Monday, December 16, 2013

How to set default (startup) screen brightness in Ubuntu 13.10

Extending battery life can be achieved by limiting screen brightness. Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) by default sets screen brightness to 100%. I have found that 50% screen brightness is more than adequate for indoor viewing. Saucy currently doesn't save your screen brightness settings when you log out or shut down. Through some web searches, I discovered "xbacklight". It's a command-line utility to set your screen brightness. You install it, add it to your startup programs and set the screen brightness to a default level of your choosing.

xbacklight is available through Ubuntu Software Center or via the terminal ("sudo apt-get install xbacklight").

Search (super-key) for "Startup".
Click on "Startup Applications".
Click the "Add" button.

Name: xbacklight
Command: xbacklight -set XX (Where "XX" is the numerical percentage of screen brightness)

Here is a screen-shot:

Save your new Startup Application and restart to test your new default screen brightness!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

HP Chromebook 14 ChromeOS/Ubuntu 13.10 Compatibility List

Chromebook compatibility list


HP Chromebook 14 Compatibility List


Hardware/SoftwareChromeOSChr-Ubuntu 13.10



Time from Ctrl+D or Ctrl+L to LoginAbout 8 secondsAbout 12 seconds


WifiAutomatically detects networksAutomatically detects networks


HSPA+ 3G modemPre-configured for T-mobileUser selects carrier and data plan (T-mobile)


Wired network via USB adapterWorks "plug and play"Works "plug and play"


Trackpad/scrollingPre-configuredPre-configured by Chr-Ubuntu


BluetoothWorks - tested Motorola S9 HeadphonesWorks - tested Motorola S9 Headphones


User AccountsMultiple with Account or guestMultiple with Admin, User, Guest


SoundPre-configuredWorks "out of the box"


BrightnessHotkey adjustmentAdjustable in settings


HDMI video-outWorks - tested BenQ monitorWorks - tested BenQ monitor


Video playbackSupports most formatsSupports more formats (such as .wmv)


Google Hangouts video chatPre-configuredWorks with Linux plug-in from Google


Google EarthNot availableWorks but requires recompiling .deb file


Google Drive/DocsWorksWorks


Drop BoxAvailableAvailable


Libre OfficeNot availableAvailable


Photo EditingA few good online appsMany Editor options like GIMP


USB mass storageWorks mostly including USB 3.0Works mostly including USB 3.0


Local USB printerNot availableMost work with pre-installed CUPS drivers


Local USB scannerNot availableWorks with tested HP scanner and HPLIP


USB DVD PlaybackNot availableWorks with Ubuntu restricted extras and DCSS


DVD Movie RippingNot availableAcidRip converts movies to AVI: 2.5H in 45 mins

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Local USB Printer installed...

I have a Brother HL-2240 monochrome laser printer that does the bulk of my home printing.  Trying to be clever and install the official Brother drivers wasn't working.  It was working with my Thinkpad running Ubuntu Raring Ringtail (12.04), so I checked to see what driver was installed.  Apparently I had installed HPLIP for a wireless all-in-one inkjet.  The working driver was for a Brother HL-2170W; not the recommended driver, but the HPijs-Pcl-5e driver.  I had to install the HPijs driver package (used Ubuntu Software Center), restart and then manually choose the HPijs-Pcl-5e driver.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Testing the HDMI port with an external monitor in ChromeOS and Chr-Ubuntu

I took my Chromebook to work and tested the HDMI-out port with my employer's BenQ GW2750.

First, here is ChromeOS.

Next, here is Ubuntu 13.10

The ChromeOS interface is much easier to use.  Just select your primary monitor and the pointer will appear on that monitor and you are good to go.  In Ubuntu it is a bit wonky--you have to play with it a little to achieve the desired result (i.e. get your pointer active in the external monitor).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Now Dual booting ChromeOS (20GB) and Ubuntu Saucy Salamander (100GB)

Update:  I now have successfully installed Ubuntu Saucy using Jay Lee's Chr-Ubuntu script (9sgchs). Now I have a dual-boot ChromeOS/Ubuntu 13.10 laptop. I tested the built-in t-mobile modem and it works just as it does in ChromeOS.  I tried to "plug and play" install my brother USB Laser Printer, but it didn't work.  I think I'll have to install the drivers from Brother manually.  I am still having a major ChromeOS issue.  The system crashes at the Chrome login screen and restarts to the "Chrome is missing or damaged" error when not on AC power.  It has got to be a ChromeOS problem, because using the Legacy boot into Ubuntu works plugged-in or on battery power.  I guess this is going to be mainly my Ubuntu machine for now until there is a fix.  When I have some free time I will try to test some other peripherals.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

One remaining issue - software or hardware?

I can only login to ChromeOS when the AC adapter is plugged in.  If I unplug once I am logged in, ChromeOS restarts and then shows the "ChromeOS is missing or damaged" screen.  I then press the power button to turn it off, plug in the AC adapter and everything works again.  The screen will stay on forever even when unplugged so I do not think it is a battery problem.  I will have to open it up again and check my connections.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Success! Rescued and restored 128GB NGFF SSD!

Re-write GUID Partition Table (GPT) using NGFF to SSD Adapter

Here is the adapter I used to access my unbootable ChromeOS NGFF SSD:

As you can see, it adapts a NGFF SSD so that it fits into a standard Serial ATA interface port.

Pictured here is the adapter is on top of a Serial ATA 2.5" hard drive.  Notice that the connector is identical.

I inserted my 128GB NGFF SSD into the Adapter:

Then, I inserted the Adapter into a USB to Serial ATA drive Adapter:

I connected this drive to my Ubuntu-Linux laptop and fired up GParted:

Next, from the GParted menu I chose Device/Create Partition Table:

From the drop-down box select "gpt".

I did not create any partitions.  I just left it unallocated:

Next, I opened up my Chromebook and replaced the stock SSD with my 128GB SSD.  I plugged in my recovery USB memory stick and ChromeOS (Falco) was restored and is working properly again.