XRANDR Comes to the Rescue

What could be more frustrating than trying to install Ubuntu or Mint on a new CPU, motherboard, with a built-in graphics card and your display goes south. Here’s the scenario, after the initial flash screens, the screen goes blank. It seems that Xorg is using a screen resolution your monitor does not support.

Why is that? So frustrating. So, my older 19 inch Samsung monitor comes to the rescue. It seems to cope better than my 22 inch HPw220h monitor. The initial screen seems to be twice as big as the monitor supports, hence it doesn’t display properly on certain monitors.

There is one trick, well, a fix to make things all right again. XRANDR comes to the rescue. You will need to perform the following to get your Xorg displaying properly.

  • Hit Ctrl-Alt-F1. This will take you to the terminal screen.
  • Type in XRANDR -s 1024×768. This resets the screen a certain size.
  • Hit Ctrl-Alt-F7. This will take you back to XORG.

You can then make the Xorg changes and make it stick. Once I regained my screen, I was able to reconfigure Xorg to the resolution I wanted, 1680×1050 on my HP monitor.

To make my changes stick, I selected Preferences>Display. Say NO when prompted. Logout and Login.

The new Xorg configuration is now set.

Install Linux on USB

Now that I have a new motherboard that supports booting from a USB, installing and booting Linux on a USB should be a reality. This article details how-to install one using a software tool called UNetbootin, but you need a BIOS that’s able to boot from a USB. That’s where my new motherboard comes in the picture. You can also use the USB drive as a rescue drive for Linux. With USB 3.0, there is plenty of promise in the future. It will be so much faster compared to booting from a CD drive. Read the article.

Toyota Sticky Gas Pedal

Here’s the skinny on Toyota’s stick gas pedal problem.

Between 2006 and November 2009, there were a total of 5 deaths and 17 injuries in 13 Toyota vehicle crashes officially confirmed to involve unintended acceleration.

Four of those deaths occurred in a single incident: the August 2009 crash that killed an off-duty California Highway patrolman and his family in a Lexus.

The stuck-pedal recall of 2.3 million vehicles announced last week affects Toyota’s 2009-2010 RAV4, Corolla and Matrix models; the 2005-2010 Avalon; 2010 Highlander; 2007-2010 Tundra and the 2008-2010 Sequoia; and some 2007-2010 Camrys (only those with gas pedal assemblies made by a specific Toyota supplier; your dealer can check). No Lexus or Scion models are involved.

A Toyota spokesman has said that the carmaker is very close to announcing a solution to the issue for cars here in the U.S. Toyota still needs to get regulatory approval for a proposed repair in the U.S. and in Europe before a fix can be made.

ReCaptcha

Captchas may not be enough to stop spam. Enter Recaptchas.

With bots getting intelligent enough to read easy versions of captcha, it’s time to make your site a little trickier if you want to avoid spam. This article will show you how to set up a PHP web form with AJAX that uses Recaptcha, a more difficult protocol for bots to decipher.

Read the article.

Avast Anti-Virus and Atom N230

My Lenovo Q100 is a bit underpowered running on an 1.60 Ghz Intel Atom 230. Recently, I updated my nettop to the latest Avast Anti-Virus software. The result isĀ  disappointing. The latest Avast software seem to gobble up the CPU utilization of the Q100. Videos are choppy and the sound stutters. I uninstalled Avast at the moment. I might install an older version of Avast or just leave the nettop unprotected. In the meantime, the Q100 is back to humming along quite nicely.

Dear Netflix

Do you want Netflix’ Watch Now feature available to Linux users?

Sign the petition here if you are interested. Here’s the letter.

To: Netflix, Inc.

We, the undersigned, are current or prospective subscribers of Netflix that would like the “Watch Now” feature available to Linux users. Linux users are part of a new trend in OS use around the world. Interoperability with Linux will be very much appreciated and beneficial to all. To remain partisan by making use of the “Watch Now” feature for Windows users and possibly Mac OS users only, is not a fair practice to your subscribers.

It is also unfair that the only supported browser is Internet Explorer. Firefox has a considerable market share and is a viable alternative for Internet Explorer users.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

It was a Memory Problem

Who would have thought? The source of my hardware issues this past two weeks was the RAM memory. As I previously wrote in my older post, I was experiencing a kernel panic. The symptoms were that my keyboard and mouse would locked up, the keyboard’s Caps Lock and Scroll Lock also flashed. The only recourse was to reset the computer.

Initially, I thought it was the power supply, then I thought the CD, DVD or floppy drives. I disabled the on-board sound. I even changed graphics cards. I should have tested the memory first. That was my gut feeling. I read on one of the forums that whenever there is a kernel panic that most likely, it would be a RAM issue. I should have done the memory test first.

The last couple days, I contemplated on buying a new motherboard, CPU and memory, but it can wait for now. Eventually, I need to upgrade.

Isolating the problem was great. It was an issue I have been battling for almost two weeks. Stupid me.

Currently, Frys sells 1GB DDR PC3200 400Mhz memory for $30. That’s the cheapest DDR without any rebates. I hate rebates.

I should really upgrade my system. I was looking at a package deal, an AMD Atlon X2 Quad 620 for $99, an Asus motherboard for only $40 at the Micro Center. It’s really a great deal. Throw in a 2GB DDR2 800Mhz RAM at $49 and I’m set to go, but I’ll wait for a little bit.

Firefox 3.6 is 20 Percent Faster

I just upgraded to Firefox 3.6. I usually wait until the Firefox browser tells me to update to the latest version. I can’t wait any longer, so I decided to force a new update. After a few minutes I was running Firefox 3.6. It’s supposed to be 20% faster than its predecessor, Firefox 3.5. Check out the features and a post from the Mozilla blog, which by the way is running on WordPress.

I’m really curious about Personas. 35,000 designs? Let me try one. I just did. Whoa! Nice. No restart required! This alone was worth the upgrade, plus the 20% speed enhancement. Update now, folks.