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August 2005 Archives

August 11, 2005

T43 under Fedora Core 4

I'm now running a Thinkpad T43 under Fedora Core 4.

The entire installation process was painless; the machine seems well-supported by FC4. Some non-obvious notes, though:

  • Bluetooth is recognized as a built-in USB device. To make this work after suspend/resume, remove the modules uhci_hcd, ehci_hcd, and hci_usb before putting the machine to sleep, and re-add them after wakeup.
  • The built-in Intel i915 graphics adapter is supported either by the Vesa driver, or by the i810 driver. The latter will only work if you install some recent DRI drivers.
  • To make Xorg work after suspend/resume, make sure you add acpi_sleep=s3_bios to your kernel command line.

I haven't tried the built-in modem

That said, the machine makes generally a very good impression. It's slimmer and lighter than my old Thinkpad R40, while at the same time making a much more robust impression.

The only negative observations so far: The T43 heats up much quicker than the R40, hence the fan ends up running most of the time; I wonder if this is related to the driver that I'm using for the graphics adapter. Also, probably due to the reduced height of the laptop, the keyboard has a different and, I think, more flimsy touch than the one on the R40 -- that machine has probably the best keyboards (laptop or desktop) I have ever used.

August 13, 2005

T 43 fan control daemon

As I mentioned earlier, one of the more annoying properties of the Thinkpad T43 is that its fan is running almost constantly, even whe the device is basically cold.

This daemon controls the fan: When a certain temperature is exceeded, the fan is turned on. When fan speed drops below a certain threshold, it's turned off. The daemon tries to be safe by turning on the fan when it is killed or otherwise encounters an error. If that doesn't happen, there's an emergency broadcast through syslog.

WARNING: Turning off the fan might lead to overheating of your machine. Use at your own risk. This daemon may have bugs that could lead to this situation.

August 17, 2005

How to restart a printer

Despite being an xterm addict for much of what I do, I occasionally try to use the graphical user interface on my machine -- I'm running GNOME for that purpose.

So, yesterday, my print server (as in, that Jetdirect box from ebay that sits next to the printer) had decided to shut down a connection, and the print server software on my computer (cups) had decided to consider the printer stopped, but hadn't bothered to alert me of that fact.

I wanted to print something this morning. Nothing happens, nothing at all. I get myself a command line, type "lpq". The printer is stopped. So, how do I restart it?

First thing (and not very obvious unless you know your system): Take a web browser, connect to the local print server's built-in web-based administration interface. "Not authorized." Umh. That must be new with Fedora Core 4.

Next thing, search for that cool GUI tool -- there ought to be one, after all, this is one of the supposedly non-scary Linux distributions. The system-level printer configuration tool, unfortunately, has no interface for starting or stopping printers. The user-level print job monitoring tool -- while running somewhere in the background -- doesn't bother with jobs on stopped printers.

Back to the command line, then. CUPS' version of lpc doesn't have the traditional restart command, but at least, there's that thing called "cupsenable." "cupsenable" asks for my password. And again. And again. Aha. Maybe that's this program's way to tell me that I'm not authorized. I get myself a root shell and call cupsenable. Finally, the printer starts spitting out paper.

Now, imagine I had given a Linux box to my mother, her printer had a temporary failure, and she was supposed to print something... Fortunately, my mother has a Mac.

August 30, 2005

ID puzzle

Coming from a country where it's mandatory for me to have an ID with myself (Germany), but where I'm pretty much never asked to show it (often, not even when crossing borders, and certainly not when just taking some long-distance train), it's a remarkable contrast to be in the US: Here, the national ID card seems to be a major political scarecrow -- yet, I've never seen as many demands for "showing ID" as in the past 10 days in New England. Want to buy alcohol or tobacco? "Take it as a compliment -- we ask for ID on every purchase of age controlled goods," says a sign in the shop. Want to pay a relatively minor purchase by credit card? "Could I see your ID?"

I find the discrepancy puzzling between, on the one hand, ubiquitous use of ID, and on the other hand, massive fears of the adverse effects that a national ID might have on privacy.

About August 2005

This page contains all entries posted to No Such Weblog in August 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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