Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Lockin vs locked in

I remember the first time, well before I was old enough to be invited, that someone explained the concept of a lock-in. This is where the locking of a door converts a licensed public drinking establishment into a private venue.
  This seemed like a moment of heaven, to my imagination. Then I thought about being locked-in to software; Either because it has market share or because it has "tracksion", (where tracksion is that magical awareness that everyone has that "that one is better" - an example would be firefox. See, firefox has tracksion, but not being a vehicle is does not have traction.)
  I've started to feel a little locked-in with Ubuntu. I though that I would give up... until I tried 12.04. I admit that it took me a day to get used to, and this post is a list of the things that I found that could have helped me get through that faster.

  1. Do not fear the changes: Unity integrates things. This means that while using firefox, (obviously) the <title> of the page is loaded into the top bar. This threw me more than I expected. The thing that I really missed was being able to right click on the bar and add things, (I like to have my system-load-indicator.) So I opened, "Ubuntu Software Centre", (which, along with Google Play seems far too frivilous and scary at the same time - I sort-of trusted yum and apt-get but my paranoid "something sinister" alarm goes off when something looks too inviting. I'm sure someone has taken the GP logo and changed it to "Google Pay".) That said, System Load Indicator was easy to install and complies with my own desire for as many things as possible to be optional.
  2. The few things that have been dropped from 12.04 CAN still be installed - for example: might be helpful. If you can only find an .rpm then grab that and run  
  sudo alien blah.rpm

to get the .deb that you need.

bonzini  gave a very good walk-thu of how to resize the launcher icons, and along with ubuntu-tweak I was able to set up the OS how I wanted it, and

 gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.session suppress-logout-restart-shutdown true

Will disable the shutdown, restart or logout confirmation prompt.

I find the windows in Unity a real pain to resize, (the mouse pointer never seems to find the magic location in the corner), thankfully, while searching the blogs I found, (sorry, can't remember where) that:

"Alt + middle-click will resize windows"
which goes nicely with what I already new that,
"Alt + left-click will grab any window and let you move it." Which I use automatically now. This just goes to reinforce me belief that learning one short-cut a day will drastically improve your computing experience.

I had a bit of a problem getting wireless to work, but

  aptitude install miredo wpasupplicant

seems to have fixed that for now. Once firefox sync had installed for me and I got my backups down from the cloud everything was ready to get back to work... which is where I should be now.

I noticed that tab completion of

ls ~alexx


"ls /home/alexx " (notice the trailing space.)

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to find the solution via blog/forums.

"editing /etc/bash_completion line 1587, change default to filenames "

I'm still having wireless network stability issues, (packet throughput drops to zero, even for icmp to the first hop, i.e. my base-station/router), even though:

watch "iwconfig wlan0; ifconfig wlan0"

still shows a connection:

wlan0     IEEE 802.11bgn  ESSID:"home"
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.432 GHz  Access Point:
          Bit Rate=54 Mb/s   Tx-Power=20 dBm
          Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr=2347 B   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=65/70  Signal level=-45 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:32111   Missed beacon:0

wlan0     Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:be:ef:be:ef:01
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: 2001:DB8::1/32 Scope:Link
          RX packets:1519072 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:1566529 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:1520004007 (1.5 GB)  TX bytes:299019413 (299.0 MB)

I'm trying:

sudo echo "net.core.rmem_max=4194304\nnet.core.wmem_max=1048576" >> /etc/sysctl.conf

in the hope that this might help.

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