Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sine nomine posmeridiano tempo Dominici

(Without title for a Sunday afternoon:)

Those without faith live in a world of their own which to them seems logical and final; they take the very unscientific stand that beyond the realm of their own very limited experience, nothing whatever exists.

Hugh Winder Nibley (1910-2004)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jimmy Page visits Cuba

Jimmy Page visited Cuba? Popular celebrities are nothing if not inexplicably stupid. That this surprises us is, I think, proof that subconsciously we tend to equate fame, fortune and power with other virtues like education and wisdom when no such correlation is indicated let alone justified.

Singularibus e lemminibus mundum ædificauerunt.

(Of mere lemmings they built a world.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Xinerama and RANDR incompatibilities

There's a serious problem in the contention between Xinerama and RANDR in the realm of Linux monitor support since at least the last 5 years. I'm reading about it on the web without reaching any conclusions.

While I've been vaguely aware of this myself for a few years, what motivates my present interest are the two, following unsettling situations.

First, when I go to tailor monitor settings on Maverick Meerkat (System -> Preferences -> Monitors), I cannot. I get an alert to the effect that Linux...
Could not get screen information
RANDR extension is not present

And every time I launch gvim (and also gedit) from the command line, I get (the warning):
Xlib: extension "RANDR" missing on display ":0.0".

Fortunately, my favorite program editor and text processor still works, but I have to admit that the warning has grown old and very annoying.

I've seen these (well, the second example, anyway) before on other systems, perhaps on openSuSE back in the day and I had to ignore them without ever figuring out what to do.

Xinerama and RANDR
What I gather from reading the mostly speculative discussions is that these two are incompatible. Some say to disable Xinerama, but if you're using NVIDIA drivers, you're stuck because without it, it would appear, you cannot configure multiple monitor support in the way I like it: mapping two edge-to-edge for maximum real estate.
russ@russ-elite-book:/etc/X11> fgrep inerama xorg.conf
# Removed Option "Xinerama" "0"
Option "Xinerama" "1"
Option "TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder" "CRT-0"

What I think is happening in the second example is that an application that opens a GUI appeals to X11 for something that it cannot provide because to have Xinerama enabled is to have RANDR blocked. I've checked with the Synaptic Package Manager to see that both are present on my host. Indeed, both appear to be there:
russ@russ-elite-book:~> ll /usr/lib/libXrandr*
lrwxrwxrwx [...] /usr/lib/ ->
-rw-r--r-- [...] /usr/lib/

After so many years, you'd think those who actually know what's going on would, if not in a position in the Linux development ranks or the driver suppliers, simply issue a wiki or other form of explanation as to what's going on and clearly state the choices of action and consequences of adopting each choice.

Well, it's what I'd do. But then, my goal is always to fan away the smoke that encircles those people and technologies waving magic wands and crowned with pointy, black hats emblazoned with moons and stars.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The new wireless printers...

Even HP's cheapest printers are now wireless and best used that way in my humble opinion 'cause who wants a printer wired to his physical host any more? And who wants his whiney daughter moaning, "Daddy, I can't print out the Internet because your computer's turned off."

Well, sadly, the Windows installation doesn't seem to work: it can never find the thing at the end after installing the drivers. So, just skip trying to make the software work—it won't and I spent a couple of hours with the HP support weenies this afternoon just to prove it. It bugs me that I can't figure out why it fails.

However, the installation does indeed install the drivers on both Windows 7 and XP. So, even though you have to abort the installation seemingly without setting up an actual printer, you can do that afterward. Once that's done, you just print to it as if a "local" IP printer. Check out my note here on how to do that on XP, the harder (interface-wise) of the two platforms to do it on.

Actually, this is an activity that takes some of us way back, but it's a nice refresher for those still basking in the sunlight of Windows XP, the last trustworthy operating system Microsoft ever sold.

It all works perfectly as long as your printer lives on your LAN. I even tried hooking up to it via my Linux host which was, as usual, easier by far than using Windows 7 or XP.

I did not try the old-fashioned USB cable route. I don't ever want to do that again.

Scanner and other stuff
And, if it's not recognized by my computer host, how ever to use the scanner?

Ah, well that seems like an obstacle, but there's a solution.

First, I've not used the client software to scan with anyway, so I can't compare.

But, knowing that all sorts of things regarding this device are accessible in my browser via (where I pegged it with a static IP address), I just went there to do some scanning. It worked nicely and I'm not real sure that I'd miss the proper, client interface even if it existed.