Category Archives: Technology

The HTC G1 still rocks

Phones have almost become disposable as technology advances at a speed where what you have is replaced in a month or two by “the new thing”. I like new gadgets but these days at $300 to $600 dollars a pop it’s just not economical. So when I opted for a G1 Dev Phone last year I was hoping for something that might be upgradeable and still have that new feel as the software evolves.

I have not been disappointed.

After the upgrade to 1.6 I was satisfied for a while but then came the next version of Android and that changed things. Better navigation and snappier user interface with screen auto rotation and more. When it didn’t look like there’d be any official version after 1.6 I went looking for a custom ROM, enter cyanogen. I loaded 1.6 just after the first of the year and 2.1 (Eclair) about a month ago, it has been excellent. Checking the site today they have 2.2 (Froyo) available for both the Dream (G1) and the Magic (G2).

It’s been two years since the G1 was released and thanks to folks at cyanogen and other communities like xda developers it has the same software as a Nexus One, HTC Incredible or EVO. Open Source, you gotta love it !!!

Ubuntu Karmic notification icons with messed up video

For the last month or so I’ve been using Fedora as it seemed to fit my T42 better than Ubuntu did. But wanting to get back to it I plopped in the drive and fired it up. A decent amount of updates were needed and after getting through those things seemed fine. But then after resuming from suspend I noticed the pop up icon in the notification area was blank. It was almost like the something was up with the resolution or video display of the icon itself.

Bad Video Notification

I’m not sure if this was one of those things I thought was a problem when Karmic first came out or not. I did load it pre-release but moved to Fedora shortly thereafter. Finding this to be odd I tried to do a little googling and research, found a few threads that pointed to some of the work the Ubuntu Desktop Experience Team was doing but not much that suggested a solution. The only thing I did come across was talk about video drivers and excelleration. This didn’t really make much sense to me, it has been years since I’ve had to care about the X config file and adjusting it manually. That takes me back to the RedHat 6 days and my Tecra 600. But it did give me a thought.

Video in general was not a problem, just the notificaiton icons. So as a guess I checked what was set for Visual Effects.

System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects (tab)

The current setting was None so I changed it to Normal. To test I watched Rhythmbox move to the next song and the icon was normal.

Correct Notification

Good to know that fixed the problem but interesting it needed to be done. Regardless the polish with Gnome in Karmic is really good. Ubuntu has taken Linux on the desktop where no one else has and with that there will always be little challenges. Wonder where they’ll go from here.

G1 Contact Sync

Just after updating my G1 to 1.6 I was struck again with problems syncing contacts. Mind you it’s not a huge deal, I don’t meet 20 people a day and need there digits. It has been a common problem and was well documented based on the posts I found. The consistent fix from the Google Mobile Help forum was clearing contact data on the G1 and then sync. That worked and syncing is back.

This might be a good argument for turning on synchronization but that tends to limit battery life. If all else fails I can fall back to this but I’m hoping if I sync more often, and not make changes in both places then sync, the problem will go away. We’ll see.

SSH Public Key Authenication

Last week I had an occasion to test public key authentication from OpenVMS to Linux. With the dayjob we have an implementation where data will be sent in batch via sftp to a Linux box. To get a better idea of “the entire process” thought I should take my Debian box and test authenticating to it. Once I got through all the quirks it wasn’t that difficult.

The biggest challenge has been getting past access violations when executing ssh commands on some OpenVMS servers. What I found on HP’s ITRC forum referenced UIC in RIGHTSLIST needing to match what’s in SYSUAF, for a user executing SSH commands. Even though OpenVMS TCPIP version 5.6 ECO 1 release notes comment about this as being fixed we have experienced it with ECO 2. None the less updating the RIGHTSLIST resolves the problem.

As for set up it wasn’t to bad. Here’s the steps (summary) I used.


  1. Enable the SSH Client in TCPIP$CONFIG.
  2. Create a sub folder for the user of [.SSH2], making sure your logged in as the account in question.
  3. Set default to that directory and create a key using ssh_keygen. (In order to use ssh_keygen you must first execute sys$manager:tcpip$
  4. Create an IDENTIFICATION. file with a line of.
    KeyID <private key name>
  5. Push the public key (.PUB) to the Linux box.


  1. Log in as the user you’ll be connecting with, create a .ssh subfolder if it does not already exist.
  2. Take the public key (.PUB) from the OpenVMS box and put it in the authorized_keys file.
    $ ssh-keygen -i -f >> authorized_keys
    note:  keep in mind where default is in relation to .ssh/authorized_keys the above would assume
    your in ~/.ssh when executing ssh-keygen.

This was with the default config for sshd on Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (lenny). Something to also keep in mind is from a security perspective ensuring access to the key files is limited to the user would be a good practice on both systems.

Flash not working in Ubuntu

There seems to be a lot of discussion about Flash not working from time to time in Ubuntu and I to have had that problem in the past. I was late upgrading to Jaunty and after doing so it came up again. Mind you most times I don’t do a dist-upgrade but a fresh install, with $HOME on it’s own partition. This time I tried gnash and swfdec but for some sites it didn’t do the trick. So this evening I thought I’d sit down do some research and fix it.

After a bit of googling I found my way to this forum thread. It is dated but gave me a direction, so I followed the advice and did the following.

$ sudo apt-get clean
$ sudo apt-get autoclean
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get remove -y --purge flashplugin-nonfree
$ sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

Unfortunately the result was the same, but all was not lost the plugin was installed I just needed to point it to firefox. That wasn’t quite it. See I had installed gnash and swfdec and removed them so I thought but there was still something overriding firefox from using the flashplugin-nonfree package. So when trying to play a flash movie from the browser I right clicked on the embeded player in the page and selected “About”. What came up was SWFDEC, and there in lies the problem.

I’m not positive at this point if the package was something I installed or loaded by default but removing swfdec-mozilla fixed my problem.

$ sudo apt-get remove --purge swfdec-mozilla
$ sudo apt-get autoremove

Reload the page and we are up and running… YMMV.