Making wineprefixes and using wineprefixes

It can be crucial to reliable performance while running Windows applications under Linux using Wine to use separate wineprefixes for potentially difficult programs you’re using–the more complex the software, the more you need to make a separate wineprefix for it.

The method for creating a new wineprefix has change with newer versions of Wine–here we describe the method for Wine 1.7. The example Windows software we’ll install to run under Linux is the popular free program Irfanview.

  1. Make the new wineprefix (this is equivalent to making a totally separate install of Windows, except that it’s really fast and takes about 355MB)
    Type in Terminal:
    env WINEPREFIX=~/.wine_irfanview winecfg
  2. Install your program (in this case, Irfanview) by typing in Terminal:
    env WINEPREFIX=~/.wine_irfanview wine iview_setup.exe

Ubuntu 12.04 idle screen dim timer

Note, the following procedure no longer works in Ubuntu 14.04 and newer.


The idle screen timer in Ubuntu comes set to dim the laptop screen automatically. You can check your current idle timer by typing in Terminal:

Ubuntu 12.04

gsettings get org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.power idle-dim-time

To SET the idle screen dim timer in Ubuntu 12.04 to a longer time (e.g. 90 seconds) type

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.power idle-dim-time 90

Setting up Thunderbird 14 for Google Apps accounts (business/university)

If you’re setting up Thunderbird for the first time, the “Mail Account Setup” wizard will start automatically. Otherwise, click Edit>Account Settings>Account Actions>Add Account to bring up the wizard.

In the first window, type your Name, Email address, and password (strongly recommend un-checking Remember password). Then click Continue, and click Manual Config.

Fill in the next screen using your user name (replacing John Doe).

Thunderbird 14 email setup parameters
Thunderbird 14 email setup parameters




Making hdparm setting permanent in Ubuntu 12.04

Ubuntu 12.04 and 11.10 (perhaps other distros as well) set the APM default very aggressively, leading your hard drive to hundreds and thousands of load/unload cycles in too short period of time. Typically HDD are only rated for 600,000 load/unload cycles, so it is beneficial to reduce this cycling.

You can slow down the cycling manually, but the system will FORGET this setting upon reboot. Here is one method to make this setting semi-permanent.

Open a Terminal, and do:
1) type sudo gedit /etc/pm/power.d/90_hdparm
2) in gedit, type only this line: hdparm -B 250 /dev/sda, where /dev/sda is the HDD you’re wanting to stop cycling.
3) save and exit gedit.
4) type sudo chmod +x /etc/pm/power.d/90_hdparm
5) type sudo cp /etc/pm/power.d/90_hdparm /etc/pm/sleep.d

Reboot, and check that your setting “stayed” by typing at Terminal:
sudo hdparm -B /dev/sda

This setting allows the drive to unload after an extended period without use, perhaps helping the HDD run a bit cooler without excessive wear. Instead of 250 you could use 254, which is thought to disallow unloading altogether–I used 254 for several months and noticed my HDD stayed at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

To check how many load/unload cycles you’re using, go into Disk Utility, SMART data, and scroll down to Load/Unload cycle count.

After figuring this out on my own, I found much the similar procedure at:

Installing GNU Radio in Ubuntu 12.04

This blog page is now obsolete, you should use the original reference:

This procedure shows how to install GNU Radio on Ubuntu 12.04. this process may take 1-2 hours if you have a slower system and/or internet connection. Part of this process will be downloading large packages that you may not already have installed.
1) mkdir ~/gnuradio
1.1) cd ~/gnuradio
2) wget && chmod a+x ./build-gnuradio && ./build-gnuradio –verbose
3) Proceed? Y
4) Sudo privilidges? Y
Now you will see a lot of text whizzing by as the build-gnuradio script checks for prerequisite packages and downloads missing packages. Since you used the –verbose option, you’ll see a percentage complete indicator as the script works to download packages.
Once installation is complete, type in Terminal:
to run the graphical programming interface of GNU Radio Companion. You can press F6 to run the code.

MATLAB 2011a & MATLAB 2012a Student Version install problems on 64-bit Ubuntu 12.04

Upon downloading the MATLAB Student Version install package from the Mathworks website, you start the installer by navigating to:
or wherever you downloaded it to.

Then type
sudo ./install -v

You will probably see a variety of errors, if you’re running Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit (x64). The first thing to try is installing ia32-libs by typing:
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

Note, MATLAB has its own JRE, so the version of Java or OpenJDK may not be as relevant.