Using the @ZainJo HSPA Dongle With Ubuntu Linux

After my experience with Zain’s WiMAX, I didn’t think I’d be using their service again. But Zain gave me a 21Mbps dongle (The Huawei E367) for free as to see how much better the new service is and I thought I might as well try it. I’ll be writing on my experience with the service in a separate post inshalla.

I’m a big Ubuntu fan and been using it as my primary desktop since 2007, and Linux compatibility has always been absent in the mobile Internet world. I wasn’t gonna switch my primary OS just to use a USB dongle.

After plugging it in nothing happened, didn’t see a notice on the screen, no pop-pups or anything to show that something happened. After a quick lsusb I found this:

Bus 002 Device 005: ID 12d1:14ac Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

Kudos Huawei on showing us Linux users some love. Zain gets extra points for this choice.

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Blogging from a Mac

My dear friend Bander offered me a great deal on his old Macbook Pro. I’ve been wanting to try out MacOS for ages and thought this would be the perfect chance for it.

After using the laptop for about a day now. I have to admit Leopard has very nice eye candy, but that’s it I’m afraid. It’s too mouse oriented, and I like to use the keyboard, a LOT. It seems I’m gonna stick with Linux for the time being, especially with Lucid Lynx being around the corner, but I’ll give Leopard a few more days and see if it grows on me.

Have a good day everybody

Microsoft Community Night

So I went to a community night hosted at the Microsoft Innovation Center here in Amman with my friend Bander which he told me was interesting. Even though I knew I was going to be the only non-Microsoft guy there I thought I should check it out.

The session was about using Silverlight with Sharepoint. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with Silverlight’s capabilities. I only thought it was a Flash competitor, but it turned out to be more than that.

At the end of the session the host had a Sharepoint 2007 best practices book to give away. The organizers decided to ask a question and give the book to the person who answers it.

The funny thing was that I was the only person who knew the answer, and I was given the book. That’s when Bander jumped saying “Don’t give him the book! Don’t give him the book! He’s a Linux guy, 2 weeks ago he didn’t even know what Sharepoint is” 😀

Anyways, fun night, and I’d like to play with Sharepoint and Silverlight and see what they’re capable of.

Surround sound under Ubuntu Hardy Heron

Been using Ubuntu Hardy Heron for about a month now, and I have to say it rocks, the best Desktop Linux so far.

Anyways, I have a Creative Audigy 2 card since I’m not a fan of software mixing under Linux, which is connected to an old creative 4.1 set. Since I don’t have any space I hooked only the front speakers and use the rear channels with a headset. After upgrading to Hardy I couldn’t get the headset to work. I just found the solution on the Ubuntu forums and thought I should document.

The new Ubuntu uses PulseAudio as it’s default sound engine, you can set volume levels for each application separately which is cool if you ask me. PulseAudio uses 2 channels by default. All you have to do is change:

To:

In /etc/pulse/daemon.conf, then restart gdm and you’re done

Booting Windows and Linux using the NT loader

I recently decided to install Windows on my home PC since I wanted to play some games, it’s been about 3 years since I started using Linux exclusively but thought a change would be nice. Since I didn’t find good guides I decided to write my own 🙂

Why would you want to do that? Well, back when I used to dual boot on a single drive I used to re-install Windows very frequently. Windows wipes out grub during installation so I needed to keep grub on a separate partition.

This guide assumes you have 2 hard drives; one for Linux and the other for Windows, you can do the same with a single drive but with minor changes.

Install Windows on the first hard drive
Install Linux on the second drive, and install grub on the master boot record of that drive
Download Grub4Dos
Save grldr and menu.lst to C:
Edit menu.lst and put the following:

Edit your boot.ini and add the following line:

Another way to do this is using bootpart. Make sure to install grub on the first sector of the boot partition because bootpart can’t read master boot records.

Ubuntu Edgy Eft, Wifi, and Software Controlled RF Switches

Isn’t it annoying when your PC/Laptop locks up randomly?

Well, I recently got a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Pro V3405. Works wonderfully with Linux. Except for one thing; during boot it sometimes locked up for no apparent reason. Doing a search on google explained that it has something to do with the radio frequency kill switch; the one that turns wifi on and off. The ipw3945 module used for this laptop just locks the system during boot if the switch was enabled (wifi off). The switch is software controlled and is off by default when the laptop is turned on.

I checked

Thunderbird, Linux, and New Email Notification

Now that I think of it, I’ve been using Mozilla Thunderbird for more than 3 years now, it is one of the best email clients I have ever seen, and with the available extensions, it can do almost anything.

At home, I only open Thunderbird when I want to check for new email, but at work, I like to leave it open all the time in case I get any emails from my coworkers. In Windows, Thunderbird has a nice little notification icon that appears in the system tray when a new message arrives, when I recently switched to Linux on my work PC, I started to get annoyed by the fact that this icon doesn’t appear when new messages come, so I have to check my mailbox every few minutes.

I have tried multiple notification plugins, but never found anything interesting, till today. I stumbled upon moztraybiff, which does exactly that, and enables you to minimize Thunderbird to the system tray, which is neat.