Two glitches upon upgrading Ubuntu

I tend to put off updates to official versions of things I use (beta software I freely update)… Mostly because I find glitches in both and delaying the official updates means they’ve hopefully been addressed.

I ran into two things that I didn’t like upon upgrading to the newest version of Ubuntu.

  1. The minimize / maximize / close buttons were on the LEFT (a la Mac OS)
  2. It’d spontaneously restart back to the login screen

The first was an easy fix:

  1. Alt+F2 to bring up the Terminal
  2. type in gconf-editor
  3. Navigate to apps > metacity > general
  4. Look for an option called button_layout
  5. If they’re on the Left they’ll be: close,maximize,minimize:menu
    If you want them on the right: menu:minimize,maximize,close

The later is detailed in hackademix but the command given is faulty:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bryceharrington/purple && apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

should be:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bryceharrington/purple && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

This forces all three commands to be at sudo (root aka superuser) level.

(Edited after posting b/c of a copy / paste issue, ended up repeating the top part of the article)

Blogger / Gmail Account Disabled?

I’m not sure what happened, but apparently my second blog under my Second Life name has been disabled. It’s odd because I’ve only made one post on the blog and I don’t think I’ve used the gmail (if it has a gmail account?).

I’ve sent in a “what the!?” email (kidding, it’s a request for clarification / dispute) and I’m hoping this will get resolved quickly.

Although… I do have my worries… there have been some pretty nasty tales about posts and accounts disappearing from Google’s Blogger site with no way to get them back.

All I wanted to do was update my blog with some more tips… *sighs*

Cannabis: Why it won’t be legalized any time soon.

There are two main reasons why cannabis won’t be legalized within the next few years:

1.) The justice system feeds people to the jails, and the latter is a very profitable business; arresting and jailing people is an industry.

Legalizing cannabis would severely cut into this industry and big industries inevitably have lobbyists; they use them like a well refined weapon against the slow moving wave of government change.

2.) The other reason cannabis won’t be legalized any time soon is the pervasive attitude from those in power. This is not limited to lower levels of gov’t, it goes all the way to the top: Obama.

It greatly disturbed me that he laughed off the #1 ranked question in his own online polls in 3 different sections: legalizing cannabis to help the economy. That Obama would treat conservative protesters (remember the town hall meetings during the election run) with more respect than thousands to millions of online people voicing their views.

To be blunt: I expected better from him.

I also fear he’s getting the Bush effect: being surrounded by people with biases that aren’t balanced and not seeing how he’s being herded away from his original intentions.

Disable Slow Keys in Ubuntu

For whatever reason (long story involving a keyboard not working right) I had assistive technologies installed on my machine – you know, the ones that help the physically / mentally challenged use a computer?

Well, one of them was hindering my ability to play one of my games. Dangerous territory there, don’t get in the way of my games. Anyway… the pain in my arse is called Slow Keys.
(Edited the above to make it clearer)

If I held down the shift key for more than 8 seconds, it would ask me if I would like to enable Slow Keys.

Unfortunately, this dialog box makes anything you type not work / appear until it’s dealt with.

Annoying? Oh yes, and even more so as it tended to pop up UNDER the main window, so half the time I thought I was lagging / having technical issues.

The solution? To go into the settings for the assistive technologies:
System > Preferences > Keyboard > /Accessability/ > [ ] Accessability Features can be Toggled with Keyboard Shortcuts

I tried Googling it, nothing came close, so here it is.

Update – As Kevin pointed out in the comments, they’ve moved it in an update:
Kevin Says:

In Ubuntu 11.10 the procedure has changed to:
System Settings> > Universal Access > Typing > Toggle Slow Keys”

Thanks Kevin!

And hello linuxquestion.org users ^_^

Cure multi-page articles with Repagination and Adblock Plus

I don’t know about you, but when I see what should be a one page article spread across 6 pages in tiny chunks, it drives me nuts! Call me crazy, but I don’t want to wade through ad-saturated page after ad-saturated page just to read a simple article!

A few examples of this are:

  • computerworld.com
  • environmentalgraffiti.com
  • ew.com
  • gamesradar.com
  • instructables.com
  • itwirecom
  • maximumpc.com
  • rd.com

While Adblock Plus usually makes short work of the ads, there are also self-promoting ads on every page as well. I may be interested in these on the first page, but by the second, third and fourth pages they’re nothing but the visual equivalent of static noise.

Repagination (a Firefox add-on) stitches all of the pages together, much like taking a report and taping the pages end to end to create a large ribbon.

Add in Adblock Plus’ side kick “Element Hiding Helper” to zap the noise, and you can actually do what you set out to do – read the article!

How-to:

Requirements:

The first thing you’ll need to do is stitch the pages together:

  1. Right-click on the Next link
  2. Choose Re-pagination
  3. Choose All
  4. Wait as it loads (you should see your scroll bar shrinking and jumping up)

Then I’d recommend scrolling down to the second page, or even just the last page.

before-part-of-page-1-some-of-page-.png image by AmandaKerik

Once you’re there, you’ll want to use Adblock Plus’ Element Hiding Helper to target the areas that are not related to the article (header, footer, “you might be interested in” links, etc.)

The way I target each annoyance is:

  1. Right-click on the Adblock Plus icon and choose “Select Element to Hide”
  2. Move your mouse over the offender
    starting-selection.png image by AmandaKerik
  3. Hit W (wider) on the keyboard until it outlines an area that affects the content
    go-one-step-too-far.png image by AmandaKerik
  4. Hit N (narrow) to go back down a level
    final-target.png image by AmandaKerik
  5. Hit B (blink) to see what removing that selection would affect.
    after-first-selection-applied.png image by AmandaKerik
  6. Hit S (select) to choose that area
  7. Go into the advanced editor
    selection.png image by AmandaKerik

Here’s the tricky part… I, personally, don’t like the first page affected by the slimming process.

In the advanced editor,

  1. scroll up the tree until you’re just under the body area,
  2. choose the one that’s the ancestor of your target
    direct-ancestor.png image by AmandaKerik
  3. then find the ancestor with the SAME name on the same level.
    selection3.png image by AmandaKerik

Troubleshooting:

Every once in a while Repagination inserts a frame for the next page, which foils adblock’s selection.

The easiest solution to this is to go into Adblock Plus’ Preferences, finding the rules for the site, and replacing (as an example):

instructables.com##*#container + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + *#container > DIV#sidebar

with

instructables.com##*#container ~ *#container > DIV#sidebar
after-tilde.png image by AmandaKerik

The tilde (~) means “any sibling after”, and so this would target all of the “container”s after a “container” that are on the same level. It’s usuall shift + `, which is called a “back tick” and is in the very top left of most keyboards.

Personal – Keyboards don’t like milk baths

So, in the action of defending my keyboard from an avalanche of toys (brought on by my daughter’s armful of them and insistance about putting them on my desk) I knocked a cup of milk onto my keyboard.

Nothing really happened at first except a big mess, the keyboard even drained through the holes for the flipping feet. Then about 3 hours later… of all things my space bar wouldn’t work.

I get my daughter to go to sleep and fall asleep myself. I come back and my computer’s in standby mode.

Cool, I think, less power used, etc.

Yeah, except I had to restart it to get it out of standby mode (it doesn’t like my video card, it’s a known bug).

A restart later and I can’t log in. Wait, what?

Yeah, see title. Keyboard not responding at all. I couldn’t even arrow into Windows.

So I find the keyboard my daughter’s been using to pretend she can type (she can, but badly, she got me banned from chat once when the computer didn’t go into lockdown mode when the screensaver kicked on)… except….

The stupid keyboard uses the PS/2 connection, and the metal C shaped piece that surrounds the pegs is bent in. Easily fixable, but still exasperating!

But, as you can see, it’s working now.

Looks like I get to clean my usual keyboard with some rubbing alcohol (disolves milk solids, etc, pours out like water, evaporates quicker AND slightly sanitizes).

Personal: Seller on eBay doesn’t accept Paypal

I’ve never seen a seller that insists on credit cards / cheques / etc, but refuses Paypal. To me… this is a huge red flag, despite their 100% happiness rating.

In this particular instance, the seller only accepts credit cards from Canadians, and as I don’t have one (and don’t plan on getting one) I had to ask the seller to cancel the transaction.

Too bad it didn’t work out. Lesson learned – Always filter by “Accepts Paypal”.

Anyone else out there run into this and it turned out well?

[Edit] With a few emails, the guy applied for a mutual cancellation of the whole thing, which was nice as he could have dragged it out and been a jerk about it. From now on I make a point of filtering by Paypal, and usually by BuyItNow. (I hate auctions)