Friday, November 30, 2007

Wireless in Gutsy Gibbon with Ndiswrapper

Back when the Dell 1501 first came out there were no native wireless drivers for the internal Broadcom chipset, so we had to use Nidiswrapper. NdisWrapper uses a wireless devices' Windows driver in Linux. It works surprisingly well. Using ndiswrapper allows you to run the Broadcom card in your Dell 1501 at full speed and connect to certain networks that the native Broadcom driver can't. You won't surf the internet faster but your PC to PC connections will be faster. If you are using the native Broadcom driver via the Restricted Driver Manager and it's working for all your day to day needs, I wouldn't recommend taking the time to change drivers.

If you have already enabled the Broadcom restricted driver, uninstall it before attempting this guide.

Go to System>Administration>Restricted Driver Manager and unselect the enable box.

Step 1: Get Needed Packages
To install ndiswrapper
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install ndiswrapper-utils-1.9 ndiswrapper-common

Get the Windows driver for your Dell 1501
In a terminal type:

Step 2: Get Everything Ready
Now we will make a folder.
In a terminal type:
mkdir ~/.drivers

Now we will move R140747.EXE (the Dell driver), to the folder we just made.
In a terminal type:
mv ~/R140747.EXE ~/.drivers

Finally, we need to blacklist the broken and useless bcm43xx firmware drivers that try to load in a default Ubuntu install:
In a terminal type:
sudo su
Then type:
sudo echo blacklist bcm43xx >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

In a terminal type:
sudo reboot

STEP 3: Get The Proper Folder
In order for us to unzip the R140747.EXE driver we need to point your terminal to the /.driver folder.
cd ~/.drivers

Unzip the R140747.EXE driver
In a terminal type:
unzip -a R140747.EXE

We need to point your terminal to the DRIVER folder we just unzipped
In a terminal type:
cd ~/.drivers/DRIVER

Step 4: Configure the Windows driver with ndiswrapper
Now install the Windows driver
In a terminal type:
sudo ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf
sudo ndiswrapper -l (that is a lowercase L)

You should see a message that says driver present, hardware detected.

Now finish installing the driver
In a terminal type:
sudo ndiswrapper -m
sudo modprobe ndiswrapper

In a terminal type:
sudo reboot

Your WiFi light on your laptop should be illuminated. If not, you can always turn it on and off with the Fn+F2 (Function & F2 Key) and you're all set! Try running this to see if your wireless card is functioning properly.

In a terminal type:
sudo iwlist scanning

If once you get everything working and after a reboot and the wifi light does not come back on, simply repeat Step 4 and wireless will work again.

Step 6: Make it Stick
To autostart the ndiswrapper module
In a terminal type:
sudo gedit /etc/modules

and add this to the end of the file
edited by pHreaksYcle

Fix For Gutsy Taking Forever to Boot/Load

Readers have complained that Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon has been taking forever to load. Once GRUB loads the screen goes black for 2 - 3 minutes. It seems not everyone is having this problem, but for those who have been, there is a very simple and easy fix. You can find the fix on the Ubuntu forums here. Your resolution for the Dell Inspiron 1501 should be 1280 by 800.

Now for my HowTo:

First you need to change your splash resolution settings.

In a terminal:
sudo gedit /etc/usplash.conf

You need to edit the file to look like this:

Then to make the changes stick:

In a terminal type:
sudo update-usplash-theme usplash-theme-ubuntu

This is what your terminal output should look like:

Now you shouldn't have to wait 2 -3 minutes for your computer to load.

This information was passed onto me by a reader named Matt. Thanks Matt!
edited by pHreaksYcle

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Non-Distro Specific Ubuntu Guides

This is a collection of all the howto's on that aren't distro specific and offer you a chance to enhance your Ubuntu experience.

How Get Ubuntu

Customizing Firefox

Configure the Touchpad

Dual Booting with Windows or another OS

Replacing your Hard Drive

Installing VirtualBox with USB Support

Upgrading your RAM

How to BitTorrent

How to run uTorrent torrent client in Ubuntu

Using Evolution with Gmail

How to Encode Videos for your iPod

How to get FREE Ubuntu disks

How to get FREE Ubuntu system stickers

Integrate into Ubuntu

Using Your Apple iPod in Ubuntu

Using KDE Applications in GNOME

Running the Conky System Monitor

How to Install a TTF Font in Ubuntu

How to Screen Capture

Fixing Dell Laptop Keyboards

Make Firefox Pretty

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Using Evolution with Gmail

Evolution is the official personal information manager and workgroup information management tool for GNOME. It combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions. It's user interface and functionality are similar to Microsoft Outlook. It can be connected to a Microsoft Exchange Server using it's web interface and an Evolution add-on. Using gnome-pilot, it may be synchronized with most Palm devices, and OpenSync enables it to be synchronized with mobile telephones and other PDAs.
From Wikipedia

I really dig Evolution. I used to be a huge Mozilla Thunderbird user and still think it's a great email client. I find Evolution integration with the Gnome desktop and it's ability to do all things that I did in Thunderbird makes T-Bird an unnecessary install on my systems. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but if you'd like to use e-mail client in Ubuntu, check them both out. If you find you need help setting up Evolution with your Gmail account, this guide will get you setup in less than five minutes. I wrote out what to put in the fields as well as took pictures. If you are having trouble, just make sure your Evolution looks like mine.

When you first run Evolution or when you go to: Edit->Preferences in Evolution, the Account Editor opens up. From here you can configure Evolution to send and receive email from your Gmail account.


Name: Name your account.
Full Name: Write Your Name.
Email Address: You have to put your full Gmail user name and include the

Receiving Email:

Server Type: POP
Username: You have to put your full gmail user name and include the
Security: SSL encryption
Authentication Type: Password Check for supported types

Receiving Options:

- You can set Evolution to automatically check for new mail every set number of minutes
- You want to check the leave messages on server box if you want a copy of your email kept on Google's Gmail server. (I prefer this option so I have access to all my email whether I'm at my laptop of not)
- Set Evolution to delete mail that is older than a set amount of days

Sending Email:

Server Type: STMP
- Check the box server requires authentication
Use Secure Connection: SSL encryption
Authentication Type: Plain Check Supported Types
Username: You have to put your full Gmail user name and include the

Enabling Evolution to download and Send Email:
- Go to

Click the picture for a larger view

- Log into your gmail account, select Settings in the upper right hand corner of the window
- In the settings tab, select Forwarding and POP/IMAP
- In the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab, look for POP Download and enable POP. This can either be set for all your Gmail email you have on the server or for just email that arrives after you enable it.
edited by pHreaksYcle

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We're Moving On Up

I'm sure you most of you have noticed but we've moved. I've bought the url and all traffic from is being rerouted to our new home. I really just got tired of having to spell out blogspot. Please update your RSS feeds and bookmarks accordingly.

I've been blogging about running Ubuntu on the Dell Inspiron 1501 for almost a year and I never thought the site was going to be this big. I started blogging thinking if 10 or 20 people read one of my articles, I'd consider myself successful. Then, I thought I was big when I thought I was getting about 50 readers a day. Once I started looking at the numbers I realized a hundreds of people were reading my blog. Today a little over 1,000 unique IPs log onto the site everyday. My guides have been used for the Ubuntu online documentation, translated into a bunch of different languages, linked to on a bunch of mobile Linux sites, referenced in bigger tech blogs, and the site has been referenced in the Ubuntu forums. I think I've come a long way, I feel like my guide writing is really come into it's own. Here's an example, my first guide on how to install Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft and my latest guide about encoding videos for the iPod. The difference is amazing.

I owe all my success to you guys and girls who have been reading my blog and helping with all the feedback. Thanks from the bottom of my little open source fanboy heart.

Keep On Reading,

P.S. Two things:
1. I really could use a, or Demoniod type site invite, since and Demonoid were shut down I've really been lost for a good Demonoid type torrent site and a good music torrent site.
2. In a case your wondering about how to get in contact with me, you can always catch me on AIM (pidgin) as redDEADresolve or redDEADresolved and via email at redDEADresolve at I don't mind helping you troubleshoot any problems.

Easy Codec Install for Gutsy

This simple howto installs the most common restricted codecs in Gutsy, allowing you to play mp3, aac, DVD ,mp4, avi, wmv and many more formats. It also installs the codecs for ripping mp3 using the lame encoder in Soundjuicer and making CDs from mp3s in K3b.

This is rewrite of a howto that I did for Feisty and it just needed a little touch up for Gutsy.

In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg libxine1-ffmpeg libdvdread3

In order to play copyrighted DVDs, you need to install the libdvdcss2 package. To do this you need to install the Medibuntu repository. You can find my howto here.

Once you install the Medibuntu repository, in a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2
edited by pHreaksYcle

How To Encode Videos for Your iPod

This works for any media device, or if you you just want to convert video files to other formats.

We're going to use the command line conversion tool ffmpeg, it's incredibly fast and does a great job. Don't be scared, because we also going to install and use a GUI for the ffmeg tools so we can convert video with a pretty interface.

First thing we have to do is install the version of ffmeg that allows encoding in mp4. To do this we need to install the Medibuntu repository.

This will add the Medibuntu repository to your repository lists
In a terminal type:
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

Then you have to add the GPG Key to authentic the packages
In a terminal type:
wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -
Now update your system to load the Medibuntu repository into your apt-get sources
sudo apt-get update

Now download the Medibuntu version of ffmeg that allows for mp4 encoding/converting video for your iPod
sudo apt-get install ffmpeg
You may have to update your system again
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get update

Now we can convert video for your iPod. FFmpeg is a command line tool and is a bit difficult for seasoned command line warriors to use. In order to make things as easy and simple we can download a GUI (graphical user interface) for the ffmpeg tools.

WinFF is a cross platform batch GUI for FFMPEG. It will convert most any video file that FFmpeg will convert. WinFF does multiple files in multiple formats at one time. You can for example convert mpeg's, flv's, and mov's, all into avi's all at once.

Download WinFF 0.31 for Ubuntu Here this is for the 32 bit version

Once your download completes, double click the winff-0.31-i386.deb to install it onto your system.

To run WinFF go to Applications>Sound & Video>WinFF

You should see this:


You can select options in the upper right corner of WinFF and a drop down menu will appear and you will see this:


You can choose where you want the files you are converting to be saved as well as what format you want to convert to. I choose usually use the XviD for iPod or H.264 High Quality settings. I find XviD for iPod encodes faster and gives excellent picture quality.

You can also go to WinnFF>Edit>Preferences to futher customize WinFF.


Anyone running a dual processor will want to check the box off that says, "Multithreadng for Dual Core Processors"

Have Fun!
edited by pHreaksYcle

How to Play Encrypted (Copyrighted) DVDs in Gutsy

Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon does not play DVDs out of the box. In order to play DVDs you need to install the Medibuntu Repository and a couple of packages. This guide will get your Gutsy install playing DVDs like a champ in less then 4 minutes.

This will add the Medibuntu repository to your repository lists
In a terminal type:
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

Then you have to add the GPG Key to authentic the packages
In a terminal type:
wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Now update your system to load the Medibuntu repository into your apt-get sources
sudo apt-get update

Download the DVDs playback packages
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2 libdvdread3

Now pop in a DVD and enjoy!
edited by pHreaksYcle

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Compiz-Fusion with XGL in Gutsy

This guide only works for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, but works for any one who is using an ATI card in Gutsy.

This is the easiest Compiz install ever. Compiz-Fusion is enabled by default, so all you have to do is setup XGL, install the CompizConfig Setting Manager and configure Compiz-Fusion.

In a terminal type:

You should see:
display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon Xpress Series
OpenGL version string: 2.0.6473 (8.37.6)

If not, make sure you enable the restricted ATI driver via the restricted driver manager. Check your restricted driver manager by going to System>Administration>Restricted Driver Manager. Make sure the box is checked as illustrated bellow.


Once you have the ATI driver setup you need to install Xgl and the CompizConfig Setting Manager.

In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install xserver-xgl compizconfig-settings-manager


Once everything is done downloading you should see this:


Ubuntu will install and setup Xgl to run with you normal gnome desktop. It will also run Compiz-Fusion for you at startup.

Log off your current session or restart your computer. Go to System>Preferences>Appearance and select the Visual effects tab.
You will see this:


Select the Custom and edit you Preferences. Now you should be able to get your all you pretty eye candy setup.

You can check my custom preferences by downloading this file, and loading it through the CompizConfig Setting Manager.

You can find it under System>Preferences>Advanced Desktop Effect Settings or running ccsm in a terminal.

It look like this:

To install my profile just select the Preferences option in ccsm and Import it.
edited by pHreaksYcle

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New Staff Member

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you would have noticed my poor writing skills. I have a hard time proof reading my own work, organizing my thoughts clearly and I just plain suck at spelling. Good news is that I found someone to edit the blog for me. Dan volunteered to go through the archives and clean up my sloppy work and edit all my new articles. So let's all welcome him to the ubuntu1501 family. I made him answer a couple of questions, so we all could get that warm fuzzy feeling of "getting to know" him.

What your name?
dan AKA pHreaksYcle

What do you do?

Student, but work part time as a cashier at a service station

What do you study?

Chemistry, geometry (pHreak is still in high school)

How long have you been using Ubuntu?

Hardcore since September, but dabbled with it last year as well...never switching back

Why did you switch?

I switched because of many things, all surrounding the fact that I hate Windows. I don't hate windows because its not Linux, i hate windows because they do things i do not agree with, software-wise and politics-wise, like contracting schools to only use MS products is bullsh*t. Things like that make me sick.

What kind of rigs do you having running at your house?
I have 2 desktops and 2 laptops. Laptop 1, mine, runs Ubuntu, but has Vista partition because I haven't gotten WINE yet. Laptop 2 has Vista solely. It isn't mine. Desktop 1 runs Ubuntu clean. I use it to listen to music on my surround sound and as a backup for my laptop files. It is shit, but it runs.

What do you do to earn your geek street creditability?
I go to my schools computer club weekly and win every game. We usually play games like Unreal Tournament, but winning is still important. I fix all of my families computer problems on their Windows PCs (what a surprise). At the moment, I am looking into putting Linux on my PlayStation Portable (PSP).

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?
I play hockey, race sprint cars, and type really fast. I kick @$$ in first person shooters, used to play WarRock a lot, but I have become sick of the server lag and I'm in between games.

Closing thoughts?
Linux is my religion.

Hey, I'm just happy that I don't have to endure anymore email about my writing or spelling.
Edited by pHreaksYcle

Monday, November 5, 2007

Moved This Week

For those of you who have emailed, instant messaged and commented on articles, I'm sorry for not getting back to you. I moved last Sunday and don't have a internet connection at my condo yet. It getting installed on the 7th. See You Then.