03 Aug

How to make Opera font rendering not suck

Original Post

The problem has been that certain fonts used by certain websites show up looking somewhat pixelated or granular-looking, unlike the smooth fonts other browsers will display for the same text. See the top headlines in the screenshot below to see what the problem looks like.

The problem seems to be that core X fonts are enabled in Linux Opera by default, and the solution is as easy as disabling them through opera:config#UserPrefs|EnableCoreXFonts (the "Save" button is at the very bottom of the page). Restart Opera, and you’re good to go.

Posted by Dynaflow

30 Jul

Restore GRUB

1. Pop in the Live CD, boot from it until you reach the desktop.
2. Open a terminal window or switch to a tty.
3. Type “grub”
4. Type “root (hd0,6)”, or whatever your harddisk + boot partition numbers are (my /boot is at /dev/sda7, which translates to hd0,6 for grub).
5. Type “setup (hd0)”, ot whatever your harddisk nr is.
6. Quit grub by typing “quit”.
7. Reboot.

I may be missing your point though, if so, please forgive me 🙂

27 Feb

Great Thunderbird Add-Ons

Now you know that Mozilla Thunderbird is a great mail client, right? Works well and protects you and is good wholesome free open source software..

But do you know that you can add-on all sorts of little extra stuff that customises, enhances and generally makes Thunderbird do all sorts of stuff? They’re called.. gee.. Add-Ons..

No? Well let me tell you the ones I use and rate..
Yes? Then I’ll show you mine but you show me yours..

Display Mail User Agent Extension by Christian Weiske, Jürgen Ernst

Displays icon for user agent of received mails. Adds an image on the right side of the “expanded header view” which displays the icon of the application with which the selected mail was written. So if the person which sent the mail you’re currently reading used mozilla to send this mail, a mozilla icon will be displayed. In feedback window the link to the website of that mail client is shown. And you can click on it.

This is largely fun but has some uses. It’s great to see just what people are using as their mail client..

LookOut 1.2.1
by Aron Rubin

LookOut is a plugin which allows Thunderbird to interface with Microsoft’s mail tools by decoding metadata and attachments encapsulated/embedded in a TNEF encoded attachment (aka winmail.dat). The TNEF decoding engine was inspired (with permission) by the tnef.sf.net project.

This is a very good idea, those winmail.dat attachments puzzle and annoy me. On the other hand I am not sure just how close to helpful this add-on has got. I have it installed and since I know longer have “winmail.dat” problems I think it works.. it’s worth having since they are advancing towards some things like contact information having nailed normal attachments..

Remove Duplicate Messages
by Thorsten W. Schmidt, Thorsten W. Schmidt

If you have duplicate messages (e.g. from merging folders or downloading messages several times) you can use this tool to find and remove them from the selected folder and its subfolder by rightclicking on a folder and choosing “Remove…

This is a real workhorse.. which is maybe it appears to have been written by the same man twice! If you have accidentally ended up with duplicates in your folders then this is a goof fast and efficient way to clean the bad confused puppies out.. hang on, do you think it has the same author twice as some cute Germanic coder joke?



23 Nov

Dell Ubuntu Linux and xfermode (err_mask=0x4)

I bought a new PC from Dell and I bought it with Ubuntu Linux installed since I don’t use Windows and I wish to show that there is a market for machines outside the M$ monopoly.

Ironically, having run Ubuntu fine on a Dell PC for 3 years, I have had some problems and this blog is to record how to fix them, in case I need it in the future and in case you have just found this on Google and need help.

If you should need to reinstall Ubuntu on a Dell Inspiron 530n desktop (and possibly other PCs) you should use the reinstall option in the GRUB menu at boot up [http://linux.dell.com/wiki/index.php/Ubuntu_7.04/OS_Reinstallation]. If, however, you have repartitioned the disk and no longer have the reinstallation partition then you may try and use a Ubuntu install disk (you get one with the PC) or one you have downloaded or been given. You may even want to boot from a disk for another Linux distribution or one of the utilities that use the same boot kernel in what is called a LiveCD.

If you do you will be offered a menu, make a choice (install Ubuntu in this case) and may experience a very slow and eventually failed boot up. The screen may then drop to a simple text screen and error messages like this may appear:

/bin/sh: can’t access tty; job control turned off
(initramfs) 34.324022 ata1.00 failed to set xfermode (err_mask=0x40)

If so then you need to turn off your PC, start again and when you get to the first menu you need to add an option to the boot command line. On an Ubuntu install disk you do this by pressing F6 and adding the word irqpoll at the end of the line that appears. You then can press enter and it will install.

I learnt this from these posts on Ubuntuforums:


That explains how to get around the xfermode problem

BUT if you install from the 7.04 disk that is in the box with the PC then you will not have the right network drivers and no network capability.

Read here:


To that end you need to download the remastered Dell 7.04 disk from here:


Which has the updated drivers, although it also has OpenOffice removed, so you will need to then add that by using Synaptic from the System menu.

I then suggest that (as root) you ensure that the installed system is not prone to the same problem (which I did find it often was) by adding “irqpoll” onto the end of the grub boot line in /boot/grub/menu.lst

Ah well, early days, it’s no more arcane than many Windows problems over the years! Don’t let it discourage you getting a Dell Linux box, it will only be a short while before this is fixed..

I would not, however, commit to an upgrade to Gutsy online and certainly not using a standard Ubuntu install CD unless you are comfortable with the above and/or a Dell remastered install CD for Gutsy appears here:


18 Nov

Default audio CD players, HDParm in Linux, Sky+, being ill

Ok, this is a nerdy thing, but it’ll help someone one day, and that someone might be me!
Run gnome-volume-properties and you can change it there. You will see that the default behaviour is to run a script, /etc/dynamic/user-scripts/audio_cd.script , so the other thing you can do is edit that script and change the kscd call in it to amarok. Change the KDE line to read:

launch amarok –play –enqueue audiocd:/Wav/

I solved the graphic card problem, well actually a whole load of people far more clever than I did. I downloaded a new x.org but of course by then I had replaced the Radeon with an old GeForce2 card which is of course fine for Linux until I try and run UT2003, but that’ll be some way off.

There is a great article on how to make your hard drive run faster in Linux at Scots Newsletter. Of course it actually is ‘how to make your hard drive as fast as Windows would have made it run but Linux is a lot more safety conscious’.. Anyhow, I did it, it made a big difference, when I have the workflow I will record it here.

Follow the advice here: http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/linux/2000/06/29/hdparm.html?page=1

Then when you have a hdparm line that you want to run on a reboot, then the place to put the hdparm line would be at the bottom of the /etc/rc.local file . . . . . . in Mandriva the rc.local is the init script that will run as last in the boot process wink.gif

For your ( or other readers ) info: in other distros the file you can compare to the mandriva rc.local are:
Fedora: /etc/rc.local
Debian: /etc/rc.boot
SUSE: /etc/init.d/boot.local
PCLos: /etc/rc.local

My Sky+ box did one of it’s annual ‘need a hard reset’ things. Probably because it’s in a bloody cupboard and overheats, but anyhow, Ann and I decided to have the hard disk replaced with a 160Gb drive (it was 40Gb) so we have loads of space now. That brought a smile to my face in what has been a truly crap week.

My Leica M4 is back from the shop, so I have to go and pay big lots of money and then I can go street photographing again. I also have a headlight out, my car stereo is broke (and it’s an expensive DAB radio thing), my sunroof is not only dead but shorting out my car electrics (is there a connection here) and I have been as ill as hell for 10 days. I have two pieces of work overdue and a presentation due on Monday. I am so screwed.

Anyway, it’s sunny day, I would love to go out, I have work to do and I’d better do it.

Oh, and I love this picture:

Kudos to Kyle Cassidy