Turn off touchpad while typing on Linux

I installed Linux Mint 16 a few days ago on my Netbook. The touchpad didn't turn off while I was typing, so I dug around for a way to make it do so.

It turns out you can enable this feature on the "Mouse and Touchpad" configuration app (just search for that string among your applications) on the Touchpad tab. However, this default setting didn't work for me, because it turned off the touchpad for two seconds every time I typed something. For me, that was way too long.

(Note, in the following setup, I set my delay to 0.25 seconds. Feel free to change the 0.25 in the command in step 5 to whatever you want.)

Thus, it was a more manual configuration for me. Here goes:

  1. Run "Session and Startup". Again, you can just search for this from the "Start Menu" for Linux Mint.
  2. Go to the tab "Application Autostart".
  3. Click "Add"
  4. Type a name like "Synaptic Daemon", add in some comments about what you are doing in the description field, like: "Turn of touchpad while typing"
  5. In the command window, put:

    syndaemon -d -i 0.25 -K -R

  6. Click OK
  7. Make sure that the entry you just created has a little "x" in the box to the left of it.
  8. Click close.
  9. Restart your system.

Now your touchpad should not accept input while you are typing. Almost immediately after you stop typing, it should again respond to your movements.

Changing the order of entries in Grub 2 bootloader

A while back I had to solve the problem of removing an operating system entry from the Grub 2 bootloader.

Today I solved a related problem: changing the order in which the OS entries appear on the boot menu. It seems there are several solutions to this problem. The one I will show here was the most effective for me because I have already used the approach in the link above to remove an OS from Grub 2.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Log in as root, or execute the following mv commands using "su" before your commands.

    sudo su

  2. Go to the "/etc/grub.d" directory.

    $ cd /etc/grub.d

  3. Look at the directory:

    $ ls

  4. Which will give you a result that look something like this (numbers and names may vary).

    00_header 10_linux 30_os-prober 41_custom
    05_debian_theme 20_linux_xen 40_custom README

  5. Basically, the order of these numbers dictate what the order will be on the Grub menu. You can rename these files to change the order. In my case, I wanted to make one of my "custom" entries the first entry (because it was my Windows 7 partition).

    $ mv 10_linux 15_linux
    $ mv 40_custom 10_custom

  6. Now I just re-run update-grub to re-generate the boot menu table.

    $ update-grub

  7. We can check that things are ok by looking through the generated file. In my case, I checked that my Windows 7 entry was present in the file. Interpreting this file deeply requires a lot of knowledge, so don't worry if it is mostly gibberish.

    $ vi /boot/grub/grub.cfg

  8. Restart your computer to see the new boot menu order.

Manually removing an OS from Grub 2 bootloader in Ubuntu 11.10

This post is here partially because I have had to go through this action several times in the last few months.

I recently bought a Samsung NF-210 Netbook and I have been fighting with setting it up since then. The netbook comes preloaded with Windows 7 Starter. I added in Ubuntu as a dual-boot option. I started with Ubuntu 10.10, but that proved to be difficult to use because it did not correctly handle the function keys for changing brightness or volume.

This same solution worked on Ubuntu 10.10 as 11.10.

My goal is to remove the Windows Recovery Environment from the automatic listing on the grub boot menu. This is more than just a cosmetic change because if you accidentally run this partition, it will fubar your boot partition causing you to lose the ability to boot using grub. Thus you will have to reinstall grub or possibly an entire OS (either linux or windows) depending on how you have set up your hard drive.

  1. Fire up a terminal, switch to root via "sudo su".
  2. "cd /etc/grub.d" - changing to the directory where we do most of the work.
  3. "chmod -x 30_os-prober" - turning off the automated ability of grub to find new non-linux OSes.
  4. "vi /boot/grub/grub.cfg" - going to see the current profile of OSes detected on the computer.
  5. Scroll down until you spot the entries for your windows partitions. Select the one(s) that you do want to show up on the menu. Copy them to the clipboard. Copy this text to somewhere so that you can paste it into the next file...
  6. "vi 40_custom" - This custom file lets you add your own OS profiles to the grub menu.
  7. Paste in the text that you copied earlier (below the comments).
  8. "chmod +x 40_custom" - The file needs to be executable in order to be included in the grub menu.
  9. "update-grub" - Grub needs to re-create its menu.

Now when you reboot you should see that only the OSes that you selected and moved will show up. In my case I moved my Windows 7 profile, but not the Recovery Environment profile. Thus when I boot I see all of my menu items except the recovery profile. Yey!

LaTeX on Ubuntu 10.10

When working in LaTeX on Ubuntu in the past, I was reasonably impressed with the development environment called "kile".

To install it, I fired up the System->Synaptic Package Manager and searched for "kile". I marked it for installation and applied the changes.

After several minutes, it had downloaded and installed itself. I then right-clicked on my menu bar in a blank area. A small menu popped up, I clicked "Add to Panel". A dialog pops up. I clicked "Custom Application Launcher". Another dialog shows up. In both the name and command fields I typed "kile". As soon as I completed typing it in the command textbox, the icon visible on the left side of the dialog changed to the kile icon. I hit OK.

Now I have a Kile button on my main menu bar. I fired it up.

At the top of the screen is had a button that said "ViewHTML". I want to be working with PDFs not, HTML. So I clicked the little down arrow to the right of the button. A menu popped up. I selected "ViewPDF" from the menu.

This is when I found out that I do not have "okular" installed. It is a viewer that kile integrates well with. I go into Synaptic Package Manager again and search for "okular". I download and install it.

Now when I load up a .tex file, such as my blank tex that I created, I can click "PDFLatex" to build the tex into a pdf. Then I can click ViewPDF to view it.