4 apps look like Gnome/Gtk

1) Get QGtkStyle using svn - http://labs.trolltech.com/page/Projects/Styles/GtkStyle
Download a .deb from here

2) Get qt4-qtconfig

sudo apt-get install qt4-qtconfig

3) Run qtconfig-qt4 (Using alt+f2). Select the GUI Style as GTK and File>Save.

4) Incase this does not work, install these packages:

sudo apt-get install kdebase-workspace systemsettings

Then run systemsettings. Go the Appearance section, and change the Widget style to GTK.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


(Yes, yet another shell script)
I wrote a little bash script to replace all the underscores in a filename with spaces, in the current directory.
Here it is:

#this script renames all filenames containing _ with [space], in the current directory
#copy to /usr/local/bin and set permission as +x

total=`ls | grep .*_.* | wc -l`
while [ $count -lt $total ]

filename=`ls | grep .*_.* | head -1`
newfilename=`ls | grep .*_.* | head -1 | tr '_' ' '`
mv "$filename" "$newfilename"
echo "renamed $filename to $newfilename"
count=`expr $count + 1`

Friday, September 12, 2008

Alternate approach to 'keeponline'

Instead of running the 'keeponline' script (described here) as a cron job, I decided to make it run as a standalone script. (Because the cron job kept spamming my syslog file)

The new /usr/local/bin/keeponline.sh looks like this:

echo "Going Online..."
/usr/local/bin/online.sh > /dev/null
while true; do
ping -c 1 -W 120 www.google.com > /dev/null

if [ "$?" = "0" ]; then
echo "You are connected"
/usr/local/bin/online.sh > /dev/null
echo "Disconnect detected at `date`, reconnecting" >> /home/akudewan/logs/keeponline.log
sleep 10m

Next I make another script, keeponline-launch inside /etc/network/if-up.d/


# Not for loopback!
[ "$IFACE" != "lo" ] || exit 0

sh /usr/local/bin/keeponline.sh &

exit 0

This will basically launch the keeponline script when the network interface comes up :)

(Thanks to Vivaldi Gloria from ubuntuforums)

Monday, July 28, 2008

OpenOffice is irritating!

OpenOffice can really piss you off at times. It can be extremely unintuitive...

For instance, I wanted to print out some slide handouts today. There is a tab called "Handouts" at the top, where you can select a layout.

Now to print this, I went the usual File > Print, and ended up getting a normal print, not he handouts...

So what do you have to do to get Handouts instead of the normal print?
Go to File > Print. And click on the button called "Options"

Now how could this have been more intuitive? Instead of a button called "Options..." we could have a button called "Select print contents..." Or even better, if I'm currently on the handouts tab, select the handouts by default.

Despite the occasional irritations, OpenOffice is awesome. There I still a lot of improvements I'd like to see though.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A bash script to keep me online

Most people I know don't use the Internet to its full potential. And they still complain about their ISP. People like me, who practically live on food, clothing, shelter and the internet have every right to complain. Despite having an unlimited connection, my ISP decides to kick me off the net ever so often, especially when I leave a large download running at night. Its a daily affair, and I needed a solution.

I already have two shell scripts to conveniently get on and off the net, which I call online.sh and offline.sh . Sify, my ISP, provides a graphical login program. This means that I cannot login if I don't have the X server running. Its a bad idea to have a login program in the first place, and even worse that it needs the X server. Fortunately, there are alternatives out there, and I use SuperSify instead.

So the /usr/local/bin/online.sh script is as simple as:

cd /media/hda1/supersify/
./ss.sh -u your_username -p xxxx -m 00:11:B6:22:BB:F7

Make sure you chmod it to deny rw permissions to other users. I would have preferred to encrypt the password, but I don't know how. (replace the mac address with whatever you mac address is. Run ifconfig to find out)

Now comes the script which checks if you're online, and connects you if you're not. It just pings google.

ping -c 1 -W 60 www.google.com

if [ "$?" = "0" ]; then
echo "You are connected"
echo "Disconnect detected at `date`, reconnecting" >> /home/akudewan/logs/keeponline.log

Unfortunately, the log file can grow too large. So there's yet another script to reset the log file every month.

mv /home/akudewan/logs/keeponline.log /home/akudewan/logs/keeponline.log.0

Needless to say, this is a very dirty fix, so you can skip the log file altogether if you wish.

Now we need to run two shellscripts as cron jobs - keeponline.sh and resetlog.sh.
Run the command:

crontab -e

This will edit/create a crontab file for the user you're logged in as.

Add the following lines to this file:

# m h dom mon dow command
0,10,20,30,40,50 * * * * /usr/local/bin/keeponline.sh 1> /dev/null
* * 1 * * /usr/local/bin/resetlog.sh

This means that keeponline.sh will be run every 10 minutes, and resetlog.sh will be run on the 1st of every month.
(Run crontab -l to see your crontab)

Thats it! Now my ISP can't kick me off for more than 11 minutes :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Always read your log files

Whenever there is a new Ubuntu release, there's one part of the world that thinks that it is the worst upgrade ever, and the other part of the world that thinks that its the best thing that ever happened. Its the same with every distro, I guess.

After upgrading to Hardy, I thought it was the worst upgrade ever. The system was unstable, buggy, and programs would crash randomly. This was until I read my log files after an X server crash.

from /var/log/syslog :
May 8 12:34:08 ranjandesk -- MARK --
May 8 12:46:35 ranjandesk gdm[5796]: WARNING: gdm_slave_xioerror_handler: Fatal X error - Restarting :0
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873564] Bad page state in process 'kdesktop'
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873565] page:c1a04120 flags:0x80000000 mapping:00000000 mapcount:-285212672 count:0
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873566] Trying to fix it up, but a reboot is needed
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873567] Backtrace:
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873591] [bad_page+0x63/0xa0] bad_page+0x63/0xa0
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873620] [get_page_from_freelist+0x343/0x3a0] get_page_from_freelist+0x343/0x3a0
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873662] [agpgart:__alloc_pages+0x4f/0x340] __alloc_pages+0x4f/0x340
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873684] [anon_vma_prepare+0x1d/0xe0] anon_vma_prepare+0x1d/0xe0
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873687] [loop:kunmap_atomic+0x6a/0xa0] kunmap_atomic+0x6a/0xa0
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873699] [__handle_mm_fault+0x8c7/0xb00] __handle_mm_fault+0x8c7/0xb00
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873713] [snd_pcm:getnstimeofday+0x36/0x96b0] getnstimeofday+0x36/0xd0
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873732] [sched_clock+0x1a/0x70] sched_clock+0x1a/0x70
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873755] [do_page_fault+0x126/0x690] do_page_fault+0x126/0x690
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873792] [do_page_fault+0x0/0x690] do_page_fault+0x0/0x690
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873798] [error_code+0x72/0x80] error_code+0x72/0x80
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873818] [clip_ioctl+0x3a0/0x510] clip_ioctl+0x3a0/0x510
May 8 12:46:51 ranjandesk kernel: [ 6802.873836] =======================

Bad Page? I know the next thing to do. Check the RAM! I ran the memtest86+ thingy that comes with Ubuntu. And sure enough, it showed errors in Test 5. The RAM chip works fine in the first slot, so it would seem that the problem is with the second slot. Since the mobo and RAM are still under warranty, I can get this fixed before its too late.

I wouldn't even know that there was something wrong with my RAM slot if I hadn't read my log files. I remember in my old machine, the graphics card fan was bust, and it would start running in "modulated clock mode". The log files told me.

A few days ago, I was getting random telnet attempts from IPs in Korea and China. Again, it was in the log files. Most probably botnets. I decided to remove telnetd and just stick to ssh instead.

Even if you don't know what the log files mean, doing a Google can show a few results with bugs or solutions to the problem.

Friday, May 02, 2008


rsync is probably the simplest way to sync data between two computers, or even the same computer. Now that I have plenty of storage on my desktop, I can take backups from the laptop. So I tried out rsync.

There are a lot of howtos out there, telling you to schedule backups and stuff. But they seemed somewhat complicated, and I didn't really want scheduling...The laptop runs at irregular times.

So whats the simplest, no-shit solution for rsync? Its grsync!

Ok, then I saw what commands its running on the terminal, and made a shellscript :)

On Ubuntu, install grsync by running: sudo apt-get install grsync

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Legal advertising == Spam ?

There was recently a story on Slashdot, about a court case - e360 Vs. Comcast - in which the judge declared e360 a spammer. e360 calls itself an Internet marketing company.

I noticed that whenever I get an e-mail that's an advertisement, I mark it as spam! What exactly is spam anyway? Wikipedia defines it thus (E-Mail spam):
Definitions of spam usually include the aspects that email is unsolicited and sent in bulk.

A more general definition of spam would be:
Spamming is the abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages.

I guess there would be legal definitions of Spam, and also definitions by ISPs. But as far as the user is concerned, I could safely say that any kind of advertising e-mail that I never wanted in the first place - is Spam. Invitations from random Social networking sites and communities? Also Spam!(?)

Monday, March 31, 2008

New Computer

My graphics card finally died, and I decided to get an upgrade. I now have an nForce 610i motherboard, 2GB RAM (800MHz), a Core2Duo (2.33GHz). The motherboard has an on-board GeForce 7050, which is quite good for my needs. I'm using the same hard-disk and DVD drive, but might get a new hard-disk soon.

Now I can finally run visual effects in Ubuntu, and boy, is it sweet!! The pretty animations, the desktop cube - I love it. And it runs so smooth!! Aero just sucks in comparison.

Since the motherboard is quite new, I needed to do some tweaking to get it working properly.

sudo update-pciids

To get the "lspci" list updated.

Install the nvidia graphics drivers manually to get the sound working.

For the sound, I followed these instructions posted on ubuntuforums.

The Ethernet card uses the "forcedeth" driver, which has a strange bug that caused the MAC address to change on every boot. I couldn't live with that, since I configure my wireless router based on the MAC. I decided to use my old Ethernet card for the time being.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Trouble with fans

I noticed a strange phenomenon with my computer. When I try to play a video, CPU usage would shoot up too 100%. I tried the usual troubleshooting methods, playing without the audio stream, trying different video output drivers, and so on...But nothing worked.

Then I noticed something else. If I pause a video for a minute, and then resume it, CPU usage goes back to the usual 20-30%. After a minute of playing, it would shoot up to 100% once again, until I let it cool off...

Sure enough, my CPU fan was bust. I bought a new one today and fixed it. Pentium-4 fans have a reputation of being notoriously difficult to remove. Ended up breaking a clip in the process.

The strange video problem didn't go away though. Next check: Graphics card. And Hurray!! that fan is bust too. Fortunately, a little nudging got it to work. But it seems I'll have to nudge it every time I start my computer.

I think its time to buy a new mobo. Nobody sells AGP 4x cards anymore :(

Edit: here's a good one. Anything running OpenGL (glxgears, -vo gl2 in mplayer) segfaults whenever the fan is RUNNING!! Works fine when its off...wtf.....

Edit Edit: If I stop the fan with my finger, and then start glxgears, it runs fine (even after I let go and the fan starts). Then I can run it even while the fan is running...
Hmm...this is quite entertaining...

If anyone has an explanation for this strange behavior, do leave a comment.

Looking forward to the sweet smell of burning silicon.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Workaround for watching .flv videos on slow computers

I have a 1.6GHz processor, a GeForce 440 MX, and 376MB of RAM. But it seems I have to upgrade to a GeForce 8-series or something to play friggin' flv video in Linux. Until I can do that, I think I'll have to use this workaround:

  • Let the video buffer completely.
  • Close the window so that it stops sucking 100% CPU
  • Go to the .mozilla/firefox//Cache directory
  • $ ls -lhS
  • The entries on the top are the largest, one of them will be the video. Try running them with mplayer.
  • Copy and rename if the video is worth saving on disk.

This works with youtube, but I think it should work with any website that allows videos to be buffered.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sorry, not supported in Linux

I hate it when I buy a piece of hardware and find that it's not supported in Linux. Why don't I have the freedom to choose the operating system of my choice?

Some companies have problems with opening up their drivers. Fine. At least do what nVidia does, provide closed, binary drivers. (Thank you nVidia, at least you provide them, and they work!).

Flash on Linux has always been a problem. It runs slow, jittery and is practically unusable. I tried to find out if other users were facing this problem, and sure enough, many are. The solution posted on (this thread) was to downgrade to a previous release of Flash. I had to download a 73MB archive containing a number of previous releases from Adobe's website. Adobe doesn't seem to care much about Linux users. Even the downgraded version has issues, but at least its somewhat usable.

I'm in a good mind to write to every company I come across that doesn't provide Linux support. About time Linux users made themselves heard. There are already a number of petitions.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Adblock or not ?

Firefox has this neat extension called Adblock. It blocks out those annoying ads on web pages. Great! Now I don't have to look at flashing smiley ads anymore. (Who the heck would want to buy smileys anyway?)

But when I installed Google AdSesnse on my blogs, sure enough, I couldn't see them. Now, ads definitely help bring the pennies in, but do they have to be so annoying that people should want to block them? Most users hate ads, as they are distracting and loud[citation needed (LOL)]. In my case, Flash ads even use up a lot of CPU. (Hopefully, Flash will be faster with Firefox 3). In comparison, Google Ads are not irritating, and are usually quite relevant.

Some people go so far as to call Adblock "Stealing", and there are a number of discussions on this topic.

So my dilemma was: whether to Adblock or not. I thought of striking a balance. I have Adblock installed, but I'm not subscribed to any of the filters. I block the irritating, flashy ads manually.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Linux blog expanded

http://akulinux.blogspot.com/ is now http://bit-rot.blogspot.com/ . Why the change? The Linux blog was just a journal of problems and solutions that I came across while using linux. This blog however, deals with anything and everything that's tech-related.

Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions, your arguments, or if you simply wish to call me a nut for my naïve posts :)