Tech Stuffs

Hidden Keybinds In Cinnamon On Ubuntu And Linux Mint

Despite the options in the System Settings dialog for Keyboard Shortcuts, there are still several keybinds that are set outside of this. While you can set a keybind in the Keyboard Shortcuts screen, the pre-existing ones seem to take precedence, so the ones you defined don’t do what you’d like them to do.

As mostly a reminder post so I remember where they live each time I redo a system, here’s how to find the one(s) that  define keybindings I want to use (here’s looking at you Alt+F6):

  1. Install the dconf-editor package via the command:
    sudo apt-get install dconf-editor
  2. Open dconf-editor (when using Cinnamon, you should be able to search for it in the menus).
  3. Go to org > cinnamon > muffin > keybindings and adjust/remove the key bindings that conflict with the ones you set.

You may need to log out and log back in at this point to get the keybind to work (or run the command cinnamon –replace in a terminal).

Disabling Wireless at Login on Ubuntu 10.10

This topic may seem like an odd thing to want and try and do, but for the machines I use that have wireless, I don’t want it enabled by default.  One is a desktop that just has a wireless network adapter to run Kismet and the other is a work laptop that spends 99% of it’s time with a wired connection plugged in.

While I enjoy the ease of Ubuntu’s ease of configuring wireless, there is actually no easily exposed setting to keep Network Manager from enabling wireless networking when you login.  After much digging, I found an answer here, but it’s not very elegant.

If you scroll down to what is currently the second to last post, you’ll find a post by tp42 talking about how to use the dbus-send command to make this happen.  The actual command itself is:

dbus-send --system --type=method_call --dest=org.freedesktop.NetworkManager /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties.Set string:org.freedesktop.NetworkManager string:WirelessEnabled variant:boolean:false

The post goes on to detail how to add it into the commands that get run when you log into the default Ubuntu desktop session.

Ideally, this should be a setting you can easily configure so you don’t have to run a command to disable it when you log in, but it does get the job done.

Bridging Tweaks for libvirtd on Ubuntu Desktop 10.10

Having recently dual-booted my main desktop system with Ubuntu 10.10 64-bit, I decided to setup virt-manager to handle KVM virtual machines.  While I don’t have a current use for VMs other than to play around with things as I run into them, I wanted them to be able to talk to other physical machines on my network w/o adding another hop into my internal network.

Therefore, I needed bridging such that virtual machines were assigned IPs (statically or dynamically) in the same subnet as my main desktop. To do this, I followed steps 2.1 and 2.2 from KVM Networking – Community Ubuntu Documentation guide.

Once I did this, everything seemed happy.  However, I noticed that the default bridged network of 192.168.1.x and the default bridge interface virbr0 were still being created, even after restarting libvirtd.  Additionally, this was causing dnsmasq to be started on the system.  With the bridging method I’m using,  there’s no need for that since the virtual machines can reach the name server on my network.  A little more research showed that essentially both problems here were the result of the symlink /etc/libvirt/qemu/networks/autostart/default.xml . Once I removed that, libvirtd was no longer using them, but it hadn’t shut them down.  A little brctl and kill love and all was well again in the universe. :)

Using Munin to Monitor My Comcast Cable Modem

Over the last 6 months or so, I’ve had problems with my Comcast Internet service intermittently cutting out every so often.  As the end user, what I’ve noticed is packet loss,  sometimes it’s a small amount over a short amount of time (minutes), others a large amount over a long amount of time (hours).  Initially the issues were few and far between, so I didn’t give it much notice.  However in the last month or so, it’s become a lot worse (once or twice a week).

I had initially setup Smokeping to monitor when problems started happening.  I had it ping the inside IP of my router, the private IP of the cable modem and the next hop route my router is given in it’s DHCP lease.  It helped me make sure the cable modem was up when I started having packet loss.

While this was nice to know when it was happening, it doesn’t really give you any data that helps with the why.  When I would call Comcast Tech Support, they could confirm the levels on my cable modem weren’t in desirable parameters, but I didn’t get the feeling the knew what they were (or recording them).  Then last week I ran into Jeff Forman’s post about how he was monitoring the signal to noise ration with a custom Munin plugin he had written.

Since I had just started playing with Munin and was looking for a coding type project to work on, I decided to bust out my horribly rusty Perl skills and write my own plugin.  Now I have purdy graphs that look like:

In case this plugin might be useful to you, I’ve made it available here at Github.

Further Impressions of Netflix on the Wii

Having used Netflix on the Wii for a few months now, I’ve come up with a few more tidbits to share.  While there are more cons than pros here, it really hasn’t interfered with my enjoyment of Netflix on the Wii.


  • The Wii picks up changes to the queue you make from a computer pretty quickly while the Netflix app is running on your Wii.
  • If a title in your DVD queue becomes stream-able, it’s automatically added to your Instant queue.


  • Every once in a great while, a given title will have jerky video playback and doesn’t appear to be scaled to the screen.  It persists through sessions as well.  The title plays fine through a web browser however.
  • Wireless performance isn’t as good as wired performance.  Mostly this shows up when you initially start up a title.  Normally broadband speed isn’t such that it should really make a difference which type of connection you use, but apparently it does.
  • For some reason, some titles in my queue got re-ordered for no apparent reason.  I hadn’t touched the queue itself around when this happened so not sure what really happened.  However it’s only happened once so far.
  • While you can search for additional selections to watch on the Wii, the titles aren’t sorted alphabetically.  Also it doesn’t appear that you get the full selection of stream-able content available when searching this way.  Not typically a big deal for my personal usage though as I’m often managing queues at the computer rather than the Wii.


  • Sometimes when watching a title, it will have problems streaming and need to re-queue.  I noticed this more using wireless connection than the wired one, but I can’t say if this was  due more to problems with the internet connection or the Wii.
  • Given the interface the average user has with the Wii, I don’t expect the full gamut of queue management features that exists in the online interface to show up on the Wii.  However, as an avid watcher of TV series, it would be nice to have an option to move a selection to the top spot in the queue.

First Impressions of Netflix on the Wii

Like many a Netflix subscriber, I eagerly went to my mailbox on Friday like it was Christmas to get my Netflix for Wii disc that arrived in the mail!  For the unfamiliar, this lets you use Netflix’s instant streaming/on-demand service on your Nintendo Wii.

My Equipment Setup:
My home “entertainment” setup is nothing spectacular.  A 25″ Sony Trinitron TV (circa 2004), a Nintendo Wii connected to the TV via the standard composite cable and to the Internet via the built-in wireless adapter using a WPA encrypted 802.11g connection.  The wireless router is an old Linksys WRT54G running the Tomato firmware.

Netflix for Wii Setup:
Setting up Netflix on the Wii was relatively simple.  Pop in the Netflix disk and start it like it was any other game.  Initially, it will generate a 6 digit code and then ask you to go to and enter the code.  Once the code is entered, the Wii picks up on it and then starts loading the movie selections and your Instant Queue from the Internet and you’re good to go.

The navigation is of the interface is  pretty simple.  You’re given categories you can look through for content (i.e. Your Queue, New Releases, Comedy, Drama, etc) that are easily traversed with the Wii’s arrow keys.  To select something, you use the A button and you can go backwards or up a level via the B button.    Once you find something you are interested in, you can either start playing it immediately or add it to your queue for later viewing.

Overall, I’ve been really pleased with the experience.  The quality of the video is almost on par with what I get from a DVD.  Over the last 8 or so years of using wireless networking (802.11a/b/g), I had expected to have to deal with lots of jitter in the audio or video, if not “buffering” conditions like you get sometimes with online video.  I’ve rarely seen any evidence that I was watching content from a streaming video source.  Even when I do, it’s barely noticeable (a half-second lag in video that corrects itself so you don’t lose audio/video sync) and I’ve only seen it a couple times.  While the selection of streaming content isn’t anywhere near equal to what you can get through the mail from Netflix, it still is pretty decent.  I’ve found plenty of things so far that I’m interested in viewing (both new content and movies I haven’t seen in years).  I’m hoping in the months and years to come that it becomes more equal!

There are only a few downsides I’ve run into so far, but none of them are really major.  Currently there doesn’t seem to be any support for subtitles or closed captioning (which I find handy when I’m stuffing my face with yummy noms).   There doesn’t appear to be a fast-forward or rewind function like a regular DVD, VCR or DVR, but you can skip forward and back by something akin to chapter selection on a DVD (but broken up into much smaller time chunks).  It’s hard to tell if this is Netflix or the source the content was made from, but there is a lot of change in the audio volume during a viewing.  Like some DVD movies, a volume that is good for hearing characters talk will blow you out of the water during an action scene or when a song comes on.  As an apartment dweller who is paranoid about being too loud, this can be a bit frustrating as you may be adjusting the volume a lot during a viewing.

I love me some Netflix on the Wii and my couch is going to be getting so much quality time that my bed will become jealous.

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