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  • MD1032 10:57 pm on September 17, 2011 Permalink  

    XBMC and Radeon: scrambled desktop on exit 

    When quitting XBMC or when switching from full screen to windowed mode, the desktop becomes scrambled and unusable. This happens on Ubuntu 11.04 with the fglrx drivers for Radeon cards. The fix is to turn off  the “tear-free” feature in the Catalyst control panel.

  • MD1032 6:43 pm on August 25, 2011 Permalink  

    Display all installed Ubuntu packages sorted by size 

    dpkg-query -W -f'${Package}\t${Installed-Size}\t${Status}\n' |\
    awk '/installed$/ { print $2 "\t" $1 }' |sort -n
  • MD1032 2:26 pm on August 5, 2011 Permalink  

    Linux on ALDI / Medion LT 9888 

    The Medion LT 9888 laptop was sold at ALDI Germany in 1998. I’ve been using it as a Linux Server for more than 10 continous years now and it just refuses to die. In order to boot Linux on it, I’m using the following kernel command line options:

    vga=0x305 pci=irqmask=0x8fff

  • MD1032 12:21 pm on July 7, 2011 Permalink  

    T-Mobile USA Prepaid & iPhone & unlimited data for $1.49/day 

    Since the folks in the T-Mobile store were clueless, I had to figure out myself how to get mobile internet on my iPhone using a T-Mobile prepaid SIM (or pay-as-you-go, as they call it here).

    • Ensure your iPhone is not locked to a provider
    • Buy a $10 T-Mobile pay as you go SIM. I could only find them at T-Mobile shops, Radioshack and CVS didn’t have them. It comes with around $3 worth of credit. You need to top it up with at least another $10 in store, so the total cost of the SIM will be at least $20 plus tax.
    • Have the store clerk use a SIM stapler to convert your SIM card into a microSIM (in case you use iPhone 4 or iPad)
    • If they don’t have a SIM stapler, just use scissors to cut it into shape
    • Insert the SIM into your iPhone and enter Settings – General – Network. Disable 3G to save battery power, since T-Mobile will only allow your iPhone on their 2G EDGE network. Cellular Data needs to be on, Data Roaming should be off (even though the store clerk insisted it needs to be on).
    • In the Cellular Data Network menu, Reset Settings at the bottom. Then enter the “” into the APN field on the top
    • You should see the EDGE “E” or a circle “o” on the top left next to the word “T-Mobile”. If you don’t see it, enable and disable airplane mode, or reboot the phone.
    • Open Safari and go to “”, then choose “My Account”
    • Subscribe to the daily web pass for $1.49 per 24h
    Update: The Web Pass has been discontinued. There is now a daily plan for unlimited talk, text and 2G web browsing for $2 per day. It’s an ongoing subscription but can be canceled on a daily basis.
    • LK 2:25 am on July 23, 2011 Permalink

      I recently got an unlocked iPhone 4. I had been using AT&T plan but I am no longer interested in using them if I can get a cheaper plan from T-Mobile. 3G is not a big concern for me since I will be mostly on WIFI connection anyway.

      I’ve never used T-Mobile / Prepaid service before, so if you can explain a bit about this, I would be greatly appreciated.

      Specifically, I’d like to know if I can get cheap talk / text as well on top to this 1.49/day DATA plan.

      Thanks in advance and feel free to contact me through the email.

  • MD1032 2:25 pm on May 23, 2011 Permalink  

    Shairport: Pop, crackle and other noise 

    I’m using the C version of Shairport on 64bit Ubuntu Natty to receive streaming audio from iTunes and iDevices. It’s working well, but there was a problem with the sound quality: popping and crackling noise made my music sound like it’s coming from a vinyl record.

    dmesg was reporting that the HPET timer had to be adjusted several times during the playback. Turning off HPET forced the kernel to pick a different timing source, which fixed the audio quality problems. In /etc/default/grub I added hpet=disable to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT option, then ran update-grub and rebooted the host.

    Another problem was that Shairport refused to play with IPv6. Disabling IPv6 via /etc/sysctl.conf fixed that issue.

  • MD1032 2:16 pm on May 23, 2011 Permalink  

    Rebooting a Virtouzzo/OpenVZ container 

    If you want to reboot from inside the container, do a touch /reboot before you shutdown -r now. This will mark the container for reboot, and a cron job on the container host will power it back on after it shut down. Only when both commands are run the container will reboot correctly.

  • MD1032 2:33 pm on May 3, 2011 Permalink  

    Ubuntu 11.04: grub fails after setting up RAID6 

    I tried to install Ubuntu natty 64bit server on a machine with 4 HDDs. During the setup I partitioned them and assembled a RAID6 array. The very last step of the Ubuntu installation failed. Grub basically said it cannot read the filesystem on any of the HDDs and it could not install itself into the MBR since there is no MBR. This is because natty apparently uses GPT (GUID Partition Table) as the standard partition table format now, instead of the old msdos format. GPT has no MBR, and this is where grub fails.

    A workaround for this problem is to boot from CD or USB into Ubuntu Live and use gparted to create an empty msdos partition table on each disk. After that, re-run the Ubuntu server installer and partition the disks (be sure not to recreate the partition table) and after the installation is done, grub will install itself into the MBR of each HDD without complaints.

    Another approach would be to create a small separate partition for the grub bootloader code and set the “BIOS Boot Partition” flag on it using gparted or parted. I haven’t tested this myself.

  • MD1032 2:26 pm on May 3, 2011 Permalink  

    Mounting CIFS/SMB in fstab fails with “CIFS VFS: No username specified” in syslog 

    So you have a line in your /etc/fstab like:

    //  /mnt/nsbackup  cifs  credentials=/root/.smbcredentials,noauto  0  0

    and /root/.smbcredentials contains


    and you see the error above in your syslog? Try installing the package cifs-utils!

    • frankiejr 3:18 pm on July 15, 2011 Permalink

      I don’t think I can count how many times I’m saying “Thank You” out loud over and over again right now. I’m fairly new to the Linux thing and have been trying to learn something new on Natty every day. Tonight I was trying to get a network drive auto-mounted for future use, and none of the documentation anywhere was helping. Your suggestion did the trick.

      So I’ll say it again: Thank You!

    • dasarne 5:06 am on July 17, 2012 Permalink

      You helped me, too.

    • Chris 1:26 pm on November 4, 2012 Permalink

      Nailed it! Thanks cifs-utils was my problem too

    • Gregory O 4:52 pm on November 12, 2012 Permalink

      Spot on, thank you. I don’t even need the ‘user=’ line, since I’m mounting using the same username as my login on the client computer.

    • Paul 10:42 am on December 8, 2012 Permalink

      OMG – that was all, must have just simply forgotten it, but THANK YOU!!

    • Bob Roberts 12:21 pm on December 16, 2012 Permalink

      Hey thanks pal.

    • Ermir 6:12 pm on February 1, 2013 Permalink

      Thanks a lot. I was also facing the same problem.

    • Fons D. 8:20 pm on March 7, 2013 Permalink

      This did the trick!

      Thank you!!

    • Emmanuel 7:47 am on November 25, 2013 Permalink

      Thank you!

    • Ken 8:44 pm on October 26, 2014 Permalink

      Thanks! Last week I had a little accident and removed the cifs-utils package from the server because I was typing in the wrong terminal. I thought I had reinstalled it, but I hadn’t really. Thanks again.

  • MD1032 6:00 pm on March 30, 2011 Permalink  

    Embedding R graphs in Redmine wiki pages 

    R is a language for statistical computing and graphics. It is capable of generating graphs and charts in publication quality. I’ve created a plugin for Redmine that allows the user to place R snippets within Redmine wiki pages and automatically embed the generated graphs:

    The above pie chart was generated from the following Redmine wiki entry:

    bars <- c(1, 3, 5)
    pie(bars, main="Pie Chart: Favourite Bars", col=rainbow(length(bars)),labels=c("Mars","Twix","KitKat"))

    To install the plugin on your Redmine site, check out the code and instructions in my Github.

  • MD1032 12:09 am on March 1, 2011 Permalink  

    WordPress 3.0.5 & Debian & blank screen when inserting objects 

    When I try to insert an image into a blog post, all I get is a white blank page. The source code of that page reveals some javascript, and the FF error console reports “win.send_to_editor is not a function”. I’ve found countless postings on the web from other users who had this problem, none of their solutions helped me.

    In the end it came down to the fact that I was using the wordpress 3.0.5 Debian sid package. According to the Debian guidelines, Debian packages should not ship software that has already been packaged for Debian. This is why the wordpress package depends on some PHP libraries and also tinyMCE and symlinks to them from inside the /usr/share/wordpress directory. Apparently there were some incompatibilities between some external libraries and wordpress 3.0.5 which prevented me from inserting objects into the editor.

    Long story short, I’ve removed the Debian package and am now running wordpress from source, which works like a charm.

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