Montag, 28. Juni 2010

Update with caution - Firefox 3.6.6

The recent update to Firefox 3.6.6 seems to cause more problems than usual.

Over here, a Mac was the first to update - and Firefox did not re-start.  Having discovered the safe-mode option recently, I used it on the Mac:

/Applications/ -safe-mode

After disabling all add-ons, Firefox 3.6.6 did start normally.

On my Ubuntu machine, Firefox is still on version 3.6.3.   So I decided to test FF 3.6.6 before the Ubuntu updater pushes the update.  I downloaded the Linux version of 3.6.6 from Mozilla and installed it in a separate directory. 

Multiple versions of Firefox can coexist on the same machine, but only one can run at any given time.  I.e. you have to close ALL Firefox windows of one version before starting the other.

Strangely enough, the new version worked even with the add-ons that crashed Firefox on the Mac.  But there were other issues:
  • no graphics on Google Analytics
  • no address resolution of a web server on the LAN (worked on FF 3.6.3, might be a 64 bit issue - ping is ok)
I think, I'll skip this one.

If the new versions has already been installed...

If you hover your mouse over the appropriate download button on the Mozillas website, you see a link like this one (perhaps with different o/s and language settings) in the status bar:

You can copy the link, modify the version number to get the older Firefox version.

[Update, June 29th]
Firefox 3.6.6 (32 bit and 64 bit) from the Ubuntu repositories run without problems.

Samstag, 26. Juni 2010

Integrating a re-branded Huawai UMTS modem into Ubuntu 10.04

The Huawai E160 is a popular UMTS stick and works with Ubuntu Lucid Lynx out-of-the-box.

It is also commonly used by European phone companies in their mobile internet starter packs.  Unfortunately these sticks are usually sim-locked to the phone company and some identify themselves with a USB id unknown to current Ubuntu setup.

When you plug the stick into the computer, all you see is a small flash drive icon containing the Windows and sometimes Macintosh drivers.  On these systems the drivers switches the stick from mass storage device mode into modem mode after the initial phase.

The Linux utility for this task is called modem-modeswitch, and can be found in /lib/udev.  The actual task is to automate the execution of this utility when the UMTS stick is plugged in.

The UMTS stick in this example is/was sold by the Belgian phone company Mobistar.  When you query the USB IDs:

sudo lsusb

it is identified as

12d1:1446 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. 

The two numbers at the beginning of the line are the vendor ID and product ID of the stick in the current mode.

To check if the modem switch works as expected, call the utility manually:

sudo /lib/udev/modem-modeswitch -v 0x12d1 -p 0x1446 -t option-zerocd

Wait a few seconds and check the USB IDs again.  The entry should now read:

12d1:1003 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. E220 HSDPA Modem / E270 HSDPA/HSUPA Modem

If nothing happens, David Santinoli suggests in a related document to unmount the device containing the drivers before attempting the switch.

You can automate the process by creating the file 62-huawai.rules in /lib/udev/rules.d:

ATTRS{idVendor}=="12d1", ATTRS{idProduct}=="1446", RUN+="modem-modeswitch -v 0x%s{idVendor} -p 0x%s{idProduct} -t option-zerocd"

(The file name is arbitrary, as long as it starts with “62-” and ends with “.rules”.) The rule itself is based on similar entries in 61-option-modem-modeswitch.rules.

Next time you boot your computer, the rule becomes active, and the modem should be recognized automatically.

Montag, 14. Juni 2010

Firefox - Ausfall der rechten Maustaste

In den letzten Wochen ist es bei mir häufiger vorgekommen, dass Firefox 3.5 (unter Ubuntu 10.04) nicht mehr auf die rechte Maustaste reagierte. Auf dem Desktop und in den übrigen Programmen funktionierte sie weiterhin, sodass ein Problem mit der Maus ausgeschlossen werden konnte.

Der eigentliche Grund des Problems ist weiterhin unklar. Mit dem folgenden Trick kann man Firefox jedoch in den Normalzustand zurücksetzen:

Hierzu beendet man Firefox vollständig und ruft es von der Kommandozeile mit

firefox -safe-mode

auf. Daraufhin erscheint der folgende Bildschirm:

Im Safe-Mode startet Firefox - ähnlich wie der Safe-Mode bei Windows - ohne Erweiterungen.

Wie man sieht kann man fast alles zurücksetzen, was man in den letzten Jahren in mühsamer Kleinarbeit zusammengetragen hat.

"Reset toolbars and controls" scheint die Option mit dem geringsten "Lösch-Potenzial" zu sein, und in meinem Fall reichte sie auch aus. Nach "Make Changes and Restart" reagierte Firefox wieder auf die rechte Maustaste.