BUG: Timepicker does not display AM/PM on Ubuntu, Datepicker displays an arbitrary “October”

Datepicker and Timepicker Screenshot

Datepicker and Timepicker Screenshot

I recently noticed a little bug in firefox (I don’t know where this belongs, in “xulrunner” or in firefox code itself), and I dutifully report it here:

My friend built an extension for firefox, and I noticed that the timepicker control (in xul) does not display the AM/PM select, neither does it provide a 24 hour clock. (only on Ubuntu).

I live in India, and so it just shows IST instead of AM/PM (see screenshot)

This problem occurs only on Ubuntu (I have not tried other distros). The same firefox extension was displaying AM/PM correctly in Firefox when running on Windows Vista.

The same problem occurred with the datepicker control: it was displaying an arbitrary “October” between the Day number and Month number. (This too, only on ubuntu).

I have reported the bug at bugzilla: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=479069

I wonder why this is hapenning.

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HOWTO: Make Karaoke on your Ubuntu Box!

Update: If you enjoy Karaoke, you might want to try http://thesimsonstage.ea.com/. I tried it out once, and simply loved it.

Last week I searched the internet for a way to “make” karaoke – strip out the vocals from my songs.
This way, I get songs without the vocals – only instrumentals – so I can sing along instead of the real singer. Turns out this is called karaoke 🙂

So, my hunt led me to two things:

PyKaraoke (#fail)

This is a software that can be installed with a simple “sudo apt-get install pykaraoke“. But, this somehow did not do what it is supposed to do. 😦
So I figured out a new way to do this (after a LOT of googling).

Mplayer, your friend (#yay)

So here’s a DIY for how-to-make-your-own-karaoke:

1. Install the required software

You need mplayer and lame encoder. Installation is pretty simple: sudo apt-get install mplayer lame shntool

2. Remove the vocals from the song

Here’s how to do that: mplayer -ao pcm:file=<output file> -af karaoke <input file (song)>
This command will (try to) strip the vocals from the input song (audio, video, whatever) and will dump the output as “PCM Wav” encoded audio. Relax, this just means that the output song is NOT in mp3 format. And its size is huge.

3. Convert the wav output to mp3

Here’s how: lame -V2 <input wav file> <output mp3 file>
Make sure that there are no spaces in the file names during this “lame” operation. (I don’t know what happens if there are).

So far, so good.

And here’s the catch: not all songs respond equally well to this “procedure”. Some pointers:

  1. This procedure is meant to “attenuate” the voice, not remove it, like, completely. (#ref: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9787)
  2. Songs with male voice repond better than ones with female voice.
  3. Sometimes, drum beats are also badly attenuated along with the vocals. In any case, the “boom” of the beat gets killed.

So much for being a killjoy. But all said and done, I still use this method. It works on some songs, and it doesn’t on others.

Q: So what do you do if this method doesn’t work?

A: Search for a better method, and if you find it, post it in here!

HOW TO: Install Nvidia Graphics Card Driver on Ubuntu Intrepid

I’ve seen many methods on how to install the driver for Nvidia graphics card.
Here’s a method that is almost foolproof, involves no conf file editing, and can be done purely using apt-get package manager.

In case you are wondering, this method installs the “177” driver (the one that is supposed to be “recommended”).

So here goes:

  1. “sudo apt-get install nvidia-177-kernel-source nvidia-glx-177 nvidia-kernel-common nvidia-settings xserver-xorg-video-nv”
  2. Open System > Administration > Hardware Drivers
  3. Select the driver that says “Nvidia accelerated graphics driver 177 [recommended]”
  4. Click the Activate button (at the bottom of the window).
  5. You’re done!

After it completes successfully, you will need to restart your computer. And viola! Your graphics card is ready to use!

HOW TO: Guest OS Networking in VirtualBox

I am an ubuntu user and I am a web developer. So what do I do when I need to test web applications on IE6 or IE7? I don’t go to some other computer running windows. I run windows in a virtual machine using Virtualbox.

The only hurdle is: how to reach the host OS network from the guest OS network? I scoured the internet for solutions, and I found one that did it in the first go: so here it is.

Now my life is easier. I don’t trouble my friends by asking them to lend me some of their time. I don’t need to interrupt their counter strike or WoW game. I do it on Virtualbox!

BTW, there is this project called ies4linux – a software to install ie 5, 6 and 7 on linux using wine. I tried it, but it somehow didn’t hit the sweet spot. For those of you who want to try, find it here.

Where are man pages installed in ubuntu?

I’ve searched the title of this post on google in countless variations like “where are man pages present”, “where are man pages installed”, “man pages”+directory-“how to” etc., but I never got what I wanted to see.

So here goes: man pages are installed in the directory “/usr/local/man”.

In this directory, there are several more directories called man1, man2, man3 and so on upto man8.

Quoting the manual page for man, here’s what each of them stores:

1   Executable programs or shell commands
2   System calls (functions provided by the kernel)
3   Library calls (functions within program libraries)
4   Special files (usually found in /dev)
5   File formats and conventions eg /etc/passwd
6   Games
7   Miscellaneous (including macro  packages  and  convenâ
tions), e.g. man(7), groff(7)
8   System administration commands (usually only for root)
9   Kernel routines [Non standard]

To install most of the required man pages on ubuntu, just execute this command:

sudo apt-get install manpages manpages-dev manpages-posix manpages-posix-dev

In case you want to install STL library man pages too, type

sudo apt-get install libstdc++6-4.2-doc

Now to see documentation about vector, just type

man std::vector

NOTE: Its not “man vector”!

That’s all folks!