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Arch and the bugbear

So with cold and allergies and stuff I've been sick tired and lazy, and limped along for a couple of weeks. Yesterday I got back to trying to whip my Arch install into shape. The big one was wifi, which kept not working, so I registerd with the forums and set about composing a very detailed post about my problems, pasting in lots of error messages and what I'd done to generate them. Then I thought to pass on some state, like the contents of wpa-supplicant.conf Whoops! Noticed I'd misspelled my WiFi network name. That didn't fix, but did generate new messages. Then I remembered process conflicts are sometimes a thing, so I was going to show I didn't have many of those -- whoops, two background wpa_supplicant processes. Killed those, still didn't work. Had noticed that the conf file had my actual passphrase commented out, in favor of some long hash; I swapped that -- ding! suddenly it worked. So the forum ended up acting like one of those teddy bears you explain bugs to before bothering another human about it, as that often clears things up, hence 'bugbears'.

I still posted in the end, but scrapped all the wifi stuff and just complained about tethering not working. Which turned out to be due to having upgraded my kernel, which orphaned some modules; once I rebooted, ding.

After that, getting my audio keys working took a lot of careful reading but very little work. Ditto for having lid-close not send my computer to sleep, but also turning the screen off. webcam worked after I put myself into the video group, as with audio -- I don't remember doing this with Ubuntu, but maybe Arch is more compartmentalized.

Not everything's done or perfect yet. I turned circular scrolling on, but you have to circle the center of the touchpad, whereas my finger reflexes and memory say that before, I was able to use small circles in the upper right quadrant of the touchpad to keep scrolling. No one knows what I'm talking about though; my best guess is that I was enjoying proprietary drivers with the Dell Ubuntu install, and the generic Linux is meh. I've seen Xorg options and played with synclient, but I don't see anything that controls what I've seen.

I'm still using twm, without dock or taskbar. I should probably fix that. I'm leery of big environments, though.

I have a few ripped DVDs, none of which play well, I'm not sure if this is the rip or the codecs. I think they'd worked better before... Haven't tried a physical DVD yet.

Overall it feels much faster now. I don't know if that's upgraded Firefox (though it's not just FF), upgraded Linux, lightweight environment, or having spent a week on my eee again making everything seem fast. It's been two weeks now, and thinks still seem fast and responsive compared to before.

Oh, and I had a working compose key, but now the command is failing, and the forums have failed me.

Not much progress on the Android front, apart from getting tethering working (my eee served to test that -- worked smoothly even with modded Ubuntu 10.04.)

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Damien Sullivan

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February 2019


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