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Topics - Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Linux Support / Extracting partitions from IMG
« on: April 28, 2010, 06:28:28 pm »
I've got an (.img) image of a DVD that contains multiple partitions, and I need to extract a 'particular' partition to sda4 (or a directory) on the HDD.

parted, which should display the  start and end points of the partitions (which I would need for dd) just reports:
The Driver descriptor says the physical block size is 2048 bytes, but Linux says it is 512 bytes
If I ignore I get an error... and I can find no way of forcing it to use a block size of 2048... if I enter:
Code: [Select]
sudo parted /path/to/img bs=2048
Then tell it to 'print', it ignores the bite size argument (with above error)... if i put bs=2048 before the path, it says it's not a file.

If i dd the image to a partition:
Code: [Select]
sudo dd ~/image.img /dev/sda4 bs=2048
then mount sda4... all I can see is (what I'm guessing is) the FIRST partition, although All  8gb is reported by dd as being written... and sda4, although it WILL mount is reported by gparted as 'unknown' file system.

I need to either extract partition4 of the .img, or write partiton4 to sda4 on the HDD.

Or just find out the start and end points of the partitions within the .img

Any Ideas?

General Discussion / Nintendo 64 Boy [Portable N64]
« on: April 21, 2010, 10:33:58 am »
This kid has 'some' skill set... If he doesn't end up working for some hardware manufacturer it will be a travesty, For a home made project this is seriously impressive.

64 Boy - Portable Nintendo64

Watch the video

To set up a Dial-Up connection:
If you have a working internet connection, install gnome-ppp from the synaptic package manager.
once installed go to:
Menu -> Internet -> GNOME PPP
open a terminal and type:
Code: [Select]
And enter your dial-up details.

If you don't have the correct permissions to use gnome-ppp... open a terminal and enter:
Code: [Select]
sudo adduser YOURUSERNAME dip
sudo adduser YOURUSERNAME dialout
[make sure you replace YOURUSERNAME with your Linux login name]


If you NEED to set up dial-up, and you don't have a working internet connection so can't install gnome-ppp, follow these instructions:

1) Open a terminal and type:
Code: [Select]
sudo pppconfig
Select 'Create a connection'... fill in all the information and save... (remember what you put in the provider field, you will need this info later)

2) In a terminal type:
Code: [Select]
sudo adduser YOURUSERNAME dip
sudo adduser YOURUSERNAME dialout
sudo touch /etc/resolv.conf
sudo touch /etc/ppp/options
[make sure you replace YOURUSERNAME with your Linux login name]

3) Reboot.

4) In a  terminal type
Code: [Select]
Replace YOURPROVIDERNAME with the provider name you entered in pppconfig... This should start the modem dialing.

5) Whilst connected to the net, open a terminal and type:
Code: [Select]
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-ppp

6) To end the internet session, In a terminal type:
Code: [Select]

:) from now on use - Menu -> Internet -> GNOME PPP to connect :)

Linux Tips & Tricks / Batch Resize in The GIMP
« on: April 10, 2010, 11:26:38 pm »
If you use the GIMP, and want to resize a LOT of pictures in one go... install gimp-plugin-registry then follow these instructions:

Start Gimp. Access the Batch file plugin via the Filters > Batch > Batch Process menu

If you want to resize and output to a different directory, make sure you change the settings on ALL 4 of the following tabs, BEFORE selecting 'Start' (by default it will output to the same directory and convert to BMP)

Input tab - Select files to add to the batch
Resize tab - Select the size you want (and enable)
Output tab - Select file type (BMP, JPG etc.)
Rename tab - Select dir (directory for output)

It can do a lot more than just resize... Turn, Blur, Colour, Resize, Crop, Sharpen and Rename... or any combination of these.

More info here:

For kernels >= 2.6.35 make sure you read the the EDIT.

If you want to know which kernel you are using, open a terminal and enter:
Code: [Select]
uname -r
(if it's greater than, or equal to 2.6.35, be sure to follow the instructions in the EDIT.

In Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic), Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid), and Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick) there is an issue with USB Wireless N adapters based on the Ralink RT2870 chip.
The issue seems to be that 2 (conflicting?) driver modules are loaded... rt2870sta and rt2800usb... resulting in no wireless access.

The solution is to blacklist the rt2800usb module if it is loaded.

To see if they are both loaded, enter this in a terminal:
Code: [Select]
sudo lsmod | grep rt28
if they are both loaded, blacklist the rt2800usb module by opening the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf file (as root)
Code: [Select]
sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

and add the line:

blacklist rt2800usb

then save the file and reboot.

If after rebooting you can now 'see' the network, but it will not accept a WPA key (WEP seems fine)... you need to recompile the driver with WPA support... the driver can be found here:

2010_0709_RT2870_Linux_STA_v2.4.0.1.tar.bz2 (you can enter 'any' name and email)
Ralink Linux Driver Page
(HINT - change the files extension to tar.gz before unpacking... for some reason it comes up as an invalid bz2 archive, but unpacks properly as a tar.gz)

Before compiling - you are going to need to install build-essential, and linux-headers-generic.
Code: [Select]
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-generic

If you use WPA/WPA2 encryption, you will have to change the lines

(inside the unpacked driver)


Once you have changed these to =y and saved the file...

Newer kernels >= 2.6.35 will fail to compile (make) the driver because the driver makes use of the functions usb_buffer_alloc() and usb_buffer_free() which were renamed in kernel 2.6.35 .. so if during the next (make && make install) step it fails with this error:

make[2]: *** [/home/mark/Desktop/RT2870/os/linux/../../common/cmm_mac_usb.o] Error 1
make[1]: *** [_module_/home/mark/Desktop/RT2870/os/linux] Error 2
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.35-27-generic'
make: *** [LINUX] Error 2

or similar.

The fix is to cd to the driver source directory (eg. 2010_0709_RT2870_Linux_STA_v2.4.0.1), and run the following 3 commands which will clean the build directory and replace the old calls with the new ones:

Code: [Select]
make clean
find . -name \*.[ch] -exec grep usb_buffer_alloc "{}" ";" -exec sed -i 's/usb_buffer_alloc/usb_alloc_coherent/g' "{}" ";"
find . -name \*.[ch] -exec grep usb_buffer_free "{}" ";" -exec sed -i 's/usb_buffer_free/usb_free_coherent/g' "{}" ";"
(hitting enter after each line)

Or, I've uploaded a pre-modified version of the driver that WILL compile on kernels >= 2.6.35 here:

Then carry on with the "sudo su" and "make && make install", as per the instructions below.

To compile and install, open a terminal and enter:
Code: [Select]
sudo su
make && make install
It is important here not to use "sudo" alone, but "sudo su" because with sudo for some reason the installation script fails to create the necessary files and folders.

Now, while still root modprobe the driver module:
Code: [Select]
modprobe rt2870sta

Give it a minute to create the ra0 device node, and network manager should now be able to display all visible wireless networks in your area, meanwhile you can stop being root.
Code: [Select]

Make sure that ra0 is up and running as it's supposed to:
Code: [Select]

and check for a section similar to:
ra0 RT2870 Wireless ESSID:"" Nickname:"RT2870STA"
Mode:Managed Frequency=2.412 GHz Access Point:
Bit Rate=54 Mb/s
RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
Link Quality=100/100 Signal level:-29 dBm Noise level:-71 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

To make sure the module is loaded after a reboot, add it to the /etc/modules file:
Code: [Select]
sudo sh -c 'echo rt2870sta >> /etc/modules'

Your wireless card should now be working (it may require a reboot first)... Use network manager to set your WEP/WPA(2) key, and connect to your network.

Further info can be found at the following URLs:

Hardware Compatibility / ATI IGP 340M (R200) 3D Acceleration
« on: March 23, 2010, 02:58:50 am »
Has anybody ever managed to get 3D acceleration working on an old ATI mobility Radeon 7000 IGP (IGP 340M)?

Linux Support / Ubuntu and/or Generic Linux books or text (?)
« on: March 07, 2010, 01:13:35 am »
I've been asked if I know of any good Ubuntu specific, or generic Linux books or text that might be of use to someone who is proficient on M$ Windows but fairly new to the Linux world and wants some instructive text on the 'inner workings' of Linux and how to advance his knowledge and skills.

So far I've found these

Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference
which is a free PDF download, can be found here:

and an old 2007 version of the Official Ubuntu Book
which is a free PDF download, can be found here
(Originally available from the Ubuntu Docteam) found here:

Getting started with Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition (online)
or Download it in html format... unpack it, then open the index.html file in a browser.

Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide - by Machtelt Garrels (PDF)
Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide - by Machtelt Garrels (HTML)

Getting started with Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)

There's a good online book for learning the Linux command line here:
(thanks for that one salparadise)

But I would appreciate any other suggestions, free or commercial, online or printed, but they must be legal.

Please make sure any links you post are 'legal'... Thank you.

[This is a previous posting from someone else, that I'll later respond to]

Hi all just started using Ubuntu 9.10 today and to be honest it's hard moving away from Windows but hey it's going well apart from finding anti-malware, anti-virus and firewalls online that can be installed could someone in very basic terms (as i'm not great with pc's) tell me how i can get them please.

[This is a previous posting from someone else, that I'll later respond to]

I'm unsure which distribution of Linux that's installed on my computer, how do I find out which version of linux it is beyond the GNU Linux info given? Or is that all there is to it.

Frequently Asked Questions / Can I run Windows programs in Linux
« on: February 19, 2010, 12:18:56 am »
[This is a previous posting from someone else, that I'll later respond to]

I start from the position that I am not in any way a computer expert!  I have bought a new desktop that came with Windows XP Professional pre-loaded. I have successfully (I hope!)  downloaded the latest version of Ubuntu and installed it on my computer in a separate area.

My question is: Is it possible to have a short cut between Windows and Ubuntu and vice versa on the desktop or do I have to shut down the system and then choose Windows or Ubuntu when it restarts?  If the answer is other than 'no' please put it in simple English so that an aged pensioner can understand it!!

[This is a previous posting from someone else, that I'll later respond to]

I got a netbook/notebook for my Daughters xmas and can't access web pages wi'out having flash player. I have no clue whatsoever with the linux os so you will have to make it simple as possible!!! I can get it downloaded onto the comp but have no clue what to do with it once i've got it, also whatversion to download. There seem to be about 4 different ones, .tar.gz i think and others. All help greatfully appreciated Thanks in advance Thomas.

Frequently Asked Questions / Which Printer should I get for Linux
« on: February 18, 2010, 09:19:48 pm »
[This is a previous posting from someone else, that I'll later respond to]

Hi All

I was advised to get a Canon printer to work with my recently acquired Linux System, Gloria. The drivers were found and installed and all was well for a while. However the printer decided to stop printing after a couple of days. It comes up with an Error message `Cups` missing filter. Some where along the line I have seen mentioned, that it requires `pstocanonij driver`. Can anyone tell me where to find the `missing bits` and how to install them?

Frequently Asked Questions / 3G Mobile Broadband Dongle
« on: February 18, 2010, 07:54:37 pm »
[This is a previous posting from someone else, that I'll later respond to]

I've just bought a secondhand Acer Aspire ONE A110 and a neat little guy it is to.
I'm running this out of the box using 'Linpus Lite V.1.0.15.E' and I want to use the 3G slot for Internet access using three (3 moblie).

Do I have the right Linux OS to do this?

If so how?

If not, which one and how do I install it?

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