Tag Archive for: linux

7” Eee Screen Resolution Tip

30 Jul 2011
July 30, 2011

I have a “classic” old Asus Eee 701 4G netbook that I like to dust off from time to time and monkey with. The size is definitely ultra-portable, and so is the keyboard which is, to be honest, why I don’t use it more often..

The biggest challenge with this thing though is screen resolution (well, and a 4GB SSD drive gets tight!). To that end, I did a bit of research and believe I finally have a solution that I’m happy with. Linux only though, Ubuntu NBR 10.04 in my case.

I’ve created two little scripts that both feature xrandr. The first is named “big” and contains one line:

xrandr --output LVDS1 --scale 1.28x1.28

The second is called “small” and looks rather similar:

xrandr --output LVDS1 --scale 1.00x1.00

I just keep ‘em in my home directory, but I did use the menu editor to add them to Accessories and then, from there, short-cuts up to Favorites for quick one-click access.

Big just makes things bigger. Basically scales the display from the default 800×480 to 1024×614’ish. I might squint a bit, but this is a much more usable resolution! Small just resets it back to the default.

Note, if you don’t want to squint, you could try the panning route instead. Try a script named “big-pan” with the following:

xrandr --output LVDS1 –panning 1024x600

Now stuff stays the original size, but you can pan around to get more effective screen size.

I have not had much luck combining scaling and scanning. Yet.

A Quick Look at Turnkey Linux

23 May 2011
May 23, 2011

imageNeed a server for a quick little project? Or maybe even for some long-term development? Check out TurnKey Linux and their virtual appliances. This is a brilliant little solution! Just download a Linux-based VM configured and ready to go with whatever your app needs. Very slick.

Turnkey Linux is a virtual appliance library that integrates and polishes the very best open source software into ready to use solutions. Each virtual appliance is optimized for ease of use and can be deployed in just a few minutes on bare metal, a virtual machine and in the cloud.

For instance, I wanted to do some quick and dirty experimenting with WordPress the other day. Downloaded the appliance, fired it up with my VMware Workstations and I had a fully functional server ready to go in a matter of minutes. And not just WordPress; I also had PHPMyAdmin and even Webmin installed, configured and ready to go. Compared to building my own server and configuring it this saved me quite a bit of time.

The WP appliance is just over 200 MB and the VM is configured to run using 256MB of RAM. Works great with VMware Workstation and I have no doubt it would be just fine with the free VMware Player as well (and heck, probably Server and ESX as well but I haven’t tried those yet).

First time you run the appliance you provide some basics (like passwords) and it gets all configured up. When ready you have a nice informative display with everything you need to get rolling:

TurnKey Linux WordPress console

When you’re done with the project, chuck it and start another. You’ll always have a clean playing field. This really takes a lot of time out of starting up a new project or even doing some research. I’m a fan! Give it a shot. They have all the major CMS, blogs, and popular apps all ready to go.

There’s also the Turnkey Hub but I haven’t done any work with this one yet. Looks like a quick way to deploy a server to Amazon ECS if you’re into that sort of thing.

Looking for Exchange 2007 Linux Client

14 May 2011
May 14, 2011

So here’s a gap in the “Linux in the corporate world” thing…

exchange-boxI’ve been looking for a convenient way to access our Exchange 2007 server when not at my desk. Sure, I have a rather nice laptop… but it isn’t svelte and while at the office it is docked with a bunch of USB stuff and a pair of 24” monitors attached. I figure a smaller laptop that could just get me to my mail and tasks would be ideal, especially when out of the office.

To minimize licensing costs (OS and Outlook) I thought I’d start with Linux. I have Ubuntu on an older IBM ThinkPad and Ubuntu 10.04 NBR on my little 7” Eee netbook. Both are light, very portable and boot quickly.

Damned if I can figure out a way to conveniently connect to our Exchange server though!

Here’s the wrinkle: We don’t open a lot of ports on our Exchange server. No IMAP or POP3. We just use the HTTP connection options when out of the office.

First I tried Evolution. Turns out it doesn’t have the ability to access Exchange servers newer than 2003. Via Twitter, it was suggested that I try the Evolution-MAPI provider. This works pretty well when at the office but doesn’t make it through the firewall. Close, but no cigar.

Thunderbird? I didn’t find anything useful there either.

Outlook Web Access? Tolerable in a pinch, but the non-Internet Explorer experience is lacking. Good enough to check the inbox and send off a quick mail, but for longer term use – I use lots of rules that move mail to lots of folders – it gets a bit tedious.

Anyone cracked this nut yet? I really don’t want to have to fallback to opening up IMAP… surely someone has figured out “native” Exchange ‘07 from Linux?

Grub 2 Fixes

07 Mar 2011
March 7, 2011

The Linux Tux Penguin logoThese days I find myself spending the majority of my time in a Windows based OS of one flavor or another. However, I still have most of my machines set to dual-boot to a Linux distro (lately that’s usually Ubuntu). That way I still have it very handy when I want or need it.

Grub 2 is the boot-loader I see the most and I find it quite serviceable. And maddening. Until recently it actually drove me nuts for two main reasons. Fortunately, I finally took the time to do 5 minutes of research last weekend and those reasons are no longer issues.

Item 1: Setting the Default boot OS

By default, the top item in the boot menu list is the default OS to boot. And, by default, that’s the most recent Linux kernel. Well, since I spend the majority of my time in Windows that was becoming distressing.

Initially I found a way to modify the config to tell grub which line number was the default OS. However, each time I updated and got a new kernel this line number was no longer correct — the new kernel would get added to the top of the list and push everything down (see item 2).

Fortunately, I found a blog post titled, “Fix Windows as default boot on Ubuntu with Grub2 loader” that offers a very simple solution. Just specify the default OS by name instead of number! So simple… yet I sure struggled to solve it. For details just follow that link.

Item 2: Cluttering up the Boot Menu list with Old Kernels

I alluded to this earlier. Every time you update and get a new kernel you get two more entries into the boot menu. After just a few updates that boot menu gets long and cumbersome.

Cleaning up the boot menu is pretty simple though — and rather automated. Once you’ve verified that the kernel is working there’s really no reason to keep the old one(s) around. Just fire up synaptic and completely remove those old kernels. When you do so, their associated menu entries are removed automagically as well. I picked up this tip from another blog post titled, “Clean up the New Ubuntu Grub2 Boot Menu.”

So there you go, with just those two posts I’ve removed a major “pain point” from my daily dual-booting experiences. Yay blogs!