Archive for the ‘Ubuntu Lucid’ Category

Orange Mobile Broadband Dongle and Ubuntu

17, March 2011

I decided I wanted to use my Asus eeePC 704 netbook during my lunch hour at work on the net so after doing some research and finding little help on the net I decided I’d just take the plunge and sign up for a cheap Orange dongle as they offer a £5 a month discount to there PAYG mobile phone customer. I have the E1752 HUAWEI usb dongle which it says will, plug in for instant internet access,
* use with a PC or Mac
* use it at home or on the go
* supports speeds up to 7.2Mbps (download) and up to 2.0Mbps (upload) subject to network availability

I get a free dongle, 1GB of anytime access and 1GB of quiet time access [between 00:00 to 16:00] which is normally £15 pcm on a 1 year contract for £10pcm.

Orange HUAWEI E1752 Dongle

Orange HUAWEI E1752 Dongle

It arrived the day after I ordered it and took a phone call to Orange to activate it before I could start using it. The activation worked straight away and needed me to provide them with the phone number of the dongle [on the box] a password [that I had setup during the telephone ordering process], id details and to confirm the IMEI number of the SIM card.

The eeePC is running EasyPeasy v1.6 at the moment which is based on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) with an Xfce Desktop, my internet search had found that I needed to add the usb-modeswitch package to the PC to start with see here. Although the program was already available from the Synaptic Package Manager on my PC and I therefore installed it with;

$ sudo apt-get install usb-modeswitch

[I found that on my other laptop currently running Xubuntu Natty 11.04 development edition the usb-modeswitch option was not required as the Network Manager picked up the dongle] out of the box.

I then rebooted the laptop switched off the inbuilt wifi card [Fn F2 on the eeePC] inserted the dongle and right clicked on the Network Manager, selecting to [Edit Connections] then the [Mobile Broadband] tab, click [Add] and on my eeePC it said on the next screen “create a connection for this mobile broadband device:”, giving the only option of;
HUAWEI Technology HUAWEI Mobile
so I clicked on [Forward]
accepted the Country as Britain [UK] and clicked [Forward]
selected Orange and clicked [Forward]
again accepted the plan as Contract and [Forward]
and finally [Apply].
I then closed the Network Manager and when I left clicked on the Network Manager icon the dongle shows under [Mobile Broadband] as Orange Contract 1.
Clicking on this option then connected me to the Internet.

If the dongle is not recognised you may find starting the laptop up with the dongle in the USB slot works better and I found that it had to be in a specific slot on my Sony laptop, disconnect any other USB devices while you test.

Network Traffic Monitor
The next problem is how to monitor your data usage so you don’t go over the limits of your package and get changed for doing so. I found a useful program called NTM [Network Traffic Monitor] at, I downloaded a .deb package [55kB] and installed it. the program sits in your system tray monitoring your traffic, make sure it’s monitoring ppp0 which you can set by right clicking the icon and selecting [Preferences] then just set up your options, it can cut you off when a limit is reached or time etc. and if you left click it you get an updating display of your current usage.

Wammu SMS Manager

The Orange site also lets you monitor your usage but not in real time, as I already monitor my PAYG mobile on the Orange site I decided to add the dongle account. This was not as easy as I first thought because once you add the phone number of your dongle the site then sends a registration code via SMS to your dongle so that you can continue. The Windows software that is installed on the dongle includes a SMS Manager so you could do this part on a Windows PC but I wanted to do it via linux. After several hours Google searching I found a program that reads SMS messages from a selection of Mobile phones and dongles. The program is called Wammu and is available from the Synaptic Package Manager in Lucid and above. It also needs gammu running in the background but does not add this automatically. I installed both with;

$ sudo apt-get install gammu

$ sudo apt-get install wammu

Wammu then shows up in the [Accessories] menu and when started up asks you to make sure your phone is connected to continue with the configuration wizard. I selected the [automatically search for phone] option and told it the phone was connected via a usb cable and after a while it asked me to select one of the 2 options it had found, I selected the at19200 option and it then asked me to name it and finish. I found on my other Sony laptop that I had to move the dongle to the right hand USB ports before Wammu could locate it. The settings show the dongle as being on /dev/ttyUSB1. Wammu then returns you to the default window but does not connect automatically. Select the [Phone] top menu item then [Connect] then the [Retrieve] top menu item then [Messages] to download your messages. you can now register the dongle on orange and retreive the SMS with the registration number to continue the registration process. You can also send SMS via this program.

Once you log into your Orange account and select your Mobile broadband account you can check your usage using the button at the top of the screen labelled [View your remaining minutes & texts], from the 2 option then given, select [View the balance of your bundles]. You may want to note the “Your next bill date is” date as the end of the month did not match what I was expecting and the remaining Mb had therefore been adjusted to this end date.

Orange Turn Off Safesurf
I found quite early on with my surfing that the dongle has Safesurf enabled which seems to block all the forum’s I like to surf [and no they are not adult] including the Ubuntu Forum, to remove this annoying option visit your online Orange Account as above. Once in the main broadband page note the padlock icon below the “Pay Monthly” title, this is the Safeguard, Parental Controls button and is by default turned on. Click on it and accept the option to turn the controls off. This updates your access to the web immediately. Happy Surfing …

Apache Server [simple]

1, December 2010

So I wanted to have a web album of my photos on my local network so needed my server to be able to serve up the web pages.

install apache;

$ sudo apt-get install apache2

open your favorite web browser and type http://localhost into the address bar, if it work you should get a page saying so.

Now stop the service with;

$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 stop

and edit to config file with;

$ sudo gedit /etc/apache2/sites-available/default

amend the directory path to your site from the default /var/www/localhost/htdocs to something like /home/bob/www/localhost/htdocs so that you can find and add docs without being root etc. Add your site index.html file to this folder and restart the service with;

$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start

and point your browser at the site again with http://localhost or http://my_servers_name if you have given your server a host name on your network.


1, December 2010

Using the gconf tool to make changes to your desktop from the command line. These allow you to script changes you make every time to upgrade.

These have been tested on the Gnome Desktop on Lynx & Maverick.

Copy and paste these commands into a Terminal [Applications], [Accessories], [Terminal]

## Add icons to the [System] menu. ##
gconftool-2 --type Boolean --set /desktop/gnome/interface/menus_have_icons True

## Remove shutdown “Do you really want to do this 60 second count down” question ##
gconftool-2 --type Boolean --set /apps/indicator-session/suppress_logout_restart_shutdown True

## Return to old Update notification icon in top menu ##
gconftool-2 --type Boolean --set /apps/update-notifier/auto_launch False

gconftool-2 --type int --set /apps/update-notifier/regular_auto_launch_interval 0

## Add Banner message to GDM ##
sudo -u gdm gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/banner_message_text “Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat 64 Bit”

sudo -u gdm gconftool-2 --set --type string /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/banner_message_text_nochooser “Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat 64 Bit”

sudo -u gdm gconftool-2 --set --type boolean /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/banner_message_enable true

## Set wallpaper ##
gconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename /home/Pictures/My_Wallpaper.jpg


20, October 2010
Favourite Games.

From the Repositories;
Open Invaders

Machinarium:- Flash Adventure Game,
Samorost:– Flash Adventure Game,
World of Goo:– Puzzle Game,
Penumbra, Overture, Black Plague & Requiem:- First Person Survival Horror Games,
Caster:- 3rd Person Action Shooter,


20, October 2010

“Floola is a freeware application to efficiently manage your iPod or your Motorola mobile phone (any model supporting iTunes except iPhone, iPod touch.”

Floola was the application which finally allowed me to say goodbye to Windows/iTunes and go completely over to Ubuntu.

I have an 80GM black 6th generation video classic iPod which I can now manage with Floola. I can sync music, audiobooks, photos, podcasts & my gmail calendar. It can cope with Apple formats but I now use mp3 for music & audiobooks. You can also add Album Art and if your mp3 already have Art it usually adds it automatically.

I had already jail broken my iPod as follows;

In a terminal

$ sudo apt-get install libgpod4

Connect your iPod using the USB cable provided and it should auto mount, you now need to navigate to /media to determine the mount point of your iPod [mine show up as /media/MY_IPOD. The iPod needs a SysInfo file adding to it so that it is identified by your system, I found this option to created worked first time. Type or copy and paste the following into a Terminal after the prompt

$ sudo lsusb -v | grep -i Serial

this should give you a result similar to this;

iSerial 3 000D27002446H699
iSerial 1 0000:00:13.2
iSerial 0
iSerial 1 0000:00:13.1
iSerial 1 0000:00:13.0

The 16 digit number is the iPod’s FirewireID, now type or copy and paste the following into a Terminal after the prompt

$ sudo gedit /media/MY_IPOD/iPod_Control/Device/SysInfo

replacing /media/MY_iPOD with the path and name of your iPod. My iPod had one entry already of ModelNumStr: xB147 so I added a new line as follows;

ModelNumStr: xB147
FirewireGuid: 000D27002446H699

and re-saved it to the iPod. This allows it to be identified by Linux programs.

To Install Floola;

Download and extract Floola from the website to a suitable folder on your HD.

$ sudo apt-get install libstdc++5

For 64 bit systems, also install getlibs, see

then type getlibs in a Terminal to install 32 bit libs on a 64 bit system.

The Floola site has further FAQ and installation instructions and I’ve had the program working on both Ubuntu Lucid and Start-up sound fix for Maverick with no problems.


20, October 2010

Setting up the transmission-daemon to access via web browser.

I have a server running Lucid Lynx and wanted to use it to download torrents which I can add via a web page from other PC’s and then track their progress. I decided to go with the default Torrent application in Ubuntu which is Transmission but needed the daemon version to run in the background.

First add the transmission-daemon package with;

$ sudo apt-get install transmission-daemon

Now stop the daemon so you can amend the config file with;

$ sudo /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon stop

Open the config file with;

$ sudo gedit /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json

change settings in the config file called settings.json to your requirements;
The following will give you web access, and you may want to change the download folder paths;

“rpc-enabled”: true,
“rpc-password”: “a_password”,
“rpc-port”: 9091,
“rpc-username”: “your_name”,
“rpc-whitelist”: “*.*.*.*”,

rpc-password, add your password in plain text, the system will encrypt it in the file later.

This is my file.

“alt-speed-down”: 10,
“alt-speed-enabled”: true,
“alt-speed-time-begin”: 540,
“alt-speed-time-day”: 127,
“alt-speed-time-enabled”: true,
“alt-speed-time-end”: 1380,
“alt-speed-up”: 10,
“bind-address-ipv4”: “”,
“bind-address-ipv6”: “::”,
“blocklist-enabled”: false,
“dht-enabled”: true,
“download-dir”: “/home/bob/Downloads/Torrents”,
“download-limit”: 100,
“download-limit-enabled”: 0,
“encryption”: 1,
“incomplete-dir”: “/home/bob/Downloads/Torrents/incomplete”,
“incomplete-dir-enabled”: true,
“lazy-bitfield-enabled”: true,
“max-peers-global”: 200,
“message-level”: 2,
“open-file-limit”: 32,
“peer-limit-global”: 240,
“peer-limit-per-torrent”: 60,
“peer-port”: 51413,
“peer-port-random-high”: 65535,
“peer-port-random-low”: 49152,
“peer-port-random-on-start”: false,
“peer-socket-tos”: 0,
“pex-enabled”: true,
“port-forwarding-enabled”: false,
“preallocation”: 1,
“proxy”: “”,
“proxy-auth-enabled”: false,
“proxy-auth-password”: “”,
“proxy-auth-username”: “”,
“proxy-enabled”: false,
“proxy-port”: 80,
“proxy-type”: 0,
“ratio-limit”: 0.5000,
“ratio-limit-enabled”: true,
“rename-partial-files”: true,
“rpc-authentication-required”: true,
“rpc-bind-address”: “”,
“rpc-enabled”: true,
“rpc-password”: “{bb266d1472e6b6030d95522cdca56cac6515fd80UqVA7kib”,
“rpc-port”: 9091,
“rpc-username”: “bob”,
“rpc-whitelist”: “*.*.*.*”,
“rpc-whitelist-enabled”: true,
“speed-limit-down”: 100,
“speed-limit-down-enabled”: false,
“speed-limit-up”: 15,
“speed-limit-up-enabled”: true,
“umask”: 18,
“upload-limit”: 100,
“upload-limit-enabled”: 0,
“upload-slots-per-torrent”: 14

Then save the file and start the daemon again with;

$ sudo /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon start

I also added the debian-transmission group to the Download folder and added me to the group.

Open a web browser and point it to the local server


or use it’s server name


enter the username and password and Bob’s your Uncle

Update: For another way to access your Transmission daemon with more per download options see my post here;

Transmission Remote GUI

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.
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

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 Remove any other versions of flash you have installed in Synaptic, close Firefox then untar and copy 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.