Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx – Reinstalling ALSA

I shared with everyone the problem I am having with ALSA in my previous blog post. Stéphane Gaudreault wrote a good instruction on how to re-install ALSA.

The only difference that I during the re-installation process is that I stopped ALSA using this command:

sudo /lib/udev/alsa-utils stop

I have been playing videos with VLC, XINE, and my mp3 with Rhytmbox and everything seem to be very stable. Thank you Stéphane for sharing with us how to reinstall ALSA.

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Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 – Desktop Eye Candy

Bisigi project gives the coolest themes for Linux. Bisigi provides some of the best themes that I have installed in my Ubuntu box so far. These are some of my favourite Bisigi themes.

Try bisigi themes for Gnome

Showtime Theme


Bamboo Zen

Ubuntu Sunrise


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Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx – Gasp What’s Wrong With ALSA ?

I have been having 100% CPU usage problem that hogs my Ubuntu box ever since I was using Karmic. I scan my Ubuntu box for bad hard disk sector using:

sudo badblocks /dev/hda

Luckily and I am still thankful for this that I do not have bad sectors in my Ubuntu Box. I found the following entry in my message log. Go to your System > Administration > Log File Viewer and check the messages.

I found this message in my message log:

May  3 05:17:05 sleeper-laptop pulseaudio[1763]: alsa-util.c: snd_pcm_delay() returned a value that is exceptionally large: -12123948 bytes (-68729 ms).
May  3 05:17:05 sleeper-laptop pulseaudio[1763]: alsa-util.c: Most likely this is a bug in the ALSA driver 'snd_hda_intel'. Please report this issue to the ALSA developers.

I have been tracking down this problem on the net and it seems that the problem is affecting people who are using snd_hda_intel driver. This problem usually happen after we play an audio for 20 to 30 minutes. This problem has been logged in Launchpad and ALSA’s bug tracking system.

Jared Wiltshire from launchpad suggested that we can build the latest ALSA driver from ALSA Project with:

./configure --with-cards=hda-intel
sudo make install-modules

I’ll keep everyone posted on the result once tried it on my Lucid Box.

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Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx – Thunderbird 3 the Ultimate Email Client

Thunderbird 3 comes with new functions that enhance user experience. Some of the new functions that I really like is the new Tabbed Search, Archiving function, and Virtual Folders. We can also install Thunderbird 3 on other operating system, just visit their website for the latest release.

Searching Emails

Thunderbird 3 comes with a new tabbed search function. The tabbed search give laser precision searching ability that I have never seen in other mail clients before. The search functionality allow you to filter the search result based on the timeline, from, to and attachment. The tabbed search allow user to open multiple search keyword and jump from one search tab to another.

Virtual Folders

Thunderbird 3 allows us to create a folder from our search conditions. Click on the magnifying glass and Thunderbird will let you save your search as a ‘Virtual Folder’.

Choosing the ‘Virtual Folder’ option will open a pop up window allowing user to edit the Virtual Folder’s name and conditions.

Configure the folder name and the condition to suit your need and then click the ‘Ok’ button to create the Virtual Folder.

Archiving Messages

I have been keeping all my emails since 2007 in my Ubuntu Box. It is time to archive these emails. This is what I do to archive my emails:

1. First I search for all email messages that I received in 2007. I right click my inbox icon and select ‘Search’.

2. I create a search condition to find every emails that I received in 2007.

3. I saved the Search Result as a virtual folder by clicking the ‘Save as Search Folder’.

4. We need to select all the emails under the virtual folder. We can archive these messages by selecting ‘Message’ > ‘Archive’. Alternatively you can also click on the ‘Archive’ button on the bottom frame message window.

5. Thunderbird will automatically create a 2007 Archive Folder to store our 2007 email messages.

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Upgraded to Lucid Lynx

I just upgraded my Jaunty Jackalope to Lucid Lynx last night.  The Ubuntu team has definitely done an amazing job delivering Lucid. The upgrade process is very easy,smooth and flawless. Ubuntu Lucid also comes with a lot of interesting feature that need serious exploration.

Picture taken from Ubuntu Homepage

Thunderbird 3

Lucid Lynx comes with Thunderbird 3. Thunderbird 3 has a lot of neat features such tab search and message archiving. A smart folder that gives a unified view of multiple email accounts. We can also save our queries as a ‘virtual’ folder so that we can reuse these queries as often as possible.

Thunderbird will definitely help me archive my old emails. The next thing that I want to figure out is whether I can connect Thunderbird 3 to Ubuntu to synch my contacts.

Ubuntu One Music Store

Lucid Lynx comes with Ubuntu One Music Store. We can access the music store from our Applications > Sound & Video > Rhythmbox Music Player. The music store will send the music files into our Ubuntu One account. The music files will be downloaded to our Linux box when it synchronizes with Ubuntu One.


Lucid has gone ‘social’ by having its own Social Media client Gwibber. Gwibber organizes our twitter and facebook status updates into a single client. Gwibber is able to show multiple message column just like tweet deck.At the moment I am connected Twitter and Facebook to Gwibber. I’ll connect my identi.ca to Gwibber soon.

There is definitely a lot features that I want to explore. In the meanwhile if you happen to have Twitter, please join us in #Ubuntu to spread the word.

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How I Save Bandwidth In Ubuntu

My current broadband provider set a limit of 25 GB of data per month. Luckily they provide a free download period from 2AM – 8 AM.  The trick is how to schedule my heavy download between the free download period.

Downloader for X

Downloader for X is a great download manager for Linux. Downloader for X is inspired by other download manager like get right. Downloader for X comes under a nick name, ‘d4x‘. Install this application by typing the following command in your console:

<strong>sudo apt-get install d4x</strong>

You may schedule the download process by clicking on the ‘Schedule’ icon.  

Specify the download URL in the ‘Main Tab’.

Choose the date and time when the download should start from the ‘Time’ tab.

Shutting Down My PC at 8 AM

I use Gnome-Scheduler to shutdown my system at 8 AM. I use my crontab to create a system wide task to shutdown my PC at 8 AM. Open your console and type the following command to edit your system wide crontab entry.

sudo gedit /etc/crontab

Add the following cron job to shut down your PC:

00 8    * * *   root   /sbin/shutdown -h now

Refer to the Unix Cron tab guideline for a detail overview on how a crontab command is structured.

Scheduling my Torrent

I use deluge bittorrent to schedule my torrent downloads. Deluge is a full-featured BitTorrent client for Linux, OS X, Unix and Windows. The easiest way to install deluge torrent is to use your Ubuntu Software Center. Alternatively uou can find download the appropriate version of Deluge bittorrent from this the download page.

Deluge torrent relies on some command line instruction to start and stop the download. I use Gnome Scheduler to schedule task to stop and start the download.

Install Gnome-Scheduler by typing the following command in your console:

sudo apt-get install gnome-schedule

You can access Gnome Scheduler from ‘Application’ > ‘System Tools’ > ‘Scheduled Task’.

Click on the ‘New’ button and create a ‘Task that launches recurrently’.

Use the following command to start a torrent download:

deluge -u console -a "config --set max_active_limit 10"

Click on the ‘Advanced’ radio button to specify the download hour. I specify ‘2-8’ for my download time.

Create another recurring task to stop the download. Use the following command to stop a torrent download:

deluge -u console -a "config --set max_active_limit 0"

Click on the ‘Advanced’ radio button to specify the hours where you want to stop the torrent download.

Capturing YouTube Clips

I often goes to YouTube to watch video clips. I like to archive those clips that I watch frequently into my laptop. This saves frequent streaming to YouTube that eats my bandwidth.

I use firefox Download Helper 4.7.3 to download YouTube Video Clips. Once you installed this add on you will see an icon beside the firefox address bar. Clicking this icon allows you to select which clip you wish to download.

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Bringing Back “Information” in Information Technology

LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 08: 3M Touch Systems comm...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Many CIOs said IT’s greatest value is in managing the information their organizations depend on to do business, regardless of the technology they use (Ragowsky, Licker, Gefen, 2008).

Another important aspect in it implementation is how to apply technology within the social context of the people or organisation who use the technology (Appelbaum,1997). Technology implementers need to find a minimum set of functionality that is required to support the social context of the organisation.

The Great Wall of IT

We cannot deny that IT is an important driver for organization to succeed in the 21st knowledge economy. The technical and logical mindset of IT people tends to isolate the IT division from the rest of the organization. There is an invisible great wall surrounding the IT division. There is a need for organisation leaders to understand what IT is all about. Leaders need to immerse themselves with IT. Some even say that a manager in an organisation need to have some stint managing in IT division to be able to lead in an organisation.

The challenge lies in front of IT is how we can bring back “information” to IT. IT need to be able to deliver the right kind of information according to social context of the business. Let’s take a look at a common IT use transferring knowledge and information. IT provides various ways to transfer information between people and organisations. Emails, chatrooms, web pages, electronic documents, are only a small subset of available technology to transfer information. Implementing these technologies without careful consideration of the social context of the organisation will be meaningless. These technologies will only be beneficial if it supports the knowledge need of the people who use them.

Effective Knowledge Creation with Technology

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Image via Wikipedia

IT implementers need to be able to identify the type of knowledge or information that the user wants to have. People need requires knowledge for different level of need (Probst,1998).

Some group people require knowledge to sustain their organization strategic goal in the market place. A good example of such knowledge is understanding user behaviour to create personalized recommendation. Lunch.com mine Facebook user social behavioural pattern to provide product recommendation for their users. IT plays a big role for this type of knowledge demand by providing real time data retrieval on the web using scalable second-generation distributed database.

Other people require knowledge so that they can do the job that their organisation assign to them. Cutting edge companies that make advance innovative products often require their worker to employ new techniques to produce new technology. IT enables their workers to find data by providing an environment where technical like minded people can gather and exchange ideas. Online forums, mailing list, wikis, blog are some platforms that workers can use to collaborate with like minded people to get superior knowledge to deliver better solution in their workplace.

This example illustrates the need of carefully analyzing the need of the information or knowledge goal of an organisation. Different types of goals require different set of enabling technology. An important challenge is to identify the right set of technology to support the different knowledge goal of the organisation.

Breaking the Great Wall of IT

A section of the Great Wall of China between S...
Image via Wikipedia

We need to tear down the wall that surrounds IT. Organisations need to make real effort to facilitate effective communication inside their workplace to promote awareness and understanding on what the vision and mission of their IT division.

Organisations also need to re align their IT implementation to fit into their organisations social context. The challenge is how to formulate an IT strategy that supports the business objective. It is time that IT bring back the actual information that organisations need.

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