Firefox Add-ons I Recommend

•May 21, 2008 • Leave a Comment

This is a list of firefox add-ons that I use and find very useful.  I will update this entry if I find other very useful add-ons or if the ones of this list lose favor with me.

  • Download statusbar: This add-on creates a status-bar at the bottom of the browser to manage downloads, rather than popping up a separate window to manage them, as firefox normally does. Not only does the status-bar save screen real estate, but it also keeps the download manager out of your way.
  • NoScript: This is a great add-on for managing which sites can run java, and javascript.  It does this by assuming that a site is forbidden from running java and javascript unless you add the site to a whitelist.  Not only is this add-on good from a security point of view, but it also helps limit how annoying a website can be.
  • Swift tabs: Firefox has integrated lots of the support that tabbing add-ons provide, but it still does not have support for keyboard shortcuts to switch between tabs.  This add-on allows you assign such shortcuts.
  • Snap links: This allows you to use the mouse to draw a rectangle around a group of links on a website, that you wish to view, and each of those links will be opened in separate tabs. This is particularly useful when using search engines.

A Useful Subversion (SVN) Merge Scenario

•May 18, 2008 • 1 Comment

Many of my posts are explanations of information written by myself.  Today, however, I would like to post a link to a site that has a good explanation of how to perform an svn merge in 2 fairly common scenarios.  The first scenario explains how to merge changes from a project’s trunk into an existing project.  You might want to do this if you are working on a project branch, some critical changes are made to the trunk, and you would like those changes incorporated into your branch.  The second scenario explains how to merge a project branch back into the project’s trunk.

Disabling the Volume Dial in Ubuntu on a Toshiba Laptop

•October 10, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I have a Toshiba A135-S2356 laptop running Ubuntu. A major annoyance is that when the laptop is actually in my lap, it is too easy to accidentally brush against the volume dial. So, I find myself wanting to disable the volume dial. You can do this by going to the Ubuntu menu and selecting System -> Preferences -> Sound. At the bottom of the devices tab is a list of Default Mixer Tracks. If you set the Default Mixer track to something like Mic Boost (assuming you’re not recording anything), when you brush against the volume dial, it will not mess up your volume.

Configuring Headphones for Ubuntu 7.04 on a Toshiba A135-S2356

•October 10, 2007 • 4 Comments

A user named Chris submitted a comment on my “Configuring Ubuntu 7.04 on a Toshiba A135-S2356” post that helped me fixed a problem on my laptop in which the headphones did not mute the external speakers. The sound card used by my Toshiba laptop is the ATI SB450 HDA. The steps to fix the headphone problem are below. Note, I did not have to use the realtek 6 patch that Chris mentions.

If you have the same laptop as me and the following instructions do not work, please post a comment.

  1. Download the latest ALSA source files from I’m not sure if you need all of these, but I downloaded the driver, lib, and utils packages. The versions I retrieved are 1.0.14, 1.0.14a, and 1.0.14, respectively.
  2. Next, compile the driver, lib, and utils packages, in that order. To compile package, perform the following commands from a command prompt:
    sudo make install
  3. In my previous post “Configuring Ubuntu 7.04 on a Toshiba A135-S2356,” the instructions asked you to append
    options snd-hda-intel probe_mask=8 model=3stack

    to the file /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base. Now, “3stack” needs to be changed to “lenovo”.

  4. Reboot.
  5. If you plug in the headphones, the external speakers will mute. However, if you adjust the “Front” volume in the system volume controls, the external speakers will unmute. Fortunately, you can do something about this. Launch gnome-volume-control, either by double clicking the volume icon on your task bar, or by running gnome-volume-control from a terminal. Set the “Front” volume at 100% and never touch it again. From here on out you can then adjust the volume by adjusting the “PCM” volume. The volume of many applications will be tie to the “Front” volume. Therefore, you should not adjust the volume through those applications. Instead use the “PCM” volume in gnome-volume-control.

Flash and Java Browser Plugins on AMD64 Ubuntu 7.04

•October 10, 2007 • 1 Comment

I recently put Ubuntu 7.04 on a machine with an AMD Athlon 64-bit processor. One of the immediate challenges with just about every 64-bit Linux Distribution is getting Flash and Java browser plugins to work. I found an excellent howto that provides a script to install a 32-bit version of Firefox (and a few other Firefox variants) with plugins for Flash, Java, and mplayer.

Note, in lieu of this approach, you can use a 64-bit browser and install nspluginwrapper to support a 32-bit Flash plugin, as I discuss here. As for Java, you can install a Blackdown Java and a 64-bit Blackdown Java browser plugin through the Synaptic package manager.

Note, if you use CUPS for printing, the printing system will be 64-bit and will not work with your newly installed 32-bit browser. An easy workaround is to print to a postscript or pdf file. Then you can open the file with a 64-bit postscript or pdf viewer and print the file. The default postscript and pdf viewers are 64-bit unless you’ve explicitly changed them.


•August 4, 2007 • Leave a Comment is cool site that shows the locations of wifi hotpots in the US on top of Google maps. It also differentiates between free and pay hotspots. Its a great tool to find hotspots in your community or to find them if you’re traveling.