Enabling Power off in Ubuntu 13.10 on HP EliteBook

After enabling the brightness option on my spanking new Ubuntu 13.10 installation on my HP EliteBook, I discovered I had to do some more GRUB editing. Because when I tried to shut down my computer, I discovered that the shut down option in the Ubuntu menu did nothing, and I had to shut the computer down by the shutdown command in treminal.

sudo shutdown -d now

And, as the brightness option was, this was something that needed to be enabled.  And again, something had to be added to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT variable.

So to edit the GRUB config:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

And add acpi=force to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT. So from this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_backlight=vendor"

To this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_backlight=vendor acpi=force"

Update the GRUB with new config:

sudo update-grub

And after a restart: Hey presto! I can now turn off my computer.

Adjusting brightness in Ubuntu 13.10 on HP EliteBook

I just installed a fresh copy of Ubuntu 13.10, and it was very bright. Literary very bright, as I could not adjust the brightness of my screen. Not sure if it was possible in earlier versions, as i never worked with this particular PC in dimmed light before.

In order to enable the brightness control to interact with my PC (a HP Elitebook), I had to write some changes to the GRUB.

To open the GRUB config, I used Nano

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Then changed this line

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"

into this

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_backlight=vendor"

This enabled my brightness buttons on my keyboard. And then updating GRUB with

sudo update-grub

And one restart later, I could dim the brightness to a less eye burning level.

Removing unusable Ubuntu GRUB from OS X EFI

I’m trying to install Ubuntu 13.04 on my good, old MacBook Pro. The idea is to dual boot Ubuntu and OS X, or indeed triple boot as I already have Windows 7 in Bootcamp installed. But so far I’m failing. It is in theory pretty straight forward to install Ubuntu on a Intel Mac, and I’ve made space for it and installed rEFIt to handle the boot. Bu to no avail. Installing from a CD stops before the installer really starts. And when installing from an USB, the installer finished, but Ubuntu would not start.

I was going to try again, and uninstalled the usb installation. But when restarting, the rEFIt menu gave me the option of running GRUB from my EFI partition. The wording was

Boot EFI/Ubuntu/grubx64.efi from EFI

If I understand it correctly, the EFI partition is supposed to be used for firmware updates. And more important, it is invisible as you are not suppose to delete it. But to get rid of the GRUB option from the rEFIt menu, I had to delete the Ubuntu folder from it.

The answer was to create EFI as a volume and mount it. This is what I did in terminal:

Jonass-MacBook-Pro:~ jonas$ diskutil list
/dev/disk0
 #:                   TYPE NAME           SIZE       IDENTIFIER
 0:  GUID_partition_scheme               *500.1 GB   disk0
 1:                    EFI                209.7 MB   disk0s1
 2:              Apple_HFS Macintosh HD   408.8 GB   disk0s2
 3:             Apple_Boot Recovery HD    650.0 MB   disk0s3
 4:   Microsoft Basic Data BOOTCAMP       55.6 GB    disk0s4

mkdir /Volumes/efi

sudo mount -t msdos /dev/disk0s1 /Volumes/efi

The diskutil list is to find the identifier of the EFI partition. In this case it was disk0s1. The I created the folder for the efi volume with mkdir, and then mounted disk0s1 to this folder with mount.

If you then have a look at your devices in Finder, a EFI device is added. With a single EFI folder.

EFI  as a device
EFI as a device

In the EFI folder, you will find two folders. The standard APPLE folder, and the Ubuntu folder I want to remove. The only thing in this folder is the grubx64.efi file.

Content of EFI
Content of EFI

And after I deleted the Ubuntu, I was back with only OS X and Windows in the rEFIt menu.

Missing albums and artists in the iOS music app

I subscribe to Apple’s iTunes Match service, a service that have had some birthing issues, and who keeps on having some growing pains. But I’m not sure my latest problem is caused by Match, or by the iOS music app itself.

My problem is that I no longer have any content under the Albums, Artists, Composers, or Compilations tabs on my music app, only under Songs, Genius, and Genres.

Music app with only songs
The iOS Music app with only songs, no albums or artists

Mind you, the songs still got album and artist information. So for instance, if I play one song, I can enter the album from within the song, and play the whole album as one unit.

Browsing Röyksopp's Junior from within the song listing
Browsing Röyksopp’s Junior from within the song listing

I stopped the Match subscription on my iPhone, deleted all data in the app, re-subscribed. Doing the same, and turning the phone off and on again between. But nothing.

If I access Match from my Apple TV, everything is as normal, and I can browse my albums. So most likely, it is a Music app problem.

So far, I have no idea how to fix it, and I haven’t found someone else with the same problem, but the search continues.

At least now the Podcast app isn’t longer my most annoying Apple app.

Edit:

After trying various combinations of deleting data and so forth, I ended up restoring my phone. And now everything is as it should. Not the sleekest way, but it worked.

Apple’s Podcast app – the app that couldn’t

Apple has announced that in the upcoming iOS 6, podcasts would get their separate app, and no longer be a part of the Music app. Which is kind of logical. And the app was actually released a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve used it, and I now have some opinions about it. So here goes…

My relationship with this app went through three steps: First I didn’t see why I would need a separate podcast app, it worked fine the way it was. Then I realised it was a very good idea, and that it had many good features, and that the app was brilliant. And finally, I concluded with that the app was kind of crap, and I’m now back to using the Music app for my podcasts needs.

Apple podcasts app
Apple podcasts app

So what happened? Well, the idea behind the app is really good. The app will download new episodes for you, and you no longer need to sync with iTunes. You can look for podcasts in the app itself, without opening the iTunes app, and in general it looks better. The tiles for the podcasts look great, and it even got a handy skip commercials button (or skip 30 seconds, if you like).

But the app was very slow. Pressing a button to navigate could take several seconds, and you got no indication that it was actually working. But I could live with that. Things can be slow. That’s life. But it also crashed quite often. If I was listening to a podcast, and wanted to do something else, like surf the web or check Facebook, it just stopped. Which was a bit more annoying than being slow.

But that wasn’t the worst part. That was actually the playing of podcasts. I subscribe to several, and when I listen to them on my commute, I’m only interested in listening to the one I haven’t listened to before. And if I have two episodes of a show, I want to listen to the oldest first, the the newest. In my mind, the logical way to do it.

Apple podcasts app
Apple podcasts app – the show page

So, if you start a podcast in the app, it will skip the the older one when finished. Even if you have heard it before, and even if a newer one available. And here is the best part, it will start download the old one if it isn’t already on you device. So you have two episodes of a show: Play the old one, then manually make it play the new one.

The app has a list of all unplayed shows on it, but the episodes are not grouped by show. And in the wrong date order.

Apple podcasts app
Apple podcasts app – unplayed episodes

And then you have the auto-dowload function of the app, that will download any new episodes automatically. And it doesn’t seem to care if you are on a wi-fi or not. Could be pricy.

Apple podcasts app
Apple podcasts app – the show settings

So my reasons to drop the app: Slow, crashes, plays things out of order, and most importantly, downloads episodes at will, giving me a very nasty phone bill this month.

So good idea, badly executed.