Ah, memories! These days, setting up hardware on Linux is often easier than it is in Windows. Lots of drivers are built-in and auto-detected, and many are provided through a distribution channel that makes it almost as easy.

Wireless networking, however, is a bit of a throwback to the old days. Half the hardware doesn’t have Linux drivers, and half of the devices that do require you to hunt for the driver — based on the chipset, of course, not on the name or model number on the box — and compile it yourself. (At least these days, you can sometimes run a tool to adapt the Windows drivers if there’s no native Linux option.)

The steps I actually needed to take to set up wifi on my Fedora 13 desktop probably only amounted to about 10 minutes. Unfortunately it took a lot of false starts to get there. I had installed a Zonet ZEW1642 PCI card, which my initial research suggested would be supported by the built-in rt2860 drivers. As it turned out, it wasn’t that simple. Continue reading

Sometime last week I noticed that I hadn’t received some alerts sent by text message to my phone. I figured it was probably a transient problem with the email-to-SMS gateway and didn’t think much more of it. Then on Sunday I added a contact to my address book in Gmail, and it still hadn’t synced to my phone a half-hour later. Again, I figured it was just a hiccup.

Yesterday, some more email-to-SMS texts vanished into the ether. I figured something must be up with the gateway, so I changed the alerts so that they would also send to my Gmail account, figuring that if the text messages failed, I’d still get a notice.

They didn’t show up either.

That’s when I realized that nothing on the phone was actually syncing: Not Gmail, not the contacts, not the calendar…and it just wasn’t receiving text messages at all.

I tried turning sync off and back on, manually syncing, restarting the phone (both a hard reset cycling the power and a soft reset, sort of the Ctrl-Alt-Delete equivalent using the green, red and menu buttons together), even clearing all the local data for Gmail, Gmail storage, and Calendar storage.

Well, none of that worked. It marked all the apps for syncing, but wouldn’t actually start.

So it was time to backtrack: What had I changed recently?

Well, I’d updated several apps. Off the top of my head I could think of Twidroid Pro and the Weather Channel, but I couldn’t remember what else.

I’d also installed a new app, Layar, an augmented reality app which I’d seen in an ad for some other phone last week, but hadn’t actually gotten around to trying out. Adding it triggered a low space warning, but the phone still had 6.8 MB free, which ought to have been plenty.

Curiously enough, the last successful sync was right around the time that I installed Layar. Hmm…

Okay, what the heck. I uninstalled it. Within seconds, the phone bleeped and picked up the test messages I’d sent to Gmail. Within a minute, several text messages arrived, including my test from this morning and two alerts from last night.

Well, that was certainly suspicious.

So I installed it again, and this time actually opened the app to try it out (making it display the location of pizza places as seen from my desk), and sent myself a test message at Gmail. I can’t say I was surprised when the test message showed up on my desktop, but not on my phone, even when I manually refreshed my inbox in Gmail. Within a minute of uninstalling the app again, the message showed up.

So, no Layar for me. I don’t know if it doesn’t work with the G1, with Android 1.6, or with something else I have on the phone…or if it’s not Layar at all, and the phone just needs more space to sync.

The message is clear, though: If your phone stops syncing, or stops receiving text messages, look at what’s changed. There’s a good chance that the problem is related.

Update: It’s been about half an hour, and the voice mail notice just popped up…for a couple of messages I received on Sunday! It looks like the problem was blocking everything that used the standard sync/notify system on the phone. Twidroid was working, so I guess it must use its own system.

Update 2: I’ve confirmed that it’s just the low space, not the particular app, that causes the problem.

I tried out the Chrome beta for Linux on two different computers yesterday. On the first one, Flash worked right “out of the box.” On the second, it wouldn’t even show up in about:plugins. I couldn’t figure out what was different.

  • Both are 64-bit systems running Fedora 12.
  • Both are running the 32-bit version of Flash from Adobe’s yum repository.
  • Both are running the 64-bit version of Google Chrome from the beta download page.
  • I had run mozilla-plugin-config -i to create the 64-bit wrapper on both computers after updating Flash. (A security update came out yesterday.)
  • Flash works just fine in 64-bit Firefox and Opera.

I looked thoroughly at my home computer last night and came up empty. This morning I took another look at my work computer — the one where Flash actually showed up — and I think I’ve found it.

Chrome is using nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so according to about:plugins. The actual file is in /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins-wrapped/. This system has two symbolic links to that file, one in /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/ and one in /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins-wrapped/. IIRC Only one of these was present on my home computer.

So I think this will fix it:

ln -s /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins-wrapped/nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

Run the command as root or using sudo.

I’ll check back tonight and update this entry to show whether it worked.

Update: Yes, it worked!

Well, Flash 10 is out with new features, security updates, and a fix for a Firefox video problem that I never noticed because it only affected Windows, and only sometimes.

It seems a little less stable than version 9 on Linux, at least 64-bit (it’s kind of complicated, because they only have a 32-bit program, so you either need to run a 32-bit version of your web browser, or use a wrapper that will let the 64-bit browser talk to the 32-bit plugin. nspluginwrapper does this for Firefox and other Gecko browsers, while Opera has a wrapper built in). But the annoying part: WordPress’ image upload no longer works.

Current versions of WordPress use SWFUpload to provide an enhanced file uploader. If you don’t have Flash installed, it will just use the standard upload dialog built into your web browser, but then you’re stuck uploading one image at a time — a real pain if you’re making a photo gallery post. Unfortunately for upload libraries, Adobe removed the ability for the Flash API to open a file dialog for security reasons.

So now, you can click on the button, but the dialog never opens. WordPress is tracking the issue in ticket 6979, which mentions that SWFUpload is discussing workarounds, and the YUI Uploader has already released a new version that works with Flash 10.

An update of some sort is likely to happen soon. In the mean time, WordPress users have two choices: hold off on updating Flash, or stick with the browser uploader for now.

Update October 31: SWFUpload has a new version in beta which works with Flash 10, and WordPress is working on integrating the update. It’s targeted for WordPress 2.7, which comes out in a little under two weeks, though the 2.7 writeup lists it as a feature that “didn’t make it” and might be in 2.8. (This seems like something that would affect enough people that I’d hope they would include it, even if it means pushing back the release a few days for more testing.)

There’s also been talk about implementing a file uploader using Gears, which I’d find really appealing if I weren’t 64-bit Linux both at home and at work.

Update November 1: I’ve tested WordPress 2.7 Beta 1 (not on this blog) and can confirm that the fix is included, as I was able to upload two images in one transaction.

Experimenting with the new Automattic Stats Plugin that uses the WordPress.com statistics infrastructure to track traffic. So far, so good… except for one problem. Titles and links are missing from all the “most visited” posts. They’re just listed as numeric IDs.

Update: Actually, today’s posts seem OK. The plugin seems to just send the blog ID and post ID. I’ve been trying to figure out how the central server is retrieving the permalink and title. It doesn’t look like Bad Behavior is blocking it. And it doesn’t seem to be using the RSS feed, since posts that are still on the front page (and presumably still in the feed) are also showing up as numbers. *grumble*

Update 2: I just noticed that all of the number-only posts show the same placeholder graph showing “Region A” vs. “Region B” for 2003-2005.

Update 3: It’s a problem with WordPress’ XMLRPC interface, and affects other uses (like connecting with Flock). I’ve got a workaround, though (see comments).

Update 4 (May 10): Thanks to the pingback below from dot unplanned, it’s confirmed to be a bug in PHP 5.2.2. With any luck, the workaround will cease to be necessary when the next PHP bugfix is released.