Linux on a Toshiba Satellite (A105-S1014)

I’ve had a few questions about running Linux (Ubuntu Dapper at the moment) on my new laptop. I’ll keep adding answers to this article. Hopefully the search engines will lead people with questions here.

lspci -n output:

0000:00:00.0 0600: 1002:5a31 (rev 01)
0000:00:01.0 0604: 1002:5a3f
0000:00:12.0 0101: 1002:4379 (rev 80)
0000:00:13.0 0c03: 1002:4374 (rev 80)
0000:00:13.1 0c03: 1002:4375 (rev 80)
0000:00:13.2 0c03: 1002:4373 (rev 80)
0000:00:14.0 0c05: 1002:4372 (rev 81)
0000:00:14.1 0101: 1002:4376 (rev 80)
0000:00:14.2 0403: 1002:437b (rev 01)
0000:00:14.3 0601: 1002:4377 (rev 80)
0000:00:14.4 0604: 1002:4371 (rev 80)
0000:01:05.0 0300: 1002:5a62
0000:02:04.0 0200: 168c:001a (rev 01)
0000:02:06.0 0607: 1524:1410 (rev 01)
0000:02:07.0 0200: 10ec:8139 (rev 10)

Video drivers:

I’ve had success with the fglrx driver, the vesa driver, and the official drivers from ATI.com. I havn’t tried to use the SVideo-out port yet.

Sound:

Sound works out of the box under Linux (both breezy and dapper), but the quality is quite poor. It’s kind of crackly under Linux, but it’s crystal clear under windows. I’ll have to look into this later.
Update: This is no longer an issue with the official release of Dapper

Wireless:

The wireless card was detected as ath0. I think I had to install the madwifi driver, but I don’t rember exactly.

Power Managment:

I have not yet figured out how to dim the screen brightness, etc. This stuff is handled by software under windows.

Kernel Wierdness:

I’m using 2.6.15-12-386. 2.6.15-16-386 is causing lockup on boot. I’m not sure why. I haven’t filed a bug, because I’m too lazy.
Update: This no longer seems to be an issue.

Tooting my Old Horn

Brandi’s parents came to visit us today. They brought along her niece.

Cute, eh?

We went shopping, and then we ended up at the G-man for lunch. The G-man was all done up for Mardi Gras, and there was stereotypical New Orleans jazz playing.

The little one seemed to really like the music, especially the trombones.


I like Trombones!

Long Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to play the trombone. People even started calling me ‘Bone.’ Despite my protests, the name stuck. After I was assimilated by the borg collective, my designation was technically “Bonius of Borg: quaternary adjunt of unamatrix 1000101″ but most people still call me Bone.

Anyways, after our visitors left, I decided I would bust out one of my old horns and see what it sounded like. Out of consideration for the neighbors, I went down to Market St. Music to pick up a mute. I stopped playing the horn in 1992, so I wasn’t expecting much.

After about a half hour of noise making, scaring the cats, and inhaling moldy brass fumes, I discovered that I seem to have lost about an octave of range, and can no longer read sheet music. My embouchure is entirely atrophied. Nevertheless, I was able to play a B flat and an E flat scale, and even a couple of tunes that I must have memorized in High School Marching band.

Overall, I suck. Bad. But I didn’t suck as much as I expected. Maybe I’ll try to pick up the horn a bit more often.

It’s wierd to think that I have been carrying that music around in my head for the past 14 years without knowing it.

blow me

For inspiration, I went down to a local music store (which shall remain nameless) to pick up some jazz CDs. You always know you are in the right place for jazz when a roiling cloud of pot smoke rolls out of the back room whenever someone opens the door.

Now that there seems to be some progress on JoKosher, it should be possible to record with a proper linux app. Maybe I’ll get a mic and play “Row, Row, Row your boat” and post it up for public ridicule.

Whooz Ya daddy? (helspawn III)

Important Insider Info:

Those of you who don’t know me in real life should be made aware that during the mid 1970’s, the government was conducting recombinant DNA experiments involving Yetis, Sasquatches, and telekinetic space aliens. I am the result of one such experiment. That’s why I’m 6.5 feet tall, am built like a cross between The Thing and the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and can bend spoons with my brainwaves.

Ok, on with our story…

So, my buddy calls me today to ask what I did to his wife nine months ago. It seems she just gave birth to a 10 pound, 13 oz. baby boy. As far as I can remember, I had no part in this. Just to be sure, I drove out to the Lehigh Valley Hospital, and there beheld a very, very large baby indeed.


Papa and baby
Liam and his dad (secret identity mode)

After careful consideration and invasive testing, it was determined that I was not the baby-daddy, as the baby did not seem to exhibit any of my telekinetic “Viking Super Powers.”

Babies cause boobs to do interesting things. There are trained boob professionals on staff to take care of any boobular emergencies.

The boob wrangler's office

This just cracks me up…

Even Grandpa gets in on the lactation fun. There’s a vial of fresh boob milk!

Boob milk!
Liam’s grandpa and a vial of boob milk.

They have Wifi rigs about every 5 feet all over the place… I guess it’s so you can blog about boob milk.


There is WiFi all over the hospital
There’s Wifi all over the hospital.

Savvy Neighbors

So, I got bored and upgraded the new laptop to Dapper. NetworkManager rocks. Two of my neighbors got WiFi for Christmas.

Amazingly, they both have secured their access points! (As shown by the little lock-and-key icons)

WiFi

Whenever I see a secured residential gateway, I no longer despair for humanity.

Pythagoras and Plato, but not Patrick

I think I have a sort of strange hybrid of OCD and ADD. I get really, really, obssesive about some arcane subject, but only for a very short period of time, and then I’m swiftly on, obsessively studying some other strange topic.

This is part of why I’m a 31 year old undergrad. I keep changing my major.

Some of my wierd interests have started to congeal into a strange project. I have written previously about Scalable Vector Graphics. I have been having an on-again, off-again interest in them. I have roughly similar interests in pre-socratic philosophy, and in pre-Christian Celtic mythology.

So, I started out with a simple enough idea: I would draw an equilateral triangle in SVG. This got to the essense of why vector graphics are so cool. You draw a triangle, the same way you define one, simply by defining the location of the three vertices.

This got me thinking about Plato. With SVG, you don’t make an equilateral triangle, you make the equilateral triangle. You define the form of the triangle.

This was all very well and good pseudo-bullshittery, but I had to figure out how to tie down my triangle onto a cartesian coordinate system. This turned out to be a bit more complicated that I thought, because the Pythagorean Theorem doesn’t apply to equilateral triangles. I had to beat my head against Google for a while before I remembered that the Pythagorean Theorem could be generalized as the Law of Cosines.

After I figured that part out, it was not a big deal to pin down my verticies.

Behold:

My three verticies
The three verticies with some extra junk.

The reason for the extra dot in the center is that I was reading a tutorial on how to draw Celtic Knots, and somehow figured out that the world-famous triskelle was actually based on the equilateral triangle. Some people know the triskelle as the “trinity knot”. This is a blasphemy. People were drawing these things long before the dark times. Anyways, I digress.

So, I modified my objective. I would now make a triskelle out of SVG.

I tried a few paper sketches, then I make a crude SVG version.

The framework of the Triskelle

Trigonometry is fun.

Now, I had a perfectly minimalist triskelle. It was around this point that I, after staring into the code for about 4 hours, decided that there was great wisdom in Pythagorean Mysticism. Numbers really were the fundamental building blocks of reality.

When you find yourself gaining metaphyical insight from a piece of XML, it is probably a good time to step away from the computer. However, I kept right on going.

My knot was perfect, but it lacked substance. So, I thickened the lines and gave it some color.
I also had to draw the crosshatching which give the illusion that certain parts of the knot are actually underneath other parts.


A triskelle cartoon

Too computer-perfect

This is where I expected to be done with the project, but I didn’t like the way it looked. It looked too perfect, too computer-generated, and too cartoonish. So, I set out to muck it up a bit. Basically, I created a new layer over it, and traced. Then i went through and removed as many nodes on the paths as possible, to try to create a more organic look.

This is what I ended up with:

A triskelle cartoon

It’s finally starting to look like something.

If you are at all interested in any of this foolishness, you can have a look at the final SVG file. Be aware, it’s not 100% pure SVG, Inkscape puts a bit of extra crap in it.

By the way, all these pictures, the SVG file, and all of the photographs on Bonius.com are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license.

Creative Commons License

Cotton and Snow

We got about 6 inches of snow last night. Today, I shoveled out my car and headed upstate.

My mom and I went to see Briars in the Cotton Patch at the Campus Theater in Lewisburg. The movie was interesting, as was the question/answer session afterwards.

On the drive back down to Harrisburg, it became pretty obvious that I messed up my back shoveling snow. Getting old sucks.

I haven’t been on the bike in a few days, and I feel like a slow, old, turd. Unless my back feels better, I prolly won’t be riding tommorow, either.

New Laptop

I got a new laptop last night. It’s a Toshiba Satellite (A105-S1014). I am configuring it for dual-boot with WindowsXP and Linux (probably Dapper).I tried installing Fedora Core 5 test 2, but the hardware detection was almost as bad as Windows. It didn’t find the wireless card, the onboard nic, or the LCD. In fairness, neither did Windows. Had it not been for the included drivers CD , I wouldn’t have been able to get anything to work with Windows.

Fedora, at least, was able to detect the sound card. The Dapper install CD, on the other hand, was able to get on the internet and start downloading packages without any fuss. I’ll post a more detailed install summary later, as there doesn’t seem to be too much out there at the moment.

Update:

Well, there really wasn’t anything to report. I installed Breezy, and everything magically worked. (…almost. I still have to fiddle around with the Radeon drivers.)

Ubuntu is so nice.

Update Update:

I started a new article with answers to your harware questions.

Cold Sucks

Bikes:

Well, our nice warm weather has gone away, and now it’s winter. I forgot how much of a pain in the ass it is to ride in the cold. It seems like it takes forever to get all my gear on. Then I have to wear my camelback under my jacket so the water doesn’t freeze.

It’s almost enough to make me set the trainer back up and just ride in the basement.

I made it out for about 12 miles before I noticed I had a rear brake dragging, so I packed it in.

Geekery:

In other news, I broke my laptop, so I need another one. I tripped over the power cord, which sent the laptop flying across the room. The damage was actually pretty minimal, everything works except the socket where you plug the power in. I have to wiggle the cord to make a connection, so my battery is constantly going flat.

The laptop was 5 years old, so I guess it was time for a new one anyhow.

WTF?:

According to the news, there are people killing each other and lighting buildings on fire because of a cartoon. I think it’s high time these religions were added to the DSM-V.

Aw, fuck it. I think all Ásatrúar should burn and pillage* Marvel headquarters over their blasphemous depiction of Lord Thor!

*This part is sarcasm. Bonius.com does not condone arson or pillage. Bonius.com further thinks spider-man kicks serious ass, and should be spared in the event that any pillage occurs at Marvel. Unless, of course, you worship the real spider-man and find the comic-book spider-man offensive. In that case burn, baby, burn.