Category Archives: Hardware

Ubuntu Jaunty & ATI

This is quick’n’dirty writeup to help others who might have the same problem. I’ll clean this up later in the week …

Ubuntu Jaunty is the new beta version of Ubuntu. It comes with a new version of X.Org and the ATI drivers have been incompatible with this version of X.Org. ATI recently released drivers that support X.Org 1.6. If you have problems with X not starting follow the instructions here:

For me what happened is that X wouldn’t start properly and cause my Lenovo T400 to freeze and lock up. The laptop would boot but when X would start (when the login screen appears) I’d get a black screen with red lines at the top. To solve this I booted to runlevel 1, also known as failsafe mode. If your using a laptop with wireless, I suggest you connect directly to your router using a network cable, otherwise you may have to configure wireless manually (it’s not that hard).

When your system starts, select failsafe mode, on the next screen to appear choose the option to go to a “root shell with networking”.

Next remove the install ATI drivers and install from scratch the ones you need:

sudo apt-get remove –purge xorg-driver-fglrx xserver-xorg-video-ati xserver-xorg-video-radeon
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-ati
sudo apt-get install –reinstall libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri
dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

If this doens’t work for you see the Ubuntu page mentioned above.

Lenovo Laptop?

I’m thinking of getting a new laptop either the Lenova ThinkPad T400 (which is a replacement for the T61), or the IdeaPad U330 to replace my aging Dell 700m

The big thing for me is do they work with Linux (for me specifically Debian or Ubuntu).

For anyone interested in either laptop, looks like the the U330 works (near) flawlessly with Ubuntu. See this posting on this thread for an enthusiastic comment:

And with the T400 you’ll have some work to get everything working smoothy. Such as the dual-graphics cards which is how Lenovo get’s up to 10 hours of battery life from the T400.

However, if you don’t mind using breaking stuff, the new Beta version of Ubuntu appears to work reasonably well on the T400. See this blog posting and this thead on Lenova’s forums for more details.

I’m torn between either, the small size of the U330, versus the better battery life of the T400 (and the fact that both are a weeeeee bit dear).

OK, I’m tired as I write this, and I find sometimes when I “blog while tired” that my grammar/spelling/ability to make sense suffers, so maybe I’ll rewrite this in the morning. 🙂

Ubuntu Linux, T-Mobile, & Nokia N73 as a Bluetooth Modem.

If bluetooth works on your computer, then getting your system to talk to your N73 isn’t hard and I’m not going to cover it here. See this posting for what packages I needed to install to get bluetooth working in my Dell 700M laptop running Ubuntu Linux:

If you have T-Mobile T-Zones Internet service for your phone in the US you should be able to use the following procedure to surf the web on your computer using your N73.

First find your Phone’s bluetooth device address (or ID), by typing


into your phone.

You should see a sequence of numbers and letters that look something like this on the screen:


Write it down in this format, (with a colon after every 2nd character):


Next make a backup copy of this file


For example:

sudo cp  /etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf /etc/bluetooth/

I’m going to presume you’ve never edited this file before, and you can change it to look like this (using the bluetooth device number you discovered):

# RFCOMM configuration file.
rfcomm0 {
 #      # Automatically bind the device at startup
 	bind yes;
 #      # Bluetooth address of the device
 	device 00:0A:BC:22:BC:33;
 #      # RFCOMM channel for the connection
	channel 2;
 #      # Description of the connection
	comment "Nokia N73";

If you have edited this file before and are already using rfcomm0, then create a new entry named rcomm1 and replace rcomm1 with any other references I make to rcomm0. Also, make sure you get all the semi-colons after each entry in the file.

Next copy the gprs-connect-chat and the gprs-disconnect-chat files from:

In the gprs-connect-chat replace line 47:

OK              'AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","","",0,0'

With this:

OK              'AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","","",0,0'

Move the 2 files to /etc/ppp/peers:

sudo mv  gprs-connect-chat /etc/ppp/peers
sudo mv  gprs-disconnect-chat  /etc/ppp/peers

Next create a new file in /etc/peers named gprs and copy’n’paste the following (the gprs script that uses didn’t work for me):

# GPRS for T-Mobile USA
/dev/rfcomm0 # device bound to T610 phone
230400 # speed
defaultroute # use the network for the default route
usepeerdns # use the DNS servers from the remote network
nodetach # keep pppd in the foreground
crtscts # hardware flow control
lock # lock the serial port
noauth # don’t expect modem to authenticate itself
local # don’t use Carrier Detect or Data Terminal Ready
connect /etc/ppp/peers/gprs-connect-chat
disconnect /etc/ppp/peers/gprs-disconnect-chat

Now your ready to test the connection. First stop networking:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking stop

Next, turn on bluetooth on your phone and connect to it. Once your connect issue the following commands:

rfcomm bind all
 pppd call gprs

When your done, control-c will stop the ppp connection, then run this command:

 rfcomm release all

If you’ve more than one entry defined in your rfcomm.conf file, try using:

frcomm bind rfcomm0

And replace rfcomm0 with rfcomm1 or rfcomm2 …

To web-surf you will need to set your browser to use the following proxy:

But, ssh & VPN won’t work, just web-browsing at dial-up speed! However, it might be possible to tunnel ssh and other services.

The following links were a lot of help in aiding me in getting this to work:

I used the scripts from here to get the laptop to connect (with minor changes):

I need to clean-up/rewrite this posting, and put in proper references to sites that helped me get this working.

Copies of the configuration files are here:


gprs, gprs-connect-chat, gprs-disconnect-chat