Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Firefox can block tracking cookies- but not by default

I read an article on the BBC News website about ad blocking in web browsers recently and was interested to read a claim that blocking tracking cookies in Firefox can speed up page load times by about 44%. Whatever you may think about the privacy concerns of tracking cookies, this seems to be a big hit on performance. The article doesn't mention how to activate tracking protection in Firefox (it's not enabled by default, or an easy preferences option), but the information is available on this Mozilla Support page.

This feature requires a recent version of Firefox to work- the ESR version in Debian Jessie didn't support it. I had to install the release version from the Debian Mozilla Team. As a bonus, I get to play with the new video chat feature, and preferences in a tab.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Things that are broken in Debian Jessie 2

Gnome Calendar:

Gnome Calendar causes random authentication request popups (without identifying where they have come from), as documented at

The first attempt at entering a password fails, even if it is correct; the popup disappears at the second attempt but returns later.

Looks like this is fixed in Gnome 3.16.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Things that are broken in Debian Jessie

Bummers for Debian Jessie users- these things are broken.

Update notifications:

Bluetooth file transfer from phone to computer: bug=774796 and bug=bug=757633

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Split Flac audio file: errors, solutions and workarounds

I've previously split some Flac files with the following command:
 shntool split -f *.cue -o flac *.flac
But I recently tried the same command on some other Flac files and got the following error message:
shntool [split]: error: m:ss.ff format can only be used with CD-quality files
A suggestion on was to use a similar command to this (where you have one Flac file and one cue file; you'll have to specify the names if you have more than one in the folder obviously):
cuebreakpoints *.cue | sed s/$/0/ | shnsplit -o flac *.flac
However, I ran into a similar error as another poster there:
shnsplit: warning: error while transferring -4195974166 bytes of data shnsplit: error: failed to split file
I noticed that in both cases it was the final track that failed to split.

A workaround is to add a extra dummy track to the end of the cue file, using the track length of the origianl Flac file from file properties.

The final track is then spit successfully and the error message appears when the program tries to slit the dummy track.

Once the Flac file is successfully split, to add tag information to the split files from the cue file, use this command:
cuetag *.cue split-track*.flac
To change the file names to track titles from the cue file, use this script:
for f in *.flac; do
track=`metaflac "$f" --show-tag=TRACKNUMBER | sed s/.*=//g`
artist=`metaflac "$f" --show-tag=ARTIST | sed s/.*=//g`
title=`metaflac "$f" --show-tag=TITLE | sed s/.*=//g`
mv "$f" "`printf %02g $track` - $artist - $title.flac"
 Author: Ruben Verweij

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Toshiba C50D-B-120 Part 3 - Firmware

On my Toshiba C50D-B-120 I have Installed the following packages:

amd64-microcode (2.20141028.1) 
firmware-linux (0.43) 
firmware-linux-free (3.3) 
firmware-linux-nonfree (0.43) 
firmware-realtek (0.43)

A warning message during installation about missing firmware


was asking for firmware contained in the Realtek package.

Of course I had to change my sources list file, which now looks like this:

#deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux jessie-DI-rc2 _Jessie_ - Official Snapshot amd64 CD Binary-1 20150326-13:22]/ jessie main

deb jessie main contrib non-free
#deb-src jessie main

deb jessie/updates main contrib non-free
#deb-src jessie/updates main

# jessie-updates, previously known as 'volatile'
deb jessie-updates main contrib non-free
#deb-src jessie-updates main

# jessie-backports, previously on
deb jessie-backports main contrib non-free
#deb-src jessie-backports main

The entry for jessie-backports seems to be a bug fixed in Jessie RC3.

Toshiba C50D-B-120 Part 3 - Bluetooth

Everything seemed to work on my new install of Debian Jessie on my new Toshiba C50D-B-120 except for Bluetooth. I noticed a warning during boot about some missing firmware, which wasn't mentioned during the install, unlike the network adapter firmware, which was.

However, using dmesg allowed me to see the error messages and track down the missing firmware.

First I tried installing firmware-atheros, but this doesn't have the firmware for the adapter in this computer.

To cut a long story short, the required files are


and they go in


They are available from

 as described on the Ubuntu forum (thanks to Ephialta).

NB, the files go in /lib/firmware/ar3k/ in Debian and not in usr/lib/firmware/ar3k/ as described in the Ubuntu forum. Presumably that location applies to Ubuntu.

This information may be relevant to anybody who has the Qualcomm Atheros AR3012 adapter and has installed Linux, Googlebots please note.