Saturday, January 28, 2012

Static IP for wireless printer

I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to print or scan something only to find the printer wasn't recognised. It's a wireless printer (very conveniently situated out of the way on the other side of the room), and of course the reason it wasn't recognised is I hadn't given it a static IP address. Occasionally the router gives the printer a different address to the one I entered when setting up the printer and the computer can't find it.
I'm not the only one to have had the same problem. When I read about a printer not working on the Debian forum recently, I guessed it was also an IP problem. After an update to Debian 6.0.4 today, I decided to check if the printer was working, and it had disappeared again!
I decided it was time to look into giving the printer a static IP. I'd always assumed this would involve turning off DHCP (making connecting other devices like smart phones more of a pain), but I was wrong. Giving the printer a static IP address simply involves giving it an address outside the DHCP pool. There are some detailed instructions here.
My printer now has a static IP address, and as an additional benefit, it now connects in seconds, whereas it used to require several minutes to connect by DHCP.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Configuration heaven

I've been trying out KDE on a Fedora Live USB after reading this review comparing it to Windows 7.
[U]sers moving between KDE and Windows 7 won't find many differences in basic navigation. However, the differences in how features are implemented are obvious as soon as you start configuring.
They certainly are. Every application in KDE seems to have one hundred configuration options, as does every panel, widget or window. It's clearly aimed at "power users". Fiddling with configuration options is not my cup of tea. I like the minimalism of Gnome, and Gnome applications.
Give me Gnome 3 with its almost complete lack of configuration options any day.

Gnome users are revolting V

More of a reactionary backlash than a revolution: Linux Mint has torn down the new institutions of progress and restored the old regime. They have recreated Gnome 2 from Gnome 3, complete with wobbly windows, the minimise button, quick launchers and window buttons in the panel, and applets galore in the notification area.
Now I quite like Gnome 2. I'm using it now. But it's a Windows 95 paradigm which needs to go.
I love Gnome 3 and I'm looking forward to it geting into Debian stable. There are some things which I wish were more configurable in Gnome 3, but none of them involve going back towards Gnome 2.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Resume a download in Firefox

I left the computer on overnight to download an .iso file. In the morning, there was still about 100MB of 600MB to download. I was doing some browsing when the internet stopped. I rebooted by router and it started again, but my download resumed from zero. Oh noes!
The partially downloaded .iso was in my Downloads folder with a .part tag, and Firefox had created a new, almost zero .iso file.
Fortunately, I found a way to get Firefox to resume the old, almost complete download here,although I had to adapt it slightly: pause the new download, delete the empty .iso file, rename the old .iso.part file to .iso and restart the download in Firefox.
It also seems to be possible to resume downloads with wget. This didn't work with the .iso.part file, but maybe it would have after removing the .part tag.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Automount USB hard drive in Debian

I've been trying to work out why my USB hard drive wasn't recognised by my recent install of Debian Squeeze if I plugged it in after booting (it worked fine if plugged in while booting).
This post on the Debian forum gave me the clue I needed. 
I went to System>Administration>Users and Groups and clicked on Advanced Settings for my user name. It was just a case of ticking Mount user-space file systems (FUSE).

Monday, January 16, 2012

CheckGmail keeps asking for username and password

CheckGmail is a nice little utility for... well, I'm sure you can guess what for. The version in the Debian Squeeze repository wouldn't let me log in and kept telling me the username or password was wrong.
The update command that's supposed to cure the problem according to the website didn't work on my system, I think because I don't have Sudo set up.
There's a method of manually updating the program described on this site.
That didn't work until I'd applied a patch as described here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Debian 6.03 install niggles

I installed Debian 6.03 on my laptop recently. I found a couple of niggles post-installation.
The first was that the external hard drive wouldn't mount. I found the solution here.
The next was that the protocols in Pidgin were greyed out. I found a work around here, but the real problem was that Network Manager wasn't working- the install had configured an Ethernet connection leaving Network Manager obsolete. I had a connection but no way of enabling wireless. I found the solution here.
Despite the niggles, Debian really is rock-solid. Even after just a year it feels dated compared to Fedora 16 which I've been using recently, but it doesn't have the same huge updates every few days, or any of the minor crashes.
I am missing Gnome 3, and looking forward to seeing it in Debian 7, hopefully in a similar rock-solid state by then.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Firefox 9 crashes

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a report that Firefox 9 was prone to crashes. I did notice Firefox crashing two or three times recently. 9.01 apparently fixes the problem (or more accurately removes a bug fix which caused the unexpected problem). I have 9.01 now on Fedora and haven't noticed any more crashes.
9.01 is also claimed to show noticeable speed improvements. I can't say I have noticed. When I do notice the internet being slow, it's usually because of some third-party content that won't load. Anything on Wordpress takes forever to load.