Posts Tagged ‘oddities’

Solve ALSA audio and mic issues on Lenovo Thinkpads on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Since I've blogged about my recent skype issues. I've played a lot with pulseaudio, alsa, alsa-oss to experimented a lot until I figured out why Skype was failing to properly delivery sound and record via my embedded laptop mic.

Anyways, while researching on the cause of my Thinkpad r61 mic issues, I've red a bunch of blog posts by people experiencing microphone oddities with Lenovo Thinkpads

Throughout the search I come across one very good article, which explained that in many cases the Thinkpad sound problems are caused by the snd-hda-intel alsa kernel module. snd-hda-intel fails to automatically set proper sb model type argument during Linux install when the soundcard is initialized with some argument like options snd-hda-intel model=auto

Hence, the suggested fix which should resolve this on many Thinkpad notebooks is up to passing the right module argument:

To fix its neceessery to edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf .

debian:~# vim /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

Find the line in the file starting with:
options snd-hda-intel model=

and substitute with:

options snd-hda-intel model=thinkpad

Finally a restart of Advaned Linux Sound Architecture (alsa) is required:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/alsa restart
...

At most cases just restarting the alsa via its init script is not enough, since the ssnd-hda-intel kernel module is already in use by some program or something, so its best to do a reboot to make sure the module is loaded with the new model=thinkpad argument.

My exact laptop sound card model is:

debian:~# lspci |grep -i audio
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)

After changing the module and using alsamixer and aumix to make sure mic is unmuted and its volume is high enough, mic sound rec works fine.

How to fix multiple instance music streams with sound card (Intel 82801I ICH9 Family) alsa sound problems on Ubuntu 11.04 GNU / Linux

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Ubuntu Logo Sound / Pulseaudio multiple sound channel issues

The Ubuntu Linux installed previously on Acer ASPIRE 5736Z on my sisters notebook works quite fine. However today she complained about an issue with her sound. The explanation of the problem she faced is:

When she plays a movie file and pauses it and then switches to a music player, suddenly the notebook sound disappears completely until she restarts all the running programs using the sound server. The Acer Aspire is used with a GNOME Desktop, hence my bet was the issues are most probably caused by some kind of mess happening inside Pulseaudio or the way Alsa loaded kernel drivers handles the multiple sound channel streams.

I’m using GNU / Linux for more than 11 years now and I have faced the same sound issues so many times, so when I heard about the problem I thought its pretty normal.
Anyways, what was really irritating in these situation is that when her laptop sound disappears a video or sound files which are to be played by Mozilla Firefox Browser or Chrome are also loosing the sound.
This causes big issues, especially taking in consideration the fact that she had no idea about computers and is a GUI Desktop user, who have no idea how to restart the pulseaudio server to fix the problem etc.

As a good brother, I took the time to check about the issues related to the specific model of Audio Module Hardware / Sound Card, first I checked the exact model of audio the Acer Aspire 5736Z is equipped with:

stanimiraaaa@Ubuntu-Aspire-5736Z:~$ lspci |grep -i audio
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)

I checked about any reported other users issues on the net and I found a user somewhere (lost the link), complaining he is experiencing the same sound oddities on his Acer ASPIRE

The fix he suggested is actually quite simple and comes to adding a simple line to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf :

stanimiraaaa@Ubuntu-Aspire-5736Z:~$ sudo su -
[sudo] password for stanimiraaaa:
root@Ubuntu-Aspire-5736Z:~# echo 'options snd_hda_intel model=auto' >> /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

Next I restartarted to make the new settings take effect. Its also possible to do it without restart, by unloading and loading the alsa module but I’m a lazy kind of person and the machine is notablyunimportant so why should I bother 😉

One important note here is that I removed also an .asoundrc file, that I created some long time ago and this file might have been creating also some sound issues, the content of ~/.asoundrc, before I delete it in her home user, was like so:

stanimiraaaa@Ubuntu-Aspire-5736Z:~$ cat ~/.asoundrc
pcm.!default {
type hw
card 1
device 0
}
ctl.!default {type hw
card 1
device 0
}
stanimiraaaa@Ubuntu-Aspire-5736Z:~$ rm -f .asoundrc

Doing this minor changes to the Ubuntu system erradicated the sound problems and now the sound with simultaneous sound channel streams works just perfect! Thx God 😉

Black Cat, White Cat – An awesome gipsy’s life movie by Emir Kosturica ;)

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Black Cat White cat movie cover

Black Cat, White Cat is truly an awesome movie from Emir Kostutirca it really presents the wildness and ridiculousness of being a citizen of the farest places of Eastern Europe the Balkans.
The movie is a story of a Gipsy hamlet, located nearby the Danube. The movie is a drama, commedy, action and even more 😉
If you’re looking for some movie to cheer up in about 2 hours of watching oddities and unexpected turn outs this is surely the movie for you.

The movie is one of the best movies ever made by a Slavonic origin film director.
My only objection to the movie, is towards the part presenting one Bulgarian who is being presented as a hardcore swindler and later on brutally killed and mocked.

This part is a bit too much insulting towards our Bulgarian nation and it also shows the decade hostility between our bordered nations …

I’ll skip the explanations on the movie plot and give you a small crazy scene to give you an idea on what to expect from the movie:

🙂

12 must have Joomla extension plugins / Essential modules for new Joomla CMS install

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Joomla bundle of must have extensions picture

These days very often I have to install, plain new Joomla based websites. I’ve realized that since there is no structured guide to follow describing the most essential plugins that every new fresh new joomla installation is required to have.
Thus I took the time and wrote this post, as it will be useful to myself in my future new joomla based websites establishment, I also believe these guide will be useful to other Joomla enthusiasts or administrators in their daily work.

Below I will describe in short the installation, configuration and oddities I’ve faced during installment of the above described bundle of plugins on a plan Joomla 1.5 install.These article will walk through 12 joomla essential plugins that I believe every fresh Joomla installation should be equipped with.
Hope this guide will be helpful to you. Now let’s start it up:

1. JoomlaXplorer – A sophisticated web file explorer for Joomla

One of the basic modules, beneficial with a new joomla CMS install is Joomla Xptplorer . This module enables the joomla admin to browse files in a web file explorer, on the server where the joomla CMS is installed. Below you see how handy the joomla web explorer provided by the plugin is:

Joomla file explorer extplorer module

Installing and using the plugin is a piece of cake. To install the plugin:

a. download Joomla file Xplorer from here or from the official plugin website.

b. Install the plugin through the admin joomla menu:

Extensions -> Install/Uninstall

c. Start using the newly installed plugin by following to menus:

Components -> eXtplorer

2. JCrawler Generate easily sitemap.xml to aim the overall Joomla website SEO optimization

JCrawler logo plugin joomla

I have previously written a very through tutorial on how to install configure and generate website sitemap with Jcrawler module, You can read my article titled: How to build website sitemap.xml in Joomla here

3. sh404SEF – Make your Joomla links and content more user friendly

sh404sef Joomla Search Engine Optimization plugin

sh404SEF is a great Joomla plugin, which will seriously improve SEO and could contribute well for a website to be better indexed with major search engines.

I have previously written an article describing thoroughfully the install and use procedures for the module.
You can read the article Making your Joomla URLS Google friendly with sh404sef plugin / Simple Joomla link SEO here

4. Akeeba Backup Joomla solution

Akeeba backup Joomla Module

Installing a joomla backup solution is very essential if you does take care about your data, it often happens that server hard disk got crashes or a RAID massives got corrupted or some kind of other unexpected disaster hits the server. In these terrible times, having a website backup will save you nerves and data recovery funds, not to mention that in many cases data recovery is impossible.

Joomla has a very easy to use software for creating full website backup called Akeeba Backup

To start using the software one must:

a. Download Akeeba Backup and install it via:

Extensions -> Install/Uninstall

After the Akeeba Backup installation is over, to create your first backup, one needs to navigate to:

Components -> Akeeba Backup -> Backup Now

Each Akeeba backup (a version of the website’s files data and sql info) will be created in an archive file with the extension .jpa
The backup files are created under joomla’s website (main) root directory in directory location administrator/components/com_akeeba/backup

The Akeeba plugin also has capabilities to recover a (.jpa) backup restore point easily.
To recover a backup with the Akeeba plugin one needs to do it once again, via the plugin joomla web interface.
5. Google Analytics (place easy tracking code) in Joomla

Google Analytics Tracking Module for Joomla

a. Download the Google Analytics Tracking Module
The module is available from Joomla Extensions on joomla.org

At the current time of writting you need to download the analytics_tracking15,zip file

b. Install the Google Analytics Tracking Module;
Login as joomla admin and navigate to;

Extensions -> Install

Place the analytics_tracking15.zip url to the Install URL: field.
Again as of time of writting you need to place http://www.pc-freak.net/files/analytics_tracking15.zip;

c. Open the Module Manager

Extensions -> Module Manager

d. Click over Google Analytics Tracking Module
On the right pane you will notice in the Module Parameters the Analytics_uacct_code field. In the uacct_code field you need to paste your UA obtained from your created google-analytics account.
This code is usually something like UA-2101595-10
Now place your code their and press the save green button located near the right top of the screen. You should see the text in blue Item Saved which would indicate your UA code is stored already in the Google Analytics Tracking Module, now press the Cancel button located again on the right top.
As a last step before the Google analytics is set-up on the Joomla you need to enable the plugin to do you need to press over the tick left sided from the text reading Google Analytics Tracking Module in the Module Manager
e. Click over the Enabled button in Module Manager;
Google Analytics Tracking Module -> Enabled

6. Itprism (Facebook, Twitter etc.) Social Network share buttons Joomla plugin

ITPShare Large Social Buttons Joomla

a. to add the itpsocialbuttons to joomla Download the Itpsocialbuttons latest module files from http://itprism.com/free-joomla-extensions/social-buttons-plugin or use my mirrored module files below:

Download mod_itpsocialbuttons .zip file
Download plg_itpsocialbuttons .zip

After having the two files necessery to be installed to make the ITPSocialButtons appear on website, installation is done like with any other installation:

Extensions -> Install/Uninstall -> Upload Package File (Choose File)

Next its necessery to configure the plugin to do so, follow to menus:

Extensions -> Module Manager -> Share

You will notice the Share dialog in the list of Module Name column in Module Manager

Here is a screenshot on how the settings options for ITpsocialbuttons will look like:

Mod ITpSocialButtons settings screen

The options which I personally changed was:

Show Title – I set this one to No as I wanted to omit the plugin title text to appear on my website.
Further on I’ve set the Enabled option to Yes to enable the plugin and choose the buttons Style option to be of a Small buttons type.
I’ve also found that the most suitable position for the Social Share buttons were to be of a right – Position .

Here is how the social network itprism share buttons looks like:

ITprism Joomla Social Share Plugin various button types

The plugin supports sharing of joomla pages to the following list of social networks:
 

  • Delicios.com
  • Digg.com
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

The module configuration, also allows the user to configure the type of social network buttons, one wants to display on the website.

7. Joomla JCE Content Editor

This content editor is really awesome compared to the default editor TinyMCE. If you want to have an options rich content editor for Joomla, then this is the one for you 🙂
download JCE Content Editor here

After installing the JCE Joomla content editor in order to enable it as a default editor you need to go to the following location:

Site -> Global Configuration -> Default WYSIWYG Editor

There place on Editor TinyMCE and change it with Editor – JCE

Now go to edit some article, and you will see the difference in the editor 🙂

8. Add gallery Joomla capabilities with sigplus (Image Gallery Plus) and Very Simple Image Gallery

Image Gallery Plus sigplus Joomla Screenshot

Image Gallery Plus plugin (sigplus) gallery review screenshot

sigplus Image Gallery Plus is a straightforward way to add image or photo galleries to a Joomla article with a simple syntax. It takes a matter of minutes to set up a gallery but those who are looking for a powerful gallery solution will not be disappointed either: sigplus is suitable for both beginner and advanced users.

Download Sigplus Joomla Image Gallery plugin here
Using sigllus is quite easy all one has to do is use Joomla Media Manager from links:

Site -> Media Manager

Create new folder in the stories folder, let’s say New Pictures and further on use Media Manager to upload all desired pictures to be later displayed.

Being done with uploading the images you want to display, go to Article Manager :

Content -> Article Manager

From there choose your article where new uploaded pictures you want to display and type in the article:

{gallery}New Pictures{/gallery}.

Note that New Pictures is the directory just recently created as stated below, it’s important that there is no spacing between {gallery}and New Pictures, if one tries {gallery} New Pictures {/gallery} instead of {gallery}New Pictures{/gallery} an error will occur instead of the pictures being displayed in a scrolled gallery.

Sigplus Image Gallery has also a number of configuration options, which might make it look a bit more decent.
I have to say in my view the default way sigplus displays pictures is awful!

Another alternative if you don’t like Sigplus ‘s way of creating new galleries is to use Very Simple Image Gallery

Very Simple Image Gallery joomla screenshot

Here is a screenshot on a sample gallery created with Very Simple Image Gallery Joomla Plugin

You can download Very simple image gallery here

After installing the plugin. It’s use is analogous to the Sigplus . To use it likewise sigplus create new directory through Media Manager and in stories and upload your files in let’s say New Pictures1 . Later on in your article place, the code

{vsig}New Pictures1{/vsig}

Gallery will be generated automatically by the plugin. I think Simple Image Gallery is a bit more advanced and gives a better outlook to Galleries, though it’s configuration settings are much less than with SigPlus image gallery.

To add pictures comments e.g. img link alt=” and title=” tib you need to place a code within the Article manager similar to:

{vsig_c}0|Picture_1.JPG|Some sample text|Some other text{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|Picture_2.JPG|Some example text|Some text{/vsig_c}
etc. ..

Note that the 0 in above example specifies the gallery number if you for instance are using a couple of galleries with Simple Image Gallery , the first one you used would be call 0 . The text specified as comments to the picture will also appear after you preview the gallery right below the picture when clicked on as a picture description in a really nice way.
9. Install Google maps plugin for Joomla

Google Maps plugin for Joomla screenshot

It’s a wise idea that every website has a location map on it’s website, for that reason Google maps is just great.
To install Google maps capability to joomla one can use a plugin called Google Maps .

You can straighly download Joomla’s Googlemap plugin from here

Afterwards use Extension Manager to install the plugin e.g. follow:

Extensions -&gr; Install/Uninstall (Choose File)

and click on Upload File & Install button.

To further enable and configure the Joomla Googlemap plugin you will have to go to the location:

Extensions -> Plugin Manager

Therein you will have to find and enable the Google Maps plugin which is to be found in the column named Plugin Manager
On my Joomla installation the plugin was located in the second page with modules, so if you don’t find the module on the listing with modules on the first page, make sure you scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Next button.

Therein in the list you will most likely notice Google Maps use the Enable button to enable it.

Next step is to configure the plugin, to do so press on the plugin name Google Maps
All configuration necessery here is to place Googlemaps API Key in the respective field (you will see it among config options).

Issuing a new Google Maps api key takes just few seconds, if you already have a gmail account just go to http://code.google.com/apis/maps/signup.html and take few seconds to issue the key.

You will get the key right on your gmail account after being issued (to repeat myself issuing takes few seconds so no worrier here).

One moreOnce having the key place it in the Googlemaps API Key field and configuring Address (which is one of the list of many options the plugin provides) you will be done with configuration.

To display a google map the location you just configured go to the Article Manager , select the article where you want the google maps location picture of your address to appear and type in the Article:

{mosmap|text='Exact street address location'|zoom='15'|zoomType='Large'|zoomNew='0'}

After you save the article a very nice Google map showing you the location’s streets will appear.
You can further conifgure a number of things related to the google map to appear, one thing you might want to play with is the zoom option which as you see in below’s code is equal to 15, e.g. zoom=’15’
Set it to another one if you want to regulate your googlemaps zoom level. For more thoroughful options take a look at the extensive plugin documentation.

10. Joomla Xmap (generating static HTML sitemap) Download Xmap from here , install it the usual plugin way.

Right after installation on the plugin succesful install screen you will notice the link component menu .
Clicking on the component menu you will be leaded to a page showing you few links Sitemap’s URL :
 

  • XML Sitemap:
  • HTML Sitemap:
  • News Sitemap:
  • Images Sitemap:

11. Add Joomla donate Paypal capabilities with Joomla PAYPAL DONATION MODULE

Paypal Donation Module Joomla Screenshot

Just recently I’ve written a a post on how to add a paypal donation capabilities to joomla, you can read my previous post here

12. Install Joomla RSForms Module (Advanced Joomla Forms Support)

Simple Joomla RsForm contact form

If you’re planning to add a complicated form support for Joomla, there are plenty of plugins, however one that was suggested by a friend of mine which is deep in Joomla world and moreover works good on my joomla installations is RSForms

Joomla – RSForms! is free to download and has great and easy interface to create new joomla forms.

At the time of writting I use these three RSForms components on new Joomla installations:

RSform Pro 1.1.0 com
Mod RsForm for Joomla 1.5
Mod Rsform list for Joomla

For latest release of RSForms! use the link http://www.rsjoomla.com/joomla-components/rsform.html

Installation is like any other module and is done through Extensions -> Install/Uninstall menu.

After installation, setting up a new form is available from the Joomla Menus:

Components -> RSform!Pro -> Manage Forms

I would not enter in details on how to edit the default RSForms or create a new RSForm. Just take some time and learn it by trying 😉

After the rsform is ready, to enable the new form, navigate to Joomla menus:

Menus -> Main Menu

Press the New button located in the buttons bar nearby the page header in the list of options in Select Menu item Type you will notice the RSForm!Pro as an option, press on it to establish the new form in the menus.

A follow up window will appear where one can set a Title: and Alias: for the new form as well as few other options.
After finalizing the settings press on Apply button to save the settings and the new form should appear in Joomla.

Probably there are many more handy plugins, which I’m missing here thus I’ll be glad if readers suggest some more helpful essential (must have plugins) for Joomla.
Feedback on this tutorial is very welcome!
Looking forward to hear for your opinions if my article was helpful to you 😉

Speed up your DNS resolve if your Internet Service Provider DNS servers fail or resolve slowly / Privacy concerns of public DNS services use

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

In my experience with many network Internet Service Providers by so far I’ve encountered a lot of DNS oddities and therefore surfing (web) and mail slowness.

It’s sometimes very irritating especially in cases, when I use my internet over Wireless public or university wireless networks.
In principle many of the Wireless routers which distribute the internet especially in organizations are badly configured and the slowness with DNS resolvings is an absolute classic.
If you haven’t encountered that slowness in opening web pages when connected from your University’s canteen, whether it’s fill with people for the lunch break, then I should say you’re really lucky!

My personal experience with this bad configured devices DNS services has been quite negative and every now and then I use to set and use public DNS servers like OpenDNS and Google DNS

Very often when I connect to a wireless network with my notebook running Debian Linux and the internet is too slow in opening pages I automatically set the Google or OpenDNS servers as a default DNS IP resolving servers.

1. DNS IP addresses of Google Public DNS are:

8.8.8.7
and
8.8.8.8

2. OpenDNS Public DNS servers has the IP addresses of:

208.67.222.222
208.67.222.220

I do set up and use the upper public DNS services addresses via the commands:

3. Set and use Google Public DNS services on my Linuxdebian:~# cp -rpf /etc/resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf.orig
debian:~# echo "nameserver 8.8.8.7n nameserver 8.8.8.8 n" > /etc/resolv.conf;

I first create backu pof my resolv.conf under the name resolv.conf.orig just to make sure I can revert back to my old DNSes if I need them at some point.

If you prefer to use the OpenDNS services for some let’s say privacy reasons, you do it in the same manner as in the above commands, you only change the IP addresses. 4. Configure and use the OpenDNS public DNS services

debian:~# cp -rpf /etc/resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf.orig
debian:~# echo "nameserver 208.67.222.222n nameserver 208.67.222.220 n" > /etc/resolv.conf;

Of course using Public DNS services has it’s disadvantages over the domain resolving speed up advantage.
One major issue is that Public DNS services are running on a top of a cloud and if you have red my previous article Cloud Computing a possible threat to users privacy and system administrator employment you might be agaist the idea of using a services which are powered by cloud.

The other primary concern is related to your SECURITY and a PRIVACY by using Public DNS networks, you risk that your Public DNS provider might use some DNS spoof techniques to mislead you and resolve you common domain names which usually resolve to let’s say 1.1.1.1 to let’s say 1.5.5.10

Even though this kind of practices on a side of a public DNS provider is not a likely scenario the possible implications of Public DNS providers using DNS forgery to fool you about domain names locations is a very serious issue.

As public DNS providers does contain again the good old philosophy of cloud computing embedded in themselves and they strive to become some kind of a standard which people might vote to adopt and use, the future implications of a wide adoption of Public DNS servers might be a terrible thing on internet users privacy!!!

Just think about a future scenario where we users of the Internet are forced to use a number of public DNS servers in order to use the Internet!
Usually a very huge companies are possessing the Public DNS services and do pay for the tech equipment required for building up the cluster clouds which provide the DNS services and therefore, if in the short future public DNS becomes a fashion and (God forbid!) a standard which shifts up the regular ISP DNS servers to resolve domains to IPs then it will be terrible.

The corporations which does own the Public DNS service/s might have a direct control over filtering and censoling information posted on any website on the internet.
Even worser if the world decides to adopt public DNS services somewhere in the future this means that large corporations owning the open dns cluster or clusters will be able to check each and every resolving made by any user on the net.
If you think closely such an information possessed by a company is not the best thing we want.

So let me close up this article, I’m not a fan and an evangelist who preaches the use of Public DNS services. Right on Contrary I do honestly hate the idea behind public DNS.
Nevertheless apart from my personal opinion I’m a practical person and using the public DNS servers every now and then when this will accelerate my access to the internet is still an option I do enjoy.

Maybe it’s time for a free software project (a tor like), which will provide users with an OpenDNS alternative which will run on hobbyist computers around the globe (just like with tor).

What’s rather funny is that the loud name OpenDNS is a big lie in reality OpenDNS is not opened it’s a company owned closed source service 😉

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Yesterday I spend a lot of time outside with Lily. We went to the fountain we watched film at home. The film was called”Wild Hogs” it was supposed to be a fun commedy (only supposed to be). This week is going to be a taugh one.We have to present a project at Marketing Research.

I have to write a 600 words resume about International Enterprice,also we have to make a presentation in Culture. Today in the morning i was on a Liturgy again. God’s grace ishere ! The week passed without serious server issues (Thanks God). Today I checked some logs of one of the serversand I observed oddities there. I checked the crontab and I realized it’s because of a crontab. The dumped databaseis a HUGE one 2.6G (bzipped).

I asked in irc.freenode.net #mysql, and the guys there pointed me to a similar issuewhich was supposed to be an MySQL bug when dumping large database. Since the dumping databases were of a type MyISAMI ofcourse could have used mysqlhotcopy.

But in the end the solution to the problem was removing “–opt” option fromthe backup opts of mysqldump and passing “–skip-opt” to it (I suspect this would slow the dumping process a lot).But I don’t care it is much better (a slow dumping), than hanging the whole Webserver and interrupting the site’s visibilityover the Internet.

Btw I started playing Quake 2, it’s cool but a little annoying there are too many tunnels and veryoften after I kill most of the bad guys I spend a lot of time searching for keys and stuff .. :).END—–