Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Mounting USB drives in Lubuntu

It's been a while since I had to do this. I've gotten so used to regular Ubuntu and Nautilus and layers of auto-mounting drive-enabling modules under the hood, it took a while to re-adjust the mindset by about 18 months and do this by hand...

Monday, 29 March 2010

Full Circle Magazine and Podcast Available!

Full Circle Podcast #3  Hail the Mental Mongoose is here!
In this episode, three English guys struggle with the Linux Tech Survey, Wine and the English Language...
Full Circle Magazine #35 is here!
  • Digitally Retouching a Photo in GIMP
  • Installing Google SketchUp using Wine.
  • Review – Motorola Milestone/Droid.
  • Top 5 – Android Applications.

Lubuntu Start-up with the Blinds Down

A problem I've found with the current Lubuntu alpha; namely after install and/or tweaking the graphics settings being presented with a black screen or this message:
X-session unable to launch "/usr/bin/start/xde" X-session not found "/usr/bin/start/xde" falling back to default session.
on re-start. A little x-session voodoo?

Monday, 22 March 2010

Linux Tech Survey

Why not take the Linux tech survey as which quite a few "youtubers" are answering and we've put in the Full Circle Podcast ep#3. Posted by Waqar M, alias "knowmorecomp" ( Text of the survey is at

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sound vs. Vision - Audacity vs. nVidia

The good news is: I have reduced my Audacity crashes by 80%...
The bad news is:   I did it by removing the proprietary nVidia drivers!

I had long suspect that Audacity's GTK front-end quarrels with the proprietary nVidia graphics drivers BUT ONLY on my Dell laptop. The nVidia card in this Dell was never rated as great, more of a workhorse, with some  hardware implentation issues  somewhere along the way. How did I make the link?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Installing VirtualBox Guest Additions

VirtualBox offers its own Guest Additions for improved integration between guest and host, particularly mouse-capture and more video resolutions. The guest-additions are installed to the guest, not the host. It is an essential for best performance.

The current VirtualBox ( includes a multi-platform cd-iso image for Guest Additions. For Windows guests you only need mount the iso to your virtual CD drive and the autorun.inf starts the installer for you. On Linux however...

Friday, 19 March 2010

Lubuntu LXDE on trial

The name Lubuntu is a combination of LXDE and Ubuntu. LXDE stands for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment.

The objective of the Lubuntu project is to create a variant of Ubuntu that uses LXDE, the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, as its default GUI.

Fixing themed Window controls

There's been a huge fuss over the default layout in the new Ambiance and Radiance Light themes in Lucid Lynx. Namely, the Window controls (minimise, maximise, close) being in the top left corner, not the right as we are all accustomed.

But it's surprisingly easy to fix, even if it's buried in the arcane black arts of 'old Linux'. It's a one character change in one line of the gconf file.

Rope and pitons at the ready...
Click alt + f2 to bring up a command line; type
Warning: do not edit anything else in the gconf file unless you know what it does, you will wreck your x-windows session.
Navigate the gconf hierarchy tree to the level and key -
and you will find the line -
Right-click to open the options menu, select edit; it should be changed to -
The leading colon is significant, this sets the window controls to left or right aligned depending on its position at start or end of the line. 

Of course, if you don't like the notification area throwing messages over your right-aligned window controls, you can equally change their position from right to left.  RC

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Fixing the Blogger Navigation Bar

Following my minor rant about the Blogger NavBar and why its such a stylistic and artistic bad idea, here's how I dealt with it.

Most of the Blogger Templates use iframes to load the NavBar, styled with a CSS block ID named navbar-iframe. So we can use standard CSS formatting to move, hide or otherwise layout the NavBar as we wish.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Full Circle Podcast #02 - OUT NOW!

The second episode of the Full Circle podcast is available in MP3 and OGG formats. The audio mix is getting better (really), stay with us…  RC

Your Hosts: Robin Catling, Ed Hewitt, Dave Wilkins

A New Suit

It's been about a month on the new blog platform. Well past the time to fix the hideous template I chose by default (they were all pretty hideous).

So now the Catling Mindwipe has gone Minima, with a few tweaks:
  • Fonts
  • Colours
  • Page element and graphic borders
These were all done through the Dashboard, Layout tools.

But more seriously...

Monday, 15 March 2010

Let there be Light...

Sorry about the title, couldn't help myself.

If you haven't seen the new branding (samples here at and you aren't running the Ubuntu Lucid Lynx Alpha-3 on trial (, you can still get new themes for Light - Ambience and Radiance. These are available and working for both Lucid (9.10) and Karmic (9.04).

Saturday, 13 March 2010

I have the Lynx and it is Lucid...

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx Alpha-3 on trial

It's now a week in and its all running sweetly.

Got the new look, themes, branding. Improved software centre has a habit of giving me a crash report whether it has crashed or not (??).

So far, very impressed. And it's only an Alpha...

Audacious re-install of Karmic

The disastrous lack of stability finally got to me. Too many strange things, lock-ups, crashes... Audacity going AWOL at random intervals, to the point where you have to kill the process, the crash recovery doesn't work any more and the saved project file locks up when re-opened!!

Time to bite the bullet and re-install Karmic on the Dell....

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

AA Routefinder Fail...

..not because the route given doesn't work (although having lost it in the dark, that's a fail), but because the route given was insanely complex compared to the direct one I found by navigating using 'the force.'

Find the AA Routefinder on the main Automobile Association UK site, but also get a map and check the results before you drive...

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Skype on Ubuntu Karmic: broken or not?

Straw poll; is it just me or does Skype 2.1 beta not want to install consistently on Karmic? All I get is a descent into dependency hell over libqt4's...

My old antiques the JVC and the Compaq are both fine, not so the big Dell machine...