Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ubuntu : No sound using Intel Corporation 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) AC'97 Audio Controller

Hats off to the Ubuntu dev team for breaking another standard feature.

When I installed from my Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron CD my Intel Corporation 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) AC'97 Audio Controller worked perfectly - life was good.

As usual when installing Linux there were many updates available including :

linux-generic ( to
linux-headers-generic ( to
linux-image-generic ( to
linux-restricted-modules-generic ( to

I held off on installing these because they were a bit large (over 15mb) and my poor DSL connection simply can not handle it! So last night I decided to run the update before I went to bed in hopes that it would correct a problem I'm having with apps randomly crashing (Firefox, Opera, etc).

Well upon bootup today my audio did not work at all. When I tried to open the volume controls (via the Volume Applet in Gnome) it spit out some error about no devices found, and so on.

A quick visit to Synaptic to uninstall the above packages plus a quick reboot and once again I have sound!

Short version :

These upgrades broke my support for the Intel Corporation 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) AC'97 Audio Controller :
linux-generic ( to
linux-headers-generic ( to
linux-image-generic ( to
linux-restricted-modules-generic ( to
By uninstalling these packages and reverting to the chain I was able to get my sound working again (reboot required).


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Thank you so much for the release of XMMS2 which,
"is a redesign of the XMMS music player. It features a client-server model, allowing multiple (even simultaneous!) user interfaces, both textual and graphical." --Synaptic
XMMS1 was uber lame. I got an icon which loaded a wonderful graphical interface. It was easy to use and "just worked". This was far too simple and straight forward. I'm very pleased with your recent work. Previously XMMS was one of the few applications that I liked on Linux that "just worked". I'm very happy to report it no longer resides on that list.

Thus far I've installed over 15 packages related to XMMS2 yet I am not able to load any sort of graphical interface - this is perfect. This new system which includes no menu listing/icon, no graphical interface, no simple instructions, and requires MORE packages surely marks some sort of apex for the XMMS team.

I wait with baited breath for the next release of XMMS.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Copyscape banners not loading

For the last few days or so I've noticed my CopyScape banner hasn't been loading! The URL for my banner was something like :

I checked the CopyScape page and noticed their images were dead also! I'm thinking that the banners might not actually be down but there may be some sort of strange network or DNS issue occurring.

If the images are also offline for you take heart, you can download the PSD file which contains every CopyScape banner! Please note that the PSD link is at the bottom of the page.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Firefox 3 download day of troubles

At approximately 1:15pm during Firefox 3 "Download day 2008" world record setting thingy I attempted to browse to the official download site which I had previously visited without issue.

Out of the 10+ times I've tried to load the site it has failed 95% of the time. On one of my last visits I noticed that they were using Joomla CMS (?). I'm a bit shocked they didn't splash up a static HTML to handle the impending network tidal wave.

Presumably someone is getting paid big bucks to think about this sort of thing.

Hey Mozilla, here's a tip.

1. #/etc/init.d/apache2 stop
2. #nano /var/www/index.html
3. Insert appropriate static HTML code (make sure it validates!)
4. Save file
5. #/etc/init.d/apache2 start
6. Profit!

Upon my first few attempts to load the official site the connection failed after a long delay.

After the Firefox 3 download page finally loaded the world.swf animation failed to load.

I then noticed that to top it ALL off the download links were not correct! The download links still pointed to Firefox! Notice the strange mime data at the top of the page.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

IE4Linux Download problem during installation

So today during my install of IE6 / IE7 using IE4Linux I noticed it kept failing to download certain files about half way through and then would report that the file was corrupt.

I tried the IE4Linux installer a few times to see what was going on and also noticed that when the file was failing it would fail really quickly. What I mean by that is one moment it's downloading and everything is fine then the next moment it fails and says there is an error.

Here is the log of what happens :

IEs4Linux will:
- Install Internet Explorers: 6.0, 7.0
- Using IE locale: EN-US
- Install everything at: /home/remote/.ies4linux
[ OK ]

Downloading everything we need
Downloading from
53% IE_S1.CAB!! An error ocurred when downloading. Please run IEs4Linux again. Corrupted file: ie6/EN-US/IE_S1.CAB

The fix for this is really simple. When you first run the IE4Linux install click the "Advanced" button and add the code below to the Wget flags section.

-t 10 -T 10

So the full thing should read

-c -t 10 -T 10

This tells Wget to use a network time out of 10 seconds and to retry 10 times upon failure. As soon as I used these options the downloads worked with no problem.


Friday, June 06, 2008

IMDB is down (if you use Sprint Mobile Broadband)

So I was trying to visit IMDB tonight and have been experiencing total failure :(

[23:21:19 Fri Jun 06]
$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.

--- ping statistics ---
14 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 13079ms

[23:21:37 Fri Jun 06]
$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.

--- ping statistics ---
21 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 20126ms

[23:22:23 Fri Jun 06]
$ tracepath
1: ( 1.043ms pmtu 1500
1: ( 255.658ms
1: ( 213.871ms
2: no reply
3: ( 235.587ms asymm 5
4: ( 224.894ms asymm 5
5: no reply
6: ( 237.367ms
7: ( 220.811ms
8: ( 227.487ms
9: ( 187.960ms
10: ( 257.435ms asymm 11
11: ( 219.757ms asymm 13
12: ( 237.789ms asymm 13
13: ( 220.733ms asymm 14
14: ( 257.125ms asymm 15
15: no reply
16: no reply
17: no reply
18: no reply
19: no reply
20: no reply
21: no reply
22: no reply
23: no reply
24: no reply
25: no reply
26: no reply
27: no reply
28: no reply
29: no reply
30: no reply
31: no reply
Too many hops: pmtu 1500
Resume: pmtu 1500

Seems the internet gods are very angry!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pidgin : Google Talk / MSN error : SSL support unavailable

So you've installed Pidgin but are unable to connect using Google Talk or MSN and get the error message, "SSL support unavailable". Ya me too, major bummer. After a few hours of Googling the following solution is what I've come up with.

If you're compiling from source you'll probably see this in your ./configure output :
checking for Mozilla nspr4 libraries... no
checking for Mozilla nss3 includes... no
checking for Mozilla nss libraries... no
SSL Library/Libraries......... : None. MSN, Novell Groupwise and Google Talk will not work without GnuTLS or NSS. OpenSSL is NOT usable!
Problem : SSL support is not installed, a previous version of Pidgin/Gaim is still installed or some other error has occured.

What worked for me (on Debian Etch) :
  1. #>apt-get install libnss3-dev
    [This also installed libnspr4-dev and libnss3-dev]

  2. #>./configure --enable-nss

Here is my new ./configure output :
checking for NSS... yes
SSL Library/Libraries......... : Mozilla NSS
3. make && make install

4. Success ! When I first loaded Pidgin MSN gave me yet another SSL error message but by simply disabling / re-enabling it everything worked fine ! I am now able to connect to both MSN and Google Talk.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

IceWM : Change the number of workspaces / virtual desktops

By IceWM default loads four virtual desktops ( aka Workspaces). If you want to adjust this setting open your ~/.icewm/preferences file and look for this line :

WorkspaceNames=" 1 ", " 2 ", " 3 ", " 4 "

Adjust that according to your needs then restart IceWM for the changes to take effect.

Monday, March 03, 2008

SMF : Can't install packages

Recently I fired up Fantastico and installed Simple Machine Forums (SMF) version 1.1.4. Right away I tried to install a few packages but no matter what package I tried it never worked.

Symptoms : When trying to install a SMF package it fails with no error message, no error in the server error log and leaves me with a blank screen. All the appropriate directories/files are set to writable and are "owned" by my user.

After a few hours of Goolging I discover the solution. Thanks to the tips from Sarge over at the official SMF forums I'm now able to install packages !

Here is what I did to resolve my "SMF can't install packages" issue :

1. Log into cPanel (etc) and open phpMyAdmin

2. Select the relevant SMF database (mine was _smf1)

3. Select "smf_settings" on the left hand side

4. Select the SQL tab in the right section @ the top

5. Paste this search command then click Go : SELECT * FROM smf_settings WHERE variable = 'package_path'

6. If your settings looks like the image below and just says "public_html" then this is your problem.

7. Click the little pencil icon to edit the package_path value

8. Enter the real path, it's usually something like /home/username/public_html however your situation may be different. If you don't know your path click here.

9. Change the value then click go.

You should now be able to install packages.

After I fixed my entry it looked like the following

Don't know your absolute path ?

Do the following :

1. Open a text editor and put the code <? phpinfo() ?>
2. Save as phpinfo.php
3. Upload to your web site
4. Open
5. Search for the line "DOCUMENT_ROOT"

This line should show you the path / absolute path / document root (whatever you prefer to call it). This is the value that should be in the DB key instead of just "public_html".

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Firefox is bloatware

Firefox has officially outlived its usefulness.

I have three computers and 5 operating systems**, each of which has Firefox installed. Now I'm no historian but I seem to remember Firefox promising to be a good web browser and all that jazz. Sure it's better than IE in several ways however it's my firm belief that Firefox has become bloatware.

You might be thinking that I've always felt this way, never really liked Firefox and there for never gave it a fair chance. However this is not true. I didn't start seriously hating Firefox until about five minutes ago.

So here's my story. I'm on an old laptop (400mhz 192mb ram, win2k) out and about on vacation connecting through a whiz-bang Sierra Wireless 595U AirCard. So I boot up Win2k and the first thing I do is start Firefox since I know it takes forever and a day to load.

So after I hit Firefox I opened up the Sprint Mobile Broadband connection thingy and connect. Firefox STILL hasn't opened. By this point it's taking so long I'm thinking perhaps I didn't click the icon. A few moments later Firefox finally opens. By the way that Sprint connection tool isn't even on my desktop like Firefox. I gotta navigate the start menu to open it then the program has to go through about 5 steps before I can even CLICK connect - then there's another two or three steps before it's totally connected. I was able to do all of this before Firefox even showed up on the screen.

You're probably thinking "big shocker, you're on an old laptop". Wrong. On my 1.5ghz with 512mb of ram Firefox is slow, on my 2ghz machine that has 1gb of ram Firefox is still slow ! Now if 2ghz + 1gb of ram isn't enough muscle to open Firefox swiftly I'd like to know what in gods name is.

On the other hand Opera, Safari (Windows beta) and the dreaded IE all run worlds faster than Firefox. Perhaps I wouldn't care that much if FF and all its fan boys weren't constantly beating that drum which says Firefox is the greatest, fastest and most secure.

Let me state this part again; previous to about 5 minutes ago I liked Firefox, I was using it upwards of 50 times a day. But as of right now no more, screw Firefox. It can't keep me logged into sites for crap, it loads and operates slower than Christmas and somewhere along the way its spell check has gone to hell.

For an example I just opened FF and misspelled vegetable on purpose. I typed "vegitabe" which is exactly two letters off. This should be easy. If you put "vegitabe" in Google it knows right away which word you meant. Here are the suggested spelling corrections Firefox gives me : veritable, veritably, ignitable, inevitable and inevitably.

None of these are EVEN CLOSE to what I typed and out of this whole list "vegetable" isn't mentioned. Way to fail Firefox. And this kind of crap happens to me all the time. I've had dozens of instances where I was one or two letters off on a commonly used word and Firefox "suggest" words totally unrelated and fails to give me the correct spelling.

I decide to run a little test. So I fired up Firefox and disabled the few addons that I use, rebooted the computer and the ran Opera + Firefox at the same time to see what the load difference is. I put both desktop icons side by side and each time I started Firefox first, then press the right arrow key and hit enter to load Opera.

Initial load time : Opera shows on the taskbar a full 5 seconds before Firefox appears.

Round two load time : Opera pops up a full 4 seconds before Firefox shows up.

So for me that's it. I'm tired of Firefox's slow performance, I'm making a full switch to Opera. By the way, it's worth noting that a lot of features people love about IE7 and Firefox started off in Opera. Opera has always been way ahead of the game and has managed to keep their browser small, fast and customizable (Opera 9.26 installer is 4.7mb, Firefox is 5.7mb).

Windows XP Pro
Windows XP Pro
Windows 2k Pro
Damn Small Linux
Puppy Linux