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Ubuntu Accomplishments – Seesmic Desktop Install

The machine on which I do most of my work is not terribly robust. My work environment would make a good premise for a Disney know..old clunker equipment doesn’t look like it should be able to pull through manages to win the race. Anyway, Seesmic Desktop in all it’s glory was dragging this machine down. Everything would work fine but I needed one more reboot than normal throughout the day. On days like today, when the work was too intense, I just couldn’t run Seesmic Desktop (maybe not a bad thing). Now that I’ve successfully installed Seesmic Desktop on Ubuntu, it can run all the time and I can occasionally glance over at the streams to see what’s happening. Installing Seesmic Desktop on Ubuntu was incredibly easy. First install Adobe Air then install Seesmic Desktop:

  1. Open the Terminal
  2. Use wget to download
  3. Set the file to be executable: chmod +x AdobeAIRInstaller.bin
  4. Run it: sudo ./AdobeAIRInstaller.bin
  5. Accept any AIR updates
  6. Use wget to download Seesmic Desktop from
  7. On the Ubuntu desktop, not terminal, look under Applications->Accessories or Applications->Other for Adobe AIR Application Installer and run it
  8. Select SeesmicDesktop-0.2.1.air and the normal Seesmic Desktop installer will run

That’s it! Frankly, I think Seesmic Desktop is performing much better on Ubuntu than Windows. My only complaint would be that it failed to put a shortcut in the Applications menu.

Update: I lamented that Seesmic Desktop needed an import/export feature to get userlists and data from one computer to another and @askseesmic responded with a document explaining now to move the xml file with the necessary data. It worked great! The userlists I had organized on Windows now are on Linux. Move the xml file from one machine to the other after backing up the original:

  • Max OS X:
    /Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/com.seesmic.desktop.client.<RANDOM>/Local Store/config/xmlAdapter.xml
  • Windows XP:
    C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\com.seesmic.desktop.client.<RANDOM>\Local Store\config\xmlAdapter.xml
  • Windows Vista & Windows 7:
    C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\com.seesmic.desktop.client.<RANDOM>\Local Store\config\xmlAdapter.xml
  • Ubuntu & most Linux distros:
    /home/<user>/.appdata/com/seesmic.desktop.client.<RANDOM>/Local Store/config/xmlAdapter.xml

[Source, Seesmic Help Desk, Transferring Settings between Computers – workaround]

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Ubuntu Accomplishments – Wacom Tablet

I have two Wacom tablets that I use for my art. My first tablet ever was a Wacom UD-Digitizer II serial tablet. I’m not even sure USB was around back then. This tablet was unbelievable at the time! Felt like I was writing on paper with a real pen or brush. Being able to use an eraser on the computer was remarkable. However, there were certain problems with its size, roughly 5×7, so I bought a Wacom Intuos serial tablet that is more like 12×10 inches. Tablets make computer art fun!

When I set aside a new machine for a replacement Linux server for my in-house development, I decided to actually use Ubuntu Desktop 8.04 and install Apache-MySQL-PHP on it afterwards. I’ve found myself using the Linux Desktop more and I think I can eventually migrate completely from Windows. Unfortunately, the computer I chose to do this with uses a mechanical mouse instead of an optical mouse. You know, one with the mouse ball that constantly needs cleaning. The mechanical mouse holds me back more than anything else from making the switch. Ergo, I decided to pull the Wacom Digitizer II out of the boneyard and see if I could get it to work. It was surprisingly simple.

Two support documents helped make quick work of getting the tablet functioning. 1) The community documentation for Wacom and 2) The community documentation for Wacom troubleshooting. The first gave me this simple line:

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-input-wacom wacom-tools

The tablet failed to work. The second explained that I needed to update /usr/bin/dexconf which would then rebuild /etc/X11/xorg.conf with these lines:

Section "InputDevice"
      Driver "wacom"
      Identifier "stylus"
      Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom" # USB ONLY?
      # Option "Device" "/dev/ttyS0" # SERIAL ONLY
      Option "Type" "stylus"
      # Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Tablet PC ONLY
      Option "USB" "on" # USB ONLY

Section "InputDevice"
      Driver "wacom"
      Identifier "eraser"
      Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom" # USB ONLY?
      # Option "Device" "/dev/ttyS0" # SERIAL ONLY
      Option "Type" "eraser"
      # Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Tablet PC ONLY
      Option "USB" "on" # USB ONLY

Section "InputDevice"
      Driver "wacom"
      Identifier "cursor"
      Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom" # USB ONLY?
      # Option "Device" "/dev/ttyS0" # SERIAL ONLY
      Option "Type" "cursor"
      # Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Tablet PC ONLY
      Option "USB" "on" # USB ONLY

Section "InputDevice"
      Driver "wacom"
      Identifier "pad"
      Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom" # USB ONLY
      # Option "Device" "/dev/ttyS0" # SERIAL ONLY
      Option "Type" "pad"
      Option "USB" "on" # USB ONLY

# Uncomment the following section if you you have a TabletPC that supports touch
# Section "InputDevice"
# Driver "wacom"
# Identifier "touch"
# Option "Device" "/dev/ttyS0" # SERIAL ONLY
# Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom" # USB ONLY
# Option "Type" "touch"
# Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4" # Serial Tablet PC ONLY
# Option "USB" "on" # USB ONLY
# EndSection

Naturally I would have to comment out the USB references and uncomment the serial references. Then the serverlayout section had to look like:

Section "ServerLayout"
      Identifier "Default Layout"
      Screen "Default Screen"
      InputDevice "stylus" "SendCoreEvents"
      InputDevice "eraser" "SendCoreEvents"
      InputDevice "cursor" "SendCoreEvents" # For non-LCD tablets only
      InputDevice "pad" # For       Intuos3/CintiqV5/Graphire4/Bamboo tablets
      # InputDevice "touch" "SendCoreEvents" # Only a few TabletPCs support this type

I rebooted and nothing happened. I realized /usr/bin/dexconf was a script and ran it. Upon rebooting I was stuck in VGA mode. This was looking like a failed experiment. On a whim I decided to make the changes directly to /etc/X11/xorg.conf and surprisingly, the tablet came to life! GIMP is suddenly fun to use!

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A negative of installing a new motherboard

I am pleased to have my workstation working again. I miss the portability of working on Tommy’s laptop but nothing compares to having multiple monitors for productivity. When will they make a laptop with a screen that can fold out so that the laptop itself will have 2 or 3 screens? Imagine. Fold up to reveal the keyboard and one screen. Need more real estate? Fold the screen to the left and you now have 2 screens and a keyboard. Need more? A 3rd section folds out to the right and now you have a keyboard and 3 screens and portability! Oh how I dream.

Anyhow, seems my machine is still not up to par. Windows just informed me that I have to install service pack 3, again. (since installing the new motherboard required reinstalling Windows core files)

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Today’s Technical Challenge

About every 5th character I type, regardless of application (be it Twhirl, Firefox, MS Word, CFStudio..) the window I’m in loses focus. This means I have to click back into the window that I’m trying to type. Terribly annoying but I can deal with it because I have to be on my code today instead of on troubleshooting. I’ll run some antispyware checkers in the background while I work. This is terribly frustrating.

Update: This computer has an ethernet card and a wireless networking card. I’m using the ethernet so the wireless is unnecessary but the wireless connection manager kept polling for available networks and that was stealing the focus from the other applications. Disabling the wireless networking connection did the trick.

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I like my operating system slightly aged

I have a development server in the house that still runs Windows 2000 Server and has Internet Explorer 6.0.2800 on it. The machine is finally starting to show its age and could not hold up to testing my current project, a web application whose end users will primarily use Internet Explorer 6.0.2900. My server just wasn’t cutting it tonight so I bit the bullet and pulled a laptop which had Ubuntu installed. I pulled out my free copy of Windows XP I got from Microsoft for participating in the Windows XP beta program. After installing it, the network card wouldn’t work so updates were impossible. Fortunately, I used to be a Microsoft Partner and participated in the Microsoft Action Pack program so I had a disc that had XP Service Pack 2 on it. After installing that things were looking better but the NIC still wasn’t working. I dug out a USB drive and used another computer to get the network adapter driver from Dell’s website and suddenly the machine was working. After installing the updated video drivers the laptop with 256MB of ram is running almost better than my workstation I used for development! Best of all, it now has Internet Explorer 6.0.2900 and I can see the website exactly as my clients see it!