Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ambient Email Notifier in Linux

I finally got around to hooking up my Ambient Email Notifier under Ubuntu. No idea why I waited so long, given it pretty much worked as soon as I plugged it in!

The Linux kernel has drivers for the CP2102 USB-to-RS232 chip built in, so as soon as it was plugged in it showed up as /dev/ttyUSB0.

The Python-Serial module is in the Ubuntu repositories, so after installing that, I just changed my script to use /dev/ttyUSB0 instead of COM3 and added a cron job to check every 10 minutes.

Ubuntu 8.04 + Logitech iTouch Keyboard = Dead Battery?

How is this possible? I've got a Logitech iTouch wireless keyboard that's been working fine for years now and with Ubuntu 7.10 for 5 months, but after upgrading to Ubuntu 8.04, my keyboard batteries have gone flat 4 or 5 times now. One or more of the batteries seems to "short out" to 0.1v or even go -ve. I've tried 2 sets of NiMH batteries, one brand new and one that had been working fine for years. Could it be anything other than a coincidence?

Update: After about 2 weeks of the batteries dying every day or so, I've now been on the same charge for about 2 weeks now. So, I've no idea what update fixed it, but it's better now!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ubuntu 8.04 and NVidia TVOut

Upgrading to Ubuntu 8.04 has been fairly successful, but it took me a while to find out what had stopped my TV from working. Nothing seemed to be different, same xorg.conf file, no errors in /var/log/Xorg.0.log, "space" in the desktop for the TV, but the TV was black.

I finally found this nvnews forum post that gave the clue, and adding the following to the "Device" section in my xorg.conf file did the trick:

Option "TVOutFormat" "SVIDEO"
Option "TVStandard" "PAL-G"