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GWoffice Easy Install

Check out the awesome Google Web Office application for Ubuntu! Fantastic, no? Sometimes it gets a little hung up during install. Here’s the scoop on how to get it installed easily:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:elementary-os/stable
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tombeckmann/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gwoffice

Dependencies should be found and installed automatically at this point!


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Hiding the “–” Thunderbird Signature Separator

Thunderbird is very specific about adding a double hyphen “–” signature separator to email signatures to delineate what’s signature and what’s just a template.

Technically, this just hides it, but if that’s sufficient, it’s fast and easy to accomplish.

1. Open a new message. Select the top two lines of the signature, including the “–” separator and the empty line above it. Copy them to the clipboard (Ctrl-C).

2. Just above the signature window, enable HTML (Use HTML).

3. Insert an html tag to turn the text white: <font face=FFFFFF>, paste in the offending hyphens (Ctrl-V), then close the html tag with </font>.

4. Click OK to save the results. Thunderbird should automatically detect that you’ve added your own hyphens (albeit invisible ones), and leave you alone.

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Solved! Wicd Bad Password with Network-Manager

This turned out to be shockingly simple for something that has so many pages giving scorched-earth instructions such as “completely remove network-manager”. I’m running Xubuntu 10.04 (Lucid), and wanted to be able to take E17 out for a spin, so network-manager and wicd would need to play nicely side by side.

Here’s what worked for me:

– Installed wicd from repositories:
sudo apt-get install wicd
– After much mucking about with settings, threw all preferences back to defaults/auto. In other words, leave wicd settings alone.
– Added myself to the netdev group:
sudo gpasswd -a USERNAME netdev
– Logged out and back in for group add to take effect.
– Right-clicked the network-manager-applet and selected Disable Networking.
– Opened wicd and configured the properties for my wifi access point (encryption type and password/key).
– Closed wicd, reopened. Scanned for networks (came up empty). Scanned again. Connected!

It seems I can only use one connection manager at a time, but at no point have I uninstalled network-manager in any way.

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WGU QLT1 Linux Graphing Tools

Quantitative Literacy (QLT1) requires you to demonstrate certain abilities by making graphs accompanied by text, and exporting them as a PDF. On Ubuntu this process can be a bit convoluted, but gets easier with practice.

The tutorial assumes you’ve already got installed, but if you’re somehow on a system without openoffice, you can install it using “sudo apt-get install”.


– Install your tools: apt-get install dia inkscape

– Create your basic graph in Dia. It’s got the user-friendliness of MS Paint, but far more power. Dia won’t display the background grid in the finished product. I chose a 20×20 grid which proved sufficient for the assignments.

– Make sure “snap to grid” is turned on using the toggle at the bottom of your work pane. It’s easy enough to toggle on an as-needed basis for other drawings, but for creating the initial grid you’ll want it on.
– Create the x-axis by drawing a line from -11 to +11. Select the line, then right-click on it to give it the properties you’d like (such as arrowed ends, colors, size, etc).
– Create a y-axis the same way.
– Here’s the tedious part. Create grid lines (probably want to use a faint background-ish color for this part) by creating a -10 to +10 line, then copying and pasting repeatedly and dragging them into place.
– Select the axes and use Objects – Bring to Front from the menu to make sure the axes are over the top of the grid lines.
– Save your basic grid as a .dia file as you’ll be wanting to come back and add things.

– Populate the Dia diagrams per the assignment requirements.

– Open the basic graph (if it’s applicable) and create a new layer. The Layers dialogue goes front-to-back, so if the layer is higher up on the Layers list, it’s higher up in the drawing (i.e. closer to the front).
– Save yourself some heartache and un-toggle the button that makes the graph layer editable. Move your new layer to the top of the list, make sure it’s editable and visible, and give it an easy-to-remember label (such as the equation to be graphed).

– Save your finished graphic first as a .dia file (in case your mentor requires revisions), then use File – Export to export your work as an SVG file.

– may or may not do a good job of importing your SVG. If the SVG imports with poor quality, use Inkscape to fix it.

– Open the SVG using Inkscape.
– Select the entire drawing, then select Transform from the Object menu. Under scale, set Width and Height to 200%, and make sure “Apply to each object separately” is unchecked. Click Apply.
– Save as a PNG file using File – Export Bitmap.
– The new file should be a bit better in Open Office.

– Save your Open Office document as an ODT first, in case the instructor requires revisions, then Export as PDF.

A few key points to remember along the way:
– Save an editable copy in the native format (.dia and .odt) in case you need to make edits later.
– Use the Shift key when resizing graphics so the resizing is proportional.
– Remember to open a terminal window running the “top” utility in the background so your girlfriend sees it alongside the grids and thinks you’re a super genius.
– I’m open to suggestions on ways to make this faster and simpler. Leave comments if you’ve got pointers.

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Rooting the Transform Ultra

Since we’re talking about potentially bricking, destabilizing, or infecting your phone, you should probably take a peek at the downloaded files before you proceed. While they were fine ten minutes ago, things can always change, and it’s your pocket change you’ve spent on this fine gadget. Proceed at your own risk. You might improve it, or you may very well destroy it.

This doesn’t flash your phone the way older rooting protocols did. This just unlocks the phone and installs a superuser application. Superuser? Supereasy you mean!

1. Download and unzip: or

(1b. If you’re running linux or mac, update the permissions of the file to allow for execution: chmod +x

2. Connect your phone using the USB Cable. Prep the phone by going to the home screen, Menu, Settings, Applications, Development, and enable USB Debugging.

3. If you’re in Windows, double-click on PHONETRANSFORM.bat. For linux or Mac, open a terminal, navigate to the transforrrm folder, and run “sh ./”

4. Sit back and wait for your phone to reboot. It’s seriously that easy.

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Remote Files on Android for Ubuntu

This is so easy it’s insane. Now that I’ve figured out how to do it. Use the following steps to browse files on your android device using SSHFS on another linux device. Me? I’m using it to copy files over to my new tablet from computers on my network using SSHFS. You might need an SD card to allow downloads. Your mileage may vary.

(0. Root your device.)
1. From the Home screen, select Settings, Applications, and enable Unknown Sources.
2. Search for “sshdroid apk”. There’s a free version that works GREAT. And by great, I mean perfectly, predictably, and dependably. Download it to your SD card.
3. If you haven’t already, use the market to install a file manager utility. Astro, File Pro and others work quite well.
4. Use your file manager to navigate to the SD Card and install SSHDroid.
5. Connect to your network via wifi. Open SSHDroid. It even tells you the IP of the device on your LAN.
6. Use SSHFS to mount your android files to a local folder. sshdroid runs with username: root and password: admin. I like to use “sshfs root@ /home/username/otherfiles/”
7. Enjoy full-size ooey-gui goodness.

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Android Battery Problems

Cobbled together from and other sites…

I’m as cavalier as anyone on flashing a phone without a full charge. It’s because in the old days I had to worry about a flash failing due to power outage.

It turns out it makes a difference. Flashing a phone erases /data/system/batterystats.bin, and the phone rebuilds the file assuming a completely full battery.

Here’s the solution to longer battery life for free, no magic.

– Charge the battery completely full with the power off. Completely.
– In console (ideally recovery mode) run “rm /data/system/batterystats.bin” to delete system battery data.
– Reboot the phone.
– Run the phone until the battery dies completely.

This should recalibrate the battery, and may even free up some capacity that you didn’t realize was there.

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