Archive for the 'Howto' Category

Linux CPU Frequency Scaling

I finally got CPU frequency scaling working in Ubuntu on my laptop. I’d given it up for lost a while back, but this tutorial I happened to stumble onto worked. Huzzah.

…This is really something that could be set up by default.  A bit of Python to parse the output of cat /proc/cpuinfo and modprobe the appropriate modules seems like a fairly trivial task. If not at initial installation, then as a wizard in a control panel or something.

Wine-Doors

Wine is a great tool for Linux users who need to get their Windows software running outside the Microsoft OS, and it actually runs most things fairly well, but it can be a pain to configure. Actually, configuration is a huge reason it’s not more popular. So, what’s the logical thing to do? That’s right! Make an application that automates the configuration of popular Windows software. Someone has just started such an endeavor. It’s called Wine-Doors.

Actually, I can’t believe that no one else has tried this yet. It seems so obvious now.

XFCE Usability

Just a quick shoutout for people using Xubuntu and having trouble consolidating everything onto one taskbar/panel…

Xubuntu has an invisible spacer on the top panel to keep the system tray and clock plugins all the way on the right. If you want to have the tasklist take up all avalible space on the panel, you will need to locate and kill this spacer, otherwise it pushes everything on the right side of the panel off-screen.

The great thing about this spacer is that you have no idea that it’s there, you only find it by observing the wacky behavior of the panel when you re-arrange plugins. I would suggest that the XFCE developers mimic Firefox, and show a white box or the text “spacer” or something in edit mode to let the user know that there is, in fact, something on the taskbar that they can’t see. I only found the spacer by moving everything on the panel to the extreme left and right clicking on a whim.

Huzzah for usability! Tune in next week, when uncle Frem shows you how to make a complete desktop environment using only forty-eight thousand dollars and your teeth.

Read Your Exchange Emails With Gmail

My school, as well as many others, uses Microsoft Exchange server for email. It provides a nifty little web interface that resembles Outlook. Sadly, it does not feature a search function. This means that it is a severe pain finding old emails. Other drawbacks to using the school’s email system include loss of account after you graduate, as well as a 100mb storage limit. This may seem reasonable, but consider that you’ll be using it for the next four years. Possibly more, for some of us. After a semester and a half, mine is already a quarter full; I’m not even a heavy email user.

So, what is one to do? You could live with it, but I dislike living with annoyances. I believe I have found a better solution: forward all your mail to Gmail.

Unfortunately, Exchange provides no way to forward email. That’s ok. Gmail has a feature to automatically grab email from any pop-enabled inbox. Here’s how to do it.

  • Get a Gmail account. You can use your existing one, or set up a new one for this specific purpose. I opted for the latter.
  • Click on the “Settings” link in the upper right-hand corner of the Gmail interface.
  • Click on “Accounts”
  • See the “Get mail from other accounts” field? Go for it.
  • The address you enter for POP should be the address you go to for webmail, with the “exchange/” post-fix removed. The default port should be fine.
  • Note that you can opt to reply to email using the the university address. I’ve got Gmail set to do this for mail grabbed from the university account.
  • Also note that you can set imported email to be automatically tagged. Very, very nice.
  • Sit back and wait. Gmail will periodically grab email (starting with newest) from the account in 200mb chunks. It might take a while.

So, yeah. Gmail is searchable, Gmail dosen’t randomly mark emails from my parents as spam, and Gmail has about twenty-eight times more storage space then the school gives me. I really don’t have much reason to open up university webmail anymore.


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