Saturday, October 31, 2009

Installing Ubuntu from USB:

Use unetbootin to write the ISO to the usb stick

When it boots, select "Default", then hit tab for more options. Add "cdrom-detect/try-usb=true" to the kernel parameters.

Install as normal.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More random Linux goodies needed:

Prevent asking for password on resume from standby:

Open gconf-editor
Go to apps / gnome-power-manager
Switch off "lock_on_suspend"
Reboot or log off to activate the new settings.

Enabling Wake On Lan:

sudo ethtool -s eth0 wol g

Also - remove -i from halt in /etc/init.d/halt, or set netdown=no in same

Disable Firefox autohide toolbars on full screen:

Filter for autohide
Set browser.fullscreen.autohide to false

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Optimizing the OS

Before I get down to explaining myself better, I have to make note of some OS optimizations that I'll need to go forward with the project. I took the trouble to track them down, but if I don't write them down I'll forget them. Then I'll be annoyed, and you wouldn't like me when I'm annoyed. Or something.

Windows - automatic login for WinXP:

start->run->"control userpasswords2"
Select user you want to automatically log in as, then remove the checkmark from "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer"
( source: )

Linux (Ubuntu 9.04) - disable screen blanking:

System->Preferences->Power Management
Set preferred screen blanking/power saving/hibernation behavior.
Then go turn off the screen saver! (System->Preferences->Screensaver).
Don't I just feel like an idiot :P

There. Now I can format that machine.
Welcome to Single Synapse Response, home of Single Synapse Systems.

I'm your host, SingleSynapse, and I'm here to guide you around this little nook of the internet. Currently, I'm 33 years old, with a background as a hobbyist in computer programming, electronics, and as a computer technician.

Also - writing, drawing, and digital art. Slightly out of the norm for a computer nerd, but I'm sure it'll be important at some point. You probably couldn't tell that I also grew up on a farm, but that's likely to be totally useless information.

Seriously, though. This blog is here to detail a project. It's an ambitious project, and one that will probably never see completion in its currently imagined state. At its heart, it's a Home Automation project, but it's probably more accurate to call it Home Media Integration with elements of Home Automation.

I imagine that most of you who'll bother seeing this have watched Star Trek at some point in your life, but any big space sci-fi more technically adept than Star Wars will suffice. Now, imagine those big starships they're always flying around in. What a lot of those big ships have in common is a completely integrated computer system. It runs the ship, manages their communications, turns the lights on for them, and even plays music for them.

Now, imagine installing one of those computer systems into a home.

No. Really.

What would you even do with something like that? My home is pretty simple - there isn't much to control here beyond the lights and the furnace. I've got loads of digital pictures to look at, so I could just use a digital picture frame or two, and if I want to listen to music in the kitchen I could just hook up an iPod.

Well, I want to do it because I love technology :) Interesting data can be found by keeping records of temperature changes and the duty cycle of the furnace. Digital picture frames suck because they're non-interactive, have poor interfaces, are either on all the time or have an awkward to change schedule, and all they show are pictures! For music, I don't like managing files on 10 separate devices, and when I'm listening to a podcast on my computer, I'd prefer not to have to remember where I was so I can pick it up again on my iPod.

And seriously, who doesn't want to say "Computer, Lights"?

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll be detailing my project from soup to nuts, and, unfortunately for you - all I've done so far is think about it. I've been imagining how to do this or that for almost three years now, without having done more than tried a few digital picture frames, which I hated, and sticking a laptop in the kitchen.

Well, my house probably has more pre-existing electronics than most, but we'll get to that too.

Now, however, I've finished my last big project (A desktop cluster, but that's a story for another blog), and find myself looking around and going "Wouldn't it be nice if some of that worked..."

So, a few ebay purchases later, I've got a hardware framework that I can start laying software on. After the hardware gets installed, I suppose.

I suppose I should mention that I don't like spending a huge amount of money on this sort of thing? Affordable will go along with the Automation, and Media Integration, to the best of my abilities.

Therefore, I will present to you: Single Synapse Systems! I'm abbreviating it S.III to keep out of the hair of the video card company :) Stay tuned for the Mission Statement, and the detailing of the current state of affairs.