Archive for the ‘linux’ Category


32-bit Skype on 64-bit Ubuntu

18 June 2009

“It’s not possible”, they cry! Well, get off your soap boxes dear heretics, it is in fact entirely possible. (If you don’t have problems with pulseaudio, that is)

So, step one. Download the official Skype client for linux to your desktop from their website, you want the .deb for Ubuntu (ignore the version numbers, it’s fine).

Step two.  Install libqt4-gui and libqt4-core, either through synaptic or in a terminal.

sudo apt-get install libqt4-gui libqt4-core

Step three. Let’s play dressing up, we have to convince the package manager to install Skype against its will. That happens to be quite easy. Open a terminal window, and run this command:

sudo dpkg -i --force-architecture ~/Desktop/skype-debian_2.0.0.72-1_i386.deb

What it does is talks directly to the package manager and asks to install the file we downloaded, but doesn’t check the type of system it’s supposed to run on against the type of system you have.

Easy peasy!


Thumbnail woe

26 April 2009

Point 1: The new exam timetable system looks pretty, but doesn’t seem to be a marked improvement on what we had last year. When you download your exam timetable it erroneously tells the computer it’s HTML not a PDF, so you need to change the extension to make it work properly. I have reported this to them, I doubt anything will happen or that they will give me a response, I’m still waiting for a reply to the email I sent almost a year ago.

Point 2: Because my computer read the PDF as HTML the pretty thumbnail was garbled text, the question is how do you fix the thumbnail. Thumbnails are saved in ~/.thumbnails/normal with really helpful names (they look like md5 hashes perhaps?). The answer lies in the tracker-thumbnailer tool.
$ tracker-thumbnailer /path/to/garbled/thumbnail/file
will give you the location of the thumbnail image which you can rm then run
$ tracker-thumbnailer /path/to/garbled/thumbnail/file mimetype normal
which will recreate the thumbnail. You need to change the mimetype to reflect the type of file, such as application/pdf or image/png (there’s a little more help on the man page).

Point 3: There must be an easier way to do this


Connect Ubuntu to Warwick Wireless VPN

4 March 2009

It’s not simple, but I have cracked it. I’m using NetworkManager 0.7.0 on Ubuntu 8.10 but chances are it might work on earlier/later versions.

You need to install the network-manager-pptp package first. You can do this through Synaptic or by installing “PPTP VPN Connection Manager” with the Add/Remove… utility. From the terminal enter
sudo apt-get install network-manager-pptp

Once you’ve done that, right click on the NetworkManager applet on the panel and choose Edit Connections in menu. Click on the VPN tab in the Network Connections window and click the Add button. In the dropdown menu choose Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and click Create…. Give the connection a memorable name and then set the following settings:
On the VPN tab
Username: Your IT Services user code
Password: Your VPN password (follow the instructions here)
Leave everything else as it is and click on Advanced….
Make sure all the Authentication Methods are ticked.
Tick Use encryption and set the Security drop-down to 128-bit (Most Secure).
Everything except Send PPP echo packets SHOULD be ticked.

With any luck when you left-click on the NetworkManager applet and select VPN > Warwick Wireless (or whatever you called it) it should log you straight in!



16 January 2009

What GNOME needs is better panel transparency. It needs to look PRETTIER and applets need to support better transparency so that when you have a window or calendar selected it needs to stand out less like a sore thumb and look more streamlined and, well, transparent. That is all.


GNOME Keyring problem solved

22 December 2008

I think I have solved the irritating problem where you change your account password in Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex (8.10) and it doesn’t update your keyring password where for example wireless network keys are stored. The solution is irritatingly simple, and doesn’t require losing anything. Hit Alt+F2 to bring up the Run Application dialog and enter the word seahorse followed by enter. It will bring up an application called Passwords and Encryption Keys which doesn’t appear to be on the menu at all. Open the Edit menu and choose Preferences. Under the Password Keyrings tab, there is a list of keyrings, look for one which automatically unlocks when the user logs in (it says this in italics). Select it and press the Change Unlock Password button. Enter your old account password in the Old Password box and your new password in the New Password boxes and hey presto the nice daemon called PAM will automatically unlock your keyring on login again.