Friday, February 25, 2011

Ubuntu Fixes for tiny problems

[As always, scroll to bottom for cheats and links, to avoid commentary.]

Ubuntu is amazing, and I can't back away from that statement I made several years ago. It continues to be the easiest user experience and best operating system on the market in 2011. I stripped the HP boot partition and windows partitions off my Pavillion years ago, and have it solely booting to Ubuntu. Since I dumped Vista, I haven't had any software issues whatsoever.

But, nothing is perfect, and Ubuntu 10.04 has its share of quirks. First, realize that every hardware system is different, and Ubuntu like any other OS has to load specific drivers for your machines hardware, which leads to variances in the user experience. Windows handles this by requiring hardware to be "windows certified," which means that they've paid MSFT for a badge. As far as I can tell, no actual "tuning" for that hardware is happening. The only difference is the vendor gets better access to the distribution channels, but still no access to code.

Ubuntu simply does its best to ensure that there's a work-around for every piece of hardware in use today. Ubuntu probably won't try to release a patch that works on a 286, but any computer made in the last few years is certain to have been examined by several coders. The bug management in Linux is astonishing, although somewhat jerky, and often populated with trite or even venomous comments. I've seen some bugs go unanswered for 4+ years, still open. Even so, these issues are in the minority, as tens of thousands of bugs get patched every year.

I'm not talking blue-screen bugs either, I mean little things like the mouse pointer going away when a window switches focus, and you have to alt-f4, wiggle mouse, or alt-tab to get it back. Ubuntu NEVER crashes. I've loaded it intentionally on a heat-damaged server in my garage that tends to shut down randomly and generate interesting garbage characters in the command line. It's pretty messed up. Ubuntu 9.10 loaded on it flawlessly, and I saw all the heat problems vanish within 24 hours. It still just shuts off once in a while, on its own, but the machine is now usable again!

I would not suggest that the new user, casual user, or business user go to Ubuntu Forums. That's a great place to get a really bad impression of Linux. These are close-to-the-machine folks who do not have great social skills, obviously from the text that they post, many of them could use a couple of classes in both grammar and professional conduct. It's also not easy to navigate, and I've had fun attempting to find solutions there even though I am also a programmer.

Blogs like my own and other gear-heads, geeks, and nerds have taken it upon themselves to post walk-throughs on how to fix common issues with Ubuntu, such as the lack of MP3 players in the default software. Trust me, going to a forum and asking where the mp3 player is will not result in happy answers.

Sometimes, they just don't even seem to understand the question. Here's one that has been plaguing me for some time, a random problem that appears when I plug a USB mouse into my laptop. The click keys of the mouse, and my entire keyboard, go dead. I have to unplug the mouse and reboot, run config again, and toggle settings in the gnome configuration to reset the mouse. Then it works fine, for a while, apparently. This is not a fix, it's a kludge, and it irritates me to need to reboot. I like touchpads when I'm on the road, but when I sit down in Starbucks I'd like to pull out my portable mouse and use it. [No, not while I'm literally driving.]

- - USB Mouse

- Description:
When plugged into an HP Pavillion, the keyboard and mouse buttons and touchpad become nonresponsive, requiring reboot to fix. Symptoms are immediately reproduced after reboot if USB mouse is plugged in again, to any USB port.
- Severity:
Computer is useless/nonresponsive. Severe.
- Previous Work Around:
Toggle gnome mouse touchpad settings off then on again.
Does not resolve issue.
- Open System, Preferences, Keyboard - Layouts tab.
* choose the correct keyboard model. Was set to default, changed to HP PV5
- Open System, Preferences, Mouse - General tab.
* DESELECT show pointer when control key is pressed.
* Touchpad tab, SELECT disable touchpad while typing.
- Open Terminal. Type 'gconf-editor' and press enter.
* Open Desktop, Gnome, Accessibility, and select mouse. DESELECT animate cursor.
Try to use ALT F2 if the problem recurs.

- - Synaptic

- Description:
Ubuntu has its own "update" software, but will not monitor or maintain your system beyond purely security measures. You need "Synaptic."
* Open 'gnome-terminal' with ALT-F2.
* Type 'sudo apt-get synaptic' and press Enter. You'll be asked for your password.

- - Wireless

- Description:
Broadcom is the Wifi card in my HP. It does not work without special drivers.

- Ubuntu recognizes the proprietary hardware and will automatically offer a download to allow you to configure your hardware if you plug into an Ethernet Jack.
- No other steps needed.

- - NVidia

- Description:
NVidia is my GPU, and it works in default mode at a lower resolution than the LCD is capable of.

- Ubuntu recognizes the proprietary hardware and will automatically offer a download to allow you to configure your hardware.
- in Synaptic, add Compiz, Compiz Config Settings Manager.
- This is one of few situations in which reboot is required for Ubuntu.

- - MP3, DVD, media

- Description:
Ubuntu and Debian do not come with software that require licenses. They also do not support license-restricted software. It is recommended to use alternatives which ARE in Ubuntu. However, sometimes you need to hear an MP3, or play a DVD.

- Open Synaptic. Click the Settings tab. Select Repositories.
* General Settings tab, SELECT "multiverse" or restricted software option.
* Select Close, and then the Reload tab.
* Search MP3, select mpg123, click mark for install.
* Search dvd, select libdvd4, click mark for install.
* Select APPLY.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Drug Science. No Lies, No Politics. The Truth.

This article is clearly labeled according to ISO 9001 standards.

Header/Title: "Drug Science. No Lies, No Politics. The Truth."

Byline: "The scientific unaltered facts about drugs, recreational and legal."

Meta: "follow, index, archive."

Notes: "Footer contains references and sources."

Body: "follows this line, precedes footer."

The US and other national standards offer legal standings on drugs and drug use that do not match scientific data. These laws are supposed or assumed to be politically biased, and may be morality induced rather than factual. The clearest known bias is against the natural herb 'Cannabis Majoris'.[1,2]

Example of Bias:
Black or African and Hispanic Americans are sent to prison for 20 years to life for possession of CM,[3] while Rich and White Americans are given suspended sentences and probation for possession of powder cocaine or barbituates.[4] Wealthy Americans are also given prescriptions for hard drugs such as speed, meth, and other drugs that poor people are sent to jail for using without official permit.[5,6] The permission is difficult to obtain, and Doctors routinely refuse those without health care insurance.[7] ER and free clinics decline to dispense controlled substances at all, even where it would be of medical aid. The default assumption is that poor people are addicts, and wealthy people are sick.[8,9,10]

Drug Addiction side effects:
Addition is a chemical dependency which can cause illness, mental instability, and even death.[11] Treatment and Legal methods of dealing with addictive substances and abusers, or victims, of them have not been reliable without addressing underlying causes.[12] People who have a hard life or reasoning to be depressed, or a mental issue, will resume using drugs after being released from jail or treatment facilities. People who DO NOT have these issue will ALSO relapse into drug abuse if they are not correctly treated, supported, and given power over their addiction.[13]

Systemic Problems of the Health Industry:
Despite efforts to improve the system, communication does not happen between hospitals in a timely manner. Only state and federally mandated incidents are reported, and not accurately. In one hospital, a patient's request for hard drugs might be documented, but in another it will be ignored. Even when documented, it may not be properly reported, or it may be illegal in that state to report out-of-hand without a matching legal incident. Hospitals and Doctors are secretive about what they must report, and how they do so, or for another reason no information on this reporting can not be found outside of voluminous legal codes. As I am a scientist and not an attorney, I will not address this particular facet.

Without solid records, it's easy for addicts to relocate to gain more services when cut off, as many charitable clinics are too cash-starved to perform well or at all in enforcement. Unfunded mandates do result in lack of compliance.[14]

Student run clinics inside of major education institutions are the only ones likely to comply with regulations thoroughly.[15] However, access to these institutions is not universal, despite any claims to the contrary. They deal with known patients, other students, and privileged classes as a priority. Emergencies are stabilized and sent to a professional ER. Triage is a term which most poor people learn to hate, because it is in triage with a low-paid nurse that the determination is made as to whether any assistance will be given. Children who later died have been turned away from hospital ERs when they had no insurance.[15,16]

These problems combine to effectively deny care to the poor, and fail to track potential drug problems.

Drug Industry:
Despite an apparent campaign against drug abuse, the United States promotes and provides monopoly status to some of the world's largest drug cartels, collectively known as the Pharmaceutical Industry. They enjoy an ability to promote lifetime drug dependency based upon a system which works to prohibit cures in preference to drug treatments. Therapy is usually incidental to medication.[17]

The only beneficiary of a continued policy of criminalized street drug use is the Drug Industry. No person, no government, and no other corporations benefit from this hazardous policy. The appearance of Pharma Lobbyists at any 'legalization' vote is damning.[18,19]

The beneficiary of decriminalizing, or legalizing and regulation of drug use is twofold, the people of the United States, and the Government of the United States. The people gain access to safe drugs, treatment, and can then be monitored. Monitoring is not remotely possible while drugs are illegal. The Government saves billions spent on law enforcement[20], and gains billions more in taxes on the now legal drugs.[21] This is simple economics.

Drug damage from use:
Overwhelmingly, the primary harm is criminal activity.[22] Between manufacturing, distributing, selling, and using drugs is a very long list of criminal acts which feeds organized crime. Many thousands of people die every year, not from USING drugs, but from the crime of making and selling them. Competition is deadly, and law enforcement will shoot first, ask questions later. The risks are so high that it seems to be worth risking death to avoid being caught, and the profits are obviously high enough to encourage this.[23] It dwarfs the amount consumers spend on legal drugs.[24]

More people die in car accidents than from drug use deaths AND cancer combined.[25,26]

Drug recreation:
People use drugs because they either are fun to use, or are promoted as fun to use. Being as the illegal drug industry enjoys zero ability to advertise anywhere in the world, the likelihood is that some drugs are enjoyable. Prevention by education does not appear to have offset this trend, as drug use is rising despite decades of education against it. When people feel that life isn't going to end well, that retirement isn't possible, or that they have no future, there is little reason to expect that they wouldn't want to try drugs. The poor overwhelmingly suffer from drug abuse.[27,28,29]

Based upon relatively low rates of death, and obvious long term use throughout America, drugs seem to be more of a problem for those who lack health care and have little or no income. People who work or have a family to live with can enjoy all the drugs that they'd like to. This does little to reduce the demand for illegal drugs! "If drugs were really bad", I've heard teenagers state, "more people would die from them." The common-man perception is that drugs are NOT HARMFUL, but that lack of health care IS harmful. The fact that millions of people are able to use drugs without serious health issues will not diminish this popular view.

Everyone knows college kids use drugs. Anyone who wants to deny this needs to read a newspaper, or perhaps has never been to college. Though I never participated, I learned most of what I know about drugs from going to college, and not from attending the classes! So, 1 in 3 college students uses drugs, is the national average from about 2005. So, there should be a lot of crime on campus, right? Actually, No.[30] Colleges with thousands of students typically experience only a handful of crimes per year, and they are not all drug related. The vast majority of drug related crimes involve alcohol - WHICH IS LEGAL.[31]

Rates of substance abuse now approach 50% in college.[32] Why are we not seeing large scale arrests, massive crime waves, and thousands of students dying every year? Because drug use is not as harmful as authorities want people to believe. The perception of deadly drugs is intended to stop people from using them. In fact, more people die from simply doing stupid things, than from the drugs themselves. Drugs do in fact impair your senses, sometimes fatally. No, that train does not want to play tag with you. If you think it does, you are either high, or you need to stop listening to those voices.

There are few factual statistics about an illegal substance, because it's illegal. There are no sales records. Nobody knows how many people really use drugs every day. It is known to be millions of people PER DAY based upon drug busts and review of the criminal drug trail. It is clear that millions of people are consuming drugs each day based upon the rate of influx to the United States. However, there are also home grown, and home made drugs, which are not tracked at all.[33]

Despite illegality, US banks, the CIA, and the US government have actually been able to PROFIT from ILLEGAL DRUGS.[34] THIS is something that HAS TO STOP. Our government can not, should not, and must not EVER BE ALLOWED to act illegally, for any reason. A government MAKES the law, and therefor it should not be difficult for a government to OBEY the law they MAKE.

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