Mostly about my amusement

Month: April 2007 (page 2 of 2)

Google 411

Google 411Google’s Voice Local Search is an experimental service where you can dial their 411 information number 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) and look up businesses by voice.

I just used it and got connected to a local restaurant.

I was on speaker phone, there was a lot background noise, and the voice prompter understood what I was saying. It’s your typical voice recognition setup, just the back end is data collected by Google. The prompter was easy to understand and reacted correctly when I would interrupt it to cut to the chase. It read to me the business I selected and connected me to the restaurant.

Of course I gave the phone to Lily for making reservations. It’s not like I want to speak to a real person…

Google Labs logo lifted from their website.

Ubuntu and Steam

So far so good. I have tried the following with my Ubuntu installation:

  1. Tried to get Compiz running on my laptop
  2. Updated Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy to 7.04 Fiesty Fawn
  3. Get Steam working on my laptop running Ubuntu

Compiz works badly. I think it’s the xserver I am using. I’ve un-installed it already; my laptop probably just lacks the horse power to drive the effects.

Ubuntu 7.04 will likely be better. But I fat fingered something and ended up putting back on 6.10 Edgy.

Steam works so far. In the past I purchased Transgaming’s Cedega cause I really like what they’re doing. But this time I’ve installed wine using

sudo apt-get install wine

Steam now installs via a .msi file. So to get it installed I downloaded SteamInstall.msi from and Googled to locate tahoma.ttf font file.

I moved the tahoma.ttf file to ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/fonts/ and ran

msiexec /a SteamInstall.msi

The mouse worked but I could not get the keyboard focused on the installer. Everything I typed ended up in the terminal I used to run wine. I ended up running winecfg and unchecking the “Allow window manager to control the windows” which was enough to get it installed.

Later on I put that option back and ran wine again with this on the command line:

WINEDEBUG="fixme-all" wine "C:Program FilesSteamsteam.exe"

This was lifted from a page. BTW I just pasted the snippet from the web page into the WordPress TinyMCE window. All formatting was taken care of, very cool. All I did was use the Code tab to adjust the width of the box.

The installation of a Steam game created a link on my desktop complete with icon. Later on I just double-clicked that link and the Steam app is installing my copy of Condition Zero.

The only problem I have is that the Steam window stays on top all the time. I will see if I can get that fixed.

Ubuntu 6.10 on a IBM T40 laptop

Update: Well the keyconfig extension no longer works despite hacking the install.rdf in the file. I had to follow the instructions located at this website.

On my Ubuntu laptop I did the following at a bash shell prompt:

cd /usr/share/firefox/chrome/browser/content/browser
sudo vi browser.xul

Did a search for “mainKeyset” and right after the line

<keyset id=”mainKeyset”>

I added the following two lines:

<key id=”goBackKb” keycode=”VK_F19″ command=”Browser:Back” />
<key id=”goForwardKb” keycode=”VK_F20″ command=”Browser:Forward” />

I then saved the file and the two IBM keys worked fine. This requires the lines in ~/.Xmodmap below. I’m not pleased with this solution because I have to update the main firefox package files. I will have to figure out how to do this in my home directory.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

keyconfig extensionThat was way too easy.

I installed Ubuntu 6.06 from the Live/Install CD I had and ran the updater to get all the patches. I played with it for an hour or two and then ran

sudo “update-manager -c -d”

in a terminal window. This permitted me to upgrade the laptop to Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy. I added some more software using Synaptic and was good to go.

Everything worked except in Firefox the keyboard navigation keys for previous/next page did not get recognized. So I added ~/.Xmodmap and put in the following two lines

keycode 234 = F19
keycode 233 = F20

I was all set to do the keyboard macro dance of death when I located and downloaded the keyconfig firefox extension. This extension lets you remap or assign functions to keys in Firefox. That’s very cool since I only was interested in making the keys work in Firefox.

I ran “xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap” and used the extension to map Back as F19 and Forward as F20.

If you download animation or watch video clips, get and install Automatix2. All my vids work due to getting the correct codecs. I’m finding Totem to be a good player.

The real test of if this will work is Lily. She has used the laptop once or twice for browsing and I have even used this laptop to connect to my work’s remote desktop in a browser solution. It’s all working fine.

If she has no issues I’m leaving Ubuntu on this laptop.