SmoothWheel – Firefox Extension

Well, I don’t usually jump for joy about Firefox extensions; however, in this case…

For quite some time now, I’ve experienced herky-jerky scrolling and excessive CPU hogging in Firefox. It’s been very annoying. Some versions seem to fix it, then in a few weeks, when there’s another update, the jerkiness comes back. This happens to my Firefox in Slackware Linux, but I’ve experienced it in other distributions and in MS Windows, also. I’ve tweaked till I was nearly blind. I’ve searched for remedies all over the Internet. I’ve done the usual suggested “Safe Mode” operations and disabling selected extensions here and there to try to get FF to behave. Nothing has worked, until tonight…

I decided to install an extension that was recommended to me by someone quite some time ago. I apologize to that person here and now for not believing that this extension would resolve the issue. I had enough extensions. I didn’t really want another one. Well, a couple weeks ago I lightened the extension/addon load on my FF down to about 1/3 of what it was; just some Profile house-cleaning. It needed to be done. So now I have my leaner meaner FF to work with here. I decided to install this smooth scrolling extension and see if it would actually work as advertised.

The extension is called SmoothWheel by Avi Halachmi. Right out of the box, it performed miracles on my FF.  I didn’t even have to adjust the pre-set preferences. I mean this thing works! I can pull up a Bing Image search page for “cleavage” now and FF will scroll just as smoothly as all the curves on that search result page. It’s wonderful! I love my FF again. Thank you Avi! By the way, the $5 donation he asks for is well-worth it.

So there, you have it…

~Eric

Image credits: “Squee” jumping emoticon by CookiemagiK (Joel) on devianART


CentOS Joining Red Hat Family

CentOS Project Leader Karanbir Singh writes:

With great excitement I'd like to announce that we are joining the Red
Hat family. The CentOS Project ( http://www.centos.org ) is joining
forces with Red Hat. Working as part of the Open Source and Standards
team ( http://community.redhat.com/ ) to foster rapid innovation
beyond the platform into the next generation of emerging technologies.
Working alongside the Fedora and RHEL ecosystems, we hope to further
expand on the community offerings by providing a platform that is
easily consumed, by other projects to promote their code while we
maintain the established base.

Read more about this fabulous development in this ars technica article and in Karanbir Singh’s CentOS Announce list posting.

I’m very excited about this. CentOS has been a favorite of mine for many years. I used to tell folks it’s the closest thing you can get to Red Hat without spending money. Now it’ll be closer than ever before.

Best of luck with this endeavour CentOS and Red Hat!

Later…

~Eric


2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


It’s That Special Time of Year…


My CPU Diary

Here’s a diary of my personal CPU history going back to my college years in the late 70s/early 80s.

Prehistoric systems

8080A – This was the processor used in the lab systems that we worked with when I was in tech college in 1979. It was programmed in octal machine code.

Z80 – Later we also had systems with this processor, the Timex Sinclair.

MOS 6502 – This processor was used in the Commodore VIC-20 machines that were used in the labs in the tech school where I worked as an equipment technician/part time instructor from 1984-1987.

MOS 6510 – This is the processor that was used in my first home computer, a Commodore SX-64 briefcase system. I learned how to program in Forth on this machine… just for fun. I’ve completely forgotten it.

Intel 80486 – This processor was in a system that I used where I worked in 1993-1994. It ran MS Windows 3.1. It was the system where I first experience Microsoft Project. I HATED that program! I also got my first taste of AutoCad on this machine. Now that was a cool program!

More “modern” systems

Intel Pentium I – This is the processor that was in the little computer that my brother gave me in 2000 after purchasing his Gateway AMD Athlon K-7 Thunderbird monster. This is the machine on which I first experienced the World Wide Web portion of the Internet. I had previously experienced USENET and Gopher on some of the older machines above.

AMD Athlon K-7 Thunderbird – This is the processor I used in the very first modern machine (ericsbane01) that I built for myself (from a bare bones system purchased at a computer fair here in Tampa). This machine was souped up a bit with a larger hdd, more RAM, and a better vid card and given to a friend of mine quite a few years ago. He still uses it.

AMD Athlon XP  - This was the processor in my next home built machine (ericsbane02). This one was built from the case up, though, not a bare bones start. This was also the first machine on which I installed GNU/Linux – Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake in June of 2006. Slackware followed a few weeks later and became my primary OS almost immediately.

AMD Athlon 64  - This processor was the heart of my ericsbane03 home built system. It was my first 64 bit system.

AMD Turion 64 X2 – This is the hearty little workhorse processor in my ericslaptop01, a Dell Inspiron 1521 given to me by pal Josh (securitybreach from Scot’s Newsletter Forums). I’m actually typing this on it right now. :)

Intel Pentium M – This is the processor in the Sherman tank laptop, a Dell Latitude 610 (jenslaptop), given to me by my niece a while back. It sits on my office desk running Slackware 14/Xfce with no trouble at all.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 – This processor was the heart of my ericsbane04 (later to become ericsshop02, my current shop system). I actually bought the processor for this home build used from a fellow on eBay. The price was right!

AMD Phenom X4 – This processor was the brains of my ericsbane05, my most recent main system which crashed (bad mobo) on me just a few days ago. It was a great system… until it broke. :(

If you’ve read An Open Letter to Santa, you already know what I’m shooting for on my next system. ;)

And that’s how it was…

~Eric


An Open Letter to Santa

2 December 2013

Dear Santa,

My name is Eric. I’ve been a good boy all year long. I haven’t cussed, chased women, or drank to excess. With this in mind, I thought I’d send you my wish list for Christmas 2013. Here it is…

1) AMD FX-6200 3.80 GHz Six Core CPU & MSI 970A-G46 MB Bundle- $179.99

2) PATRIOT Signature Line 16GB Desktop Memory Module Kit – DDR3 With Heatshield – $124.99 (before $25 rebate)

3) Kingston V300 120GB Solid State Drive – 2.5″ Form Factor, SATA III – $89.99

4) WD Blue 250 GB Desktop Hard Drive – 3.5″ – Sata 6 Gb/s, 7200RPM, 16MB Cache – Qty: 2 – $51.99ea

5) Asus GeForce GTX 650 Ti Video Card – 1GB GDDR5 – $144.99

Total: $643.94 + TX, S/H*

*Prices as of 2 December 2013 @ tigerdirect.com

Oh, and…

6) PEACE on Earth.

–> Donations are currently being accepted to help Santa defray the cost of acquiring the items on my list without the aid of his magical elves.

Later…

~Eric


Disabling Your Touchpad In Slackware (KDE)

Every been typing along somewhere and have your cursor jump across the page because your thumb hit the touchpad on your laptop accidentally?

Well, on some of those high priced commercial operating systems like Windows or MacOS there might actually be a setting or a keyboard shortcut that disables your touchpad. Us Slackware users are made of stronger stuff than most. We don’t want no silly buttons and keyboard shortcuts. We want scripts and command line stuff, right? We like to do things down at the nitty-gritty level of computing.

So, with that in mind, if you’re running Slackware/KDE, you can make yourself a nice little script that will disable your laptop’s touchpad and you’ll never have to cuss again when that cursor goes zooming across the screen while you’re typing that flaming post on USENET to that know-it-all Ubuntu dev.

Here’s what you do…

First check to see if you have a /home/<username>/.kde/env directory. If you don’t, create it:

you@your_system ~:$ cd .kde

you@your_system ~:$ mkdir env

You can also do this graphically, if you prefer, but we know you hardcore Slackers don’t do things graphically now, do you? ;)

Anyway, once you’ve determined that you have the directory or have created one, you can now create the simple little script to place in there that will KILL that annoying touchpad.

Using vi, vim, or whatever editor you like, create this small file:

#!/bin/bash

synclient TouchpadOff=1

Save the file as “myenv.sh” in your /home/username/.kde/env directory. Make sure it is executable:

you@your_system ~:$ chmod 755 myenv.sh

Log out of your current KDE session and log back in. The touchpad from HELL is now as dead as weird uncle Bob’s hairpiece. WOO-HOO!

For those of you who occasionally use your laptop sans an external mouse, you can always revive the touchpad by changing the permissions on the myenv.sh file or just renaming it to myenv.inop. Since “inop” is an extension that the operating system does not recognize, it just ignores it. I’ve used “inop” to kill executables since way back in my Windoze daze. It works fine.

Anywho, I hope this little trick will make your Slackware/KDE computering that much more enjoyable. Oh, and I cannot take credit for this at all. A member of the kde.org forums called google01103 posted this tip in a thread over there about disabling that pesky touchpad. Credit where credit is due. That’s my motto.

Have fun…

~Eric

Image credits: toilet laptop user – source/ownership unknown = If you own this image, please contact me regarding permissions/copyrights. ~Eric


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