Archive for May, 2010

Fingerprint Reader

30, May 2010

I just saw an article in Linux Format [LFX133] July 2010 about a program called Fingerprint GUI which lets you log-on to your PC/Laptop using a fingerprint scanner see Fingerprint GUI. I have no practical use for this other than it’s another toy to play with so I searched for a plug & Play scanner and bought an HP USB Fingerprint Reader model No: SK-3350 Part No: 405954-001 which uses the the industry-standard AuthenTec Inc AES2501A hardware from ebay for £15.00. The Pc I tested it on is a spare with a 2GB AMD Athlon XP 2K running Ubuntu Karmic 32 bit with Gnome desktop. I used the version [0.13] from the Mags. cover disc and after unpacking it I followed the install instructions provided. After running the install script with;

$s sudo ./install.sh

it listed some dependences which needed installing which where;

libfakekey0, libfprint0, libqca2-plugin-ossl & libQtGui4, I installed these, ran the script again and the program installed, I then enabling uinput and restart the PC. I then ran the fingerprint-gui command and my USB fingerprint reader was immediately recognised. The rest of the instructions are well written and easy to follow, so far I’ve enabled the su, sudo, gdm and screensaver options and all work.

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Things to do after installing Lucid Lynx 10.04

21, May 2010

Before you mess, backup the sources.list with;
$ sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.bak

1] Select a new wallpaper to replace that dreadful purple tie dyed T Shirt look. Right Click the desktop and select [Change Desktop Background] and select any other wallpaper from the defaults or one of your own.

2] remove the revolting purple background to the graphical login window, install GDM2 Setup

GDM2 Setup, A login interface management utility for the new GDM. Allows for wallpaper setting, autologin option, prompted or userlist login, etc.

The setup utility that comes in Ubuntu Karmic (and many other Gnome based distros) is missing most of the older GDM setup utility’s functionality. This application puts the functionality back in the hands of the users through a familiar and simple GUI. https://launchpad.net/gdm2setup
Add this empty directory first;

$ sudo mkdir /usr/share/images/xsplash

Add source with;

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gdm2setup/gdm2setup

then update

$ sudo apt-get update

now add the program

$ sudo apt-get install python-gdm2setup

Then find the program called Login Screen (GDM2Setup) in [System], [Administration]

3] Swap the Close/Min & Max buttons back to the Right on the Windows, try if for a while first as it hear to stay! “windicators” are on their way for right hand side see here for an explanation and pictures!

Install Ubuntu tweak http://ubuntu-tweak.com/

Add Ubuntu Tweak source
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa

$ sudo apt-get update

$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

Then find the program called Ubuntu Tweak in [Applications], [System Tools] and in the program select [Windows Manager Settings], [Windows Titlebar Button Layout]

4] Remove the Social networking/message notification indicators i.e. the new “me” menu and the “envelope” from the top Right Hand notification area.

remove me-menu with;

$ sudo apt-get remove -y indicator-me

remove the envelope with;

$ sudo apt-get remove -y indicator-messages

both will disappear on rebooting the desktop.

5] Add the Gnome Configuration Editor to your menus. Right Click on the [Application] menu and select [Edit Menus], then select [System Tools] and place a tick in the box next to [Configuration Editor] and then select [Close]. Now select [Applications], [System Tools] then [Configuration Editor]

6] Remove the 60 second to shutdown confirmation message. Open the Configuration Editor [see 4 above] in Applications, [System Tools] now using the left-hand menu select [apps], then [indicator-sessions] and tick the box next to [ suppress_logout_restart_shutdown ] then [File], [Quit]

7] Updates: revert back to the update icon in the top toolbar, open Gnome Configuration Editor [see 4 above], then navigate to [apps], [update-notifier] and untick the [auto-launch]  option, then change the [regular_auto_launch_interval] to zero, then [File], [Quit] and reboot your PC.

8] Hate the Nautilus bread-crumb file path?, switch back to the text file path with Ctrl+l or / and back again with Esc. You can also switch permanently by opening the Gnome Configuration Editor [see 4 above], then navigate to [apps], [nautilus], [preferences] and putting a tick in the always_use_location_entry box.

9] Get Flash working in 64 bit Firefox; Visit the Adobe Site and download the 64 bit flashplayer version or go direct to libflashplayer-10.0.45.2.linux-x86_64.so.tar.gz. Remove any other versions of flash you have installed in Synaptic, close Firefox then untar libflashplayer-10.0.45.2.linux-x86_64.so.tar.gz and copy libflashplayer.so into /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

Sync Firefox bookmarks to Dropbox

19, May 2010

I’ve tried all the Firefox add-ons to sync bookmarks between PC’s and found them all to be unreliable at times so I decided to try Dropbox. I do have an Ubuntu One account but I have had problems syncing my tomboy notes to it and it often does not sync at all during my session so as my Dropbox account seems to sync everything very quickly and accurately I decided to use that.

First I closed Firefox and copied the bookmarks database called places.sqlite from my hidden Firefox profile in my home folder at /home/martin/.mozilla/firefox/57k8ls89.default to a folder in my Dropbox account called bookmarks then renamed the original to places.sqlite.bak

In a Terminal I cd in to the Firefox profile with;

$ cd /home/martin/.mozilla/firefox/57k8ls89.default

copied the database across with;

$ cp places.sqlite /home/martin/Dropbox/bookmarks/places.sqlite

renamed the original with;

$ mv places.sqlite places.sqlite.bak

And then sym linked the Dropbox copy back to the Firefox profile with;

$ ln -s /home/martin/Dropbox/bookmarks/places.sqlite places.sqlite

Now when I re launch Firefox if uses the bookmarks database in Dropbox and I can do the same on my laptop so they both use the same set of bookmarks.

Note : [Thanks to Barbara below]

Although this method works fine with several PC’s/Laptops for me I have found as has Barbara that Dropbox cannot cope with multiple browsers open at the same time. Dropbox will save conflicted copies of the sqlite file which will mean any changes you make are lost next time the browser is closed and opened again. So the rule is only one browser open at a time on one PC.