Tech Notes, Tips & Reviews

Wireless LED on Notebooks

Dec 302007

undefinedHaving just installed Mandriva Powerpack 2008 (and it is very good by the way, you can buy it at, I found that all the hardware of my notebook was automatically identified and worked perfectly. With the exception of the wireless LED. I have the Intel Centrino using the ipw2200 driver, the wireless works perfectly but the LED according to the documentation is an experimental option.

In order to activate it I only had to add the line “options ipw2200 led=1″ to the /etc/modprobe.conf file. I used “vi” in order to do this (you need to have root privileges). Alternatively if you want a graphical way to do it go into “Configure your Computer”, its on the quick launch bar in Mandriva 2008, select “Hardware”, the “Browse and Configure Hardware”, the hardware list will then be compiled and displayed.

In the list you should find a category called “Ethernet Card” and as a sub-category to that you will see your wireless card listed (something like “PRO/Wireless 2915ABG” or similar). Select the card and in the right hand windows click on “Set current driver options”. The windows that comes up will show all the parameters to the ipw2200 driver, scroll down to find the “led” parameter and enter “1″ into the textbox. Click “OK” to save. You can then exit the control centre. You will probably need to reboot to activate the LED function. Even though the LED option is experimental it seems to work fine for me.

I would appreciate your feedback if you have comments, corrections or additions to this article, Thanks.

Setting up Notebook Hotkeys

Jul 272007

undefinedI recently set up the hotkeys on my notebook in Mandriva 2007 running KDE. It is fairly simple to do and consists of one script file and then appropriate entries in “Keyboard Shortcuts”.

I created the following file called “command-shortcuts” and placed it in the “bin” directory in my home directory. Make sure to make it executable using “chmod +x command-shortcuts”.

xmodmap -e “keycode 176 = F20″ # Volume up
xmodmap -e “keycode 174 = F21″ # Volume down
xmodmap -e “keycode 160 = F22″ # Mute volume
xmodmap -e “keycode 178 = F23″ # Mail hotkey
xmodmap -e “keycode 236 = F24″ # Web hotkey
xmodmap -e “keycode 162 = F25″ # Play / Pause
xmodmap -e “keycode 164 = F26″ # Stop
xmodmap -e “keycode 144 = F27″ # Previous Track
xmodmap -e “keycode 153 = F28″ # Next Track
xmodmap -e “keycode 115 = F29″ # Win
xmodmap -e “keycode 117 = F30″ # Menu
xmodmap -e “keycode 223 = F31″ # Sleep

The keycodes should work for many notebooks. To check they are right for your notebook you can run the ‘xev’ command in a console. The keycode will be displayed for each key you press.

So that the keycodes get loaded at each login, add “/home/{username}/bin/command-shortcuts” to the end of your “.bashrc” file. Replace {username} with your login name.

Now launch “Keyboard Shortcuts” from the “System”, “Conifguration”, “KDE”, “Regional & Accessibility” Menu. Here using the “Command Shortcuts” tab you can assign the “Mail” and “Web” Keys. Using the “Shortcut Schemes” you can assign the the “Win”, “Menu” & “Sleep” Keys. I set the “Win” key to switch to the next desktop, the “Menu” key brings up the KDE Menu and the “Sleep” key issue the logout command.

Finally you can set up the Volume Down, Up and Mute by right-clicking on the Mixer and selecting “Show Mixer Windows”. Then from the “Settings” menu select “Global Shortcuts” and assign the appropriate keys. You can do the same in Amarok for the “Play/Pause”, “Stop”, “Previous Track”, “Next Track”.

Thanks go to Ubuntu user zba78 who posted info on hotkeys at

I would appreciate your feedback if you have comments, corrections or additions to this article, Thanks.

Using nVidia Twinview and mplayer

Jun 102007

undefinedI recently set up a second monitor and then managed to use it to display video whilst still working on my main monitor as usual…

Here are the main settings to add to your xorg.conf file. In the "Screen" Section Add..

Option "MetaModes" "1024×768,1280×800"
Option "TwinView"
Option "TwinViewOrientation" "DFP-0 LeftOf CRT-0"
Option "TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder" "DFP-0, CRT-0"

To find the id's of your monitors look at the /var/log/xorg.0.log file. I reversed the order of the screens using "TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder" and placed CRT-0 to the right of DFP-0 with "TwinViewOrientation".

To play a video file on either screen you specify the "-xineramascreen" parameter with "0" or "1". For example…

mplayer -aspect 16:9 -stop-xscreensaver -xineramascreen 0 video-file-1.avi
mplayer -aspect 16:9 -stop-xscreensaver -xineramascreen 1 video-file-1.avi