Thunderbird 31 on Linux

December 8, 2014

I had not upgraded thunderbird in a long time. But recently Google deprecated their V1 Calendar API so the version of Calendar Provider for Google 0.25 no longer worked.

After a previous announcement, Google has shut down the v1 API today (November 17th) that version 0.32 and 0.25 has been using. This means those versions will no longer work and you MUST upgrade to 1.0.x to continue using the Provider for Google Calendar.

So I took the plunge and upgraded from Thunderbird 17 to Thunderbird 31.3. After rebooting it detected that Lightning was out of date and automatically updated it. But when Thunderbird finally started up I got pop-up errors like this:

An error was encountered preparing the calendar located at https://auto

Turns out this was an issue with the version of Exchange Provider I was using. So I uninstalled Exchange Provider and Provider for Google Calendar and installed the latest. Provider for Google Calendar was version 1.0.2.
The Exchange Provider was no longer available but the latest version is known as Exchange EWS Provider 3.3.0 and is available here. The new version works much slicker. Auto-detect had no issue getting my Exchange Calendar.
I ran into one more issue trying to set up my Google Calendar. The wizard was not working the way it was documented. I found out the issue was again Exchange. So I disabled Exchange EWS Provider, restarted, added my Google Calendar, enabled Exchange EWS, restarted and all my Calendars were back.


Formatting larger than 2 TB drive on Linux

January 17, 2014

A gpt partition table is needed when the drive is larger than 2 TB. That means used parted instead of fdisk. Here’s the process I followed for a 3 TB drive. (Note a lot of the stuff is specific to my hardware).

$ parted /dev/sdc
(parted) mklabel gpt
(parted) unit TB
(parted) mkpart primary 0.00TB 3.00TB
(parted) print
(parted) quit
$ mkfs.ext4 -L label /dev/sdc1
# Remove the reserved space since this is used for backup
$ tune2fs -m 0 /dev/sdc1

Some useful links on ext4 partition overhead and tuning.

linux ath9k slow wireless

December 5, 2013

I was setting up a new wifi card on Kubuntu 12.04 and the wireless was really slow and inconsistent. Websites would not load and pings would be anywhere from 2 ms to 5000 ms. Some didn’t return at all. I found a post about reducing the wifi tx power but it didn’t help. However, changing some modules settings did the trick.

To test I did

sudo modprobe -r ath9k
sudo modprobe ath9k nohwcrypt=1

Immediately wireless started behaving better. Great speed, pings consistent. To make this change permanent I did

sudo -s
echo "options ath9k nohwcrypt=1" > /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf

VMWare Server console without web interface

July 26, 2013

I have not been able to get the web interface to my old VMWare Server 2.0.2 working. I gave up on it months ago, but today tried again to get a console to the guest VMs. I found this post that explained how to use X11 forwarding to run the remote console directly. Works great from my linux box.

Thunderbird Linux date format

July 17, 2013

Thunderbird on Linux was displaying the date for emails using only 2 digits for the year. My preference is the ISO 8601 format so I investigated how to make the change. This knowledgebase article explained how the formatting is chosen. However it appears that thunderbird wasn’t using my system format. I followed the process on this post to specify my locale for thunderbird. I change the locale value to en_DK.UTF-8 to get ISO 8601 format.

Flash plugin not detected after upgrade

March 21, 2013

After a recent upgrading of all packages on my Ubuntu 12.04 machine, which included upgrading to Firefox 19.0.2, Firefox could no longer find the Flash plugin. This was weird because:

  • Chrome did have the flash plugin and was working fine.
  • Package manager software said the flashplugin-installer package was installed.

But about:config showed no flash plugin and /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/ contained no flash*.so file.

To resolve this I closed Firefox, then ran

sudo agt-get --reinstall install flashplugin-installer

After the install ran, flash was back.

Recommended Thunderbird plugins

November 28, 2012

I’ve found the following plugins useful for Thunderbird on Kubuntu 12.04.

Enigmail – OpenPGP support.
Exchange 2007/2010 Calendar and tasks Provider – Allows me to sync Lightning with our office Exchange server.
FireTray – This is the best plugin to have persistent notification of new email in Thunderbird.
Google Calendar Tab – I’ve found this works a little better than trying to sync my Google calendar with Lightning.
LookOut – Parses some emails from Outlook users
Tag Toolbar – Tagging emails is way better than sorting into folders.

Disc Recovery

November 6, 2012

I was trying to recover data from a hard-disk that wouldn’t boot any more. ddrescue worked great! Example 2 from the manual helped me recover the partition.

Linux RAM usage

November 6, 2012

I recently got a new desktop at work and am using Kubuntu 12.04 Linux. (Tried Ubuntu 12.04 but Unity is terrible. Looks nice but makes being productive more difficult.) I’ve noticed a lot of poor responsiveness from the desktop. Using atop I was able to see that during the times of slow performance the hard disk is being pinned. It appears that much of my application memory has been swapped out to disk. This surprised me because I have 6 GB of RAM in the machine and my system load monitor showed that only 2.3 GB was in use. Another 2.7 GB is in swap. That means about 3.5 GB is used for cache or is free.
A very interesting article here describes some of what I am seeing. I’ll be playing with the swappiness and vfs_cache_pressure values to see if I can get improved percieved perfromance. But I am also concerned that my RAM usage never goes above 2.3 GB. It’s like Linux doesn’t want to use some of the memory. hmmm…

Windows Performance Monitor

November 1, 2012

This is a useful tool.

More information

Works fine on Windows 7 too.