Ivor O’Connor

December 25, 2009

Nicely Designed Webpage

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 8:32 pm

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuWeeklyNewsletter/Issue173 has a table of contents the rest of the text flows around. A header and footer is also included but the table of contents where the text wraps around it so no space is wasted has my interest. Nice, simple, and clean.

Too bad the rest of their website is not clean like their wiki.


How Do You Clear Javascript Cache In Firefox?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 8:20 pm

To clear the cached Javascript code in Firefox do the following:


Multimedia Script for Karmic Koala Ubuntu 9.10

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 8:17 am

Here’s a little script to make Ubuntu multimedia friendly:

cd /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list
sudo apt-get -q update
sudo apt-get –yes -q –allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring
sudo apt-get -q update
sudo aptitude install libdvdcss2sudo aptitude install w32codecs

It ran fine and hopefully this new Ubuntu 9.10 laptop will not have multimedia issues like my past Ubuntu laptops have had.

Best browser available on any platform: Google Chrome

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 6:38 am

http://tools.google.com/chrome/intl/en/welcome.html now supports linux and ubuntu 9.10 in particular. What’s more it gets updated automatically with the rest of the Ubuntu stuff as it becomes available. This should be the upgrade path to the old linux version called “chromium” or something similar.

I downloaded chrome today and can say it seems to work perfectly and continues to be the best browser available. Better than ie, konqueror, firefox, opera, and safari.

December 23, 2009

Chrome Bugs: Inconsistently Loads Multiple JS Files

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 6:39 pm

Chrome has trouble loading multiple javascript files! So something like loading a utils.js, followed by a header.js, toc.js, footer.js, main.js is cause for trouble. Half the computers will work and the other, slower half, will fail. Who’d have thought?!

Automatically Resizing Background Images With CSS3

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 3:26 pm

I like fluid web designs. And I expect background pictures, say those used in a header, to expand and contract as the windows is pulled about. Unfortunately this is not quite fully supported. However it is good enough. The pictures resize instantly with no noticeable delays in all browsers except for ie.

In the css add:

#header {
background: url(‘mtn.jpg’) no-repeat;
background-size: 100% 100%;
-moz-background-size: 100% 100%; /* Gecko 1.9.2 (Firefox 3.6) */
-o-background-size: 100% 100%; /* Opera 9.5 */
-webkit-background-size: 100% 100%;/* Safari 3.0 */
-khtml-background-size: 100% 100%; /* Konqueror 3.5.4 */
-moz-border-image: url(mtn.jpg) 0; /* Gecko 1.9.1 (Firefox 3.5) */

In the html add:

div id=”header” blah blah /div

(The div tags are missing their angle brackets because I don’t understand how to make wordpress show html code without it altering it.)

Which should cause the picture to stretch to fit the width and height. I’ve tested it with ie, firefox, opera, konqueror, and chrome. Chrome works perfectly with no hacks even allowing for rounded edges. It sort of works with firefox, opera, and konqueror but you lose the rounded edges. Internet explorer does not work at all unless you consider seeing only part of your image a success.

Anyways, this is a great solution which most people do not seem to know about. The awful javascript, sliced photos, and css tricks that saturate the internet are no longer needed…

Much of this information came from https://developer.mozilla.org/en/CSS/-moz-background-size

Why Ubuntu Sucks: Part IV

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 2:21 pm

Every little thing in Ubuntu 9.10 is largely untested. Screenshots is a fine example of this. On a laptop with dual monitors it doesn’t work. The laptop in question has a native monitor resolution of 1152×864 pixels and a second monitor on top with a resolution of 1920×1200. I can move the mouse up to get to the big monitor. It’s nice that Ubuntu and Windows allow this. So the top monitor has a google map that’s taking up the entire screen. I’d like to take a screen shot of it so I do:

  1. Click on “Applications->Accessories->Take Screenshot”
  2. Use the following options “Grab the current window”, “Grab after a delay of 0 seconds”, do not include any effects.

Sounds simple enough but it does not work. Instead of a 1920×1200 png Ubuntu returns a map png about the same size as the “Take Screenshot” dialog box!

Why don’t the Ubuntu kids bother to test?

Wouldn’t it be a shame if Google comes out with an Operating System that’s better than Ubuntu on their first release. Like they did with Chrome to Firefox? I won’t be surprised when it happens.

2009.12.25 Update: I’ve looked into this and many people are suffering from this bug. Now however the bug turns off the large monitor randomly and I must then go into the reconfiguration panel and re-initialize the settings. Grrr..

December 19, 2009

I Hate Politicians Rant

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 5:06 pm

Democrats and Republicans. I hate them both. Anybody aligning themselves with either party is dirty and crooked.

Perhaps I shouldn’t hate them. They are merely reflections of the populace. Still for them to get up in front of a microphone and lie day in day out is unacceptable. I don’t care if they think the American public is too stupid to understand more than feel good sound bites. Even if it’s true.

We need a ten party system. So they must fight a bit for the lobbyists money. With only two parties it’s just too easy to get the corporate dollar…

December 13, 2009

Lowes, Akeena, Enphase: DIY Solar Panels

Filed under: Clean Renewable Energy, green, Solar PV Panels — Tags: , , , — ioconnor @ 6:46 pm

This week Lowes started selling DIY solar panels at 21 locations in California. Each panel can plug directly into a 120V household socket thanks to Akeena integrating in Enphase inverters. However things need to be installed properly. So to assure warranties, safety, and maximum tax rebates Lowes now has help desks at each of these 21 stores to get you through all the steps.

So I’m thinking the price tag, $893 or 625 after fed tax rebate, can be cut down to something reasonable with tax rebates. Then compare the costs to the various price tiers Southern California Edison charges to figure out how economical this solution really is. Maybe it would only be economical to buy enough to keep the electrical bill from reaching a particular tier. So the first steps are to get the tier pricing, the past electric bills, and to locate one of these Lowes stores and pay them a visit to get more details.

So what I want to learn:

  1. SCE tier pricing.
    I’m assuming the panel costs $625 and produces 112 watts at an average of 5.5 hours a day for the following calculations:
    Tier 1: $.12 <100% (Less than 24 year payoff = 2.9% annual return)
    Tier 2: $.14 <130% (Less than 20 year payoff = 3.5% annual return)
    Tier 3: $.23 <200% (Less than 13 year payoff = 5.4% annual return)
    Tier 4: $.27 <300% (Less than 11 year payoff = 6.5% annual return)
    Tier 5: $.30 <400% (Less than 10 year payoff = 7.1% annual return)
  2. Bills for the last year or more
    This months bill comes out to about $0.16/kwh or a 4.4% annual return.
  3. Location of Lowes selling solar panels
    The local Lowes store has no idea, they’ll call me back tomorrow after talking with corporate.
    A day has passed and they never called back. Big surprise. I’ll call them again later this week.
  4. Determine expected tax rebates.
  5. Determine exact components.
    1. Enphase power converter w/15 year warranty instead of 25 year warranty like the rest of the product. Then there is a 119 year mean time between failure claim here http://www.enphaseenergy.com/products/moreinfo/howitworks.cfm. (Don’t circuits go bad in 40 to 50 years?)
    2. Enphase Enlighten software? The software doesn’t seem to be much more than fluff. http://www.enphaseenergy.com/products/moreinfo/enlighten.cfm. Can the data be downloaded automatically so something more serious can be done with the data. Do they allow the software to be viewed using somebody elses panels? Do they charge for this software?
  6. Determine warranties
    Will probably be 25 years with qualifications and the Enphase inverter might be something much less…
  7. Enphase Enlighten
  8. Put it all together?

What I currently know:

  1. $625 after federal tax rebates
  2. 175 watts per panel
  3. 7.1 hours max sunlight during summer in southern California
  4. 3.9 hours max sunlight during winter in southern California
  5. 7 percent loss due to soiling
  6. 12 percent loss due to heating
  7. 5 percent loss due to wiring
  8. 6 percent loss due to inverter
  9. 20% drop off at some point in time is acceptable probably
  10. With all the losses the 175 watts will come to only 112 watts…

What I think I know:

  1. I could put 13 panels on one 20 amp circuit. Probably should only put 10 on for safety.
  2. A laptop uses about 100 watts with a large external display. So I’d need about 5 panels in winter to run one laptop 24×7. Or 20 panels to run 4 laptops. Printers, faxes, routers and such would probably take another 5 to 10 panels. So I’m probably looking at 30 solar panels on three circuits.


December 11, 2009

Brother HL-4070CDW Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 6:44 am

The Brother HL-4070CDW works nicely with Ubuntu. Ubuntu immediately recognizes the printer and installs the appropriate drivers. Lets take the points one at a time from the above page on the Brother’s website.

Fast color output. With a print speed up to 21ppm in both color and black, you can now have brilliant color output faster than ever before.

Actually it takes 30 seconds per page to print a sparsely colored text document that is double sided. They must have printed a single sided document with a single period on it to get these quoted speeds.

Flexible connectivity. Featuring built-in wireless 802.11b/g and Ethernet network interfaces, you can easily share this printer with everyone on your wired or wireless network. The printer also offers Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and Parallel interfaces.

It works well with multiple Linux and M$ connections over ethernet. I haven’t had the opportunity or desire to test any other interface.

Easily print two-sided documents. Using the duplex printing feature, you can reduce your printing costs and produce professional looking two-sided documents, presentations and brochures.

I always print double sided, with never a problem, so it does save paper and hence printing costs. However the colors are far from professional looking. Printing the same colored image using different toner cartridges will produce dramatically different results. Scanned in color images never turn out the same as the originals. Though the colors are dramatically different they are good enough. Especially for a $300 dollar, street price, printer.

USB Direct Interface. Print PDF and JPEG files directly from your USB flash memory drive without connecting to your PC. Connect directly to your PictBridge-enabled digital camera to print pictures from the camera, without first downloading to a PC.

Could be true. I’d be surprised if it weren’t. I have not attempted this.

High capacity replacement toner cartridges. Reduce operating costs and spend less time replacing supplies with high yield replacement toner cartridges. (TN-115 Series sold separately)

The original color toner cartridges didn’t last long. All three color toner cartridges went out on the very same page. Contacting Brother was a huge waste of time. Attempting to make them understand the improbability of all three toner cartridges going out on the same page, with one line of red text on it, was futile. I went up the supervisor chain but never managed to find anybody who sounded like they had left the ghetto. Or made it much past Junior High. So don’t ever bother contacting them. Furthermore the telephone system they use constantly iterate how anything other than official Brother toner cartridges will result in having to buy a new printer. I believe the system even forces you to acknowledge this by saying “yes” you heard and understood this before proceeding. It seems like Brother is running a racket much like HP. So I bought color toner cartridges from a local company in case they didn’t work. I ended up paying about $100 a toner cartridge, 100% compatible TN-115, and they worked. Then I went and bought some cheap ones from Amazon for $40 a piece. They worked fine too. I hope they last longer than the original toner cartridges that came with the printer. They only printed about 1500 pages.

Flexible paper handling. Supports a range of media sizes and types including letterhead, letter and legal size paper, and envelopes via a 300-sheet input capacity‡. This printer arrives with a lower paper tray, which holds up to 250 sheets and a multi-purpose tray, which holds up to 50 sheets. For fewer refills, the HL-4070CDW also accepts an optional 2nd paper tray, which holds up to 500 sheets‡.

I don’t know anything about this. I was not able to print out copies of scanned in colored checks on Ubuntu so I ordered the maximum memory the printer can take. Thinking it was too much for the memory that came with the printer and that I needed an upgrade. That upgrade worked fine but it did not help.

So I’d say the advertising was honest enough.

Now for what I have learned:

  1. The printer works fine with Ubuntu as long as you only print text. Ubuntu fails miserably printing graphics, such as colored check scans, taking hours for just a few pages. Or not printing at all no matter how long you wait. However if you print from M$ it takes seconds to start printing. No matter how big the file.
  2. The print drivers get installed automatically under Ubuntu. Not so with M$. And since the CD shipped with the printer was bad I had to rely on their website. It was fairly easy to navigate and had everything.
  3. The printer comes with no sensors to indicate what percentage of the toner is left. And it appears there is software in the printer to prematurely say all the color toner cartridges are empty when in fact only one is. Maybe a future update will fix this.
  4. Most of the controls available on M$ are not present with Ubuntu. So it’s unclear how to set Ubuntu to use the color toner cartridges sparingly.
  5. All-in-all it’s a fine printer but really only works well under M$. (Though it does work better than most printers do with Ubuntu…)
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