Category Archives: ubuntu

Wireless wonders

I struggled with installing the DWL-650 wireless LAN card on my
Microsoft Windows XP partition for half an hour before I gave up and
booted to Linux. I suppose that if the operating system hadn’t been in
Japanese, I might’ve had a shot. What do you expect from Sony recovery
CDs for a unit primarily for the Japanese market?

On the other hand, Linux was a breeze with Ubuntu Linux, a
slick Debian-based distribution backed by
Canonical. My copy came from
Jerome Gotangco, Ubuntu documentation guy
for the Philippines.

Setting up wireless was just a matter of plugging my DWL-650 in.
D-Link really screwed up with that card by using the same model number
for cards using completely different chipsets, but Ubuntu
automatically found and loaded the module I needed.

Because we don’t want the next-door Internet cafe to sponge off our
wireless access, we protect our router with a simple MAC address
filter list. I couldn’t figure out where to find my MAC address in the
graphical network configuration tool, but a quick whiz through dmesg
turned up the magic numbers I needed to add to my router’s filters.
After I plugged that into the router’s web-based configuration tool,
set the ESSID in Ubuntu’s friendly network admin interface, and
activated the device, I was off and running.

Great stuff, huh? Now if I can just get it to work under stock Debian…

コンピューターは、たちえ緩慢にせよ大きな変化を引き起こした。 Computers caused a great if gradual change.

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Moved to Vaio!

The power adapter on my Fujitsu Lifebook P1110 has just completely given up. Fortunately, my parents had given me the Sony Vaio U1 to use as a backup computer. After a day of upgrading it from Ubuntu Breezy Badger to Ubuntu Dapper Drake (that should teach me to deselect all of the GNOME packages before I dist-upgrade!) and another afternoon for getting my various CVS Emacs stuff compiled and put together, I’m now back on an approximately working system. I still need to get software suspend working, but everything else works beautifully.

The Sony Vaio U1 is actually a pretty sweet machine. It’s *tiny* – 8.9″ screen and a keyboard that even I find just a bit small. No Dvorak on this one; the combination of a Japanese keyboard and chiclet keys makes it too difficult for me to remember the proper keyboard mappings through muscle memory. I type with four fingers: the middle finger and index finger of my left hand and the thumb and index finger of my right.

When Simon saw me setting up the Vaio, he insisted that I borrow a proper-sized keyboard. Heh. ;)

So I’m on Ubuntu now. It’s certainly slicker than the Debian system I’ve just moved from, with a pretty bootup sequence and a lot of other things that Just Work. I’m no longer a poseur. The Ubuntu stickers on my skateboard actually mean something. ;) Sweet.

Now that that’s sorted out, maybe I can work on my writing backlog. I owe so many people e-mail and I owe Don Marti an article…

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Using supervisord for Nginx+FastCGI+PHP

I was having problems with spawn-fcgi-standalone occasionally resulting in dead PHP processes, which caused 502 Bad Gateway errors on my site. Crontabbing an /etc/init.d/init-fastcgi start didn’t help much, so I looked for other ways to do it. Supervisord looked promising.

Here’s how to get Supervisord:

apt-get install python-setuptools
easy_install supervisor


Here’s what to add to /etc/supervisord.conf:


So far, so good. When I kill the php process, supervisord starts it back up. Progress!

supervisord doesn’t come with an init.d script, but you can get one for Ubuntu.

Calibre and Qt 5.5

A recent apt-get dist-upgrade resulted in the removal of calibre and calibre-bin from my system. I’ve been using Calibre to convert e-books from HTML and EPUB (some developer references, some fanfiction =) ) and copy them onto my Kindle.

It turned out that the Calibre packaged in Ubuntu required qtbase-abi-5-4-2 and my recent dist-upgrade installed Qt 5.5. I needed to upgrade to Calibre 2.49, which wasn’t available on any of the PPAs I checked (despite instructions to the contrary).

Installing Calibre from the Calibre website made it work, though. In fact, the Calibre website says:

Please do not use your distribution provided calibre package, as those are often buggy/outdated. Instead use the Binary install described below.

I wasn’t too keen on piping the output of a wget command to sudo , but a quick scan of the script didn’t turn up anything suspicious. Anyway, now I can convert EPUBs to MOBIs and easily copy them onto my Kindle, yay!