Category Archives: Computers

Overheating problems on an old ECS TF570 motherboard. Xubuntu 12.04 workarounds

Well this old motherboard of mine (ECS TF-570) has started to have some problems. When encoding videos with Avidemux, it was randomly shutting down. I run Xubuntu Linux 12.04 as my operating system. I have driven myself crazy troubleshooting hardware problems as software problems in the past. Luckily this time I thought hardware first since it is only happening when the CPU is loaded up. I was headed in the right direction from the get go.

I googled my way to this page, which really got things started fast.

$ sudo apt-get install cpufrequtils

$ cpufreq-info

For me it read

current CPU frequency is 2.4 GHz
hardware limits: 1000 MHz - 2.40 GHz
available frequency steps: 2.40 GHz, 2.20 GHz, 2.00 GHz, 1.80 GHz, 1000 MHz

This is while the system was encoding. When the CPU is not loaded up, it showed 1000MHz. I let an encoding run while I set the cpu. So using the next command, you can adjust to any value shown in your “available frequency steps”. I set it to

sudo cpufreq-set -u 2.0Ghz

Now, when you run the cpufreq-info command it shows 2.0Ghz (as long as the CPU is loaded up doing work!). Here is the wiki page for cpufreq. Now to display it. I looked for another page and installed the sensors side of things.

$ sudo apt-get install lm-sensors
$ sensors

This showed me

Adapter: Virtual device
temp1:        +59.0°C  (crit = +70.0°C)

Adapter: PCI adapter
Core0 Temp:   +59.0°C  
Core1 Temp:   +64.0°C

And higher, so I knew I was on the right track. it was shutting down when it reached the crit limit.

$ sudo sensors-detect

and said yes to everything

$ sudo service module-init-tools start

Lastly, a way to view the sensors.

$ sudo apt-get install gkrellm
$ gkrellm

I went into the preferences and checked off all my sensors so they would display. No more guessing WTF happened! You can also use widgets or conky (as shown at the bottom of this page) to display the sensor information, but this was the way I decided I liked it.

Ripping Part 2 – Exact Audio Copy in Wine – Xubuntu 12.04

Well sometimes it takes a while to get back into a project. I started ripping our old CD’s back in 2010, and here I am starting it back up again now… After some consideration, I still like the accuraterip feature of EAC, plus it’s just easy to use. I guess I could use K3b or Soundconverter, but they don’t offer the same features, and I started this project using EAC. So let’s do what is being done.

Download and run with Wine, at easiest that means left or right clicking it and run with Wine, or just navigating to the directory you downloaded it to and typing

wine eac*

This will install it, but it will error when you try to start the program. Next open a terminal in the directory you installed to. For me that was

/home/username/.wine/drive_c/Program Files(x86)/Exact Audio Copy/

and type

regsvr32 sql*

as shown here. Ok now the program will open, but there is a few things to sort out. I went through the wizard that guides you on first setup. It didn’t find my CD-Rom. Fine. It needs LAME. Right I remember this. Leave it on that screen and open a browser window., I downloaded 3.99.5.

Extract the zip, copy the folder that is created to the EAC install directory, and continue the wizard. Show it where you put lame.exe. CDDB wants an email address, so I gave them one. I left the options unchanged for the naming conventions, I’ll change them later.

Like it says on the WineHQ page, I had change EAC Options -> Interface from “Native Win32 interface for XP/Vista/Win7″ to “Installed external ASPI interface” and then restart EAC before Audio CDs would be recognized. I was kind of ready to give up here, and restarted a few times, and had another beer, but it started working.

So reopening EAC it finds the CD, and communicates with the accuraterip database, and opens the CD. Now to add the names of the song.

Database > Get CD Information from > Remote Metadata Provider

I picked my CD and continued. Now to set up the MP3 bitrate and naming convention before ripping.

EAC > Compression Options > Under bit rate change it to 320kbps (if you like, that’s just what I like). Select LAME Mp3 and let it clear the parameters. Last I set the naming convention.

As shown in this post, EAC > Filename > Naming Scheme. It used to be

%D (%C)\%N %T

but now it is

%artist%\%albumtitle%\(%tracknr2%) %title%

thats about it, EAC is now working for me. It is now 3am. Listening to a bit more James Low Western Front, ripping some old Buddy Emmons, finishing my beer and going to bed. Night. The stars don’t care.

Changing from Gnome 2?

Kind of a rant. I’ve put this off for a while hoping to see some improvements in the Unity Desktop, but with 12.04 about to release, it’s time to change.

I’m a Desktop Linux user. I’ve been using Linux for 15 years at least. I started out with every distribution that I could download or install from a magazine. The Internet was slow back then. Then I ran Mandrake till it started to suck (Mandriva). Then I started using Ubuntu. Windows 2000 was the last dual boot on any of my computers (2006), and that was just because I needed to play games. Since then the Wine project has made some great progress and can play all my favorite games. Thanks again @WineHQ

I’ve been running my main Desktop with Ubuntu 11.04 64bit, and it has never ran anything but Ubuntu since I built it in 2006. This computer does any downloading, transcoding, regular coding, mythtv backend, music server, virtual machines, and wine gaming that I need. It’s my workhorse, and I love it. I have other computers around the house running Lubuntu and Ubuntu Studio. They have their uses and place. But my main Desktop needs to be more like the 11.04 that I’ve been using for the last few years.

It’s not that I don’t understand Ubuntu and Unity’s current direction, it’s that it doesn’t suit my needs. The desktop environment is changed. Things are being taken away. Unwanted things are popping up in their place.

So I have tried Unity, and am not interested. No. So yes, it is obvious and I know that I can modify Ubuntu to be the way I want and /or try to hold on to Gnome 2 (for now, fallback? cinnamon?), but as I’m making a change here, I want a new desktop environment I can get used to again, like I did with Gnome 2, and that will be there in future releases. I don’t use 3d on the desktop, I use it for games. I don’t want flashy things, and I don’t want to be told what to do. I tell computers what to do. I want simple things that work, and with less overhead so I can load this computer up doing work. Really, isn’t the reason you choose a distribution so you don’t have to spend the extra time dicking around? I must have less extra time. I pick the distribution that is closest to what I want so I have less dicking around. I want to be doing stuff. So, for the first time in 8 years, I am trying to find something closer to what I want to start with for my main desktop.

I started with Lubuntu 12.04 64 bit. Still *buntu. Good. I uninstalled some stuff and started loading on my stuff. It didn’t feel right. I still love Lubuntu, but not for this computer.

I tried Ubuntu Studio 12.04 64bit, and it is close. but there is a bunch of stuff installed that I don’t need, so why use that as a starting point. That stuff belongs on my studio computer.

As a detour, I tried Debian 6.0.4 64bit. It was looking really good, and Gnome 2 was looking friendly, but it ended up being a bit far behind in packages so I couldn’t run some of the same programs. Iceweasel instead of Firefox and hacks to replace it but not the current versions. Wine 1.4 is a hack from a different repository, and in the end it just didn’t work for me. I was hoping Debian would be like going to the mothership, and instead it really felt like going back to Ubuntu of a few years ago. So, I just want to run a more current system. It was still a fun afternoon. Send it to VM’s!

I tried Linux Mint. It looks pretty. But some how came in a close second. I will try this one in a VM as well.

So finally I download Xubuntu, having come full circle and still searching for a home. XFCE is my second choice to Gnome 2, and having the *buntu base is still a comfort to me. So maybe I start over with a new desktop environment. It reminds me a lot of the studio computer downstairs.

Everything looks great. XFCE Terminal, Leafpad, XFburn, many of the default programs are just what I like. Simple, fast, and get the job done. I uninstalled a few programs that I don’t use and installed my favorites. It didn’t take long and I didn’t run into any of the usual annoyances. Pretty good for a beta 2.

So I am feeling pretty good about this update. I am really starting to like XFCE after a few days, and since the only change is the desktop environment, I stay current with *buntu and keep doing what I like. Now to get back to work!

Update: After almost a month, I can’t complain about XFCE. She’s a giver. It’s a good fit.

Update: After two months, it’s just getting better. Upgrading my other boxes around the house to Xubuntu. My advice is not using Gnome2 forks but just to move on to a new DE. Thanks @xfceofficial!

Alternatives to ITunes in Canada: Ubuntu One with Banshee

Recently I tried buying some CD’s from Amazon. After three weeks, on the day of their delivery, Amazon sent me a cowardly email saying it would take another 1 to 7 months. Tourettes symptoms. No more buying CD’s from them. I’ve been looking for some albums by Redd Volkaert and a few others for a while now.

I use Linux (Ubuntu) and not Windows or Mac. I looked at Google Music. Not in Canada. I looked at Amazon Mp3. Not in Canada. I looked all around. Not in Canada. I don’t have much experience in this area. I know my Apple friends can download music in Canada, so maybe I can just download ITunes for a night, run it in Wine, get my songs and delete ITunes the next day? Right. It didn’t even start to work with Wine. I’m not surprised and not disappointed. But well what the hell, I still need these albums.

Yes, there must be other ways, but I’m not looking for any kind of mainstream pop music here, so I need to find a way to buy it. It’s 2012 and there should be a legitimate way to do this. Finally, I start searching for alternatives to ITunes, and find that Ubuntu One and Banshee are doing music sales kind of like ITunes does. I’ve never liked Banshee, and would rather use Audacious. But I might as well try it for this.

I entered my CC info and bought the songs in Banshee. Then it tells me the downloads stay “In the Cloud” (gay) until you sync a computer with Ubuntu One. Ok sync me. As long as they are really non-DRM mp3, I will download ‘em and back ‘em up. Then the program stuck at “queuing” for my songs. I’m feel like starting to go down that familiar road. But then I started searching and read some posts that I just needed to do some commands and/or reboot and such. I think a reboot or process kill would have done it. But with not much choice or patience I just typed the two commands and then rebooted.

u1sdtool -c
u1sdtool -s

It worked! There was a bit of me checking here and there, but Ubuntu One started downloading my songs to the ~.ubuntuone directory and I started listening. (Pause for a shot of Tequila and a new Beer).

So it was $9.99 each (or 0.99$ a song), when Amazon was going to charge me $13 bucks and 1 to 7 months each, the artists site was going to charge me $20 plus $15 each CD, and ITunes was going to charge me 9.99 I guess (didn’t even get that far) plus a night of installing Windows on an old computer and feeling used.

I knew there was going to be some rough edges here but hey, I’m just happy it worked. Otherwise I was going to have to go to Nashville and pick ‘em up myself. That’s the nice way of sayin’ things. Cheers y’all.

Update: It turns out they don’t have deals with all the labels yet, so I found after more searching and it turns out their service works too. It is a monthly subscription that gives you a certain amount of music to download. I’ll test it out over the next few months and see if suits me.

Blocking “Login with Facebook” with Adblock Plus for Chrome and Firefox

Install the Adblock Plus extension to your browser and then add these custom filters. That’s it! No more Facebook on every site you visit.


I had this somewhere on the site for when I change browsers, but lost it. Found this originally on Lifehacker. Thanks Whitson!

Downloading and installing the Android SDK on Linux

First I downloaded the SDK here, then downloaded Eclipse Classic here. Threw them both in a folder on the desktop and extracted them. Opened a terminal, navigate to ~/Desktop/android sdk/android-sdk-linux/tools and type


This starts the SDK Manager. You can install the updates and packages from here. It had the Android 4.0 ICS packages highlighted, so I just clicked on install 5 packages in the bottom right hand corner and let them download.

A dialog popped up saying a package that depends on ADB has been updated, and to restart ADB. Click yes and it started the ADB Server.

Next cd’ed back to the eclipse folder, and typed


and followed the instructions here. Here is a repost of that page.

Downloading the ADT Plugin

Use the Update Manager feature of your Eclipse installation to install the latest revision of ADT on your development computer.<>

Assuming that you have a compatible version of the Eclipse IDE installed, as described in Preparing for Installation, above, follow these steps to download the ADT plugin and install it in your Eclipse environment.

  1. Start Eclipse, then select Help > Install New Software….
  2. Click Add, in the top-right corner.
  3. In the Add Repository dialog that appears, enter “ADT Plugin” for the Name and the following URL for the Location:
  4. Click OKNote: If you have trouble acquiring the plugin, try using “http” in the Location URL, instead of “https” (https is preferred for security reasons).
  5. In the Available Software dialog, select the checkbox next to Developer Tools and click Next.
  6. In the next window, you’ll see a list of the tools to be downloaded. Click Next.
  7. Read and accept the license agreements, then click Finish.Note: If you get a security warning saying that the authenticity or validity of the software can’t be established, click OK.
  8. When the installation completes, restart Eclipse.

Configuring the ADT Plugin

After you’ve successfully downloaded the ADT as described above, the next step is to modify your ADT preferences in Eclipse to point to the Android SDK directory:

    1. Select Window > Preferences… to open the Preferences panel (Mac OS X: Eclipse > Preferences).
    2. Select Android from the left panel.

You may see a dialog asking whether you want to send usage statistics to Google. If so, make your choice and click Proceed. You cannot continue with this procedure until you click Proceed.

  1. For the SDK Location in the main panel, click Browse… and locate your downloaded SDK directory.
  2. Click Apply, then OK.

Done! If you haven’t encountered any problems, then the installation is complete. If you’re installing the Android SDK for the first time, return to Installing the SDK to complete your setup.

I went with the defaults, accepted all the agreements, didn’t send usage statistics to google, and just installed the 4.0 branch, not the 2.1 stuff. Maybe I’ll add that later, 97% of phones sounds like a good choice.

Next I started following the instructions here. It looks like it downloads them again from within Eclipse, and I might have been able to skip the first SDK manager download. Should have read the instructions. Here is another repost of their page.

Install a Platform

To run the Hello World application, you need to install at least one Android platform in your SDK environment. If you have not already performed this step, you need to do it now.

To install a platform in Eclipse:

  1. In the Android SDK and AVD Manager, choose Available Packages in the left panel.
  2. In the right panel, expand the Android Repository list to display the components available for installation.
  3. Select at least one platform to install, and click Install Selected. If you aren’t sure which platform to install, use the latest version.

Create an AVD

To learn more about how to use AVDs and the options available to you, see Managing Virtual Devices.

In this tutorial, you will run your application in the Android Emulator. Before you can launch the emulator, you must create an Android Virtual Device (AVD). An AVD defines the system image and device settings used by the emulator.

To create an AVD:

  1. In Eclipse, select Window > Android SDK and AVD Manager.
  2. Select Virtual Devices in the left panel.
  3. Click New….The Create New AVD dialog appears.
  4. Type the name of the AVD, such as “my_avd”.
  5. Choose a target.The target is the platform (that is, the version of the Android SDK, such as 2.3.3) you want to run on the emulator. For this tutorial, choose the latest platform that you have installed and ignore the rest of the fields.
  6. Click Create AVD.

Opened the SDK manager from within Eclipse ( Window > Preferences > Android SDK manager) and checked Android 4.0 (API 14) and clicked Install 4 packages in the lower right hand corner. Created the AVD. Selected my AVD and started it. A working Android emulator! Excellent! Next I followed the rest of the page here. It takes for freaking ever to load. Started looking for a fix. See ya later, I’m off to make some apps! Cheers.


Samsung Galaxy S2

Finally picked up the Samsung Galaxy S2 that I had been waiting for. Dual 1.2Ghz processors, 4.3″ AMOLED display @ 800×480 and 16GB internal memory. Running Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread.

Buying this, I knew I wanted an Android phone. I wanted to get a new one a few months ago, but all that was out on Sasktel was the HTC Incredible S. Then I read about all the dual-core phones coming out this year. So I waited and I am glad, this is an amazing phone.

Also I bought a screen protector and case for it. I’m still trying to figure out how to carry it around, it’s a bit big for a pocket. Applying the screen protector was kind of scary, but worked great, just followed the directions.

And how cool is that AC adapter. That’s the way to do things right there. After tweaking things for most of the day, I’ve found it easy to configure and use, and will be able to keep in touch with everyone better than with my old phone. Back on the phone nerd after a couple of year hiatus.


How to encode MythTV MPEG to Xvid for archiving

I know there is a thousand other ways to do this (and to automate it) and some of them may be easier, but this is my way and is working for me. These are MythTV MPEG files Transcoded from NUV to MPEG (High Quality). I want them in Xvid, de-interlaced and the file size reduced.

1. Open Avidemux
2. Let it index the MPEG file

Under Video:
3. Press Encoding on the left and change Copy to MPEG-4 ASP (Xvid)
4. Press Configure and under Main change the encoding type to Single Pass – Bitrate, and set the Target Bitrate to 1500 (kb/s)

5. Press Filters and Under Interlacing Choose Deinterlace (A port of smart interlace). Accept the two default settings, Motion Threshold to 15, and Blend Threshold to 9.

Under Audio:
6. Change Copy to MP3(lame)

7. Cut out the commercials by navigating to the beginning of the break and selecting Selection:Start on the bottom bar below the video. Navigate to the end of the commercial and select Selection:End, then use Cut in the edit menu to take it out. Repeat this for each commercial break.

8. When done editing, save the file with an avi extension and wait for it to complete. This takes my 2.2gb mythTV files down to 600mb. It takes about 50 minutes to transcode.

Old School Hardware

A few notes on getting some old computers running. In this post am installing Ubuntu 10.10 i386 on a 600Mhz CPU with 448MB ram and a 16Mb Voodoo3 card.

I downloaded the regular install CD of Maverick and ran it. It completed with no errors, and booted to a 800×600 screen. I read some posts about the Voodoo card and found it can do higher resolutions than that.Ctrl-Alt-F1 and login.

$ sudo gdm stop
$ sudo X -configure
$ sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Stop the xserver and create a xorg.conf file, then copy it to the correct location. I rebooted and it was still stuck in 800×600. I took a look at /var/log/Xorg.0.log and it gave me the answer. A default monitor is being used and the good resolutions are all out of range for vertical sync.

>> Keep Reading >>

Hauppage WinTV-HVR 1600 (analog) with Ubuntu 10.10 64bit

Update May 5, 2012: I just reloaded my computer and spent a few hours reloading mythtv. I have to admit, it wasn’t as easy this time. they have changed some things and I needed to alter the commands to get it to work. I also had to manually input the channels, but it did work. Changes as of May 2012 are in orange. It does work though!

First I just installed the card and booted. Hoping that it would just work I tried some of the basic programs.

$ sudo apt-get install tvtime zapping xawtv

For me, none of these programs worked. Some start but with errors or black screens for output. I tried to get them working.

$ sudo apt-get install ivtv-utils
$ scan

This did not get me anywhere. I remember doing this with a PVR-150 before. I did some more reading and found that the 1600 needs drivers and firmware. Here is a link (but the download didn’t work for me).  So I found this one, and unpacked it to my desktop.

>> Keep Reading >>