Showing posts from November, 2011

A Checklist: Reviving an Old Laptop (Fujitsu Lifebook FMV-830NU/L) Using Linux Part 1

Even with mainstream laptops hitting a new low in prices and netbooks remaining dirt-cheap, it's difficult to understand why some users throw away old portables when they can be reused.  Having stumbled on an old Fujitsu FMV-830NU/L recently, I set about reviving the laptop for use for a few high school kids.

The Revival Checklist
Examine the physical chassis and the portsDownload the manual online if needed*Remove the battery and check for leaks.  Check the hard drive and RAM for damage if needed.Boot into the BIOS, check the specifications, and disable unnecessary componentsAttempt to boot into the current operating systemAttempt to recover files using Linux LiveCD or LiveUSBAttempt to recover usable files using Linux LiveUSB or LiveCDSelect and test a Linux distribution for installationInstall Linux, applications and run updatesExamine the physical chassis and the ports 

The Japanese import (which had Japanese Kana on the keyboard) was extremely heavy compared to today's stre…

openSUSE 12.1: Installing Printers (Canon Pixma iP2770 and Brother HL-2140)

Installing printer drivers from Canon and Brother are easier than ever in openSUSE 12.1.  The steps for the Canon Pixma iP2770 and Brother HL2140 on openSUSE 11.x are mostly still applicable (though there's a slight difference with the Pixma printer process).

To install the Brother HL-2140 in openSUSE 12.1:
1. Download the two driver files from the Brother web site.  Download brhl2140lpr-2.0.2-1.i386.rpm  and cupswrapperHL2140-2.0.2-1.i386.rpm. 2. In Dolphin file manager, double-click lpr driver file.  Yast Software Management will launch and install the lpr and cupswrapper file.  After the process has finished, do the same for the cupswrapper file. For those who prefer to still use Konsole or the Terminal enter the following commands:

rpm -ihv --nodeps brhl2140lpr-2.0.2-1.i386.rpm rpm -ihv --nodeps cupswrapperHL2140-2.0.2-1.i386.rpm 3.  Connect the printer and switch the printer on.  Ensure that paper is already loaded for test printing. 4.  Run Yast and under Hardware click Print…

openSUSE 12.1 Modify or Remove Boot Menu (Grub)

Like most Linux distributions, openSUSE 12.1 will display a boot menu on start up.  openSUSE 12.1 provides an option to use Grub2 but still ships with the original Grub.
The boot menu by default will display for a certain time before loading openSUSE.  Non-dual boot systems may prefer not to have Grub displayed or to shorten the length of time the boot menu is displayed.  The Boot Loader settings under System in Yast allows users to modify this and more.

To prevent the boot menu from displaying, follow the steps below:
1. Launch Yast. 2. Under the Systems section, click Boot Loader.
3. Click the Boot Loader Installation tab.  Ensure that GRUB is displaying on the Boot Loader field and click Boot Loader Options. 4. In the Boot Loader Options, check Hide Menu on Boot.  This does not remove Grub but rather hides it during boot up and loads openSUSE's default kernel.  5. Some users would still prefer the Grub boot menu to display for a shorter period of time.  To shorten the display …

Dreamweaver CS4 and Microsoft Word 2010 : Use Paste Special to import Web Pages

When given the task of importing a whole web page or parts of a web page, Dreamweaver has a Paste Special command to copy and paste images, text, formatting, and structure directly from a browser.  This is especially advantageous if the user has no inclination to work with Source Code or has no access to the Web Server, CSS, and HTML pages. 

Sites such as or export whole blogs as XML, a format not everyone is comfortable with.  However, Dreamweaver can "import" a page, a blog section, using the Paste Special feature.

To paste web pages with structure and formatting retained:
1. Select the text and images on the browser.  2. Click CTRL+C 3. Create a blank HTML page in Dreamweaver.  Ensure that the page is displayed in Design view.
4. Click Edit then Paste Special 5. In the Paste Special settings select Text with structure plus basic formatting or Textwith structure plus Full formatting.  Click Ok. 6. Dreamweaver pastes it on to the empty HTML page re…

openSUSE 12.1 Hardware Compatibility (Acer, EEEPC, Inspiron, Ideapad), Installing VirtualBox, KeepNote, and Adobe Flash

Laptop/portable compatibility with openSUSE 12.1 is not an issue (and it really hasn't been since 11.2). Recent releases from Fedora, openSUSE, Ubuntu, and Mandriva have maintained excellent hardware compatibility for portables. I tested openSUSE 12.1 via LiveCD and full installation on four laptops and reported the results via Smolt (desktop profile utility). Click on the model name to access uploaded Smolt hardware compatibility profile.





FN keys



SD card

Lenovo Ideapad Z460


YYAsus EEEPC 1000H

YYYYYYYAcer Aspire 5500Z

YYYYYYYDell Inspiron 1470


The Lenovo Ideapad notched a P for partial due to the nVidia Optimus card it comes with but the Nouveau Linux Video driver works fine with the integrated Intel Graphics card.  The Dell's FN keys and wireless card has long been a thorn with many users mostly because of how Dell set the FN key in the BIOS. 

Installing VirtualBox is much easier with openSUSE 12.1. With openSUSE 11.2-11.3, users had to t…

Battle of the Lightweights: Lubuntu 11 vs. Mint LXDE 11

In the huge world of Linux, Lubuntu and Mint LXDE are two of the most popular lightweight distributions based off of extremely popular Linux distributions.  Puppy Linux and Knoppix still win out for a majority of veteran Linux users, but for the rest, Lubuntu and Mint LXDE are excellent choices for a beautiful, usable and fast Linux system.

Tale of the Tape

One of the crucial factors that make a lightweight distribution "lightweight" is the application selections.  In most cases, this is a non-issue - users can easily uninstall or install application with a quick visit to the Terminal or Package Manager.  However, the correct mix of utilities and features determine the overall experience of an LXDE-based release.

Application Type





Mozilla Firefox
File Manager






Music Player



Multimedia Player

Gnome MPlayer

VLC Player, Gnome MPlayer
Image Editor


E-mail Client