Archive for the ‘General’ Category

New Blog


I have moved this blog over to here :

All the old posts and soon the comments have been transfered there.

Please note this will be the last post on this blog, please check my my blog.


Atheros Wireless Setup – Ubuntu

As I stated earlier, I just bought a new laptop and installed Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) on it. All was working apart from the wireless connection. The Laptop comes with a Atheros wireless card. Ubuntu also comes installed with madwifi drivers for the card. So in theory things should just work, right ? Well no. The version of the wireless card I have (I do not have the version to hand) does not work with the current ubuntu package of madWiFi drivers.

So this is a quick step by step tutorial on how I got things to work nicely :

  • Get the g++ compiler : sudo apt-get install build-essential
  • Download subversion : sudo apt-get install subversion
  • Create directory to store the drivers and navigate to it.
  • Download latest madwifi drivers using subversion : subversion svn checkout madwifi
  • Get the current Kernel you are running : uname -r
  • Navigate to the correct lib directory : cd /lib/modules/$(uname -r) (use the output from the previous step to get the directory)
  • Delete the net lib files : sudo rm -rf net
  • Delete the madwifi files : sudo rm -rf madwifi
  • Delete this folder if it exists : sudo rm -rf madwifi-ng
  • Find the modules currently installed that you need to unload : lsmod | grep ath
  • From this output above issue a rmmod command for all the modules : sudo rmmod modulename
  • Go back to where you downloaded the new subversion drivers and run : sudo make and then sudo make install answer yes to remove the old module.
  • Load all of the modules you have just unloaded using modprobe. These should be:
    sudo modprobe ath_pci
    sudo modprobe ath_rate_sample
    sudo modprobe wlan
    sudo modprobe ath_hal
  • Check to see if modules have been loaded by typing dmesg and looking at the system log.
  • Open up network gui in Ubuntu and enable the wifi card and set the sessid

The card should now be configured. However if you want a dock applet that informs you how much strength your wireless card has, I would suggest netapplet.

I hope this has helped someone. This took me about 2-3 hours to get working!


PC Nextday Zoostorm 4-5701 17″ Laptop – Wireless problem

So I bought a 17″ Zoostorm laptop from PCNextday . It got 5 stars out of 5 from Computer Shopper and it worked out about £200 cheaper the a 17″ Dell laptop.

All was well, I was aware that they did have a bad reputation for customer service, but I thought I would risk it as the saving was too much.

The laptop came within 3 days of me ordering it. This was a surprise as they said that it can take up to take 3 weeks.

The laptop was working well, I was impressed with the screen (even though computer shopper said it was dull). However I was having a problem with the built in wireless card (Atheros). It was getting a very low signal even though I was sitting next to the wireless router. I first thought this was my router, so I asked someone else to test it and they reported the same problems. I then went and upgraded the software to the latest driver. The windows drivers are difficult to find so here is a good resource. But this had no effect. So after tearing my hair out I could not figure it out I emailed the technical support at pcnextday. They took a long time to respond, but their response was worth the wait. They basically said to check weather the wireless card was installed correctly and gave me these pictures :

laptop screws


So I unscrewed the laptop and checked it. I found out that the card was in the correct place, however the antenna was connected to the wrong point in the card. So I changed that and tested it. Unfortunately this did not work. As there were two wires that were black, I thought maybe the person who installed it made a mistake and attached the wrong wire. So I added the other wire and it worked. Now I have an excellent signal 🙂

I hope this experience helps someone. I think pcnextday need to work on their quality control 🙂

I have installed Ubuntu 6.10 on the laptop. All of the things seem to work. I had to do some configuration to get the wireless card to work though, but that is another blog post.


Dual Monitor Setup – Ubuntu ATI

I wanted to get my dual monitor setup working at work. I have the latest veresion of Ubuntu (6.06 LTS – the Dapper Drake).

This is a really easy way to get it working. I have a Dell Optiplex GX620 with a ATI graphics card. The card can support a dual monitor setup.

It turns out that ati have supplied a program (aticonfig) that inspects your current xorg.conf file and then changes it to allow for dual monitor setup.

Here is what you do in a terminal window :

sudo aticonfig –initial=dual-head –screen-layout=left

You may want to change the left to be right, dependendant on where your main monitor is (monitor 0).

As I have two monitors that support diffrent resolutions, the setup was using 1024×768 on both screens and I could not drag windows accross screens (I could drag the mouse 🙂

To address the dragging window issue, I did this after I executed the first command :

sudo aticonfig –dtop=horizontal, reverse –overlay-on=1

If you look at the help page for aticonfig, you will see that dtop can take different parameters. Because my second screen was to the left of monitor 0, I had horizontal, reverse But if it was to the right I would have used horizontal only.

To address the screen resolution do this (please see note)

sudo aticonfig –resolution=0,1600×1200,1280×1024,1024×768

This now sets my monitor 0 to be able to support 1600×1200 resolution. My smaller monitor (monitor 1) will use 1024×768, which is what I want. You can simply change where it says 0 to be 1 This will now change monitor 1.

Now simply restart gdm to see the effects. Or if you can’t do that, just restart the machine.

Before you start changing the resolution, you need to know which is defined as monitor 0. As in my case monitor 0 supports a higher resolution then monitor 1. The easy way to find this out is to do the first two steps, start up and then the monitor with the menubar on top of it is monitor 0. If it is not the monitor you wanted, you can simply swap around the vga cables that go into the back of the video card
There is a way to do it by editing the xorg.conf, but this is supposed to be a simple way of doing it 🙂

I hope this helps someone!